Archive for the ‘Postcard’ Category

Spring 2007 Postcard

Posted: May 27, 2007 in Postcard

Our Spring 07 Postcard!!!

Joshua is doing great in Boy Scouts! This is him being awarded his Tenderfoot badge at his troop’s fall Court of Honor!! (Note proud father in background.)

We had fun at Halloween! A bandito and a banana! We terrorized the neighborhood!

Jake and dad made a trip with the Cub Scouts to the USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove! We ate in the galley, spent the night in bunks – had a blast!

Joshua was Joseph at the town common’s Christmas pageant! You’ll notice we did NOT have a white Christmas this year.

In a holiday concert put on at his school, Jacob performed on the boomwhakers!

Both Jake and Josh played winter basketball! Both are very good ball-handlers and had a lot of fun!

Shawn’s Uncle Cleon and Aunt Ellie came to visit for Christmas! We did all the traditional stuff – tree, dinner, etc. And we took Cleon out to the Top of the Hub for a celebration of his birthday!!

We did the cruise thing again for the February school vacation! We cruised with Royal Caribbean and enjoyed snorkeling, wave runners, exploring – and generally relaxing in warm weather. John went scuba diving again in St. Thomas and we all had fun!

Josh turned 12 in April and we celebrated with a small family party!

Even the M-Dawg got excited.

One major project over the winter was remodeling our basement. We added a gas fireplace, built in an entertainment center, added a big TV and sound system. We still need some paint and finishing touches, but we’re enjoying it!

And yup… We’ve lost a little energy on our postcards. They’re so… 2000’s. We’re looking ahead to the future with our new news blog!!!! You can check it periodically or use the RSS feed to stay current!

Hope all is well with you! Drop us a line sometime!!

Summer 2006 Postcard

Posted: October 27, 2006 in Postcard

Our Summer 2006 Postcard!!!

We’re running a bit late on the summer postcard this year… Guess we just had too much fun! But, as any good Cub Scout will tell you, too much fun is never enough! So… Here’s a look back at some of the things we did this year!

Joshua had the opportunity to go to the Days in the Arts (DARTS) camp that’s hosted by the Boston Symphony Orchestra out at Tanglewood. He spent a week living in a dorm at Simon’s Rock College, being introduced to a number of new forms of art, touring sculpture gardens, taking in the shows at the local art venues, and generally having a grand time making new friends. It was an awesome experience!

We delayed Joshua’s April birthday celebration into the summer so that he could have a pool party. But… Nobody told the weather man and it rained. The pool party turned into a video gaming-sleepover but Josh and his homies still had a grand time!

We made our now annual pilgrimage to the white mountains again this year. We did a nice two night hike that featured four 4000-footers, two nights in the AMC huts (Galehead
and Zealand), and a lot of fun. There was, however, “The Great Wild Chicken Incident” wherein Shawn battled a grouse. It wasn’t pretty.

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Jake spent Webelos week at Camp Massasoit. Not only did he catch “The Big Bass” in the lake, but he also had a fantastic time doing sports, archery, scout skills, rocketry, and generally causing havoc in the woods. They do a great job at Massasoit – highly recommended!

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We were treated to a nice cruise on the Blue Moon by our palls Nancy and Kjartan in July. We saw the Constitution, had a nice swim, a great lunch, a bit of fishing, and a lot of fun!

We brought home a new friend this summer… Midnight. Also known as Middie. She’s a mostly-lab from a local rescue shelter. She came with some baggage and we’re still working on some behavioral faults… But she’s a lovable mutt.

Shawn competed in the Lowell Triathlon – a grueling swim against the current of the Merrimack River nearly did her in! But, she got the best of it and had a great event!

Joshua did his first ever week of Boy Scout camp at T.L. Storer Scout Reservation up in New Hampshire. He lived in a tent for a week, earned his Swimming merit badge, completed the “Trailblazer” program for new scouts, and had a lot of scouting fun!

Jake also spent a week at the Cub Scout daycamp, Camp Nihan. Unfortunately, it was the hottest week of the summer and the swimming pond was closed due to high bacteria levels – a bad combination. Nonetheless, Jake enjoyed himself and learned some more skills!

Both Josh and Jake got to spend two weeks at the YMCA’s Camp Northwoods on Lake Winnipesaukee Both enjoyed being on the lake, playing sports, living in a cabin, and making new friends! It’s nice having your brother at camp too!

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It was a family trip to New Hampshire in August when Shawn and John both competed in the Timberman Short Course Triathlon. For Shawn, it was a chance to overcome the demons of Lake Winnipesaukee while John, in his first ever Tri, just wanted to not drown. Both were successful and had a blast. John’s full report has lots of details.

Joshua made his triathlon debut at the Timberkids event. Brave and strong, he did a great job on the swim, bike, and run and had a blast!! Note his popularity with the women in the center picture below – got it all from his dad!

