Merry Christmas from the Urreas

Happy Holidays to our beloved Friends and Family!

We pray this missive finds you in the best of health and happiness with the promise of a brighter new year just on the horizon.

We hope you can forgive the electronic greetings this year and the absence of random holiday packages on your doorstep. With the world in such turmoil, we decided as a family that this year we would use our resources to help make the lives of those around us a little better. In honor of you, we chose to sponsor holiday dinners for more than 20 families through our local food bank. Through the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Kids Helping Kids program (, our kids chose to help outfit local children with school supplies, provide clothing and bus tickets home for homeless teens, and get toys to refugee children who have relocated to our area. We felt this was the best way to honor our relationships with friends, family, and colleagues this year and we thank you for the love and friendship you have shown us. We are merely passing it along.

This has been a busy and productive year for us. Sometimes it feels like we’re just hanging on to a barely in-control dragster as it zooms around hairpin turns, but we must like it that way since it’s become a way of life for Los Urreas!

Thanks to Luis’s crazy travel schedule, we were able to check in on most of our family this year when we traveled up the West Coast this summer and also a bit through New England. You know how we love a good road trip! Nothing like loading up the van and taking off for as long as possible … I actually cry when it’s time to turn home! This one was a little bittersweet since, with the kids growing up so fast, we understand it will be almost impossible for all of us to travel again like this. It’s exciting to watch them develop their own lives, but we miss them already. Sniff …

Eric is a sophomore at the University of Illinois in Champaign as a percussion performance major. He plays at every opportunity and is hoping next summer to audition into one of his favorite drum corps. Megan is just starting the where-will-I-go-to-college dance. She is working at the beloved local candy shop (the best first job EVER) and is busy with the yearbook, her friends and her various hobbies. Chayo is … what can we say about Chayo? It’s all her world and we’re just living in it, right? She’s in third grade, a voracious reader and writer (big surprise) and performer. She’s in a local kids’ choir, dancing ballet and jazz and keeping us all hopping with whatever she comes up with next.

Luis finished his new novel and it looks like (knock on wood and say a silent prayer) that this may end up being a big one for him. Scheduled for release in May 2009, the book is called “Into the Beautiful North” and it’s a fun and wonderful read about a group of young women from a small town in Mexico who realize one day that all of the men have gone North to the U.S. It becomes a “Magnificent Seven” for girls, as Luis likes to say. We’re really excited (especially since the book is dedicated to Megan and was partly inspired by her and her friends). Luis has also been crazy busy traveling and we’ve been so honored that his work has been chosen by so many different cities and universities for community read projects.

Me? I’m just trying to keep everything running as smoothly as possible (hahahahah). I was really lucky this year to get to spend so much time with my family in Seattle as we learn to maneuver through life’s ups and downs. I especially enjoyed a cruise to Alaska with my mom – the first time the two of us have been able to spend so much time together, just the two of us.

The snow is falling here (again) and we’ll be celebrating a white Christmas – still an unusual thing for us native Westerners, so it makes us unreasonably happy. The five of us will gather this day and think of all the friends and family who have so touched our lives. We won’t be together, but you will be in our hearts. We thank you for your love and friendship and look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon.

We wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best of the better times we know are coming!

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