Dear Family and Friends,
In the spirit of positive thinking, let’s call this an early digital valentine, rather than a way-too-late holiday letter. Thanks to all of you who wrote to us and sent pictures in December and beyond. What a treat it was to receive your news and to get glimpses of your year’s activities.
Reid (A.K.A. Beedo)
In terms of personal development, Reid enjoyed many exciting firsts in his forth year of life. He learned to swim this summer—determinedly churning across the width of the public pool with his mouth barely skimming the surface. Reid is a wonderfully independent fellow—he likes to do things on his own terms—so in perfect Reid fashion, at swimming lessons he would dunk himself under water early in the lesson before the teacher had a chance to solicit a bob, and he often pushed off the wall and started dog paddling on his own, not because he wanted to, but because in that moment he was ready to get the job done.
Speaking of skiing, Reid is now a downhill and cross country skier. We were afraid the thrill of dangerously snow plowing down the mountain at top speed would kill his interest in cross country skiing, but it hasn’t. He doggedly clocks up to three miles, Nordic style, and recently commented on a cold night ski in the woods: “I love cross country skiing. It’s so peaceful.”
Liam (A.K.A. Lemur or Dreams)
With Reid graduating to the attachment bike behind Katie’s set of wheels, Liam got bumped to his own separate bike. Katie secretly dreaded this development, simply because she feared this would bring their steady commute speed to a near halt, but instead we invested in a larger set of wheels and some gears for the boy at the annual second-hand bike swap, and somehow our slow-moving fellow keeps right up, doing a—mostly—impressive job of navigating traffic and turns.
Perhaps more than any sport, Liam has taken off with his art in the last year. We parents refer to his desk as his “station,” and Liam can often be found there lost in his thoughts, drawing Wolverine with colorful permanent pens, snipping and stapling together an Obi-Wan Kenobi felt costume for his stuffed lizard or a Batman costume for Reid’s stuffed dog, folding an origami piano, or making paper katana swords.
Katie and Tim
In spite of our best attempts, we grownups are decidedly less dynamic and creative than our young counterparts. Tim continues to be hard at work. His undergraduate sustainable development class swelled to 50 students this fall and he was awarded a five-year NSF grant to study cooperation in the local food industry in Maine. Tim also had two working-group proposals accepted, which fund him and a group of colleagues to meet several times over the course of a few years to shut themselves up in a room and engage in intensive geekery.
Weekends, Tim plunges head-long into fatherhood, cutting up PVC pipes to make marble runs, leading the kids to track animal prints backwards through the snowy neighborhood, and building elaborate Lego worlds governed by his very own Lego character, a fellow by the name of Vondie with flowers growing out of his head who speaks in a Swiss accent.
Katie continues (god help her!) to work on her second book, a memoir about our two years in India with Baby Liam. This year, she also taught short yoga classes to preschool teacher friends, and had fun coaching soccer for the first time: six-year olds for weekend games, and four-year olds for weekday practices. It turns out four-year olds will try anything over the course of an hour practice so long as you let them play duck, duck, goose at the end—that game never gets old!
Travel and Visits
While all of these exploits have been centered in Maine, we’ve enjoyed a good deal of travel and visits with family and friends: the Florida Keys with Sal and O’da; a spring river race with the Walsh Dalozes; a visit to Tim’s grandmother’s summer camp – Barville – with the Hansons, Topher and Marie, and Granny; Katie’s high school 20th reunion in Spokane; a visit to Tim’s sister Sarah and her fiancé Paul’s new house; a Thanksgiving reunion with the Baker clan; and a hut-to-hut ski trip with Katie’s brother Brian and his wife Anna.
We were particularly glad for the Thanksgiving visit to Pennsylvania because we got to visit Tim’s grandfather Bill, who passed away at age 95 in early January. The highlight of our travel, perhaps, was a trip to Sweden for Katie and Tim, which involved a stay with old Kodai friends, meandering down cobblestone streets, conversation uninterrupted by children, biking around the countryside on midsummer evenings, eating pickled herring for breakfast, and reveling in dreams of perfect socialist states. The last two trips wouldn’t be possible without the childcare of our generous parents.