Newsletter 2008






What a year! While it seems the outside world is collapsing before our eyes and governments are reeling in economic panic around the globe and at home our normally drowsy political landscape seems bent on insanity and cries of the sky is falling are being heard world wide. And yet Nintendo Wii’s are sold out everywhere in Vancouver and there seems to be even more Christmas lights up in the neighbourhood than ever before. Did we miss something? Do they know something we don’t? Fortunately, life here at home seems to march on to its own drum beat.

This year Matthew finished Kindergarten and is finding grade one a big interruption to his busy schedule. Poor Matthew is trying to find clear sailing and despite his moments at school is settling in day by day. He’s made good friends and enjoying the new challenges, in part brought on by first grade. Matthew is still the sporty one and is becoming quite the soccer player. Though always having a tough time competing with Big Sis Matthew has found his niche with soccer and was proud to have taught Emily the somewhat advanced card game (for a child) of “High, Low, Jack and Game” otherwise known as Fort Frances Smear. Good on you Matthew!

Emily continues to do very well at school while keeping her social calendar full. We all wonder how she does it. She has continued to enjoy dance classes that include acrobat training. This past summer she was invited to tryout for the junior IBM program which is a pre-professional ballet curriculum. We told Emily that if she goes for it and qualifies that she must commit to a much stricter and tougher dance regimen. Well Emily has surprised us all and accepted the challenge. She dances nearly every day and has improved immensely this season. She has been invited to perform solo parts in up coming performances and now realizes that learning is about making mistakes, learning from them and not giving up no matter what. Good on you Emily!

Emily loves music and both Matthew and she are taking piano lessons. It has helped that our much loved homestay Amy Lee has shared her rather impressive musical talents with them and taken her role as big sister with great gusto. We will miss her when she returns to Korea shortly after Christmas. Amy is 13 years old and has been with us for the past year in her second tour of duty with us. She had been with us almost two years before. Amy is growing up quickly and we are proud of the work she has accomplished both at school and at home. Bon voyage Amy we all, especially Matthew and Emily, will miss you.

Genie is a full contact busy mom who is also up to her eyebrows in the Early Childhood Education Program at Capilano University. She loves the program and the work associated with it so Patrick doesn’t mind the extra work needed to keep the household in order. Like so many moms today Genie is constantly organizing everyone’s lives and keeping things going at a feverish pace. Patrick doesn’t know how she does it but loves it that she can. Genie has many friends but finds it difficult to schedule time with them. But she manages to balance things in ways that keep our family strong and on track. Patrick toasts your energy and commitment and you are so loved because of it.

Patrick continues to enjoy working from his home office in the back of the property nicely hid and far from the madding crowd. Despite the woes of the economy he enjoys relative employment security since he is Bancorp’s only full time programmer. But then again, where is the economy really going? How much worse will it get before things turn around? When they turn around will our lifestyles be changed? So many have been asking these questions but the experts and the unwashed masses all sigh in sad reverence to a lack of answers to these very relevant questions. We all count our blessings.

And thats a segue to some blessings that I've neglected to mention. They have been a few renos getting done. See the home page for a little more detail.

Ah! But it is the Christmas season where we collectively reflect on who we are and where we’ve come along the paths of our lives. We think of Christmas and all that it extols. We remind ourselves that it is the thought that counts. It is about sharing and community and families coming together if only in the virtual world of long distant phone calls, busy Internet chats and of course your Facebook. But deep down we all love our crazy new world.

In the end as George Sand was once quoted as saying, “There is but one happiness in life; to love and be loved”. Maybe that thought should help us connect to the spirit of Christmas that celebrates the birth of Christ.

The Hogans want to wish all our friends and family a warm and merry Christmas and hope that the New Year brings renewed hope and prosperity.

Love and warmest wishes

Patrick,                             A Year In Pictures 2008