I am going to write more on this blog this year. Today Wayne and I painted the front room. It took all day. The color is linen white and to me it looks like the color of french vanilla ice cream. The day before Christmas I went up to Waldorf to buy a suit for Matt. Mens Wearhouse had buy one get one free so Michael got a new suit too. I also got Matt 2 new ties. While we were there we went to Home Depot and bought paint. I bought a 5 gallon bucket of this white paint and also a 5 gallon bucket of light green paint. We were going to paint the kitchen in the green paint but we all hate it after painting the half wall between the kitchen and the family room. So now we have no idea what to do with this light green paint. It is just too bright and stands out. It needs to be more of a dusty green color and instead it is more like a lime green color. Stay tuned for what we decide to do with it.
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.
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
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.
It is already September. The summer flew by. Life was pretty much normal. We still had Matt and Marla (aka Angel) living with us. At the end of August we decided it was best for Marla to find another home to live in since we were going on a trip. When we got home and she was gone the house just didn’t seem the same. But I am getting used to a house full of men again (well except Zelda…at least she is a girl puppy). A new Cracker Barrel opened in town and Matt got a job there. It opened Labor Day and he has had only a few days off. And he works long hours but he is happy to be working and saving money for his mission. He had to work yesterday (Sunday) and got over $100 in tips. He told this story about one of his customers:
- They are regular Cracker Barrel customers and had eaten there every day since it had opened. He told them about saving for his mission and instead of dessert they tipped him that money. So their bill was $10 and they tipped him $10. He was pretty happy about that.
So at the end of August until the beginning of September for a week Wayne and I flew to Arkansas. It is always a working vacation going there since neither of them are in good enough health to do the big jobs. This time we tackled the yard. We trimmed every bush on the property and all of the smaller trees. The large trees had been trimmed last winter. Then we put all the branches and brush in a pile. We also cleaned out some of the shed, attic, back porch, and weeded all the flower beds. We added all those things to the growing pile and hired a man to haul everything away to the dump.
While we were there, we talked to Rusty and mom about moving to Maryland with us. They were both receptive to the idea so we are hoping they will be all moved by the end of the year. That means a lot of work at their house though so I will probably go back for a month to help them go through everything. Right now Rusty is undergoing chemo but so far is handling it rather well. He is half done with his treatments.
So, that was that trip in a nutshell. It is always nice to go and visit them. We got back and it was Labor Day weekend. So Wayne didn’t have to go to work until Tuesday but those three days he had of work last week were almost 40 hours worth. Then on Friday we headed up to Pennsylvania with Brian. We went to Kristin and Darrell’s wedding. It was held at a Bed and Breakfast and we got to stay there!! It was my first experience and it was nice. The highlight of the trip (besides the wedding) was going to Hershey’s Chocolate World. We took the free ride inside, took the trolley ride, and of course bought some chocolate. In town the lampposts along the main street were shaped like Kisses. The Milton Hershey school was very interesting and it was fun to see his birthplace and the factories. I have photos on my tablet…I’ll have to see if I can somehow post them to this.
At the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in the Blue Room.
As you can tell from the cake, Darrell is a geek It was a nice wedding. It was supposed to be outside but strong storms came through the area at that time so it was moved inside. The bride and groom dealt with the unexpected change nicely.
I can’t blog without including at least one photo of the puppies. So lets make it five!!
Zelda is slowly growing. I took her in last week to be weighed and get heartworm meds and she was over 33 pounds. She is still tiny compared to Thor though. Tomorrow she goes in for a spay.
That’s all for today. I’ve got a lot to do because we are holding FHE here tonight.
The original plan was to go to Kansas, Adam ondi Ahman, Liberty Jail, Carthage, Nauvoo, Salt Lake City, and Kirtland. But things never quite go the way you expect them to go. On this trip I took Michael, Matt, and Angel and we were in the Corolla. We drove straight through to Kansas City leaving Friday morning. It was a 20 hour drive. We decided to take hotels for the next set of long drives. We got to Kansas City and stayed with my mom and dad for what was left of the first night. They have bought a home near the KC temple and you can see the temple from their house. The house has needed quite a bit of work but they are making good progress. It is a lovely home. We left on Saturday afternoon to go to Kansas. Me and my five sisters were getting together so we could see my mom before she had surgery for her breast cancer. Unfortunately Krista had to leave before Kelly arrived so we didn’t get to get a photo of all of us together. We met at Kerry’s ranch so I got to see her new home too. I had a lovely time with my family there. Then on Saturday night we stayed the night at Diane’s and went to church with her family on Sunday. Then on Sunday afternoon we went back out to Kerry’s home. Angel had a good experience while there on Saturday. You can read a little bit about it here on her blog. I wish she could stay with us…it has been a joy having her here this past month.
