Seasons Greetings from The Pinners!

(Click any of the photos below to see a larger view)

Hey there, it's Lundie. I am taking a stab at writing a Christmas letter for the first time in a very long time. Or even ever? So here goes.

It's been a busy year. I just passed my 8th year at RemoteLink. I'm still part-time, which has let me still be a full-time mom - my work time is either during school, or from home - a real blessing! Now that Jack is in full day school, I finally get to spend hours in the office with grown-ups!

This year for me has been about trying some new things, with varying levels of success. I had fun researching juicing machines and tried out making some really pretty variations of juices. I got so excited about fresh fruits and veggies that I decided to take a class at the Arboretum about starting your own seedlings. I highly recommend it!

I started my seedlings and started planning where to plant. My hint of OCD found and immediately loved the raised bed Square Foot Gardening. In no time I had worked out my timeline and my grid. Unfortunately, my excess of ambition, and bad timing of a frost left us with a very spotty harvest, but I learned a lot and will be giving it a go again next year!

I also decided to participate in my first ever 5k walk/run. I have a friend that I already walked with regularly, and we decided we'd like to take it up a notch and have something specific to work towards. It was hard, but not horrible. I hope to pick walking back up in the spring and try another one. Now I have a finish time to beat!

My 5k is nothing, however, compared to John's fitness adventures this year. He started out the year with his favorite sport, biking. He got the chance to go downtown with a couple of friends of ours and participate in The L.A.T.E. Ride - a 25-mile bike ride through the streets of Chicago that starts at midnight and ends at sunrise. I think that might become an annual custom!

The real fun for John came when a BVA Classmate tossed out the idea of taking on the Tough Mudder. John agreed and the training began. He invited another friend and they decided they'd better do a milder version of the "adventure obstacle race" first to just get a feel for how it goes. They ran the Rugged Maniac in August (in hideously HOT weather), and then took on the Tough Mudder with a bigger group of friends in September. It was crazy hard and they all finished! It went well enough that John is going to run in Tough Mudder again in May 2013!

Rugged Maniac

Tough Mudder

This year marked year 6 for John as a Systems Engineer at Netrix. The hours are long, with clients all over the Chicago and Suburban area, but gratefully he doesn't have to travel overnight.

Jack's growing and growing (Kids. They seem to do that.). He started 1st grade this fall. His teacher is a wonderful woman who is not afraid to keep him challenged. He's been reading and writing for a quite a while, but has plenty to learn in other areas, and she keeps him on his toes! Love that!

When he's not doing the school thing, swimming, or karate, Jack's favorite pastime is gaming. He and I both have gotten hooked on Minecraft and I set up an online server so friends and family can all play together. But I'm not the only gamer parent -- He and John solved Portal and Portal 2 together, and spend time in the evenings playing around in Garry's Mod creating rockets and vehicles and all sorts of other contraptions.

In early May, we had a Judy Family Reunion in Iowa at the farm that my Grandma Carolyn grew up on. It was so good to see everyone. Mom and Dad Judy, Kendra, Troy and the kids, Uncle Clay and Donna, and my cousins Alison and Breanna were all there. We were able to spend time with Grandpa Clayton when he had the energy. We are so grateful that we were able to all be together one more time before he passed away at the end of May.

So that pretty much sums up our year. Since we are all on Facebook, I'm going to guess that not much of this is really news, but it's kind of fun to wrap it up and stick a bow on it! We're looking forward to another year (and maybe some snow!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

John, Lundie, and Jack