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Des Moines, Iowa
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The Year of Our Wood – 2005

Geoff Wood

Rather than send out a conventional Christmas letter we’ve decided to embrace technology and post this one online – we’re glad you found it!

A Wedding Story
Not surprisingly, the story of 2005 was our wedding on March 12th. Most of the first quarter was filled with verifying addresses, making arrangements, and telephoning across the pond at odd hours. It was all worth it as the big event took place with sixteen family members and one Irish minister at the Belle Isle Castle near Enniskellen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The trip was perfect (other than one missed flight and one Aer Lingus stewardess cramming Hope’s dress into an overhead bin) and included three days with the family in Dublin and at Belle Isle as well as seven days of honeymooning on southwest coast of the island and celebration of St. Patrick in Dublin. Click here for our snapshots

We followed up the big trip with 200 or so friends and family at the Summerset Winery outside of Indianola. A lot of music was played (by friend Tony Bohnenkamp), a lot of wine was drunk and all had a great time.

We did that?
Hope had a great professional year, earning a promotion to Assistant Director for ACSM’s Certification Department and was both trained and certified as a Wellcoach.

Geoff’s been busy as the GIS Consulting Services Manager for a large civil engineering, survey and GIS company headquartered in Indianapolis. The company is undergoing unprecedented growth and that has made for both an exciting and stressful year with a lot of promise for the future. In February, they opened their first out-of-state office in Charlotte, NC and in May, they bought ProMap the company Geoff worked for in Ames for several years.

"I remember the first time I drove through Indiana…”
Shortly after we made the move last December Geoff’s folks Cathy and Mike and his brother Sean stopped by for a few days on their way to visit Geoff’s extended family in Florida. Hope’s sister Heidi and neice Bailey visited in August prompting us to visit local sites like the zoo and Children’s Museum for the first time. Geoff’s cousin Justin & Leia stopped by for dinner in October and Heidi and Bailey will be returning in a few days with Hope’s folks Gary & Dixie.

Where you been?
Both of our jobs have allowed us to travel and we’ve enjoyed the experience. Hope’s been to vacation spots like Las Vegas and Orlando (two times each) as well Wisconsin and Tennessee. Geoff on the other hand has been to Utah, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and North Carolina.

It hasn’t all been work; we’ve had some fun trips, too. Lots of trips to Iowa and one to Minnesota for friends and family weddings. We’ve also had two quick trips to Cincinnati. In January we took in the Iowa State – Xavier basketball game and in July we visited the King’s Island amusement park.

In June, Geoff had a great time meeting up some of his oldest friends in Minneapolis for the misnamed “Annual Mid-Summer Get Together” weekend at the cabin in western Wisconsin.

“We will fight with might for Iowa State”
Most of the trips to Iowa that weren’t for weddings were for Iowa State Cyclone Football. We’ve had season tickets since graduation and decided not to let a little thing like moving to Indianapolis keep us from the fun of gameday. Geoff made it back for four games (that office in Ames has it’s advantages!) and Hope for two. We enjoyed the regular contact with our friends and the festival that is the ISU-Iowa rivalry (ISU wins 23-3). Hope’s in a unique position to have graduated from both universities and it’s not often we get to see friends from both at the same place.

Indianapolis, you’re our town
We’ve had a lot of fun locally, too. We took in the Indianapolis 500 Parade in May and had a lot of fun people watching downtown the weekend of the US Grand Prix Formula One race (maybe in 2006 we’ll actually get to a race).

We’ve helped to re-establish the Indianapolis Cyclone Club and enjoy gathering with other Hoosier immigrants from the Tall Corn State to watch football and basketball regularly.

We’ve taken advantage of some of the benefits of living in a bigger city this year, as well. In February, Geoff went to his first NBA game to watch the hometown Pacers beat the Miami Heat. We’ve both enjoyed the local comedy scene taking in favorite’s Mike Birbiglia, Daniel Tosh, and even political satirist and anchor of Comedy Central’s the Daily Show Jon Stewart. Hope and some friends had a great opportunity to see country star Kenny Chesney at a distance of only four rows from the stage.

In October, we joined St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and really enjoy the services and activities that family opens to us. Hope’s been involved with the knitting classes, and both wrote the script and acted in the inaugural Christmas Celebration. Recently, we enjoyed a class together studying the Christian themes of the Chronicles of Narnia (not a bad movie – if you haven’t seen it).

How ‘bout everybody else?
For the most part both of our families are doing quite well. Hope’s father, Gary, had a good year farming in NORTHEAST Iowa and her mom, Dixie, continues as a teachers aide at Wapsie Valley. Heidi and Bailey are still close to the family in Sumner. Hope’s brother Heath and his wife Amy welcomed a second child Allison in late October. She’s doing well as is her older sister Lauren.

Geoff’s folks made the tough but exciting decision this fall to leave Iowa for Bella Vista, Arkansas and are moving any day now. Mike took a job with a growing cabinet shop down there and Cathy is to enjoy some time off. Sean will continue his sophomore year of high school in Bentonville. Weddings were popular amongst Mike and Cathy’s kids this year. In addition to our wedding, Geoff’s brother Joe married Mary Beck in Des Moines this summer and Ryan proposed to his sister Sara this Spring.

Our boys, Levon and Dylan, have adapted well to townhome life and enjoy trips to the dog park with Mom and daily walks around the neighborhood (they do miss their backyard in Ankeny, though). Other activities include hiding from storms in the closet, scouting the house for piles of clothes to lay in (clean or dirty) and non-stop wrestling with each other.

On a sad note, Jingle Belle passed recently. She had a good life as part of the Roth-Luck-Wood family since around Christmas 1991 and will be missed.

Thanks for taking the time to read what became a very long Christmas letter. We sincerely hope that you and yours are doing well and having a Merry Christmas or otherwise joyous Chanukah, Kwanza, Festivus, etc.

Love,

Hope and Geoff