Holiday Letter 2010

Welcome All to the 2010 Reveal Family Holiday Letter


This is a summary of the events in our life this year. Enjoy the photos and the stories. After you're done here, please browse around through the photo albums and family trees, there's lots more to see!

Helena's News


Helena is growing up!  What a wonderful treat it is to hold an intellectual conversation with a spirited 9 year old! Helena is maturing into her name, which means "bright one."  She is reading at a high school level, loves math, loves school. She still loves American Girl stories and dolls, legos (she is a master builder), and playing on her computer. And she is funny, makes you laugh, and always brightens your day!

Helena has bridged up to a Junior Girl Scout. This means more independence with earning badges, camping, and service projects. Helena loves Girl Scout camp, earning badges and hanging out with her scout friends. In this photo the girls are about to host dinner at the 'Junior Cafe" for their families.  They cooked the entire meal...breakfast for dinner...pancakes, turkey bacon, egg toast, fruit salad, Orange Julius...yum!

Check out a video of the skit we did for Summer Camp: Clueless Camper


Helena loves horses!  Here she is riding at a Girl Scout Camporee.


One of Helena's favorite events this year was attending the Celebration of Cultures with her troop. This helped them earn the World Neighbors badge. Here she is dressed in a kimono.


Helena still loves ballet and is in her sixth year at Bellevue Dance Center.  She is now in the 1.5 hour class with the black leotard.  She is very lucky in that there only four girls in the class and they are best friends who have been in dance since they were 4 years old! All four girls are also in Helena's Junior Girl Scout troop.
Check out Helena's Dance Practice Video.




Last Spring, Helena got her ears pierced.  We joked that she must have super healing abilities...we waited 6 weeks to take out the studs...and had to re-pierce them next morning, as the holes had closed. We tried again about 2 months. Same result. Finally we waited 3 months with success.

Here is Helena in her music performance last spring.  This was her favorite song.  Helena's Music Performance.

Helena is a kind, funny, playful soul that is coming into her own. What a blessing in our lives!

Xander's News

Xander is a pure picture of the fun and spirited elementary school kid!  He loves playing outdoors, insects, critters, leaves, acorns, rocks, water, mud.  He also loves "electronics" of all kids - ds, wii, computer, tv, movies. His favorite computer game is Spore - an evolution game where you take your creature from a single celled organism through to the space age. 

Xander very much enjoys Boy Scouts. He made his first pinewood derby car this year.


Xander earned a ton of belt loops at Cub Scout summer camp.  Belt loops are da bomb!


One of Xander's favorite events this year was the Honeysuckle Farms campout. The entire family almost froze when the temperature went down to the 30s during a Boy Scout campout Halloween weekend.  We had purchased our first "family sized" tent and went out to Honeysuckle Farms for the night corn maze and fall fest activities the next day. (pumpkin patch, pumpkin trebuchet, pig race, etc.)  It was SOOO cold! We slept in our clothes AND winter coats inside our sleeping bags.  We still had a good time and had a fabulous hot breakfast contributed to by all the families that stayed.

Check out the movies:  Popcorn popper, Giant Pumpkin Shooter

For Xander's 7th birthday we took his two closest friends to The Last Airbender movie.  Both Xander and Helena have seen the cartoon anime series several times and were so excited to see the movie.  (The movie is not as good as the tv series...the youthful humor was missing..but the kids were still happy...)

Xander loves dragons of all kinds. His favorite books are the Dragonology books. He loves everything about them and their stories...their scales, their wings, their fables, the flight, the jewels, the swords, the mystery. So of course we had a deadly nader visit us come Halloween! Unfortunately the wings did not work well..so by Halloween night he had changed to his last year's costume (dragon ninja of course).

Here is Xander in his music concert last Spring.  It had a beach theme...Xander is NOT in the first few frames, but then Nathanael finds him.  He is wearing sunglasses and an orange beach towel is around his neck.  Xander's Music Performance

For all of Xander's activity, he has a quiet, thoughtful, and spiritual soul. What a blessing in our lives!

Special Events

A Trip to Knoxville



In May we trekked to Knoxville to visit our friends Lynn and Jeff and their children Noah and Naomi.  Naomi had just turned 1! We went hiking, swimming, and had breakfast ala downtown Knoxville. Helena and Xander got to sleep in Noah's room and everyone got to know Naomi a bit more. It was a grand weekend!

Flood of 2010


On May 2, 2010, Nashville had six months of rain in two days. The Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers, plus tributaries, flooded. Opryland was evacuated and flooded. The historic 2nd avenue area flooded. Much of the community we live in, Bellevue, also flooded.  Jonathan and Rebecca Reveal's family was hard hit. Nathanael's brother Jonathan and his wife Rebecca showed up at our house at 5:30 AM on Sunday. The dog woke them up at 4 AM and they noticed the water was half way up their back yard. By the time they packed up 2 cars and knocked on as many neighbor's doors as possible, the water was up to the deck. The front lawn was already flooded. They arrived at our house with two car loads, their 2 year old daughter Laura, two cats, and their dog. Their house is in the photo above. Jonathan and Rebecca's house ended up with 58 inches of water inside! It was totaled and they lost all of the possessions that they didn't bring with them.  Read more about the flood.


One joy that came out of this tragedy is that Jonathan, Rebecca, and Laura stayed with us this past summer while they decided what to do. Abba and Omma were in town much of the time too...so the house felt like we were on vacation all summer. Laura quickly became integrated in as one of the kids and now knows how to stand up for herself and protect what is hers. She also knows how to make a kid pile on the couch at the end of the day when a movie seems the only solution to wiped-out kids. I don't know how many times we watched Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro this summer! Most of all we were reminded that family and the love that binds it together is the most valuable possession of all.

