Merry Christmas!

by Valerie Barker


Hello to all of our friends and family! As usual, instead of sending out a letter with our Christmas card, we are posting here to let everyone who doesn't follow our blog regularly know what we did all year.

2012 Christmas Card

We have had a great year.  Valerie is in her third, and last, year of law school.  That also means that this is our third, and last, year of living in two separate states!  We just have about six months to go and are very excited about being able to be a family unit again with everyone in the same dwelling.  David is still working at Lockheed Martin.  His job keeps him very busy, and often too busy, but we are fortunate that he has a good job while we are a single income family.  Steve, Kat, and Wilbur are all doing well and are healthy.  Wilbur normally lives with David, where he is an only pet, but we are pretty sure he likes it when Steve and Kat visit and torment him.  Steve and Kat have been on many adventures this year, and visited several more states.  We think they could be some of the most well-traveled Siberian Huskies in existence!  So without further ado, here's a summary of our adventures, along with links to blog posts where you can read more about them.

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We finally got a decent amount of snow in February, something that we have hoped for since we moved here, but hadn't received.  The snow came on a weekend when David was in Charlottesville, so we took Steve and Kat to a park and tried to see if they could be real sled dogs.  They were not very good at it.  We really hope we get a lot more snow this winter, since it's our last winter on the east coast.

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In March, during Valerie's spring break, we went on a big road trip.  Valerie had been to almost all 50 states, but was missing everything east of New York, so we checked all of those states off our list over spring break.  We spent two days in Philadelphia (links to Day 1 and Day 2), two days in New York City (links to Day 1 and Day 2), a day in Boston, and a few days exploring areas in between.  Steve and Kat did really great while we were on the trip, although New York City might have been a little too much sensory overload for them.  They were so wiped out each day when we returned to our hotel room.  We also tried to go make our television debut, but were unsuccessful!

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In April, Wilbur turned 7.  Unfortunately, we all forgot his birthday for a few days, so he let us have it.  As any of you know who have been around since Wilbur was a kitten, he's quite blood thirsty, but has really gotten a lot better in his middle ages.  He even enjoys some lap time on occassion.

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Valerie skipped school one morning in April and saw the space shuttle orbiter Discovery arrive at the Smithsonian in D.C.  It was an amazing sight and totally worth skipping class!

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In May, Valerie finished her second year of law school and headed to Texas for her summer associate positions.  She spent five weeks in Austin and five weeks in Dallas.  She had a great time in both offices, but since we can't live in two places, we all decided to return to Austin after graduation.  We are not super excited about returning two Siberian Huskies to the Texas heat, but Valerie is very excited about the law firm where she will be working and so that makes it worth it.  We will just make sure to have a big budget for air conditioning!

Before Valerie left for Texas, we ran a 5K.  We were very excited to place high enough to be the third and fourth place canine finishers!

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In June, David and Valerie traveled to Missouri for a big family reunion.  Valerie's parents hosted it at their farm and it was attended by about 100 people.  It was great to see people we hadn't seen for a long time and also people we had never met!  Valerie gave a lot of airplane rides and David filled up a lot of water balloons for the kids.  :-)

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Valerie returned to the east coast at the end of July and everyone was very happy to see her.  Since we still had several weeks of summer left, we tried to take advantage of it and have some family adventures by going canoeing

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This fall we have been trying to visit places around Virginia, Maryland, and bordering states before we leave.  Valerie and Kat visited Hershey and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, we all went to Gettysburg and toured the Harley Davidson factory, we went to High Bridge State Park, and we watched some family run the Marine Corps Marathon!

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In October, Steve and Kat turned six.  We cannot believe that they are that old.  They still act like puppies sometimes, but seem to have a little more sense at other times.  We can't imagine life without them.

Thanks for sharing our 2012 highlights with us.  We hope you all had a great 2012 as well.  We are looking forward to an even better 2013!

David, Valerie, Steve, Kat, and Wilbur