Dear Family and Friends—

We're as late as ever, but we thought you'd forgive us if we gave more information and even more pictures (click on any to enlarge). Did it work?

January – cold, cold, cold. We had our share of days when -20 degrees was the high, when car doors froze shut, and nasal passages iced over completely.

February – even colder. It never got above zero, and we even hit -35°, but surprisingly, we started getting used to it; Adam stopped wearing a coat altogether and Wendi and Alison only wore two pairs of thermal underwear rather than four. Although most days were too cold to play, Wendi broke up the monotony by spending Friday nights teaching a strengthening marriage class to maintain her therapist skills, while Adam tried to teach Alison how to do the dishes (you can never start too young).

March – still cold, but there was that day when it reached 25 and we walked around in our shirt-sleeves all afternoon, dazed. Of course, a trip to the New Hampshire coast to connect with Wendi's mom and her husband John helped us thaw as well.

April – surprisingly still pretty dang cold, so we went to Florida to warm up on the beach. We hooked up with Adam's parents and his two brothers, their wives and children. While the highlight of the trip was sweating for the first time in six months, hanging out with family, deep-sea fishing, boating through the Everglades, and hearing stories about an alligator eating a pit bull were pretty cool as well.

May – A challenging month for all of us; Alison underwent surgery to repair the cleft in her soft palate. Her recovery was slow and painful, with many sleepless nights and fussy days. The only way to make her happy was to hang her upside down (don't ask) and the only way to get her to drink was to drip apple juice in her mouth for the first 2 weeks following surgery. The weird thing was, she didn't lose any weight and her poops smelled refreshingly apple-iscious. Slowly but surely, she got better and stronger, and when she took the bottle in her mouth and for the first time in her life was able to actually suck—that had to be one of the happiest moments in our lives.

June – We learned the art of taking separate trips in order to play with friends and avoid getting a babysitter for so long. At the beginning of the month, Adam went to New York City for the first time to hang out with an old roommate, and a few weeks later Wendi did the same with her friends. To compare the trips, Adam went to the Met and saw Radiohead in concert in the pouring rain, while Wendi saw Broadway shows and sweated to death as NYC experienced record heat and humidity that weekend.

July, August – We continued our pattern of taking trips away from Vermont (it's beautiful—honest!), by visiting Bar Harbor Maine, for hiking and lobster eating one weekend and then going to Atlanta for a friend's wedding the next. From Georgia we went straight to Utah for the 1st Annual Johnson Family Reunion, a great time. Then, as if that weren't enough, a few weeks later, we squeezed in one more trip to Georgia, this time for Adam's 10-year high school reunion and for free dental work for Wendi (thanks Matt!).

September – With the leaves turning incredible hues of gold, orange, and red, friends and family came to have a peek as well. We showed them true Vermont hospitality with canoeing or hiking or visiting the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory or just hanging out and sampling local delicacies such as maple creemies, organic breads, or Cabot cheese. We love visitors (why don't they come in February, we wonder).

October – After a year in the "big" city (Montpelier, population 8,000), we moved out to the country to rent a beautiful house from a man who is spending the winter traveling around the world (with a winter like the last one, who can blame him?). And in conjunction with a visit from Mom and Dad Dunford, we took a trip down to Boston—a first time for all of us—and soaked up the incredible history of that venerable city. Halloween was a highlight as well, as you can probably tell from the pictures.

November – unlike last year, when snow had fallen by October 15, the beautiful fall weather continued this year through Thanksgiving, with highs in the 50's. We had our first turkey day without family, and, it being Wendi's birthday as well, we had a great time with friends who were also spending the holiday as orphans.

December – Wendi sang with the Vermont Philharmonic in a local production of Handel's Messiah, with one of the performances cancelled due to winter storms. Yes, winter came with a vengeance, dropping 3 feet of snow in 4 days and sending more snow this December than in the previous 20 years. "It's unusual," say the Vermonters, just like last winter's bitter cold was "definitely out of the ordinary," but we think it is just part of Vermont's unique landscape, people, and communities.

We are humbled and grateful for all our many blessings, especially the blessing of good friends and family. May your holidays be merry and your new year full of dreams come true.


Wendi and Adam and Alison Dunford

Keep in touch: 7222 County Rd
Calais, VT 05648