Holiday Letter 2007

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 has had a wonderful year. She has really come into her own independence. She is well adjusted and happy. We have become accustomed to old favorites (remember elementary school jokes?) and new...Webkinz, High School Musical, American Girl, Hanana Montana. Who thought that a six year old could use the TIVO remote and iPOD as well as her parents?

Helena LOVES school! She is thriving in Ms. Grantham's 1st grade class. She loves to read and is currently cruising through the American Girl series. She also loves math and science. (Still not a great fan of P.E., but getting accustomed to "Standard School Attire.")

Helena is still taking dance. Her technique has really matured in the last six months. Her spring recital was to "Rock around the Clock." Her ballet class is close...we go to Pizza Perfect so the girls can play once a month!

Helena has bridged from Daisy scouts to Brownie scouts. She has done many fun activities this year...and even had her troop's picture in the paper for putting together "shoe box" gifts for the Kids Stuff USA project through Feed the Children (www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=org_kids_stuff_USA). The girls are learning to be independent thinkers and resourcefulness this year...it is amazing to watch.

Helena is wonderful...creative, thoughtful, smart, happy, loving, caring, imaginative....what a JOY!

Xander's News

Xander is a very active 4 year old. He loves the outdoors, running around, being a kid. He has really gotten into his Playmobil castle, and still loves dinosaurs, cars, rocket ships, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Xander is thoughtful and caring...he looks often out for his sister and cousin Anders. He loves pretending to be a ninja turtle warrior AND cuddles and hugs.

Xander is in the "cool" pre-K room at Temple this year. It is a HUGE hexagon-shaped room with many, many "stations" with things to do. He really likes the legos and other construction materials and the science (rock, skeletons, etc) stations. This year he went on a field trip to Owl's Hill Sanctuary with his daddy. They are pictured here on the hayride.

Xander has developed a special relationship with his friend John. They have play dates whenever Kristin and Eileen (Brownie leaders) take the sisters to a Brownie meeting or event. Nathanael has really enjoyed watching their friendship blossom as they have spent more time together.

Xander is wonderful...spontaneous, excited, thoughtful, caring, creative, imaginative, loving...what a JOY!

Charlotte Kresge

This was a very sad year on the Kresge side. Charlotte Kresge, my grandma and my children's GG, died. What do you do when someone you love passes on? We each deal with it on our own private way. You really come to terms with the value of life, the values of the roles others play in your life, the importance of family, and, in this case, the deep respect for your elders. My Granddad is amazing. He has taught me what unconditional love really means. My Grandma was the epitome of love and family. She taught us over the years how to go on with Kresge traditions.

And sorrow takes time...just last week I found Xander in his secret hiding spot (behind the couch) hugging the photo we have of the kids and GG. I asked if he was OK and he said in his quiet voice "Yup." Helena is very family oriented and has always listed out the family members she is thankful for in her nightly prayers. She has changed it to "Thank you for Pop. And my GG in heaven." She get teary eyed every time she says it.

I get teary at weird times, and the obvious (like writing this letter). It breaks my heart to see Granddad without Grandma. They have always been together.

With time I suppose you remember without the gulp in your throat.

Special Events

Helena's 6th Birthday

Helena had a special "Sweet and Sassy" birthday this year. The girls dressed up in their stardom galore and danced on the runway. Helena was euphoric. It was a great day!

Helena's birthday was also special for our family because it was the last time GG (Grandma Kresge) visited our house. The kids often remember how happy GG was "at Helena's party." Sadly, Pop (Grandad Kresge)was in rehab for a broken hip and couldn't be with us.

A visit to Indiana

Over Memorial Day Weekend we drove to visit our cousins in Indiana. The cousins have really grown close and it is a joy to let them loose to "play." We visited the Indiana Zoo, saw a movie, and our favorite...played in the back yard. The Schabels have also come to visit us several times this year. The cousins are so close, it is amazing to watch their pretend play, puppet shows, and make-believe adventures.

Helena and Grayson Visit Disneyland

Grandma and Gee-Dad took Helena and Grayson to Disneyland in June. The cousins truly had a magical adventure!

A visit from Grandpa Marc & Father's Day

Grandpa Marc also came to visit in June. We visited the Zoo with the Schabels and the grand play ground. We also celebrated Father's Day at Jon and Julie's house. What fun!

A trip to Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Grandma Pam and Grandpa Tommy took the kids to ride the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. They spent the night in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel...in a boxcar! They also saw model train museum. What an adventure!

Abba and Omma Visit

Abba and Omma came to visit. They spent the week with Helena and Xander..taking them to Cheekwood Art Camp. Many wondrous creations were made! The kids made "Pigs-in-the-Blanket" with Omma. We spent a lazy afternoon in Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Becca's river. We all had a great Japanese dinner with Jonathan and Becca too.

Xander's 4th Birthday

Xander had a "Cars" birthday this year. We invited his friends over to the backyard for slip-n-slide fun, dinner, pinata, and cake. Everyone had a blast! (Xander actually celebrated his birthday 3 times this year...once with Abba & Omma, once with Grandma Ann when we scavenger hunted for his new bike, and once with his friends...and he blew out the candles for each one!)

A visit from GG Marvene

GG Marvene, Nathanael's Grandmother, came to visit in July. We had a summer river bash at Aunt Becca and Uncle Jonathan's with GG Marvene's family who had come up from Florida. The kids played in the river and the food was sooo yummy! The left photo is GG Marvene and her brother, Linn. The right photo is of the kids and Kristin with GG Marvene.

A trip to Vermont & New Hampshire

Our big family trip this year was to visit our relatives in Vermont and New Hampshire. After a LOOOOONNNNNGG flight and drive to Alburg, VT, we had a GREAT farm vacation with Aunt Kim and Uncle George. (We got in at 4 AM in the morning!) We picked blackberries and made jam. We grilled and had friends over for dinner (and bubbles). We toasted marshmallows and made s'mores. We found frogs and took photos of flowers and baby birds. We discovered a great cooking magazine, "Eating Well." We visited the ECHO center and had hot dogs and ice cream. We explored in Aunt Kim's almost renovated house and played in the "kids" room. The kids were euphoric.

Then we drove to Hardwick, VT, to visit Nat's Uncle Charlie and Aunt Kathy. We played in the lake (twice), we made a tent outside and made a shadow show. We played musical instruments. We used the grinder to grind seed. We visited Nick, Juliette, and baby Eva (and enjoyed playing with their dogs in the pond). Xander sat on Uncle Charlie's motorcycle. Helena explored Aunt Kathy's art studio. We hunted crawdads and had ice cream. Wow!

Then we drove to Sandown, NH, to visit Kristin's Uncle Bruce and Auntie Sharon. At this point we were very tired and watched a bit of TV. We have a wonderful dinner with cousin Kate, and husband Dennis, and cousin Jared, and fiancee Katie. We discovered that Kate and Kristin LOOK like cousins! The middle photo is of Kristin's cousin Kate and her husband Dennis. The end photo is of Kristin's cousin Jared and his fiancee, Katie.

What a WONDERFUL trip! Thanks to all!

A Visit from Malina

It was great to spend some time with Nathanael's sister, Malina, before she left for the U.K. We had a nice dinner and movie out without kids. We also had a wonderful joint Aunt Donna Birthday Party / Malina Going Away Party at Aunt Donna's house. It was extra special because by brother, David, came down from Kentucky, who I also don't get to see very often. Malina is doing a masters program at Bournemouth University in England. Check out the photo albums to see her visit to Michael and Lynn in the Faroes and Bournemouth.

Kristin and Nathanael's Birthday

It was a nice surprise to have a spontaneous family reunion on the Labor Day Weekend...the weekend we always celebrate Kristin and Nathanael's birthday at Temple Hills club. There was swimming, food, bubbles, and music. Grayson climbed all the way to the top of the climbing wall! And of course...Fireworks! Here are some selected photos from the evening.

A trip to Hawaii

Nathanael and I visited Honolulu, HI, on a business trip this fall (fun, eh!). Nathanael really felt that he connected with his childhood roots. It was beautiful and amazing and wonderful. I was really impressed with how diverse the landscape of Lanai was...the ocean, the mountains. Nathanael really enjoyed the local food. We look forward to taking the kids back someday!

Celebration of Cultures

We meet Grandma Pam at the Celebration of Cultures this fall in Centennial Park. We had a great time listening to music and watching dance from other cultures. Helena and Grandma Pam enjoyed getting Henna prints on their hands. Xander and Daddy really liked the Bocce Ball. Xander shied away from partaking of the international cuisine choosing instead...a giant corn dog!

Aunt Marilyn Moves to Nashville

We are so excited that Aunt Marilyn, Lindsay's sister, has moved back to the Nashville area from Memphis. She lives in Kingston Springs, about 15 minutes from our house. Helena and Xander have enjoyed getting to know Aunt Marilyn better. The especially had fun helping make ornaments to decorate her Christmas Tree.

Day to Day Activities

In a normal week Helena and Xander go to school during the week and have "Momma and Daddy Days" on the weekend. Everday Grandma Ann picks up the kids at 3 and watches them until around 6 when we get home. This is a tremendous gift and blessing for us. And Grandma Pam and Grandpa Tommy routinely have Helena and Xander overnight - helping our trade show routine, as well giving us time to ourselves. Everyday we are amazed at how lucky we are in the family department.

Nathanael and Kristin, and Kristin's brother Jon, are still working at BIOQUANT Image Analysis Corporation. ( www.bioquant.com ) BIOQUANT develops and sells image analysis software that is used in academic and pharmaceutical biomedical research, especially for bone diseases like osteoporosis and brain diseases like Alzheimer's. The company continues its exciting growth, reaching new people all the time. It's wonderful to be able to work with your family, make a contribution to society, and be able to support your family.

We continue to be active in the Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist congregation ( www.gnuuc.org ) Nathanael involved with the Worship committee this year and is in charge of 4 services. He also enjoys doing the "Event for All Ages" (children's story during service) once a month. Kristin is still chair of the Children's RE committee. This year she is teaching the elementary kids a unique "Culture Camp" curriculum that explores peace building activities with different cultures throughout the world.

Congratulations are Due

Congratulations to my brother, David Bishop, for graduating this December 07!

We are excited about all of the new change with family members happening in 2008:
  • Jonathan and Rebecca Reveal are expecting a baby girl in May.
  • Brian Hollenbeck and Amy Feiker are expecting a baby in May.
  • Jared Hasfjord and Katie Foti are engaged to be married in June.
  • Our good friends Min and Guangzu's daughter, Linda Zhang, is engaged to be married in June.
Congratulations to all and our best wishes in your new adventures!

Closing Wishes 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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