2008 Giurintano Christmas Letter

 
     
 

Merry Christmas and God's blessings in the New Year!

To all our friends and family that we see far too little of, we send Holy Christmas Blessings your way, and we hope that sometime during this holiday season we will see each of you. Life, as always, is constantly changing. It has been a year of love and loss for our family. We ended last year celebrating the birth and first Christmas of our second grandson, Collin William Waters, son of Amy and Shawn, and little brother to Connor. Collin turned 1 on November 8th and Connor turned 3 on June 19th. To our friends who have not joined the ranks of grandparenthood, look forward...there is nothing like it! While with us last Christmas, Amy and Shawn talked about wanting to come back to Baton Rouge from Montgomery, Alabama to be nearer to family. Shortly after Christmas, Shawn was laid off, but eventually found a new job in BR working for Turner Industries as a Computer Help Desk Specialist. God works in mysterious ways! After staying with Shawn's brother Shanan for awhile, they found a house to rent only one neighborhood (3 streets actually) away from us. We love being Mimi and Pops .... and it's nice having Amy and Shawn close by, too. One week after Collin was born, we found out that my Mom had Stage 4 kidney cancer that had already spread to her liver and her lungs. She fought very hard for 9 months until brain tumors caused a rapid decline, and Mom let us know she was ready to leave us. On August 15, my sister, Donna, and I held her hands as she quietly left us for her home in Heaven. We had so hoped last Christmas would not be her last with us. She sure enjoyed holding her brand new great-grandson then, but as Uncle Wayne urged us to do, we made memories. We also said good-bye to Aunt Rosie just before she would have turned 90. We will miss her sweetness. It was such a joy to celebrate Aunt Sarah's 93rd birthday in October and we realized how much we have been blessed to have these two angels in our lives. Our lengthy quest for land in the country has occupied many a weekend over the course of the past year and a half. We closed on 23 acres outside of Jackson, LA on December 18. We cannot wait to create the perfect get-a-way place for our family and friends and hope that you all will join us there once all the work is complete. We have wanted to do this for awhile; actually David started dreaming about it when he was 12, and we both are so excited. David will finally be able to put in his retirement papers in the spring, but I think he will be working even harder to create our little piece of heaven. I have to say thank you to our niece (and real estate agent) Jenny for putting up with us for so long. (PS She will make my sister Donna a very happy grandmother next July. Yea!) I am teaching at Woodlawn High for the second year and still love working in special education. I am hoping to complete my administrator certification soon and see where that leads. Bethany just turned 21 and will be graduating from LSU in May. She is excited to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. She's even more excited that Cody Scallan proposed to her two days ago! Hurricane Gustav caused the ceiling in her apartment to collapse, so she decided to spend her last year of college back home with us. Kacie just finished her 3rd semester at Baton Rouge Community College and will enroll at LSU for the upcoming spring semester as a Psychology major. She and Ben Price have been dating for a year and make a cute couple. She turns 20 in January, and we can hardly believe that all our daughters are grown. Of course that makes it much easier to take quick trips to the Texas Hill Country like David and I did last month. If you haven't been out that way, it is beautiful. I climbed Enchanted Rock, north of Fredericksburg and the views were spectacular. About half way up, David decided the views were just fine where he was and he waited there for me. Visit Trois Estate just down the road and enjoy a couple of peaceful days, gorgeous views and unbelievable food. I think I see more land in the future......

Love,

The Giurintano Family

Patti, David, Bethany and Kacie

   
   

It is only appropriate to start the year of pictures off with the reminder that the Tigers beat Ohio St. to win their second BCS Championship. Of course this season wasn't as much fun, but we're looking forward to 2009.

   

On my second trip to TX in '08, I managed a 230 yd shot to take this Blackbuck on our Pelican State Friends of NRA Hunt at the YO Ranch.

   
Our good friends, Rich and Diana McLain, came to BR for a visit at Mardi Gras time. Sophia, Matthew and Diana's mom had a great time at the parade.

