To our friends and family: Greetings!

May you know that we are thinking of you and enjoying hearing from you. Your friendship through the years means so much to us. Thank you for being you!

For Jim, it's been a slightly quieter year. He tapered off to one day of work a week due to sequestration, furloughs, and general incompetence of the federal government.

In February, MM went back to Nicaragua with CFCA to visit our elderly friend, Maura, and meet our new young one, Pedro. Jim didn't get sick, because he didn't go.

In March we drove to Michigan for Lou & Heather Van Hout's wedding and lots of family time.

Summer brought our big trip of the year to the mountains. We started in the Highlands of Britain and visited the Sellers, and numerous gardens and estates. 

Then to Uganda, where our friend Fr. Athanasius Kikoba took us around to see his country, family, friends, village and former parish where we hiked the mountain around Sipi Falls for 4 hours. 

From there we went to Belgium and were wrapped in the love of the Van Hout cousins.

We went to see the Ardennes mountains of Belgium, very nice. We also met Jim's brother Steve in the mountains (sort of) of Holland. 

After that we headed to the mountains of the Sauerland of Germany to the Padberg Family Reunion.

We also visited many Schneider cousins (here's Wiltraud Schneider):

and Bischopinks plus old and new friends. We were well fed (this is Brigitte, a third cousin). 

MM's newly-learned German came in handy.

In August, MM volunteered at Camp Mark Seven, a local Deaf Camp, and renewed old friendships and made new ones. She also had time to think about redecorating ...

We finally got a new carpet. (That was on-the-list for when MM's cat died.) After MM ripped out the old one, Jim took the opportunity to replace the living room ceiling with Jan-Luc's help, which made a terrible mess which MM cleaned up. 

To go with the new carpet, we ordered new furniture, then painted the walls and doors. We got a new front storm door to match, and then new door handles to match that. All because the cat died. I think we are done for the winter, but eyeing the kitchen next.

We took a trip to Michigan in September, and this time we managed to see a lot of people we've been wanting to visit for a long time, but not everyone we'd like to.

Now we're enjoying just being home with the normal busyness of life.

Leo and Katie are too busy chasing 3 kids around to report any news. So, we'll try. Leo works at Karl Storz Endoscopy, and Katie left her Weight Watchers job. Avery is now in 2nd grade and plays violin. Annika is in 1st grade and is learning the piano and gymnastics. Vaughn is 2 years old and throws/kicks/dribbles balls, and Rudy the border collie chases them. The girls were also involved in karate, softball, and soccer. They traveled West to Michigan for the family wedding, East to Boston to visit Marieke and Curt,

and also hosted the family gathering when the picture-for-Christmas was taken.

Jan-Luc escaped the January cold with a jaunt to St. Bart's in the French West Indies with his GF / The tan lasted to Lou & Heather's March wedding in MI, but the relationship with that girl didn't / Produced an interactive movie iPhone app that premiered at an art show in May he curated in Brooklyn, NY / Created another real life iOS adventure game in the Summer / Grew a beard / Went to Upstate NY for Leo's July 4th party / Styled props for commercials all over New York City intermittently / Got a new sword for camping at the Renaissance Faire where he took his new GF / Shaved beard / Founded a Meetup group for game designers and enthusiasts. He's currently developing games for several platforms, including a virtual reality headset. Boredom never occurs with this philanthropist, futurist, ludologist and swell guy.
Email: Twitter: janlucvd.

Here he tests out our new furniture. 

This year, Curt and Marieke experienced a number of adventures. In January they explored Hawaii for two weeks, experiencing Oahu with the Nickisch family and then Kauai as a couple. Marieke climbed the tree her grandfather climbed to escape the Pearl Harbor bombing. At least it looks like the same tree.

Back in Boston, they saw the city survive some extraordinary events in April, but at the end of that month, Curt found out he had been accepted as a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In May, Marieke was voted Board President of the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, a non-profit in their Boston neighborhood. Also in May, they both graduated from Boston University with their second Masters degrees (Marieke in Arts Administration and Curt in Business Administration) and were lucky to have both sets of parents there to properly celebrate the occasion.

In July they traveled to North Carolina for a Nickisch family wedding and they spent August preparing for their move to Michigan. Marieke left her job at the Old State House to be open for new opportunities. Now in Ann Arbor, they enjoy participating in all of the fellowship's activities, which includes travel, seminars, and lots of eating. There is ample opportunity to study urban decay, such as the old Van Hout homestead in Detroit.

Curt is taking classes while Marieke works part-time fundraising for the University's Museum of Natural History. They are spending the month of December, and some of January, in South America as part of the fellowship and as an extended vacation. They will be in Ann Arbor through May 2014.

Kateri had a good but quiet year. She still lives in Syracuse and works for Lens Crafters where she was promoted to lab manager in September. In October her faithful old Camry finally kicked the bucket and she had to get a new car. In November her boyfriend bought a local Carmelcorn shop and they've been very busy keeping up with the new business, and the holiday season as well. Kateri stayed in the Syracuse area for most of the year with an all too brief trip in April to DC and New Orleans to visit some old Peace Corps friends and meet up with some cousins. She posed with her nieces at Leo and Kathleen's niece's baptism.

We hope you are healthy and happy. Best wishes for 2014!

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

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