Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our 2012 Family Christmas Newsletter

The Mallinson Family Christmas Newsletter:
Because what better time is there to work on Christmas cards than on Christmas Eve??

This year we’re actually slightly ahead of schedule - the last several years we’ve had to aim for New Years cards since we’ve been too late for Christmas! Of course the Mayans had us convinced we weren’t going to need to do cards this year. Stupid apocalypse.

2012 has been a year of big changes for us. As most of you may know, we moved back to Bakersfield this August after spending eight wonderful years in Santa Clarita. Cherylle and I 

had talked about the possibility of this happening for quite some time. She’s always been worried about being too far away from her parents as they age, and most of the kids cousins on both sides of the family live in Bakersfield which means they’re closer to each other here. Also, with work taking me out of country as often as it does, it’s a tremendous help to Cherylle to be closer to family in case there are any problems.

Cherylle had heard through the grapevine that there might be openings at Kern Regional Center, where she’d worked for six years before leaving Bakersfield originally. She forwarded her resume to their HR department and got a response within hours. They wanted her to start immediately! It took 

us a few weeks to get everything sorted for the move, but we managed to get it settled just before the school year started.

That brings us to the second big change. Caitlin started kindergarten this year! It was not an easy task to get our new school ready for her to attend - we’d been prepping West Creek Academy in the SCV for her arrival for the last two years, but only had one week from the time we signed a lease in Bakersfield to the time school started. Fortunately the Buena Vista Elementary staff, along with Special Services staff from the Panama Buena Vista District office, were able to put together an IEP meeting in a very short time, and with just a few adaptations they had a welcoming environment for Caitlin.

The transition to the new school was a little challenging for Evan at the beginning - he’d been at West Creek Academy since it opened and was very involved there, between extra-curricular classes in chess and lego animation, voice and 

violin lessons, and their after-school program. Fortunately he wound up with a really great teacher who prizes reading, so the bookworm fit right in with her class. He’s also made a few friends through a mutual interest in the Pokemon trading card game. The kids also have a great time after school now, spending time with their Aunt Becky and some of their cousins every day.

We’ve been very involved with the LPA since Caitlin was diagnosed with achondroplasia - as parent coordinators for the Los Angeles Chapter, event planners for the 2010 Spring Regional Conference, and as AV coordinators for the National Conferences in 2011 and 2012 - but this year I took it a step further and ran for District Director for District 12 of the LPA, which covers all of California and Nevada. This has given me the opportunity to be involved in a number of decisions regarding the future of the organization, and in October I was able to travel to NYC to participate in a press conference celebrating the launch of a PSA promoting the LPA, which played for a few months on the CBS Jumbotron near Times Square.

In April of this year I dumped my motorcycle on a back road a few miles outside of Santa Clarita. Fortunately for me, a group of hard-core Christian bikers from a biker church in Simi Valley pulled up almost before the dust had settled and got me upright, back on the bike, and escorted me the 6 miles home so I could drive to the ER. One cracked rib, a strained shoulder, and a severe case of road rash were all I got out of it. Unfortunately damage like that is enough to total a motorcycle, so Geico decided to keep the leftovers. I will be replacing the bike at some point in the future, but for now we decided to buy a camping trailer which has seen quite a bit of use. We’ve taken it to Balch Park and to Carpinteria several times - it’s been a great activity for the family!

We asked the kids for contributions to this newsletter. All Evan would say is that he wants a phone when he turns 10. I asked Caitlin what she wanted to say to everybody, and she said “I love you”. Cherylle would like me to make it very clear that she really loves her job :-)

Wishing you all peace, happiness and love this New Year,

Michael, Cherylle, Evan and Caitlin