Christmas Letter 2013

Friends, family, and colleagues;

The Liles family has had a wonderfully blessed year. We are a lucky family now living in West Lafayette, Indiana. The year has been filled with some challenges, some tribulations, lots of laughter, a few tears, gallons of sweat, more than a little blood, and a tiny dash of terror from time to time.

Sydney is enjoying her first anniversary working for the government. Over the year she has become certified with a GCIH and GREM. These technical certifications are more a sense of just how talented she is rather than anything else. The GCIH is a certification in incident handling of computer crimes and exploits. The GREM certification is about reverse engineering malware and doing examinations of systems that have been compromised. She has been doing this addition to her regular work which the rest of the family finds amazing. Sydney also became a license motorcyclist this year. She successfully finished her MSF course and took the written from the state. Sydney is a role model of dedication and hard work to the rest of the family.


Talking about anniversaries Sydney at Christmas will be 6 days away from running every day for a year. She plans on running every day until she has the body she had when she graduated from High School. Sam applauds this effort and is very supporting for some reason.

Sydney continues to work through the pain of getting her doctorate in Technology. As the year closes her proposal has been approved or will likely be approved. That might find her finishing her doctorate in 2014. Sam would remark that she said the same thing back in 2012 about 2013, and 2011 about 2012. Time will tell and we all are supporting her success. Sydney was a member of the team that won the graduate division of the Defense Cyber Crime Center Forensics challenge. That’s an international challenge and win for her.

Samuel celebrated his first anniversary back working for Purdue. He is in his 10th year within the Purdue system and now second year at Purdue West Lafayette and the job is filled with many challenges. His students are awesome and have been putting out significant work products on a variety of topics. 2014 does have some angst for the family. The political winds of higher education are blowing ill. Substantial changes to the College of Technology, changes in funding models, and even the rumored cessation of tenure mean another examination of where Sam works has to happen as the new year turns.

Samuel is the chair of an international conference in 2014 and is working with a dozen students toward getting the most footprint for the cyber forensics laboratory possible. His travel schedule has had him in Washington DC almost monthly all year long.


Not all was worry this year. Samuel finished the 2013 Iron Butt Rally with a respectable 55th place finish. The Iron Butt Rally is a 11,000 miles in 11 days covering both coasts and the whole country in between. Samuel rode from Pittsburgh, PA to Keywest, FL to Pittsburgh, PA on the first leg. Then he went from Pittsburgh to Rancho Cordova, CA. Following that he went from Rancho Cordova, CA by way of Galveston and Kittyhawk back to Pittsburgh. This is something he has been wanting to do since the late 1980s. Samuel and Sydney plan on putting their hat in the ring for the 2015 Iron Butt Rally as a 2-up couple.

Simon celebrated the end of the year with great grades in school. He has been teaching his teacher C++ and waltzing through his technology education class. At the beginning of the school year Simon and Stuart finished dirt bike school. Simon says he is enjoying his Spanish classes. Simon says that he hopes we have  a warm winter or dad buys a snow blower. Either will be much more preferable to the removal of heavy snow all winter long. His dad has little to no sympathy at this point.

Boys at dirt bike school

Stuart has decided that cooking, baking, and preparation of food is delightful. Especially if you get to eat first. Stuart also is doing his best to get straight A’s at the science and technology focused West Lafayette Junior Senior High School. His mom thinks that Simon and Stuart get great grades based on their inner desire to succeed. His dad is pretty sure it is because he was promised a dirt bike if he got straight A’s in school this year.

Grandpa just before Thanksgiving had a stroke or some kind of seizure event. This caused him some down time in the hospital, but in general he is as irascible and grumpy as ever. Not to be outdone, Grandma, while visiting Grandpa in the hospital collapsed in the parking lot. Actually the hospital put her out in the dark in the early morning dark hours and rain. She stepped off a darkened curb and ended up in rehabilitation and bed rest for a little over 5 weeks. She is in physical therapy now, but it is a bit slow going .

To all of our family and friends we hope that your Christmas and holiday season is blessed. We wish you all a happy new year. May the challenges of the new year bring growth and success. May the rewards of the past year bring fond and joyful memories. We wish you all the warmth of family and friendship.

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