So, it’s not been a typical year around here, but we’re all happy, healthy and thankful.
The kids are doing fine. Julija is now 12 and quite full of energy (a.k.a., “piss & vinegar”). She continues to excel at school and her gymnastics (trampoline and double mini), this summer went out for swim team and in the fall discovered volleyball. Last spring, she had the high score for her school district in the Dane County Math Meet, so we’re plenty impressed. She’s baking desserts on a weekly basis, makes her own lunch for school and is doing her own laundry – don’t want that door to hit her in the butt too late!
Aras is now in his first year at Verona Area High School. He’s slowly discovering that along with the new opportunities that high school affords, it also requires a higher degree of accountability – which he’s still trying to develop to the chagrin of his teachers and parents. His grades these past few months display all of the available letters in the alphabet. His current passion is shredding the snow with his snowboard and he’ll start his first official job at the end of the year at Pump It Up; no, that’s not a Dana Carvey gym but a fun pillow palace for kids.
Muir is still in the Milwaukee area and recently took a new retail job in the downtown area. He’s happy and healthy, as long as Asta and I aren’t damaging his car (the former with her car, the latter with his hip).
Asta continues with her anesthesiology work at Meriter Hospital. Meriter now has a regional monopoly on maternity services, so expectant mothers are some of her primary patients, and they are very poor about scheduling their desired services. Asta did take a week away from the hospital to work in a hospital in Honduras (I didn’t call it a vacation), along with a week to visit her family in Lithuania (which was a vacation).
As for Tim, he’s still playing baseball, in his 15thseason with this team, and still making the home run. Photography keeps him busy when the family and household repairs aren’t.
Our various excitements this year have included a spring break trip to Moab, Utah; a short trip to da U.P. (eh?) just in time for early June torrential rains and floods; Aras & Julija going to Camp Neringa (Lithuanian) in Vermont while Mom & Dad canoodled in Nova Scotia; and, flying squirrels in the attic. After the squirrels started visiting the kids in their rooms at night, we decided that this house wasn’t big enough for all of us, even if they are cute & fluffy; fifteen squirrels have been safely relocated to the Arboretum, hopefully to not return.
The last piece of fun is that Aras & Dad went for a “wee wander” this summer, completing the trip that we couldn’t in 2017. We backpacked 200 miles of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains starting at Tuolumne Meadows and finishing at Mt. Whitney over fifteen days and had a wonderful time, even if it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done over that amount of time. Blisters were the worst part of the trip. The views were as spectacular and breath taking as you might expect. Tim’s trail name was “Slow Poke,” while Aras always seemed to arrive in camp early and get out of the sack late. Aras might even have discovered that he’s more capable than he ever realized.
So, that’s about it for us for 2018. We’re planning more trips (as usual) for 2019 and continuing to nurture everyone here. We wish good health, happiness and prosperity to you and yours!
Julija, Aras, Muir, Asta & Tim