"Happy Holidaze"

Dear Family & Friends:

Hidee Ho Ho Ho! Another year has passed and it is, once again, time for that holiday tradition... The Martel Family Form Letter! Since Claudia continues to busy herself being KCON's lead anchorwoman, it is up to this multifarious tooth sculptor to share with you the latest happenings in the lives of Kayla, Palmer, Hannah, Clau and moi.

We'll start with moi first.

WORK: The practice is going really well and we're looking to expand into Chaparral Heights within the next year. We recently welcomed a new member to our team from the prestigious SCU dental school. This man is amazing with crowns, so if you need one, be sure to come see Dr. Sook! My pet charity project, "Miles o' Smiles" resulted in two heartwarming, deeply fulfilling missions over the last several months. The first one was to Bangladesh in February and the other to Appalachia in October. After dozens of trips overseas, I am no longer stunned by the level of poverty and lack of dental hygiene. However, what I saw in our own backyard has made me sick! This is our country, people, the wealthiest nation in the world - I have enlisted my father's company to start a domestic foundation to help remedy this egregious situation. If you'd like to help out, you know how to get in touch with me.

HOME: On the extreme local front, our fair city has been in the news far too much lately with mysterious murders, a train wreck and a museum robbery. I've seen more of my wife on channel 8 than in person because of this recent craziness. On a lighter note, I have come up with a tasty dish called "Zesty Grapefruit Chicken." If you'd like the recipe, be sure to send a blank 3 x 5 card. I made it for Palmer's little league banquet (GO COUGARS) and it was a huge success. Speaking of "success," as one of the parental leaders, I am very proud to announce that our church's youth group took top prize in the "Jesus Teaches Us Humility" statewide contest.

CARS & TRIPS: Another grand accomplishment was my classic car club's complete restoration of a '53 Buick Skylark. This blue bomb was such a pain to find parts for but, in the end, was well worth the effort. Be sure to check out the photos on our website! We finally traded in the family car in June for a brand new Lexus LX 470 SUV. With the kids out for summer vacation, we decided to drive up to beautiful Bryce Canyon in Utah (a "must see" for anyone who hasn't). I took the girls fishing while Palmer spent most of his time chasing lizards. Palmer's mother spent most of her time chasing Black 22 on the roulette wheel inside a local Indian casino. Wrapping up our travels, Claudia and I took time out to be a couple again and went to gorgeous Cancun for our 17th wedding anniversary. I had a blast parasailing, snorkeling, and exploring ancient ruins while Claudia had way too much fun at the bottomless margarita bar... she took the word "bottomless" a little too seriously, hee hee - I told her at the time that I was going to put this in the annual letter, and here it is!

What else has been going on with Clau? Not much, same old business with KCON. And she has recently taken up yoga.

Kayla, our eldest Sugar Booger, is now in 6th grade and is quite the little ballerina. She's also an amazing equestrian with her "Oreo" - an American Paint Horse grandpa Doug gave her for her birthday. Between the horse, the dog, the cats, and her fish, I'm sure she's on her way to becoming a veterinarian. She's doing well in school, her favorite subject is math, and she is one of those rare kids who doesn't resent her parents for making her take piano lessons!

Our son Palmer now has something else that his sisters don't, a screw in his wrist! He broke it in a scooter accident but was back playing ball a few weeks later. It is mind-boggling how big children are getting these days, he is three shoe sizes bigger than what I was at his age and is one of the tallest boys in his 4th grade class. He isn't the student his sister is but has a vibrant personality. His mother and I wonder where he got it!

Little Hannah likes to play with empty cartons.

Well, that about sums it up for my branch of the Martel Family Tree. I hope this letter finds you and yours happy, healthy and smiling. Season's greetings and all the best in the new year!

Love,
Ben, Claudia, Kayla, Palmer, and Hannah

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