The 1st Thomas Generation- Ted & Beth Thomas

   January: Andrew was one of the 3 male soloists in a performance of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, with 16-year-old Korean pianist Euntaek Kim. It was eventually televised on KET, and we have a video of the performance. One of the things I miss the most is seeing Andrew sing. He had the most expressive face, and especially so when he sang. So I guess if it gets too bad, I can always pull out the video.
    February: Our new pastor and his family arrived. (We had been without one since the last July). Serena and I began a project on a grand scale – clearing and cleaning the dining room. (We've always eaten in the breakfast room. The dining room has been a junk room ever since we moved here.) This was brought on by an approaching visit from Ted's sister, Lucy, as well as the prospect of a large banquet for the farm partners. It was my idea, but I would never have started without Serena's urging. She was the driving force behind the project. After 3 weeks of daily rummaging through debris, throwing out lots (we loaded Ted's long trailer for a trip to the dump), salvaging the salvageable, and packing as few boxes as possible to store in the remaining junk room upstairs, then cleaning the room from top to bottom, and pasting up the falling wallpaper, we ended up with a room that is beautiful if you don't look too closely! We've been able to use it for various special occasions, some of which you will hear about in a minute.
    March: Lydia went to Rome, Paris, and London with a group of home schoolers who have also been using the KONOS History of the World curriculum during high school. She got to see a lot of the architecture, art, and history that she had studied for the last 3 years. That's her at the left, standing in front of 2 Swiss Guards in Rome, who guard the Pope. While Lydia was away, the dining room was used for dining for the first time in 25 – 30 years! The occasion was a dinner for Ted's sister, Lucy, and some of her childhood friends. We also had a very belated birthday meal for Sarah while she was home on spring break. She brought 2 friends with her from Covenant. Come see us this year, and I promise we will feed you in the dining room! You've heard of stretch limousines? We have a stretch table!

    April: The most notable event was the Chenoweth Farm Partner Banquet, to commemorate the close of an era (goodbye to cattle, closed last dairy, tobacco buyout). This was a thank you to the farm's present and past partners in farming, hosted by us on behalf of Ted's dad and uncle. Besides good food (we used the dining room and the breakfast room, hosting about 25 people), we were regaled with many hilarious stories from the past! This month, Serena had a piano recital, Andrew went to Yu-gi-oh regionals, and Lydia got a champion ribbon for her Insect Collecting demonstration at the 4-H regional meet. Lydia and Serena also swept their categories in sewing at the 4-H Fashion Review. You can see pictures on our website under “latest news
    May: Serena and I went to Natural Bridge State Park (KY) for a “coming of age” weekend. We finished school!
    Summer: Andrew graduated from high school! We were so proud as, handsome in his tux, he gave an impressive speech at the ceremony, held at our church with family and friends attending. Sarah, Andrew, and Lydia all three went on the Mexico Mission Trip this year. We heard that Andrew was a hit with the Mexican girls! To the left is a picture of his “find” in the market. He and friends ate it all! Sarah came home a week before the trip, and I had to take her back to Covenant College several days after her return from Mexico. She worked in the grounds department at Covenant (which she does for work-study during the school year) full time for the summer. Largely due to this experience, I think, she has developed an attraction to backhoes and very large diesel trucks. In her defense, she also crochets and now enjoys cooking. I guess she's a mixed bag! Lydia, ribbons in sewing aside, began Karate. Andrew started a job as a security guard at a local manufacturing plant. We enjoyed a visit from Ted's brother Stephen's family in July, during which we went to see the Ink and Blood exhibit in Lexington. It portrays the history of the Biblical texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls to modern times. We also took in a local production of 1776. Great fun! I catered a meal for Emily and Ben Allen's bridge group in, you guessed it, our “new” dining room. In August, Serena made a trip to Chautauqua (NY) with her Nana for a King's Daughters program. Emily also took us all to see March of the Penguins. I highly recommend it!
    I almost forgot to mention a milestone for the house: a new roof! Ted had been campaigning for this for several years, and the “owner brothers” finally agreed to do it when a company was found who could dispose of the old asbestos shingles without added government red tape and expense. The key was that this was a residence, not a commercial building. Now we have a leak-free roof, and an attic blanketed in black grit.  I don't even want to think about that cleanup job!

    September: Besides starting school again, this year with only two students, the most notable occurrence was Serena's participation in a production of Aladdin, Jr., at our local theatre. It involved a lot of re-hearsals, but was over in a month and 1/2. We knew some of the main actors, which also made it fun to see. Andrew died on the 25th, and life became a blur for awhile. Our church family, neighbors, and friends wrapped us in love in a wonderful way to help us through.
    October: This month already had plans in place that we decided to go ahead with, even in the aftermath of Andrew's death. We had planned a big fall cookout on the 8th, which came off with beautiful weather and 112 folks in attendance. We had shooting, horseback riding, creek and barn exploration, volleyball, EATING, a hayride, and singing around the campfire. (You can see pictures from it here.)  Even though we invited a bunch, I think a larger percentage than usual came because they were reaching out to us. I was astonished at the people that came out of the woodwork, so to speak, at the visitation and funeral, that we hadn't seen for many years. I was glad to see them, but one thing I've learned through this experience is not to wait until a funeral to go see friends and family. Let me pass that nugget on to you all. Later in the month, Ted departed for 2 different conferences in Las Vegas. Before he returned, Serena and I left with Emily to go to England/France to celebrate Lucy's 50th birthday. (I know, I know. Last year I said I was staying home this year. To use Sarah's phrase, “So, sue me!” It's hard to resist almost-free travel.) This was a good break and removal from the sad memories at home. At the same time, our hearts were longing to be with the rest of the family, so both Serena and I felt a little torn, wanting to be in 2 places at once.
    November – December: Sarah joined us again for Thanksgiving, traveling back and forth in Andrew's car, which she had the use of for the semester. ( I must brag a little at this point, just to notify you that both Ted and I lost 15 pounds in time to celebrate for Thanksgiving! There are the the girls and me, at left, in our new “on sale” outfits. I bought mine to celebrate my thinner self!) We saw Sarah again soon afterward when we took Ted's mom with us to Covenant to see Sarah perform in Madrigals. This is an annual Medieval feast with between-course entertainment by the Madrigal Singers, a brass group, another early music group, and complete with a jester and sidekick. Sarah (right- with her sisters) had been trying out every year for the Madrigal Singers, and finally made it this year. We did not originally plan to go. After Andrew died, however, it gave us a different perspective on savoring each day as it passes. We spent the money and made the trip, and had an absolutely marvelous time! The entertainment was well done, and the food was scrumptious. We got to meet a number of Sarah's friends, as well as co-workers in the grounds department. She had even arranged for us to sit at the same table as her boss and his wife.
    Aside from the usual Christmas activities, those are the high points from 2005. We are not the same at the end of it as we were at the beginning. But life moves on. We saw Sarah off January 5 on a plane to England, where she is spending a semester at Oxford, taking Philosophy tutorials. You won't hear about it until next year, unless you are so curious that you are motivated to read her blog occasionally to stay abreast of her observations on England, and philosophical musings about studying in Oxford. If you are,
you can find it here.
    Tune in next year for news of that, Lydia's graduation, and much more: Will Ted and Beth manage to lose a final 10 pounds? Will they actually get started on their house? What has happened to Ted's business? Next year, same time, same channel...