Christmas 2006
To our friends and family: Greetings!       
After last year’s first grandchild and family reunion in Belgium, this year has been much quieter. You’ll have to wait until next year for more interesting news, such as the birth of another grandchild in January, and Kateri’s graduation in May. But here's what happened in 2006.

Avery slept through Christmas.

In January, she was baptized in Rochester, NY. The godparents were Jan-Luc, her favorite uncle, and Kathleen’s sister Christine.

In February we all traveled to Michigan for the wedding of Mike & Kate Vollmayer (Mike is the son of MM’s sister Diana Mary and her husband John).  
The boys had a good time wrasslin' after the wedding.
Avery got to meet her Great Grandpa VD!

The next big thing was going on vacation starting the end of June. After a quick visit with Avery (& Leo & Katie too) since "it‘s on the way", the two of us visited relatives in Windsor (Mary Ann Botosan and Nelson & Yvonne Voakes) and the Detroit area ( Eleanor and Bob, Yolanda and Jim, DM & John, Geralyn, John & Wanda, Joe, and even Celeste and Jerry from Colorado, and various nieces and nephews on the VH side…and also Jim’s sister Mary and her four lovely children).  We also indulged MM’s hobby of genealogy by stopping at cemeteries for research and prayers. We picked up Jim’s dad for a tour of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we hadn’t been in many years.  

On the way we had breakfast with Christina, Anne’s daughter.  The UP hasn’t changed much, especially the motels. We also met some relatives we had never seen (Eileen Vuksan on MM‘s side and Anne Kirtley, Jim’s 2nd cousin), and the Murrays in Manistee who we haven’t seen in many years.  We hurried back to celebrate Mark VD’s graduation at a nice party, then started home by way of Ohio, where we had wonderful visits with Fr Ed Oen and Judy Jacomet. We stopped in at Leo & Katie’s 4th of July Party on the way home.  Good Times! Check out some cool pictures here.  (The link is also on our home page.)

Then it was back to work and gardening and seeing Avery whenever possible (at least once a month).

We got a nice new metal roof on the house, which will outlast us.

We told the kids it was going to be blue, just to mess with their minds.

In October, we had a short vacation to a wedding on Long Island NY.  We met up with Marieke to tour Rhode Island to scope it out for the 2008 VH Family Reunion. Here we are at a scenic spot in Providence.
We went to Mystic Seaport, where they have a lot of cool old stuff like this.  More than us, even.

Then we went on to the wedding (Jan-Luc was a groomsman, and Marieke knew the bride), and then drove Marieke home so we could see her museum.


Leo and his wife Katie still reside in Rochester with their two cats, two dogs, various fish, and one year old who is going to be a big sister soon. Avery accompanied her parents on a cruise to the Caribbean last summer and a wedding in North Carolina in October, so she’s quite a traveler. Occasionally, someone will come to babysit.

Jan-Luc adhered this year to Video On Demand and expanded into the Youtube realm. (Search there on iknowsolutions and see Jim and Kateri also, in Luke Miller‘s advert.) He continues to romp around New York City gleefully and capture the sights and sounds in the form of documentaries and social commentary film pieces. A recent vacation to CA has left him wanting more vacation- CORRECTION- wanting more CA. janlucvd (at) is his place on the web. It works sometimes.

Marieke happily resides on Boston's North Shore. She is finishing her Master's in Museum Studies at Harvard and working as Curator of the George Peabody House Museum, a small historic house museum in Peabody, Massachusetts. Her highlights of 2006 included swimming off the Cape, breathing in Michigan air in February, going on boyfriend Michael's band's road trip to Brooklyn, explaining the complexity of museum exhibitions to Avery, eating at the top of the Prudential with godmomma Judy,  knitting with Kateri and decoding the state of Rhode Island with Mom and Dad. And there was so much more; email her at mariekevd (at) for the evidence! 

Kateri finished her junior year at LeMoyne without incident. She then spent the summer working at RadioShack, subbing for remainder of the school year, working at summer school and volunteering at Fort Stanwix National Monument. She is now finishing up all of her classes at LeMoyne and will be student teaching in the spring. Her hamster is still doing very well.

She also performed in a comedy play at Cazenovia College. It was just plain hilarious!

Mary Margaret still puts on many miles as "part-time" Director of the Diocesan Deaf Ministry including conferences in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, a youth retreat in Canada, and meetings "on the Hudson".  Luckily, her free- lance interpreting has slowed down a bit.  She had time to putter with her flowers and go "sluggin’" twice a day  The roses loved all the rain but the vegetables didn’t.  

Here she's showing Avery the "Big Water" at the end of the road. Soon we'll be catching tadpoles and frogs. 

MC the cat eats, sleeps, and lays around the house. She’s getting old; we don‘t send her out all night in the winter, and she‘s almost deaf.

Jim still works at the Air Force Research Lab. The lab is going to move within a couple years, though, and is winding down now, so maybe a real retirement is getting closer. He might take up bier drinking as a hobby.

       E-mail us at vandamme (at) (no forwards, please, and check out the hoaxes first), and browse through our "oldies" pictures at our website. We've moved from Geocities after all these years, to get away from the ads and popups.

We hope you are healthy and happy. Best wishes for 2007!
Jim, Mary Margaret/Tunkin, Leo & Katie & Avery & ?, Jan-Luc, Marieke,  and Kateri