Dear Family,


                Despite a touch of bronchitis making its rounds through the household, the Alexandria Mickeys are in pretty good shape.  We're coping well with our second post-Hawaii winter, and are actually a little disappointed that we haven't gotten any snow that would let the kids try out the snowboards they got for Christmas.  (Actually, the kids are disappointed.  Mom and Dad are just fine with it.  The heating bills, on the other hand . . .) 


                Lauren is having a great sophomore year at Mt. Vernon High.  Her cheerleading team won the district championships back in November, but got outgunned in the regionals.  Now they're all taking gymnastics classes, so next year they'll all be able to do the flips and handsprings that the other teams showed off with.  In the nearer term, however, she is focusing on getting her driver's license in April when she turns sixteen, and is starting to think about colleges.  As of today, she is leaning toward Georgetown.  Tomorrow, who knows? (By the way, Lauren, there's this very fine school in Annapolis . . . !)  I keep telling her that her entire future hinges on the grade she earns on her science fair project . . .  No pressure! 


                Sarah is enjoying fourth grade very much, and really likes Ms. Connors, her teacher.  We all went to a family "sock hop" at the school last Friday, and when Sarah saw Ms. Connors, they threw big bear hugs on each other.  It's nice to know that the kids truly get excited about going to school!  We got to attend Sarah's first orchestra concert a few weeks ago, which was a treat.  You probably have no idea how many songs they can play on violins, based only on the four notes (yes, 4, as in G, F#, E and D!) they've learned since September!  The essence of minimalistic music, I must say.  Sarah's growing up fast, and is very protective of CJ during their walks to and from school (although I sometimes have to wonder who is really taking care of whom . . .).  We found out yesterday that Sarah was selected as the Woodley Hills fourth grade Student of the Month, and we're looking forward to her award ceremony next week.  You go, girl!


                CJ is also doing very well in school, and likes his teachers as much as Sarah does hers.  He and Sarah have both enjoyed their weekly gymnastics classes, but CJ is eager to shift gears and get back to baseball this spring.  He recently lost his first tooth (one of the lower front ones), and wrote an interesting note to the Tooth Fairy, which Grandma Alice insisted that I share with you (not that I needed much persuasion!).  And I quote:    

"Dear tooth fairy.  Please don't take my first tooth.  I want to keep it

until I'm twenty, year 2013.  I know this is an unusual request.  I

promise to give you the tooth when I'm twenty.  So please give me some money.  I am a trustworthy little boy.  You can believe me.  CJ"     (The tooth fairy complied, and even left Mom and Dad the note, which was printed on a piece of paper he had cut in the shape of a large molar.  It'll probably reappear at his high school graduation party, along with his naked baby bath pictures.  But I'd just be guessing . . .)


                Brenda's still double dipping -- four days a week in the O.R., and some time on off-days and weekends at the real estate office.  No plans to tip the scales in the other direction, yet.  She wants to feel more comfortable with the realty business before committing to it heavily.  Right now, she's satisfied with keeping her options open.  On a positive note, she's expecting her first realty-related check in February.  Cool!


                I'm currently in the fourth week of fourteen weeks of Advanced Program Management School at the Defense Systems Management College, conveniently located on the grounds of Ft. Belvoir, which is just ten minutes from our front door.  The commute is REALLLY NIIIIICE!  I'll be so spoiled by the time the course is over, and then I'll have to resume fighting D.C. rush hour traffic again . . . Blech.  Completion of this school will qualify me as a "Level III" acquisition professional, which is a prerequisite for assignment as Program Manager of a "major" defense acquisition program (by definition, one with a budget exceeding $2.2 billion).  I'm sure it'll be awhile before I'd be considered for such a position, but at least I'll be qualified for it, should the opportunity arise.  In the meantime, I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience of being a full-time student again.


                Looking forward to hearing the latest from the rest of the clan!