Holiday Letter 2005

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 in her second year at Abintra Montessori. She is quite happy there. Her latest interest is constructing maps of Earth. She has joined a Ballet class with a friend, Zoe, from Abintra. Her first recital was December 4th. She was proud and excited and nervous. The local Kresge, Hasfjord, Reveal, Bishop, Volk family was in attendance. Helena's favorite book these days is Green Eggs and Ham. She is able to read large parts of it independently and this pleases her to no end.

Here's a movie clip from Helena's final rehearsal before her first ballet recital.

Xander's News

Xander loves his teachers Lori and Margo. Margo was one of Helena's teachers while she was at Temple Playschool ( ) Xander is constructing complete sentences these days and enjoying his new found ability to communicate. Some of his favorite things to say are:

(Upon waking) It's a beautiful day!
I want to play trains and watch Thomas.
I'm not hungry. I want to play trains.
As you might have guessed, Xander is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. Through various garage sales, gifts, and our own strategic purchases, we have assembled a train table setup that keeps Xander and Helena engaged in self-narrated play for hours.

Here's a movie clip of Xander playing with his train table. Thanks to the magic of PBS and TiVo, there's always an episode of Thomas and Friends around. This is how Xander watches his favorite show.

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. This year Helena is in school five days a week. Xander is at playschool MWF and with Grandma on TTh. Everday Grandma picks up the kids at 3 and watches them until 6 when we get home. This is a tremendous gift and blessing for us. Everyday we are amazed at how lucky we are in the family department.

Grandma and the kids visit GG and Pop several times a week. GG and Helena especially love hugs. Pop and Xander have developed a special "buddy" relationship. Xander will walk into Pop's office and pull his finger toward the door so he can go outside. We are SOOO happy the kids have this time with their "greats."

Xander will soon be joined by his new cousin Anders Thomas Hasfjord at Temple Playschool This adds another car seat to Grandma's already busy minivan. Anders is a joy. He is such a happy baby! He could hold his head up very early. He is facinated by people and lights like most babies. He just started laughing and sticking his tongue out at people.

Nathanael and Kristin are still working at BIOQUANT Image Analysis Corporation. ( ) 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 congregration ( ) Nathanael is the Secretary of the Board. Kristin is co-chair of the Children's RE committee. We are also running the Sr. High Youth group, which meets weekly in our downstairs. It is been a really rewarding experience.

Special Events

A visit to Indiana

In February we treked up to visit cousins in Indiana for Miles' baptism. During this visit the cousins visited the Inidanapolis Children's Museum. Highlights of the expedition included pretending to be a dinosaur, a huge model train exhibit, and playing house in a house!

Helena's 4th Birthday

The original plan was to have Helena's birthday party at the neighborhood Red Caboose Park. Unpredictable weather led us to reschedule at the last minute to The Fire Station, a pottery painting shop. A wonderful time was had by all.

Kids go to the Frist Center

The Frist Center recenlty hosted an exhibit that included Giovanni Paolo Pannini's Interior of a Picture Gallery with the Collection of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga. We received a post card in the mail with this painting on the front. Xander and Helena spent weeks looking at it each night before they went to bed. We finally made plans to go to the Frist Center. Xander and Helena got to the painting and stood in awe. It was a wonderful day. (This photo is not of the painting we went to see - no photos allowed there...)

Pam Volk and Tommy Kramer

Last year, Jonathan and Rebecca Reveal moved to Nashville. This year, it was Nathanael's mom's and her husband, Tommy's turn! Pam's a high school Spanish teacher at one of Nashville's magnet schools. She's busy but happy! Tommy's a history teacher. Having fled the rediculous housing market on California, they were able to buy a lovely house in North Nashville with a big flat backyard and room plenty of room for grandkids. Coincidentlaly, their house is also about 10 minutes from the movie theaters at the Opry Mills Mall. Nat and Kristin were quick to notice this. Now the kids get quality time with their grandparents and Nat and Kristin can watch move movies!

Xander's 2nd Birthday

Xander was lucky to have his birthday fall in the middle of the Kresge reunion. He had 30 guests, including all of his cousins! The Thomas the Tank engine theme was a hit, as was the wading pool. Thank you to Jon and Julie for hosting in their new house!

Kristin's Birthday at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival

For Kristin's birthday we took the family to a staging of Twelfth Night in Centennial Park. It was so hot. Xander and I sat under an improvised shade canopy waiting for the show to start. Helena thought it was pretty interesting. Not quite as good Midsummer Night's Dream which actually features a character named Helena!

Welcome Anders

This has been a special year anticipating the growth of Jon and Julie's family. We had a great baby shower for them in early September when Julie was on bed rest. Anders arrived September 20, 2005. Now he is smiling and starting to show his sense of humor. Wow.

Reveal Family Summer Travels

Florida for Martha's Wedding

Kristin's long time friend Martha Grace married Tim Ross in a beach ceremony in Florida. Kristin and Nat left the kids with Grandma Ann and went off for a short vacation to attend the wedding. We stayed in a great bed and breakfast called the Hibiscus House ( In addition to the wedding, we got in two movies, some shopping, and lots of sleep!

Washington DC for Neuroscience

The 2005 Society for Neuroscience meeting was held in Washington DC. Nat and Kristin took a day to walk on the National Mall. Kristin had been there before on family trip. Nat growing up in Hawaii didn't have the traditional junior high class trip to DC. We got to see the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the Lincoln Monument. After that, we took our photos at the Albert Einstein statue outside the National Academy of Sciences. After that, we visited the National Air and Space Museum. Nat got to touch a moon rock. The Planetarium show was a nice rest after all that walking. We had dinner in a great restaurant in Chinatown. They had a great "Chinese Broccoli" dish. It brought Nat back to his days in China.

Montgomery Bell Family Reunion

The annual family reunion returned to Tennessee this year. A good time was had by all. Highlights included go-cart rides, the obligatory canoe trip (aka saga), and quite a few happy family dinners. The cousins, Grayson, Helena, Sophie, Xander, and Miles, had fun getting to know each other better!

Lynn's Baby Shower

Kristin and Ann Bishop went to visit Lynn Dancy and her husband Jeff's baby shower to celebrate the upcoming birth of their new son Noah! A good time was had by all. (Noah arrived October 6th.)

Visitors to the Reveal's

Lynn and Jeff

Lynn and Jeff came to visit. Jeff's a vegan so it gave Nat a chance to pratice his vegan cooking. Chali stopped by for a visit with gift for Lynn - an honest to goodness Jimmy Carter (sitting on a peanut)ceramic, hand painted by Chali herself. (Kristin, Lynn, and Chali were college roomies.)

Abba and Omma

Abba and Omma made their annual trip to the US and stopped in to spend some time with us. Lynn and Helena had another of their favorite biscuit sessions. Abba also presented Xander with an early birthday present.

Aunt Donna

Aunt Donna came to visit and do preliminary house hunting. She will be moving to Nashville next summer! (Now we just need to get Malina and Anna to Nashville and the California exidus will be complete...)

Grandpa Marc

Grandpa Marc, Kristin's father, came to meet baby Anders over Halloween weekend. We have a great day at the zoo, carved pumpkins, and trick-or-treated!

Closing Wishes for Peace

We are mindful of the places in the world where people are in danger. We remain ever optimistic that, as Martin Luther King Jr. said , "The arc of history is long, but it tends toward justice."

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

With love, Kristin, Nathanael, Helena, and Xander