Dear family:

I’d like to get a short letter written tonight, although there hasn’t been much in the way of news. Daniel is back at JHU, and although no one would describe him as noisy or talkative, for some reason the house is always a good bit more quiet with him gone. At least we have not done nearly as much running around to doctor’s offices, etc. Peter did get bands put on his upper teeth this past week, so we’ll be seeing the orthodontist more often – fortunately, that’s only a few minute’s drive.

The best non-news we have to report is that no one has come down with flu. I was at a meeting this past week with about a dozen other staff from The Master’s Academy and I was the only one whose family had not been touched by the flu. David started feeling under the weather on his way back from Hopkins, and spent the rest of the weekend lounging in bed or on the sofa, but it never turned into flu. The rest of us have been completely fine. I am very grateful.

Of course the highlight of our lives has been the snowfall. We went to bed one night with a weather forecast of "possible flurries" and woke up to find 7 -9 inches of snow had fallen! The boys ended up with two snow days because I didn’t have the heart to make them do school when the entire neighborhood was outside playing. They made a fort, which took about ten pairs of gloves each. I was kept busy exchanging wet things for dry, and making hot chocolate. I took the day off from school to do baking – some for the Lehigh study, some for the French teacher whose father died, and some for us.

The week prior to the snowfall had been bitterly cold, and I was about to concoct some excuse to return to Hawaii. But now that we have the snow, the cold seems more bearable because snow softens the landscape with its beauty. Benjamin just loves it. Last Sunday I took the boys (as well as Gabe and Sarah, friends of Peter’s from church) to Quiet Valley for sledding. This was before we got the large snowfall, and the snow, left over from Tuesday’s snowfall, was a bit soft for the best sledding. However, it was better than any sledding here in Bethlehem, and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. I was worried that I would have to entertain Ben in the van when he got cold (the Oilers were away) but all the older children got cold and tired before he did. He just wanted to keep on sledding down the mountain. He only surrendered when he sailed right into a stickerbush and I had difficulty getting him out. Then we all went over to Alice Wicks’s for supper and to play dominoes. For the rest of the week Ben asked to go back to the mountain. (In this most recent snowstorm, David took him over to Nitschman.)

Cold, I guess, is the theme of this letter. (Even the book I am currently enjoying is titled Cold Sassy Tree) My brother David showed up one night because the furnace in his apartment gave out, and he had neither heat nor water. Since he had a big exam the next day, he needed a good night’s sleep. So of course I said he could have Daniel’s bed, although I neglected to mention that Peter is quite a snorer. I’m not sure what kind of sleep he got, but at least the house was warm and he had a hot shower! Ben thought it was great that Uncle David was here, and was disappointed to find him gone in the morning. He’s been asking for him ever since.

Another cold outing was our visit to the skating practice of two Russian skaters who use the Bethlehem rink to prepare for international competitions. As I’ve mentioned before, our family takes a weekly skating class (in which everyone except me has made major progress) and the director invited us to watch her professional students practice. It was viciously cold, and I felt sorry for them with their thin outfits and bare hands. We were miserable huddled under multiple layers of jackets and blankets. It was fascinating to watch the skating, though. The thing that impressed us the most was hearing that they came here because our little town of Bethlehem has a better rink than the entire country of Uzbekistan.

We had a family party to celebrate Christopher’s 13th birthday just before Daniel left. Then he invited four friends over for an evening party last Saturday night. I tried to record highlights of this affair on the video camera given to us at Xmas. Later, I learned that I filmed it all sideways – in the Feaver tradition. Christopher discovered that being the host of a party is an tiring job, especially when your three brothers keep trying to steal the show (and the presents, in Benjamin’s case)!

I should go now and put Ben to bed and prepare my history lesson on Gutenberg. Just wanted to keep in touch!



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