Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas letter, 2012

Late December/January:
Lorelai (Kirk’s granddaughter) baptized. Ann and Barry finish Disney World Goofy Challenge– half marathon Saturday/full on Sunday.
Christopher finishes Mickey Marathon – his first 26.2 – then hops on a plane and starts 2nd semester at Georgia Tech. Barry’s annual golf weekend marked by great weather and exaggerated fish stories.

Ann spends great weekend with the D’Asta family in Phoenix. Barry travels to Brazil and Mexico, and Ann flies up for a visit with Mom D. Ann enjoys Miami’s Farmer’s Market, where a friend gifts her with an heirloom tomato plant and Ann is transported to tomato heaven every day.

Spring break month! 13 visitors over 4 weeks – jet skiing, beach bumming, kite flying, and pool napping. Ann begins full out training for Ironman Florida.
The excitement begins! Barry and Ann sell house and begin work to build their FINAL home on river front property in Libertyville. When we first saw the land, it said “home”.

Amy graduates with her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Bilingual Specialization. She runs in Cincinnati Flying Pig half marathon with her Aunt Theresa. Ann’s bible study and choir end. Chris comes to Miami for a week before GT summer session. He takes job at the GT Recreational center. Barry helps Ann train; how many Bakers does it take to change a bike flat? At least two!

Amy hired as dual language 4th grade teacher in Evanston, IL. Kayla completes first year graduate school at ISU. Ann and Barry move north into rental house. Ann drives up with dog and cat – Barry drives the bicycles up one day later. Ann’s van breaks down on 1-75 in the middle of rural Georgia. 95°. Manages to get off interstate and up a ramp to a safe area. Towed to a Days Inn in Ashburn – Ford fixes car next day. Barry meets up with and follows Ann through Atlanta, then veers off to see his parents. Ann safely arrives in Libertyville. Ann joins a coaching group to prepare for Ironman.

She discovers that the only correct aspect of her swimming technique is breathing. Barry and Ann ‘race’ the Bigfoot Olympic length triathlon in Lake Geneva, WI. Shared a terrific time at Kirk and Karen’s lake house with Dunkelberger Clan, complete with a one-mile lake swim.


Swim, Bike, Run. Swim, Bike, Run. Swim, Bike, Run. Ann buys a used triathlon bike and slowly adjusts to the aero (resting on bars) position. She lacks the gift of balance. Bruises and scrapes follow. Enjoy Kayla’s summer visit. While condo hunting, Amy moves in with us. Break ground on house.

Chris is home for two weeks between semesters. He vows never to take summer school again. Amy bids on a Chicago two-bedroom condo. House basement poured. On a mild Sunday, Barry and Ann participate in the Benton Harbor, MI Steelhead 70.3 Ironman. Calm Lake Michigan waters marked the 1.2 mi swim, lights winds graced the 56 mi. bike ride, and cheering volunteers made short work of the 13.1 mi run. LOVED it! Best of all, Mom D. played cheerleader – so much fun to see her face when exiting the swim.

Ann, Barry, Dog and Cat journey down to Clearwater for Ann to finish IM training. Run, bike, and swim intensifies.
Ann swims in the gulf, runs in the heat, and uses an off road trail for bike rides now ranging from 50 – 80 miles. Kayla comes for a long weekend, a nice break from grad school and athletic trainer duties at Normal West High school.

Chris visits for fall break. Amy closes on her condo. Kayla decides to run Mickey Marathon with a friend, starts training. Barry visits his parents and travels to Istanbul. Barry, Christopher and Kirk (Ann’s brother) run into the teeth of Hurricane Sandy, “oo-rahing” through the Marine Corp Marathon, escaping just ahead of the devastating storm.


On November 3, Ann reached her long-held dream, swimming 2.4 miles in strong gulf waters, biking a windy, warm 112 mi., and jog/walking 26.2 mi. in 15:49:55. (Hours/minutes/seconds)
“Ann Baker, IS AN IRONMAN!”
Ann extends unbounded gratitude to those at the event (Barry, Amy, and Lynn D’Asta) and those who supported her from a distance. Ann fundraised for the Boomer Esiason Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis and thanks all that donated to her campaign.

Ann, Barry, Dog, and Cat drive home. House is framed with windows and roof. Moved Amy into her condo. Ann agrees to teach at Carmel Catholic spring semester. Chris gets a research position in adult stem cell lab. Kayla and Chris home for first full family Thanksgiving in 6 years. Barry visits parents.

Looking forward to Holiday, Holy Days, Faith, Fun, Family, and Friends. We pray your year was blessed and that faith in the never -ending love of Christ sustains you through the ups and downs of this life.

With much love and gratitude – Blessed Christmas,