2022 New Year’s Letter

Dear family and friends,

Although it was a year when numerous attempts to return to normal were smacked down, we are still grateful for it!  The Gruenbaums got the “Fauci ouchy”, and, as members of the Texas “I am glad I got here when I did” crowd, we are grateful to be riding out what remains of the pandemic in the Lone Star state. Although we are being careful, there is not a feeling of frenzy or panic here for which we are also grateful.

After getting our vaccinations in the spring, it was great to interact with other humans again.  Our church phased out all masks and seating restrictions, and we could see the poor dental work of our fellow Americans again.  No, it was not entirely normal, but it was moving in the right direction.  The appearance of the extremely cold temperatures for a week in February was annoying, but we were blessed to not lose power like so many others did. 

The girls have both had very busy years.  Abby’s big news was getting engaged in May to Caleb Dodson.  She’s said “yes to the dress” and we are busy planning for a May 2022 wedding.  Most of the summer, Abby spent north of Houston at a Boys Scout camp.  She worked very hard, but most importantly gave her “dietetics” resume another boost.  Neither Abby nor her parents can believe she will be graduating from Baylor in May just a couple of weeks before getting married. Her fiancé, Caleb graduates from UT in May. They will both be in grad school/internship post-college graduation. Location = unknown. Rachel also kept herself busy!  Besides her hard work in Chemical Engineering, she continued to work in the biomedical lab on the Texas A&M campus.  After taking a few classes this summer, she interned in Longview, TX at Eastman Chemical during the Fall semester.  She loved it! She is headed back to College Station soon to start her junior year.  They both love the Lord and, for that, we are so thankful.

Both boys are doing well.  Tim, despite working long hours and frequently being on call, is continuing to take classes toward his Construction Management degree. He expects to graduate in June 2023.  Tim stays focused on his degree and keeping his dog, Rowdy, happy…and scoring good tacos by ordering in Spanish from the local restaurants.   He’s took a much-deserved vacation to Wyoming this week. Jeff decided last year’s job did not give him an adequate challenge, so he started working for a hedge fund in Oklahoma City this past fall. He is their IT department.  He has had the opportunity to travel to New York City for work, bought himself a new car, and is now working on house projects. His current favorite hobby is playing disc (aka frisbee) golf.    

Judy and Andy decided their post-vaccination life was going to be as normal as possible.  Yet the world still had other ideas.  European vacations were canceled, and the house still seemed a little empty.  So, what did we do?  We “ordered” female German and Polish exchange students along with two hockey players.  We get to have a full table for most dinners, and we have 6 free tickets for all home Lone Star Brahmas games.  The exchange students are avid fans. We are having a good time!

Late spring was a busy travel time.  In early May, all of us but Tim found our way to the panhandle of Florida for a week of beach adventure.  While there, we were grateful to have a beautiful condo with a few reminders of the craziness of the past year.  Over Memorial Day, we were in North Carolina for the wedding of Judy’s sister, Debbie.  It was great to have a family gathering where the vaccination allowed everyone to act naturally.  Finally, in June, Judy and Andy went to Colorado for a week.  While there, we went through training with a mission organization.  We are trying to think through what retirement may look like in a couple of years.  We are excited about the possibilities!

During Christmas break, we traveled to Ohio and then North Carolina. It amounted to 3200 miles and 12 states, but it was so worth it! It had been two years since we have been able to spend the holidays with extended family. No new travel plans for a while, but we are hoping for a European adventure in June 2022.

Even when the world redefines crazy, we can all take comfort when we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and the true purpose of our earthly lives.  We’re so grateful for our Savior! We wish you good health and peace as we look forward to a brighter New Year!

From our very full house,

Andy, Judy, Tim, Jeff, Abby (Caleb), Rachel, Aidan, Kyle, Natalia & Helene