We celebrated Shawn’s birthday after returning from the Tri with a fun family dinner!

Jake’s birthday was next… Again, we’d hoped for a pool party but it was cool and rainy, as was much of our early summer was, so we settled for a few quick dips and a huge wiffleball game!

September meant back to school – or back to NEW schools for both our kids. Joshua moved to 6th grade at the Middle School this year while Jake returned to a newly remodeled Batchelder elementary school for 4th grade after being bussed to a temporary school for the last two years of construction. Both are very excited and are excellent students – making mom and dad quite proud!

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John participated in the Reach the Beach Relay again in September – a silly event where teams of 12 runners gallop their way from the Bretton Woods ski area to Hampton Beach State Park – 200+ miles in 24+ hours. His team, the Road Warriors, took 30 minutes off of their 2005 time and moved from 34th to 26th overall out of 300 teams!. Again, read John’s full report if you want the gory details.

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Josh and John went whitewater rafting with the Boy Scout Troop. Josh’s first time down the Kennebec River was a success – and a lot of fun!

We celebrated Grams’ birthday with a dinner at our place. Note the uncanny resemblance to her hero!!

There’s been a LOT of soccer this fall. Both guys played in spring tournaments, fall travel teams, and are scheduled for November tournaments as well. Jacob continues to use his speed as a forward – he can outrun just about any kid in his league! Joshua use his aggressive, tough style on defense and honed his skills as an outstanding goalie. Both are great players and a lot of fun to watch!

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So we’re settling into fall – keeping busy with scouts, soccer, school, family and friends. We continue to be quite busy and look forward to weekends with nothing planned but grocery shopping!

Hope you stop by if you’re around or drop us a line! Happy Fall!

Spring 2006 Postcard

Posted: May 27, 2006 in Postcard
Our Spring 2006 Postcard!!!

Howdy Friends! Boy it’s been a busy spring season for us! Frankly… We’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Our calendar seems to have too many collisions, the kids are starting to ask for time to kick back, even the cat seems to need a lot of attention!! But BOY did we have some fun! Here are some of the things that we did…

Just before Christmas, we got to visit with John’s Williston buddy, Charlie Laprade, and his family. We met at the Ecotarium in Worcester for a day of fun and catching up.

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We had a blast at Christmas! Shawn’s Uncle Cleon and Aunt Ellie came to visit us from New York and Charlie and Cyndi came up from Florida (and, of course, rented a convertible). Throw in Nancy and Kjartan from just down the road… And it’s a party! So party we did! We stayed in, we went out, we opened gifts… Great fun!

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We took the second annual Chestnut Woods ski outing to Bretton Woods with a raft of our neighbors. What fun it is to live around such a great group of fun-loving of people!

The guys played a lot of basketball this spring – Jacob in the third grade league and Joshua in the fifth/sixth combined. Both were excellent players and did well for their teams – and also had a lot of fun!

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On a sad note… We lost Rosie this spring. She was 12 and had given of lots of good years. We’ll miss her. She was a good dog.

For the February school vacation, we took a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean! We had a blast on board – despite some questionable judging in the belly flop contest.

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After flying to San Juan, Puerto Rico, our first stop was St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We’d been here before so we didn’t do a huge amount of exploring this time. John spent the morning “goober” diving off the coast at Joe’s Jam (mythical Joe got in a Jam when he was caught there with a woman other than his wife) and at the Navy Barges.

From there, we were off to St. Martin – another island we’d been to before but one of our favorites. While there, we took a boat to neighboring Anguilla where we enjoyed some beach time and a dolphin encounter. The dolphins made quite an impression on the boys!

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Next up was Antigua where we took a kayaking/hiking/snorkeling eco-adventure! What a hoot! Jake and John even won the little kayak race! We had a beautiful family snorkel in the bay pictured behind us below!

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Next stop was St. Lucia. We think we’d like to go back here sometime – it was gorgeous!

Our final stop was at Barbados where we took a mini-buggy adventure! Shawn even broke her cart!

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This winter, Jacob participated in a science competition called Exploravision. (John helped out as a mentor too!) Jake’s team researched the kinds of challenges that hearing impaired people face (they even interviewed Grampa!) and invented the “CCEye” – a heads-up display implemented through contact lenses that provides real-time captioning for conversations. The team team won an Honorable Mention award!

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Jacob also participated in our church’s Christian education program and was awarded his own bible on Bible Sunday!

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Jake, Josh, and John all participated in the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. Jake did well enough that he got to compete in the district derby as well! Though he didn’t win there – he did his pack proud!

Shawn, Joshua, and Jacob all raced together at the Penguin Classic 5k in Wakelfield – and even talked our friend Melanie into running with them!! John rode his bike between them and cheered. All ran strong and did awesome!

