Advent Greetings and Year in Review

Graduation Centerpiece: More Photos Below the Letter!!

Happy Covid New Year

2022 was a very eventful one in the Holmes household, complete with major life milestones. In January all three of us had Covid and started our year hunkered down working from home. We did manage a weekend staycation in Newport, RI in February which was Jim's Christmas gift to me. Chester stayed with the dog sitter and we rediscovered the city we used to live in. 

South Dakota and the Nomad Life

March brought the start of construction for our home renovation project and a trip to Rapid City, South Dakota with Emma and her boyfriend Joe, to visit his mom and stepdad who are living there at the moment. We’d never been to that part of the country, and it was spectacular. Joe’s parents were amazing hosts and tour guides. My favorites were the Badlands National Park, and seeing Buffalo up close and personal at Custer State Park. I hope to go back sometime! While our kitchen, sunroom, dining area, and guest bath were being renovated, Jim and I lived at a rental cottage in Middletown, RI. It was an adventure and we enjoyed being closer to work, being Aquidneck Islanders again for the first time since 1997, and having some great if always soggy trails out our back door for walking. Chester enjoyed them too.


Jim was on sabbatical for six months of the year (from his position as the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College), starting work on a new book. He spent about half the time on that, a quarter doing some extracurricular teaching—for instance, he designed and taught a China course at Covenant College, Georgia, and spent time in residence at the University of Maine and Maine Maritime Academy—and the last quarter doing free-range reading whatever struck his fancy that seemed relevant to the profession of arms.

Reunions and Graduations

In May we were off again to spend a few weeks working from the beach house in Stone Harbor in between events. Our RI house still wasn’t ready and we needed somewhere to go when the off-season rates ended at our cottage. The first weekend in May, I drove to Baltimore to attend my 40th High School Reunion dinner and events at the Bryn Mawr School. I had a great time and as always enjoyed catching up with classmates and being in Baltimore. I really do not think any of us look our age, 58!! Next if was off to Lancaster, PA for this year’s biggest event – Emma’s graduation from Franklin & Marshall College. We rented a row house between the campus and downtown which allowed us to host a post-graduation lunch for Emma. Everyone was there to celebrate Emma’s achievement, which included being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. In the midst of the celebrations we also helped her move her stuff out of her sorority house and into temporary storage and drove back to our temporary home in Stone Harbor via a visit with a college friend, and a graduation party at Joe’s parents’ Lambertville, NJ home. Stone Harbor was restful—the town had torn out the street and we had construction noise every day! Walking in the beach is normally restful but thanks to a huge storm the beach entrances were closed for several days. 

Post-Renovation Life

In June we were back in our house, though without sunroom furniture. The new layout; kitchen, laundry room, and full bathroom instead of a half bath are a joy to live in, and so much more functional. Thank you to Erika & Julie at Cedar House Design. There’s so much to love, but taking baths in the soaking tub, and having a breakfast bar where people can sit and visit while I cook are my favorites. We are mostly settled into the new space, but are still waiting for our new couch and ottoman and haven’t hung up artwork because we want to wait until they arrive, but we will get there – and then are planning an open house. 

First Apartments and Jobs

August brought my first, and Jim and Emma’s second, trip to State College, PA via a visit to Dad’s in Snow Hill, MD to attend the Chamber Music by the Sea house concert he hosted in his home. We also stopped in Baltimore to add to things in storage for Emma that were Mom’s, and that were going to State College in a U-Haul driven by Joe’s siblings. Many hands make light work and we got Emma moved into her first apartment and ready to start her new job as a College Advisor at the Bald Eagle Area Middle and High School, about a half hour from State College. She is serving with the College Advising Corps in Pennsylvania, which is an AmeriCorp program run jointly by Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg Colleges.  She did training at F&M in July, and will meet with other PA advisors monthly there as well. She is enjoying this new challenge so far. Her boyfriend Joe is a first year law student at Penn State and they are exploring what the area has to offer. 

Summer’s End and Fall Mini Breaks

I didn’t want summer to end and thoroughly enjoyed a week at the beach in Stone Harbor over the Labor Day weekend with Emma, Joe, Dad, Ellen, my sister, and her family. Then it was back to Rhode Island and regularly scheduled life which still includes singing with the Providence Singers, and working as a Librarian at the Naval War College. The Providence Singers performed  Haydn’s Creation in November – a first for me. Chester continues to love spending 3 days a week at Pooch Pawsitive doggie daycare and we love that it tires him out. In between we keep him entertained with walks in the Field and at Barrington Beach. Regular life was punctuated by a weekend trip to State College to visit with Emma and celebrate her birthday. I particularly loved watching a Friday night football game at her High School and seeing where she works. I also enjoyed a wonderful few days in western Massachusetts with Dad and Ellen visiting the Eric Carle Museum, Mass MOCA, Clark Institute Art Museum, and the Hancock Shaker Village. I’d been wanting to do this trip for years now and it didn’t disappoint, particularly the Eric Carle Museum. If I were writing a Michelin guide to this area I would rate this museum as a 3 star out of 3, "Worth a Trip" attraction. We also made a quick trip to Lambertville, NJ to spend Thanksgiving with Emma and Joe and his family. We stayed in a cute Inn above the Hawke Restaurant and enjoyed exploring Lambertville's many antique/flea market shops, and a used bookstore on Black Friday with Emma in the morning and just the two of us for the rest of the day. 

Advent and the Cold that Won’t Go Away

As I write this, I am in week two of what I’m calling “the cold that won’t go away”. I missed performing Handel’s Messiah with the Providence Singers last weekend – which always kicks off the Advent/Christmas/New Year’s season for me. Jim and I both have it and have been working from home to save our energy and our co-workers – it almost feels like we are back in 2020 – no, not really.  We are thankful for this marvelous and eventful year and for all our friends and family near and far. Here’s to you! 

And Now What You've Been Waiting For: More Photos

If you click on the first photo it should open it in a larger view where you can see all the photos as a slide show. 

Chester on the trail in Middletown, RI

Our temporary home at East Island Reserve Cottages in Middletown, RI

At Mount Rushmore

The iconic Wall Drug Store photo 

Close Encounters with Buffalo

Eating Buffalo burgers and burgers

At the end of a trail in the Badlands

Jim. Beth & Emma, all Phi Beta Kappa members, after Emma's induction ceremony

Happy Graduates

Family group waiting for the Graduation ceremony to start

Emma and her cousin Mia

Emma and her cousin Nik

Friday Night Lights at Bald Eagle Area High School

Jim enjoying our porch at our Bellefonte Air B and B across the street from a Trout Stream

Dad waiting for Ellen and I to be finishing looking at art at the Clarke Institute in Williamstown, MA

Dad and I Enjoying our meal in Williamstown, MA

Emma and I at Thanksgiving dinner

Emma and Joe at Thanksgiving

Emma and Jim shopping in Lambertville, NJ

Screen captures from the Pooch Pawsitive Doggie Daycare daily Instagram Story 

The Print Christmas Card Itself


Jen R said…
A memorable year filled with amazing opportunities for all of you!

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