Through donations and aid and tons of help from others Jonathan and family are almost done with the financial and logistic night mare that is associated with natural disaster.
They have since sold their totaled house to an investor and are waiting for the contact to go through on a new beautiful house that is not in the flood plain!

Abba and Omma Visit

Abba and Omma can to visit and help out again this summer from the Faroes.  We had some outings...breakfast at a place you cook the pancakes at the table, the Chihuly Exhbit at Cheekwood, the Zoo....but most of all they helped out with the hectic schedule as our household was so full. It was a blessing to have their help!


Abba and Helena out on a day trip down the Natchez.
Becca, Omma, Helena, Xander, and Laura at the Chihuly Exhibit.




Indiana Water Park



The Schabels and the Reveals had a blast at an indoor water park this summer.  Kristin's favorite ride was the "lazy river" inner tube ride.  Everyone else eventually did ALL of the water rides...even the one that is pitch black. I think the favorite was the one shaped like a toilet bowl that you spin around in your inner tube and then get flushed down.  Kristin was too busy taking photos to do all the rides...check them out in the albums. It was a fabulous vacation treat ... everyone had SOOO much fun!  Check out videos:  Nathanael & Helena down the bowl, Grayson down the bowl, Nathanael and Xander down the bowl, Xander lazy river, Hello from Xander and Helena

Thanksgiving Reunion

Kresge Side

Officially this year was our year to have Thanksgiving giving with Nat's folks, however, as the Feiker clan and Kresge clan decided to descent upon Nashville to visit Grandad, we had the joy of getting to visit with them for Thanksgiving morning. It was really fun to catch up with Liz and Steve who stayed with us and with Brian, Amy, little Julia, Aunt Kim, Uncle George, Uncle Marty, Connie, and her significant other JJ. Helena and Xander especially enjoyed having Sophie spend the night for several nights during their stay.  The kids made a fabulous "Thanksgiving" feast for us out of acorns, twigs, leaves, and such. And then the Schebals decided to come the weekend after Thanksgiving...we gave Kimberly, Mom, and I an opportunity to do what girls do best...shop! (And the kids an opportunity to spend an entire day in the PJs!)

Volk-Kramer Side

Then we proceeded onto Grandma Pam and Grandpa Tommy's house for the big feast! We were happy to dine with some good friends of the family, making the count 15!  We had a great time catching up with friends and talking about plans for Malina and Rich's wedding this coming summer. And of course eating!


Malina was in town all week visiting from Hawaii. (Her last visit as a single woman!) We had a ton of fun at Opryland and visiting David's Bridal to try to flower girl dresses (Helena is going to be the flower girl.) I am going to save these photos for next year after the wedding..

Nashville Family and Favorite Photos...
We are very lucky to live in the same town as a huge extended family on both sides. We've come to depend on our Nashville family for everything from large multi-person birthday parties to short visits.  Mom (Ann) now watches Helena, Xander, and Isabel after school and is often found taking care of Anders and Laura too! Grandma Pam and Grandpa Tommy are always available for much needed kid overnights (much needed by the kid's parents that is...). Aunt Donna hosts a fabulous Christmas Ornament exchange every year. And it is great to have brothers, Jon and Jonathan and their families in town.  The kids LOVE seeing their cousins so much and really miss the out-of-towners! Here is a sampling of favorite photos from Nashville events throughout the year:


Kristin's Mother's (Ann's) Grandchildren: Miles, Grayson, Helena, Anders, Xander, and Isabel/
Check out cousins Limbo Video and Dance Party Video.

Kristin and Laura

Xander and Helena

This is a great one of Grandad!


Mom and half of her grands...


A great one of the beginning of the trick-or-treating expedition.  Aunt Becca, Xander, Helena, and Laura.

The infamous Birthday Bash - Nathanael, Aunt Donna, Kristin, Grandad/Pop

GNUUC

I thought I might mention how much of a role the Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Congregation plays in our lives. I'm not much of a religion promoter, but to get a real glimpse in our lives you would have to include GNUUC.  Helena has four really good girl friends that she is best buds with. Xander has a group of kids just as active and engaged as he is as buds. The kids have had excellent Religious Education teachers and topics. Nathanael and I have made close friends who respect and stroke our talents. It is great to find such a haven in the bible belt of the south.


Here Nathanael is helping the kids with "Evolution" Spirit beads. Kristin and Nathanael often do the inter-aged summer curricula. Last year we discovered rain forests. This year we journeyed through evolution and made these spirit beads at the end.  Kristin and Nathanael are facilitating the Coming of Age class this year.


By far the family loves the Spring Retreat the best! Here Xander is soaked and Helena is looking out over the lake.

Expanding Household

We are excited to have an ever growing household.  Helena and Xander have received an early Christmas present of two guinea pigs!  Helena also brought home two African dwarf frogs, as any fourth grader should.  Plus we have the three hermit crabs and of course our two cats.  We were going to take a new family photo with our pets, but they don't all get along...so here are the ones that do...


Fluffy King Peter Reveal (black and white) and Calico Ivy Reveal (brown and white)


Oliver Reveal and Nee-Nee Reveal



Our African Dwarf Frogs






Our Hermies.  Left: Habitiat: There is one between the water and food dishes and one next to the log under the plant and one hiding.  Right: This one is saying, "hi!"

Closing Wishes

Wishing for Peace

We are mindful of the places in the world where people are in danger. We hold in our thoughts and prayers the hope of peace.

We wish all the best to you and your's in the coming year.

With love, Kristin, Nathanael, Helena, and Xander

"Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule." Buddha


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