Here's what's new:
GARY's still busy at work, which is a good thing, since he surprised Ruth with an early Christmas present: a Jeep that actually runs! Yay! We still have the old "activist" Jeep, which is being used by the older kids for traveling back and forth to work. He still has that "sexy" beard.
RUTH has been busy waving her credit card at anyone who'll take it; even though she complains about the crass commercialness of the holidays, she joins right in along with all the other crazies! She attended a birth options conference this past weekend and is now psyched to help get a midwifery bill passed and will continue to preach the home-birth/breastfeeding/attachment parenting gospel to anyone who will listen (or not).
AMY is still a brunette and has discovered paint and canvas herself! She was chosen "Art Student of the Month" for November at her high school. She started working at a temporary store "Natural Wonders" at our local mall in November also. She really likes payday!
KELLEY has gotten the attention of a professor at his school who is a portrait artist. This professor saw Kelley's work at a class art show and was very impressed with his style and talent. He wants Kelley in his class next year, but he wants to involve Kelley in more individualized attention, too. Kelley is making high marks in his General Fine Arts studies.
ELLIOTT still loves to dance, sing, play drums, and generally have a good time. Unfortunately, we got a new television (only for videos) and he LOVES "Thomas the Tank Engine." Every morning, he wakes up, ambles out to the living room, points to the cabinet that houses the TV and says "choo-choo." Ruth and he still have a comfortable nursing relationship and hope to continue for some time.
GARY ~ Still working hard trying to keep up with the onslaught of new business at his agency, which he believes was brought about by running a ad with a picture of him and Elliott together aboard C'est Bon. He is still commuting between Maryland and Virginia every week but has been working on a database project in the hopes of doing more work at home and less traveling back and forth. He has been convinced by his family to keep the mustache and beard he grew over the winter (Ruth thinks he looks sexy--that was enough for him!). He has been thoroughly enjoying being a father and particularly loves taking his baby out on the boat (but wishes Elliott would let him steer more!)
RUTH ~ As threatened, she has taken a permanent leave of absence from her job to stay home with Elliott. Didn't happen the way she expected, though: in February, she fell and suffered a severe break of the ankle which required surgery and the addition of screws and a metal plate to help the ankle heal. So, she was unable to report back to work at GEICO after her official leave was due to end and was summarily terminated. Elliott started walking before she did! She now spends her time hanging with Elliott taking in concerts in the park and story-time at the library. She's also rediscovered her love of knitting and has been making everyone washcloths as gifts (she says she had to do something while being flat on her back for five weeks!). She also thanks her relatives and friends who spent many hours sitting with her and visiting (especially those who brought chocolate waffles from Sweet Caroline) and taking care of Elliott while she was unable to walk. She's now back to about 85 percent, though she will most likely always have a slight limp.
KELLEY ~ Now 19, he spent the summer working construction; now he's tanned and buff! Came home with a pierced tongue and also had three piercings placed in his ear cartilage (one on one ear and two on the other). He is back at Maryland Institute College of Art for his second year, this time in an apartment of his own (small, but cozy)! He had one of his paintings included in the Foundation show at the college in September. He seems much happier this year with his professors and may have decided to pursue Illustration as his major. But give him two weeks . . . . By the way, this former brown-haired guy is now blond. Check the photo album for new shots of all the kids.
AMY ~ Sixteen years old, she started her junior year in high school wondering why all the teachers seemed so MAD, but things are smoothing out quickly. Amy was chosen as the Co-Vice-President of the National Art Honor Society and is hoping to be the Art Director for "Menagerie," the literary magazine for the school. She spent three weeks this summer in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, at Simon's Rock College of Bard at a Young Writers Workshop. She developed her already great writing skills while there and learned to read her work to a crowd of peer critics. This former blonde is now a brunette (???) Amy is also working for the Free Lance-Star (our local newspaper) as a youth reporter; several of her articles have already been published.
ELLIOTT: As mentioned above, he started walking before Ruth did after her surgery. He was 10½ months old and decided one day to trek across the living room unaided. Now almost 18 months old, he is very active and very vocal, but doesn't talk yet. Instead, he uses signs to get his point across--he started using them on his own and we added to his repertoire. He loves books and music and is a very good dancer. He is still small (about 22 pounds or so) and so is not too much for Ruth to carry. Though still a little shy, he's been meeting other children and interacting quite well with them. He still nurses several times a day and a few times at night and we love every minute of it.
Last weekend Gary, Ruth, Amy and Elliott traveled to Cape Cod to spend the weekend at Morgan's mother's house at Beach Point, Massachusetts, near Provincetown. We had a great time swimming, sunning, sailing, and, of course, eating, which is a given any time Morgan is around. And we got to see many other Brandeisians; besides Morgan, we saw Kim, Peter, Helen, Kiwi, Rachel and Matt. Also, we finally got to meet Peter's and Kiwi's kids!
Also, Ruth's sister Margaret and her family are visiting from Mississippi. They came over for dinner tonight and we had a pizza party. Her kids came up a few weeks ago, so they were able to attend Gary's Mom's birthday party on Wye Cove last weekend. There was a huge turnout and four bushels of crabs were consumed along with a ton of other stuff. Ruth has decided to take a leave of absence from GEICO for at least six months! On Saturday the 24th, we attended the major retirement party for Ruth's dad and stepmom, Gerald and Ruth. Ralph and Thelma Saunders visited from North Carolina; it was a real homecoming for the Newman girls because they hadn't seen the Saunders' in at least 17 years!
Updated February 01, 2010.