Parzen Family Christmas Letter 2017

One of the most remarkable things about 2017 was that it snowed in Houston this year! That hadn’t happened since 2009. We were living in Austin then, we weren’t yet married, and neither of our girls had been born.

I happened to be in Los Angeles that day but when I spoke to Georgia (in the photo above) the wonder in her voice belonged to a girl whose wish had come true: to see the snow, a desire she’s been talking about for a few years now (especially after we watched the movie “Frozen”).

Georgia turned 6 a few days after the snow fell. She’s been enjoying her first year of kindergarten at a music magnet school and she loves her violin teacher (we love her, too). But her great obsession in 2017 has been the musical “Hamilton.”

She’s always been a big fan of musical theater (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?). But there’s something special about her determination to learn every line in the show, to master every nuance of delivery, and to perfect the cadence and intonation of her performance. As the year comes to a close, it seems that she’s memorized nearly the entire score.

Lila Jane turned 4 this summer and her favorite form of artistic expression is dance. That’s her (center) at her mid-season dance recital earlier this month.

She’ll spend hours upon hours in our living room performing her personally choreographed ballets. But she’s equally devoted to her painting and to doing puzzles (something she has an impressive knack for). She’s also begun to develop her motor skills. She and Georgia got their first bicycles this season and I can’t image it’s going to be long before her training wheels come off.

She’s also taken to music but her preferred instrument is the ukulele. She loves for me to set up a microphone for her in our home studio and she and I will put on shows where she runs through her repertoire of favorite songs. And she always wants me to accompany her on guitar. It’s a blast.

But the most amazing thing about LJ is her ability to share her joy for life. There’s just something magical about her smile and the way she’ll make you laugh when you’re feeling down. She’ll make a funny face, strike a pose, or tell you a joke or sing you a song she wrote.

Tracie and I know how blessed we are to have two healthy, happy, beautiful little girls.

Another one of the cool things about 2017 was that Tracie began to get her skin care business in high gear this year. The extra money coming in has really helped us to get on track financially and she really enjoys the challenge of it and the energy it creates. She hasn’t abandoned her custom cookie business but the skin care has become the focus over the last twelve months.

After years of being a one-income family (a decision we’re really happy we made), we are starting to see light at the end of our financial tunnel. And that’s an awesome feeling.

My professional life has shifted this year as well. I’m teaching more and more hours and seminars at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and I also became an editor for the Slow Wine guide, part of the Slow Food movement. That’s all been extremely rewarding for me. I love the teaching and I love the shared sense of purpose and mission.

I also translated a novel this year and I also made a new record with my new band.

And I also turned 50 this summer. I see more grey hair when I look in the mirror these days but I love where and who I am and I am blessed to have such a wonderful life partner in Tracie. She couldn’t have been more supportive this year in helping me achieving my professional and personal goals.

It was nine years ago this month that I moved to Texas to be with her. We were engaged the following year and married the year that followed that one. Georgia arrived the next year and Lila Jane followed 19 months later.

Pooh, pooh, pooh… it’s pretty hard to complain.

Wishing everyone a 2018 full of good health, happiness, and good work… Happy new year! And may G-d bless us all.

Love, Jeremy

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