Holiday Update

Welcome friends & family,

Happy Holidays! We hope this message finds you enjoying the hustle & bustle of this time of year.

We are preparing to host Brian's family at our house the week of Christmas, and we'll also be celebrating Brian's brother's wedding. Steve and Tammie are getting married in Asheville, NC on the 27th.

As usual, we tried to fit as many vacations as possible into our year that was also filled with plenty of other commitments.

In March of this year we spent a week traveling in California - visiting with friends in LA and San Francisco and celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary. We also spent two days in Napa Valley enjoying some of the local food and wine.

In May we spent a long weekend at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. We toured the house, the gardens, and visited the winery several times (free samples!).

In August, we visited Atlanta on our way to Amelia Island with our friends, Mike & Sandra. While in Atlanta we toured the Coca Cola museum and sampled over 50 drinks that Coca Cola produces. While on Amelia Island, we spent one of our days at the Ritz Carlton enjoying the adults' only day spa, sauna, and pool. We highly recommend splurging for a day pass here, and we hope to return again for some serious pampering!

We also managed to return to Ohio a few times to visit with friends and family, and we were fortunate enough to host some people here with us in Charlotte.

In addition to our travels, we continue to take classes. Brian is working towards his second Masters degree at UNC-C. He has four classes remaining; however, he is now debating between programs - civil engineering or engineering management. Cara is earning her web designer certification and has two semesters to go.

This summer Brian competed in three triathlons, the 24-hours of Booty to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and a 200+ mile bike ride to benefit the MS Society. He met a group of guys who go for 50+ mile bike rides every Saturday morning, so he's enjoying his weekly rides with those friends. Brian is also a board member of our neighborhood homeowners' association.

Cara completed a six-week sewing class in an attempt to learn how to make curtains and drapes for their house. So far she's successfully completed pajama pants, placemats, and a tote bag. A makeup bag is still a work-in-progress. Additionally, she continues to work out at the YMCA and started taking horseback riding lessons this fall. She is riding Buster, a brown & white thoroughbred, and is learning to post, trot, canter and jump. Cara also helps organize a local Meetup.com group for web designers who meet once a month to network and socialize.

Please visit our photo gallery page for pictures of some of what we did this past year. (Don't miss the pictures from our annual Halloween party!)

As we look forward to 2009, we may take on the overwhelming project of finishing our 2-story basement. We will continue to go to school, and Brian may start training for a half-ironman triathlon. However, the highlight of the spring will be our 5-year anniversary on March 3rd. We hope to celebrate that milestone by vacationing somewhere warm and sunny, where we can sleep on the beach in between scuba dives!

If you're going to be in the Charlotte area (or in any of the nearby cities), please let us know. We'd love to catch up with those of you we don't get to see on a regular basis.

We hope your holidays and New Year are merry & bright!

Cara & Brian