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The advent of Facebook has relegated Christmas letters to the category of sleigh rides and blinding silver tinsel, not that I don’t enjoy those, but it’s just easier to push a button. So here goes, a Christmas letter selfie opening our front door to you for a view of our lives ad nauseum, as if you haven’t had enough of us each moment of 2013 via email, YouTube, texts, selfies, blogs, Twitters, Instagram and a partridge in a Snapchat tree.Brent Taylor Family 2013

I’m just kiddin’, I love technology in all it’s narcissistic glory, and even though I abhor the annual written selfie, I’ll do it for Karen because she makes me. Then you can throw this letter or digital file in the Christmas card basket trash for seven days then in the real trash on January 1st. Next year I plan to send it on Snapchat because after ten seconds, is anything really relevant anymore?

Lauren just returned from her Au Pair adventure to Italy. She was informed by the indulged seven-year old boy that she didn’t have big glasses but did have big____ (I can’t say that in a family letter)…but apparently the Italians allow their children more indulgences than we do in the States. Makes me proud to be a parent. Here is Lauren’s blog address recording perspectives on her adventure. http://anitalianperspective.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/thanks-mom/1424581_10201291093026194_566088174_n(1) Lauren teaching her youngest Au Pairette, Margherita, how to make a pretty face American-style

Brandon just passed the trinity of Meteorology at OU. Atmospheric thermodynamics and two other courses I can’t pronounce. He’ll have to learn to say, “The storm starts, when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping,” in Deutsch because that where he’s headed on January 2. Lovely Hamburg, Germany and the University of Hamburg in conjunction with the Oklahoma University Meteorological Exchange Program. He’ll learn the German language until April then attend a semester of classes through June. We are hoping he doesn’t develop an addiction for wienerschnitzel and sausage. Thor is his hero and he uses more hair products than Jenna.Brandon Surfer Ocean City

Jenna completed her Senior year of Harding University soccer. Jenna’s almost twenty-two years old. We began watching her play when she was five, before the scars and ice packs and surgeries and stitches. She never quit trying through it all, the injuries, the pain, the rehabilitation, the tears, the losses. In sixteen years of soccer, she has lost three years to ACL and other injuries…but she still loves the game and perhaps soccer will play a role in her future vocational choices. She’s always been able to smile through it all and that’s what I’ve loved the most about her. That smile, that joy in playing, that pure love of the game. She is our family dietary conscience and I think of her often as I eat each lovely bite of coconut cream pie. It kind of dampens my joy of food at times, but I’m exploring more variety now, more garden…less bakery, more coconut oil…less butter.FamilyJennaSeniorNight

We enjoyed a family vacation in Ocean City this summer, renting a condo a couple blocks from the boards and beach. Jenna’s beaux Josh accompanied us and we had a great time there attending Liz and George wedding (thanks for the sunglasses Liz), running on the boardwalk, surfing, reading with our toes in the sand and eating ice cream cones from Kohr brothers. We also enjoyed having all the family here for Thanksgiving while we celebrated our country, our blessings and our family while dining, playing golf, running our Turkey Trot 5k and making a family video.

FamilyJennaCousins Thanksgiving 2013
Our nephew, Jimmy Achey & Robyn Lynn Achey were married in September and Karen traveled to San Diego to be part of that celebration and ceremony which was held at the La Costa Resort. She liked the San Diego so much she is returning for two weeks to become accredited as a yoga instructor. Karen was born in Trenton, NJ and grew up in the Garden State. Her yearning for a productive garden came to fruition this year as she used the burn pile from my golf course project as a wellspring of botanical bounty. Kale, romaine lettuce, corn, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, basil and sweet potatoes flourished in the river bottom soil just down the hill a hundred yards from our back door. Karen even learned to drive the Gator and found it handy in harvesting and hauling back the veggies to our kitchen.1146459_10201059862117077_326489324_n

Brent spent a great September weekend reuniting with some of my best college friends from Harding University, Kelly Kemp, Mike Howell, Alan Adams and Ralph Rowand at the Kelly and Lee Ann Kemp residence in Bonham, Texas. Here is a link to a piece I wrote about that weekend. https://bubba11thg.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/skimming-along-old-man-river/

Thanks for being a blessing to our family in 2013. We love you and wish you a blessed and prosperous and wondrous 2014!

Brent, Karen, Lauren, Jenna, Brandon, Abby & Boo

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