This year I started to blog. What a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. It also has become a record for me to reflect back on my year. Here are some highlights.

Lauren has done amazingly well following her transplant. It has been exciting to watch her become healthy, learn new things, and grow brown curly hair. She is receiving ABA therapy which is designed for children with Autism, and she is showing lots of progress in several developmental areas. She is also taking Genestein, a soy derivative. This new treatment is still in the experimental and case study stage, but most of the Sanfilippo children who are on it are doing very well. We hope one or all of these treatment options might improve her chances at a long and healthy life.

Nathan has become his Mommy’s biggest helper. At three, he now believes he is Lauren’s big brother, and in a sense, he is. He keeps an eye on her, and tells all the adults when she is doing something he thinks she shouldn’t be doing. He started pre-school this year, and attends Rolly Pollie’s, a little gym. He loves to visit Nonna and Great Grandma, and the feeling is mutual on our end.

In April, I flew to Cancun to spend a week at a five star resort with my dear friends, Wendy and Denny. We had a glorious time enjoying the beaches, food, and especially one another’s company.

Robin and Ken moved to Alaska in August. Ken has started his own business, consulting with churches and providing them with media software and equipment. They have purchased land in Eagle River and will spend much of next year (after the snow melts!) building their own home. Megan turned 6 in May, and Steven celebrated his first birthday in September. I was able to celebrate with them for both events. Megan is a first grader, still taking ballet, and becoming a good reader (like her mom). Steven is showing everyone just how cute he is by getting into mischief and charming his way into our hearts.

In September, I started my second sabbatical from Intel. I added two weeks of vacation to my eight weeks of paid time off, and had a total of 10 weeks to play. And “play” I did! Besides my trip to Alaska, I also took a three week road trip from New England to Florida, stopping at various points in between. My friend Glenda went with me. We had a wonderful time taking in the beautiful fall foliage of New England, the excitement of New York City, the history in Washington D.C. and the fantasy of Walt Disney World. We even managed to time our travels perfectly to arrive in Florida the day Hurricane Wilma went through. We were north of it, and stayed safe, although we did see a ton of rain! The remaining weeks off I spent time (and money) around the house and with family. It was a refreshing break, and I was [almost] ready to go back to work Thanksgiving week

Brian and Carrie built a new home this year after renting a house in Gilbert since Lauren came home from the hospital. It’s a beautiful 5 bedroom ranch style that Brian designed and contracted himself, southeast of the Valley in a rapidly growing area called Johnson Ranch. They moved in over Thanksgiving weekend, with still some minor construction details to finish up (like hot water and heat). The critical items were taken care of within the first few days, and it’s entirely liveable now, with enough left to keep them busy and out of trouble in the coming months.

Mom continues her independent living in Fellowship Square, and spends her days “scootering” here and there, playing cards, and catching up on all the gossip with her good friends.

The Holsingers are coming for Christmas, and I am in a holiday mood! I’m putting up my tree earlier than usual, and even decorating with outside lights. I picked up some Christmas gifts while traveling this year, and I’m looking forward to having all the kids around for the festivities.

I hope this year has brought you as many wonderful memories as it has brought me. May your Christmas be blessed and your New Year be filled with God’s love. Happy Holidays!

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