We never sent out Christmas cards in 2003. Michele did however write a Christmas letter. Here it is in case you wondered what happened to the Galantines in 2003.
Dear Family and Friends,
We are wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2004. We had a full 2003.
In January we lost my grandfather, George Clinton Murray (Grumpers to me and the kids). It was a blessing that the kids got to know their great grandfather and he enjoyed them. He nearly shared a birthday (-1 day) with our youngest and the 95 year separation in their ages really gave Grumpers a kick. We went to Wisconsin in May (after things thawed) for Grumpers funeral and the kids had an opportunity to see the Midwest side of their heritage and meet some relatives they hadn't had an opportunity to know. We were able to celebrate Grumpers life and family in a very meaningful way.
The last half of the year has been dominated by the remodeling of our house. We are converting the garage into a bedroom suite and laundry room and adding a new garage in front of the old one. Ralph's Uncle Ralph and Ralph's cousins Mark and Ryan have been doing most of the work for us. We hired a few contractors and have done a bit of the work ourselves. The project has kept us hopping and dreaming of the day it will be âfinishedâ. I put finished in quotes because the nice new work only points out how shabby the other parts of the house are, so there really is no finished. Before the end of the year we will move into our new bedroom and have a nice guest room/playroom with a queen wall bed in our old bedroom. That is an important milestone.
Before the heavy lifting started we took our vacation to the Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. We all enjoyed the parks, the sight seeing, and the bath water warm pool at the timeshare in Saint George, Utah. The driving was a little rougher than expected because our mini-van turned up with problems in the pre-trip check and we had to take our compact sedan (no DVD, much more crowded). The kids (and us) did way better than I expected. It was more reminiscent of the family drives when we were kids.
The kids are all doing very well. Timmy is 3 and is in his first year of pre-school which he loves. He is potty trained both night and day which is quite a relief. He is very good natured and gets along well with his sisters until they start playing too vigorously and he gets hurt. So far, nothing serious, knock on wood.
Grace will be 7 January 1^st . She is in first grade and is doing very well. She picked up on reading just in the last few months and is making great strides and really enjoying school. She played soccer in the fall and had fun with it and is still enjoying brownies and any art project she can get her hands on.
Kristin will be 10 in February and is already a true pre-teen. Fortunately, she is really starting to take an interest in doing well in school (instead of just doing what we make her do). Her soccer interest is still strong and she had a good fall season with Coach Andy's team (some of the girls she's played with since she was 5). Video screens (TV, Gameboy, internet) also have an extremely strong pull on her attention.
Ralph's job at Sun Microsystems has had its ups and downs this year. There have been a lot of changes in the software organization and some of Ralph's strongest supporters have left the company. He didn't have to travel much this year but did take a trip to Asia just before Thanksgiving. He went to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai and he found it very interesting since he had previously only been to Japan in Asia. As he said, it got him out of the office for a week.
I have been volunteering a lot at the school working with groups of the kids in math and running an enrichment program for some of the fourth graders who would benefit from some more challenge. Volunteering with the kids helps keep my hand in teaching and gives me hours I need to renew my credential. Its rewarding working with the kids and seeing how they take things in. I cut back to just the enrichment program to focus more on the remodel the last couple of months but will probably volunteer some more time in the New Year.
Hope you are well and can make the most of 2004.
Michele, Ralph, Kristin, Grace, and Timothy