Family Message from December 2001

By Dana ...

Dear Friends and Family,

        As I sit here reflecting on the past year and ponder how to share with you the amazing transformations that have taken place in our lives, I remember that whenever we become complacent and content, God reveals new adventures, and challenges, on our journey through life. This year has certainly been a mixture of both with so many changes! Our biggest change was moving from the ocean resort life to a six acre ranch in the coastal hills between Salinas and Monterey - but that was half way through the year. Let me begin at the beginning.

Daniel with Dana Shortly after the New Year began, we were surprised to realize that our little Daniel Joshua had just been conceived. Dale decided that a beach condo was no place to raise three boys which initiated our search for a ranch. Daniel was born 9 months later, of course, on September 19 at 6:22 PM weighing a healthy 8 lbs. 8 oz., and is currently vying for my full undivided attention as I peck out this letter one handed. His birth was somewhat of a miracle: I began labor at the doctor's office around 3:00 following a regular appointment on my due date. However, since we weren't sure if I was indeed in labor, we almost went home! Dale made the right decision and took me to the hospital where the whole family gathered awaiting the newest arrival. Daniel was born only a few minutes later by emergency C-section. We are so happy to have our brown haired mamma's look alike who has doubled in size since birth.

Aaron and playmate Aaron is simply enchanted by life at the ranch. We celebrated his second birthday as our last party at Spanish Bay back in April. Now whenever we go out on errands, Aaron recalls his "home on the ranch", and declares "Let's go back to the ranch!". At such a young age he has learned to drive around in his battery operated Silverado truck with, or without, Moshe cruising the strip from the lawn to the barn checking on Simba and his chickens along the way. While exploring the flora and fauna of the hillsides one day, he ran back to the house crying, "The deer, the deer, they're gonna get me!"

Moshe experimenting Moshe honestly believes he is the Mayordomo or master of the ranch. When construction workers or landscapers come to work, he is out on his four-wheeler directing traffic. He gets up as soon as he hears any activity and demands to get dressed and get to work! Since we bought the converted adobe hacienda, there has been an entourage of workers repairing, remodeling, and upgrading closets, paint, electricity, landscape, and the water system. Moshe is in seventh heaven, the apprentice of carpenters, painters, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, and recently Uncle Brad who is remodeling the old caretaker's bungalow. All are amazed by his inquisitive curiosity towards tools and systems. His latest project was "helping" assemble a plastic kid's model of a car engine.

Juliana Juliana celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on her 13th birthday last August. She studied incessantly - chanting prayers in Hebrew with audio tapes as we drove around town to various functions. It was well worth it when she performed the Jewish coming of age religious ceremony and wished she could relive the day again. We celebrated the following day with a Hawaiian theme teenager's dream party at Spanish Bay. Now she is a true teen constantly chatting on the Internet, talking on the phone and when she has time, Oh Yeah! ... doing her homework. Juliana was so excited when she made the cheerleading team last spring and has been utilizing her dance and gymnastic skills as a "flyer"- playing her role in winning the team a place at the national competitions this winter in Disneyland.

Rebekah Rebekah has recently begun independent studies for her junior year in high school. She enjoys the solitude of studying at home and progressing at her own pace. Last summer she started dating her first serious boyfriend. Matt is a senior and works at a local "five star" restaurant on the wharf. She still loves fashion and shopping probably best of all... and was simply fascinated by the Great Lakes Crossing Mall, the highlight, from Rebekah's viewpoint, of our family trip to Michigan over Thanksgiving.

Rachel Rachel began the year preparing for a model's convention in New York which she attended in the spring. Her classes in acting, signing and modeling have sure helped her develop a more confident, extrovert personality. She also started working at Roy's restaurant in Spanish Bay as a hostess and coffee bar server where she met her first serious boyfriend, Navi. In the fall, she began her senior year at Pacific Grove High School and is set to graduate in June. She celebrated her 18th birthday in November, and Dale bought her a silver Ford Mustang. She just passed her driving test a few days ago and is the new family chauffeur.

Elisabeth Elisabeth has been living in Los Angeles working at a teacher's supply store and attending Rio Hondo College. She is the most studious of the girls and still plans to study education to become an elementary school teacher like her mom. Since we have so much room at the ranch, and because she misses her brothers and sisters, she will be moving back home this month. She will be finishing up her general Ed. on the Internet and helping to teach her brothers preschool. We are so excited to have her coming back!

Dale Dale has had his share of changes this year also, beginning with the news of his third son... which inspired him and set him thinking about the ranch. He says he's always dreamed of owning a place like The Ponderosa of "Bonanza", which is just about what we have here at Pepper Canyon Ranch. He likes coming home after a long day's work to "batten down the hatches" and put the chain on the outside gate. He sold his practice in Watsonville, and now commutes between the offices and hospitals in Monterey and Salinas. His latest passion is following the stock market.

Dana As for me, I've had quite a year holding the whole clan together... being pregnant, planning a Bat Mitzvah, getting one house fixed up for sale, while packing and moving to another with more construction crews...just in time to give birth to Daniel. I rested for about 10 days, and just after the Bris (Jewish ritual circumcision of the newborn), I was back to being the chauffeur and master of ceremonies at home. Since fall is planting time and all the native nursuries had sales going on, I've been landscaping around the main house and pool area with the help of a wonderful father, son, nephew team who have done in three months what would have taken me five years alone, including a railroad tie recreation trail "stairway to heaven" across the top of the property. The only thing left to put in is the vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a corral for the animals: cow? horses? sheep? The possibilities are endless!

Our family outings this year included a family retreat in Arizona for a week in June an a trip to Michigan in November to visit Dale's side of the family in Detroit. It was wonderful meeting relatives and matching faces to names I've known for quite some time. Everyone especially enjoyed meeting Dale's grandmother Bubbie. We even went to Lake St. Claire and Lake Huron. Tomorrow we'll head out to Lake Tahoe for some winter fun with my family. We shared many happy occasions, simchas, on birthdays and holidays with friends and family, and look forward to many more in the coming year with all of you. We hope your year was as joyous and abundant as ours.

May god Bless You and Yours With
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Dana and children from December 2001

Dana and children on the front porch of the six acre Pepper Canyon Ranch.

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