   

Here's a shot of some of the cousins from Easter in New Orleans. Anna's ready for driving!
   
I sponsored my fourth Capstone Design project, but this time it was funded by me not the NHDP. Might just pan out to be a great retirement opportunity.

   
We had our 15th Annual Friends of NRA banquet in August. We've grown enough that now we're at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza and have room until we hit 800 attendees!
   

Well, I guess it wouldn't be south Lousiana with a hurricane or two. Beth's apartment was totaled by Gustav. Gustav also did a bit of pruning to the trees at our house. The entire length of the Parkway looked like this.

 

   

We deployed to Atlanta, so I had a chance to see Mark and Nancy Messonnier and the kids. Stopped in Dallas, had a chance to see Tom Scheidel but wasn't there for fun and gun. I played Night Watch Officer at the Federal Medical Shelter at the Reed Arena in College Station. After my time at A&M, I have a true respect for that school and its sense of duty. Gig 'em Aggies!
   

When I returned home, I did a Pops and the boys (and Amy) morning at the zoo. Connor is growing soo fast!!

   

Now this is what you go to TX for! Cody, Ben and I spent a day or so at the WRS helping Walter keep the population in check. We'll have bison for a while.

   
Just too cute not to include a pick from the day Beth and Cody took Connor to the zoo for Halloween.

   

We made a 4 day trip to the Hill Country for some TX fun. We ate at Po Po's, listened to Gary P. Nunn at the Nelson City Dance Hall, visited the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredricksburg, Patti topped Enchanted Rock, and we picked up a few pounds of bison at Woodbury's. This was the most relaxing vacation ever.

   

We celebrated Thanksgiving in New Orleans at Greg and Karen's. 7 granddaughters, one grandson, and two great-grandsons. Not a bad haul for my parents!

   

 

In last year's letter Patti said I had self-control because I didn't shoot the big stag, so I made up for it this year. Mr. Buffalipso dressed out at 1100 lbs. All to feed the homeless during the SCI NAHH Hunt at the YO Ranch.

 

   

Well a week ago it was confrmed that 2008 was a crazy year. We had snow. Not just a dusting but a real snow day. They closed the schools. Of course, they waited until the teachers drove in. It lasted 24 hours and was beautiful.

 

 

   

On the Monday before Christmas, Bethany and Cody spent the day in the Big Easy having fun. But before they returned to BR, he proposed to Beth!!! We're very happy to have Cody join our family. Two down, one to go. Where is Ben?!!
   

 

As if 4 labs aren't enough, Kacie and Ben adopted a beautiful lab pup. Her name is Verret - like the lake. Of course, she loves to sit in my lap while I try to read!

Kacie finished her 3 semesters at BRCC and starts LSU in January. She'll be moving into a dorm. (One moves out, one moves back home!)

   

After a 21 month search, the week before Christmas we closed on 22.9 acres 5 miles north of Jackson, LA on Highway 952. It's a very nice piece of land with an old barn. The plan is to dig a pond, build a range, either move a house out there and renovate it or build a home and build a shop/game(man)room. We're hoping to tend a few Spanish goats and a burro or two. Grow some figs, peaches, satsumas, blueberries and some vegis.

   
I guess we're really getting old. We celebrated Christmas at Amy and Shawn's house. Pretty nice to see your children doing well. There were other pictures but I would be using red eye removal for a week to have everyone look nice. Next time, I'll use an external flash.  
   
 
     
  So this year we split the duties on the Christmas letter. Patti wrote the main text and I added captions to the pictures. Once I go back to work in January, I'll put in my papers to retire from the Public Health Service. I'm hoping to get the farm completed in 2009 and then consider my options. Maybe teach a course or two, work with middle schools to develop kids' interest in science and technology, get my device patented, marketed and produced, learn about being an entrepreneur so I can teach that or maybe emergency management or just enjoy Range Day Fridays at the Farm.