It's hard to believe a whole year has passed since our last New Year's family newsletter! We've been so busy with so many wonderful things.
Our Christmas was especially cosy. The tree was completely decorated with a gold, blue and white theme. It was a beautiful balsam that Stephen grew and cut down himself, and fit perfectly into the cathedral ceiling of our lovingly restored front entrance hall (the children all helped out with it, and we sang and laughed as we worked together).
The hors d'œuvres for our New Year's Eve gathering are all made (it helps that daughter Grace is home visiting from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, where her pastry is already winning awards), so I have just enough time to catch my breath and tell you all about everyone.
Just as it's been a big year for Grace, so has it been grand for us all. Never a dull moment around here!
Oldest son Patrick (never the patient type) has decided he has suffered from seasonal illnesses long enough, and took matters into his own hands by discovering a cure for the common cold. The results will be appearing in The Lancet in March.
Oldest daughter Madeleine is drinking in the Ottawa scenery and skating on the Rideau, whenever she can find the time - she's just celebrated her latest installation at the National Gallery.
Margaret, fresh on the heels of her Grammy nominations, won't be around next summer, since she will be giving a command performance at the upcoming royal nuptials. We will miss her so much - thank goodness for Skype!
Luke has surprised us all by taking athlete of the year AGAIN! He's building himself a workout room in the basement, and has had his weight machine design patented. David, our financial whiz, made a killing in the stock market (as well as continuing to excel in Junior Achievement) and will be investing his dollars in Luke's invention.
I'm so proud of the way our boys get along - we've come a long way from those pillow fights of yesteryear.
The youngest four continue to be going concerns. Danielle's paper mache creation took the top place at the Greater Hamilton Area Paper Mache Fair - it was a reproduction of a Rodin, faithfully done.
Julie's second novel will be published early next spring, and we are on pins and needles waiting to see if it will be as well received as her first one was. "It's okay if it's not, Mommy," she says. "Other people should have a turn to be on an author's panel, too."
Vincent and Sophie are growing like weeds and continue to entertain each other by singing duets: Vince has perfect pitch and Sophie has perfect relative pitch, so they make a great team. When they aren't singing, they work on their Lego perpetual motion machine.
And what about Mom and Dad? Well, we've managed to steal a little time for ourselves. We've had to be creative about it, since I'm still writing my New Yorker column, and Stephen's just finished looking over the galleys for the third edition of his latest textbook.
But the time we manage to sneak away to our little vineyard has been well spent. Imagine our surprise when our merlot took the gold at Challenge International du Vin! It was doubly wonderful to be in Bourdeaux, since Grace was able to steal some time away from her Cordon Bleu studies to meet us for a little sightseeing.
My goodness, I get exhausted just writing it all down! I must close for now, and get these New Year's newsletters printed off and sent. Meanwhile, we hope you take the time to drop us a personal note or give us a call. We'd love to see you!
With our fond regards and warmest hopes that your coming year will be as wonderful as we expect ours to be,
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