Oh no; not again! Not another long Christmas letter from the Shiz.
Does he really need to do that? To be so sappy? And does he have to rhyme?
"Of course" I say. You can count on me. With writing, I'm a whiz!
We miss you all. You're gonna hear from us. We'd like to hear from you. It's about time!

OK, so I'm persistent !!!

Now Melanie is 11 and she's in sixth grade at the Middle School. Last year she was able to catch the bus at 8:30 AM. But, this year she has to be out at the bus stop by 7 AM. This was quite an adjustment for Mel. She's doing OK; but she's not able to stay up as late as she thought she might. Mel often has to keep busy with her homework after school and before dinner. She also helps with chores around the house and keeping on eye on Michael while all of us are so busy. Melanie continues to enjoy reading and she likes to sing. She participates in choir and she has a karaoke tape machine at home.

Brian is a pro now with his schooling. He's in the second grade and he just turned 8 in November. Brian's science fair project used the Nerf bazookas he and I got a couple of years ago from Santa. He tested whether a Nerf missile will fly farther with the bazooka angled up or with the bazooka level with the ground. Last Spring he earned his Tiger Badge and Bobcat pin in the Cub Scouts. He and I took 1st place for "Best Cub Scout Theme" in the "Feller's Cake Bake" (no help from any women-folk). We also camped out overnight in the outfield of our Fort Wayne Wizards Baseball Stadium for another scouting event. This year, Brian is working on his Wolf Badge. In the summer he was on a Coaches pitch baseball team. And right now he is on a basketball team; it is Indiana after all! Brian loves cartoons like Pokemon, Power Rangers, Dragon BallZ, and Yu-Gi-Oh. He also is getting very good at drawing the characters from these shows.

Another birthday in November was Michael Victor's - he turned 2. He did not give us the gift of walking by last Christmas. It took him until the day before Valentine's Day. But now he's running, climbing, jumping, spinning... He says a lot of words now (even though I can't understand them all); I think his first official sentence was "Where's Shadow?" - Shadow is Nana & Papa's dog. Michael loves to get a bath and he's often conned me into giving him one. He's fascinated by the water. He also likes to take me by my finger and he says "walk". Then he'll walk me into the kitchen, open the pantry door, and say "Wow!". Oh, did I tell you that Michael knows how to work all the doors and the locks too? For those of you who knew us when we were young - Michael is definitely a little Veech! If he knows you're after him or want him to come to you, he'll turn the other way and run and laugh - it's quite funny.

Wendy is taking classes at the area university. She just needs four classes to receive her unfinished degree from Villa Maria College. Villa is going to let her transfer the credits so her degree will actually be from Villa. She just finished an American History course. Next she's taking a Math course. It's going to be "fun" helping Wendy and Melanie with their math homework - NOT!. Wendy successfully chaired the Fall Craft Show at the elementary school and she'll do that again next year. Last Christmas Wendy got one more Victorian Village set (complete with working train). She says "that's enough" - we have no more room on the shelves around the dining room. This year Wendy started taking Avonex for the M.S. I give her the shot every Monday morning. There's no bad reaction like the Copaxone last year. She does well most of the time.

As if I did not have enough to keep me busy - I volunteered to be the Committee Chairman for our Cub Scout Pack. I also maintain the Pack Web Page. Most of you should know that I did start "The Best Time Was..." Web Page too. For Cub Scouts I organized the Blue & Gold Dinner (with lots of help from Wendy). My brother Mike & I attended the Football Hall of Fame induction for Jim Kelly. We met Mikey & Wad on the bus. What a great time. It was extremely hot. It was very emotional. I'm so glad I was able to go. Work is as busy as ever. There seems to be a backlog of work on the horizon too.

We are thankful for all of our friends and family. We wish we could see you all more often. It was great to see so many of you attend the 2nd Annual Frank's Grill/Block Street Reunion Picnic. I will continue to plan them as long as you let me. And many of you know we already have the 3rd annual picnic planned to be held at Allegany State Park in August. So put it on your calendar.

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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