Dana started as a little bundle of energy and joy. Now, as she would put it, she is a big bundle of "power" and love. She is equal parts "power girl" and our little baby. She loves the outdoors and takes us camping, biking, tree climbing, swimming, kite flying, you name it. Inside, she loves dancing, dress-up, playing music on her piano from Grandma and Grandpa, telling stories (and playing with her cats!) She has wonderful friends (like Alana - in the tree, and Asha - by the playhouse). She loved her first year at pre-school - the Center for Young Children at the University of Maryland campus. At the end of the summer, they had "pajama day" - which she happily wore while scootering around. We ate lots of picnics outside - her preferred spot is on our front steps (with Shana, our cat)so she can talk to people as they walk by. This year, she got a "shadow" bike that attaches to the back of Ben's bicycle. Ben often picks her up at school on this double bike, and Dana is very proud!
Like everyone, we had lots of snow this year. Fortunately, we had help from Dana shoveling. We could barely get her back inside, despite the 2 feet of snow coming out of the sky.
In February, Dana turned 4 years old, and Dana had a wonderful party - which we were pleased so many of her relatives could come to, along with a number of her friends (see Asha again in the lower left). We also continued what is now a tradition - Allison tracing Dana on a big paper which all the children then filled in with drawings.
In April, we celebrated Passover a few times - once at our house with some friends (Catherine in upper left), and Dana's cousin's Chloe and Phoebe and their family (lower left). We then went to our friends the Cohen's house (upper right) the next night, followed by a third celebration at Ben's parents in New York City.
In May, we somewhat optimistically went camping at the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland with Dana's friend Alana, and her parents Roya and Daniel (who Dana calls "Mommy-Roya" and "Daddy-Daniel"). The island is famous for its wild ponies, and we were thrilled when one of them crossed the road right in front of us! Unfortunately, it was very cold and windy. We had to get up in the middle of the night to stake down the tent more tightly so we wouldn't blow away. And Roya (upper left) dutifully prayed to the coffee gods in hopes of a little liquid warmth. But despite the weather, we enjoyed a very special Shabbat service at the beach, complete with flute playing and candles in the sand (see bottom left).
In June, we were proud, happy, and sad to attend the retrospective show of Allison's mother, Marilyn at the Newark Museum in New Jersey. There was a full day of talks followed by a Gala opening with hundreds of people to see the truly beautiful collection of Marilyn's enamel work. We were delighted to see our Kiddush cup on display that Marilyn made and gave us for our wedding celebration (left goblet in center picture). And it was also the first time that Allison's sister, Erica, showed some of her work in a museum that she made in collaboration with her mother Marilyn and Michael Good (see the red-bottomed sculptural piece in the bottom center picture). We are so proud of Erica as she is developing her own enameling skills, following in her mother's footsteps. You can see what she is up to at her own website - Druin Enamels. You can also see Ben with Allison's long-time friend Norman who helped to create the retrospective show's catalogue (lower left); Dana with cousin Chloe enjoying the party with their new pink purses from friend Pam (upper left); and Allison with her father Mel and Aunt Karen (upper right) in front of a collaborative enameling piece created by the North East Enamel Guild to be presented to Sloan Kettering Hospital honoring Marilyn's surgeon.
Later in June, we spent a wonderful weekend, visiting the Olde Fogie Farm in Lancaster County, PA, a wonderful little working farm that doubles as a child-friendly bed and breakfast. The visiting children help with farm chores twice a day - like feeding animals and collecting eggs. Dana's highlight was seeing the baby lamb born during our visit - what luck! It was a perfect place to visit for a weekend (but get reservations early - they fill up). Dana couldn't get enough of the animals, and we continue to think she will grow up to be a vet.
One weekend in July, Ben and Dana went camping at Patapsco State Park (while Allison tried to concentrate a little on work) - just an hour from our house. Dana has really become a great camper - she loves playing around the campsite, looking for playgrounds, going on hikes - and her favorite is playing around in the tent.
In August, Allison celebrated her 40th birthday (even though her actual birthday isn't until October). But, we had the perfect occasion - a concert by Peter, Paul & Mary at Wolftrap (a beautiful performing arts center with an outside lawn - just for us!) We brought 40 people and a huge picnic dinner. It was a perfect evening, and all the more so because it had rained every night that week, and was getting stormy all afternoon. We were pretty worried, but as we started driving there (in a big caravan), the skies cleared and we had a crystal clear evening. This was all the more incredible because it started thundering and pouring rain soon after we returned home! All in all, it was a night to be remembered.
Finally, we ended the summer with a two-part vacation. Part I: Ben & Dana went on a road-trip for 5 days (again, leaving Allison to concentrate on work). We had the time of our lives - putting together at least 5 vacations in that short trip. We went to Six Flags water park in New Jersey, visited Ben's parents in New York City, went camping in the Catskills (see pictures), and then visited Ben's long-time friend, John Haller at his house by Lake George in upstate New York. We had wonderful weather, did lots of boating, and survived the blackout by running an extension cord to Ben's Toyota Prius and watched DVD's in the dark - what a blast!
Part II: The second part of the vacation was with Allison. We picked her up at the Albany airport and went to Ben's family house in Windsor, MA for our annual Windsor friends/family reunion. We had a beautiful week at the house (top left) flying paper airplanes, swimming, doing art projects, hauling wood, and most of all, eating - with lots of fresh blueberry, peach, and apple pies. Yum - and thanks Anne-Lise! We also spent time building a small dam at Dana's Secret Garden - a little hideaway by a small stream that Ben's been building about a 5-minute walk from our house.
All in all, this has been an active and eventful year. Dana continues to grow in every way and to make us prouder than we could have ever imagined. We can't wait to see what she does next.
Dana and Allison Dancing - Big [7 meg] (requires Flash plugin)
Small [1.7 meg]
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All text and photos Copyright (c) 2003 Ben Bederson