Friday, December 24, 2004

2004 Family Letter

We never thought we would be the kind of people that send out the Christmas form letter. However, we find ourselves busier than ever with work and traveling and this letter seems the best way to communicate all that we have done in the past year. We hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy and looking forward to a joyous 2005.

Let’s see, where to begin? January 2004 found us returning from the Christmas holiday to share New Years Eve with our friends, Jacob and Alana. Once again we were able to take part in a sumptuous dinner prepared by Alana, whose culinary feats never seem to amaze us. Later in the month we celebrated Mason’s birthday with a visit from James and Karrie and Max (in utero). We went to the Spy Museum and enjoyed the sights of DC.

In February, Miriam took a short weekend trip home to Las Vegas for the bridal shower of Jessica Aiken and then we followed that up with a trip home in April for her wedding to Eric Dunbar. They had a beautiful wedding and Jessica wore a traditional Korean Hanbok. Check our webpage for photos of this amazing gown.

February through April also found us preparing for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The first weekend in May we walked 26.2 miles in one day and raised over $3,600 for the prevention and care of breast cancer. What a truly amazing experience. While training took more time than we ever imagined, we enjoyed the time together and Miss B loved the long walks. She still sulks when we head home after two miles instead of twenty.

We try to accomplish something around the house each year. In April we remodeled the spare bathroom. Out went the blue linoleum and counter, in came yellow walls, tile floor, a nice large sink and a new toilet. It was a lot of work, but in the end it turned out pretty nice.

June was a busy month as Miriam headed to Las Vegas again for a work seminar. This worked out great for both her and her employer. Miriam got a week of fantastic training to bring back to her students, and Stratford didn’t have to pay for lodging or meals. When Miriam returned home, we went to Philadelphia for the weekend to see Diana Krall in concert. We had a great time eating cheese steak and then running up the steps to the art museum. Even though she knew it wasn’t there, Miriam was disappointed to reach the top and not see a statue of Rocky Balboa.

The summer was packed with excitement and July brought us a special visit from Amy, Stan and Austin Galanski. We spent a week tooling around DC visiting all sorts of cool places that we never would have visited without the excuse of visitors to show around. The weekend after they were here we had tickets to see Cowboy Junkies at the Wolftrap Center for Performing Arts. This is a group Mason has loved for years, so we were both excited that they finally came to our area. The weekend after the concert, we jumped in the car and headed to Sandusky, Ohio to the Cedar Point Amusement Park. Seven of 10 of the country’s largest roller coasters can be found at Cedar Point. Considering that Mason isn’t a big roller coaster fan, this was a truly special birthday gift for Miriam. We stayed at McKenna’s Inn, an amazing little bed and breakfast. Aside from a fender bender in the parking lot of Cheese Haven, we had a fabulous time.

August and September were busy with work and the like. We were also fortunate enough in August to find our way to St. Matthews Episcopal Church, a truly wonderful community. In October, our dear little dog, Miss B, underwent some minor surgery to have two benign cycts removed. Luckily, the very next weekend at our church was a special pet blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assissi. Miss B had a great time making new friends and we even took the cone off her head so she wouldn’t be too embarrassed.

In the fall we were happy to have Miriam’s mom and Nanny come for a visit over Halloween. We enjoyed the changing of the seasons and were pleased that the heat of the summer finally gave way. The fall also encouraged Mason to get out into the garden. He spent a weekend building a compost bin in our backyard. We now have a little bucket in our kitchen to throw in veggie waste, and a great place to put the grass clippings. Hopefully next year we’ll actually have a garden were we can use the fertilizer.

Thanksgiving brought a most exciting trip for us to visit Mason’s brother, Dennis and his family: wife Christy, nieces Danielle and Kaitlyn and our little nephew Cameron. Oh and they live in Southern Germany. It was a little chilly but a fantastic trip. We visited many little towns with beautiful castles hidden up in the hills. Each little city had their Christmas market open and although the exchange rate was horrible, we had tons of fun shopping for Christmas gifts. Thanks again to Dennis and Christy for opening up their home to us.

Alas, here we are back in December. As I am typing we are planning our trip home to Las Vegas in a few days. We are so excited to see our many family and friends once again. We sincerely hope that 2005 is filled with love and happiness for each and every one of you. Mason and I are looking forward to a very exciting year in 2005, as we plan to welcome a new baby into our lives sometime in the end of July. See aren’t you glad that you read all the way to the end? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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