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Isaac started basketball for the 3rd year. He is on the team with Oliver, his best bud, and some other classmates. He loves it. He also helped with his first official walk and knock as a cub scout. Our pack’s area to canvas was a retirement mobile home park that does not allow soliciting. Instead they collect all goods in the club house in big huge bins and it was the easiest walk-n-knock we have ever participated in. It took about half an hour to find out from some angry residents that they don’t want us knocking on their doors, then get directed to the clubhouse, and then load everything into the vans. The boys didn’t even get cold this year unlike last year where we all got snowed on.

Bryan spent a lot of time at the church doing tithing settlement again this year. One of the little known facts of being a financial clerk in the church is that they dissappear from the real world for almost the whole month of December because of the ward end of the year finances and tithing settlement. We are glad to have him back again. We were able to sneak in some home improvement amidst all his work at HP and the church and he put in a new floor in the boys bathroom. It looks good! We are going to continue putting new floors in the other bathrooms once Reece no longer feels the need to be helpful and run off with the tools.

We experienced the biggest snow storm since the big Ice storm in January ’04 that closed down the whole Portland area the week before Micah was born. We only got two days of school canceled right before Christmas break, but they were big days to miss. Isaac was so sad to miss his class holiday party and the school sing along. The good news for him is that he will get to have those functions this next week in school. During the first half of Christmas break we were pretty much snowed in since Vancouver does not have enough snow plows to keep the roads free during any snowy weather. The cool thing is that we could pull the kids in sleds all the way to the neighborhood park and sled on the hills there without the inconvenience of having to drive up the Columbia Gorge to find snow. Most of the neighborhood kids on the street got together to build a giant snow fort in the Williams’ front yard (across the street from us) and Isaac was obsessed with being out there working on it. He was out there with a shovel every minute that he could be. Micah was mainly interested in making huge snowballs and he was a super muscle man pushing his snowball around the yard just to make it bigger and bigger. Those big snowballs eventually became a good looking snow man. It was great fun for the kids to be out playing in the snow for so many days.

Because of the snow storm our stake Christmas Music Devotional was postponed until after Christmas also. Ily was scheduled to sing in a trio and didn’t plan to make it back from Kennewick for the postponed show because of the weather, but the roads cleared and we made it back just in time. It was a beautiful musical presentation, the choir was amazing, the other special numbers were wonderful, and to make it even better, we invited some non-member neighbors to come listen and they were very touched by it. The whole reason Ily wanted to do it was for missionary work (so she could have an excuse to invite the neighbors) and it really turned out to be a special moment for her.

This is the second year we decided to do the 12 days of Christmas Secret Santa for a family in need and we had a lot of fun doing it. Isaac really loved being sneaky and doing the reconnasance work to get the gifts to the doorstep without being seen. Because of the snow, we missed a few days and had to make it up on other clearer days, but in the end, we still consider this one of our best traditions that we have embraced in our little family. It sure has helped us teach our kids about giving. We knitted together six extra hats to give to this family and did all sorts of other things to really make this thing a labor of love. I think it will be a tradition we carry on every year.

On the Sunday December the 21st we found out that our water heater was acting up and for some reason the pilot light wouldn’t stay lit. Since we just got this water heater in April, we knew it was a warranty issue and have had all sorts of run around with GE, the company who made it. We have mad some headway and gooten plans to fix it in motion, but we are still waiting for a plumber to come and fix it… two weeks later. Since boiling water proved an ineffective way to heat water for baths, we have resorted to borrowing some wisdom from our old friends Mike and Nikki Trionfo and just bathing at the fitness club every day instead. When they first moved into their new home in Riverton Utah they didn’t not have a functioning water heater and did that for a few months… I sure hope it doens’t take that long for us to get hot water again! This week we have exercised just about every day since we had to go for showers anyhow. Yeah us, we are getting fit AND clean. What a way to start out the fitness goals for the New Year. Just a few more weeks of no hot water and we will have a new habit ingrained in our souls.

This year we drove to Kennewick on Christmas Eve during some yucky weather but made it safely. The trip normally takes us 3.5 hours but this time it was just about 6 hours. We enjoyed our time with family and friends celebrating Christmas. Thanks to all of you family who worked hard to make it a good holiday. There were some special gifts that were given in lots of love and we appreciate them!

For New Years Eve we took the boys over to the home of our frends Butch and Heidi Parker. There were several other families from our ward there too and it was a lot of fun. There were at least 50 people there that included little people, youth, and their parents. The Parkers have 4 boys right around our boys ages and so they had lots of toys that our kids loved. It was great to eat all the yummy snacks everyone brought, play rock band for the Wii, play card games, chat, watch movies and play to bring in the New Year. We were shocked that the boys stayed up so late with us, they did so well and had so much fun that we were amazed we didn’t have to take them home in heaps of tears… It was very weird in fact. Micah still keeps talking about going back and having fun at that party again.

December was busy like it is every year. This year our gratitude for the basics like warm houses, hot water, family, and friends have been increased 10 fold!

We forgot to take many pictures, forgive us and know that we did do this stuff even though we have no visual record of it. Happy New Year!

Ily, Bryan, Isaac, Micah, and Reece

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