Christmas Letter 2017

Merry Christmas_The Plagemanns

With Love, Geoffrey, Emma, Hans, and Perry

In true midwest fashion, my father-in-law has inspired me to write up our year-in-review in the form of a (digital) holiday card. Whoohooo!

Now in full swing as a family of four, 2017 has proved to be a nice mix of exhausted-reality and so-much-joy.

To kick the year off, we celebrated a belated-Christmas with our extended families in Wisconsin and West Virginia. Our boys are seasoned air travelers and managed to keep big smiles on for Opa, Oma, Gram and Grandad, despite having a terrible bug that got the best of our New Year’s Eve. I cannot lie; living far away from grandparents is incredibly hard. We miss them, we cry, we FaceTime, we love them from afar, but then we VISIT! And oh are these visits sweet! 5 straight days of snuggles, chocolate milk, fireplaces, snow, mashed potatoes, playing pretend, and love that only grandparents can give. After sweet goodbyes and promises to “See you soon!”, we jumped on a teeny-tiny-commuter plane that was supposed to connect us back to San Diego, but instead, had technical difficulties and allowed us to spend an unexpected 5 hours in WV.

Back in San Diego, we squeezed in an off-season (residents-only, discounted) trip to DISNEY LAND. There was so much to see, but Hans and Perry only had eyes for Radiator Springs (Cars Land). We spent 3 days meeting Tow-Mater, spinning on tractors (in the rain), riding carousels, taking turns at the ‘single-rider-lines’ while the boys napped in the double stroller, eating carry-out, and crashing in our King-size suite on LaQuinta Returns Points. Taking our kids to Disney was better than we ever imagined. Hans figured out that he liked to plan his day ahead of time by drawing pictures of everything he wanted to do and Perry just loved sleeping between mom and dad in the hotel bed!

Spring was kicked off celebrating Hans’ 3rd (airplane themed) birthday where we took full advantage of him turning 3 on 3/3, his GOLDEN birthday!! Oh yeah, and Geoff turned 34 + Hans, again…

Birthday fun was followed up by a visit from Oma and Opa over Easter where we met the Easter Bunny, walked to church and participated in so many egg hunts. Our neighborhood even offered a free petting zoo to neighborhood kids where the boys were able to hold chickens, bunnies and ride a pony — although they were both more terrified of the pink-painted pony than they were of the Easter Bunny.

To follow up on our “See you soon!” promise, we hit the Friendly Skies again in May with a trip back to WV to visit family and shoot a wedding in the Appalachian Mountains. While our small business, checkerboardSTUDIOS, is indeed, small – it has afforded us so many opportunities to create, work for ourselves, and travel back to a place that is so near and dear to our hearts. Checkerboard for the WIN!

Because of all of that travel — This was the first year that we ever completely missed celebrating the 4th of July in Wisconsin (big mistake!).  And while good friends, and eating and drinking along the San Diego Bay is, no doubt, an amazing way to spend the 4th, we really missed our annual kayak and cabin trip with all of our Wisconsinites. Bummer!  So… we will be saving up to never let that happen again!

2017_08_Camping CA-16
August 3, 2017 was Perry’s FIRST Birthday! We threw a super fun pool party where Perry enjoyed (yet another) Daniel Tiger cake and celebrated with our beloved PLTC family. We just love Dan-Dan. Perry has such a sweet spirit. Even at ONE, he is thoughtful and kind. His moves are calculated and careful. He can already walk, talk, and hold his own with the big kids in the neighborhood. Perry is awesome!! But on to something you didn’t know…

To accompany Geoffrey going back to an office job this fall, both Hans and Perry started attending pre-school. Let’s just say the boys have adapted to the new schedule better than their dad! Geoffrey now takes an early train up to the City of Encinitas (about a 45 minute commute) every day where he is working as a City Planner, focused on housing requirements, walk-ability, and much, much more.


Paperwork and City Council meetings are the new (well…old, for those of you that knew him in WV and FL) normal. And while Geoff is back to the 7-5 routine, the boys are enjoying their sunny days, at their new pre-school where they get to take swim and soccer lessons, learn their ABCs, take items in for “share day,” and develop into amazing little humans!

We have all been blown away by how much they have learned from school. Hans has a new best friend (Vivian) and Perry – well, Perry likes to fall asleep on bean-bag-chairs.


It really was a year of BIG birthdays… Perry, 1; Hans, Golden 3 on 3/3; and Grandad, 60!! Gram decided to throw a big SURPRISE party for Grandad, so of course, we decided to be part of the SURPRISE! We are still not sure how we all pulled it off, but after a quick FaceTime call from our house on Grandad’s birthday, we took off up in the air, flying to Columbus, for a secret overnight stay and early morning drive into WV… just in time for the Party! It was so fun!

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Grandad was truly surprised, and we weren’t the only ones who had journeyed in from out of state. Uncle Charlie came up from Florida and a lot of our cousins, aunts and uncles drove over from DC. The stories that were shared about Grandad’s life, faith, and love were inspiring. It is no wonder he felt like Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, Grandad really is “the richest man in town”.

Along with our travel this year, we have enjoyed so many casual evenings and weekends with our neighborhood friends. From movie nights, to dance parties, to pool days, to hikes in the slough, our little commune truly is our happy place. ❤


So.Cal also welcomed visits from Uncle Brandon and Jennifer, cousin Robert, Auntie Sarah, as well as Kent and Christine. With no shortage of fun in San Diego, we all enjoyed the Science Museum (video games through the years exhibit), the Zoo/Safari Park, the beach, downtown, and plenty of good food (mostly just Tajima Ramen and tacos, but… YUMMM TAJIMA RAMEN and TACOS!).

We are keeping it quiet and low key for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year… gearing up for another belated-Christmas in Wisconsin and West Virginia… and fingers crossed our first family ski-trip in the early spring! We have so much to look forward to, and so much to be thankful for. We are ending this year feeling blessed beyond belief.

Merriest Christmas to our dear, sweet family and friends! Y’all make every moment, every mile, every flight, every struggle, and every effort worth it!

So much LOVE,

The Plagemanns (Emma, Geoffrey, Hans, Perry and Joplin)