Holidays 2023

December 2023

Greetings from the Rotton / Finifter household!

Sam, who turned 18 this year, had a year filled with accomplishments: he made Eagle Scout, graduated high school, and recently got his drivers license. This fall, he started at our local community college, Montgomery College, where he is working towards an associate’s degree in digital animation.

Sasha, now 15, also had an eventful year. At the end of her freshman year at Walter Johnson High School, she won a departmental award for child development, one of the few underclassmen so honored. Still active in theater, she appeared as an ancestor in last spring’s school production of The Addams Family, and this fall she starred as Goneril in King Lear. She is also president of her school’s Educators Rising club, as well as publicity manager for the school’s drama program. She also spent much of the summer volunteering as a Counselor in Training at Lessans Camp JCC, working mostly with four-year-olds, and hopes to be a paid junior counselor this coming summer.

Over the summer, we were finally able to take our long-planned cruise to the U.K. and Ireland, sailing out of Copenhagen. We were so excited to see our family friends Hennie and Tommy in Denmark, and visit with many of Mark’s U.K. relatives in Liverpool and Anglesey, Wales.

As for the adults, all has been pretty much the same. Tracy is still running her own website development business, working with other agencies as well as clients across the U.S. Mark’s employer was acquired by a new company late in 2022, but with a federal contract firmly in place, not much has changed in the day-to-day. Lois continues to knit, and knit, and knit some more.

We’ve prepared a slideshow that highlights our year:

A Christmas Carol

In lieu of a “traditional” fall play this year, Sasha’s drama club put on a radio play of Charles Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol. It can be listened to at ShowTix4U, now through December 27. Sasha plays the parts of the radio announcer and Mrs. Cratchit.

An individual rental is $9.37 and a family rental is $19.35, and rentals are good for 48 hours.

Holiday Letter 2020

Dear family and friends,

2020 has been quite a year, with lots of great adventures for the whole family:

  • We finally got to see Hamilton live on stage at the Kennedy Center;
  • The whole family went on a wonderful cruise through Scandinavia, Scotland, and Iceland;
  • We saw Cirque du Soleil when it came to the D.C. area;
  • Sasha competed in a number of Irish dance competitions around the region; and
  • Tracy resumed her WordCamp speaking presence with talks in Washington, D.C. and Lancaster, PA.

At least, we assume that’s what our counterparts did this year in the alternate universe where COVID-19 wasn’t a thing.

Instead, like you, we spent much of our year hunkered down and doing our best to stay healthy. Fortunately, none of us caught the virus, at least as far as we can tell.

And so while our Hamilton tickets went unused and we contented ourselves to watch the Broadway recording on Disney+, we were grateful that Mark’s job at the National Institutes of Health is going well (albeit from home, of course) and Tracy’s WordPress development business had a strong year. Lois couldn’t attend her knitting camps in Vermont, of course, but busied herself knitting and cooking at home.

The kids (Sam in 10th grade, Sasha in 7th) have been “going” to school via Zoom all year, and will probably continue to do so in the second semester. Sasha’s drama club still did its fall play: a radio drama version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; details on how to hear it will be posted on the family here when available. Sam found ways to connect with his friends through online gaming, and Sasha did virtual “movie nights” with her friends, and kept up her voice lessons and dancing remotely.

We hope you’re all doing well also in this crazy, topsy-turvy year. Here’s hoping that 2021 brings a more normal year and an end to this pandemic. Keep safe, stay healthy, and have a happy holiday season.

All the best,
The Rotton + Finifter Family

Summer Vacation 2017

Another summer vacation is in the books. This year, we took a road trip through the southeastern United States. The highlight of the trip, of course, was the Great American Eclipse, which we saw at totality in Hopkinsville, Kentucky with our friends Tara, Doug, and Liam.

Our activities:

  • Furniture shopping in High Point, North Carolina
  • A day at Nashville’s Adventure Science Center
  • Seeing Rifftrax live in Nashville
  • Visiting the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • A day at the amusement/water park
  • Exploring Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Solar eclipse viewing in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
  • A visit to the Makers Mark distillery in Loretta, Kentucky
  • Horseback riding in Snowshoe, West Virginia
  • Buying way too many books at the Green Valley Bookfair in Virginia
  • Wine tasting at Shenandoah Vineyards

National Zoo Reopening

With school out for the day, and the government shutdown over, Mark and my mom decided to take the kids to the National Zoo. Little did they realize that they’d be interviewed by channels 5 and 7 news, Taiwan TV and Corcoran College. Here’s Sasha and Sam, who made the 5 o’clock channel 5 news.


Sasha at Great Wolf Lodge on May 4, 2013
Sasha at Great Wolf Lodge on May 4, 2013

I’m not nearly as good a photographer as this photo might have one believe.  I just had an amazingly beautiful subject to work with.

Sasha Skis!

Saturday was our last day of skiing for the season.  Having had a good lesson at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid earlier in the week, I wanted to take Sasha for one more lesson closer to home.  She was a little scared at first, but quickly got the hang of it.  We can’t wait for next season!