Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Belated Christmas Letter

I had every intention of getting this posted before Christmas but I guess better late than never. Besides I seem to remember a little cliché about good intentions and their use as an asphalt substitute, but I digress.

2008 was so busy for us that I don’t quite no where to start. So as the kids say I’ll line things up alphabetically by height.

Eve, AKA Evey-bug, Bugger Chugs, Evil Livia, Evey, Chuggers has had a good year. She’s enjoying Elementary school quite a lot. She’s still struggling with learning to read but she keeps trying and I’m not the least bit worried that she’ll get the hang of it. She has become quite the little comic. We all enjoy her zany sense of humor complete with 70s pop culture, British sci-fi, and Monty Python references. I’m not sure anybody outside our family understands her silliness but we think she’s a hoot. Lately she has really enjoyed helping Noah work on his electronics projects and playing with her new K-9 robot. Her dream job for when she grows up is to be a Dalak. Like I said, she’s a nutter that one.

Noah has totally licked the reading struggles he had a few years ago. Every night he reads out loud to us for at least 40 minutes. His homework only requires him to read for 20 minute, but since he stops every 30 seconds and asks, “Mom, How long have I been reading?” we deduct this Q&A time from his total. Noah’s struggling a little bit with school. Not with the material but with the procedures and his organizational skills. The kid is brilliant, but I guess genius comes with its own baggage. Since he forgets to turn in assignments that he has completed I don’t think his teacher quite realizes how smart he really is. We’re working on this with him.

Noah enjoys making robots. Frequently the robots are made of pop bottles, cardboard, cans and copious amounts of scotch tape. He then labels all the parts with a sharpie. Last week I was chastised for throwing away a “laser rifle”. As it turns out I had thrown a 2 liter bottle with a little scotch tape on it into the recycle bin. On the side of the bottle in sharpie it was clearly labeled “laser rifle”. How silly of me to think it was an empty soda bottle. In an attempt to steer his efforts to a more productive path we got him a Radio Shack electronics lab for Christmas. It’s a little over his head, but not much. We started at the beginning and we’ve been doing all of the projects together. He really likes the noisy ones. Big surprise. He’s been doing a really good job of identifying and keeping all of the resisters and capacitors organized and in the right bags. Hopefully this one item will help him with his science fix as well has help improve his organizational ability and his fine motor skills. I’ll keep everybody posted on the status of our aspiring Jimmy Neutron.

As Victoria stated in her blog recently we have coined a new phrase around our house. The phrase is “being Rachel”. This girl has no interest at all in sports or television. Every spare moment she finds she is reading a book or writing a story. She discovered the whole Twilight series around Thanksgiving and has since read every one of the novels at least once and some multiple times. Thanks to a Dr. Who episode that featured her as a character she has recently discovered Agatha Christie. The phrase “being Rachel” has taken such acceptance in the house that we even use it when not referring directly to Rachel. If Victoria or I just want to sit down and veg with a good book we’ll just say were gonna go be Rachel for a while. When she’s not reading or writing she’s off at one of her friend’s from girl scouts goofing around. Rachel is our good student. Her teachers love her because she’s a round peg and their curriculum is suited for round pegs.

Rachel is my little hippy-chick. She is genuinely concerned about a myriad of social issues. Last week she asked me several questions about the different political parties. She was wondering where she fell. So as not to bias her with my own positions I directed her to a short political quiz. She enjoyed taking the quiz and finding out where her political beliefs fell. Like everybody I’m sure her opinions will evolve, but I’m impressed that she is so genuinely concerned about social issues at such a young age.

Aaron is officially taller than Victoria now. We’re gonna have to stop feeding that boy. He will sit down and eat three Arby’s sandwiches and be hungry enough in twenty minutes to fight with his siblings over the leftovers.

