This year as I began to think about my usual holiday letter, I felt inspired to share it via the web since that’s my favorite medium to convey a message.
In March 2013, Jim and I bought our first house. My parents were even here on the day we received our keys and helped us move some boxes in and assemble our grill! We have loved being homeowners (of course nothing major has broken yet!). One of the reasons we chose this place was because it had the perfect office for our home-based businesses. Here we are hard at work at our desks:
In July, we had a solar system installed on our house, so we are generating our own power. Our electric bill went from $250/month to $20/month! The electrical grid is getting full which means soon they will be restricting any new solar installations for a while until they can upgrade, so we were motivated to get in quickly while there were still federal and state tax credits. We will be receiving about half the cost of the system back in tax credits!
Charlie successfully made the move to the new home, although it was a bit torturous for all of us during the 2 weeks we had to keep him locked inside so he wouldn’t wander back to the old place. As it turns out, we think he has bonded with the new home, and he seems to be turning into an “inside kitty” which makes our lives a little easier. Here he is “helping” me with some computer work.
Finally owning our own home seemed to allow us to settle in Hawaii emotionally in a way we hadn’t yet – as renters we were always renewing Hawaii on a yearly basis. Since then we have become more involved in the community, and one of the ways has been by joining a group of business professionals called BNI. We meet weekly and pass business to one another, train each other as our extended sales force, and receive marketing and other business advice. Our group is fantastic and it has been fabulous to be around so many people consistently who get what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. I feel really well connected now, and my business has grown exponentially! Jim is actually our chapter President and I’m the Secretary Treasurer. Here’s our serious group on Halloween (I’m your “friendly neighborhood web hero” and Jim is of course a doctor):
Speaking of business, Jim won best computer repair of North Hawaii 2013 for a second year! We used that excuse to have some business photos taken and to redesign his website: computerdochawaii.com (and to give his car a full detail!).
We have been working with a business coach this year to help us make our businesses run more efficiently. Jim has so many clients now that he can’t handle them all on his own, so he has brought on an assistant this year.
And my web design business Websites with Aloha has grown so much this year as well, that I have expanded my team and started working with by close friend Amy who lives in the Quad Cities. It is so much fun to work with her and we have made some amazing changes to Websites with Aloha including the web packages we offer. This year we have designed over 25 websites for a variety of non-profit organizations and small businesses. If you are interested in seeing some of our sites, our website is: websiteswithaloha.com (click on Portfolio). Here’s a pic from a “corporate lunch” we had in September on the mainland.
While we were on the mainland we went to Vermont and took in the Tunbridge World’s Fair where we got to ride the rides until we were close to puking with our nieces, hang out in the cow barns with my brother Corey and his family, and spend some quality time with the Chapman clan. This year my mom retired from South Royalton High School so she was experiencing her first fall without going back to school. Here’s a shot of the fairgrounds:
The next leg of our journey we spent a week in Illinois with Jim’s family, including his sister Melissa and nephew Caleb who have moved back to the Quad Cities. We spent a lot of time playing with tractors and trains on this trip, and of course took a visit to the John Deere Pavilion!
The last stop of our trip was to Seattle to visit with old friends. We connected with a number of my UVM friends, and had our usual St. Louise Core team reunion which now has expanded with the addition of two babies:
This year we have also been blessed with the presence of Cynthia & David in our lives. They have helped us experience the island with new eyes this year: we’ve hiked new pu’us (hills), gone sailing in Hilo, spent Thanksgiving in Volcano, and now they have even become neighbors so we can walk to each others houses for more impromptu fun! In honor of moving to Waikoloa Village, we had to dress as the “Village People” this year. Here’s our YMCA pose:
We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received from family, friends, and clients in 2013. It has been a really special year for us. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!