Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Nolan Annual Christmas Letter

Each year Ryan writes a wonderful Christmas letter recapping our year and this year is no different.  I love reading about our year through my husband's perspective!  He's a great writer and sees things in a different light than I do, so I hope you enjoy reading this letter as much as I do!

Photo by Jami Thompson Photography

Happy Holidays from the Nolan’s!

Hello Friends and Family, another year has passed and as usual, it’s been a crazy one for this little family.  Much has changed, and more changes are coming fast.  Biggest and most important thing first – we’ll be welcoming a baby boy soon, due in the first week of January.  Maxwell Joseph Nolan, or Max, is healthy and growing normally and we’re hoping for an on-time arrival.  Christmas will have to be a smaller affair this year, no traveling for Sarah when she’s close to nine months pregnant, so we’ll be staying home for the first time in several years.  Speaking of home, we made the leap and moved farther south into Virginia Beach.  Our house is larger and in a much better school district so we’re quite happy.  My job moved to a smaller, closer Navy base just up the street so my commute is much shorter.  We’ve been able to squeeze a little bit of travel into our busy year, including several trips to PA, a couple trips to Charlottesville VA, and an awesome trip that Sarah and I took to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to watch the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May.  It was my first actual PGA Tour event, believe it or not, and I was in hog heaven.  We got to spend time with Sarah’s oldest brother and his family who live in St. Augustine, as well as relax some on the beach, so it was an awesome trip.  I went on my annual trip to Fortuna for the Southern Humboldt Masters over Father’s Day with dad (finished 2nd), and went by myself this time because all three of us flew back out West a month later to attend my cousin Cameron’s wedding in Napa.  Unfortunately that trip was also a sad occaision; we lost my Grandma Arlet (mom’s mom) in early July.  Grandma was almost 97 and she lived a wonderfully full and happy life so we’re happy she’s with Grandpa now.  Luckily I was able to see her for a little bit during my June trip and I’m very glad that I did.  With Sarah and baby growing our last travel of the year was to PA for Thanksgiving, and included a beautiful baby shower arranged by Sarah’s mom with all of her best friends and family.  The last bit of major family news is that we sprung for a new car, and got Sarah a 2015 Nissan Pathfinder.  It’s just right for a growing family, very safe, so far so good.
Photo by Jami Thompson Photography

Sarah has a lot going on, as those of you that follow Sarah Nolan Photography know.  In March she quit her corporate job for good; she had been working part-time to help the transition for her replacements at the company.  Apparently working in a corporate environment was not good for trying to have a baby, because we were pregnant the month after she quit.  Lol.  The photography business is going very well!  She’s in a constant cycle of booking, packing props, organizing, shooting, editing, and keeping the social media piece going.  Her client base continues to grow as people see the great work she does, and I’m very proud of her.  Sarah also gives back to the community through a series of volunteer efforts, including photographing events for special needs families and offering her services as one of a series of gifts that a friend’s charity gives to families of newly-born babies with Trisomy-21 (Down Syndrome).  She continues to tutor a couple select clients in math, which she enjoys and she says helps her stay sharp.  Sarah was the real rock star of our move back in August, and she had this house 90% put together inside of a week.  Now the baby’s room has become a focus, and we’re most of the way there – Pop Pop Joe came down and painted, the crib and dresser are up, baby clothes are washed and hung, and we even have our hospital bag packed.  Not bad for a busy family!
Photo by Jami Thompson Photography

My work situation is still a bit strange.  I’ve now been at this shore duty job for nearly four years, and I have over 17 years of total service.  Because I’m retiring at my 20-year mark, the Navy has no appetite to send me back out for more sea tours.  My command has me doing quite a bit of high-level work and wants to keep me so there’s a decent chance I’ll finish out my career right where I’m at.  That would be just fine with me, and now we’re just waiting on confirmation to make it all official.  The Navy is a large organization and moves very slowly sometimes.  Work is the boring part though, it just gets in the way of my golf schedule.  I started early in the winter playing our Golfweek Amateur Tour Winter Tour, a series of two-man events, where my partner and I won the overall gross championship this year.  I played my second full year on the regular Golfweek Amateur Tour and had a great time.  No individual wins this year, but only finished out of the top-five in the Championship Flight twice.  My game is improving, I just need to work on closing out tournaments next year.  I had some other successes – won the Military Invitational up in Williamsburg, qualified for and competed in the Virginia State Amateur up in Charlottesville, and finished 12th in a field of over 100 Championship Flight players at the Golfweek Amateur Tour National Championships in Hilton Head in October.  I have a great group of guys that I play with regularly at the Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, and my calendar always seems to be full of good tournaments to play.   I’m looking forward to continuing this year’s Winter Tour, which started in November, and All-Navy Golf tryouts in the spring.  Outside of golf I still cook regularly for the family, and between moving, having Jared back, and the baby coming we always seem to be slammed busy.  Life is good at 35 and I have my health (mostly), although not much hair left on my head!
Photo by Jami Thompson Photography

Jared’s back!  He attended 6th and 7th grade with his mom in Iowa, and we’ve had him back here since mid-July.  Now 13 and an 8th grader, Jared is adjusting to a new house, new friends, new school, and a new baby brother on the way (FINALLY, he says).  There are always bumps and bruises with adjustments but he’s doing well overall.  Some may recall that he wrestled for his middle school in Iowa, and we got him involved right away with a local wrestling club called Mat Rats.  He practices twice a week in the evenings, and the club is run by his middle school and future high school coaches.  He’s getting great experience and great visibility.  We’ve just started getting him into local AAU tournaments, giving him some important “mat time” and exposure to the coaches.  Jared likes golf as well, but hasn’t quite gotten the “bug” like I did at his age.  I play a regular Sunday round with him and a couple work friends, so he’s still swinging away.  I imagine that his interest level will increase when the school golf season comes around.  Like most teenage boys Jared loves video games, and he’s become our resident technology expert.  He’s a fun and interesting kid and we love watching him grow up.  He’ll be 14 in March (yikes)!

Little Lira is doing very well!  She adjusted quickly to her new digs and new walking routes, and she’s pretty much as awesome as ever.  I’ve been quite entertained by how aware she is of Sarah being pregnant, and she is not happy when her momma is not in her sights.  When Sarah’s editing or resting you can often find Lira sprawled on her belly, although she likes that less and less, because her little brother-to-be is getting good at punching his puppy through the belly.  One funny event from earlier this year – Lira dug up a bunny nest in a bush at our old house, and managed to catch and kill two baby bunnies.  It was sad for the bunnies (although they are incredibly overpopulated here), but kind of funny to us because our spoiled, lazy, indoor dog who sleeps on the bed showed signs of being a “real dog”. 

We hope you enjoy hearing about us and we love to hear about you! 

We moved, so if you want to send Christmas cards to us, please let us know and we will send you our new address!  Thanks!
Photo by Jami Thompson Photography

1 comment:

  1. Loved your letter! It was full of so much excitement and good things. I look forward to it every year.


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