Christmas 2005 Postcard

Posted: December 27, 2005 in Postcard
Our Christmas 2005 Postcard!!!
We’re protesting the commercialization of Christmas this year by refusing to send conventional Christmas cards. OK, honestly, we just didn’t get it done. So We’re sending this one instead. It’ll catch you up on what we’ve been doing the last few months!

The fall meant back to school. For Joshua, it’s the fifth grade. That means he’s a “senior” at the elementary school and therefore king of the hallways! He’s being introduced to the multi-teacher concept – he has one teacher for language studies and homeroom and another for math and science. Jacob hits third grade this year and has a crazy teacher with a unique and wonderful teaching style that thrills Jacob.

We started the first day of school with coffee and doughnuts at the all boys bus stop in front of our place. Heck, if the kids get to have fun, why shouldn’t their parents?

We had the opportunity to see the World Series Championship Trophy that then belonged to the Red Sox… How could you pass that up?

We played a lot of soccer this fall. Jacob played on a U10 team. He played mostly in the center forward and wing positions that allowed him to use his speed to score goals. He made some pretty impressive end-to-end runs! He invented the “UFO” – a high kick over the goalie’s head that he used to complete several scoring opportunities. Joshua mostly played goalie for his U12 team. His aggressive style, natural shot-stopping ability, and strong and accurate arm, made him excellent at this position! He held his own out the field as well – using his speed and aggressive style. Both boys were among the strongest players on their teams and we had a lot of fun cheering for both of them!

Grams was with us to celebrate her birthday. We had cake and candles and wine and sang and danced naked into the wee hours… OK, we had cake.

Shawn went to visit two of her girlfriends from High School, Ellen and Elaine, at Elaine’s place up in New Hampshire. They had a blast catching up. Ellen is moving from Michigan to Connecticut soon and Shawn looks forward to seeing more of her!

John ran with the “Road Warriors” in the Reach the Beach Relay. This is a relay race with teams of, typically, twelve runners. The teams start on Friday at the Bretton Woods ski area in the mountain regions of New Hampshire, run through the night, and finish 212 miles later at Hampton Beach on New Hampshire’s Southern seacoast. John had a blast with his buddies and ran a little more than 20 miles at just over 7:30 pace to contribute to his team’s finishing 34th out of 285!! The high point of the challenge was a head to head dual with the Steamed Muscles which, after 27 hours and 212 miles, was decided by eighty-one seconds – what a hoot!! Many more pictures of the effort are here.

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Shawn went to New York to visit Cleon and Ellie for a fun weekend. (She brought the camera but didn’t take any pictures!) They visited wineries in the Finger lakes and had a blast!

John declared victory at the Baystate Marathon where he ran a 3:28, re-qualified for Boston, and had fun for the entire race – his most enjoyable marathon yet!!

Joshua and John spent a Webelos Woods weekend in the Blue Hills. Though it rained much of the time, they had a blast! Joshua and the other Webelos worked on badges, cooked their own dinners, and spent the night in lean-tos. Given the lousy weather, they had a surprisingly good time!

John got to spend a night on the town with hid Friend Bob. They had a fun meal at Redbones and went out to see Richard Thompson strum and sing.

Shawn and Joshua ran together in the Run for All Ages around the lake down in Wakefield while John and Jake cheered from the sidelines. Both had a fun time and some great times – Joshua set a new PR by a minute and a half!

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Halloween was fun… Marie visited to help Shawn hand out candy while John and the boys dressed up to pillage the neighborhood. Jacob was GI Joe and Joshua was a clown with a blinking nose – though at one point the nose and gun got swapped and we had a military beacon and a killer clown thing going on.

Shawn went to DC for the release of her company’s big report on Wal-Mart.

Joshua sang with the 5th grade chorus in the Veteran’s Day concert that mom and dad got to attend. It was a real nice tribute to our country and those who had served in the military.

On the weekend after Veteran’s Day, Joshua played in a soccer tournament in a neighboring town, He was invited to “play up” on a team of mostly sixth graders. Josh did more than hold his own – playing in goal for 3-1/2 of the four games and making some fantastic saves (as well as one Bill Buckner-like mistake he’d rather forget but which had no game impact).

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Grams and Grampa joined us for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving morning, we all headed up to Andover for the Feaster Five races. Shawn and the boys ran while John helped as a volunteer with the kids’ races and at the finish line. The morning snow turned to drizzle by the end of the races which made for treacherous footing and some slower times, but we still all had a blast!

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After watching the parades and playing a little backyard football, we had a Thanksgiving dinner (featuring two grandparents!) that couldn’t be beat and settled comfortably into our tryptophan comas. Grampa stayed with us through the weekend, enjoyed shopping for a Christmas Tree and some early gifts with the boys, and joined us to take in “A Christmas Story” at the Stoneham Theater featuring neighborhood star Nick McGrath! It was great having him with us for the holiday!

Our focus quickly shifted to the local hardwood where both Joshua and Jacob began basketball seasons. Jake’s playing in the third grade league – the first level at which real “games” are played. Jake’s applying speed, ball handling, and a decent shot to help the Pistons! Joshua is playing in a combined fifth and sixth grade league. Though he gives up some height, he’s a good ball handler, a tough defender, and has enough game awareness to be playing point and running the offense when he’s on the floor. Watching either of these guys is a hoot!

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Sadly, we lost the Wapster in December to a mysterious ailment. He was a good hamster and we’ll miss him. A private memorial service was held during which Wappy was buried outside Jake’s window. 

We Went to the school holiday concert where both boys performed. Joshua sang and danced with the fifth grade chorus and played the “boom whackers” while Jake sang with the third grade and danced the Hand Jive! It was great fun!

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We held our annual Christmas Bash on December 17th. A rollicking good time was had by all and we raised a bunch o’ bucks for Globe Santa – over $1,600 this year!! We were honored to have a great bunch of friends spend a bit of scarce holiday time with us – it was particularly great to see Jennifer and Martha, John’s friends from UMass, who made the trips from the wilds of Western and Central Massachusetts to join us. What a treat! Thanks to all our who participated and made contributions – a good time for a good cause!

So here’s wishing you and yours a joyful and healthy holiday season! May you find a delightful mix of spiritual and secular joy! May your holly be jolly! And may Santa bring you everything on your list! Drop us a line or stop in if you’re around! We’ll leave the tree lit for ya’!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

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