Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too

2001 Holiday Letter

December 4, 2001

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another installment of the Huffman family holiday letter. My letter from Christmas was not up to Chris’s quality standards, so you shouldn’t feel left out for missing last year’s note: nobody received it.

We are blessed with two very active girls. The girls have vivid imaginations and they like to role play with each other. They often refer to themselves as either Pocahontas or Tina the Dinosaur from The Land Before Time. Marissa (AKA-Tina) changes form and can be either an ant or dog. While attending an outdoor concert this past summer, Marissa embarrassed me by walking on all fours, barking and panting like a dog. Fortunately we have passed that phase and I learned to ignore her. The girls love to swim and would swim everyday if they had an opportunity, even if they don’t they can often be found wearing their swimsuits as regular playwear.

Marissa can be a finicky eater but has a huge appetite. She loves strawberries and can eat an entire quart at one sitting (well just the bottom tips of them). Both girls would just eat pats of butter if we allowed them so instead they can be found just licking off the butter off a slice of bread and then asking to have it re-buttered.

The girls talk constantly and are quite comical as they carry conversations with each other. They often break out into song. We hope that Marissa is a lyricist and not a singer as she cannot carry a tune. Katie loves taking care of her baby dolls and stuffed animals. She often feeds, dresses and reads to them, takes them on stroller rides, and puts them down for a nap as well. She loves to hear and often admits that she is a good mommy.

They love to frequent the library to pick out new videos and books but mainly to work on the computer. The library of course has a much larger selection of games/stories than we have at home. As of this past month we are a two computer family, however, the girls continue to vie for computer time.

This spring the girls went through a phase of destroying their room each night by tearing down the blinds and Pooh border along with stripping the beds and shoving the mattress onto the floor to make a tent. Fortunately this phase has also passed as well, however, the need to remove all their clothing except for underwear still persists. This has significantly reduced the amount of laundry. One day Katie put on 48 pair of underwear all at once and she wondered why her belly hurt!

The girls do play well together but can also be the worst of enemies. On our way to an Easter egg hunt they were fighting over imaginary eggs in their Easter baskets and could not be resolved until we gave them some additional imaginary eggs. The hunt also helped us identify Marissa’s favorite color as she would only collect the yellow eggs despite the fact that all the eggs had candy inside.

Katie became a U.S. citizen earlier this year so we are officially done with all their paperwork from the initial adoption process. A long and tedious process but very worthwhile.

For the most part the girls have been relatively healthy since they have been removed from daycare. Chris stepped down from her manager’s position last Christmas and is now working contingent (as needed basis). This has worked out great for the family and has tremendously helped Katie with her insecurities. With this change the girls have not been starved socially as they have a more active social life than either of us does. They did start pre-school on September 11th at the Methodist church down the street. Thankfully a day in which the girls will not associate with the other tragic event of the day.

Ken again was able to attend his week long bicycle adventure through several communities this past summer. Of course this always occurs during the hottest and most humid week of the year but does not seem to bother him. He knows that when he returns from a week of sweating and camping in a tent that his clothes must be sorted in the garage and laundered immediately. This year his adventures took him through Northeast Ohio. He promises to take the girls next year by hauling them in his bike trailer but have some logistics to solve before this can actually occur. Come next year the girls may have their own opinion about this adventure as they definitely have their own thoughts.

Ken spent a month in Athens, Greece showing some security software at the national telephone company of Greece. The system is tangentially related to the 2004 Olympics, but it is not a done deal yet. It was a long month apart from the family and each call or e-mail home seemed to get more and more desperate. During the fourth week, Katie reported to her mommy that daddy wasn’t coming back. Katie, the clingy one, has become even more so since my return. When Ken says that he is going to work, he must now clarify that he’ll be back for dinner. This is when both Ken and I realized that neither of us would like to be single parents and wonder how single parents manage. It is good to be appreciated by your spouse and children.

We hope you have had a pleasant and prosperous year with many more to follow.

Happy Holidays,

Chris, Ken, Marissa and Katie Huffman