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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
From Todd, Andrea, Alex & Nick

Saturday October 22, 2005

Hi Everyone,

Okay, I know, I really deserve the harassment this time! I'm sorry it's been so long. We have been so busy! Luckily it's been a really good kind of busy.

I really don't think that we could have crammed one more thing into our summer. A week after Alex got out of school we left for the east coast for three weeks. We spent the first few days in New Jersey visiting Todd's Parents. We kidnapped Todd's mom the second night we were there and got her a room at the hotel we were staying at and she and Alex had a slumber party! They had a great time catching up and grandma didn't seem too tired the next day! We left Todd's parents and went up north for a night and got to see Todd's brother Jimmy, his wife Kris and our niece Rachel. Whenever we have Alex and Rachel together we have to laugh that it's a good thing that they have 3,000 miles separating them because if they lived closer once they became teenagers, they would be trouble! We also got to have dinner with Todd's best friend Brian and catch up a bit with him. After NJ we went to Concord, Mass and stayed a night with our friends Carolyn and Jack. I think that the one thing Alex will always remember about our visit will be having a dragonfly land on her hand and sit perfectly still and happy for about ten minutes before flying away. It was so cool! After leaving Carolyn and Jack, we drove up to Bar Harbor, Maine for a night. We wasted no time in putting our plan of having lobster everyday into place! Soooo good!

The next morning we were up early to catch the high speed ferry to Nova Scotia. We stayed one night in Yarmouth, NS and were finally able to see Todd's 94 year old great aunt. Aunt Edith has been waiting not too patiently for 6 years for this visit as this is the trip we were going to take back in 1999 when Alex relapsed for the first time. So the day we were supposed to leave for our vacation we left for her first transplant instead. Aunt Edith was thrilled to see the kids and I felt very lucky to finally meet her. What a wonderful loving woman! From Yarmouth we drove up to Halifax for the longest portion of our trip. We spent 5 days there and had a great time exploring and researching Todd's family history. We left Halifax and headed back down to Yarmouth for one more night and one more visit with Aunt Edith and then we were back on the ferry. Once we got back to Maine we drove down to Camden for two nights. My great aunt and uncle - they love it when I call them that!!! Met us there and we spent a day exploring and enjoying each other.

We left Camden begrudgingly as it was such a pretty and quaint place, but we had something very promising in store... Aunt Doris' house!!! We always love Aunt Doris' house! It's amazing to watch her and Alex interact. They are truly kindred spirits and Alex thinks Aunt Doris is the best thing since sliced bread! Of course, Todd and I kind of have to agree! If only we could kidnap her and bring her to Washington! Alex had a great time playing in the pool with her cousin Zack and we got to meet the newest addition to the family, Leah. She's beautiful! The day that we were supposed to leave, we were running late - imagine that, the Martini's, running late!!!! We were about half way to the airport, hightailing it because we were afraid we were going to miss our flight when Todd got an email from the airline... Our flight had been cancelled! Todd immediately called the airline to make arrangements to get onto the next flight. Once he got through, he was told that the earliest flight they could get us on was Saturday morning - this was Wednesday!!! We called Todd's mom and brother and let them know that we would be staying at least one more night and made plans to get together again. We wound up getting a flight out on a different carrier on Friday so we got to spend a few more days with Jimmy's family and Todd's mom which was really nice. It was a fantastic trip and Todd and I are still going through lobster withdrawal!!! I need a lobster roll!!!!!!

Just four days after we got back we got a call from Todd's mom letting us know that his dad had passed away. So Wednesday, Todd got back on a plane and went back to NJ to be with his family for a week. I was a little worried about him until I talked to him on the evening of the wake and when I asked him how it went he told me that it was a blast! Only in an Italian family!!!

The day after Todd got home he drove me to my friend Allison's house and her and I went up to Vancouver BC for four days. We had a fantastic time shopping too much, eating too much, relaxing and enjoying girls only time!

A few days after I got back from Vancouver, it was time for camp!!! The highlight of the summer for Alex and I! Todd and Nick opted to skip this year so it was girls week. We had such a great time! Alex really seemed to get it this year and had a blast doing everything she could squeeze in everyday. Shannon was her counselor again this year which we were thrilled about. It was definitely a week we didn't want to end.

On August 21st we took possession of - our new house!!!! I told you we had a busy summer!!! We took the plunge and found a house on the water. We're now Islanders!!! The house is small, but fixed up very nicely on the inside. It's on a little over a half acre and we have 105 feet of western exposure waterfront. We look directly out to the Olympic Mountains and the sunset. It's breathtaking! I have had to learn to turn my back away from the water if I'm on the phone or trying to concentrate on something because you just get lost in the view. We will be adding on to the house, so it will be a mess for a little while, but boy will it be worth it! We had our first party here the Friday after we got the keys and all the kids had a blast collecting baskets full of shells. I've never seen so many sand dollars in my life! Needless to say, we are in heaven!!! I couldn't be prouder of Todd, he worked his butt off for so long and boy has it paid off! Our original plan was to hang on to the Saratoga house because we thought we might add a second story to the beach house. We decided instead of doing that we would build a two story behind the one story and connect them. I don't have the drawings yet, or I'd show them to you! So, we put the Saratoga house on the market last week. We'll see what happens! Of course, all this had to happen AFTER I finished painting Alex's room and relandscaping! Oh well, it's still worth it!

Alex started school on September 1st and is having a great time. She is doing well although, she did get her first discipline note from the principle... Leslie had called me to tell me that she was coming home with it and I should have know when she was trying really hard to hold back the laughter that it was a very Alex like offense! Yes, Alex's first discipline note was for kissing boys! Note that that is not boy, but BOYS. Namely an entire 3rd grade class of boys!!! So now every morning when I drop her off we have the conversation... Keep your lips to yourself, keep your hands to yourself, do what you're told, don't argue, don't throw any fits, and have a great day sweetheart! I knew I would be the parent to get the call telling me that my kid was sexually harassing the boys!

Last month we had our first clinic appointment in 6 months! Her counts look fantastic and Doug was thrilled with everything. He teased me that there is definitely something to be said for stubborn parents! I told him I thought it had more to do with the stubborn kid! After examining her and visiting for a few minutes Doug started to leave the room and I realized that he hadn't given me an appointment slip so I asked him when he wanted us back. He responded by telling me that he saw no need for us to come back unless something came up!!! After he picked me up off the floor Lisa Parks, who had stopped by to say hi commented that generally when she gets that type of reaction from a parent, she tells them that she'll see them in 6 months. So, Doug looks at me laughing and says "okay, we'll see you in 6 months!" So, we have a mercy 6 month appointment, but only if I remember to call and make the appointment because he still didn't give me an appointment slip! Security blanket, where are you????!!!!!!

Nick is doing fantastic. He is still a human pinball machine and the cutest thing ever. Boy is he lucky he is! He is a handful! I think that we were way too cocky with Alex thinking we had the parenting thing down and Nick is God's way of telling us that we have no clue what we're doing!!! He's talking a lot more which really helps because he's not as frustrated. It was really hard for a while because his comprehension is off the charts, but he wasn't talking. So while he knew everything that was being said around him and understood it, he couldn't communicate what he wanted.

Well, I think that's about it for now. I'm sorry it took so long to get you an update. I'll try to update again before she graduates from med school!!! Thanks for checking in on us!

Take Care,
Andrea, Todd, Alex and Nick

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