The Russell Christmas Letter 2016

We hope that you have had a really good year and that the coming year will be a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous one for you and your loved ones.

At Easter, we made a trip with Emily to Florida to visit Margaret, Chris, and our granddaughters, Tiffany and Samantha. It was wonderful to spend time with them in their new home. During our visit, we spent a day at Marineland and enjoyed a family lunch with the Snow clan.

Snow family at Marineland

Marian, Emily, John

Lunch with the Snow clan

Marian learned how to make soap late last year and made several batches, the best of which is pictured below. Rebecca has continued her studies in graphic design. In the Spring, she and her team (called Nu) entered the international Ad Venture Student Competition and placed in the top 10 (out of 150 entries) - a big achievement. You can read more about it here (in German).  In June, Rebecca received the Austrian diploma which is awarded by the college to students after two years of study. Rebecca decided to continue her studies for one more year in order to complete a Bachelor's degree. At the graduation ceremony that John attended, Rebecca was one of five students who were given the "Outstanding" award.

Marian's soap

Rebecca and the Nu team

Rebecca's Diploma graduation
"Outstanding" award

The biggest event this year was the birth of Emily's son, Jasper Edward Russell. Marian went to England in early June and stayed until mid-September to help Emily before and after the birth. Marian spent four months knitting a baby blanket for Jasper and managed to finish it in late July. Jasper was born in August, a week later than expected, giving Emily time to pass the driving test when she was already nine months pregnant. John bought Emily a new car, a Hyundai i10, to make life with the new baby easier. In the late afternoon of the 19th of August, Emily went into labour, and after a smooth and uncomplicated night, gave birth to Jasper at 3:19 am. He weighed 3.63 kg (7.9 lb).

Jasper - two minutes old
with happy mom

Jasper - one-half hour old

Jasper - space alien hearing test

Jasper sleeping

Baby blanket

Emily's new i10

John and Marian returned to England for a week in October for Emily's graduation from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and to visit John's Mum with Emily and the baby. We took care of Jasper during the graduation ceremony which took place in a beautiful church in Bristol, St Mary Redcliffe.

Emily in St Mary
Redcliffe church

Emily and proud parents

Sleeping through
the festivities

Jasper in his
Halloween costume

In October, Rebecca won first prize in a book cover design competition run by the Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ). You can read more about the association competition here (in German). Emily and Jasper celebrated his first Halloween in costume. We lost our dear kitty Alexander in January 2015. In November this year, we both felt it would be nice to have a cat in the house again, and on 21 November, we brought home our new little kitty, Zoe. She's very sweet, sleeps a lot, and is a little crazy when she's awake. She's half Maine Coon, so could grow to be quite large.

Rebecca's winning cover design

Rebecca with the judges

First photo of Zoe
21 November

Crazy Zoe

At the end of November, some idiot driver lost control of their car in our village and rammed into John's ten-year-old Volvo. The car was written off - a shame as John would have driven this car for another three to five years, not to mention the hassle of looking for a new car. This happened just before John left for England to be with his mother for her 90th birthday. After the birthday lunch with his Mum, his sister's family, and Emily and Jasper, John went back with Emily and Jasper to Bristol for a few days and then helped them fly to Vienna, Austria, for a Christmas holiday with the family. As a prelude to Christmas, we visited the Christmas market in Schlosshof. This market was bigger (100 stalls) than most Vienna Christmas markets, and also had cheaper hot spiced wine (Glühwein), so this may become a Russell family tradition in future years - Prost!

John's Volvo

John's Mum - 90th birthday

Jasper and Granddad

Russells in front of
Christmas tree at Schlosshof

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© Copyright 2016 John Russell, last updated 25 December 2016, Number of hits = Counter