2016 Landek Family Christmas Newsletter

Congratulations! You are the Grand Prize Winner of the Landek family’s Christmas Sweepstakes. You will enjoy a fabulous trip for one to the picturesque lakeside resort town of Teploklyuchenka, Kyrgyzstan, where you will stroll the gravel road, enjoy disconnecting from technology, learn to milk genuine Kyrgyz llamas (mind the fangs), and swim at the beach. It’s an average temp of 21°F in January, so pack warm, and bon voyage!

Happy Holidays! Or as they say in Kyrgyz, “Mutlu tatiller!” Which is ironic because I know a Kyrgyz guy named Mutlu Tatiller who stands on the corner of 60th and Cottage Grove selling handmade pies crafted from Kyrgyzstan’s two main exports: beets and uranium.

Molly didn’t want to do a Christmas letter this year because, in her words, “2016 blew.” I can’t deny that she has a point, but I like to remember that it wasn’t all bad. After all, my hookworm infection finally cleared up. And that annoying mouse in the wall finally died. Once the smell dissipated, the year was really looking up!

At this point in the letter, we usually recap the first few month of the year. But, honestly, I don’t remember anything anymore. I think Ellie did some ice skating. Finn possibly played indoor soccer. Holden was alive too.

Then Easter happened. I know this for sure because there are pictures of it. I do vividly recall Ellie stepping in dog poop in her Easter shoes and tracking it up the sidewalk and a little way into the house. We always cherish these fond family memories.

At some point after Easter it got warmer outside, school ended, and everyone swam in Grandma’s and Papa’s pool. I coached Finn’s T-ball. Our team had a perfect record of showing up to every game.

Then 4th of July rolled around and, being our first fireworks display since moving back to Naperville, we decided to walk over to a field by our house. About two thirds of the way there, we saw twenty or so people with their folding chairs set up in a small area before the field. I figured, “Surely these people know what they are doing.” So we set up nearby. Turns out they were idiots. We only saw the top third of the fireworks.

Fall arrived and all three children went to school. Ellie and Finn are in 4th and 1st grades, respectively, at Elmwood Elementary. Holden began his school career in the 3s and 4s class at the YMCA preschool. Only 14+ years to go, buddy!

Married 10 years!

The life of a stay-at-home mom is a hectic one, so Molly rejoiced once the kids returned to school. She’s been rigorously keeping to a domestic regimen involving near-constant laundry, managing the children’s schedules, and binge-watching half a dozen episodes of The Walking Dead per week.

I just completed the fifth book in my animal habitat series. This latest installment urges peaceful cohabitation between humans and rabbits. Search for it on Amazon under “Warren Peace.” I’m pretty sure I’m still employed at the university, but I can’t remember.

Wishing you joyous holidays and a healthy, happy New Year. Enjoy your trip to Kyrgyzstan (just watch out for the llama fleas)!

With love,

Ryan, Molly, Ellie, Finn, and Holden Landek