Happy Holidays 2009! Happy 2010!
For the Koulish family, 2009 was a busy one. As a family, we watched the inauguration train race through Newark, DE with an excited crowd. Joe & Barack waved from the rear balcony, at least we think they did.
Rob and Olivia watched the inauguration at Matilda’s, our favorite local restaurant, and Steph shared in the history with her Loyola colleagues. We visited DC , spent a lot of time at our community pool in the summer, went to the Philadelphia Zoo, saw the Yankees and Wilmington Blue Rocks, visited friends and family in NYC, Grandma Joan and Grandpa Sash in FL , and had a sleepover at Grandma Denny’s and Grandpa Robert’s in Frederick, MD while Daddy was at the Law & Society conference in Denver. And Steph and the kids saw twin calfs born at the Maryland State Fair. Our big vacation was our drive to MI for the media literacy conference for Steph in Detroit and vacation days in beautiful and cool (in the hip sense), Traverse City on Lake MI.
Fred came along for the long trip and especially enjoyed the royal dog treatment at the fancy Detroit hotel. Without Fred we saw Joan Baez and the children’s performing group Hot Peas and Butter (pictured with Olivia) at gorgeous Interlochen. We arrived in Traverse City the day after Michael Moore’s film festival ended, and stayed in a cabin right on the bay—beautiful! On the way home we even visited Steph’s relatives in Bay City.
In May, we sadly said goodbye to our dear pet, Coco, our cat, who died suddenly, but at the ripe old age of 16. He had been Steph’s companion before anyone in our family arrived on the scene, and we duly honored his memory. By December, we knew that Fred needed a new companion, and so we brought home our new kitty as a holiday gift for everyone. Olivia came up with the name Ginger unaware of the irony of having pets named Fred & Ginger. The day we brought her home ended up being especially memorable since Olivia lost her first tooth that very evening!
Julian turned 3 in June at Dutch Wonderland and is happy at Newark Day Nursery, this year in the pre-K room. He bravely rode a horse for the first time this summer. He likes basketball and race cars, but best of all, he still wakes up happy every morning. Mommy’s favorite thing about Julian is how he so often spontaneously tells her that she’s beautiful.
Olivia, 6, graduated from kindergarten at Newark Day in June and started 1st grade at West Park Elementary (home of the Pandas) in September. Her best friend is still Brynn. This summer Olivia went to a nature camp and horse camp, each for a week, half days, and she became a lot more comfortable in the water after taking swim lessons. For school, Olivia took field trips to the Camden Aquarium, a pumpkin patch, Iron Hill nature museum, and Old New Castle, DE, a Williamsburg-like colonial area.
Professionally, this was a big year for Steph, as she earned promotion to Associate Professor and Tenure in the new School of Education at Loyola University Maryland (which also changed names this year from Loyola College). She was thrilled and inspired by seeing the Dalai Lama discussing education and schools in DC in October, so much so that she too wrote an op/ed in the Baltimore Sun. It compelled her re-commitment to renewing and rethinking schools as creative and nurturing environments in which tests and test scores no longer dominate.
Rob continued to build the Law & Society program and enjoy teaching those courses, but perhaps most important this year was the recent release of his book, Immigration and American Democracy, which has become a family event. Rob also published another op/ed in the Baltimore Sun, and looks forward to begin working on the sequel and public intellectual activities in 2010.
2009 also brought a lot of losses for too many dear friends, and we shared in their grief. We hope that they especially find solace and renewal in 2010 and beyond.
We do not yet know what’s in store for us in 2010, yet we’re hopeful, and mostly joyous for our loving and healthy family! Our blessings and hopes go out to all of you dear friends, for joy, wisdom, health, and happiness in 2010. We hope that we are fortunate enough to visit with some of you in 2010.