We got to see John’s college buddy, Steve Gorman, when he came to Boston to run in the National Master’s Indoor Track Championship.

John got to see more of his college friends when he had the privilege of escorting THREE women, Diane, Jennifer, and Martha, to his buddy Marty’s wedding in Scottsdale, AZ! It’s a tough job but… They all had a blast celebrating with old friends, enjoying the warm climate, and spending time reminiscing! Marty put on several great parties and scored a beautiful wife to boot!

While John was in Arizona, Grammy Susan came by for a weekend! She and Shawn and the boys had a lot of fun together. They made cookies and the kids even took her to the Witch Museum in Salem!

The guys played a LOT of soccer this spring. Josh and Jake both played on travel teams and did very well. Jake played several positions, including goalie, and used his speed and quickness to keep up with many older kids on his U10 team! Joshua honed his goalie and defensive skills with his U11 team. They got to play on the same team for a Memorial Day weekend tournament. Josh kept goal for the four U12 games while Jake was a designated sub. Both played very well and had a lot of fun!
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Both boys played baseball this springs as well. As luck would have it, they ended up on the same team – the RiverDogs. Jake used his speed on the bases and as an infielder while Josh helped power the offense and showed off his arm making great throws to the plate from deep in the outfield.

We celebrated Joshua’s 11th birthday in April. He got a new bike and some help from Grams with blowing out the candles! Since it was Easter weekend, he even got promised a pool/sleepover party when the weather got warmer!

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Grampa and his pal Victor came up from Florida to spend Easter with us. We love having family around and Grams came up to join the fun too! We did all the traditional stuff – ham, Easter services, egg hunt – all great fun!

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That same weekend, John tackled the Boston Marathon again. After putting on some weight and suffering a training setback or two, he approached the race with the goals of staying under four hours and having fun. He ran 3:51 and accomplished both goals! He was thrilled to see the whole family at mile 22 – just the boost he needed for the last four miles!

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Thanks to Jacob’s friend Lucy, we got “flocked” as part of a fund raiser that one of the schools in town was running. Pretty fun to come out your door at 5:30 AM for a run and find a flock of plastic flamingos surrounding your house!

Josh sang and played the trombone as part of his school’s spring concert – mom and dad got to go watch He was great!

Shawn ran the Triathlon by the Sea in Marblehead along with a few friends from our town, Thor, Mark and Annette. All of them did GREAT and we had a lot of fun cheering them along.

At an outdoor ceremony held near a local pond, Joshua officially “crossed over” from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and was awarded the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting’s highest honor. Though mom was off at a Triathlon training weekend and couldn’t attend, Cubmaster Dad and little bro’ were both very proud!

Memorial Day weekend was filled with soccer, marching in the parade with the scouts, a cookout at a neighbor’s, getting the pool open, and enjoying the unexpectedly good weather. On the Saturday night, Shawn and John even got to go see Bruce with a vanload of friends! We arrived early, barbecued in the parking lot, stayed out late, and generally had a blast. Below, Lori hides behind the van from the parking lot police while Bob relaxes.

All that excitement this spring wore out the cat…

We’re trying to follow Flash’s lead and stay relaxed this summer. So if you’re in the neighborhood… Stop on by for a beer and a dip in the pool! (Flash says she’ll pass on the pool.) We’d love to catch up! If you can’t come by, at least drop us a line!

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!!!

Summer 2005 Postcard

Posted: October 27, 2005 in Postcard
Our Summer 2005 Postcard!!!

What we did on our summer vacations…

We had a very busy summer – almost too busy at some points.

June was all about baseball around our place. Both boys had great seasons and played very well. But it was Jacob’s AA Rockhounds team that made it into the championship round for their division. The ‘Hounds played hard against the favored Mets, holding it close for a while, but fell short in the end, lost 14-9, and had to be happy with the second place trophies. It was a great run!

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We all ran the North Andover 4th of July 5k together. The boys are learning about long distance and holding a steady pace. Both had awesome finishes. 

For Mother’s Day, we promised Grams a “Duck Tour” of Boston and we came through with a Quack! We had a nice warm sunny day in the city!

We were treated to a North Shore Spirit game with Joshua’s little league team. The kids even got to run out on the field with the players for the national anthem!

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Joshua spent two weeks in residence at the YMCA’s Camp Northwoods on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee up in New Hampshire. Despite a bit of trepidation going in, Joshua had a great cabin with great kids and wonderful counselors and he had a blast! He’s talking TWO sessions next year!

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We took the plunge this year and installed an aboveground pool in our backyard. Like most projects, it grew to include tree removal, electrical service extension, landscaping, and John even built a deck attachment! But boy did we have fun with it for the second part of the summer! Can’t wait until spring!

