The Heller Family and 2004

Family Portraits by Dottie Hilbert

Throughout history, various calendars have organized people's lives. Lunar calendars helped people predict seasons, indicating when to plant and reap; the beginning of the year is in the spring, planting season, which makes sense for farmers, naturalists, and lovers. The Chinese calendar starts in the late winter; this year is 4701, the year of the monkey. My family pays some attention to the Jewish calendar, which the bible describes as starting in the seventh month! No wonder we have trouble showing up on time. This year is 5765, the year of the bagel. OK, every year is the year of the bagel. Both the Jewish and Chinese calendars are lunar, causing all sorts of complexity (lunacy) in keeping synchronized with the earth's rotation; 4701 has a leap month. The calendar that dominates our lives is not the Julian calendar as you might have guessed, but the academic calendar. And with three school-aged children, that is not expected to change any time soon. With a few words we hope to share with you, our relatives and friends: reminders for some and news for others.

Our story begins last winter, at which time Rebecca began practicing soccer with a club team in addition to her town team, including weekly goalie practice in addition to the regular practices and games as spring came. Rebecca likes playing goalie and striker. Rebecca also plays team basketball. During the winter Shari began her first season of gymnastics competition. Her season culminated in her best performance of the year at the Level Five Massachusetts State competition. Ilana probably did something in the winter, but she's our third child, so it's hard to remember exactly what that was. Debbie and Steve signed up for our synagogue's first Purim Shpiel. This parody was a lot of fun as it told the typical Jewish holiday story: They tried to kill us; we won; let's eat.

Ilana was the only person to do something new in the spring, so we're not lousy parents all year long. Ilana participated in kinder-soccer, our town's intro to soccer for youngsters. Some spring activities were already covered in the winter section, especially gymnastics and soccer, which feature prominently in our schedule all year round.

The summer brought lots of camps of various sorts. Shari went to a week of sleep-away gymnastics camp for the third year, and Ilana decided she'd be ready to try it next year; we'll see. Rebecca went to basketball camp as well as YMCA camp for two weeks - her first sleep-away camp, and she loved it - she's already registered for next year. Ilana went to day camp with various sisters, took swimming lessons, and increased her participation in gymnastics. Shari enjoyed taking a dance class that covered several types of dance: jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and who knows what else.

We had opportunities this summer to visit with grandparents on both sides. In July we went to CA to participate in Nagymama's and Nagypapa's 50th wedding anniversary celebration. In August we vacationed for a week with Grammy and Burt at Smugglers' Notch in Vermont, visiting such national landmarks as the Ben and Jerry's factory and the VT Teddy Bear factory.

Debbie spends the summer doing triathlons, and this year was no exception as she completed several. Also during the summer, Steve got religion --- health. If you're interested in nutrition, please check out the book Eat, Drink, and be Healthy by Walter Willett, MD.

During the Fall, Ilana entered first grade. (Say it isn't so!) Upon returning the first day, Ilana commented that first grade was better than kindergarten, but not as good as pre-school. Rebecca explained, "Nothing is as good as pre-school!" Ilana joined the level four gymnastics team, which conducts only one "practice competition" in January; the emphasis is on training and skills. Shari picked up a hip-hop dance class even though she's bouncy enough already. Rebecca started to play the trumpet, and Steve completed ten years at Sun Microsystems. Debbie continues to work her baby blanket business (

All the girls are enjoying school, including Debbie who volunteers regularly in all the girls' classes. Unfortunately Debbie is going through car tires at an alarming rate.

The pace of our lives is quick, and seems to accelerate. Please pay us a visit in person, by email, or on the phone, and we'll enjoy a break to share our lives and catch up with you. We wish all our relatives and friends a happy and healthy 2005.

Cards & Letters: 5774 - 5770 (video) - 5767 - 2005 - 5766 - 2004 - 2003
Heller Web Space: Images - Notes - Travel - Memories