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Christmas 2008 Newsletter

The following is the 2008 Newsletter that is enclosed with my Christmas cards for out of town family and friends or in town family and friends who don’t get to hear all this stuff throughout the year.  A lot of it has been highlighted on the blog, so I guess you could consider this a 2008 blog recap.  Enjoy!

Christmas 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2008. This past year has been exceptionally fun as I’ve watched my nephew Lincoln grow into an active toddler, traveled a bit, and tried new things.

In March, I traveled to Huntsville for a quick weekend trip to visit some friends who had recently moved there from Virginia and to attend their daughter Jilian’s first birthday. In May, I flew to Savannah, GA to meet up with my parents and go to Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons. No offense to my mother or anyone else who has cooked me a meal, but that Sunday Buffet is the BEST meal I’ve ever had in my life. After our short visit in Savannah, mom, dad, and I drove down to Tampa where they dropped me off to spend the rest of the week following Memorial Day with Lincoln (and Andy and Janet).

This was the first time I’d been with Lincoln since Thanksgiving. By all accounts, he seemed to take to me right away. We spent most mornings sitting in the floor playing, and by playing I mean I sat there and he crawled all over me. Andy and Janet said I was spoiling him with all the play time, and he wasn’t going to know what to do once I left and didn’t have his play toy anymore. But, I do what I have to since I have such a limited amount of time to spend with him.

In July, mom and dad visited me in Virginia, and at the end of their visit, I traveled with them to North Carolina for a long weekend. We stopped in Chapel Hill to see the new basketball museum at UNC. While on campus, we actually spotted just about every single member of the men’s basketball team on their way back from a workout. I’ve been to Chapel Hill several times in my life and never seen any of the players, so that was a real treat.

Also in July, my annual work conference took me to Denver, CO. It was exciting because I’d never been there. I stood a mile above sea level, saw a few mountains out in the distance, ate at John Elway’s restaurant, and toured the Broncos stadium. I also got to catch up with some friends of mine who moved out there several years ago. It was a great trip, and the change in altitude really didn’t bother me.

In August, I turned 30 and had the great pleasure of Andy, Janet, and Lincoln visiting me for my birthday weekend. This marked Lincoln’s first airplane ride, which he handled like a pro. It was going to be a surprise, but my mom convinced them to give me a heads up. It made turning the big 3-0 a little less “painful.” Lincoln loved Aunt Leann’s house, and I even got to take him to church and “teach” him in my nursery class. He loved it there, too, but what kid doesn’t love a room full of toys and Cheerios?

I decided to commemorate my 30th birthday by getting a tattoo on the inside of my left leg down by my ankle. You can see it on the enclosed picture. It’s smaller than the picture suggests, and it reads “Believe, John 20:29.” I kind of had always wanted one, but never knew what I’d want on me permanently. I finally settled on this as it was one of the first Bible verses I memorized and has always been one of my favorites.

In September, we all congregated in Tampa for the auspicious occasion of celebrating Lincoln Robert’s very first birthday. We all agreed that we couldn’t believe it had already been a year. Lincoln took to his cake like a champ and had half of it eaten in no time flat. Promptly following the cake he was given a bath and put down for a nap. A few weeks following his birthday he decided to give walking a try and has been on the go ever since. At his one year appointment, our Super Baby’s measurements registered on the 12 month chart, something his pediatrician has never
had happen with a child who was 2 months premature. Preemies will show up on the chart matching their gestational age, but usually not the chart for their chronological age. I wasn’t surprised AT ALL.

In October, mom flew up to Virginia, and she and I traveled back to Chapel Hill, NC for the annual Late Night with Roy (Williams). This is the first time the NCAA allows college basketball teams to hold full practices. The North Carolina players, like many other schools, hold a show of skits for the fans and then a scrimmage following the show. This being the senior year for several members of the team, not the least of which is current National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, mom and I just felt like we couldn’t miss it. Concerned that there would be long lines, we joined the ranks outside the Smith Center at about 12:30pm for an event that started at 7:30 (doors opened at 4). Mom nearly froze, but even with all of that we had so much fun and enjoyed every second of it.

In November, I went home for Thanksgiving. I got to babysit Lincoln while Andy and Janet finished up work before the holiday. Lincoln and I really enjoyed ourselves. We watched Noggin, took a couple walks to the park, played, and napped. He really is the happiest child I’ve ever been around, and that’s my completely unbiased opinion, of course. That brings us to December after what seems like a whirlwind year.

Here are a few more news items to share. Janet returned to teaching in August and is now a middle school teacher in Plant City. Andy changed grade levels from elementary to high school and is now the head girl’s basketball coach at Gaither High School in Tampa. Mom and dad continue to enjoy retirement, if you can call it that in dad’s case. Their new favorite job is being grandparents, of course. In fact, I think dad has found a new best friend. They laugh and walk and read together. It’s really a sight to see.

In case you missed it, Alabama’s football team had a strong hold on the #1 spot in the polls for a good bit of the season this year. They’ll be playing in the Sugar Bowl against Utah on January 2nd. The Colts got off to a rocky start, but seem to have righted the ship and as of this writing, are on a six game win streak. And, North Carolina’s men’s basketball team continues its prominence at #1 in the senior class’s final bid for a National Championship. Oh yeah…and Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in one Olympics!

As 2008 comes to a close and we look forward to a 2009 that seems to have more promise than I ever imagined would happen in my lifetime, let’s all remember to dream big and believe that anything can happen when you do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,