ValuesFriends and family –

2015 has been an intense year for our family.

After saying goodbye to Jessica’s grandmother last December and our cat Bailey the month before, we started off 2015 hopeful for a great year. As the calendar turned, tiny Brooklyn was sitting up on her own and laughing all the time.

In March, we got the devastating and shocking news that Jessica’s younger brother Nick had suddenly passed away. We were blessed to be able to spend time home with family to begin the process of mourning the loss of such an incredibly beloved brother, friend, and son. Nick was a light to all who knew him – one of the funniest people you’d ever meet, and a sweetheart who always took care of the people around him. He loved his niece Brooklyn and told everyone that would listen about how much she looked like him (and how he was going to turn her into an Alabama fan one day). The pain of losing Nick is a daily part of life for us still, and we are so blessed to have had him in our lives.

At the same time we were mourning this incredible loss, we were proud to be becoming homeowners for the first time. We moved into our new home in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland in April, and had dozens of friends surrounding us as we warmed the house up a few months later while also celebrating the birthdays of Jon and Brooklyn.

Our baby girl is such a joy. She’s growing and learning at such a rapid pace – we can barely keep up! She loves dancing, reading books, waffles, oranges, and her friends at daycare. In late March or early April of this coming year, she will become a big sister and we are confident she is well-suited to this role.

At work, Jon is leading the team that supports a data-informed culture at Education For Change Public Schools, a network of 6 public charter schools in Oakland. Jess is still at GO Public Schools and is excited for new work of growing the organization’s impact to support parents and educators in communities across California to come together for educational equity in their communities, and continues to serve on the board of Camp Phoenix, an organization that provides a 3-week overnight summer camp for Oakland children.

As we look to next year, our intentions have been set: we will work so that 2016 is a year of hope for a world that continues to bend its arc towards progress, of joy in our adventures and in our daily lives, of justice across our city and our country, of deepening connections with our community, and of as much serenity as is reasonable with two children under two in our home. And better football outcomes for both the Auburn Tigers and San Francisco 49ers.

We are grateful to have you in our lives. We hope 2016 is all you want it to be, too.

Our best,

The Stewart Family

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