Lasley Holiday Letter - 2009

After recovering from Ben and Yanessa's wedding...

Jacqui restarted as the manager of her wrestling team. She worked out with the boys, but didn't compete in any matches. She also continued with archery, and went to one competition. Horseback riding was set aside, as she'd reached her goal of knowing how to ride and how to care for a horse. Jacqui volunteered at the hospital most every Sunday. She made several friends, and Laura enjoyed seeing her on the days that she worked.

Dan and Laura continued to play volleyball. Laura managed to sprain or strain her wrist just before the end of the season. This would not be the last injury of the year. Later, Dan and Laura popped down for a weekend with G'Ma Laz in Florida. Fun to get away and spend some quiet time.

Dan and Jacqui were brought in as mid-season replacement coaches for a local U-14 girls soccer team. Although the girls were not that skilled, we had a good time, and the team improved as the Spring season progressed.

Jacqui went to Costa Rica over Spring Break to be a mid-wife for leatherback turtles. Who knew that counting turtle eggs at 2am could be so much fun? And she played pick-up soccer with the local boys, which was enjoyable all around. She also started her college search by making weekend visits to friends at Duke, UVa, and UPenn. Oddly, none of these made the final cut. We all went to England in May to see Man United play Arsenal, plus visit with friends and go to a mini-music-jam.

As most of the girls on our soccer team were transitioning from 8th grade to high-school freshmen, many chose not to return to the team during the May try-outs. With the help of the soccer club, Dan was able to find many new players and we ended up with a stronger group that was even more fun than the first team. Dan and Jacqui each took soccer coaching classes to support their new careers.

For the first time in several years, we were able to go for a sail on Hilfy, our catamaran, before the end of May. We now keep her rigged and ready at a marina in Havre de Grace MD, which is just under an hour away. HdG is a cute town with a couple of good restaurants - with an ice cream parlor across from a chocolate shop! We had many day sails on Hilfy this summer.

We had our first June Christmas Party in our new home. People ate well and stayed late. Later, we hosted our first music jam on the deck. No complaints from the neighbors. Later, Ben and Yanessa stopped by on their way from Boston to California. At the same time, the BlowUpDollz (all-girl pop/punk band) came by for a weekend gig near Philly, so our house was filled with college kids for a few days. It was great.

Laura went to visit Bob and Pam and their brood in VT in late June. Boy are those kids both adorable and smart! Catie was in a traveling show; we were treated to a couple performances. Laura also got to visit one of her buddies in the NICU at UVM.

In July we went sailing on the northern half of the Chesapeake for 10 days. For 9 of those days, the wind was in our favor and the sun was shining. It rained on the day we planned for, so even that worked out well. Jacqui brought her friend Amanda along, and they terrorized the wharfs in every town. The northern half of the bay is prettier than the southern half, but it's narrower with stronger currents. Still a wonderful vacation.

With one day to do laundry and repack, we headed off to the 10th Riverside Jam, this year in Middletown Ohio. We rehearsed in an aircraft hangar, and performed in a bar. Good food and friends made for a great weekend.

In the middle of August, Dan and Jacqui took their new soccer team to a tournament. This was the first time that they had more than 11 players all going in the same direction - and we took home a trophy for first place in the second division. Later that week, the Kwaan's came to visit and we took a sloop out for a day sail. It was the first time at the helm for Spike, we think. On the last day of August, Laura and Dan went back to Westport CT to have drinks on the beach with our old friends - it was beautiful as always. We miss being near the water, but we've accepted West Chester as our new home.

In September, Jacqui started her senior year of high school, and the soccer season started up as well. Dan and Laura popped up to Exeter for alumni business, which left Jacqui to coach the team solo - she did great. The weeks went by quickly, and Laura came to many of the soccer games. Thus inspired, Laura started playing pick-up games with some other "soccer moms". This is organized by experienced players affiliated with our soccer club, and Laura really enjoys it. She comes home beaming, recounting the goals scored and tackles won, all while limping around due to strained hamstrings and assorted bruises.

Because she had too much free time, Jacqui started to volunteer at the Philly SPCA Hospital and ICU. Wearing hand-me-down scrubs, Jacqui proceeded to clean, bandage, inject, and assist in any number of interesting and messy medical tasks on the cutest and most mistreated animals in the city. She really loves it, and is considering becoming a vet. The only real consequence is that she keeps wanting to bring home kittens. She has managed to place 2 sets of kittens for adoptions. Anyone interested?

Dan was invited to play bass in a blues band. It's a newly formed by a bunch of 45+ guys, and none of us is sure where it will lead, but Dan is enjoying the process. And somewhere in all this, we went to see P!nk in concert, which was a wonderful mix of rock, hip-hop, and Circe du Soleil.

In November, we started the Grand College Tour with a visit to Ben and Yanessa. They are deeply involved in the Stanford Band, as Ben is the Ass.Man., and Yanessa is the seamstress for all their crazy costumes. We got to see them perform before, during, and after their impressive win over Oregon (51-42!). From there we flew to San Diego to see our old friend Joop, and to tour U San Diego. Very pretty and Jacqui liked it enough to place it near the top of her list. That afternoon we drove up to LA to tour Occidental (too small) and Loyola-Marymount (also nice). Laura had to fly home, while Dan accompanied Jacqui to Tulane and Auburn. Jacqui has really liked New Orleans since our visit there in 2006, and Tulane remains her other top choice. Auburn was obviously bigger, but not overwhelming, and they have an outstanding vet program. We got home just in time to drive out to an end-of-season soccer tournament, where we gave our best against superior quality, and had lots of fun in the process. Jacqui and Dan have been around girls teams for a many years, and this is the best group we've ever worked with.

Thanksgiving was quiet - just the 3 of us, but we still made a feast of it. Jacqui was a giant balloon wrangler for the Philly parade. The next weekend, Laura went off to DC for a conference. Dan and Jacqui joined her on Sat night for dinner and a walk around the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree, all the State trees and the White House all decked out. Jacqui returned as the wrestling team manager, where she works out with the boys and keeps them organized. She may get one or two matches in, but it's not a priority. Oddly, we didn't restart volleyball this year, but we've been too busy to notice.

With the down economy, we've noticed that there are fewer holiday parties. We're trying to enjoy the extra time at home, but projects keep popping up. Grandma Laz is coming up for the Christmas week, which will be great, although she may not forgive us for the cold and snow.

If you're ever in the Philly/Wilmington area, or just passing through between NYC and DC, feel free to stop by - we have lots of space for guests!

We wish you and yours a wonderful year, despite the numerous challenges in front of us. Remember to keep your family close to your heart.

Dan, Laura, and Jacqui

809 Nathan Hale Drive D:
West Chester PA 19382 L:
h: 610-793-6564 J: