Holiday Message 2022

  • 2022 Family Portraits
  • California 2022
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  • 2022 Midwest Vacation
  • 2022 Midwest Vacation
  • ChoralSounds Northwest
  • Christmas Choir Concet 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! We hope this letter finds you and yours healthy and happy and ready for 2023. Looking back at 2022, we are grateful for the many opportunities we had to travel, spend time with family and friends, and try new things.

For mid-winter break in February, we took a 2-year belated trip to California to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios with Jennifer, Ben’s mom. We had originally planned to go in April 2020. On our arrival day, we made our way to Santa Monica and enjoyed the evening walking up and down the pier and taking in the sights. Katie, Kyle, and Sarah had their first experience at Universal Studios, and we all enjoyed Harry Potter World for the first time. The Mummy, Jurassic Park, and Minion rides were favorites for everyone except Sarah. She had to sit out most of the amusement rides following her back injuries in 2021. The backlot tour was also a highlight.

Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars area of Disneyland, was a magical place for us all. We loved the way the whole area felt like we had walked into a Star Wars movie. Kyle struck up a conversation with a couple storm troopers, and they determined that Sarah was not the spy they were looking for. The consensus was that Rise of the Resistance was the best ride in that area of the park. The kids also got to make their own custom lightsabers in a “secret” hideout. It was such a cool experience! Over at California Adventure, we loved the Incredicoaster and the Cars ride (which Sarah could ride). Plus, we were able to enjoy the Corn Dogs we have been craving for the past 5 years while listening to a mariachi band play music from Encanto. It was well worth the wait…they were delicious. And, we walked a lot! On one day, we clocked more than 13 miles!!!

In March, Jennifer stayed with the kids for a few days while Sarah and Ben took their first trip to Sedona Arizona. They hiked, got up early to take photos at sunrise, took naps, had great food, and took lots of photos. We tried to hike at Cathedral Rock, but the parking lot was already full. We drove on to Yavapai Vista Point and enjoyed a chilly, but beautiful hike with very few people around. On our last afternoon in Sedona, we staked out a spot along Oak Creek to photograph Cathedral Rock at dusk. A beautiful pair of ducks kept us company as the light changed.

Our family of four spent Spring Break in New York City. We had a rough start as Kyle had a stomach bug a couple days before we left and Katie picked it up the day after we arrived. We improvised, modified our plans, split up and tag teamed to get the most of out our time while letting the kids recover. Despite the illness, we managed to see the Statue of Liberty, tour Freedom Tower, Rockefeller Square, FAO Schwartz, The LEGO Store, The Harry Potter Store, Chelsea Market, and Highline Park. We rode the subway all week, once taking it to the Brooklyn Bridge. We got out of the subway and walked across the bridge over to Kings County Distillery for a picnic dinner. On our way back to Manhattan, we stopped at Pebble Beach, in the Dumbo neighborhood, to take photos of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges at dusk. We all went on a walking food tour in Greenwich Village, although Kyle didn’t really enjoy it. We wrapped up the week by seeing a show. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was fantastic!!

In May, Steve & Laurie, Sarah’s parents, stayed with the kids for a weekend so that we could celebrate our 15th anniversary two years late in Cannon Beach. We went to a cooking demonstration and had a couple outstanding meals. We took photos of brown pelicans and spent time relaxing at the hotel.

The summer was a whirlwind of activities. We spread out the week of July 4th. Katie went to our conference church camp for a week. Sarah and her mom rented a tiny home on the St. Joe River in Idaho and spent a few days crafting and relaxing. Ben and Kyle flew to Redmond, Oregon to spend the holiday with Jennifer. Ben flew home after a weekend while Kyle stayed for Camp Grandma! Katie returned to the stage for a musical theater camp of Encanto. She was cast as Mirabel, the staring lead and was fantastic! And, Kyle spent a week away at Camp Colman.

We spent a week in the Midwest visiting family and friends. We started in Superior, Wisconsin with Sarah’s brother’s and his family. They took us to Enger Park in Duluth where we climbed to the top of Enger Tower to look over the Duluth port. We also spent an afternoon at the Duluth boardwalk. We were lucky and got to watch our niece/cousin Hope’s soccer practice, and the cousins got lots of pool time together. Our second stop of the trip was in Madison, Wisconsin, where we visited our friends, Christy, Tony, and their kids. We got to go to a birthday party, tour Christy’s business (Pasture & Plenty), visit the farmers market, have an indoor picnic, and tour the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It’s now on Katie’s list of colleges to consider! Our third and final stop of the trip was a visit with Ben’s brother’s family in Dexter, Michigan. We spent a day at Dow Gardens. It was beautiful, but the humidity was oppressive! We played games, the cousins played, we celebrated Spencer’s birthday, and had a nice dinner out, just for the adults.

The kids had a blast in Spokane in August at Camp Whit, with Sarah’s parents. They did everything from visiting Riverfront Park, to riding gondolas, visiting their great-grandma, turning wood bowls with Papa, making popsicles, and going to a Spokane Indians Game. Unfortunately, Ben tested positive for COVID while they were away. Kyle was homesick and came home in between when Ben fell ill and when Sarah did. Katie stayed with Laurie and Steve one more week so that she could still go on her weeklong hiking camp in the North Cascades with her best friend a week later. She learned how to fish, slept out under the stars, got eaten alive by mosquitos, and had THE BEST TIME! She’s already signed up for another weeklong hiking camp on the coast for July 2023. Ben was testing negative for COVID after 6 days; it took Sarah 13 days. Sarah continued to have brain fog and fatigue for another 3 weeks and was thankful when she was back to normal.

In September, Sarah joined Choral Sounds NW, a community choir in Burien, WA, with around 60 members. She has found the experience to be soul filling and has enjoyed her voice getting stronger with the addition of a weekly practice. Her Christmas concerts were a lot of work to prepare for, but so much fun! She continues to work for our church as well as sing in the choir and play in the ukulele band. Ben is in his 25th year at Glosten, now serving as Vice President and PelaStar Managing Director. PelaStar is a tension leg floating wind turbine platform for offshore wind turbines in deep-water that Ben has been involved with developing for the past 12 years. He and his team are currently working on securing funding to commercialize PelaStar. He also continues to be integrally involved in the audio/visual production of worship services at our church and avidly follows Formula 1 racing. Go McLaren!

Katie turned 14 in December and is in 8th grade. She loves school and is taking her math class at the high school. She plays the French Horn in band, takes piano lessons, sings in the church choir, and plays in the church’s ukulele band, along with Sarah. She’s been selected for the varsity basketball team this year, has developed a love for counted cross-stitch, and still loves playing D&D and collecting dice. She also got her braces off in June! Kyle is in 5th grade, his final year of elementary school! His favorite subject is history and his teachers tell us he is REALLY good at science. We are planning a trip to Boston in April 2023 so that we can see Revolutionary War locations while he is studying them in school. He continues to love all things LEGO, YouTube, cats, and Minecraft. The day after Katie got her braces off, Kyle started his orthodontia journey with a retainer. Palate expansion and braces are in his future.

There were many other joys and struggles in the past year, but those are the highlights we hope to remember. We are looking forward to seeing what 2023 brings us. We wish for your happiness, contentment, love, and peace.

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