2004 Christmas Season

In early December, Agnes and the kids went to Hershey, Pennsylvania to see "A Christmas Carol".  They also toured the
famous chocolate factory there.

The play was a one-man-show performed by a descendant of Charles Dickens.  This is his Great-great-grandson
Gerald Charles Dickens.  My son was not in the mood for a picture as you could notice here....

This is clipped from Shrek II.  It is the honeymoon cottage in the opening few minutes of the movie.  When Agnes
saw this scene, she decided to build it for her Gingerbread project of the holiday season.

Here is her version.  It looks really great.  We submitted it in a Gingerbread making contest, but it won no prizes.
The entire house is edible, even the transparent windows, which are made of melted hard candy.
There is a small light bulb inside that lights up the interior.

View of the back of the house.  Note the detail on the chimney.  She used "brick candy" that was cut up.

My son wanted to make the Hubble Space Telescope, and here is the amazing results.  The body
is made by baking gingerbread on an empty tin can. I assisted in the decoration to make it a reasonably
faithful representation of the real thing.  Note the depiction of the starry sky on the telescope aperture,
and the satellite dishes made out of toast.

I brought the cake to the 2004 Christmas holiday party at work, and they were all amazed
and appreciated the detail.

My brother and his family came to see us for the Thanksgiving holiday this year.  We decided to go see the Christmas
 display at Homestead Gardens.  As usual, there was the Christmas village displays and the toy trains.
Always a favorite with the kids.

This is the picture we printed for the Christmas 2004 card.  It was mailed to friends and family.

Our Christmas letter for 2004:


Dear Family and Friends,

This Christmas holiday season we wish to extend to you and your loved ones our warmest thoughts and best wishes for a joyous season and a Happy New Year.  As we look back on this year, we are thankful for all the blessings received.

Our children Stephanie and Christopher are doing well and seem to be growing so fast.  Stephanie is now eleven years old and in sixth grade in Montessori.  In her own words “School is pretty challenging” and her favorite subject is “Math with Mrs. Riley” (who is also the school principal).  Stephanie loves to swim, read and do crafts.  This year she learned new techniques in jewelry making and how to crochet.  She's also becoming quite a chef in the kitchen, trying her hand at different recipes.

Christopher turned eight this year and is in the third grade Montessori with Mrs. Alter.  Christopher likes Math and reading.  He is taking keyboard classes this year, and really enjoys making music.  He had his first group performance at the school holiday party last weekend and he did very well.  When asked what he liked best about school he said: ”I like that I have the freedom of doing the work on my own and not have to sit at desks and do the same as the others”.  At home he loves to build fantastic vehicles and aircrafts with Lego blocks.  Last May, Christopher received his First Holy Communion at our parish Church.  He is now a full participant during Holy Mass.  We were honored to have many family and friends sharing this joyous occasion with us.

Both kids enjoy getting together with their cousins Ryan, Nicole, Maya and Jaden.  They are looking forward to spending two weeks with their cousins in Aruba over the New Year’s holiday.

As for Ed and Agnes, we are doing well too.  Ed still works on the Hubble Space Telescope program.  NASA has recently decided to investigate using a robotic vehicle instead of the Space Shuttle to service the space telescope and he is working on the robotic arm for this mission.  It will be a very busy and exciting mission for the next couple of years.

Agnes keeps busy volunteering at school; she chaired a successful spring book fair and looks forward to another successful one next spring.  She enjoys crafting in class and at home with the children, and during the summer the kids love her ‘camp Mommy’.  This summer we climbed mountains, swam in the ocean, hiked nature trails, dug for gems and fossils, and visited interesting museums.

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