The big news this year was the arrival of Andrew Lewis Reed. Andrew was born on June 12, and joined our family through the blessing of adoption.  Brian and Carrie chose open adoption, and Andrew will grow up knowing who his birth mother is. We are grateful she choose to place him with this loving Christian family who will be able to provide a wonderful home and love galore. He’s a cutie patootie, and has stolen our hearts.

So now I have five grandchildren to brag about.

Megan turned ten in May, and is in fifth grade. She continues to expand her dance expertise with classes in ballet, tap and cheer. She performs in the community performing arts winter selection each year, winning a part in Charlotte’s Web the last two holiday seasons and The Nutcracker this year.

Lauren was having seizures early in the year, but after a short stay in the hospital and a new medication, they are now controlled and she is thriving. She is responding better to her therapies, showing improvement in her development, and using verbal expression for the first time in two years. She turned nine in November.

Nathan is seven, and entered the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program this year at his school, Paragon Science Academy. He swims like a fish, owns thousands of Lego blocks which constantly become an assortment of people, vehicles and buildings, and has mastered the use of his dad’s personal computer.

Steven keeps his mother supplied with a constant stream of anecdotes and “Stevenisms” for her blog. He has more irresistible mischief and charm than any other five year old on the planet. He started school (pre-K) this year and strives to keep up with big sister Megan.

Marvell had another layoff in March, but again, I survived the cuts. Recently, their stock has begin to climb as they have cut expenses and reported higher revenues, and the company looks much more stable. We are moving our offices at the end of this month; fortunately it’s a good commute for me and we’re eager to get into our brand new digs.

LIFE held their third annual golf tournament, and I won a 46″ HDTV in the golf ball drop. The funds raised have helped keep the center and the academy afloat in a year where state budget cuts have severely impacted many of the programs. Just this month as the possibility of closure loomed, the Philadelphia Insurance Company made a $255,000 donation that will allow services to continue for the remainder of the year.

In July, Glenda and I took a road trip to the northwest.  We drove up through Utah to Boise, where we spent two nights with Robin and Ken. Then we headed west to Portland to spend several days with Alice. Our trip home took us down the Oregon coast, through the Redwood National Forest, San Francisco, and the hot desert. It was a wonderful trip, so nice to get away from the heat of a July Phoenix, and especially to spend quality time with Glenda.

In October, Dale and his three kids, Karen, Jennifer and Dave made a trip to Arizona to visit our whole family for the first time in their lives. We siblings have not all been together in nearly 40 years, and we had lots of catching up to do. I didn’t think Robin would be able to come because she had been here two months earlier to see baby Andrew, but she surprised me by flying in to join our family reunion.

Karen brought her three boys, Zach, Nate and Noah out to spend time in Arizona over Thanksgiving week. Their trip was long enough to have time to go to the Grand Canyon and Tucson, as well as seeing several sights around the Valley of the Sun.

Dale has been able to get a few days off at Christmas, and will fly out to spend the holiday with us. It’s so wonderful to have him back in the family circle after all these years. It will be a special celebration remembering past Christmases while making new memories for future Christmases.

As I wrap up 2009 and this annual recap, I want to remind everyone to take a moment to reflect on your blessings and thank the One who gave us His Son, whose birth we celebrate. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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