Merry Christmas everyone!
Our little family comes into sharper focus each year. Interests, hobbies and activities cause us some diversion for a while, but then most are discarded like the daily newspaper (remember those?). We have moved on past the swing-sets, painting and musical instruments, but in their place have emerged some deep and abiding interests. Most of them have to do with Smart phones, of course.
Emily has taken to distance running with gusto. The Cross country team enjoys a unique, easy camaraderie, and they took second in the Empire League, qualified for CIF, and then made it to the finals! We can see the self-assurance Emily has gained as one of the leaders on the team.
Claire has two main passions, girl scouts and soccer. The friendships are paramount to her, but she did achieve a self-proclaimed ‘life-long goal’ by being selected one of the All-Stars. I am, of course, immensely proud, and do not even notice the additional Saturday requirements of AYSO refereeing, every week, two games, irrational and belligerent fat men stalking the sidelines. (And those are just parents—the coaches really behave poorly!)
As far as Jenn and John go;...there is nothing to see here folks, keep moving, keep moving. One year older and fatter, and not much else. How about them daughters, huh?
We had a really fantastic year with the larger family.
In March, Kathy Geise arranged a house for all Jenn’s side (Paul, Stephanie, Alex, Holly, Rich, Joe, Susan, Tori, Evan, Ken, Kristin and us)in La Quinta, where we had fun playing in the pool, celebrating a milestone birthday, cooking, eating and maybe a little drinking together.
Claire and Holly went to Washington DC on a “Road Scholar” tour once school let out in June. While in Arlington, they referred to the white monolith as the Lincoln Memorial, and it stuck for a time. The tour guide tactfully pointed out the mistake and agreed that a statue of Washington on top would make it easier to remember.
We had two huge July events. With my parents, we went on a ten-day cruise to Alaska. We saw Mendenhall glacier from kayaks, rode in a golf cart powered by sled dogs, and walked around Butchart gardens after a truly memorable van tour of Victoria on Vancouver Island. If you need to know where the Dollar Tree is in Victoria, we know. We exited the van about halfway back and hiked through downtown Victoria.
At the end of July, we went back to Wisconsin to my parents’ new cabin. My brother’s family met us there, and we had a great time spending a week with him, Carolyn, Emma, Josh, Kedzie, Camden, Natalie and Magdalen. My dad and I went to battle with a huge pine tree. There were heavy losses on both sides, but we emerged victorious. The girls, Jenn and I were able to float the Namekagon in tubes with the McKenzie-Gillems, and finished off the summer at a fish fry with the Ryders.
Our tradition in November is to camp with seven other families (Kims, Blums, Johnsons, Jows , Zeemans, et al.) in Joshua Tree—beautiful stars at night and excellent rock scrambling during the day.
We spent the night of November 7th, election night, at home in absolute shock. Who foresaw this?! Naturally, we wish him all the best. But still, how could my best friend since childhood get elected Mayor of Garden Grove?! Why? What were you thinking?
Emily will be driving soon, and this is Claire’s last year in middle school. I’d better start doing more with my years.
All the best,