Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo
Tatiana 13, Kristina, Chloé 8, Mike 40, & Sébastien 12
Atop the Plaza Guadalupe overlooking Taxco, Mexico - November 2005
I finally realized a life-long dream of taking my family skiing last Christmas. We drove up to Steamboat and back for a week of snowboarding, skiing, & a few snowball fights.
While the children won't be able to join the High School ski club or ski team, at least now they'll know what it's all about. And who knows, maybe when they grow up they'll be able to spend their disposable income on this silly gravity sport while living hundreds of miles from the nearest snow covered hill or mountain.
Steamboat Springs, CO, December 2004
The girls learned to ski, and Sebastién and I snowboarded. Chloé caught on the fastest and became a daredevil on skis and after a few days would shush down the mountain at top speed with a huge smile on her face. (!)
Last June for Father's Day we competed as a family in the Urban Assault bicycle race benefiting the Texas Bicycle Coalition this fall in Austin, Texas. It was a 22 mile course where you stop at stations around town and complete obstacles and challenges from swimming with inflatable alligators, Frisbee tosses, riding big wheels, hunting rubber snakes in a giant bubble-bath, face painting, to diving on slip-n-slides.
La Familia at the Urban Assault Race, May 2005
This summer we forwent our trip to Europe to see Lance win #7 and drove up to Arkansas to bike the Womble Trail in the Ouachita National Forest (one of IMBA's Epic Rides). We camped beside the Ouachita river and had bonfires with our new friend, Ron, and watched fireflies put on a light show every night. (I'm not going to mention the rain, ticks, and six hour trip to the Laundromat to dry out our sleeping bags.)
View from the Womble Trail
Tatiana, Sebastien, and Chloé in Arkansas near the Womble Trail
The year ended with a wonderful trip back to Mexico. For my 40th Birthday Kristina surprised me and the kids with airfare and lodging in Taxco de Alarcón, the beautiful silver capital of Mexico. It is a couple hours south of Mexico City. We were able to spend two days in Mexico City on the way in and out of Mexico. We spent some time in the ancient city center near the Zólcalo and the beautiful 1,600 acre Chapultepec Park [Aztec for grasshopper hill].
El Templo Mayor, La Villa Mexico City
While in Taxco we stayed in this gorgeous villa that over-looked the main plaza during the week of La Feria de la Plata (the Silver Festival). it was perfect weather everyday (low 60's at night, high 70's during the day). There was live music every night right below us on the Zócalo. We also visited the Xochicalco Piramides, went horseback riding, and visited the largest caves in Latin America, Grutas de Cacahuamilpa.
Sebastien eating breakfast on one of the terraces at
La Casa de las Palmas in Taxco
Tatiana, now an official teen-ager, is finishing up her last year at Lanier Middle School. Next year, it's off to High School! She has lots of friends and says she's somewhere between the two major groups in school; the "cool people" and the "goth/punk crowd." Sounds like a safe place to be. Everything in moderation, as they say.
She has started her second year of "Club Volleyball" at Spike Sport and is doing great so far as "middle hitter" and blocker. This is where they stick the tall ones to smash the ball at the other team or block it from going over the net. Every position is so specialized, it's amazing they can remember whose job it is to hit the ball over the net. They already won one tournament without losing a game, and are excited to get the season going in January.
Sebastien began middle school this fall. (Wow, how time flies. Pretty soon I'll be over the hill... oh wait, that already happened.)
He is still playing basketball and this year he played tackle football for the first time with the Red Raiders. He played center, defensive end, and a little defensive tackle.
I coached the line and the boys had a great season getting 3rd in the regular season and 3rd in the playoffs.
Still trying to get my children into music, I talked Sebastien into trying percussion. For the amount of practicing he did, he did a great job, and even played the bells! He had a wonderful Christmas concert in December. His first performance in a concert band.
Sebastien at him 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
Like Tatiana, we took his fifth grade class to Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande. It was a great time of canoeing, hiking in canyons, and even a bonfire and dance. It was a total zoo, but a great time was had by all.
Some of Sebastien's 5th Grade Class at Big Bend
Chloe, always last, but not least is growing up, still the baby of the family and still winning us all over with her charm and now wit. All these years she was so quiet, she was really listening to everything and now is unleashing on the world.
Chloe completed her 1st Communion at our church with the help of Kristina, who got her through the arduous curriculum with Sister Mary Elephant. . . woops, I mean Jean-Marie.
Chloé at her 1st Communion
She continues tennis, and is currently trying basketball. Kristina has been working with her on her private piano lessons.
Chloé and Bro striking a pose at the bubble bath during the Urban Assault Race
As you've seen above, I've met a wonderful woman, Kristina Gaboury. As you can see from the pictures, she has not only traveled with us everywhere, but has become a part of the family and has accepted and nurtured the children as her own.
Kristina & Mike enjoying a quiet breakfast overlooking the Zócalo in Taxco
This year I also turned 40, and Kristina held a wonderful surprise party for me. There were many surprise guests including my mother and my sister Lisa, who flew in to surprise me. Kristina went overboard with delicious food and wine.
After some unexpected resignations I became President of a non-profit mountain biking association - GHORBA (The Greater Houston Off Road Biking Association). It's a local advocacy organization to keep the local trails open as well as to maintain and build trails in the Houston area. It's been a fun challenge working with other volunteers to get it moving.
This fall we held a 20th anniversary "co-op reunion" with all the people I started at NASA with 20 years ago. (gee, I need to find real employment one day, but I'm still having fun.) Folks flew in from all parts of the US and we rented beach houses for the weekend. And, wow, humans can really procreate in 20 years. There were kids everywhere!
Los cuatro amigos junto un otra vez
I had some great speaking opportunities for NASA this year. The highlight of which was the local chapter of the ASME Petroleum Division inviting me to speak at a Risk Workshop on the beach near Lisbon, Portugal. When oil is $70 a barrel why meet at the local Holiday Inn?
Kristina & Mike on the Douro River in Porto
Kristina and I took advantage of the location and visited several cities in Portugal including Porto, and traveled to Spain - into the Andalusia region. We visited Malaga, Granada, Seville, and even Gibraltar for a pint and on to Tangier, Morocco for some couscous. I was fortunate enough to also speak in Chicago, Austin, and Corpus Christy this fall.
Gone Native with wearing the Djellaba & Kaftan
at the ferry terminal in Tangier, Morocco
(Of course this attracted no attention at all)
As far as music goes, I got fired from my gig in the rock band at the Catholic Church, so I had to return to my roots and join up with the poor, tired, hungry, and at times homeless at the local community college combo. We had men and women from ages 17 to 70 playing in the group. It was a great time learning new songs and keeping America's classical music alive.
Performing outside the HCC Cafeteria for scrapes
Until next year...
Peace to you and yours,
The Lutomski Family
Lutomski Home Page | Email Mike
2001 Christmas Card | 2002 Christmas Card | 2003 Christmas Card | 2004 Christmas Card
Family Photo Albums
Chick Here (It's Free, just enter some info)
NASA Information | International Space Station Information
NASA Profiles - Careers in Spaceflight (see Mike)