Our annual Christmas letter, 2018


Dear family and friends,

This was the year we finally became grownups! We started our year living in our little one-bedroom apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens, but in January we went to an open house and found an apartment to buy in Briarwood, Queens. If you’ve bought an actual house before, then you’re probably used to the idea that you can have the whole thing done in just a few weeks, but co-ops — like pretty much everything else in New York — are complicated and involve all sorts of approvals from all sorts of people, so we didn’t actually move in until 1 June. We have a long list of things we want to do to fix the place up. It’s going to be amazing when we’re done with it. For now, we wouldn’t describe it as amazing, but we love having more space and being able to see something out of our windows.

Our favorite things about our new apartment:

  • Heath: The Christmas tree (we’ve always had a Christmas tree before, but this is the first year that it’s taller than Dustin, since we have the space).
  • Colin: Our flowers and plants in the garden room.
  • Fiona: That it’s bigger. Also the closets.
  • Dustin: That it has doors. As in, we don’t always all have to be in the same room all the time, like our old apartment.
  • Susan: The fireflies that we could see out our back window at night in the summer.

Later in the summer, we decided it was time to see more of this state we’ve called home for seven and a half years now, so we went on a road trip around upstate New York. We camped in the Adirondacks, went to Lake Placid (Susan’s new favorite place in the world), popped into Canada for a few hours (mostly for Tim Hortons), relaxed on a lawn in front of our retro motel in the Thousand Islands region, and bought a gallon jug of maple syrup in Cooperstown, next door to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. And we came home with a deeper love and appreciation for our adopted home state (well, for Colin and Heath, just their home state, since they were born here).

Fiona finished her first (and, we assume, only) year of homeschool/unschool in June. At that point, she hated writing and we had pretty much given up trying to find an approach that she liked. Miraculously, when she started at her new school in September, she discovered that writing is fun, and she has developed a very amusing writing style that frequently involves her otter sidekick, Slyder. She was also baptized in July, when she turned eight.

Colin started prekindergarten in September at a school up the street from our new apartment. He really likes playing with friends and learning about buildings. He recently got his own library card, which he uses to check out books at the library that’s a couple blocks away. He would like to read hot dog books, but since he’s never found one, he reads about other topics instead. He turns five next month.

Heath turned three in September, and when asked about his favorite thing to do, he said “sleep,” which we think may be a fib, as he is not the most diligent sleeper in our family. He does like running, spinning, yelling, playing with trains, and walking to pick up Colin from school and Fiona from her bus stop. He is a great little friend for his brother and sister and a good helper, especially with cooking.

Dustin embarked on a project in January: 52 Houses of Worship in 52 Weeks. Because of our move, and life in general, his scheduling has been thrown off a bit, so it may end up being 52 Houses of Worship in 104 Weeks. But however long it takes, he has appreciated seeing New York City and its history from a new perspective and discovering treasures of art and architecture in places he had often passed but never ventured inside.

Susan is still teaching at Brooklyn Preparatory High School, where her students are great and getting nerdier every year. She is always planning projects, mostly sewing, baking, and home improvement, and occasionally completing some of them.

As always, we’re grateful to count you among our loved ones. We hope that 2018 was as good to you as it was to us and that 2019 will be even better.

Merry Christmas
& Happy New Year!

With our love,
Susan, Dustin, Fiona, Colin, & Heath

Clockwise from top left: Fiona + Slyder, Colin, Susan, Heath, and Dustin in the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Lower Manhattan, 12 December 2018

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