Merry Christmas

We have certainly been blessed this year with good health, stable jobs, opportunities to follow our dreams, and time spent with family and friends (new and old)!

Jake turned 15 in September this year, just a few weeks after starting 9th grade. It's so hard to believe that he's in high school; and while we sometimes miss the little boy that once danced in the aisle during the Russian Dance at the Nutcracker, we are so proud of the young man he is becoming. He spent a good part of the year working as a karate assistant 2 days a week at his karate studio. He loves working with the little kids and has really grown up since having a job. He also earned his black belt in May, which was a huge accomplishment that he's really proud of. He had a really busy and exciting summer, spending a couple of weeks at camps and then visiting family in Arizona and Washington.

Jake decided to take a break from working during the school year so that he can concentrate on his studies and try some new activities at school...namely, wrestling. We were surprised when he said he wanted to go out for the wrestling team, but he has really enjoyed it so far. We know nothing about the sport, and it's a really hard sport for moms, but we are having fun with it too. He's also entering into the last semester of a Musical Theater Conservatory which will be putting on the musical "Urinetown" in May.

Lloyd's job is going very well. This year was his organization's 100th anniversary and he spent a lot of time working on the centennial meeting and celebration. We spent 5 days in Charlotte, NC in November, and while it was a lot of work for him, we got to have some fun as well, including visiting the Nascar museum and dancing the night away at a black tie celebration.

While the job keeps Lloyd on the road quite a bit, we are lucky enough to be able to go with him sometimes. This year, in addition to Charlotte, we were able to go to Nashville and Phoenix with him. It's fun to be able to see friends and family and experience different things on these various trips. We are looking forward to going to Chicago with him next year and seeing the Cubs play at Wrigley Field.

Despite the hectic travel schedule, Lloyd continues to train for and compete in races...sometimes in the cities he's visiting. This year, he completed 1/2 marathons in Phoenix and Nashville, triathlons in Philadelphia, rural Virginia and a quaint little town on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. He finished the season with a marathon in Richmond, VA. His big plan in 2015 is to complete an Ironman in Cozumel, Mexico at Thanksgiving.

I continue to do freelance work at a political advertising agency. This being an election year, I worked a lot of hours this Fall. The job has been a blessing, as it is very flexible and allows me to be involved with Jake's school and travel with Lloyd occasionally. This year, while on a trip with him to New Mexico, I was able to quickly make my way to Colorado to be with her grandmother when she fell ill. I spend a little bit of time (ok, maybe more than a little) worrying about the looming empty nest, but all in all, this is a very sweet time of life. It feels restful and happy. I pray that it is the same for you and yours.

May the peace of Christ be with you this season,

Stephanie, Lloyd, and Jake