Take a look in the window of the Braden Family!

I don't know if I will be able to keep this up but it's worth a try. The true writer in the family is Bill so I will have to get him to add his thoughts every now and again. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 2010 Braden Christmas Letter

It has finally happened – the Braden Christmas Letter has gone digital!  That sound you hear is Bill being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.  He wasn’t too sure about this whole blog thing.  And who came up with the term blog anyway?  It sounds like something that gets picked up with a plastic bag after taking the dog for a walk.  Actually, some blogs do bring that to mind.  Hopefully, you’ll not include this one in that category.  So let’s get this Yule Blog fired up (I’ve got a million of ‘em folks!) so you can find out what the Bradens have been up to in 2010.
We usually start this missive with the shenanigans of one or the other children and their spouses.  This year, though, we’re going to kick it off with the tale of our trip to Hawaii that included the entire Braden tribe, or as we like to call it: “10 Days in Paradise, 20 Hours in Hades”.  If anyone ever tells you that it’s a great idea to take three children under the age of two on a 5,500 mile plane ride, you have my permission to smack them.  The only way that would be a good idea is if you hired three nannies, flew them on separate planes, sedated all the other passengers, and provided the crew with noise cancellation headphones.  Once we got there, though, it was paradise.  We rented a couple of suites at a vacation house that was just 100 yards from Kailua Beach on the island of Oahu.  We had a great time hiking, snorkeling, swimming, eating, tanning, sight-seeing, and changing lots of sandy diapers.  However, we all concluded that future trips to Hawaii will be restricted to those over the age of five.  Or was it fifteen?  Now, on to the shenanigans. 

Lindsay and Devin are still in St Louis, where they nurture their budding harmonica prodigy, Rhys.  I don’t know where he gets his inspiration, but Rhys plays a mean blues riff.  It must be all those trips to time-out.  That can really bring a baby down.  Lindsay finished her Music Therapy internship and just has to pass her state board to become a licensed Music Therapist. She told me to tell you that she is putting her degree to good use as a full-time mommy.  And she’ll be putting in a lot of overtime in that position next year as she’s expecting another boy in March.  Devin’s academic agony ended this year when he graduated from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.  He has been hard at work composing and arranging.  Composing and arranging music, that is.  I didn’t want you to think that he was composing himself and arranging furniture.  That would be ludicrous.  While working toward his big break, Devin supplements the family income by serving as a member of the Air Force Honor Guard that pays tribute to veterans at their funerals.  We’re very proud of his commitment to honoring our nation’s veterans. 

LaRue Baby Boy #2 Due March 10, 2011

Adam and Katie doubled their pleasure and fun this year.  No, they didn’t meet the Doublemint Twins.  They welcomed another baby boy into their lives.  Although, calling Harrison a baby is a bit like calling the Empire State Building an office building.  The boy is BIIIIIIGGGG!  When he rolls over in his crib, it registers on the Richter scale.  It’s taken him awhile to warm up to his Grandpa Braden.  Bill finally broke the code when he started barking at Harrison.  He thinks it is the funniest thing, so now he belly laughs instead of wailing whenever Bill is around.  Jackson has started speaking another language this year – English.  Last year he spoke only Jacksonese.  Now we can understand what he wants and then tell him no, he can’t have more coo coos (cookies).  Adam is in his final year of medical school and just found out that he got his residency of choice – anesthesiology.  So in a few years he will be a professional gas-passer.  He’s been an amateur for so long, it only makes sense that he turns pro.  Katie is excited that they will be moving to San Antonio TX next May.  Now she can spread the Tupperware gospel to the Lone Star State.  We’ll miss having them close by, but SA is a great place to visit so we’ll make the best of it.  

I love this picture!  He looks so darn sweet!

And Harrison is happy that there is a meal in his near future!

Justin and Liz are still putting roots down in Ozark Missouri.  Literally.  Justin loves to garden and can regale you with stories of lettuce, and tomatoes, and berries (oh my!).  The happy couple celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary this year in October.  I can still remember what the priest said at their ceremony.  “Mawwage.  Mawwage is what bwings us togevvah, today.”  (Watch The Princess Bride if you don’t understand that one.)  Justin also reached the big 3 OH this year.  Barb and Bill surprised him by flying out to celebrate with him and his extended in-law family.  Liz is still enjoying her job at the stainless steel machine parts manufacturer (or something like that).  Barb and Bill don’t speak techie, so often times it just sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher whenever Justin and Liz start to tell us about their jobs.  Justin and Liz came to visit us this fall and we had a great time taking them to the hallowed grounds of Penn State.  Justin had been there before, but for some reason he couldn’t remember anything about it.  You’d think that he’d recollect the cage we erected around our trailer park yard to keep him corralled when he was 2 and 3 years old.  We hope to be able to spend more time with J and L in 2011.

Bill and Barb have been in the DC area for almost five years and it looks like that will continue for at least a couple more years.  Bill will be drummed out of the Air Force on June 1st whether he likes it or not.  Lieutenant Colonels are limited to 28 years commissioned service time and that time is fast approaching for Bill.  He became an Air Force officer in 1983 (back when he had hair and a 29 inch waist) and even though he was retired for six of those 28 years, they still count against him.  Soon Bill will be a civil servant working for the Air Force doing pretty much the same thing he’s doing now, just for a different office.  He probably could have made more money if he went to work for the Army, but (sorry Uncle Bob) he just couldn’t stand the thought of it.  Barb continues to manage our Tupperware business which is still mostly in the St Louis area.  The hardest part of her job is keeping Bill updated on where she will be when.  His memory isn’t as good as it used to be.  Both Barb and Bill had hoped that Bill could find a job close to St Louis but it just didn’t pan out.  So for now Bill and Barb will have to be content staying where all the fun is, what with all the Glenn Beck and Jon Stewart rallies going on.  And Bill will be able to keep going to the Penn State games at Happy Valley as JoePa works his way toward victory number 500.

Grammy and her 3 boys

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.  If you’re ever in the DC area, be sure to let us know.


Bill and Barb
Justin and Liz
Adam and Katie and Jackson and Harrison
Lindsay and Devin and Rhys and Baby Boy LaRue


  1. love it love it love....bill should write our newsletters...maybe more people would read them in their entirety (sp?)

  2. Barb and Bill...it is great to see pictures and hear about your family. We miss you, but love the way we can keep in touch with blogs, facebook and such. Praying you have a Blessed Christmas and Delightful New Year with all those grandbabies!