We interupt this countdown to bring you the November Family Update

It definitely feels like fall here. Some freezing temps recently dropped all the leaves from our trees. The whole family participated in a leaf-raking project last weekend, and we can at least see the dying grass and driveway now. We also enjoyed a fun and yummy Thanksgiving dinner with several families from our ward—so many in fact that we had it at the church. We attended the annual city tree lighting ceremony. The boys sang “It’s the Holiday Season” with their Valley Voices school choir. They did a great job and even survived the large candy cane choreography which had them a bit anxious. =) After the ceremony, the ice skating rink hosted a free skate and we all enjoyed that as well.

1. He was asked to review a few articles recently, which doesn’t pay, but is good for his career.
2. His colleague, Robbie, attended a conference where a man from the NIH (the institution that reviewed Derek’s grant) approached him and asked several questions about Derek. Robbie gave him rave reviews. Hopefully that’s a good sign!
3. We are in the midst of moving into our newly built church building. This was our last Sunday in the old building. Wonderful news for most members, but not for us. We’ll have to travel much farther now.
4. Unfortunately Derek’s work party was scheduled for the same night as the boys’ choir performance so we had to miss it for the first time.

1. I threw a simple baby shower for one of my Spanish-speaking visiting teachees. There was a good turn out and I hope her gifts will help her out.
2. I volunteered in Lexie’s kindergarten class to help paint some cute thanksgiving shirts. I ended up spending about 4 hours there, but it was fun.
3. I have enjoyed rehearsing with the Nativity choir on Sundays. We are singing next Sunday—so glad I’m SINGING and not CONDUCTING this time!
4. I went with some girlfriends to watch the midnight release of the new Twilight movie. Awesome! …though slightly lacking in quality Edward+Bella time.

1. He is a cooking machine! He helped out a lot with the food for Thanksgiving. He asks if we can cook something almost daily, and needs almost no supervision when he’s got a recipe. Yeah…I’m lovin’ it!
2. He and Jeffrey have a marble roller coaster-building project for GRC. He and a friend (whom we just discovered lives down the street) are partners and he came over to work on it one day.
3. I enjoyed subbing for his GRC teacher. James was very good. The kids thought it was a little weird that he called me Mom. =)

1. Jeffrey’s new best friend, Zach, is such an answer to prayers. They are peas in a pod. In fact, we had Zach over for several hours on Saturday and discovered that he has ADHD as well. Coincidence? I don’t think so. =)
2. Jeffrey attended his first ice hockey game with Zach last weekend and LOVED it. The Alabama team plays a few minutes from our house and tickets are cheap. We may have to go sometime.
3. I went to eat lunch with the boys recently and Jeffrey’s teacher commented on how much progress he’s made with his social skills. We’re just so happy and grateful.

1. She is one of the top 3 spellers in her class and will participate in the school-wide spelling bee this month.
2. She asked for a short haircut, so I gave her one. It’s about chin length with a few layers at the end. I think it makes her look older, and is cute on her.
3. I finally get to sub for her class this month after her teacher asked me a few times with no luck (I already had jobs lined up).

1. I subbed for Lexie’s teacher one day while she was sick. It was fun, and Lexie was such a good helper. I also attended her class Thanksgiving feast. All the kids wore Indian head dresses and the T-shirts I had helped them make.
2. Out of all the kids, Lexie has the most specific Christmas list. She even drew me a picture of the diary she wants, and the unique toy she designed for Santa to build her. She was very disappointed when I explained to her that Santa might not be able to deliver exactly what she had drawn. After pouting for several hours, she came up with something else she had seen at Walmart. I told her I thought Santa could definitely deliver that one. =)

Well, that’s all for now. We are really looking forward to the holidays and are excited to be able to visit Derek’s family in Michigan after Christmas again. Our thoughts are with Derek’s parents in India, especially after the recent terrorist attacks. While they are far from where they occurred and feel safe, we still think of them often—as well as the impoverished children they are serving. We love you all and hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Derek, Aly , James, Jeffrey, Ashley, and Lexie
And now back to your regularly scheduled Countdown to Christmas.

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