Dear friends and family,The year 2002 has been tumultuous for us, whose "main event" was the death of Andyís dad (who passed away August the 6th). It brought sorrow to our family. He was a great father, father-in-law, and grandfather to us. He is and will continue to be dearly missed.
As if to add insult to injury, Thaddeus got burned by tea on 14 percent of his body on the 19th day of August, so shortly after the death of Andyís father. It was a depressing month! Thank God for the Shrinerís Burn hospital: they took very good care of Thaddeus, and they did so without charging us a penny. If youíre a Shriner, thank you! If you know of a Shriner, thank him or her for us. It was a sad and emotional time for the whole family, watching Thad lie there, whimpering, wrapped up like a mummy. The burn center taught us how to change Thadís dressings, and we did this twice a day for three weeks. After those three weeks we went back to the hospital and they gave us an "A" for the hard work we had done. The teamwork really paid off, as we avoided the skin grafts that had seemed inevitable early on. Thad might have scars on his upper arm and under his armpit - itís too early to say - but we are glad that he has recovered and is back to his cheery self. He is 14 months old now; loves books and being the center of attention, and being babysat by his brother Tchapo and uncle Kpandja.
Tchapo just celebrated his 17th birthday on the 24th of December. He has told us that after his 18th birthday we canít tell him what to do anymore. Weíll see about that! He is having a good year as a junior, judging by his full social calendar and dance card. His school soccer season is over with, and although they didnít have a super record - they were 6-12 for the season - they won their district, only to lose in regionals in overtime. He is now playing coed indoor soccer. He loves to rap and even performs for us. He has been going with his girlfriend Lauren for about a year now. Best of all he is being a great big brother to Thaddeus.
Kpandja (Annaís brother) joined us the eleventh of August. This is his first time in the states and he is going to NKU, majoring in premed. We are happy to have him here with us. He is a very big help to the family, and also an outstanding student (his calculus teacher told Andy that he "crushed" the final - 198/200!). His biggest problem is the English language, but heís making strides in his proficiency.In the photo at left, it's Tchapo to the left, Kpandja to the right.
|Anna became a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Thomas this year, at the same time as Thad and Tchapo were baptized there.
She is still working part time at a local nursing home, and takes kick-boxing at NKU anytime she can. She is also busy taking care of all the 4 boys and especially running after Thad, who keeps her busy.
|Andy is on his 3rd year of teaching at NKU, and is enjoying the
challenges and satisfactions of working with the students. He wishes that he
had more time for relaxing during the semesters, but certainly does enjoy the
breaks! It would be wonderful to have more time at home with Thad while Thadís in
his "wonderful ones", but Andy continues to hope that Thad will
surprise us with the "terrific twos". Thaddeus is really a joy to us
all, with his big grin, bizarre laughs, and generally sunny disposition.
A couple of highlights for Andy were paying a surprise visit to Marek Przezdziecki in Ithaca, NY, for his 40th birthday celebration; and a Civil War tour of Ohio and Northern Kentucky with Dan McGee. The week-long family reunion in the Syracuse, IN, area was a treat for the whole family.
We hope that this letter finds you with a sunny disposition, and looking forward to a great year 2003. May it be a blessed and happy year for you. Please do drop by for a visit when you are in the neighborhood. We love having visitors! Take care now,
The Longs of Ft. Thomas