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We spent some time at Camp Massasoit this summer. John and both boys were there for “Cub Resident” week – that was a great time for all three of them! Joshua returned on his own for Webelos week and once again had a blast.

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Early in August, John took a scuba diving certification course with the dive shop near his office. He studied his homework, did the pool dives, and then did open water dives at Nubble Light and Rockport’s Back Beach. He’s now a PADI certified Open Water Diver!

About the same time, Shawn attended the 24th annual Saco river two-day floating happy hour with our friends up in Maine. As usual, it was a great time!

Late in August, after training hard through the spring and summer, Shawn took her shot at the Timberman half Ironman Triathlon. We traveled up as a family to support her and John and the boys assumed volunteer positions at the race. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned and Shawn didn’t finish the race. She’s vowed to try again though and we’ll get her back out there for sure!

John played in a golf league this summer for the first time in his life. He played Monday nights at the Billerica Country Club with a group of hack golfers mostly with Nortel connections. What’s truly bizarre is that he and his partner and coworker, Bob D., won the league tournament!

We celebrated Jacob’s ninth birthday in August with our first ever pool party. A herd of young men overran our backyard for an afternoon of swimming, four-square, water balloon tosses, cake, ice cream, and general fun!

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We wrapped up Labor Day weekend with a hiking trip in the white mountains. We bagged some peaks, enjoyed a stay at an AMC Hut, built some leg muscles, soaked in some fog, and generally had a grand time! unfortunately, though the weather was sunny in the valley, the summits were in the clouds as we crossed the ridge. We got some great views on the way down though and we still had an awesome time! Our kids are goats – out-hiking the adults on the trip!

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Oh yeah, we also did the July 4th carnival, had a family day trip to Six Flags New England, did a weekend overnight with the Cub Pack, Shawn hung out in a Foxwoods suite with some girlfriends, we were entertained by friends, we painted a Four Square court in our driveway, and… and…

That’s about it! We finished the summer tanned and tired, ready to settle back into the fall routine. Soccer has already begun to ramp up, school’s getting underway, the fall Cub Scout program is planned, and we hope to have a lot to talk about in our Christmas postcard!

We hope your summer was everything you’d hoped it would be! If you’re around, stop in and say “hi”! If not, drop us a line and tell us how you’re doing! We’ll report again around Christmas – have a great fall!

Spring 2005 Postcard

Posted: May 27, 2005 in Postcard
Our Spring 2005 Postcard!!!

Is it Spring yet? Sure doesn’t feel it here in the Northeast! We’ve had a prolonged stretch of cold, rainy weather and we can’t wait for some summer sun! Hasn’t stopped us having fun though!

We began the new year with a trip to North Carolina to visit Shawn’s Father and Brother and their families! What a great time we had! We got to visit the North Carolina Zoo, tour the Pottery Country, enjoy Cousin Sarah’s cooking on New Year’s eve, and generally have a fun time playing with our relatives! (No, we don’t mean the monkeys – but they were fun too!)

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It was a pretty snowy year in our area this winter… Here’s the neighborhood kids tunneling down the sidewalk at the boys-only bus stop in front of our house:

One of our neighbors organized an AWESOME ski trip up to Bretton Woods – what a hoot!

Forced inside for months, Joshua and Jacob played a lot of basketball this year. Joshua was the rebound king on his team. Though he was usually matched with the biggest kid on the other team, he was tough under the boards and a great ball handler. On his instructional team, Jacob learned to use his speed as a guard to drive the lane and make the dish or the lay-up. Both guys were solid players!

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We did all right in the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby this year. Joshua’s car finished fourth in the Webelos I division while Jacob’s car finished first in the Wolves!! (Dad made a car this year too and finished second in the “unlimited” division!) Jacob got to represent the Pack at the District Pinewood Derby where he finished 8th out of 24 Wolves!

As a break from the cold weather, we were fortunate to have spent the February school vacation on a cruise with Disney Cruise Lines to the Eastern Caribbean. (Lots more pictures are here.) We had a BLAST snorkeling, swimming, sailing, and generally enjoying the warm weather.

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Not the we don’t love the snow… In fact, we got to spend a long weekend up in New Hampshire skiing at Attitash. It was a great weekend to be there with fine skiing, an aerial show, and a celebration of the resort’s anniversary. The boys skied up a storm – having a blast on the steeps, the jumps, and in the glades! It’s great to ski as a family – though we know it won’t be long before the young guns leave mom and dad behind!

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Joshua sang with the Fourth Grade Chorus this year. Here they are performing as part of the “all town” chorus…

We were fortunate to have Grampa come and visit us for Easter. We had Easter egg hunts, played in the yard, took Grampa out to dinner along with Grams to celebrate his birthday, and had a real nice visit.

John trained through the cold and snowy winter only to have marathon day in Boston dawn hot and sunny again. He did volunteer work at the start and then jumped in for another meltdown of a run, crossing the finish line, able to celebrate only that it was over, in 3:49.

