Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our 2008 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas to you all. It's Sunday afternoon and we've decided to get our Christmas letter out online this year. I hope to find a group of photos and videos that will be interesting. The photo to the right is our stuffed animal Christmas tree. Notice the hat on the lemur puppet atop the tree. You can see larger versions of all these pictures if you just click on them. At the end of this post, there is video of Emily, Tim and Paul playing a trio at the Christmas Eve service at our church.

Family Vacation

We went to lovely Taughonnock Falls in western NY for a camping vacation this summer. We did a lot of hiking around the falls. William, Michael and Emily did a lot of running - all preparing for Cross Country season in the fall. While we were there we went to Corning Glass Works. I was fascinated by the ruby glass, which used gold to generate the red color.

Tim is in his 3rd year at Eastman School of Music where he is majoring in jazz trombone and music education. If all goes according to plan, he will graduate at Chrismastime 2 years from now - it takes a bit longer to get the double major in. His last semester will be student teaching.

Last summer he played in the Disneyland All American College Band. It was a great experience for him - even got to do some surfing and had a visit from my brother Gary and his family. Here are some links to youtube videos of the band. See if you can find Tim.

If you search youtube for 2008 Disneyland All American College Band, you'll find a lot more links to videos.


Will had a busy senior year at Gates Chili High School and he graduated in June, 2008. We were very proud that he was named GCHS Athlete of the Year for his stellar work in Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track. Here are some pictures from his senior year of high school. 
From left to right - cross-country meet, his "state trooper" look for senior dress up day, posing with his athlete of the year plaque and then at graduation.

Will began his first year at RIT in the Mechanical Engineering program. He survived his first term (he's on the quarter system, so it ended before Thanksgiving). He enjoyed a good first season of college level Cross Country racing - he was averaging 70-80 miles per week. It was much more intense than high school, but he really enjoys it and has made some friends on the team.


Michael is now a high school sophomore. He plays drums in the Gates Chili High School Marching Band, Concert Band and Jazz Band, the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, and the Parkminster Presbyterian Church Praise Band. He ran cross country at Gates Chili High School in the fall and plans to play tennis in the spring. In the spring he won an award from the Rochester Academy of Medicine for Outstanding High School essay for an essay he wrote about new treatments for Alzheimer's Disease.

 He is the Senior Patrol Leader for Boy Scout Troop 402 and hope to advance to Life Scout by the spring court of honor. Classes are going well for him and he hopes to sleep some over Christmas break.


Emily enjoys reading, swimming, and big cats. She has a large stuffed tiger and many smaller stuffed animals in her room. At our house we have two Christmas trees. One is re
al and traditional (managed by Elsa) and the other is artificial and somewhat offbeat (managed by Paul). Last year Paul set a limit of five ornaments on the artificial trees. This year, we decided to go with a stuffed animal/puppet theme on the tree.  Here is a picture of Emily with her grandmother, who joined us last June for Will's high school graduation.

Emily had a wonderful costume for Hallowe'en this year. She dressed up as a Rubik's cube. It was quite a job of design and engineering, especially designing arm holes where she could hold her candy collection bag.  She made quite a collection, but it did not compare to Michael's - he went out running from house to house with some of his Cross-Country buddies, so he was able to visit many more houses than Emily.

Patches and Tanner

In addition to two parents and four children, we also have two enslaved guinea pig-Americans in our house. Here is one of our latest pictures of them. 

Emily, Tim and I played the introduction to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen at our Christmas Eve service at church.