Merry Christmas and

Happy New Year!

We've had another busy year filled with travel, visitors, kid-driven activities, and work.  We feel very lucky that our family is happy and healthy and doing all sorts of fun things.

We had a number of big events happen this year, mostly in the fall.  First, Miles (5 years old) started kindergarten in September.  He's going to the local public school, and is really enjoying all of his new school experiences.  He's made lots of new friends, is reading pretty well, likes to write his own books, thinks math and science are especially cool, and seems to have grown up so much already!  More than anything, Miles likes to have playdates with his friends, but if that's not an option, playing any game will do.  He's also been having fun trying some new sports this year - he took a gymnastics class for a while, and participated in a local soccer league this fall, and has recently tried both basketball and hockey as well.

 

Our second big event occurred when Matt's parents, Ron and Linda, moved from Oklahoma to Washington in October.  They are now living about 20 minutes away from us, and are slowly settling into their new house and their new state.  We are loving having family so nearby.  The kids really enjoy going to Nana and Grandad's house and getting to see them so often.  Both kids also look forward to Wednesdays when Nana comes over to spend the afternoon with them while Molly and Matt are at work.  Matt and Molly are especially enjoying the extra support that comes with having grandparents so nearby (i.e. babysitting), as well as the chance the kids will have to get to know their grandparents better.
 
Although it's a yearly occurrence, there was another cause for celebration this fall when Micah had a birthday in September.  He is a happy, confident 2-year-old now, with a big personality.  He is enrolled in daycare three days/week, and he seems to really enjoy his time there.  He has a big smile on his face at drop-off and at pick-up, and his teachers tell us he loves to participate in all the activities they do (unless it requires touching something squishy or yucky - then he chooses to just watch).  Although Micah's favorite activities at home center around Miles (if Miles likes doing it, Micah does too), he also enjoys roaring like a lion, using the computer, going on outings (especially if they involve riding on a bus), and playing games. 

 

This fall also marked an event in Molly's work life.  She and her business partner Heidi decided to expand their business this summer, and in September they opened the doors on another office suite just upstairs from their first one, tripling the size of their office rental business, North Star Offices.  Molly continues to enjoy working part-time while still having the flexibility to stay home with Micah one day a week and pick Miles up from school every afternoon. 

Matt didn't have any big events of his own happen in the fall, unless you count the launching of Valve's new game Left 4 Dead.  Matt has been working at Valve for 2 1/2 years now, and really enjoys the culture there in addition to liking the work he does.  It's also great that Valve allows Matt to have a flexible schedule so that he can be home with Micah on Thursdays, as well as volunteer in Miles's classroom one morning each week.  Matt has also continued to bike commute to work this entire year - we may even sell his car soon he uses it so rarely!

And last (but definitely not least) Molly's mom got another update from the oncologist this fall confirming what we'd hoped - the cancer has not returned over the course of this past year.  We were all thrilled to hear it.


In addition to all of this, we've had a busy visitor and travel schedule.

In January we went to Portland with Nana and Grandad who spent last Christmas with us, and not long after they left, our friends Sacha, Sylvan, and Jenny came out for their annual visit.

In March we went to Sycamore, IL to visit Molly's family.

In April we went on a Valve-sponsored trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

In May we took a train trip to Portland with our friends the Bedwells.

In June we flew to Texas to visit with Matt's parents, his Uncle Bill and Aunt Janine, and his grandmother Johnnie. 

In July Molly's sister Sarah, her husband Michel, and their kids Gaby (15) and Etienne (17) came for a visit.

In August we took our annual trip to Lake Chelan with our friends the Showmans.

In September we went back to Sycamore to attend Molly's high school friend Laura's wedding, and had a chance to visit with a number of other high school friends in addition to spending some time with family.

 

Here are a few pictures of our family from 2008:

        

And a few especially cute pictures of the kids:

                       

Merry Christmas everyone!