First Annual Holiday Letter
January 5, 2007

Dear Friends and Loved Ones…

Now that the holidays have come and gone, the decorations are down, and we're all trying to lose those pesky extra pounds, the Lawson family has decided to send some Christmas greetings. After returning from a trip to New England and finding a mailbox full of Christmas cards and letters, we have adopted the "better late than never" mentality and coupled it with the "email is better than no mail at all" philosophy. The result is this very late holiday email with some pictures attached.

We're happy to report that we had a wonderful 2006. Jared continues to be busy with chiropractic school, and Amy is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to be called a doctor's wife. Ok, ok…she'll be a chiropractor's wife, but he will be Dr. Jared Lawson, so it's not too far of a stretch. Jared passed his first round of boards and clinic entrance exams with no drama or complications—two major hurdles out of the way. He has managed to stay thin and trim on his anti-exercise plan and trail-mix, coke, and donut diet. Thanks to his diet and exercise devotion he continues to weigh less than Amy, and she doesn't mind a bit.

Jared spends most of his spare time day-dreaming about recreation, particularly fly-fishing and skiing. He regularly checks the snow reports at the Alta ski resort in Utah. Amy continues to try to explain that due to the current financial situation (one wife, one husband, one kid, two tuition bills, and no paychecks) a ski vacation is not in the budget. Jared is beginning to understand the budgetary constraints, but continues to proposition Amy with plans for a ski condo, a remote cabin, an ocean house, and an RV. Amy is still balancing the books, seeing if she can scrape up the money. In more recent news, Jared decided not to sign up for free bill-pay at the bank today, despite the alluring offer of a mini, see-through piggy bank.

Amy is still busy, balancing mothering and school. Believe it or not, she is in the fourth year of a two year masters program. She has taken several rests and detours along her educational path in public administration, because let's face it--the subject matter is unbelievably boring. Fortunately, the end is in sight with graduation slated for May 12, 2007. She is currently working on her thesis—a downtown revitalization plan for the City of Rosebud, Texas. Please don't be fooled, the "City" of Rosebud is home to only 1,493 resident, several thousand livestock, an overweight police officer and one heck of a football team. During a recent visit to Rosebud, the police officer tried to persuade Amy to bring an untagged, lost dog back to Dallas. Amy declined the offer. A recent survey of residents revealed their overwhelming desire to build a Six Flags or Sea World in Rosebud; no one ever said conducting thesis research would be easy work.

In addition to school and motherhood, Amy is working hard to improve her housekeeping skills, subsequently the upstairs bedrooms did get vacuumed once or twice during 2006. The apartment is now maintained at a level where it's not embarrassing for Amy to have unexpected visitors pop in—it merely requires a well-crafted excuse. Amy's favorite fabricated excuses are "I'm sorry the apartment is so messy, I've been away on business" (this works well for the UPS man and the maintenance staff, but confuses close friends and acquaintances) and "I'm sorry for the mess, but our water tends to be turned off unexpectedly" (this excuse is true, but has nothing to do with the condition of the apartment).

In her spare time, Amy likes to run and compete in 5k road races. She has adopted the strategy of registering for the smallest, most obscure races she can possibly find. When she is the only 20-29 year old in the field, her chances of winning an age group award increase dramatically. It was this new racing strategy that helped Amy win the 20-29 division of the JL Long PTA 5k last October, since the majority of participants were either middle school students or their parents.

James is growing like a weed. He is now a whopping 35 inches tall and weighs in at 32 pounds. He is a happy kid who loves to eat just about anything. While his favorite foods are undisputedly french fries and Hershey Kisses, it's never a struggle to get him to eat grapefruit, kidney beans, almonds or bananas. He also loves to drink his milk. His vocabulary is simply exploding, and Jared and Amy are both fluent in James. It can get confusing from time to time, as a cow is an "orse," a cat is a "gow," and a "guck" refers to both a duck and a truck. He also adores his dinos, or "nanoos." James enjoys playing in YMCA kid care while Amy works out, and loves to eat play-dough in the nursery at church. He is currently learning to put his shoes on and take them off and he is in the fourth month of his on-going effort to get a little bit of air when he jumps. James is also able hum the tune of "Are You Sleeping?," and does so regularly.

We are eagerly looking forward to 2007, as we will finally be returning to our beloved New England. While we will have accomplished a number of important life goals and made life-long friends in Texas, it simply has not compared to home. Amy is uncomfortable with all of the boob-lifts, we can't seem to get a taste for Mexican music featuring the accordion, we like Marden's more than Neiman Marcus, and Jared thinks the drinking water tastes like mud. That said, Amy has purchased a cowboy hat, we like to say "y'all" and we've learned how to make biscuits and gravy—so Texas does have its good points.

We wish you all a very merry un-Christmas and a happy belated New Year. Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2007!


Amy, Jared and James

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