2014 Christmas Newsletter

25 12 2014

We would like to wish you Happy Holidays with this our twelfth Christmas season newsletter. It gives us a chance to keep you updated on some of the things we’ve been up to.

We had several vacation opportunities this year. In February we spent a week skiing in the Alps. David and Gabrielle improved their already good skills. David progressed to the coveted “troisième étoile” or 3rd star designation and is now able to tackle the more exhilarating and technically difficult black diamond runs. So now, Gabrielle, David and me are at a similar level and go pretty much where we want. Jeff, not to be left out, does get out there with us as we leisurely explore the green and blue slopes. He enjoys all of us participating in the same activity and in fact is quite a good skier as he stays upright and dry all day. We started summer vacation with a family oriented long weekend with friends. Adults and kids combined all 16 of us explored the southwestern coastal tip of the Netherlands and spend a day in Bruges, Belgium. Right after our weekend adventure the kids went on to spend 3 weeks in the US to spend time with grandma and the rest of the family. We heard that Gabrielle had her first behind the wheel driving experience and David probably played too many games with grandma and the others. The kids wanted a shout-out and thanks to their cousins Josephine and Jonathan, Uncle Mike and Aunt Jen. Not to mention second cousins Kevin, Karin, Catlin and Tommy. Let’s not forget first cousins once removed Dean, Dale and Russ. And cousin-in-laws Mary Ellen and Gloria. Probably should mention that Dale serves double duty as Gabrielle’s godfather too. I think I got most of that cousin stuff right. When the kids came back we went to visit mamie and papi in Arcachon close to Bordeaux. On the way there we spent a night in this really cool multi room treehouse in the woods. A Disney World Swiss Family Treehouse dream from Jeff’s childhood I think. We also fulfilled our dreams of an Italian vacation by spending more than a week visiting Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, and Venice. We didn’t just take a gondola ride on the canals, we learned how to navigate as apprentice gondoliers! “Splendida Esperienza!”

Speaking of experiences, Gabrielle and David continue with their guitar lessons, girl scouts, and handball respectively. Jeff and I signed up for golf lessons while the kids were away. It was fun and we both got our golfing “green cards”. Basically it’s just a certification that we know basic etiquette and have an idea how to hit the little white dimpled ball down the fairway. Jeff is into it way more than me. I’ve seen him go at the crack of dawn even when the temp is just above freezing. I think he is addicted to golf. I have recently taken up yoga in addition to my old stalwart of dance. The dance is great though the yoga helps with stretching and increased flexibility to avoid some of the pain that has crept into some of my dance routines as of late. Oh well, I guess we are all getting older.

David is now in 8th grade and Gabrielle in 11th. I guess that makes her a junior now. She’s in a literature major program and loving it. Getting very good grades and it’s obvious that she really enjoys what she’s learning. David’s grades are good too in spite of the increasing workload this year. He has to learn Spanish this year. “Buena Suerte!” In addition to this year’s vacations, activities, and school we had a nice visit from Julia, Ben, Liam, and Samantha. Also, it was great that Iwona, Krystian, Zenon, and Maria could make it from Poland for David’s “communion solennelle”. After mass we all had a wonderful lunch in an old nicely restored abbey.

We really enjoyed seeing and hearing from friends and family this year. We’re especially thankful that Grandma Gloria is doing well and recovering from her serious health scare earlier this year. We look forward to all the best that 2015 has to offer and wish you all the best.