2011 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2011

It’s the holiday time of the year again. We would like to take this wonderful opportunity to say hello and let you know what we’ve been up to. I bet you want to hear about the kids first. Good because that’s what I like talking about the most. David and Gabrielle are growing strong. David is a powerhouse that excels in sports and can’t sit still. Gabrielle is maturing into a young woman who’s interested with the latest beauty and makeup trends. They both moved up a grade in school with David now in CM2 and Gabrielle in 4 ème. That’s 5th and 8th grade for you non francophones. Gabrielle was selected to be part of the special European class with more intense language studies and an overall higher curricular push in the 3 Rs. That’s reading, writing, and arithmetic for you non anglophones. Outside of school the kids have their activities. David is really getting into handball now with practice two times a week, he has continue on a 3rd year with ping-pong, and this year, now that he is old enough, he signed up for competitive shooting. Jeff and David do this together Sunday mornings. They also tried paintball for the first time. There’s a neat little video at windstrup.com if you like that kind of thing. Men and their shooting sports. Gabrielle is still actively involved with her art class, American Girl Scouts, and dance though this year she changed from ballet to modern dance. Not sure if shopping should be called an activity but as of late Gabrielle is really into it. She’s an American after all.

In addition to school, hobbies and work we still found time for travel and vacation. In February the kids and I spent a week with my cousins in Alsace next to the German border. Good hardy food and fun. In April we went skiing in the Alps. This year my brother joined us for the fun. We hiked and explored more that skied as there wasn’t much snow but still a welcomed repose. Jeff video blogged our adventures if you want to check it out. Summer vacation was spent in England and Wales. We visited London, Greenwich, Bath, Bristol and Stonehenge the first week. We saw and did a ton and lucked out without hardly a drop of rain. After that we met up with some English friends to spend the second week together in Wales. We enjoyed the Welsh countryside, an abundance of castles, the Celtic culture and of course speaking English. David had an opportunity to go more than a week solo this year at a vacation camp for kids. “Colonies de vacances” as it is called in France is something of a national institution and most kids participate in several up to the age of 18. He and his best friend joined the group where they went to the camp center in Brittany. They followed outdoors type activities and games and just reveled in being away from their parents for a stint.

Jeff and I are still working at the same places as before. Going on 5 years now. Jeff did have a big office move but his new office is only a minute away from the old one. I have been keeping up with my dance. In tennis I’m progressing and I have recently taken up sewing. Jeff’s most recent thing is music and stereo equipment. He tells me he’s trying to relive that big 80s sound he had when he build his own speakers and CD audio was new. He’s doing a good job because the speakers he has now are huge. They take up a good chunk of the front room and they definitely have a big sound. He just loves his toys.

We kept up our faith this year with David’s First Communion, Gabrielle’s Profession of Faith, and we all participated in a weekend pilgrimage where we crossed the the bay of Mont St. Michel barefoot at low tide. It was a moving experience. We wish you Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.