Friday, December 30, 2016


Nell and Hubert (June 2016)

"It's so free this kind of feeling,
It's like life, it's so appealing, When you got so much to say it's called gratitude, and that's right!"
-The Beastie Boys from their song, Gratitude.

As 2016 comes to a close and I reflect on what a strange and interesting year it has been, character building to say the least. I'm thankful and grateful for another year of life and the experiences that continue to shape who I am and the person that I continuously strive to become.

I couldn't let this year end without paying gratitude to my mother in law, Vernell Strecker and her husband, Hubert Strecker. Nell at age 79 and Hubert at 88, packed up their belongings and moved to Hubert's native Germany after 28 years of living in the U.S. I admire their spunk for making such a move at this stage in their lives. With their move, the house that I and my family have called home for the past 14 years and where Eleanor lived when she and I met 20 years ago has been sold. I'm not sad about the move because Nell and Hubert needed to move for different reasons, I'm grateful for their incredible generosity and hospitality the past 14 years!

With Nell and Hubert's former home being in Reston, Virginia, 15 minutes from Dulles Airport (And, 30 minutes from Washington D.C.), it was great to land after flying close to 24 hours and be home and in bed in no time. Or, having the traditional welcome home pizza, hot and waiting that was ordered as we were driving home from the airport. I loved the way Nell would give the neighborhood kids a heads up that Miles and Evan were on their way so they had instant playmates upon landing. When the boys were younger, I truly appreciated how Nell would take the boys to the neighborhood pool almost daily so that Eleanor and I could run errands or enjoy the activities and attractions the DC area has to offer. And, all the other things she would do for us during the course of the year.

As my Pops has told me my entire life, "The only thing constant in life is change," and this year brought forth quite a bit of change for the Haynes Family. We look forward to 2017 and the years to come; to establishing new traditions and having new experiences.

Thank you, Nell and Hubert! Enjoy your new adventure!

Much love, Ryan, Eleanor, Miles, and Evan

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