20005 Christmas Letter

This post is a little late (like two months), but I thought it would be need to continue to post our Christmas letters to this blog. Here is the 2005 letter.

Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by. It has been a difficult year especially for Marion and her family but we feel blessed to have lots of wonderful memories from 2005 as well.
We had a quiet winter. Marion and Victoria spent some extra time after the holidays in Pittsburgh just to be with her mom. It is time that Marion will treasure forever. We also got to go to Milwaukee for a Marquette basketball game. It is always great to be back in Milwaukee and see friends, especially Brian and Courtney, Victoria’s godparents. Victoria was very unsure about snow this year . Maybe she is like her mom and enjoys summer activities more.
The Maentz house was crowded for Easter. Gabe’s dad and stepmom came to visit us. They quickly realized that we, especially Marion, are not home much during Easter. Marion planned the youth led Sunrise Service at her church for the 4th year now. We also had members of the Estonian Gospel choir from Estonia stay at our house. It was wonderful to learn about their country and share our culture with them. All our visitors left Easter morning so we headed to friend’s house for Easter dinner. There were several families there who do not have family close by. We are very blessed to be able to share holidays with our “Appleton Family”. Unfortunately, we received sad news the day after Easter. Marion’s mom’s cancer took a turn for the worse. We immediately drove out to PA and were able to spend a day with her before she passed away. We have so many precious memories of her and are extremely thankful that Victoria got to meet her “mimi”.
More traveling for us in May. We flew out to Colorado for Gabe’s sister Sarah’s graduation. It was great to spend time with Gabe’s family. After we got home, Gabe left on a business trip. Marion ended up with pink eye in both eyes. She had not been feeling well since before Colorado so when she picked up her pink eye medication, she also picked up another little test. Surprise….a pink line. Yes, Marion was expecting our second child.
We had lots of excitement the rest of the summer. Marion’s grandma stayed with us the month of July. It was wonderful to have her here. She helped with Victoria, meals and cleaning while Marion struggled through the 1st trimester. Marion’s roommates from college came to visit 4th of July weekend. It is always great to get together with our MU friends. Gabe was in England for 2 weeks at the end of July for work. On the weekend, he was able to do some sightseeing. After dropping Grandma off at the airport August 2, we began our driving adventure out east. We stayed with Marion’s dad in PA then left for DC . It was Gabe and Victoria’s first trip to DC. They were both exhausted by the end of the day. Then we drove to Corolla, NC. We met up with Gabe’s mom’s family for a week on the beach. What an awesome time! Gabe’s brother, Jake returned from the Philippines. It was the first time Victoria had seen him. Victoria was quite a beach bum, playing all day in the water and sun. Jake made the long trip back to WI with us. He stayed with us a few days before we all left for Michigan to spend time at the Maentz family cottage. Victoria loved the additional beach and sun time!
Gabe stayed busy this fall coaching two soccer teams. In addition to the U17 girls team he had been coaching, he was hired on as the Appleton North HS boys JV soccer team coach. They had a successful season. Marion and Victoria went to a few of the home games. Victoria was more interested in running around instead of watching the game. It was a long 10 weeks for Victoria and Marion. Marion actually had to cook dinner every night. They survived, though. We made our third trip out to PA the beginning of October for Marion’s sister Jessica’s wedding. Marion was the matron of honor and Victoria was the cutest little flower girl. She loved being a part of Auntie Jessica’s wedding, especially getting to ride on the trolley with the wedding party.
At the end of October, Gabe started playing indoor soccer on Monday nights. Marion and Victoria go to the early games. He isn’t as out of shape as we thought! Gabe is also offering private goalie lessons. He just can’t seem to get enough soccer! Marion stayed busy this fall with the youth group and their trips. She also managed to fit in some much needed scrapbooking time. One of these days she will catch up! Gabe’s brother came to visit at the beginning of December. Victoria enjoyed having “her Jake” here.
Here we are to Christmas. We will be spending the holidays with friends here in Appleton, since Marion’s travel has been restricted. We will be busy preparing for the baby’s arrival. Victoria cannot wait to have a little sister and she loves to kiss Marion’s belly and talk to the baby. Victoria recently started telling the baby it was time to come out. Marion would not mind that at all. We are thinking about all of you and wish you happy holidays. Peace be with you.

Gabe and Marion