It’s that time of year again!
The Griders are gearing up to celebrate Christmas and the end of another year. It’s amazing how much changes in twelve short months!
Scott has been promoted, again! He’s now working for the written correspondence department at Wells Fargo, which will be official once they are done making use of his amazing skills on the OCC project. He’s doing quite well at work and still enjoying being home with the family every night for dinner and weekends and holidays as well!
Mari is enjoying being home with the two Grider baby girls, although it’s been a huge change. This May marked a huge milestone in her life: having an all natural VBAC birth with the newest addition to the Grider family: Alice. It’s quite a whirlwind having two small children, but it’s amazing to be a mom to both of them. Alice’s birth experience has been such a profound, healing, moving experience that Mari has also started a local ICAN chapter in Frederick, MD (the International Cesarean Awareness Network) and is helping to educate local mothers on the best way to give birth to their children, in addition to working locally with the La Leche League to educate families on the best way to feed their babies. These are two areas where she feels intensely passionate and is enjoying the time devoted to public service. Mari is also contemplating returning to critical care nursing sometime in the near future, assuming that she can get the newest addition to the family to sleep through the night! The newest major event going on in Mari’s life is that she is currently training for a 5K! It’s a fun run for a charitable cause that’s low pressure and mainly for the enjoyment of it! She never pictured herself a runner, but has fallen in love with the activity. If her bum ankle holds up she will be considering upping the ante to a half marathon—assuming the Cupcake run in April of 2013 goes well.
Nora is halfway through her junior year at Frostburg University, ready to graduate on time or possibly early! This last year she’s performed in two productions: Picasso at the Lapan Agile and Angels in America. Her school is being honored in a huge theater competition in Towson, MD and she’s been selected to compete and we are very proud! She’s managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA for yet another year, and we couldn’t be more proud! Nora also turned 21 this year – another big milestone! Her birthday was the day before Jake’s graduation, so it was a whirlwind celebration. We still can’t believe she’s old enough to buy booze for us now… 😉
Jake has graduated high school as of this June. He graduated with honors (< a 3.5 overall unweighted GPA) and the Silver AP Scholar medal. This means that he took five college level course and their associated exams. Jake scored high enough on all these exams (the subjects of which were three history courses, English, and Photography) to qualify for college credit. He is currently preparing to begin his first semester of classes in a few short weeks! Jake is enrolled for a full course load and everything that he will be studying sounds really interesting! Photography and Psychology are still high on the list of interests. He’s still on the hunt for a part time job that will work with his schedule and is spending a lot of time with family, as well. Alice and Olivia adore their big brother!
Olivia is insanely smart. This year she started school for the first time with preschool at Circle of Life Cooperative Preschool at the local Unitarian church in Frederick. She attends two days a week, and loves it and her teacher. She’s doing really well and is picking up social skills and reading/math skills amazingly well for a three year old. She never ceases to amaze us with the things that she knows. She continues to develop new sign language ability and vocabulary daily and can now sign approximately 400+ words, short phrases and sentences. She absolutely adores being a big sister to the baby. Olivia is amazing with her sister, especially for a three year old: she is very gentle and patient. Often she just likes to hug her sister and make her laugh. We sincerely hope this trend continues through their childhood as long as possible. Liv likes to tell us: “I’m a big sister AND a little sister!”
And lastly, Alice. Alice joined our brood on Mary 27th, 2012 at 2:38pm after 15 ½ hours of drug-free labor, 11 of which were at home. It was an amazing experience for the entire family. Nora was there to witness Alice’s journey Earthside. This was lucky circumstance as Alice arrived a few short days after Nora came home for the summer. Having Scott’s oldest present for the arrival of the youngest (and final) baby Grider was quite a blessing. Alice has been a sweet, sunny, calm baby who can entertain herself for hours. She’s a champion nurser and is already much bigger than any of her siblings were at this age—she’s our chunky baby girl! Alice just turned six months old and has suddenly taken off developmentally. She’s been crawling since Thanksgiving, and just within the last week has sat up on her own, pulled herself to standing, is cruising on any and everything she possibly can, is trying to crawl up the stairs, and stood all alone, unassisted for the first time ever just today! It looks like we are going to have another early walker. She’s really enjoying experiencing foods for the first time and pretty much loves all vegetables. She signed her first word the other day: “nurse” of course. She’s having a hard time sleeping at night, but little by little we are making progress!
Another huge milestone in our family is that we were joined this year by two adorable kittens: Smoke and Cinder! We attended a birthday party at a local co-op farm for one of Olivia’s friends and came home with two kittens. They are brothers and very sweet, six month old balls of energy. It’s hard to tell which is a bigger challenge this holiday season: keeping Alice or the kittens out of the Christmas tree and sundry presents. They have boundless energy and entertain us daily. They often think Alice is their toy and entertain our high energy toddler all the time. It’s been really great to have them around Olivia: she’s learning how to treat animals and helping with the responsibility of pet ownership at the same time.
That about sums up the highlights of the Griders’ 2012: year in review. Again, as always, we didn’t see enough of those of you that we’d like to. Let’s make it happen in 2013.
Whatever you believe in, whatever you are wishing for, whatever you love: may it be yours this holiday season.
With love and peace,
The Griders: Nora, Jake, Olivia, Alice, Scott & Mari
Happy Holidays, 2013