Since he turned 14 Aaron has been attending troop 129 in Tucker. That’s the troop that Grampa Jim has been working with for years. The church’s program for boys his age is primarily focused on sports and other activities that didn’t appeal to Aaron as much as the traditional Scouting program. He still attends mutual on Wednesday nights, but also attends scouts on Tuesdays. Recently the two of us helped out with the troops annual Christmas tree sales by running the tree lot for a few nights. Aaron enjoyed the work and his labors will help to pay his way to summer camp this June.

After several years of home-schooling, Aaron decided to head back to public school this year. Unlike Rachel, Aaron is quite the square peg. Actually, I don’t think Aaron is a peg at all. The transition to public school has been anything, but smooth. Fat lips, suspensions, calls from principals, etc. etc. It seems like every problem I had the whole time I was in school, Aaron has been able to condense into his first few months at middle school. We do our best to help things go smoother for him, but short of attending class with him and supervising every moment we just have to continue teaching correct principles and letting them govern themselves.

As if Victoria didn’t have enough to do raising four kids she also had to sign up to be the yearbook lady at school. I bought her a new camera, a Nikon D90 so she could take more pictures to her heart’s content. She took her new role as Yearbook Lady as a cue that she needs to go to school every single day and wander the halls taking pictures. I really feel sorry for who every takes on the role after Victoria leaves, because she has completely expanded the duties well beyond what has previously been expected. Previous yearbook coordinators have simply grabbed the pictures that others have taken and the school pictures and plugged them into the template given by the publisher. Do you think Victoria was content with just doing that? No way baby. She had me download Photoshop CS4 just so she could do a very specific type of journaling around one of the candid shots. Most yearbooks don’t do any journaling at all, let along the type she was looking for. I’m really proud of the extreme effort she’s putting into it. I just wish I could see more of her when she wasn’t looking through a camera or photoshopping the pictures.

Perhaps recognizing that she’s been spending a lot of time at the computer, Victoria has started walking around the park daily. Her mom bought her a pedometer for Christmas and we figured out that she has been walking 6½ miles almost every day. She’s not at marathon pace by any means, but it’s obvious she feels better on days that she has walked. I also enjoy the times when the kids are behaving and we can sneak out and walk together. We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary and what can I say. I still enjoy hanging out with her.

I was released as Scoutmaster this summer and asked to serve as the Committee Chairman. It’s not as hands on as being Scoutmaster, but I enjoy working behind the scenes to support the boys in the Ward. I attended Woodbadge this summer and I’m hoping to complete my ticket and earn my beads by this spring.

I still enjoy reading and updating my blog, however earlier this year ago I noticed a guitar that was lying around the house that wasn’t getting played. So I picked it up and have been trying to teach myself how to play. I’ve been abusing the generosity of friends who also play and hounding them for free lessons and jam sessions. Thank you Dave, Rich and Eric. I’m absolutely lousy, but I find it very relaxing and a whole lot more satisfying than just wasting time playing Guitar Hero. The greatest compliment I expect is when Victoria just recognizes what I’m trying to play. Never mind the quality of my playing, it’s enough sometimes that she can simply can tell what song it is.

Work at the phone factory has been a little hectic with the downturn in the economy, the threat of a strike and the whole AT&T buyout thing. There have been a few rounds of layoffs, but each time they avoid anyone with "engineering" in their job title. I guess they realize that the newer technology is where the future of the company is. So with that in mind I feel pretty safe. I recently applied for and interviewed for a new position. Hopefully, I will get the job. It’s not technically a promotion, but it’s a change to a more technical position. So I’m looking forward to it, but won’t be too upset if I don’t get it.

Well this is by no means a complete synopsis of 2008, but I need to go ahead and post this so I can spend some time with the family. Victoria keeps looking back at me wondering what I’ve been typing for the past three hours, I’m not a fast typist. For more complete details as to what we’ve been up to check out my blog, Victoria’s blog, and Rachel’s blog. And we’re all available on Facebook.com too.

I wish you all Peace on Earth. Goodwill t’ward men.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for getting to this and I didn't even nag...not once! Oh, and thanks for the kickin' cool Nikon D90! Yeah baby!!! My wish for the new year is no calls from a certain school and peace on Earth...already!