Once again, Christmas is here,
so accept our Holiday Greetings.
We're sorry we can't be there,
but we have buddy chat for online meetings.

OK, so I'm a sap when it comes to rhyming. But that's me.

Melanie turned 10 last June and she is now in the fifth grade. This will be her last year at this elementary school as she moves on to middle school next year. I went with Melanie to Indianapolis and Chicago on school field trips. We went to the State House and Children's Museum in Indy and the Shedd Aquarium and Museum of Science & Industry in the Windy City. Melanie has been to Chicago more times than me because Wendy also took her there to visit the American Girl Museum. Last summer, Mel joined a softball team and her team won the league. Mel did miss a lot of games with all the traveling she has to do to visit with her Dad, but she had fun. Melanie is also in Girl Scouts and Choir this year. And she'll be in a spelling bee in January.

Brian is 7 and he has started first grade. This is his first year taking the bus to and from school each day. But, he has his sister with him this year. Next year he'll be on his own on the bus. He joined Cub Scouts this year where he and I have gone on trips to a fire house and T.V. news station. He'll be working on his Pine Wood Derby car soon. Brian loves animals. Most books he picks out are about animals. And Brian is a very good reader (he is advanced compared to other kids in his class). He thinks the Dolphins are cute and most often picks an "animal" team over other teams when making football picks. But, if the Titans are playing, he picks them because "We are the Titans..." from the movie "Remember the Titans".

Michael turned 1 on Thanksgiving Day this year. When it came to crawling, I said to him "you have until you're 9 months old to crawl" and sure enough on his 9 month anniversary he crawled from the living room to the dining room. So, I thought I'd try the same thing with walking. I said to him "you have until you are one to learn how to walk". Well, on this he defies me. He is able to stand, and he 'cruises' along using the furniture for balance, but he has yet to walk. He's been able to take a half step or a side step; but on this we're hoping it will be a Christmas present for us that he walks on Christmas. He only says "Ma, Ma, Ma", "blah, blah, blah", and "ba, ba, ba". He knows how to nod "yes" and shake his head "no". And the other day I had him using his own spoon to eat his cereal. He's off of formula now and on to regular milk. He is able to crawl up the entire staircase and he can crawl out of his walker. And he can clap too!

Wendy started selling Longaberger Baskets this year. She's very organized and very good at this kind of stuff. She is the assistant Girl Scout leader for Mel's troop. She helped with the craft show at the elementary school this year and she'll be chairman of that show next year. She had a Longaberger Basket booth at the Coliseum craft show. I volunteered her to help me with the Cub Scout's Blue and Gold Dinner in February. She tried Copaxone for her M.S. this year, but she had a bad reaction to the shots. She was taking one shot in a different location every day. Her doctor wants her to consider Avonex which is one shot per week, but she is understandably reluctant. Wendy loves those old Victorian Villages that you put up at Christmas time; so far she has three separate sets. She had me put up shelves about a foot and a half from the ceiling around our entire dining room to put up the sets. It looks very cool. She'll put her baskets up there when she takes the villages down.

As you can see, I'm very busy too. I still try to get up in the morning with Michael, but now he sleeps later. I got to see the State House in Indy with Mel as well as a chance to see Chicago. I went to some of Mel's softball practices and Brian had some soccer games too. Wendy & I went to Battle Creek, MI again for our anniversary during the 4th of July week. They have an air show there as well as a hot air balloon show. I go to all the den meetings and pack meetings with Brian and his Cub Scouts; I'm the assistant Den Leader. I hope this will continue as Brian becomes a Boy Scout and Michael will just be starting the Cub Scouts. At work, we are busy as ever. We have not been directly effected by the terrorist attacks of September 11; but it reminds all of us about the importance of a strong Defense industry. I took a chance by accepting a position with a little more oversight and responsibility. I used to be a Technical Lead for about 20 software developers. Now, I'm a Deputy System Software Engineering Manager who works on defining and reviewing the software development processes for all the software developers on the program. Wendy helps me be able to do all this by taking care of everything at home.

We miss everyone. It was fun to see many people at the Frank's Grill/Block Street reunion picnic last summer. I don't know if we'll be able to schedule the 2nd annual picnic or not. We were thinking about getting everyone together at Allegheny instead. I wish I could keep up with all the pictures on the web sites. I'd like to also work on a web page which I'm going to entitle "The Best Time Was...". I plan on putting down in words some of the memories I have of growing up with all my great friends. The phrase which I'm using for the title will hit a chord with many because it is often what we say when we get together and reminisce.

Wishing you a season filled
with all the special things
that a bright
and Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year brings!

With Love,

Jim & Wendy
Melanie & Brian
Michael Victor

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