Melanie is now 15. She's a sophomore in High School. She was in the color guard again. This year, the Homestead High School Spartan Alliance Band came in 3rd at "state". These guys work harder than the football team. They have 3 weeks of band camp in July and they put in several hours of practice every school day. And they have competitions every weekend until "state" at the end of October. Now she is in Winter Guard.
Brian is in the 6th grade and he just turned 12 in November. This year he started middle school. In February he crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. He and the other boys in his Den all earned the Arrow of Light, the highest award you can earn as a Cub Scout. And all of them joined the same Boy Scout Troop 349. He earned his "freeze-out" patch by tent camping in below freezing temperature (both in March and this December). He got to tour a Navy submarine and sleep on a Coast Guard cutter. He finished flag football earlier in the year and he's doing Upwards Basketball again. He's become quite a good basketball player. And he just loves the drums. He plays percussion instruments at his school. It looks like we'll be "band parents" for another 4 years after Melanie.
Michael Victor also had a birthday in November and he just turned 6. He started Kindergarten this year. He has K in the morning and he goes to the YMCA in the afternoon. He had his tonsils out this year. We had him in little league this summer. He loves Star Wars so much, he was Darth Vader for Halloween. He's starting to learn to read. Wendy & I will have him read Dick & Jane before bed and other books that he brings home from school. I've taught him some simple math, but he even knows things about math that I've never taught him.
Wendy had a better year. On March 1st we closed on the new house that we had built and she celebrated being a 1-year cancer survivor. She had all the bedrooms ready for us the first night we moved stuff. She makes our house a home. Brian's and Michael's schools are right behind our house; walking distance for both of them. Wendy continues to volunteer her efforts to the American Cancer Society. She was the chairperson of the local Relay for Life and she was also an area ambassador to the Relay for Life Celebration on the Hill. She is a parent volunteer at Michael's elementary school. She continues to be a member of the choir at The Chapel and she participated in their annual Christmas show. We did lose our dog, Flutie, in May. But, Wendy got a new dog for her birthday in September, Maia.
I continue as Committee Chairman for our Cub Scout Pack and I still maintain the web site for the Pack. I intend to be Michael's Den Leader when he becomes a Tiger Cub in August. At work, I received an award called Technical Honors and I also accepted a new position as the site Systems & Software Engineering Measurement Analyst. The CMMI level 4/5 that we are trying to achieve is all about metrics. I'll help the programs at the site figure out what they need to do for the area of measurement. And I'll get to put my math degree to use.
We are thankful for all of our friends and family. We wish we could see you all more often.