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We were treated to an Open House at the boys’ school. Here, Joshua’s class appears as characters representing their State Projects.

Joshua and Jacob both played a lot of baseball this year. Jacob played with the double-A Rockhounds. He had a great year developing his baseball skills. He was a strong hitter at the plate, a screamer on the basepaths, a quick infielder, and even pitched a few innings (with great velocity but limited control)!!

Joshua, or “J-rod”, played with the triple-A Muckdogs. He played excellent infield, showed great game awareness and a strong bat – and he pitched an inning or two as well. All told, there was a lot of fun on the ball fields!

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The boys made Mother’s Day special for Shawn with a number of handmade gifts!

We celebrated Joshua’s 10th birthday at the local bowling alley. He and his friends had a great time knocking ’em down and eating cake!

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Joshua performed in another concert in May – this time not only singing but also performing on the recorder and clarinet. Great stuff!

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Shawn kicked off the triathlon season with a short event in Marblehead. While John and Jake attended obligations at church, Joshua went along to cheer her on and even ran the last bit of the race with her. She was able to declare success – finishing right at her goal time!

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Our family has two new members as of this spring… Wappy, on the left, who shares a room with Jake, joined us in February. Peanut, who hangs with Josh, arrived in May. They’re both a lot of fun!

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That’s what’s keeping us busy these days! What have you been up to? Drop us a line and let
us know!!

We’ve got lots of plans for the summer – scout camps and long weekends and some nice relaxing. Hope your summer is a great one and we’ll post at you again in the fall!

Christmas 2004 Postcard

Posted: December 27, 2004 in Postcard

Our Christmas 2004 Postcard!!!

We’ve hit a new low this year… Not only did we not manage to mail out conventional Christmas cards, but our “web card” is late and not as complete a we’d like it to be. Still, we hope this finds you healthy and happy at the turn of the year and that you’ll enjoy reading what we’ve been up to this fall…

September was back to school time. Jacob, a.k.a. “Buzz”, is a second grader this year in Ms. Duffy’s class. When he can stay in his chair, he’s a great student and having a blast! Joshua, a.k.a. “Spike”, is a fourth grader in Ms. Gibson’s class. He’s a great student and a ball of energy!

John completed his Woodbadge training this fall and, in October, along with his scouting friend Tony, he was ceremoniously awarded his Woodbadge Beads!

We celebrated Marie’s birthday in September with a nice dinner out with the boys! Happy Birthday Grams!

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In early October, John went with our good friend and neighbor, Bob, to the Hartford Marathon where they registered as a relay team and escorted another good friend, Lori, in her marathon run!

Later in October, John become an “Ironrunner” by completing the New England Grand Prix road racing series with his run in the Cape Cod Marathon. Another unseasonably warm day spelled trouble for the cold weather-loving big man and he had some tough miles in the hills of Woods Hole. Fortunately, his running pals Lori, Annette, Bob, Frank, and Joe had formed a relay team to run with him at this point and, with a little help from them, he was able to pick it up near the end and bring it home for a 3:39 finish. Thanks friends!!

Halloween was great, as always! Or friends Pam and Steve hosted the neighborhood spook party and the guys had a great time playing with friends and haunting the neighborhood.

Below, Joshua and some of his school buddies prepare a pumpkin with help from his teacher, Ms. Gibson.

Jake’s class took a fall tour of Plimouth Plantation where they learned about the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims!

Thanksgiving was pretty quiet at our place this year. Marie was with us and we had all the traditional fixin’s! Joshua and Jacob ran their first ever 5k road race at the Feaster Five – you can search for their results here. Jacob used his traditional sprint/gasp/walk/sprint/gasp/walk approach while Joshua managed a much more evenly paced endurance run. Mom ran along with the boys while dad helped out at the finish line. A great time for all of us!

Joshua’s class hosted their first grade buddies for a traditional dinner at school!

Both Jake and Josh played U10 soccer this fall – on the same team! Joshua was one of the older boys on his team and showed his experience in the goal and as a fullback. He was a tough, aggressive defender who denied many goals! Jacob, despite being the youngest on the team, used his speed on offense to outrun defenders and keep the pressure on opposing goalies!

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As the leaves fell, soccer season finished and we moved inside for basketball. The temperatures dropped and cub scouts kicked into high gear. In December, we held our annual “Holiday Bash”. This year’s party again featured the wassail bowl, a fantastic bunch of friends, and even a clarinet concert from Joshua! Again this year we raised money for Globe Santa. With some late donations, our guests set a new high of $1,560 contributed!

Marie’s brother Cleon and his wife Elllie joined us from New York for the Christmas holiday! We had a blast! We ate fish on Christmas eve, roast on Christmas day, pasta in the North End on the next day… And yes, we did do things other than eat! We opened gifts, we saw the Lion King at Boston’s recently remodeled Opera House, we watched football, shoveled snow… It was a great time!

