The Year in Review: 2015

Welcome to our 2015 Year in Review!

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We had some grand adventures in 2015, and we have another one coming up soon. The four of us traveled to Wisconsin, NYC, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this year, and we’re looking forward to a Disney World getaway during the winter.

Charlotte’s in third grade now. Inspired by our trip to Mount Vernon and by a book Eric bought for the kids, she has become quite a presidential historian. This summer she had her first taste of sleep-away camp (just four nights) and loved it. Charlotte dressed up as Amelia Earhart for Halloween, and is talking about becoming “a debater” or following in Rachel’s father’s footsteps as a history teacher when she grows up. We were all excited when she began reading the Harry Potter series this fall!

Sophie wrapped up her career at our wonderful local elementary school in June and spent much of her summer at Binghamton University for camps focused on archaeology and Beijing Opera/Chinese language. She decided to continue with both trumpet and violin lessons in sixth grade, and she picked up the shofar in time for the High Holy Days with help from our rabbi. Probably the most fun she had on stage this year was during a talent show routine that she choreographed with her friend Libby. Sophie says she’d like to be an astronaut or an astronomer when she grows up.

Rachel enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Chicago and Paris with her dad and her sister in March. She devoted her summer to a massive project at work, helping to write and edit a $500 million proposal on behalf of an eight-county region of upstate New York. Rachel’s still doing research communications for Binghamton University, though there’s a lot more outreach and strategic communications work than she used to have.

Eric interviewed Chubby Checker and Joan Osborne this year, though the kids were more impressed when he spent the day with the actress who plays Flo in the Progressive ads (she’s a Binghamton alumna). He’s still doing public relations at Binghamton University, too, and was recently honored as a “career champion” for his work mentoring undergraduate writers.

15 of Rachel’s favorite songs from 2015 (click below to listen via Spotify):


A song from each of Eric’s top albums of the year:


3 DIY videos Sophie recommends:
1. Paint chip calendar/wall organizer
2. Dream catcher
3. Sharpie tie-dye sneakers

5 books Rachel read and loved this year:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Eric’s top 10 albums of 2015:

  1. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – self-titled
  2. Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect
  3. Squeeze – Cradle and the Grave
  4. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
  5. The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
  6. Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks
  7. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase
  8. James Bay – Chaos and the Calm
  9. Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People
  10. 3-way tie: A-ha – Cast in Steel; New Order – Music Complete; Duran Duran – Paper Gods

Just missed Eric’s Top 10:

  1. Barenaked Ladies – Silverball
  2. Zac Brown Band – Jekyll + Hyde
  3. Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands

Old-timers still making great music:

  1. Steve Forbert – Compromised
  2. Toto – Toto XIV
  3. James Taylor – Before This World
  4. Jeff Lynne’s ELO – Alone in the Universe

Excellent music from Philly and the Burbs:

  1. Good Old War – Broken Into Better Shape
  2. Langhorne Slim & the Law – The Spirit Moves
  3. Cheerleader – The Sunshine of Your Youth

Album so cool/weird/self-indulgent that Eric doesn’t know how/where to rank it: Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear