The Christmas Kazette '07

    It's been a full year.  We had several family members and friends endure various surgeries, all thankfully with good outcomes. I also had my first broken bone... my big toe! I had wonderful support - because it was my right foot I couldn't drive (or walk without crutches) so several people came to my rescue and shuttled Erika to and from school - for about 5 weeks! Unbelievable.
    Luckily the broken toe happened AFTER our family trip to Walt Disney World* in April. It was our first family trip there and we LOVED taking the Autotrain to get there. We even met up with some friends from my hometown, which was completely fun. We stayed at "Shades of Green", the military on-site hotel. Very nice.  It was a great trip, one made for Erika... it will probably be AT LEAST 5 years before we go again, because honestly, I had very little fun having to take care of a baby the whole time. Plus, of course, we have to save money for a trip like that, too!
    Summer came, and it was our busiest summer, in some ways, that we've ever had. Our lease expired mid-July, Erika went to camp for 2+ weeks, ending in July, we went house-hunting in June and July, the movers came the beginning of July, we put in an offer and simutaneously moved into a hotel, Doug retired after 20 years in the Navy, our offer was accepted, we moved into the new house and got our belongings delivered just before Kat turned one year old on 03 August! And then Doug started a new job in late August. Phew!
    Fall was a time of adjustment. We settled into our new house, met some neighbors (we have a very cool neighborhood!), Erika got used to her new school and activities. We made our second annual trip to Shenandoah National Park on Columbus Day weekend... and decided we'd probably wait until a bit later in the Fall next time, to really see and enjoy the foliage.  Doug started putting together his workshop and we all worked together to make our first project... a plywood jack-o-lantern that lights up for our front yard. He has a decent start on his collection of power tools, but of course will always want "More Power! ar ar ar". We also had fun dressing up for Halloween; we had an "Alice in Wonderland" theme this year. Erika was Alice, Kat was the Cheshire Cat, Doug the White Rabbit and I was the Queen of Hearts.  And then we spent all of November, except one weekend, on the road visiting friends and family; we went to NJ, CT, NC and SC! It was great to see everyone! But once again, traveling with a baby (ok, not so much a baby anymore!) is exhausting. I swear we use up 3/4 of our car storage with baby items! Traveling with just Erika, by comparison, is a breeze.
    As I write this we're getting our first snow. I am excited about that as usual. I'm even more excited since we no longer have the world's longest sidewalk to shovel! In fact, we have no sidewalk at all. And we have a short driveway. Hurray!
    So, I hope the end of 2007 finds you happy, healthy, and among loved ones. We hope you'll get a chance to visit with us, and if not, there's always www.dutchohana.com !
Happy Holidays!
* words in red and green have pictures at http://www.dutchohana.com  ... check it out!

and now, for those of you reading this on the web, it's
The Erika Extra!
Erika is now 9 years old. She very much enjoyed our trip to Walt Disney World as well as her time at Girl Scout camp this summer. It was a day camp, not overnight, although they did have one overnight within the 10 days. Very cool!
Erika misses her old school, but has settled in very well at her new school. She is once again in the Gifted  Program and seems to like all her teachers.
She misses her after school voice lessons, but that may be something we start up again. In the meantime she is staying busy with Junior Girl Scouts, cheerleading, school chorus and semi-regular trips to REI to go indoor rock climbing.
Erika has been making friends both at school and in our neighborhood, and had the opportunity to see some old friends this year too. And Erika really enjoys being a big sister! She and Kat are just too cute together.
Did someone say Kat? Indeed, onwards to
The Kat Column!
Kat is 16 months old, has only recently tipped the scales at 20 lbs (the magic number needed to turn her carseat around!) and is almost 31 inches tall. She has 8 teeth and eats almost anything we put in front of her. Lately her favorite food is yogurt (and potato chips) but she's also still eating the Gerber fruits and veggies. The last 2 times we had pizza she ate 1/2 a slice by herself in addition to whatever yogurt or Gerber veggie we fed her! She's still getting the hang of walking, but is fully capable of standing up by herself and taking a bunch of steps without falling.  She's started waving to people, laughing at things she sees, and spontaneously giving Doug, Erika and I hugs and kisses. She is normally very well behaved but doesn't like to be held on our laps for long periods of time (think church). She's fairly patient and content to sit in high chairs in restaurants, though! And she's often quiet, if stony-faced, when we're at the bus stop waiting for Erika.  All in all, though, if I'd had Kat first, there probably wouldn't be an 8 year gap between my kids!
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