Yes, you get TWO editions of the Kazette this year, due to me not being able to get it all together and actually address the envelopes last year.  Obviously this year I am doing much better.  (and my MRI was clear again!)

                2012 has been a relatively quiet year with no huge trips or health issues in our immediate family.  We did take a short trip to Fort Henry near Virginia Beach for Spring Break, and although it wasn’t beach weather we did enjoy our time there immensely. We were dismayed to find out a few months later that the facility we stayed at was shutting down, as we really wanted to return.  We are hoping someone else in the military organization picks it up and makes it available again. Our big deal this year was replacing our home furnace and air conditioner with a geothermal system!  It happened in July, just as the derecho (huge wind storm) moved through and caused many many of our neighbors in the DC area and beyond to join us in not having A/C for a few days.  Fortunately for us, we didn’t lose electricity as most of those folks did, and before they got their electricity back, our system was up and running.  Doug and our electric chain saw got a good workout in our neighborhood and we consequently got a nice stack of firewood that should be great next winter!  Several months later, Hurricane Sandy gave our area a glancing blow and Doug’s NEW chain saw went to work again.  We were very lucky in both storms that although we had large branches come down, there was no damage to our house.  A few weeks after that, Doug and I took our first major trip ALONE (since the kids were born) to Doug’s 25th college reunion.  Although I had an issue with my leg that restricted our walking, we wound up making a new friend on campus, one of the current students, and she took us on a GREAT tour in a golf cart.  LET’S GO RED!  (RPI)

                Doug continues to work at SPA (Systems Planning and Analysis) and has a long commute, but the train ride gives him time to read, nap, and play with his iPad.  Kaz got an iPad for Christmas last year and it didn’t take long before we decided Doug had to have one too.  Luckily his frequent flyer miles enabled us to get him one a few months after Christmas.  We used both to “attend” Doug’s parents’ Thanksgiving with the rest of the family, via Facetime, all without us leaving home.

                Erika finished out her years in middle school successfully and had a great time last Spring being one of the Barbershop singers in “Music Man”.  She looked forward all Summer to her freshman year in high school, and here in December still seems to be very happy about it.  Her academic plate is full with Pre-AP classes and Project Lead the Way, and she has been keeping busy outside of school by volunteering in the Kindergarten CCD class and with Special Olympics, and singing in our church Youth Choir as well as cantoring occasionally at those Masses.  She had a great time being on stage crew for the high school fall play “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and looks forward to future Drama opportunities.

                Kat enjoyed Kindergarten and has gone enthusiastically on to first grade.  She recently went on a field trip to Mount Vernon and really enjoyed seeing George Washington’s home.  She is a great reader and tackles all her academics with a smile.  She is taking gymnastics classes at The Little Gym as she has for the last few years and really seems to enjoy it.

                I am very much enjoying my iPad, the new geothermal system, and am FINALLY emerging from my ‘lack of sleep due to having a baby and toddler and preschooler at home 24/7’.  I thought it would only take a few months during Kindergarten, but boy was I wrong!  I have been doing more volunteering, both during CCD and at Kat’s school, and stay busy driving the kids to their various activities.  Someday I hope to get back to updating .

                We all wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

                                                                                                                                -Kaz, Doug,  Erika and Kat