2021: Returning to what we love

If there was a moment from 2021 that we could encapsulate into a snow globe, it might just be a moment from Sedona, Arizona.

Thanks to Emma and Allie for helping James with this photoshoot.

It was part of an unforgettable, weeklong circle tour of the state. This was Matthew’s first work trip since the beginning of the pandemic. His meetings were held at Phoenix Raceway, with a view of mountains in the background. Our tour started in Phoenix. Sights included the Desert Botanical Garden and South Mountain. We then went up to Sedona for an unforgettable two nights, took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, then drove down to Prescott. Finally, it was back to Phoenix and a fantastic tour performance of “Hamilton.”

The trip was chock full of memorable visits with family and friends – and some delicious food and incomparable views.

Arizona Gallery:

Our Arizona trip was much needed after a heartbreaking summer and early fall. Matthew’s father, David, passed away unexpectedly, leaving our family forever changed. James’ family also experienced heartbreak with the loss of his godmother, Aunt Gloria, and his other aunt’s husband, Uncle Terry.

As we put our lives back together and discover the new normal, we are forever grateful for the love and support of our family and friends during these times.

We are also grateful for the arts. This year we were able to get back to theatres with local and tour productions, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Something Rotten” and “Anastasia.”

Matthew also returned to the stage with the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” (James had only seen him direct, not act!)

Matthew was cast as Bob Cratchit. What made this year more special is that the show was back on the 10th Street Stage. The last time it was performed there, Matthew played the role of Tiny Tim.

Matthew pictured second from the right

We also had a fun discovery while looking at old programs: Matthew and James were in “A Christmas Carol” TOGETHER in 1996! Matthew played Young Scrooge and James played Walter Dickens, part of the large Dickens household.


Other moments of note from 2021 include a return to our summertime tradition and paradise of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with Matthew’s family. This time around we enjoyed parasailing!

In September, we attended the Solheim Cup kickoff concert with Gwen Stefani. We also enjoyed a day at the biennial tournament, which pits women golfers from the U.S. against Europe.

Professionally, James celebrated five years at The University of Toledo in January and was nominated for 20 Under 40 Toledo in the fall.

In May, James walked at in-person Commencement a year after completing his MBA degree program.

As chair of UToledo’s Professional Staff Council, James worked with UToledo leadership and professional staff to draft and advocate for a more flexible workplace.

More photos from 2021:

As we look ahead, 2022 holds the promise of better times. We’re proud to be vaccinated and boosted and with more traveling on the horizon, we can’t wait to explore and see more family and friends in-person.

We wish you a Happy, Prosperous, and Safe New Year! We thank you for being a treasured part of our lives.

With love,
Matthew, James, Kitty, Sonoma, and Kira