2010 Letter

Greetings one and all -

I hope that this letter finds everyone in good health and with an abundance of happiness and joy. We find ourselves closing out another year with more appreciation and thanks than years past. Not that 2010 has been more difficult or trying than other years, but the overall climate we’re living in seems to call for it. I do find that living with the awareness and presence of the good things provides a welcomed sense of calm.

Ainsley has been very busy this year. She was in her first major theater show, the Kids at Play production of Seussical. She was one of the “Whos” and even had a wonderfully executed one liner in the middle of the play. The play was very well done and was very fun to watch. We should know, we saw all five shows. She is continuing to take piano lessons and Irish dancing, both of which keep our Mondays full and provide us with several performances throughout the year. She also took her first major trip without us this year when she accompanied Grandma Sue and Grandpa Mike to Arizona to visit her cousins Austin and Jamie. She loved the plane ride, swimming in their pool, the 80+ degrees November weather , the rock climbing and the pedicure. We loved that she came home at all. Of course, this trip was harder on me and Christy, as we’ve never been that far apart in either distance or duration. She’s getting old and really grown up - it’s hard.

Finley is, well he’s Finn. He oscillates between a super active, jumping, sliding, toy car crashing, gun shooting ball of energy and a loving cuddly little boy who reminds us that he is still our baby. In November he took part of the Smaller Ballers program, which met every Tuesday night for four weeks to learn a new sport: soccer, basketball, baseball and football. Let’s just say that Christy and I now have our retirement program figured out - Finn is an athlete and will soon be recruited by the Mariners. His throwing accuracy during the baseball section was stellar and his power at the plate was astonishing. He also displayed great speed and agility during the many rounds of Tiger Tag, Red Light Green Light and the football cone course. Basically he’s a stud. The real question now is where did he get that from? The closest I ever came to being athletic was being awarded Mr. Hustle at a basketball camp and let’s face it that award is for people who try hard but have no real skills. Maybe it comes from Grandpa Jim and it skipped a generation.

Jade is our big little girl. On most days she lives and acts beyond her years and always provides us reminders of just how girl she is. This goes beyond the obsession with all things pink. She loves the theater, singing, dancing, ballet, dressing up, shopping, wearing makeup, anything chocolate, and shopping (no, that isn’t a typo). Given her likes, spending time with the chocolate loving shopping guru that is Grandma Sue is a match made in heaven. Jade continues to let us know where she stands on all things at all times. She is unwavering, she can’t be bribed or coerced for anything. It is impressive. Although I will say that I am sometimes a little too sensitive to this fact - when I ask for a hug or some snuggle loving and she responds with “no thanks” or just a blank stare that says “no chance”, I can’t help but feel a little slighted.

Christy continually redefines the term domestic goddess. I always thought her obsessive list making was a little crazy, but I have come to really appreciate it - those lists keep us alive and well. Her list making skills are actually unparalleled - these list are multi-dimensional works of art. These lists work on time (day,week and month), financial, spatial, participant (whole family, Christy, etc.) and activity axes. To the naked eye, she is just writing entries into a calendar, but in reality she is creating a NASA-esque project plan. It is not the faint of heart. She’s the best.

I am still working for the Department of Ecology. I find myself appreciating this fact more and more with each passing month. This job provides us with a nice, warm place to call home in a neighborhood that the kids can play in with friends nearby. That makes lots of things tolerable. We finished our major application and released it to the masses this year. It was embraced by some and less so by others. It is an odd phenomenon, the sounds of the discontent, no matter how baseless or few in numbers, are louder and harder to ignore compared to those of a positive persuasion. This can probably be said of our national political climate as well. Change is hard and sometimes no matter how much you try, you can’t make this process easier for everyone. This lesson has been hard to receive. My faith lies in knowing that I did everything I could with what I had to work with, we are better off than we were a year ago and everything is a work in progress.

A couple of weeks ago I asked all three kids what the best part of the year was. Here are their answers:

Finn: Ainsley’s welcome home ice cream party. The sharks at the zoo (3x). Going swimming at the YMCA. Making the sign for when Ainsley came home. Watching Seussical. Seeing Frog and Toad and Grease.
Ainsley: When Carol came over. Going to Arizona. Coming home from Arizona. Going to Seattle for her birthday. Going swimming at the YMCA. Being in Seussical. Seeing Aida.
Jade: Missing Ainsley. Ainsley’s welcome home ice cream party. Going to the zoo: the peacock. The pictures on the playroom wall. Going swimming at the YMCA. Painting the house. Watching Seussical, Grease and Frog and Toad, and Aida.

The take aways: my kids like ice cream, swimming and going to musicals.

May 2011 be full of peace, love and good happiness stuff.

Best Wishes,

Tony, Christy, Ainsley, Finley and Jade