Our 2011 Christmas letter sent to friends and family:
As 2011 comes to a close, we reflect on what an exciting and eventful year it was for all of us: We welcomed a new baby (*) in September, Ethan and Madeleine continued to grow and make us proud with all their various milestones and misadventures, and we enjoyed two family vacations (one with Nana and Grumpa in Maine and the other with Nana and Papa in upstate New York) as well as one gloriously kid-free midweek getaway in Nantucket.
(*) – Our new baby, Ruffian “Ruffy” Roberts:
Four-year-old Ethan completed his first year of preschool, and has become a budding young scientist with a particular interest in wild weather, volcanoes, dinosaurs, and outer space. He began taking soccer lessons on Sunday mornings, and spent summer Saturdays playing T-Ball. His visit to Niagara Falls spurred a passion for “waterfall hiking,” which we did quite a bit of on our summer vacation in Maine.
Madeleine, who turned two in August, has fallen head-over-heels in love with our new puppy. She’s also begun to string words together into sentences and now talks up a storm. Animals are her passion. It’s not uncommon hear a hearty meow, moo, bark, or roar in everyday conversation at the Roberts home. Madeleine’s favorite activity is visiting our local farms to see the chickens.
Penny turned the heartbreaking loss of our backyard maple tree (due to storm damage) into an opportunity to expand her gardening empire. Her new fenced-in garden (built where the tree once stood) was completed in the spring, and her first crop included beans, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, potatoes, pumpkins, melons, and tomatoes. She also learned to sew this year, and just in the nick of time: For Halloween, Ethan asked to be a tornado—and Penny made it happen!
As for me, 2011 was the year I took up hiking again, culminating with a climb of two 4,000-foot peaks (Mounts Lincoln and Lafayette) on my 36th birthday. This year I also rediscovered my passion for Merrimack Hockey—something made even better by being able to share it with Ethan and my dad. It was a difficult year at work, but after some upheaval in the spring and summer, the year is ending on happy note professionally as well.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas—and may 2012 be your happiest New Year yet!
—Josh, Penny, Ethan, Madeleine, and Ruffy Roberts
We took Ethan and Madeleine to Santa’s Workshop in Newburyport today. Madeleine was terrified of the whole process—she’s entered her “stranger anxiety” phase, so sitting in the lap of a scary old man with bad fashion sense wasn’t on her list of must-do experiences today—but Ethan had no such reservations.
He settled right into Santa’s lap and immediately rattled off his wish list: ”A lightning book, a hurricane book, a torando book, and blue mouth wash.”
Santa didn’t quite know what to make of the requests, but he played along nicely. What Santa didn’t know is that Ethan is obsessed with “wild weather”—specifically tornadoes, waterspouts, and dust devils, though he won’t say no to a really loud thunderstorm, either.
It started with an actual thunderstorm this summer. The lightning scared him pretty badly, so we tried to calm him down and explain what was happening as scientifically as possible to a three-year-old. This led, eventually, to a trip to Borders and a couple of Eyewitness-style books about weather.
Now he’s full-on enraptured by stormy weather. He draws picures of tornadoes all day long (including “tornado family,” “Christmas tornadoes,” etc). He spins around like a tornado at school. We watch tornado videos together on YouTube as a special treat. Basically, he’s interested in anything and everything to do with tornadoes and wild weather. So that part of his wish list makes perfect sense.
But the blue mouthwash? Not sure where that one came from.