FROM THE G-O-T-T-E-S-M-A-N-S
How time rushes just ahead of us and how we run to
keep up. How it keeps us moving, and living. Thankfully!
Another year has gone by and with the arrival of 2007 we send warm embraces to all of you. We are indeed warm in Massachusetts, torn between enjoying the spring-like conditions and fretting over its causes (our rating is 30 and declining; what’s yours?). Gratefully, the four of us are well.
Jordan is an inquisitive, high-energy four-year-old who keeps us laughing with his enormous character (“Mom, are you and Dad happy with how I came out?”) and involuntary humor (first school cafeteria experience: “Ms. Long, where are the waiters?”)
This past fall, Jordan started Preschool II at Jacky’s school, Nashoba Brooks, and he has proven to be a focused little learner, showing enthusiasm for drawing and writing. While he is cozy having Mommy close by, we’re delighted to have Jordan attending such a wonderful school. As a way of introduction, Jordan and all his new friends celebrated his birthday in our backyard, and he has quickly developed new connections.
Over the summer, Jordan bravely finished his daycare days at a different center with new friends. He also took swim lessons, and a major feat for him was getting comfortable enough in the water to resist screaming bloody murder and to use noodles and such to float around on his own. Jordan ended the year in verse, reciting, performing and dancing to nursery rhymes at his PSII winter show. Check him out singing hello to his neighbor (9.5MB video).
Ben is an eight-year-old Trot Nixon aficionado who has become rather handy around the house and who also amuses us, but with quite intentional humor. He loves to compare The Little Rascals Alfalfa and Spanky to himself and Jordan, respectively, occasionally dressing the part and laughing hysterically at Jordan’s Spanky-like pranks. Check him out mimicking the comedian from his first comedy show experience (7.1MB video).
Ben is having a rich third-grade experience, with lots of field trips (so far to Plimoth Plantation and Wolf Hollow), an operetta, and preparations for MCAS. In the spring, he participated in his first chess tournament and thoroughly enjoyed himself. In the summer, he did a number of mini-camps to gratify his various interests (chess, hip hop dance, Latin dance, sports, Spanish), and he put in a good effort for Level IV swimming.
Ben also played in three piano recitals this year, showing poise and confidence in his little suit and bowtie. And lately he has been sporting overnight tiger-stripe and mountain violet retainers to tackle dental crowding. But mostly, Ben wouldn’t be Ben without his baseball. This year he was in the Giants and the Nationals (see filmstrip), and he loved pitching and fielding (leaping like his Dad to snag balls in the outfield).
Speaking of leaping to catch balls, a few months ago Rich hurt his back while playing wiffle ball in the backyard with the boys, proving that 40 is in fact on the other side of the hill. He was immobile for a bit but luckily sprang fully upright and productive again in, well, some time.
In the beginning of the year, Rich embarked on finishing the basement. While it was a shaky start (we spent a night at a local hotel after some jackhammer refooting work resulted in ¼” of dust over everything in the house), it’s starting to look like a real entertainment megaroom down there, with walls, doors, lights, large new windows, and the disappearance of a couple of unsightly and intrusive posts (so far the house is still standing). Rich also worked with a buddy from work to take down a humungous pine tree crowded between our house and the neighbor’s, enhancing the view out the new windows. Currently, he’s finishing up the electrical and lighting work and planning the custom bookshelves.
Work. Let’s just say that Rich does not love it nearly as much as his home projects. However, he liked being a presenter at his company’s user conference in Florida, especially enjoying the ensuing three-hour jet skiing tour around the inter-coastal. He does enjoy his commute with books on tape (check out Rich's 2006 book list and ratings). Rich continued his side work, doing graphic layout and design and again working eBayLive2006, this time in Vegas. In the spring, Rich joined CBC Fitness here in town but he hasn’t made it there as much as he needs to. For Rich’s big Four-Oh (during Thanksgiving), Jacky planned a family trip to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, with a half dozen family and friends (Amy, Martin, Elaine, Jeff, Lisa, and Bob) surprising him down there for a grand ole time (see filmstrip). Sadly, Rich’s Aunt Irene, the vivacious matriarch at the biennial family reunions, passed away in August.
Jacky continues to love her work at Nashoba Brooks, expanding Spanish influences around the school, strengthening her passion for diversity and S.E.E.D., initiating service learning projects with her students to benefit those in need, and finding ever new ways of incorporating technology into her teaching (SMART Boards rock). Over the summer, Jacky created and taught two Spanish immersion camps (at school and through the Acton Latino Family Network), and she was thrilled to have Ben as a student in both. She also ran her first 5K race, coming in next to last place at 34:01 minutes (the woman in front of her wore a t-shirt labeled “TORTOISE”) but vowing to run more races in the future with less fit people.
The spring saw Jacky having minor hand surgery and, like Rich, joining CBC. When Jacky isn’t sick or bombarded with work, she enjoys getting up every weekday at 5am for a mental workout at home, followed by a physical one at the gym before waking up the household.
One of the highlights this year for Jacky was going with Mami to Puerto Rico to spend 10 days at her subtropical hometown of Adjuntas (see photo diary). For her 41st birthday, Jacky was thrilled to go hot-air ballooning up to 2,500 feet in Quechee, Vermont. And a couple of months ago, Jacky got her first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride after complications from giving blood (for the first and last time). Check out Jacky's 2006 book list and ratings.
As a family, we made a trip down to Mexico in March, giving us a chance to bond in a lovely new setting and allowing Rich and Jacky to re-live their adventurous times with rappelling, zip-lining, and parasailing (see photo diary).
Along with our tri-state visits to see family and friends, we also enjoyed visits from many of you to our place here in Acton.
And that reminds us, please come visit or stay with us anytime! We love you and your company.
We wish you health, peace, and ¡mucho amor¡ for you and your loved ones in this New Year.
Hugs and Kisses,
Jacky, Rich, Ben & Jordan
(red is noteworthy)
(red is noteworthy)
|The Holy Girl|
|War of the Worlds|
|V is for Vendetta|
|The Lost City|
|A History of Violence|
|Down in the Valley|
|Da Vinci Code|
|The Butterfly Effect 2|
|The Sand Lot 2|
|Little Miss Sunshine|