Cason – is a Boy Scout! He pushed hard this fall to earn his Arrow of Light (Equivalent to Eagle in Boy Scouts) just before he turned 11. He continues to do well in school and had another fun season in the Upward Flag Football league and otherwise fed his college football addiction. He enjoyed a great progress with his basketball skills last winter as well. He’s excited to play churchball this season. Cason continues to read a lot and enjoys learning. His biggest achievement this year was mending a broken arm. The attention from family and friends seems to have more than made up for the six weeks of no fun due to the cast.
Abram – continues to tackle increasingly challenging books and is now reading the same Percy Jackson (modern mythology fantasy mashup) series that his big brother is reading. His hard work in school is showing as well – the most recent interim came home all A’s so that’s got to count for something! Abram played basketball again this year and did great. Instead of flag football, Abram opted to play soccer this fall – and beat out about 6 of his teammates to be the team’s goalie. He had a number of shutout performances and impressed us all with his athleticism. More to come from our own little Tim Howard.
Declan – is loving his new pre-school where, according to his teacher, he’s already attained “celebrity” status. Everywhere we go, he’s making friends and leading the fun. He’s constantly demonstrating creativity through drawing or his latest Lego invention. “Dec”, as he’s begun to call himself, took on soccer this year. What he lacked in aggressiveness, he made up for in smack talk. Although we had to threaten to take him off the field if he didn’t stop yakking, he turned it around and eventually won a sportsmanship medal. If you ask, he’ll be happy to show it to you.
Silas – has apparently decided to be our only lefty. He has got to be the most introspective 2 year old I’ve ever been around, carefully taking in everything around him. He’s a loving, sensitive kid, who loves his brothers and hero(ine) worships his mom. He gives great hugs for his age too – great squeeze. He can usually be found at the train table, coupling traincars together and softly singing a primary or Christmas song. When not with his trains, he’s usually launching a Neft baskeball at a hoop and shouting “shoot it, Jimmer.” Like his brothers, he’s a good looking, smart and funny kid.
Fidesco – is still in Louisville KY and we miss him a ton. He did well playing football this year for his school and has been active in Church and Boy Scouts. Since he moved to KY, he has served as President of his Deacon’s Quorum. He was able to visit VA this summer and will be with us again this Christmas. We are so glad he wants to be with us and that we are able to rely on good people in KY to help him while he’s so far away. Despite the distance, we are able to communicate several times each week using phone, Facebook, Instagram and texts. Crazy world we live in, huh?
Ginny – hasn’t stopped this year. She’s been to Costa Rica (fun), South Carolina (visiting family), Utah (for her brother’s BYU graduation) and seemingly everywhere in-between. She ran her first race last month, burning up an 8k down Richmond’s Monument Ave in 20 degree weather. We are so proud of her hard work and dedication. She even got to give Declan an autograph when she got home. She’s already talking about when she runs her next race. Aside from her travels and racing, Ginny continues to be a Super-Friend to many and to expertly herd her litter of little boys to and fro (Luder included).
Luder – achieved a longstanding goal of returning to Costa Rica to visit friends he made on his mission and was thrilled to share it with Ginny. It was a trip filled with great food, beautiful beaches, jungles, exotic animals and some of the best, most loving people on earth. 15 years away didn’t dim Luder’s love for Costa Rica and its people. Seeing the Ramirez and Avalos families was a definite highlight. Capital One is still a great gig and we feel blessed to have a job there. Luder was released from on the Stake High Council earlier this month, a calling he loved. While he’ll miss working with the Spanish Branch, he’s looking forward to what is next.
As a family we were very excited that we finally finished reading the entire Book of Mormon from cover to cover. We also read the Pearl of Great Price and have started on the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. While our boys are regularly subjected to demonstrations of our (mostly Luder’s) imperfections, we hope they are learning how much we love the scriptures and our Savior. We continued to be honored by your friendship and love and plan to work hard again this year to be worthy of those blessings. Merry Christmas!