No time to write a Christmas letter this year, so we're just sending this note Mary wrote to the babysitter:

Thank you for watching the boys while Philip and I go see a show, Secret Garden. I'm sorry we haven't called you very often lately, but Philip has been very busy with scouts, school and a new job. Even tonight we're only going out because my mom got us these tickets knowing how much I like this show. Hopefully we'll start going out again more regularly in January. Since we're moving back to the English ward, Philip will have to be released as scoutmaster, and with any luck teach a primary class or something. He'll still be gone to class a couple of nights a week but he's building up some paid time off at Holy Cross (he works in the hospitals billing department) so we'll be able to spend some more time going out pretty soon.

The boys are excited that you're coming over. Sam says, 'Miriam is my best friend.' They've had dinner, but they usually want a snack around 8pm. I left donuts and milk in the downstairs fridge as a special treat. Of course Sam can't have any until he finishes his dinner, which is still in the microwave. Thomas ate all his dinner so don't let him eat Sam's. And don't let Sam drink milk with his dinner. He'll fill up on that and won't have room for anything else.

The boys have taken after their father and are phenomenal leapers. Sam will climb the tallest piece of furniture, shout 'I am that hero' like Larry Boy, then jump to the ground. Since we haven't got his super suction ears fixed yet, he is likely to hurt himself, which is why we forbid climbing the furniture. If Sam does hurt himself, Thomas will pretend to be the doctor and make it better.

Around 9pm they need to get pajamas on and get ready for bed. They like to brush their own teeth, and when they're done they might let you help them get their back molars - watch out Tom's got a new one coming in. They need to say prayers in their bedroom. As soon as you kneel down Tom will start praying, but he only says a few words between 'Heavenly Father' and 'Amen.' Sam usually has a lot more to say, just don't let him get irreverent. You can read them a book and/or let them 'read' themselves in their bed. Sometimes they want to sing songs. Do Popcorn Popping and Itsy Bitsy Spider first, then they'll settle down with I am a Child of God. After 15 or 20 minutes turn their lamp off and shut the door. They should just go to bed after that, but beware of more jumping.

It'll be nice to see your family and others at church again in January, though we'll certainly miss the Spanish Branch. At least I'll still see some of the Spanish kids, if they let me continue doing Webelos Scouts.

Mary, Philip, SAMUEL & THOMAS

P.S. I hope you can handle watching three kids. We'll be adding one in July.