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That should about bring you up to speed. We’re all happy, healthy, busy, and ready for the next adventure! We’re heading to North Carolina for the arrival of the New Year and we’ll report on that soon!

We hope your holidays were filled with joy and Christmas spirit and that, when you have a moment, you’ll drop by or drop us a line!! Merry Christmas all!

Summer 2004 Postcard

Posted: October 27, 2004 in Postcard
Our Summer 2004 Postcard!!!

What a summer!!!!! Let us tell you what we’ve done!

We finished up the spring baseball season with both of our guys doing great! No championships won this year, but both boys were standouts on their teams and had a lot of fun!

Joshua and Jacob’s elementary school is being remodeled. It’s a long standing tradition to take a picture of the whole school assembled on these stone steps. This will be the last one like this as the remodeling will remove the amphitheater! Can you spot Josh and Jake?

We took in an early season Red Sox game as a family. Joshua and Jacob are becoming quite the fans! They love to keep score and know all the players’ statistics!

The Cub Scout year culminated with the Blue & Gold banquet. Joshua was awarded his Bear Scout badge and Jacob his Tiger badge. Both had a great year!

Grampa was able to spend a long weekend with us this spring – we love having him visit! While he was here, he and John enjoyed a visit to the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem. Grampa was intrigued by the architecture of the newly remodeled building.

The Cub Scouts held their annual spring camping trip – it was a success as always! This time, John spent the day with the boys, but mom came along to spend the night with the guys and handle the morning after tear-down so John could head off to run in the Whirlaway 10k, part of the USATF-NE Grand Prix series that he’s participating in.

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We enjoyed a four day weekend for July 4th and, since the boys had camp on Friday, John and Shawn took a trip up the South Coast of Maine. They had fun taking their time and playing tourists.

On the 4th itself, we all went to run in the North Andover 4th of July road races. The boys both competed in the 2k kids race. Joshua finished the 1.2 miles in just a tad over 10 minutes with his brother about 15 seconds behind. Their styles were quite different, however. Joshua ran a slow and steady pace throughout while Jacob sprinted until out of breath, walked a bit, sprinted, walked, sprinted… In the end, the tortoise took the win! Mom and dad ran too – she in the 5k and he, pacing a friend in the 10k.

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We spent the rest of the holiday weekend kicking back, enjoying the carnival and fireworks in our town park, and preparing for summer!

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We were also treated in July to a visit to Shawn’s boss’s boss’s house. We all had great fun swimming in Walt’s pool and eating his great food!

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John made a trip to Stowe, Vermont for the Stowe 8-miler. He didn’t run all that well in the unseasonable heat but where else can you find yourself drinking free beer at 10:30 on a Sunday morning and be thought of as an athlete?

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A bit later in the month, we took a couple of friends to see the Lowell Spinners and, as always, had a great time there!

Joshua and Jacob both attended Cub Scout daycamp for a week. They worked on scout skills, learned songs and skits, and even cooked a marshmallow or two!!

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We visited the AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut near the end of July. We took Friday off and after an early morning drive, hiked into the hut by the lake that would be our home for the next two nights. That afternoon, we climbed the challenging Hi-Cannon trail to the summit of Cannon Mt. – our first 4000-footer for the trip. We spent a fun night at the hut and, on the second day, bagged two more 4000-footers: North and South Kinsman. Jacob and Joshua impressed many older hikers on the trails with their experience and stamina – they’re great hikers – regular mountain goats!!

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We enjoyed a week on Lake Sunapee in August. The weather was “ok” – no real washouts but a lot of clouds. Still, we swam, kayaked, fished, peddled, hiked Mt. Sunapee, watched the Olympics when showers came through, ate Ice Cream just about every night, and had a great relaxing time!!!

While at Sunapee, we went out to a nice dinner to celebrate Shawn’s birthday!!!

Shortly after our return, it was time to celebrate Jacob’s 8th birthday! We did so with cake at our place and another trip to the Lowell Spinners for some hot dogs and baseball – an all-American outing!!

Later in August, Grampa visited us again on his way to Europe! He was able to join us for a cub scout outing to see the North Shore Spirit play – the cubs were introduced along with the players and got to stand on the field for the national anthem!! We were also treated to a wonderful dinner at the home of our neighbors, the Sieferts, and got to enjoy their new Tatone-designed sun porch! What a great place it is!

On Labor Day weekend, Poppa and Grammy Susan were able to visit us. While they were here, we enjoyed a “guys day out” at the Red Sox and a Boston Harbor Cruise for all of us!

As fall approaches, we look forward to a new school year, a great soccer season, some long road races, more Cub Scouts, and all kinds of fun! We hope you’ll be a part of it or, if you can’t, drop us a line!!

