Christmas Letter 2004


Friends & Family,

Rachel mentioned to me recently that she is approaching a landmark: the longest period of time she has not been pregnant since we were married. So goes the transition to midlife for both of us. We have no clue what (or rather, where) the coming year holds for us, but one thing is certain—this will be our last Christmas in Washington. Eventually the Army will get around to telling us where we’ll be next year, and we’ll let you know as soon as we find out. We’re looking forward to the adventure.

Dunnington learned this year that his feet are bigger than his mother’s. He pondered aloud how this might be as he is not quite as tall as she. Rachel explained that your feet have to grow before the rest of you otherwise you’d fall over. I figured it was as good an explanation as any. At present Dunn aspires to be a pilot, which is fine with me as in order to be a pilot (I often tell him), one must study hard and get excellent grades; just like if you want to be a fireman, or cowboy, or tax attorney, etc. The highlight of the year for Dunn and I was our trip to Japan. We had a great time together.

Zachary’s ability to read continued to enjoy geometric growth this year. I find this astonishing as he subsists entirely on a diet of ice cream and cookies, fasting for days at a time when no dessert is available. By rights he should be showing signs of scurvy, but somehow he continues to thrive.

This year marked the advent of Kindergarten for Chase. We were initially worried about him because he is so shy, but he has assimilated wonderfully. Per his teacher’s report he is quite social, and very bright (that part, of course, we expected). His big brother’s have done an excellent job of helping him feel an integral part of the bus-stop milieu. His teacher was also Zachary’s Kindergarten teacher and at a recent parent-teacher conference she spent ten minutes after the meeting trying to convince Rachel that it was her duty to society to have as many more children as possible.

Emma. Literary and enigmatic, her name itself is a force. How can I tell you about my adorable daughter Emma? In melancholy tones she lamented to me recently that she was “always on Mom’s bad list,” her faux frown barely concealing her impish grin. This is of course not true, but at three she has already mastered the art of manipulating Daddy and I willingly took the bait—doling out hugs, kisses and fatherly reassurance that she is a very, very good girl—the stinker.

Luke is growing like a skinny, pasty weed. This year he learned how to walk, climb and screech. No doubt the next year will hold similar gains, assuming he does not kill himself falling off the dining room table. Interestingly, his hair has changed from brown to blond, and he greatly resembles his Rackham cousins. Likely this has something to do with his mother being a Rackham…not that the Rackhams are pasty…or behave like howler monkeys in general...

At the time of this writing I am again rotating at Harborview (past ruminations on the topic here, here, and here), which is not doing a lot to get me in the Christmas spirit. But consider, after 11 ½ years of marriage we’re finally approaching the light at the end of the educational tunnel; this (academic) year residency comes to an end. It is enough to make one downright jolly. Merry Christmas indeed!

Love, The Westhoffs

P.S. Special thanks to Aunt Debby for taking the pictures featured in this letter!

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This page contains a single entry by John published on December 13, 2004 4:24 PM.

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