It’s been another jam-packed year for us! The kids are getting older, and the schedules are getting tighter, but we managed this year to strike a balance between work and play (rest is another matter altogether… we can rest later!). Here is our year in review for your entertainment and viewing pleasure.
As a family: This year began on a sad note when we lost Marc’s Aunt Barbara shortly after Christmas of 2008; we began the New Year by canceling our annual New York New Year’s Eve Audio-Visual Soiree in favor of attending her funeral. Barbara was much loved and we miss her very much.
We traveled quite a bit this year—to our usual haunts (Disney, Ruth’s mom’s house, and Washington DC which sometimes feels like Marc’s second home because he travels there for work so frequently); to some occasional haunts (Annapolis—Fourth of July, New York—to a They Might Be Giants concert with the Great Neck crowd, northern New Jersey—for a reunion of college buddies); and to some places we’ve never haunted before (the girls and Ruth went to Acadia National Park and tented, and we took a family trip to the southern New Jersey shore where we mini-golfed and explored the boardwalks and, best of all, climbed Lucy the Elephant!). Lucy was definitely a highlight—she is a six-story tall elephant-shaped building that was built in the early 1900s, and she is the pride of Margate which features “Elephant Crossing” signs and an elephant painted on the water tower (just in case you somehow miss the giant elephant towering over the busiest street in town).
Geeks that we are, we are continuing our chronological journey through the world of Star Trek with the kids. We are currently in the middle of the stream with Deep Space Nine and are about to begin Voyager. We are also fans of The Amazing Race, especially Laura who is completely enthralled by it, and between all this exciting TV-watching we manage our other activities.
Marc: Travel has ramped up a bit for Marc, who spends regular time in Rochester, New York and Washington, DC doing exciting work-related things having to do with creating remote conference sites and managing a joint venture he started between MITRE and RIT. He once again joined I-CON (a science fiction convention) in Stony Brook, New York to help run some of the gaming tables. He remains avidly interested in photography, the only difficulty being that he wishes he had more time for it. Currently mourning the cancellation of Dollhouse, he drowns his sorrows in strategy games and keeping up with latest and greatest in wireless technology (for fun, even after he’s done doing it all day at work).
Ruth: Will be taking a leave of absence beginning in January from her job at Windham Center School to pursue certification in special education. This will require an internship at the school district next door (Londonderry) and taking a couple of classes; when that process is completed she will return to Center School to finish out the school year. Choir (and its associated committee) and her knitting and book clubs feed her inner grownup and need for friendship, and she’s been sighted playing her oboe on occasion.
Courtney: Got her braces off, upgraded the glasses to contact lenses, and grew to be the same height as Ruth. Suddenly we have a freshman in high school! It’s been an exciting time in our town to be a freshman because our brand-new high school opened this year, so Courtney is a part of the very-first-ever Windham High School Freshman Class. With this honor came a school-provided laptop, because the school’s entire curriculum is tied to software; almost every assignment is created and submitted electronically. It is very different from the experience her ancient and creaky parents had in high school: Her textbooks are online, her assignments can be submitted by whatever deadline the teacher names (which is not tied to class times anymore—many assignments are due by midnight on a given day), work is frequently collaborative since students don’t have to be together to work together. Marc sees this in his job but it is a strange new world for education! Even her flute playing is monitored with the laptop; she must submit sound files of her progress in practicing to her band teacher at regular intervals.
Courtney is having travel experiences of her own: She traveled to DC for a week on a school trip, and had a stint in Brooklyn being a mother’s helper for friends during a week in the summer. She is finishing her final year of the Unitarian Universalist Religious Education program, a self-exploration course that will push her to think about her core values, and she recently joined the tech design group at school to help the sets for the drama department’s upcoming performance. If you are a WoW fan, you may find her traipsing around the Undercity.
Laura: Is now a fifth-grader at Windham Center School and moving toward middle school at an alarmingly rapid rate. She loves to sing, and participates in both youth choir (at church) and chorus (at school), which makes us proud even as we drag ourselves to early, before-school-starts rehearsals. She continues her ballet classes on Tuesday nights, and had a singing and speaking role in our church’s production of Honk! The Musical in March. Bowling Club is a favorite activity too! She got her ears pierced at the beginning of the year and picked out a pretty pair of glasses, and at the moment she has her braces off. She is very excited by this since she gets to chew gum, but she will only get to enjoy this privilege temporarily as she will have to go through Round Two of braces once all of her permanent molars are in.
The highlight of Laura’s summer was that she learned how to ride a bicycle! We were very proud of her. Now we are working on swimming lessons. This is proving to be harder, but hopefully if we stick with it, it will pay off. Laura’s health has been stable this year, for which we are abundantly thankful.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year!