Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Year in Review

Tis the season to receive lovely holiday cards, filled with pictures of families (one year older!) and cutesy stories of the past year.  The Whomptons do not send such a card, so check out this page to fulfill your curiosity.

Professionally, Krystal switched to teaching a different grade-level, started coaching track again, and helped launch and staff an after-school academic support program.  She served on the Ethical Society Board and the Ethical Society Nursery School Board, continued anti-racism efforts, and co-led two Girl Scout Troops.  Major firsts include co-presenting at a national conference, being interviewed on TV and NPR, and having a super-brief cameo in a HBO documentary.  She ran the Go! Saint Louis half-marathon in April – setting a personal record – and had the awesome experience of running across the Mississippi River on two different bridges!  She campaigned for candidates and against initiatives for the November 2016 election and started volunteering for her State Senator Jill Schupp. 

Eric celebrated year 14 at Thomson Reuters and is firmly entrenched in middle management.  He coached Lola’s basketball and soccer teams and invested tremendous energy into both.  He took ownership of Lola’s superhero birthday party and designed a truly memorable experience – the kids had missions to complete and actual villains to defeat.  Eric brings fun with him wherever he goes and he really loves being involved in his daughters’ lives.  He is teaching the girls how to be geeks:  they watched Star Trek The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager and now are working through the entire Marvel universe. 

Samantha amped up her volunteer commitment.  In addition to her Ethical Society volunteering, anti-racism efforts, and abortion clinic escorting, she facilitated multiple Witnessing Whiteness groups, connected with Concordance Academy to be a sponsor for a new parolee, joined Senior Connections and befriended a lovely woman in her 90s.  Samantha’s dog Roxanne passed away in February and we gained Keyboard, a pit bull / Boxer mix, around Lola’s birthday.  Samantha loves going on long walks with the dog!  She continued practicing yoga and began Zumba as well, and she led her MICDS Walking Challenge Team to a strong 2nd place finish. 

Raina started middle school.  She skipped 5th grade and 7th grade math; she is now a 6th grader in 8th grade math.  She focused heavily on engineering: attended multiple “girls in engineering” events, took an engineering camp, and tried robotics and coding in lots of ways.  Raina earned the Bronze Award, the highest leadership award for Junior Girl Scouts, and her troop’s project focused on encouraging healthy eating.  She went to Girl Scout sleepaway camp again this summer.  Raina started taking cotillion / etiquette classes, continues to play the piano, and has started learning the flute.  Mostly, though, Raina spends her time reading and we are ever grateful to the Saint Louis County Library for keeping her in books.

Lola is now a 2nd grader.  She is a joyous, loving, and enthusiastic person.  Lola played basketball for the first time and made a lot of progress; she really developed as a defensive player.  She also player soccer, mostly as a mid-fielder or forward, and she scored her first goals ever this year!  Lola moved up to Brownie Scouts and headed out for her second summer at Girl Scout sleepaway camp.  She really unlocked her love of reading this year and she devoured books; she made her way through the Harry Potter books this summer and is claiming books off of Raina’s bookshelves.  Lola is highly infatuated with the dog; they have similar high energy states, so they are a good match together.

The women camped at Meramec State Park, hiked and explored many caves, paddled down the Meramec River and tipped their canoe.  The full family went to Congaree National Park, learned about cypress swamps, and earned the awesome Junior Rangers Centennial Badge, which smells like wood smoke.  The Whomptons + Comptons + Astorians vacationed at Litchfield Beach, South Carolina, in the summer and spent a week together in Nashville in the winter.  Watching the Independence Day fireworks while on the beach is an amazing experience and we’re incredibly lucky to have done so twice.  We saw evidence of loggerhead turtles – so cool! – and marveled at the biodiversity displayed at Huntington Beach natural reserve.  Eric and Krystal explored Portland, Oregon, trekked all over town, and tried to see every waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge.  They successfully hit 300 flights of stairs and 35,000 steps in a single day of hiking, which was a fantastic and tiring achievement.  The Whomptons are all about the hiking.  In addition to hiking in all the aforementioned placed, they gallivanted in Castlewood State Park, Cuivre River State Park, Shaw Nature Reserve, Queeny Park, and Rockwoods Reservation.  There was one serious tick disaster in that mix – hundreds of ticks, all over each person – but that was just one hike out of dozens this year.  Not bad. 

The family frequently volunteered at the Saint Louis Area Foodbank.  The only other major focus of the year was Hamilton: The Musical.  The Whompton females are mostly obsessed with the musical, listen to it non-stop, and religiously follow Lin-Manual Miranda.  The music is SO GOOD and comes highly recommended by us.