Jan 15, 2012

Happy Twenty Twelve!


Dear Friends,

Happy Year in which Obama will be reelected! 

Thanks so much to those of you who have sent photos or family updates—we’ve enjoyed all of them so much. We have settled nicely into life in Maine. We’ve found a good community of friends and are really enjoying being so close to Acadia National Park and other spots along the rocky Maine coast. Other aspects of Maine we’ve enjoyed this year include raking blueberries in the late summer/early fall (yes, they can be raked! - it's so cool.), attending the country-fair-dream-come-true Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine, swimming and canoeing in the Stillwater river just down the road from our house, and buying a good deal of our food at the wonderful Orono Farmers’ Market. Oh, and yes, our part of Maine is also unique for having not one, but two, blackfly variants with two distinct hatching seasons—we love that. 

on Eagle Bluff, with charcoal.


Above Sand Beach, Acadia NP.  Reid was clearly feeling shy.

Tim is really enjoying his job at UMaine.  He taught his first graduate-level class, a socio-ecological systems modeling class, this past fall.  In addition to teaching, he is building his research program.  He has taken on three graduate students and mentored two high-school interns this summer, many of whom helped with his first bit of Maine-based data collection.  Tim continues to commute to work on foot, running home when he can, and even swimming across the river with his waterproof backpack when temperatures soar.


There is nothing quite like coming home to have two munchkins run into your arms.
Katie continues to be an amazing parent by day and keeps up her writing at night.  A highlight of this last semester has been her near-daily picnics outside Liam’s school (even in November) with the kids and other families.  On the writing front, she’s in the middle of revising her young adult novel (yet again, though fortunately this time with the publisher’s editor).  They project a spring of 2013 publication date.  She hopes to get her parenting memoir set in India out to editors soon.  Katie keeps herself strong with near-daily yoga, and is excited to start evening skiing with some of her fellow mama friends if we ever get snow.

Katie Quirk, author, mother, and adventurer with her beau, on Mount Spokane, January 2012.

But, honestly, the predominant focus of our lives remains the two jokers who are our housemates.  It’s hard to sum up all that they’ve accomplished in the last year (say, learning three-hundred new words and becoming bi-pedal in Reid’s case; and refining the art of negotiating with a hardly rational younger brother in Liam’s case), but these pictures should give you a taste.
Liam is actually feeding Reid in this shot.  Reid has learned some neat things from his older brother.  The two most important are hitting and saying "thank you" (pronounced "deedum").

Painting!

At the Common Ground Fair, with self-made necklaces and hats from the kids' tent (background), looking agog at the sights.

Liam has really started to become more physically confident and exploratory.  It's lovely to watch him climb, leap, roll and dance.

We've decided, instead of buying a car to replace the Volvo, we'll use this 20 foot Katie-powered five-wheeler.  Ever wonder why she's so fit?
Conquer the hill!  I think we were Gandalf and Baby Gandalf that day.  Reid was, cold.

For Halloween, we had a marvelous Stitch costume for Liam, and the Doggy costume for Reid.  Neither lasted long.

The team's trusty steed, called the "Dunder Bunoo!"
Of course, siblings must DEAL with each other.  Such a burden!  Here is one such 'negotiation' over cheap little plastic tops that neither of them ever cared about again.

Reid has really learned to do so much this year.  He's gone from chewing monkey heads (above) to speaking non-stop (mostly about how things are "MINE"or about how things should be, or imitating Liam.)
Sharing a ride in "berty" the other trusty steed, in Arizona.

Can you tell what season this is?  New Englanders know it well.  It begins with a "M" and ends with an "ud Season."

Acadia in the nude.  How can you top that?

Life isn't all fun and games for the wee master.
A ride in the "bee-oh"

They don't make life jackets for people just two feet tall.

Mmm, chives!

The video below gives you a sense of how the two jokers contribute to packing for a trip.  At one point this summer, Liam (who had been obsessing a bit over death and needed a lot of reassurance that all of us would be alive for a good long while) said to Reid, "Don't worry, Beed, if Mommy and Daddy die, then we'll get to drive the Red Volvo Car."

They are both good fellows and, for the most part, good companions to each other, and we love them dearly.

When we think of those we love and admire, our dear friends Modesta and Rani come to mind.  Rani, who was a third parent to Liam in India, lost her mother just over a year ago and moved to the plains of Tamil Nadu after an arranged marriage.  She is adjusting to life in a new place and family and says her husband is a good man—we hope, as she does, that she will be able to have a child of her own some day.  We’re delighted for our friend Modesta in Tanzania.  After studying hard and hunting for jobs longer than she would have liked, Modesta is working for Media for Development International, Tanzania, an organization that produces popular films with imbedded health messages.  Their most recent film, a love story with messages about malaria and prenatal health, was well received. We find ourselves imagining Modesta’s fabulous laughter ringing through her new office.           

We’re grateful for the many wonderful visits we’ve enjoyed with our families and friends in the last year--of particular note are our parents (thank you for your time and support, all four of you).   We only wish that we could have three more months in the calendar to visit all of you.  

We send our love out to all of you in the many places we still consider home. 

Much love,
Katie, Tim, Liam and Reid


Click on the photo below to see a whole album of pictures:
2011 - one for the books