When Susan and I got together I adopted her custom of sending a letter along with Holiday Cards. Somehow we never manage to get this out to everyone, so this year I’m posting it here as well. The image to the right is what we had printed on our card, and the letter follows:
Holiday Letter 2010
Hard to believe another year has come and gone but this one has been filled with lots of activity here in Hamilton/Kimball land. For a second year running our biggest news (and belly) is in the photo. We are expecting a little one of some variety yet to be determined sometime around January 8th. Preparations are in full swing and David’s getting in as much video gaming and toy purchasing as possible before the new arrival. We are very excited and can’t wait to see what we’ve been gestating here for the last 9 months. Once again, we were beat by not one but two Hamiltons in our exciting news. In April, Kirsten, Brian and Isabella welcomed Dashiel Carl into the world in Australia while Jesse, Michelle and Raven were busy introducing Benjamin Elliot to the Seattle scene. Fortunately for us, we are in the right position for hand-me-downs!
In preparation for our growing family, we bought a new house this spring and moved in the first of May. Leaving Holyoke was bittersweet. We’re no longer as close to many dear friends and the easy drive up Route 5 to Northampton, but neither of us will miss the city itself much, and we love our little cape in Belchertown. It’s located on a beautiful 3-acre lot with a 4 stall barn and horse ring and abuts 100s of acres of conservation land. We were sure the dogs would love this endless playground, and they do, but it turns out Soolin is more interested in stalking the neighbor’s cat than exploring the acreage. Still, it provides for fantastic daily walks off the lead that Soolin loves more than most things. We managed to get a garden in before it was too late in the spring and even did pretty well with it, bringing about what David dubbed the ‘tomatopocalypse’ in late summer. Our freezer’s stocked, we’re eying new canning techniques and a chest freezer for next season, and we figure we can grow a substantial portion of our child’s food for its first year on our own land. We also purchased chickens this fall, and fit in lots of indoor and outdoor house projects, including trying to coax some of the dozen or so apple trees on the land into producing apples next year. If David has his way, besides this baby, the chickens, and a kitten, we’ll end up with sheep, goats, and whatever else catches his fancy that will fit in 4 barn stalls.
Amidst all the excitement and happiness we’ve experienced this year we also suffered a terrible loss this summer. After a relatively brief battle with cancer we had to have our beloved dog Nori put to sleep. Shortly after moving to our new home she got quite sick and spent several weeks shuttling back and forth to the emergency vet here in Western Mass and finally to Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston for the cancer diagnosis. She died peacefully at home with us by her side and now rests among our flower beds where we visit her regularly. It’s not the same without her around and we miss her terribly, but we’re truly blessed to have shared the time with her that we had.
We’re both doing well at work despite some challenges. Both of us lost our long term bosses this year, with Susan’s heading off to a happy retirement and David’s moving on to greener pastures at NYU. The changes have been an adjustment but with new challenges come new opportunities and all that, and David was asked to serve in his boss’s role while the college searches for a replacement. That’ll take a year or so and in the interim, he reports that it’s mostly good to be the king. Both of us were also secretly nominated to serve on the college’s employee council, which was really gratifying for both of us and felt like an affirmation of the hard work and dedication we bring to our careers. Of course, we then turned them down 🙂 what with a baby on the way and David basically having two jobs for the next year it just felt like too much to take on.
The second annual deep fat turkey fry was much more successful this Thanksgiving with a yummy crispy-skinned, super-moist turkey breast replacing last year’s turkey sushi surprise. Susan still didn’t trust David to fry the “real” turkey so an 18-pounder was roasted in the traditional way leading to more leftovers than you can possibly imagine. We also managed to get some Twinkies into the oil this year but as Susan’s dad pointed out, we still spent more money on the oil than all the cooked things put together. Not the most efficient cooking method, apparently, but delicious all the same, and what price is too much for delicious on Thanksgiving!
Who knows if we’ll have recovered from becoming new parents by the time the next holiday letter is due but we’ll do our best. Until then, we hope you have a happy and healthy 2011.
Susan, David, & Soolin