The Year in Review: 2012

In our little corner of the world, 2012 has been the year of Harry Potter, thanks to Sophie’s obsession with the boy wizard. It has also been a year full of new professional challenges, outings to the Finger Lakes and the Catskills and the bittersweet end of Charlotte’s preschool days.GRP_3926

Eric has reached 1948 in his latest reading project, which involves one book about each presidential election of the 20th century. Now that Montreal has a new sports team, he has also become a dedicated fan of professional soccer for the first time in his life. Eric took on more responsibility at work this year, managing communications for Harpur College and supervising a team of student writers in addition to his other work at Binghamton University.

Rachel takes occasional breaks from playing Words With Friends and snapping pictures of the kids to search Pinterest for new recipes. She completed a year as president of Temple Concord in Binghamton in May and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees there. She also recently led Shabbat services for the first time. Rachel, who survived the shock of her 20th high school reunion (how can we be this old?) in May, traveled to Chicago for work this year and participated in a panel discussion at FermiLab. She remains the editor of Binghamton Research and in May 2013 will host the University Research Magazine Association’s conference on campus at Binghamton University.

This is the year Sophie went from being a kid who knew how to read to being a reader. She has finished the first three Harry Potter books and loves Roald Dahl, too. In May, she took the stage for her school talent show and impressed everyone with her hula-hoop routine. Sophie has begun Hebrew lessons and this year is giving jazz dance a try after a few years of tap and ballet. She’s Rachel’s mini-me in a lot of ways. The two recently spent a day in New York City exploring MoMA.

Charlotte began kindergarten this year and has settled beautifully into the routines of Mrs. Waterman’s class at Tioga Hills. Her passions these days include playing dress-up and building with Legos, a sweet little boy named Liam and mac and cheese. Not necessarily in that order. She can sing an amazing array of pop songs and loves to rock out to the band One Dalmatian (you may know them as One Direction). She and her friend Laurel are taking dance classes together again this year, after a successful debut in the spring recital.

Our family travels this year took us to Sesame Place, the kids’ first major league game (go Phils!) and Papa Paul’s farm in Wisconsin. Sophie and Charlotte would probably tell you that the highlights included swimming, milkshakes and seeing payphones at the airport.

– Eric, Rachel, Sophie and Charlotte

Eric’s picks for the year’s best albums:

1) Bruce Springsteen – “Wrecking Ball”
2) The Dunwells – “Blind Sighted Faith”
3) The Shins – “Port of Morrow”
4) Ben Folds Five – “The Sound of the Life of the Mind”
5) Gaslight Anthem – “Handwritten”
6) Asia – “XXX”
7) JD McPherson – “Signs and Signifiers”
8) Good Old War – “Come Back as Rain”
9) The Avett Brothers – “The Carpenter”
10) Keane – “Strangeland”
11) Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Going to Change the Way You Feel About Me Now”
12) Scars on 45 – “Scars on 45”

Eric’s picks for the year’s best songs:

  1. “Anna Sun” – Walk the Moon
  2. “North Side Gal” – JD McPherson
  3. “Baby Come Home” – Scissor Sisters
  4. “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons
  5. “Runaways” – The Killers
  6. “Reboot the Mission” – The Wallflowers
  7. “45” – Gaslight Anthem
  8. “California” – Delta Spirit
  9. “One Grain of Sand” – Ron Pope
  10. “Pretty Little Lie” – Blackberry Smoke
  11. “Uh Oh” – Junior Doctor
  12. “Let Her Go” – Passenger

Do you have Spotify? If you do, you can listen to Eric’s picks as a playlist:

Rachel’s 12 favorite songs of 2012 (in no particular order):

1.    The Dunwells – I Could Be A King
2.    Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
3.    Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
4.    Passion Pit – Take A Walk
5.    Walk the Moon – Anna Sun
6.    Scissor Sisters – Baby Come Home
7.    Regina Spektor – Don’t Leave Me [Ne Me Quitte Pas]
8.    The Shins – Simple Song
9.    Olly Murs – Heart Skips A Beat
10.    Nada Surf – Waiting For Something
11.    Bruce Springsteen – Death To My Hometown
12.    Gym Class Heroes – The Fighter

(Honorable mentions to Fun – Some Nights and Mumford and Sons – Roll Away Your Stone.)

Do you have Spotify? If you do, you can listen to Rachel’s picks as a playlist: 

Eric’s favorite videos of 2012:

  1. “Labrador” and “Charmer” – Aimee Mann
  2. “Simple Song” – The Shins
  3. “Candy” – Robbie Williams
  4. “Lego House” – Ed Sheeran
  5. “Do It Anyway” – Ben Folds Five

A half-dozen great books Rachel read this year:

  1. “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making” by Catherynne M. Valente
  2. “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach
  3. “Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time” by Dava Sobel
  4. “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht
  5. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” by Nathan Englander
  6. “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore” by  Robin Sloan

Eric’s favorite song not on Spotify: “Scared of Heights” – Morten Harket

Eric’s Top Songs to Sing with Sophie and Charlotte

  1. “Good Time” – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen
  2. “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” – fun.
  3. “Drive By” and “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” — Train

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