Merry Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and a fine time to begin a freelance writing career. When Mom decided it was more worth it to bribe us kids than come up with ideas for another family Christmas letter herself, I jumped at the chance. Ah Mom, still finding ways to teach us to sharpen our creative talents and better understand basic economic principles.
With retirement from the army looming ahead of them in early 2012, Gary & Melissa seem to have decided that the lifestyle transition will go more smoothly if they begin gallivanting across the globe and leisurely entertaining guests now. They have spent the year in such thrilling and exotic locales as New York City, the Bahamas, Germany, Florida, Cancun, and…Fort Bragg. When they can be convinced to spend time in their current home state of Maryland, they fill their weekends with hiking trips, historic site explorations, small town adventures, big city attractions, and sports games and concerts and 5K runs and more—all of which is very well documented on Facebook. Add my mom, she’s got great photos and great status updates! Somehow between all of this they still manage to work hard and serve often. Dad enjoys his work as the Commandant (doesn’t that sound so distinguished? Commandant?) of the Defense Information School and stays busy with his responsibilities in the bishopric at church. Mom works in the temple weekly, serves in the Relief Society presidency, acts as surrogate grandma for all the darling little children at church, volunteers with other military wives, and generally gives away all her time helping young mothers and families any way she can. Mom & Dad will be joining the kiddos in Utah for Christmas this year, marking the first time since 2005 that the whole family will spend the holiday together.I personally can’t wait to let Mom do all the cooking and Dad do all my home repairs.
The Utah Keck contingency is all rather fantastic. Brad & Tiffany once again stole the show this year by providing another perfect grandchild/nephew in February, Joel David Keck. Kyle is proving to be a proud and loving big brother, and the two of them together amount to more adorable than I ever knew was possible. Despite being the youngest member of the Primary, Kyle was given two crucial parts in the annual church program, and can still recite the importance of sharing your toys to show love for Heavenly Father. Brad & Tiffany, possibly inspired by our parents’ jetsetting, have booked tickets for early 2011 to New Zealand, Tahiti, and Moorea. And with all the running and 5Ks they’ve been doing this year, they’ll be ready to hit those beaches!
I apparently decided this year that my life was boring and needed to be all shaken up. I thought a trip to Australia in May might do the trick, but I guess it wasn’t enough, and so over the course of a single scorching week in July I turned 27, took a new job as Marketing & Communications Manager at The Leonardo (google us!), moved to a new apartment in downtown—and I mean downtown, I never drive anymore—Salt Lake City, and became Relief Society president of my singles ward. Things are busy.
Jason & Kimberly gave us exciting news at Thanksgiving. Oops, that is a dangerous way to begin a paragraph about a young married couple. Nope, no babies on the way just now, but a diploma instead! Kimberly will graduate from BYU in April with a degree in English, which is a thrill and will be very helpful for the two of them moving forward with other future planning, including a semester abroad in Egypt for Jason’s Linguistics/Arabic studies. They were able to visit California in August for Kimberly’s sister’s wedding, and continue to be just delightful little marrieds.
Erica is doing college up right, having buckets of fun with roommates and friends, cheering the BYU Cougars on at football and basketball games, pulling plenty of late nights, and still finding time here and there to study, probably in place of sleeping. She is enjoying her studies of English Language (the non-literature side of English—think grammar and phonetics and editing and all those glorious things). She spent an incredible summer term in the UK, making her family insanely jealous as she fell in love with the British Isles, but not so much with the British food.
We are so grateful for this Christmas season, and for the opportunity it affords us to talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, and preach of Christ. How wonderful to celebrate the Savior’s birth! We hope you will feel of His love all year round, and especially now in this season of remembrance and celebration.
Tracy, but really each and every, Keck