2004 in review: Happy New Year!

As usual, this year started out with our annual trip to Utah to ski with Karen's family. Some of the Dill family made it as well, and we all had a blast. Greggy really enjoyed swimming in the heated outdoor pool. We'll probably start him on some real skis in the coming year.

Barb goes shooting down the slopes in Utah

In February Karen's Semester at Sea friend Anneli (and husband Peter) came to visit and we did a little sight-seeing around Boston.

We really enjoyed attending Tanya (Leo's cousin) and Niell's wedding on March 14th. Everyone got all dressed up (including a very poufy hat for Julia). Tanya and Niell moved away this fall but we're hoping someday they might come back to Boston.

Leo, Julia, and Leo's dad all dressed up at Tanya and Niell's wedding

We had an amazing time at the end of March when we went on a 4 day cruise in the Caribbean without the kids. It was a nice change of pace and rejuvenated us in the middle of winter. We also got to try scuba diving for the first time and had a blast! Thank you to our families who very kindly took turns watching the kids.

Leo and Karen in Cozumel, Mexico during our cruise

In April we had a visit from Karen's Dad for Easter just in time to dye eggs with Greggy, who thought the wire egg dipper was the coolest thing ever.

Karen, Grandpa, and Greggy proudly display the "Oma" egg

Julia turned one this year! She's really blossomed into her own person. She's very snuggly and likes to be carried. She loves to pretend to be a big person. Her favorite activity is squirting lotion on her hand and rubbing it into her legs and arms.

Julia, the birthday princess

Gregory turned 3 and that same weekend two of our dearest friends, Heather and Vlad, got married here in Boston. Heather and Karen have been friends for 17 years, so it's pretty funny that they both find themselves now part of the same family and with the same last name.

Karen, Heather, and Barb at Heather's wedding - did I mention how cool Heather and Vlad looked?

In June we were invited to go sailing by our friends Amy and Andy. It was our first time sailing and we each got a chance to steer. We left the kids at home, but we did have Amy and Andy's cute dog Ada with us to provide entertainment. Amy and Andy had a beautiful baby boy several months later, but unfortunately moved to a distant, faroff land (Oklahoma) around the same time.

Leo steers the boat as Amy and Karen enjoy the beautiful day

Up until August, Gregory and Julia attended a family daycare run by our friend Lily and really loved going there. Greggy is best friends with Lily's son Josh and although Lily's daycare closed, we still keep in touch so the kids can play together. The kids now go to a Bright Horizons center a few minutes from our house and they have adjusted very well.

Greggy was old enough this year to learn some new games like mini-golf and bowling. When we went candlepin bowling for the first time (with bumpers), Gregory beat both Karen and Leo!

Greggy and Auntie Barb at the bowling alley

This was a big birthday year for us since Leo and some of our closest friends all turned 30. We especially enjoyed dancing the night away at Ryles Dance Club, where we got to show off some of our ballroom dance moves with our friends Matt and Miranda.

Karen's friend Samantha came for a few days in August and we all enjoyed the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island (along with our friend Dan).

Sam, Greggy, Julia, and Karen check out the bear at the zoo

We went on a most amazing week-long cruise from Boston to Bermuda with Leo's parents, sister, and grandparents. We were swimming every day and enjoying the food and shows on the ship. Some of Julia's very first steps were on the cruise ship!

Scenes from our Bermuda cruise

Halloween was exciting because we took both kids on the Halloween Hike in the Adirondacks. The kids thought that the tent was a fun playhouse, although we didn't get a whole lot of sleep in it. Gregory was a dragon for Halloween and Julia was a frog who turned into an Elmo when the frog costume got too dirty. The kids did their very first house-to-house trick-or-treating the same night that we went to Leo's Mom's 50th birthday bash.

Greggy and Julia's first real trick-or-treating

The fall was a bit of a rollercoaster for us. Leo is an avid Red Sox fan, and we still can't believe that our Red Sox actually won the world series! But then Karen was pretty disappointed by the election, after making phone calls and canvassing in New Hampshire in the weeks leading up to the election and on election day itself for the Kerry campaign. We explained a little politics to Greggy, but went a little awry somewhere because he desperately wanted to vote for George Washington. He still asks us on a weekly basis with great feeling, "But WHY? WHY is George Washington dead?"

In the middle of November we had a sudden snowstorm. We took the kids sledding, first on the baby hill and then on the big hill. Julia's sled tipped over so we took her out to see if she was okay but she kept crying and crying. Eventually we realized that she was saying "Again! Again!" and was upset because we had taken her out of the sled and not because she was hurt!

Greggy runs back up the hill with his sled

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Connecticut with Karen's family and got in our usual family bridge games. At school the kids each drew a picture of what they were thankful for. Little Gracie was thankful for her Mommy and Daddy. Mateo was thankful for his grandpa. And Greggy was thankful for...blocks! (It's not all bad though...during career week Greggy wanted to be a doctor when he grew up while some other kid wanted to be an ambulance).

Karen's cousin Jimmy, Greggy, and Leo eat a Thanksgiving feast

We went all out this year, celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas. We had our own Menorah and made homemade potato latkes with our friends Nathan and Bridget. Greggy also learned to play dreidel and apparently taught as bunch of kids at school how to sing the dreidel song. For Christmas we got a tree at home and made an adorable gingerbread house thanks to Heather and Vlad. We went up to Canada for Christmas week and Greggy was thrilled to find out that Santa Claus even comes to Canada!

Another important event this year was that Karen became the god-mother to little Sydney, the daughter of our friends Kimberly and Peter.

Frog costume
Sydney's baptism was a fun, family affair

Karen's big new interest this year is Toastmasters, a public speaking group. Karen somehow ended up being the Vice President of Public Relations for the Quincy Club, and she's enjoyed meeting many new friends every Monday night. Karen also designed a website for a massage center in exchange for a bunch of free massages. Karen's heading back to school part-time to earn a Masters in Computer Information Systems, and also still really enjoying her work at Pegasystems as a software developer. She feels very lucky to be in a really fun and friendly group at work.

Leo's newest passion is Texas Hold'em poker. We've played a few games with friends and family and started reading up on strategy. Leo's still playing bridge most weeks at the MIT bridge club, and playing in a few tournaments here and there. Leo and our friend Dan have also attended a few Magic tournaments for fun, and we watch anime every week with Dan and Leo's sister Katya.

Thank you for sending us so many holiday cards this year! We love getting them. We hope all of you have a fabulous year to come and will keep us up to date on all your activities! Please come and see us when you can.

Previous years' sites: 2002     2003

With Love from Leo, Karen, Gregory, and Julia