Arguably the biggest news to report is that after 12 years of living and working in NYC, Stephanie and I made the bold move back across the Appalachia mountains to live in the Valley, that is the Ohio River Valley. Serendipity led us to relocate on the confluence of the Lil’ Kanawha and Ohio rivers in Parkersburg, WV. It began with 8 hour car rides back to the valley for our consistent connection with Ohio University and to see Stephanie’s family outside of Marietta, OH. Then it accelerated with an economic development venture through the heart of Appalachia & the midwest assisting a legal client with identifying a location for their new consolidated back office. Top it off with an OU Homecoming visit drinking screw drivers with friends on Court St. and a Thanksgiving trip shooting guns off a hill in Belpre, OH with Stephanie’s cousins, and we were sold on life in them thar hills. What started in the fall of 2009 was complete by April 1st 2010 thereby ending my 12 years of redneck aspirations to fully bonafide member. The truth is we’ve always loved the mountains, rivers, family and friends of the Appalachian territory. The success of our business ventures in New York opened the door for us to say hello to West Virginia and good bye to Hoboken, but still be in both places virtually when needed.
I say arguably because the second big piece of family news is that Stephanie and I are expecting our first child in July. Yes, I know many of you are jumping out of your seat with surprise and enthusiasm. Some of you might equally be wailing the end of my Peter Pan ways. I can assure you neither is an issue. After 7 years of marriage and 15 years after our first introduction, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we would be getting around to spreading the wealth. Some claim its the move back and the Appalachian water (or moonshine) that planted the seed for the next generation of Kaples. However, you see it, we (my mother especially) are very happy (ecstatic). Stephanie is the perfect mother, keeping herself in brilliant shape and boyant attitude. I’ve never seen her so happy. We are keeping the baby’s sex a secret which has led to some interesting name debates between a boy Gregory to giving all the kids’ middle names Ray. I think Xavier Ray (X-Ray) Kaple has a nice ring to it!
After three years, there are some great updates to share regarding the rest of our family. My parents both officially retired from teaching and in the fall of 2009 moved from Fairborn, OH to Summerville SC, just outside of Charleston. They love the warmer climate and learning how to become southerners. From shrimp and grits to antebellum sagas captured in exquisite emails, they are quite busy and content. My brother, Dan, recently married a fellow teacher in southern Maryland. She’s a Pittsburgher and teacher by way of Miami University which leads to plenty of NFL and college rivalry discussions. My sister continues to work her way up the ladder of leadership on the island of Key West. Besides single handedly helping the homeless as her full time job, she runs the Island Shoe Girl blog, a weekly fashion radio show and is a successful part time sales sales professional with a local art gallery.
Stephanie Arnold Kaple’s family is doing fantastic. Her sister and brother-in-law had their first child about a two years ago. They asked us to be the god parents for Joseph and he’s developing quickly into a sharp learner and devoted Rangers fan. Her mother retired as head cook for the local school district and has been spending a lot of time with Stephanie getting things ready for Baby K to arrive. Her father had surgery on his ankle and took a rare break from work for three months to heal. After years of hard day and night shifts, the break gave him a taste of retirement which is soon to come in a couple more years.
Its hard to say we could be any happier than we are hanging out here in the Ohio Valley, so closed to so many friends and family as we begin to start our own. Here’s to what the future will hold and all those annual letters to come tell us about it!