Merry Christmas and greetings from the Smith family. We just returned from 2 weeks in Mexico, where we tried to do our Christmas shopping in 100% humidity and 90 degree weather. Santa certainly wouldn’t look like Santa if the North Pole was in Rincon de Guayabitos, Mexico. Nadia was the flower girl for a wedding of some friends of Jen's family, and Jen's entire family (minus Haley and the brand new baby) went to Mexico. We all had a wonderful 17 days and apart from some colds and the fact Thea wouldn’t go to anybody, we easily could move there permanently. Jen could get a job and I’d teach the girls to surf. Well, maybe I’d hang out on the beach with them.

This year has been packed. Thea went from the bundled up 1 month old to “Hurricane Thea” as her sisters refer to her. She is zooming around the house on her “tippy knees” and can reduce any room to disaster status faster than Rudolf can say “look out behind!” She is growing fast and is off the charts for size for kids her age. She is the cutest baby. It was a depressing realization that the girls on the beach in Mexico were smiling at Thea in the backpack and not at me!

Jade is taking tap dancing and gymnastics classes this winter and took 8 weeks of swim lessons during July and August. She is a regular fish and at 3 could get rings off the deep end of the pool. It was fun to watch as she was small enough she actually had to swim down to the bottom. Her personality is really starting to show. She can do everything herself and is about as tough as nails. She is also about as stubborn as her dad.

Nadia is doing junior swim team this fall and took 8 weeks of double swim lessons this summer. The local pool created a higher level swim class for her this summer, as she had completed all the lessons they had to offer before her 6th birthday. She was showing off in Mexico and was boogie boarding by herself by the time we left. In June, she and Jen and Jen's mom were part of a walking team that walked a 4 mile race. Nadia did the 4 miles in 58 minutes and was in the local newspaper. First grade is going well for her and she really enjoyed doing homework on the beach in Mexico. Fortunately, she is about as smart as her mom, so homework took about 2 ½ minutes a day.

No, I’m not a proud dad, all three really ARE better than the other kids……

Jen has been busy with the kids, the fair barbeque this summer and successfully ran for the Parks & Recreation Board this fall. She was unopposed, but so what? She still won. She also chaired the pool levy committee and got that passed so the pool has funding for the next 6 years. Between the 3 girls, and all her projects, she has found time to still do some computer work for her clients. In November, Jen's brother Ben and his wife Haley had a baby girl, named Ruby Jean. She is so cute! Jen and her mom and dad and her brother Thor and his wife Jenn all piled into a car and drove all night to California to see the new baby. Sounds like they had a great time!

Work has been going well for me and although really busy, I am still managing to get home on time to be with the family. We are working on some major wind development projects in addition to the normal work we do, which is proving very interesting. I had fun swimming every morning this summer and completed the cross Columbia River swim (1.1 miles) in August and completed a sprint triathalon (swim, bike, run) in September. I had a huge amount of fun and am looking forward to training and getting faster next summer. I also did an acuatlon while we were in Mexico. That was running 2.5 km, swimming 1.0 km and then running 2.5 km again. Given that I found out about it about the day before I did it, no one there spoke any English and the top open water swimmer in the world was competing, I thought I did all right. Last is okay, isn’t it? I put myself down as Team USA so as not to embarrass Canada.

Things around here are going well too. That means we haven’t done a darn thing except the garden, fruit trees, flower beds and lawns and such. It was a good year, though we spent more time playing and less time slaving. As always, there's never enough time to do everything or see everyone as much as we want!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Love,
Jim, Jen, Nadia, Jade & Thea
jennifer@gorge.net