FROM THE G-O-T-T-E-S-M-A-N-S
As the holidays pass and we finally get some time to write about our year, we send our condolences and thoughts to all the people in world who have lost loved ones in the recent disaster in the Indian Ocean. Humbly, we are all healthy and well here in snowy Massachusetts.
Jordan celebrated his second birthday with the family in Connecticut this year. He has bolstered the terrible twos stereotype with his astonishing energy, while Mommy and Daddy continue to work hard to tame him. We can count on his human alarm around 6am every day ("Mommy, I want to come out!"). But his numerous hugs and kisses more than make up for his conduct. (He is very affectionate.)
In his husky, booming voice, Jordan is speaking in full sentences (recently shut mom up with the response, "I'm talking to Daddy, mama") and has established a number of opinions, including a dislike of clowns, vacuum cleaners, and hair dryers. He's not into haircuts either, after suffering through his first one early in the year, reminding us of Daddy's tribulations back in 1970. Lately he's been using the potty, with Potty Elmo by his side. And he has found a new girlfriend at daycare. Check him out dancing merengue! (2.8mb)
Ben is now 6½ and has recently lost his second tooth. In the spring we enjoyed his spring music concert, and we watched him graduate from kindergarten and say farewell to the Montessori. While we loved the private school, we are nonetheless pleased not to be paying for it. In the fall, Ben started public school at McCarthy-Towne here in Acton, where he has learned a lot in a few months (math being his current obsession) and where he has fallen in love with the school bus and the cafeteria. Of course, Ben continues playing Chess and is becoming quite a challenger.
After 2 years of swimming lessons, it was during a trip to Cape Cod in the summer when swimming suddenly "clicked" for Ben, thanks in part to relatives who, in the absence of Mom and Dad, encouraged him to tread through five feet of water. In the fall, Ben began piano lessons and is scheduled for his first recital in late January. He also started Spanish immersion one day a week at a classmate’s house. And maybe his most exciting experience this year was playing baseball without a tee. Check him out reading his special Thanksgiving poem! (2.8mb)
Rich continues to work as a software developer at CRD. He (with sister Amy) and Ben visited Puerto Rico in April for a little vacation and had a nice time bonding father-son style. He's still commissioner of the town's softball league and having fun with it, especially when he scraped his calf into a jellied mess while sliding into third base. He got a bad infection (doctor's office, antibiotics, etc), but has a nice scar for memories. Check out his team's 2004 softball yearbook! In September (on Jacky’s birthday afternoon, to be exact), Rich started the “one-hour job” of painting the family room and finished approximately one month later.
Rich often laments over the corporate hum-drum life of work-sleep-work, but makes do by enjoying recorded books during his commute. He listens to anything narrated by George Guidall, averaging about 15 books per year. He also continues his gambling mania with his card-playing friends, and maintains his fascination with Amazing Race and the betting pool. His latest obsession is his new toy, a Canon S70 digital camera that we were forced to buy after dropping our last one into the Caribbean off the coast of Buck Island. But back to the camera...he babies it so much he jokes that Jacky has to "sign it out" if she wants to use it. Lately, Rich has been in a frenzy trying to come up with new plans for family travel. Other than that, and work, he hopes to continue painting rooms this year and maybe start to build a finished basement.
Jacky had a trying year, with the loss of her father, Héctor M. Quiñones, Sr. in early April to lung cancer. She spent most of March back and forth between home and CT, in her attempts to care for her family and for her Dad simultaneously. Mostly she is grateful for the quality time she spent with her Dad near the end and for the honor of helping to nurse him and make his transition beyond as comfortable as possible. In their father's memory, Jacky and her siblings (see panorama) participated in the Bennett Cancer Center Walk. And shortly after her father's death, Jacky's Abuela Eugenia (grandmother and Dad’s mom) passed away of natural causes. To Jacky, mother and son are reliving their happiest days of their lives together, wherever they may be.
In the beginning of the year, Jacky participated in the faculty variety show at her school. She continues to love, slave for, and learn a lot about teaching and her students. In the spring, Jacky and Ben got up at the crack of dawn to take in the Acton Minutemen reenactment. And graduations were big in Jacky's family this year, with nephews José and Roberto graduating from high school and niece Natalie graduating from UCONN.
In September, Jacky became an aunt for the fifteenth time or so with the arrival of her little sister Melonie’s son, Aidan Thigpen. Later in the fall, Jacky dropped in on Rich's sister Amy in NJ to go to the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry festival, along with her writer’s group friends. She also traveled to Paris gratis for 3 days and 4 nights for a Global Teacher’s Conference trip she won in a raffle last year. She had a lot of fun wandering on foot all over the city and was captivated with a visit out to the champagne region in Reims and Epernay.
On the family front, in the spring we took the boys on a number of local excursions to places like the Boston Children’s Museum and the Big Apple Circus. We also we met up with Jacky’s family for a camping trip at Jellystone Park in Sturbridge, MA. The summer was a bit insane. Ben and Jordan spent a whole week with Aunt Annie in Connecticut while Mommy and Daddy spent a fabulous week in St. Croix with friends. Then we met up again with Jacky’s family, this time in Cape Cod, where we enjoyed perfect weather in West Yarmouth and Wellfleet. We also went to Amy’s house for a mini family reunion (on Rich’s side).
Unfortunately, we ended up having to replace both our cars after our beloved 10-year-old Accord took it’s last breath, and after some mega repair requirements on the Grand Cherokee. Jacky is now a legitimate soccer mom, hauling the boys around in our recently leased Honda Odyssey, while Rich continues as a happy Accord owner. And last and probably least, in the fall we took part in a multi-family garage sale on our street, in our continuing efforts to simplify our lives by eliminating clutter and getting rid of as many possessions as possible. Our ultimate goal is to find a multi-year assignment overseas somewhere (e.g., Spain) to spice up our lives; please send suggestions or job opportunities.
Wishing you health and peace in 2005. As always, if you’re in Massachusetts, stop on by...we love your company.
Hugs and Kisses,
Jacky, Rich, Ben & Jordan
A fun little music video.