Bader Family Christmas Letter

It is a sad fact that a small percentage of the Christmas cards we send out do not reach their destinations. Some languish in postal purgatory. Some come back marked “Return to Sender,” because you crazy kids keep moving. Some fall behind the china hutch and are discovered months later and furtively buried in the recycling pile (WHAAAT? You didn’t get our letter? Damn the Postal Service!)  If you were one of those unfortunate souls who did not receive our letter this year, this is for you.

January 3, 2014

Dear Family, Friends, and Car Thieves,

Let us be the first to wish you a very happy MLK Day. Most bible scholars agree that the actual Nativity happened in June. Did you send your holiday cards too early? Our cards finally arrived here yesterday after an Incredible Journey through the postal system, which included a detour at our previous Cape Cod address. Our Sandwich friends will surely see this as a sign that we are destined to return!

In perhaps another sign that the Baders are not meant for the big city, our new Toyota Sienna inexplicably disappeared from the driveway recently. Although a minivan would not seem a typical target for hardened criminals, it boasts a killer moonroof and can comfortably seat up to 8 crackheads. The stellar Arlington, VA police force assure us that “It may turn up eventually….or not.” Thank you for all your kind Facebook inquiries – the Jeep is safe and sound with nary a scratch.

Otherwise, we’ve made a fairly smooth transition from the Cape to DC. Last summer, after the movers unloaded the shattered remnants of our dining room set from their truck (“who do I tip?”), we paused to reflect on another fantastic year on the Cape: volleyball, movie nights, back yard ice rinks and the best U10 baseball team to ever complete a winless all star season. Great memories, but we’re slowly acclimating to the hustle, bustle, and oppressive traffic of America’s 4th least desirable large city (look out Detroit, Baltimore and Memphis… we’re coming for you!) While we enjoy the restaurants, cultural opportunities and friendly neighbors, we are not fans of the area’s high housing prices, crowded schools and car thieves.

As a Fellow on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Eric is enjoying the rare opportunity to see the American legislative process in all its dysfunctional glory. When things are not going well on the hill, he critiques Senatorial wardrobe on C-Span (“Cowboy boots and a smoking jacket!? No wonder we have a 5 percent approval rating”), fills the copier with paper (Senatorial paper), and makes coffee.  When Congress is actually working, he helps write speeches, manages accounts, crunches numbers, AND makes the coffee. When he’s not working or mired in Beltway road rage, Eric cheers for Danny at the hockey rink, picks out delicious calorie bombs at the Heidleberg bakery with Anna, or shoots up town with Jake on the X-box.

Kristi made her much anticipated return to the workforce this Fall, teaching English as a second language to fully veiled Saudi Arabian women at the Language Company here in Virginia. She must be doing an exceptional job, as her students continue to bring in Middle Eastern delicacies to show their appreciation, such as a fistful of small dehydrated objects, which were either dried limes or shrunken heads. Either way, they were delicious. Although the job is part-time, (“party-time” as her students call it), Kristi is finding it challenging to balance home and work. She occasionally makes mistakes such as accidentally sending holiday cards to the wrong state or perhaps leaving the car keys in the car.  Oh, and she also started a blog: If you post a nice comment she may put some more stuff on there for your reading pleasure. Or maybe she’ll just read another vampire romance novel. Time will tell.

Jake is already tired of fast-paced city life, as he tells us loudly and often.  He walks 1.2 miles to school, sits in class alongside his 975 classmates, and toils for hours on homework at night. But, we are very proud to report he made the 7th grade honor roll!  He also started tennis lessons this Fall and took up the drums. What an inspired musical choice for the whole family, here in our poorly-insulated house with 1600 square feet of living space!

Danny has become quite the Renaissance man this year. He made the honor roll and was chosen to babysit the class hamster, Hampton, over winter break. He is taking guitar lessons (you should hear his soulful rendition of the “Mission Impossible” theme) and has become an enthusiastic member of the Tuckahoe Elementary Chess Club. He is the starting center for the NOVA Icedogs, and can usually be found at the ice rink, the basketball court, the lacrosse, or the baseball diamond on any given weekend. Before leaving the Cape, Dan had a great a great spring playing for Coach Ned’s Sandwich lacrosse team and Coach Ken’s U9 All-Star baseball team.

Anna has adjusted well to the big city too. Which is to say, there have only been a few dozen temper tantrums, less than ten outright refusals to wear clothes, and only one morning spent hiding under the bedspread from the stresses of first grade. But, it turns out you can buy wine in Virginia supermarkets! We have discovered that easy access to alcohol is the key to getting through soccer practice if your crying daughter won’t turn loose of your pant leg to kick the ball. In a fit of optimism, we also signed Anna up for her cousin John’s softball team. Thank goodness her assistant coach, Danny, was able to coax her out of the dugout, and she ended up having a great time as Coach John’s “designated fielder.” Anna has become a great reader, enjoying the antics of Junie B., Frog and Toad, and those crazy Jewel fairies.

Lastly, we’re happy to report that Bingo has adjusted well to Northern Virginia. He enjoys barking loudly and frequently at any dogs or people that stray within a 30 foot radius of our house, except apparently car thieves. He is currently obsessed with eating the hamster before we send him back to school after the break. God speed, Hampton.

The best part of living in Arlington is our proximity to loved ones – Kristi’s parents, many beloved cousins and our Coast Guard friends. However, it is bittersweet as we reflect on the good friends left behind on Cape Cod as well as those in far flung places like Hawaii, Colorado, and Alaska. We hope that 2014 finds many of those friends visiting us  at our new home, where we boast a lovely and cozy guest room/basement/rec room/drum studio! We promise you will have a great time visiting the amazing sights of the nation’s capital! As long as you remember to lock your car.


Kristi, Eric, Jake, Danny and Anna