Our Christmas Letter

Here is our year in review (that got mailed with our Christmas cards last week).  We are still settling in to the new house and packing to leave for Florida to visit family the day after Christmas.  My posting will be sporadic until after the New Year so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading this blog, being such faithful friends and wish you a Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

Dear Family and Friends:

Hard to believe that another year has gone by isn’t it? We have had an eventful 2009! We will try to hit the high points to catch everyone up on the Smallwood goings on J

In the first part of the year (February) Melissa traveled to Florida to visit her brothers and reconcile her relationship with her dad (if possible). The trip was very healing for all involved and Melissa learned that her brother, Thomas and his girlfriend were expecting. (Another boy joined the family: Treyden Edward Nicholson, born 10/4/09).

In March we added a puppy to the mix. Chloe (as debuted on the Christmas card) is a toy mini schnauzer intended to keep Melissa company during the day while Mike is at work and the boys are at school. Somehow, Chloe didn’t get that memo and is a total Daddy’s girl! She had some health issues when she first came to us but everything is fine now.

In June we took a week long houseboat vacation to Raystown Lake, PA. Family friends, the White’s, joined us as well as Melissa’s brother, Ian and her nephew, Marcus. Jared and Matt loved swimming in the lake, especially when coming off the sliding board attached to the roof of the houseboat! Marcus ended up spending most of the summer with us, until late August. It was fun to have a little guy around (for a while) and he celebrated his fifth birthday at our house in June.

Our oldest Jason (16) spent the first part of the year at a rehabilitation facility near Philadelphia, PA. The 3 hour trips to see him once a month were grueling, particularly with Melissa’s health issues. Therefore, we were all thankful when he graduated from that program and came to a residential facility in nearby Winchester, VA in June. He is doing well there, is in 11th grade and is excited to take driver’s ed this spring (yikes!)

Jared (13) started eighth grade this year and once again made the middle school basketball team. He is the starting shooting guard and loves the game! Jared continues to be in all honors classes and when not at practice, texting or spending time with his friends, he is watching ESPN!

Matt (12) is in seventh grade this year and he too is in all honors classes. Matt is part of an FLL club (lego robotics) that competes with other teams across the state. Their first competition is December 19th. When not building robots Matt’s nose can be found in a video game or watching the Food Network.

Melissa and Mike got to get away together for the first time in a while in October. Melissa was attending a blogging conference in Las Vegas and Mike joined her. They deserved a break as Melissa had just been discharged from a short hospital stay and would find out upon their return that her new health issues were being caused by systemic lupus erythmatosus (in addition to her MS diagnosis). In November, Melissa did get to travel to Florida to meet her new little nephew, Treyden.

The big news is that we are moving! After almost eight years in this house we are sad to leave it but downsizing is necessary for Melissa’s health and Mike’s sanity J Our new address is 61 Amherst Lane Falling Waters, WV 25419 (effective 12/14/09). We remain in the same school district so the boys did not have to change schools. And, if you know of anyone looking for a great house on lots of land for a great price, send them our way!

We hope this finds everyone well and wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May God richly bless you and yours!

I’ll be back to regular posting in 2010.

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