Greetings from the woods of Virginia! This year's number is 40: We had over 40 inches of snow in February, over 40 inches of rain this spring, well over 40 hours without power due to Hurricane Isabel, and Jennifer and Ken are both 40 years old. Our kids stare in wonder as we tell them about long-ago times when there were no color TV's, telephones had cords but no push buttons, computers were only in universities, and you actually had to buy music at stores.
Garrett, our youngest, will be 6 in January, and is a full-fledged kindergartner who took the classroom by storm. He still loves taking things apart and trying to put them back together, but does better just taking them apart. Despite his nickname of Destructo Boy, Garrett is affectionate and sweet, which has saved his life more than once.
Kirsten will be 9 in February, and she's in third grade at the brand new local elementary school. Kirsten is still as inquisitive and gregarious as ever. She just learned that her artwork will be reproduced on the entire back cover of the school's first yearbook. Kirsten still takes piano lessons, but recently gave up soccer (much to the joy of designated driver Jennifer).
Spencer, who will be 13 in January, is a rabid sports fan who creates and manages his own fantasy sports teams. Watching football and basketball and playing soccer rank right up there with breathing and eating. Spencer continues to play the trumpet, and is now in 7th grade in middle school, where he's managing to competently juggle the demands of all those teachers who keep distracting him from his sports pursuits.
Chelsea, at 15 ½, is a true teenager -- music and sleep rein! When she's not lobbying her parents for an electric guitar, she continues to soak up knowledge as a sophomore at the regional high school for science and technology. Chelsea is the team captain of her high school JV volleyball and soccer teams. She goes to seminary each morning at 6 a.m. and usually has hours of homework each night, so she's too exhausted to chase boys (although she'll deny it!) She regularly tells her parents how they don't know anything. Ken's glad he was never like that . . .
Even though Jennifer hit 40 (or it hit her), she says she still feels great. We also celebrated our 20th anniversary this year (we still can't believe we got married so young!) Jennifer's putting a lot of energy into creating a volunteer-run supplemental art program for the new elementary school, although Ken wonders if some of that energy will ever channel itself into the ironing pile. Jennifer continues as the 1st Counselor in the Church Primary children's organization, but she spends most of her life in the car running mom's taxi service.
Ken is still alive in the legal lions den, where he works as an IP attorney doing patent, trademark and copyright litigation for a D.C. law firm. He's been working out at the gym this year to offset his discovery of mint cr to enjoy driving his Mustang convertible, but has been considering something a little more "grown up" lately -- perhaps an all-wheel-drive convertible that can handle the last unplowed mile to our house.
We had no notable travels this year, with the exception of our spring break getaway to Florida family and friends. Also this spring, we bought a used boat and spent as much of our free time as possible on local lakes, teaching the kids how to water ski, wakeboard and kneeboard. We've enjoyed the company of several extended family members this year, and hope to see more of you in 2004. We wish you a serene holiday season and a peaceful, prosperous New Year!