Spring 2004 Postcard

Posted: May 26, 2004 in Postcard
Our Spring 2004 Postcard!!!

Seems like a long time since we’ve put out a postcard! To catch you up, we have to go way back to the end of last year… It was a snowy December around here and we were enjoying the prospects of a great snow season as we prepared for the holidays. Christmas was a very busy time for us – seemed like we just had too much to do. The boys were both in the Christmas Pageant at church – Jacob as a narrator and Joshua as the Innkeeper. They were both stars for sure!

The local running friends, loosely formed as the Ipswich River Road Runners or IRRR, kept up their tradition of a “Jingle Bell Run” on Christmas Eve morning. Not only did they wake all of the dogs on their route, but they had some fun too!

Aunt Ellie and Uncle Cleon joined us, along with Grams, for Christmas holidays – we had a grand time opening gifts and eating too much food! Boy it’s great to have family around for the holidays – it makes things so much more fun!

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On New Year’s Eve, we were hosted once again by our friends Mary and George. Though there was no fire this year, we had another rollicking good time!! They put on a great spread and a fun party!

In January, the boys hosted a Super Bowl party for the local kids. All of the local kids. Imagine 30 kids in your family room. It was chaos. It was madness. It was a hoot. Fortunately, we sent them all home before the end of the game – otherwise they might have been turning over our cars when the Pats won!!

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Come February, Shawn and John ran in the Mill City Relay with friends Dave, Lori, and Bob. Rescheduled from December due to a snow storm, the much heralded event hosted 102 teams running 28 miles in cold, windy weather. Though we finished 62nd as far as time goes, we’re pretty sure we were top ten on the fun scale! Spending a day in a mini-van with five stinky runners, having Josh and Jake came along as the ISSC (Intorcio Sons Support Crew) to hand out Gatorade as team runners passed, running with numb feet, a great beer blast and pasta feed at the end – priceless!!

About mid-February, we loaded the trailers, polished the chrome, greased the wheels and headed for the Cub Pack’s annual Pinewood Derby!! We had a pretty good night as Jacob won second place in the Tiger division and Joshua won second place in the Bear division! What a night for the Intorcio racing team!!

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For the February school vacation, we traveled to Mount Tremblant in Canada, eh? Our first few days there were a bit on the chilly side – highs around -25F (yes, NEGATIVE twenty-five Fahrenheit) – but we threw on an extra couple of layers, sucked it up, and got out there anyway for some great skiing! It warmed the rest of the week and we had fun on the slopes, in the village, and generally being away from the grind! Josh even found a pen-pal from England, Danny, who both he and Jacob enjoyed skiing with through the week!

The boys handled everything Tremblant had to offer. In the prime snow conditions, we skied everything from the gentlest beginner slopes to the precipitous “Doublez Noir” challengers. Shawn and John managed to keep up with he boys, for the most part, but it won’t be for long…

We got to go Dog Sledding one night – now there’s a fun time! Six dogs pulled each sled – Shawn and Joshua on one, Jacob and John on the other.The boys snuggled in warm blankets in the sleds while Shawn and John wore headlamps to light the trail, struggled to learn the French words for Mush (“En avant!”) and Whoa (“Whoa”), and clung desperately to the backs of their sleds as they glided through the floodplains of the Rouge River. What a hoot!

We’ll be back to Tremblant for sure!

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On February 22, we celebrated Scout Sunday at our church. Joshua and Jacob had both worked hard to earn their “God and Me” awards and were presented with them as part of the ceremony!!

We got to spend a night up in the Hub of the Universe, Otisfield, ME, with our pals Danny and Noreen. We all had fun playing pool in their basement and soaking in their hot tub! The boys love visiting up here – Uncle Danny let’s them have all kinds of fun!

Along with the other third graders at our church, Joshua was presented with a new bible as part of “Bible Sunday” on March 14. He was quite proud!

Onthat same day, Shawn ran her first ever Half Marathon – 13.1 miles offun!! She learned some lessons along the way about things like starting too fast, Bodyglide to prevent chafing, mis-measured miles, hills… But, she worked diligently to prepare and ran hard with a great result at 2:12!

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was John’s turn the following weekend. He ran the New Bedford half marathon as the opening event of the USATF New England Grand Prix series. John had a pretty steady race, had a lot of fun with his MVS teammates, and was reasonably happy with his 1:34 result.

by Jim Rhoades from Coolrunning.

Attempting to escape the persistent cold weather, we made a trip to Florida for Easter. We got to spend a couple of nights with Charlie and Cyndi at their lovely new home in Crown Colony. John spent an afternoon on the beach (wait, those were sand traps!) with Charlie while Shawn and the boys had an awesome time playing in the pool and doing glass projects with Cyndi. Great stuff!

