It’s almost Christmas…

And I just got home from a three month stay in Arkansas. It was rather nice not to have the responsibilities of home and just help out as needed. But at the same time I felt bad because I was letting my RS President down because I was gone and also my “kids” left at home. Michael was really sick the whole time I was gone and is just now starting to get better. He is taking a medicine to help with the abdominal pain. He doesn’t really have a diagnosis but I am leaning toward ulcerative colitis. Right now the docs have him on a medicine that treats irritable bowel syndrome and it is helping with the pain. I have written a yearly Christmas letter and even though I have written about most of the stuff on here I will attempt to copy and paste it here.

December 2012

Dearest family and friends,

Another year is coming to a close so it is time for our annual Christmas letter. This has been a busy year…but then again…aren’t all of them??? It has been a year of changes for our family. We found out we don’t have much of a green thumb. We attempted to grow vegetables and herbs and got very little harvested. The aquaponics bed and tank are doing well though and so is our vermicomposting. We also have had a couple young adults living with us.

Wayne is keeping very busy. He is still working hard for Lockheed Martin as a contractor on Patuxent River Naval Air Station. He works as an instrumentation engineer on the F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) which is a very impressive military jet. He describes his job as taking care of the computers that record what happens to the aircraft during flight. He is just glad that he can do it from the ground. He still builds and repairs computers. He also likes to watch anime in his free time. He is very active in the LDS church. He teaches Elder’s Quorum once a month, is a Ward Missionary (teaching a Sunday school class occasionally too), and home teacher.

Kim has had an interesting year. It has been full of travel and learning new things. She started attending a knitting class in the spring and in the following months has become quite a proficient knitter. She still enjoys quilting too. She is also very active in the LDS church. She got released as a Ward Missionary and called to be the first counselor in the Relief Society this past spring.

Diane and Tyrone are still in Olathe, KS. They have four beautiful girls Elisabeth-10, Ashley-9, Callie-7, Natalie-2, and a handsome boy (Aaron-4). They will be welcoming another daughter to their little family in late March. Ty works for Black & Veatch. They are happy, healthy, and lead a busy life.

Julie and Zach are still in Sandy, UT. They have two handsome sons (Caleb-7, Sammy-7)and two beautiful daughters (Jennica-5, Abbie-8mo). Zach works for the LDS church and Julie is going to college full time. They are enjoying being together and very happy.

Michael is still living with us. He gets his own wing in the basement. He is still a computer geek. His biggest accomplishment this past year was taking and passing the Linux Professional Institute Certification. He is very active with the Young Single Adult group in the LDS church (he has a calling as a YSA representative). He also serves as second counselor in the Elder’s Quorum. His biggest struggle this year has been intestinal troubles. It got really bad towards the end of the year with trips to the ER and the GI doctor. He is now being treated for irritable bowel syndrome and is slightly better but I’m not convinced that is the correct diagnosis.

Daniel is living out in Orem, UT. He works at Vivant in the call center and really likes it a lot. He is engaged to be married to Caulene in May. He has started to go back to church. I don’t hear from him much so I figure no news is good news.

Matt B came to live with us in April. He just turned 20 years old and is a fairly new convert to the LDS church. He worked for Cracker Barrel for a few months and is preparing to serve a mission. He is eligible to go out in March but will probably wait until summer. He has the other wing in the basement.

Marla P (18) lived with us from June until August. She quickly became like another daughter. After she moved out, she would stop by or call. It is always fantastic to hear from her. She is now engaged to be married and will then make her home in Hawaii as her fiance is going to BYU-Hawaii.

Thor, our big black lab, is now almost 2 years old. He has become a wonderful dog. In July we brought him home a new puppy to play with. Her name is Zelda and she is a liver and white English Pointer. She will be a year old in March. She is a sweet baby but suffers from separation anxiety so that has been a challenge.

Our out of town visitors this year were the Buhr’s (Wayne’s sister). They came out for their 35th wedding anniversary in June because they were married in the LDS Washington DC temple. They stayed for about a week and we packed a lot of stuff into that week. We went to the temple and visitor’s center on their anniversary. After that we drove on up to Gettysburg. We ate in a wonderful, little restaurant up there recommended by the locals. That was a long day. Other places we visited were The Smithsonian, The National Mall, King’s Dominion, Point Lookout, Calvert Marine Museum, Anne Marie Gardens, and Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Thank you for coming…we had a fabulous time.

Kim flew out to Utah when Abbie was born and stayed for about 3 weeks. Then in July Kim, Michael, Matt, and Marla went on a cross country road trip. Wayne stayed home with Thor. We traveled to Missouri first and then on to Kansas where we got to have a mini Stewart sisters reunion at Kerry’s new home. We stayed in the Kansas City area for a few days and then left for Utah. We caravaned with the Schurr’s. While in Utah, Julie and Zach got sealed in the temple. My dad was able to perform the sealing and Michael served as a witness. One the way out we traveled through Wyoming but on the way back we traveled through Colorado. On the way home we stopped by Arkansas so Kim could take Ma Burke to a pulmonologist appointment. While there Michael researched Pointer puppies and we found Zelda in Missouri. She made it very crowded in the Corolla on the way home.

Then in August, Wayne and Kim flew out to visit his mom in Arkansas for a week. This was working trip as we trimmed trees and bushes, cleaned out gutters, the attic, back porch and shed. We donated some items to Goodwill and then hired a man to take the brush and junk away.

In September, Wayne and I took a trip up to Amish country in Pennsylvania to go to the wedding of Kristin and Darrell. Darrell used to work with Wayne. The wedding was at a Bed & Breakfast and we stayed in the “Blue Room”. It was a lovely wedding and they are a wonderful couple. While in Pennsylvania, we decided that our sightseeing trip would be to Hershey. We loved the “kisses” street lights. Milton Hershey had quite a life and left some delicious chocolate.

Nearer to the end of September Kim went back out to Arkansas to help out while Rusty underwent chemotherapy treatment. She has been there nearly three months now but will return home in time for Christmas.

So that is our year. We pray that all of you have a holiday season centered in Christ.

Love to all

family after sealing: L-R

Matt Tyrone Michael Daniel Marla Steve Sandi Zach Charlyn Jim

Callie Natalie Diane Elisabeth Ashley Sammy Caleb Abbie Julie Kim

Aaron Jennica

  Thor and Zelda

  Washington Mall along with half a million Girl Scouts

OK…well it looks like it might have worked. I have been very busy since I got home. The flight home was interesting. Baltimore was fogged in so we had to divert to JFK in NYC. The airline found me a flight into Washington DC but it was out of a different airport (La Guardia) and a different airline (US Airways). So I ended up getting home 6 hours late and at a different airport. Luckily Michael was patient and so were the puppies so it all ended up OK. Now I have been trying to get the house back in order and put up Christmas decorations. It’s been a chore but fun. That’s all for now…I’ll try not to be so long before the next one.