Merry Christmas for 2011!

Merry Christmas for 2011!

Christmas, December, 2011: Well, another Christmas is upon us!! We hope that this letter finds your and yours happy, blessed and fulfilled at the end of another year. This year has been another great one for us, we are very thankful. We have included our digital Christmas card as well, with recent photos of Olivia: please accept our apologies for not including pictures of Jake and Nora: we couldn’t convince them all to sit still for a picture of the three kids at the same time…:

Scott is still working at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, for well over a year now. He has recently been promoted to a special team working on a national mortgage auditing program that’s been endorsed by the Federal government. He’s got a nice schedule where he can be home for dinner with all the children every night, and has off weekends and holidays to spend with us as well. It’s super nice after so many years in the restaurant industry to be able to enjoy the time with the kids when it is available. We are all immensely proud of him and super excited about all the interesting things he’s doing at work, as well.

Mari is doing marvelous, also. This week marks the beginning of her 18th week of pregnancy! Grider baby #4 will arrive sometime late May or early June. (That’s right: right between Jake and Nora’s birthdays…hopefully no one will have to share!) After the long labor and somewhat traumatic birth with Olivia in 2009 she is diligently researching alternative and natural birthing methods. It’s a far cry from her ingrained medical training, and it’s been a challenge and an adventure going down this new path. This pregnancy has been much different from the previous one, which is something to be very grateful for! Finally feeling great in the second trimester except for the large baby that’s been moving like a tango dancer since 9 weeks gestation: we’re thinking boy, but she’s not telling (unless Scott can convince her to). She is currently working as an Office Manager/Health Specialist for All Creatures Animal Clinic: her stepmom is the veterinarian there and it’s really just a nice working relationship: she is helping family and has a lot of time off with the baby while Olivia is so young.

Nora is probably the busiest of all the Frederick Griders. She finished her 3rd semester at Frostburg State University with a nice, high GPA while taking 18 credits (we don’t know the numbers for sure, grades aren’t posted yet, but it’s looking like it’ll be a 4.0 again!!). She also landed the lead in the Fall production of Our Town, which was an absolutely amazing production to see. Her North Carolina grandmothers, Susan and Helen, were even able to make a trip up north to see her perform live. She’s living in her very first apartment with 4 other amazing roommates, which has been quite a pleasant change from last year. She’s home for the Winter break with us, and is gearing up to work her butt off for the season before returning to a heavily packed 22 credit semester in the Spring of 2012. She also landed the role of Suzanne in the Spring production that’s scheduled to be performed in February. Anyone who would like to see her is more than welcome to tag along! Seeing her perform live is a singular life experience and everyone should do it, at least once.

Jake is a senior at Catoctin High School! We can’t believe it. He will be graduating (with honors and lots of AP credits) in June of 2012! He plans on spending the upcoming year getting his core credits out of the way at Frederick Community College. His interests seem to lie in the direction of Photography and Psychology, and he’s researching a few 4 year colleges that have great programs in those areas for the following year. He recently just completed a photography project where he got special approval to wait until Nora was home from school and used her as the primary subject for the assignment, which was so sweet. Jake is also driving, and was just granted his very own first car! A nice, safe, Ford Focus: and he loves the freedom that comes with your very own transportation. He is also a very responsible young man, and we are immensely proud of him as well. He just participated in the high school’s Fall production of Nevermore! as a stage hand that also doubled as an on-stage part, and it was quite awesome to see him on stage as part of the production!

Olivia is quite the little intrepid, beautiful girl. She’s growing by leaps and bounds every single day: we sometimes find it hard to keep up!! She celebrated her 2nd birthday in October and had a blast at her balloon-themed party with all her guests. She also wore a party dress that belonged to her big sister, Nora from when Nora was just a teeny little thing, courtesy of Patty. It was an immeasurably special and sweet tradition, and seeing her in it brought tears to her Mama’s eyes. She’s learning faster than we’ve ever seen: Olivia has easily a 100+ sign-language vocabulary and has started taking some Spanish classes through a local group for toddlers, as well. Her speech (in English, that is) is phenomenal and Mama and Daddy are consistently amazed at how well spoken and articulate she is. Her doctors say that she’s testing on a level equivalent to a 3 ½ year old. She can count to ten, distinguish all the basic colors (some in Spanish as well as English), knows her alphabet song by rote, and can identify half a dozen letters of the alphabet on sight. She is quickly outgrowing the knowledge that Mama can teach her at home! She also talks about “Mama’s baby in Mama’s belly” and gives Mari’s rapidly growing bump kisses and hugs all the time. We don’t think she quite ‘gets’ the concept yet, but we’re practicing sharing and preparing her for her ‘big-girl bed’ just the same.

All in all, it’s been a very wonderful year for the Griders. We haven’t been able to spend as much time with all of you as we would have liked, and our #1 goal for the upcoming year is to make the time to try and spend with more of our loved ones. As the years have passed by, it has become more and more apparent to all of us that the most important part of life is your memories and experience, and we want time with as many of those we love as possible. Our contact information is the mostly the same, but just in case, you can get in touch with us as follows:

Scott, Mari, Nora, Jake Olivia & ? Grider
2409 Prentice Court
Frederick, MD 21702
Our home number: 301.620.7920

Email Addresses: mari.grider@gmail.com, scott.grider@gmail.com ,nora.grider@gmail.com, jakegrider@msn.com

Nora’s college address:
87 S Grand Street Apt 3B
Frostburg, MD 21532-1982

Whatever you believe in, whatever you are wishing for, whatever you truly love: may it be yours this holiday season.

With lots of love,
~Scott, Mari, Nora, Jake and Olivia Grider

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