Holiday Letter 2004

December 2004
Friends-

Holiday Greetings from Elmira, New York, where The Home School Experiment has begun. The fact that Connor is not yet reading is causing some difficulties, but it makes deciding what to teach first pretty easy. With the help of educational TV and videos Eric figures this home schooling thing will take about two hours a day of Eric’s time. Ellen is skeptical, but Eric has spent even less time than that so far.

A pleasingly uninteresting year on the home front. No car accidents, no foster children, no new babies. We even skipped our annual summer gathering. We did have Ellen’s sister Monica here for a long, long, long time. The extra dishes to wash and the occasional errand Ellen does for her sister have been a boon in helping to fill Ellen’s free time.

Ellen seems to be interested in home improvement again, so changes are happening. A second floor bathroom awaits its fate. The shed out back is becoming (in the loosest sense of the word “becoming”, but the phrase “awaiting the arrival of a contractor who apparently has better things to do until the weather warms before becoming” seemed awkward as anything other than a parenthetical remark) a playhouse. Eric’s office is getting closer to completion. The stained glass windows, completed in 2002 (and started before recorded history), are now installed. For those of you keeping score at home you may note that Eric’s office project began in 2001. Our 2002 Holiday greeting noted that piles of sand and gravel cluttered our parking lot and that an old stone barbecue was being . . . improved. Still working on those.

The kids are doing well. After an extremely needy first six months, Kate has become very independent. Scarily independent. We are still waiting on Connor to become independent. Kate is out of the closet in the maid’s quarters (the house has a maid’s suite – the house does not have a maid), which served Connor well before her, and into her own room. Not much to say about Kate as you really have to be near her to appreciate her. Actually, you need to be near her when she’s in a good mood to appreciate her; otherwise the best you can do is appreciate Ellen a little bit more. There will be no family roadtrips in 2005 as Eric and Kate don’t travel well together. Since we won’t be traveling and Kate is best appreciated in person, everyone who reads this should come and visit. Anytime works for us.

As Kate continues to test Ellen’s sense of humor, Connor continues to demonstrate his. We have dozens of amusing Connor anecdotes, but here are two little ones. Sometime early in 2004, before Connor turned three, Kate was crawling on the floor in the kitchen after Oliver the cat. Eric said “Connor, don’t chase Oliver” to Kate. Connor looked-up, puzzled and Eric, realizing his mistake, said “I called Kate ‘Connor’; but, don’t worry, I can tell you two apart.” Connor, without missing a beat, replied: “Why did you call Kate ‘Connor’, Connor? Ha, ha Daddy. I called you ‘Connor'”. Over the summer, Monica’s friend Tracey came to visit for a couple of days. She laid down on Connor’s bed and made the claim, “This is my bed now”. Connor, after determining that Tracey wasn’t moving soon and assessing his prospects for physically moving her, quickly turned it into a battle of wits and said: “I wouldn’t touch that pillow with my head Miss Tracey. I get chunks out of my nose and wipe them on the pillow.” As Tracey jumps out of the bed Connor hops in with a “Ha, ha. Just kidding Miss Tracey.”

Wishing you a happy holiday season and an interesting new year,

Eric, Ellen, Connor & Kate

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