ChristBauble by Versace & Gimpmas 2011

To our friends and family: Greetings!         

   The last year was pretty interesting; we added a son-in-law, sister-in-law, and a grandson. It started off with the wedding of Marieke to Curt Nickisch, in Boston, right after Christmas, following a wild blizzard.

In January, MM traveled for her job first to Atlanta for the annual NCOD Conference, then to DC for the March for Life.

In February we got a respite from the winter and went on a Missionary Awareness Trip with the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging into Nicaragua. Very interesting! It was our first trip to Central America, and we went back into the jungle to see how people lived. Namely, just scraping by.

This is our sponsored person, Maura. She had never been to the big city (Managua).

In April we went to the wedding of Jim's brother Greg to Maria Hernandez in Chicago, and took Jim's dad along. Good time!

On the way back, we visited Jim's sister Mary (these are his nieces Brittany and Somer in the tree), MM's niece Chrissy and her boy Gabriel, and MM's sister Eleanor.


In July we joined the long planned Van Hout Family Reunion in Belgium with our children and grandchildren, but we stopped in to see the the Sellers in England first.

Later we spent a few days in the Sauerland of Germany meeting newly-found relatives and enjoying the beautiful towns of MM's ancestors. Then we dropped in on Jim's brother Steve in the Netherlands.


Leo and Katie write: "This was a big year. Six days after booking our flights to Europe for the Van Hout Family Reunion, Katie found out she was expecting!  So  once again, she was unable to experience the fine beers of Europe! In June Leo, Katie, Avery, Annika and our friend Coves drove to Toronto to catch a plane for the girls' first European adventure. The girls were amazing and handled the time change much better than the adults. After flying for 7 1/2 hours we landed in Germany where we met Katie's parents, sister and brother-in-law. The Kalinowski side of the family hung out with friends in Germany for 3 days, then we and Coves were off to Paris, which included all the touristy sites as well as Euro Disney, which the girls loved!  After Paris we departed ways from Coves and drove to Belgium where we stayed with Michael, Sandi, David and Anton Robberechts for the Van Hout Family Reunion. Good times were had by all!

"After a fun-filled summer, Avery started all-day Kindergarten at St. Rita's school, which she absolutely loves, and Annika returned to Pre-K 4 where she was happy to see her friends. This is Avery's Halloween costume, mimicing a pose by her Aunt Marieke and grandmother.

"Then in November we received our biggest surprise. On November 7th Vaughn James was born! We do not like to find out the gender of  our baby prior to birth. Therefore, after months of thinking the doctor slipped and said we were having another girl, we were completely surprised when the doctor told us 3 times that it was a boy! Now we have a little prince to bless our family with sleepless nights! His big sisters are totally smitten with him and daddy can't wait to toss the football in the yard with him. He is the greatest blessing of the year. "


An epic year in the hip adventures of Jan-Luc! It started with a move to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Shortly after, in April, he broke up with his GF and moved elsewhere in BK. Jobs on big ol' commercial sets occupied Springtime. A Summer trip to Europe included Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Nederland (Amsterdam and Uncle Steve's place in Limburg). Write him for blog link (video to come). He's developing a tech platform for a freaking awesome new form of entertainment - location based storytelling. Oktoberfest in his Bushwick Beer Garden was whimsical. Follow janlucvd on Twitter and be his FB buddy for updates on all his latest greatest exploits in NYC and beyond.


Marieke and Curt Nickisch were married last December 29, in Boston, between major snowstorms (the honeymoon, in Bavaria in July, however, was warm and beautiful). This year, they made progress on their degrees at Boston University (Marieke on her Masters in Museum Administration and Curt on his MBA) and did some interesting things at work (Marieke is now Deputy Director for Development and Planning at the Old State House and Curt continues to be heard on WBUR as the Business and Technology reporter). Their travels (some together, some apart) took them to Chicago, the Kentucky Derby, Belgium, Germany, Austria, London, and Maine. They want you to come and visit them in Boston, but suggest traveling in the summertime.

    Kateri has been up to her usual antics, working at LensCrafters in Syracuse selling glasses and at Radioshack selling batteries to keep out of too much trouble. There were a few trips this year, she went to Chicago for a family wedding and was able to go to the Van Hout family reunion in Belgium. She's still dating her boyfriend, known as Bummer, and together they made a great beer called the Damme Ale for the holidays. So, Cheers and Happy Holidays everyone!


 One day in August, Mary Margaret decided to retire-at-the-end-of-the-year from being Director of the Syracuse Catholic Deaf Community. She can't wait! She'll still do occasional ASL interpreting...and who knows what else?!  So much to do!  Here she poses with a flower grown from seeds she got in Cobbenrude, Germany. This photo won a prize (a jar of dandelion honey) from the church there.


  MC, our 22 year old deaf cat, mostly complains and sleeps, but still hangs on.

Jim is running out of projects at Stiefvater Consultants, so next year looks like retirement. (He thinks that every year.)  Here he is at the deaf camp in the mountains, where we got naming rights to the canoes.

And this is just a random picture of toadstools. (We work on the garden, not the lawn. )

If you want plenty more pictures and stories of Nicaragua, Europe, grandkids etc., you can write us at the address on our home page (no forwards, thanks).

 We hope you are healthy and happy. Best wishes for 2012!

Jim, Mary Margaret/Tunkin, Leo & Katie & Avery & Annika & Vaughn, Jan-Luc, Marieke & Curt, and Kateri