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I send out a number of Christmas cards every year. Many years I include a Christmas letter, so that I can focus on writing a personal note in the card instead of an update on what’s happening in our lives. As frequent blog-readers, all y’all (Hey, I’m in Georgia right now! It’s allowed!) know most of this stuff anyway, but here it is!*

Adam laughed for 10 minutes at the thought of including this annual Christmas photo in the card we gave to our garbageman.

Dearest Friends,

This year feels like it stretched out long and full – like a cat in a sunbeam. The year has been full of moments caught and enjoyed. After a two year tenure at a life sciences company, I switched to become a Solutions Architect at a software company that creates software. I took the job for more than just a great title, and have been incredibly busy and very satisfied. Adam is still with a healthcare non-profit and among other things has had fun working on mobile applications.

As our sons grow older, there’s also been a little more time for other things in our life. I had started Grey on guitar lessons, but he did not enjoy them. During one frustrating lesson, I took over for him. Now, nine months in, I’m getting pretty decent. I can read three kinds of notation and play several songs almost in tempo. It’s a completely different skill than trumpet, and downright exhilarating to learn! I also continue to blog at http://mytruantpen.com, and started a new blog at http://technicallypretty.com .

Adam and I spent our twelfth anniversary idylling in Ashland Oregon. We watched Henry V in the Elizabethan, followed the political trials of Lyndon B. Johnson, played “Lords of Scotland” while eating pizza next to Lithia Creek, and white water rafted the Rogue (which was awesome!). The boys didn’t miss us at all as they went to Camp Gramp with their cousins. The winter was mild and easy. Spring was short and sprightly. The summer was full of camping, canning and beaches. The fall was birthdays and apples and games and storms.

The only cloud on the year was the loss of our two kitty cats. Magic died in the spring of old age, leaving a legacy of love and cat hair. Justice – an indoor/outdoor cat with a strong penchant for adventure – died with his boots on during his adventures. I’m grateful that he was able to come home and rest in the back yard he once prowled. They are both missed by large and small in our home.

Grey began first grade this year. He continues as a strong reader with a particular preference for those odious books intended for pre-adolescent boys (think “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Captain Underpants”). Happily, he also branches out into less nauseating literature, such as “Alice in Wonderland”. The great passions of his 7 year old life are Legos and drawing cartoons. The cartoons are quite good. He’ll come home with stacks of “collectible cards” he and his friends drew at after-school. He does an amazing job of following Lego building instructions, and his room is practically carpeted in Legos. He is still in aikido, and has earned his green belt.

Fortunately for filial peace, Thane is also completely Lego-obsessed right now. I swear he wills his four-year-old fingers to the fine movements required to work with “little Legos”. He spends an astonishing amount of time for a child his age creating objects. I even caught him successfully following the instructions to create a kit. He’s not reading yet, but still loves to be read to – especially books about his beloved Scooby Doo. He’s silly and sweet. He likes to pretend he’s a baby bird. He still considers Puppy (a bunny rabbit) his best friend. I’m savoring the last lingering babyness with all my might.

We have had a wonderful year, with bright horizons for the coming one. We hope you, and your family, are the same. Merry Christmas to you all!

Brenda, Adam, Grey & Thane

*Some information changed to preserve internet anonymity!

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