Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas letter 2011

For the first time we are "cyberizing" our not-so-consistent annual letter. Just looking to save a few bucks in printing, postage, etc.

As of October of this year Dave quit working at Dillard's department store as a second job. We were able to reduce some expenses and are now empty-nesters so the need for the additional income is not as great. In February we went on our second Carnival cruise with our cruise buddies, Pat's twin Pam and her husband Jeff. We went to the Mexican Riviera and had a fantastic time. In the summer we flew to Champaign, IL to visit the grandkids. We went to Nauvoo (including a visit to the temple) and to Springfield to the museum, library, birthplace, home and all things Lincoln. In the fall we went with all the kids to Disneyland (see previous post). That was also a fantastic time.

Pat has 14 years as a kindergarten teacher and I about 11 teaching Spanish. We are looking down the road (still a ways off) at dare I say... retirement. Not sure when that will happen. It has great to be together nights and weekends which hasn't been possible in recent years because of my second job. We are enjoying it.

Our kids continue to be doing well in school and jobs. Scott has accepted a job with Intel in Chandler, AZ and he and Sarah will be moving there after he graduates from the U of A in May. Carlie's husband Trevor is working towards getting into PA school. Rachel is looking at studying to be a veterinarian's tech. Tina's husband Jon continues his studies at the U of I. Wendy and Chad are working and remodeling their house. We try to lure as many of them as possible over to the house for Sunday dinner! And Tina is expecting grandchild number 6 in February and we are very excited. Pat already has her plane ticket in hand to go be grandma! This Christmas finds all our kids and grandkids home for fun, food and family pictures.

We are so very blessed and are very grateful. We are strengthened by you our friends and family. Aside from the normal aches and pains that are coming with age, things are great and we look forward to the future with great anticipation. We wish all our friends and family much happiness during this wonderful season and all good things in the new year. We would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Best Family Disney Trip Ever!

Now, I know I have probably said this before but this definitely WAS the best one.

Three of my children purchases Disneyland annual passes which were going to expire sometime in November. So everyone wanted to go just one more time, so we planned a family trip. Because it was going to be our three kids, their spouses, two grandkids and Pat and me, our Wendy suggested we make matching t-shirts (I know it's quaint). She bought the white tees and the iron-on transfer computer paper. She then went to the Internet and designed a logo for us (see above). We also made shirts for my brother Doug and his wife and family who unfailingly accompany us on these Magic Kingdom junkets and make them much more fun!

The eight of us (plus 2 grandkids) drove over in three cars and stayed at the Lemon Tree Hotel. In the morning we put on our t shirts and made our way to the park. I had contacted a friend from high school who works at Disneyland and she graciously and generously agreed to "sign us in" for free "park hopper" passes. She came into the park and visited with us, met my family, and listened to our 4 year old do her renditions of "Mother Know Best" from the Disney movie "Tangled" and a song or two she learned from pre-school. I say my friend was gracious because she drove to Disneyland from her home in West Covina and she was not feeling well either! What a trooper!

The park was very crowded but with the help of "fast passes" (I'd like to shake the hand of the person who invented those!) we were able to ride all the rides we wanted. Because it is close to Halloween the place was decorated. The also altered the "Space Mountain" ride and called it "Haunted Universe". Now normally the 4 year old loves that ride but NOT this time with the projected screaming and clawing monsters. In the picture they take at the end of the ride our poor girl's face was red and frozen in a scream! She said she liked the ride "a little bit". She did report that her favorite ride was "Pooh". Her least favorite? Star Tours. I think she is not thrilled with the 3-D effects.

Saturday night found us at the Tomorrowland Terrace for an Elvis tribute show which we really enjoyed. after 15 hours of walking, we headed back to the hotel.

We got over to California Adventure our second day and rode Pat's favorite ride, "California Screamin'" three times in a row and I have to admit I got a little queasy afterward. We saw the World of Color show there and rode the new "Goofy's Flying School". It is a small, very high coaster that rides only 4 people at a time. The turns are tight and our son-in-law Chad was terrified, sure that he was doomed to fall right off at the highest point. But, ever the trooper, he went on twice with us first-timers.

We headed up to visit my dad Monday morning and he took us to lunch with his lady friend, June. We got on the freeway about 2 for the long drive home. On I-8 nearing the I-10 a coyote suddenly stepped out on the road in front of our car. I gritted my teeth and hit him (not wanting to swerve and kill us!). It startled and shook us up and Pat texted the kids about 50 miles behind us: "Dad just hit and killed a coyote." My son Scott texted back asking if the coyote had those rocket roller skates on at the time. I responded that it happened so fast that I couldn't tell but he appeared to be pouring the contents of a box of birdseed on the road at the time. We told them which milepost the accident occurred and as they passed they said they had taken a picture of the coyote and were sending it to us over the phone. Ew! I didn't want to see it but this is what they sent. We laughed all the way home. At a truck stop I borrowed Pat's makeup mirror to look under the car... everything ship shape.

We got home about 9:30 and just smiled about the fun-filled weekend and laughs we had with the people we care about the most.

Car wreck buddies

Fever seizures are hereditary and not uncommon among toddlers. My wife had them, I think her mom had them, one of two of our daughters had them and now one of our granddaughters too. The kids grow out of them but they are scary to witness (I about lost it the first time I saw one of my girls in seizure). Last Friday, Carlie said she was taking her 4-year old to the doctor because of a high fever. She seized on the examination table and the doctor sent her to the hospital in an ambulance. So Carlie called and asked if I could go to her house and stay with her 2-year old boy while she was gone. I went to her house and Pat called from her classroom and said why didn't i bring the boy to her classroom to play as she had some work to do there. I nearly said no, I would just stay with him at their house but I thought it would be fun for him so I packed him up in my 98 Nissan Frontier pickup and headed down 22nd avenue towards Pat's school. As I was stopped at an intersection, a primer-gray small Ford pickup came barreling up behind me and, BAM! Rear-ended. The boy was fine, didn't make a peep (thank you safety car seats). I did go forward and bump the Cadillac SUV ahead of me enough to crack my grill and bend up the front but only enough to scuff up his bumper. So he left, no hard feelings. My rear bumper, however is bent under.

Turns out that the guy who hits me has no insurance and no job. And I have no comprehensive and collision coverage on my car as it is paid for. Urrrgh! So now I will be working with my insurance company regarding my un and under-insured coverage to get some medical care. That weekend I was holding my boy while we stood in line for a ride at Disneyland and I said, "Hey, you and I are car wreck buddies" to which he responded, "Car wreck buddies!"