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was then North to Sarasota for a few nights with Grampa. We ate too much, played in his pool and mini-golf course, attended a fantastic Easter ceremony, took Grampa and his pal Victor out to dinner to celebrate his birthday, and generally relaxed and visited! Very fun stuff!

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We were back home to celebrate Joshua‘s birthday on April 16. He had a few of his buddies in for a movie and a sleepover and they had a lot of fun – not much sleep, but a lot of fun.

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19 arrived with a dramatic temperature upswing and John survived the Boston Marathon Meltdown of 2004 – 77° at the start, 86° at the finish, and 26.2 hot, steamy miles in between! John ran a “Personal Worst” time of 4:04 but finished vertically (more than many could say in the heat) and will give it another go on a cooler day!

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There’s been a lot of baseball talk at our house this spring as both boys are playing North Reading Little League ball and watching the Red Sox at every opportunity. Joshua, or “J-Rod” as his teammates call him, is playing for the Tigers in the Farm League while Jacob is tearing it up in the Instructional League with the Marlins. Joshua enjoys playing third base and got his nickname snaring line drives at the hot corner. Jacob’s the power hitter on his team – swinging for the fences on every pitch and connecting more times than not. Both guys are having a lot of fun!

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Jacob and his first grade class were part of a big show at the High School in May – “Teach the World to Sing!”. Jacob was one of the narrators with a solo part and did a great job!!

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Mother’s day began with Shawn running a 3.5 mile Mom’s race in Melrose and finished with a celebration at at our place with Grams joining us for dinner. After an afternoon of watching baseball, both on the local little league field and on the TV from Fenway, we had a nice dinner and opened a few gifts. We love our mothers!

And finally, the moment Shawn and Grampa have been waiting for, the wisteria bloomed!

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Spring continues to spring around here and we’re looking forward to a summer of fun! We hope we’ll run into you during our travels – if not, please drop an EMail to Josh, Jake, Shawn, or John – we’d love to hear from you!

Christmas 2003 Postcard

Posted: December 25, 2003 in Postcard
Our Christmas 2003 Postcard!!!
Merry Christmas
from the Intorcios!

Hoping this card finds you all in good health, we share with you our fall doings…

We had the pleasure of a visit from Grandpa at the end of September. He stopped by on his way to Hawaii and Australia with the Young at Heart Chorus. While here, we dragged him and Grams along to help celebrate Shawn and John’s 11th wedding anniversary with a great dinner at the open-air Taranta in Boston’s North End.

On October 19th, John gave it a go at the Baystate Marathon for the benefit of Worldcamps. He had a great run, finishing in 3:19:44 – good enough to qualify him as an official entrant for the 2004 Boston Marathon!

We played a lot of soccer this fall – both Joshua and Jacob enjoyed great success on the fields. Mom and dad enjoyed watching them work hard in many games!

Halloween was a hoot – Jacob was a knight in shining armor and Joshua was Elvis (wonder where he got that idea?) – we had fun attending a neighborhood party and roaming the streets looking for candy!

In November, Joshua and John made a trip to Florida to help our buddy Charlie celebrate his 50th birthday! We were treated to some great sun and a fun time on the beaches of Sanibel. We muss our friends – but they seem to be enjoying the Florida climate – and we enjoy visiting there!!

Thanksgiving was a busy day! It began with all four of us running the Feaster Five races in Andover. The boys had great runs in the “Kid’s K” and mom and dad both got a work out in the 5-miler – all so we could eat the rest of the day with less guilt! It was home to watch the parades and start the turkey and then the traditional backyard football game with our pals Noah and Dylan – they and their mom, Melissa, along with Grams, joined us for a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat and we all had a blast!

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Thanksgiving weekend we got the chance to visit with John’s UMASS buddy Steve Gorman and his family. We linked up at Faneuil Hall, walked in the chilly wind, toured the Boston Science Museum, and had a fun time swapping stories and learning about each other’s kids!

Things really began to accelerate around our place as Christmas drew near… We had the church fair to help with, the start of basketball season, a party to throw, cub scout events… And things we felt a bit overwhelmed.

Joshua had a solo part in the third grade holiday show, “The Share Bears”. It was a great story of sharing and caring and Josh did a great job of singing and dancing!

We again hosted our annual Christmas Party with a pile of our friends and neighbors. As has become the tradition, we collected money for charity in lieu of gifts and this year raised $1,425 for Globe Santa!! Boy do we have great and generous friends!

We didn’t pull off sending out traditional Christmas cards this year. We just got a little behind and had to pull back on a few things and just didn’t get to them. Sorry you won’t be seeing our smiling faces in your mail box – but do know that our thoughts are with you this holidayseason and we do hope that you all have a joyous and Merry Christmas!

Drop us a line sometime!

Until then… All our best for the holdiays! See you this spring!