Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too

2002 Holiday Letter

December 2002

Dear Friends,

We at the Huffman household are proud to announce we have another little mouth to feed this year. His name is “Scales” and he is a red betta fish (although we are only guessing at his gender). The girls often want to feed him and our cats often want to feed on him. The girls are becoming fish too. They took swimming lessons this year and have outgrown the blow-up wading pool on our deck. They took to the local municipal pool this summer and their grandma’s pool in Florida this fall.

We also visited Florida in January to expose the girls to the House of Mouse. For the record, five days of Disneyworld is a tad too much for two three-year-olds. Although they pooped out pretty early most days, they did have a good time and still occasionally ask “Can we go back to Florida tomorrow?”

Also in January, we took them to the local ice rink for Marissa’s fourth birthday. Chris didn’t skate much, but I took turns holding each of them up (barely) and dragging them around the rink while they slid around under my arms. Over the summer, tricycles gave way to big girl bikes with training wheels in the cul-de-sac.

We enrolled them in Little Critters gymnastics this fall. At their age, the teacher can barely keep eight free-spirited girls under control for 45 minutes, let along teach them what the pike position is. They use the jump ropes at the gym as leashes and take turns being dogs. They’ll crawl around on all fours and howl at each other. That kind of animal playacting now regularly occurs at home too. We are waiting for the phase to pass, but one nice benefit of the classes, is that the gym offers “Kid’s Night Out.” For a ridiculously low fee, the girls have pizza and can tumble at the gym all evening while we go out for a dinner and movie.

In the future, we are likely to have fewer of those date nights. In case some of you hadn’t already heard, we are in the process of adopting our third child. The tired joke I still tell is that Chris and I are going from “man-on-man” to “zone” defense around the house. We started the paperwork May of last year when I gave Chris a signed INS form for Mother’s day and we expect to get a referral from China by the end of this year (I’ll add a picture to my website when it comes). It looks like we will be traveling sometime during the last half of winter. We’ve moved the girls to the other bedroom. The Pooh bedroom will stay as it is and will become the baby’s room when the time comes. The girls now have a new “pink candy stripe faeries” room. Figuring it was inevitable next year anyway; Chris is now driving a large minivan that barely fits in our garage.

The girls are attempting to grow their language skills now that they are in their last year of preschool. In addition to the English you and I know, the girls use the words “lemalade,” “pretendly,” “askiddent,” and “eyebrowns.” They will often say a sequence of random letters and ask me what word they spelled. I’ll phonetically try to sound it out, but when I tell them it is a nonsense word, they always giggle.

Ken continues to work at Applied Innovation Inc. The company, which sells networking equipment to telecommunications companies, been affected by the slump in that industry. Most of the company’s customers have cut back spending and a few of those telephone companies are going through bankruptcy as you’ve probably all seen in the news. Ken’s company, while not in debt itself, has gone through three rounds layoffs in the past two years and is about half the size it used to be. To make up for poor sales domestically, Ken traveled abroad again in 2002, this time to design equipment for South Africa’s national telephone company. Although nothing is certain in this economy, things have started looking up for the company in the last month or so.

To all who get this letter, we wish a happy holiday season and prosperous 2003.

Ken, Chris, Marissa and Katie