Time & distance may come between us,
But I'm a computer geek you know.
It's been so long since you've seen us,
So catch up on our news by reading below!

This was a long year. It included many changes in direction.

Melanie turned 22. In the Spring, she finished her 2nd to last semester at Ball State. Over the summer she had a nanny job in Fort Wayne and she also worked concessions at Parkview Field for the TinCaps. For her final semester at Ball State, she got to do her Public Relations internship at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. This was great since one day she would love to have a job doing Public Relations for Riley's Children Hospital in Indianapolis which is also part of the IU Health system. And, for her biggest accomplishment of her life so far; in December she graduated from Ball State with a Bachelors Degree in Public Relations.

Brian also graduated. He graduated from Homestead High School in June. But, for his final semester at Homestead, Brian joined the Show Choir and he was a natural. He even got to do some solos and I thought he was awesome. And same as Melanie, Brian worked concessions at Parkview Field for the TinCaps over the summer. He decided to attend IU in Bloomington, IN. He also tried out for the Marching Hundred at IU and he got accepted to play cymbals on the drumline. Wendy, Mel, & Michael attended several IU football games so they could see the band. And I got to attend the Purdue @ IU football game the weekend after Thanksgiving. Brian also had a birthday that week and he turned 19.

Michael Victor is now a teenager! His birthday was also in November. Michael finished up 6th grade in the Spring. Then he did little league baseball again. With his work load of homework, Bible Study, drum lessons, and church youth group, Michael has pretty much dropped out of Boy Scouts. With me not being able to be there, he said that Scouts was just not the same. I still have hope that he might be able to get back into it one day, but we shall see. Now Michael is in the 7th grade and he is in band at his Middle School. They put on several concerts during the year. He is in the percussion section and he does hope to get a chance to play the drums like his older brother. And when I was home for Thanksgiving, we got to see the latest Hunger Games movie together.

Wendy and Michael were able to visit me in Massachusetts for Easter break in early April. We spent most of our time looking at homes in southern New Hampshire; Salem, Pelham, & Windham. We even put an offer on a house with a contingency that we sell our home in Indiana, but they rejected our offer. Wendy spent a lot of time staging our home in Indiana so that it would be ready to present for sale by Easter. I think she did a fabulous job. In fact, I think she could do staging of homes for sale for a living if people were willing to hire her for her services.

Wendy visited me again in July and we went to the Camping World RV Sales 301 - a NASCAR race in Loudon, NH. We also toured the Boston Harbor. We used the train service near my work to get down there. And we went on the Duck Tours (World War II amphibious landing vehicle) to see some of the landmarks.

Wendy got the opportunity of a lifetime when she sang in the American Country Star competition at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Nashville, TN. She did not get selected as a finalist. But, it was a dream-come-true to sing in Nashville!

Also, Wendy just started a part-time job working in the office at Indiana Vision Development Center. She was entering data on all of the area school systems in NE Indiana. And she was hoping that her boss would be able to increase her hours. But for now she'll concentrate on those school systems that seem interested and she'll have one big project to do every month.

I have now been working over one year at Raytheon in Woburn, MA. I am a Process Engineer on one of their radar programs. My responsibilities are to collect, analyze, and report the metrics related to developing the computer software. I am responsible for presenting this data to our software department manager each month. This job is very similar to what I was doing at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, IN a few years ago when I was the site Software Measurement Analyst. I also have computer programming experience, but I prefer the process job over working directly on software development. I had a great mentor who took me through the process for my first two months, but I have been performing all of my duties pretty much on my own since then.

I did have an apartment in Tewksbury, MA for about a half year. My commute was about 12 miles each way and it usually took about 25 minutes. But, I wanted to find something that was less expensive and in New Hampshire. Initially, there was nothing available for me in my desired location - Salem, NH. So, I got an apartment in Derry, NH for a couple of months. I liked this place because there was no lease, other than a 30 day notice, and the rent was considerably less expensive than what I had been paying. However, my commute increased to over 30 miles each way and it took me about 45 minutes. There was finally an availability at the place that I wanted to stay in Salem, NH in October. The lease terms and the rent was the same, but my commute reduced down to under 20 miles each way and sometimes I can make it in to work in about 20 minutes. I have been there ever since.

Until we are able to sell our home in Indiana, we are unable to get a house in New Hampshire. The one bedroom apartment that I have would not be sufficient for Wendy & Michael. And since we still have our home in Indiana, Wendy & Michael are staying there while Michael attends school back there. Our home has been on the market since Easter. We have lowered our price several times. But, we have not received one, single offer. We have not even received a "low ball" offer. Our home was just built in 2006. It is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with it. The only real complaint that we ever hear from potential buyers is that we only have a 2-car garage while most of the homes in the neighborhood have a 3-car garage. Instead of a 3rd bay, we expanded the size of our garage for extra storage. And we increased the size of almost every room in our home.

Back in April, Raytheon announced that they were consolidating their number of divisions. When I worked at Raytheon in Fort Wayne, our division was known as Network Centric Systems (NCS). When I took the job at Raytheon in Woburn, MA, the division that I worked for was known as Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). One of the results of the consolidation effort was that NCS was eliminated and absorbed into IDS. So, now all the friends that I left behind at Raytheon in Fort Wayne are working in the same division in which I am working. This also meant that Raytheon in Fort Wayne would adopt all of the new ways of doing things; according to the IDS process. Since I just spent the past year learning the IDS process, I knew that I would be able to help my friends back at Raytheon in Fort Wayne transition to the new processes.

I have talked to my old boss in Fort Wayne and I have talked to my new boss in Woburn, MA. I let them know that I need a way to get back home to Indiana and still do my job. They are looking for a way for me to be able to do my work from Fort Wayne. But, I do not know when or if this will actually happen. And I do not know how much time I'll be able to spend back in Fort Wayne and how much time I'll need to spend in Woburn, MA in order to get my job done.

If this works out for us, this could be one of the biggest Christmas gifts we ever received. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers so that His will be done!

We are thankful for all of our friends and family. We wish we could see you all more often.

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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