OK…back to the trip. On Monday I wanted to go to Liberty jail and Adam ondi Ahman but Angel wasn’t feeling well so we just stayed home and rested. We left on Tuesday to drive out to Utah arriving on Wednesday the fourth of July. We took I-80 out through Nebraska and Wyoming. It has pitiful scenery but was the quickest way and plus then we got to stay semi close to Diane and her family. We spent the night at a nice Super 8 motel in Nebraska and had adjoining rooms with Diane and her family. We had brought an extra cot and twin air mattress plus a couple sleeping bags that came in mighty handy. On Wednesday we stopped at Little America in Wyoming for fifty cents ice cream cones. They had free wifi there which was handy plus we stayed long enough that Diane and her family met us there. Our next stop was in Evanston WY to purchase some fireworks. Most everything was legal in SLC so we bought a little of everything. We arrived in SLC and went straight to Zach’s moms house to watch and set off fireworks. We went up on a hill by a school and got to see several different cities fireworks. They were nice. Daniel had come up from Orem and it was SOOOO good to have all my children and grandchildren together in one place. By this time it was late so we all went to our respective motels / homes for the night. I had reserved rooms at a La Quinta but the points didn’t come through so we just stayed the one night and stayed the rest of the time at Julie’s. O, except Saturday night. I got a room at the Residence Inn on points and the boys stayed there that night and the girls stayed at Julie’s. By boys I mean Michael, Daniel, and Matt and by girls I mean me, Caulene (Daniel’s fiance), and Angel.
On Thursday the fifth we rested up and on Friday we went to temple square. I didn’t take my camera because I was thinking I had been there twice before and taken photos so I didn’t have to take them this time. It would have been nice to have brought it though to record this trip but I didn’t so there are no photos of there. But we went to the tabernacle, both visitor’s centers, the Joseph Smith memorial building and saw the movie, and the conference center. It was good to see it all again. We also were in the Family History Library for just a little while. I learned Diane doesn’t really like heights. She didn’t want to go on the roof of the conference center. I talked her into seeing the sandblasted wall but that was all.
On Saturday was the sealing of Julie and Zach. My dad got permission to perform their sealing. Michael was one of the witnesses. I got to hold Abbie when she got sealed to them. Everything was perfect except maybe that Abbie screamed during her sealing. It had been long enough that she was hungry. I do have some photos of this.
The next one is the best one that I have of all of us.
This next one is the best one that I have of Julie’s side of the family.
So the day after the temple ceremony was the day that Abbie got her name and blessing. Zach did that and Michael and my dad among others got to stand in. The microphone was not close enough to Zach’s mouth so we had a VERY hard time hearing it but I’m sure it was a wonderful blessing. I didn’t get any photos of that day but there are a few floating out there. I’ll try to snag a few later. We had a get together at Zach’s moms house after church and both of our families were there (well except mom and dad…they already left to visit friends down in southern Utah).
We left Utah on Monday morning going through Price to I-70. I really wanted to show Matt and Angel the Colorado Rocky Mountains. They were beautiful. Here are a couple of my favorite photos.
So, my plan was to go through Colorado on I-70 and then take the diagonal up to I-80 at Denver and then go to Nauvoo and Kirtland but driving through Colorado my plans got changed. Before I left on my trip I had told my mother-in-law that I could come there and help her out if she wanted or needed me to. At the time she said that she would have Rusty take her to her doctor appointment on Wednesday but she changed her mind and wanted me to take her. So we had to go home via Arkansas and scratched our plans to go to Nauvoo and Kirtland. Everything ended up being fine during her appointment to the Pulmonologist so she said I didn’t have to stay. In the meantime Michael kept looking online for a place to pick up a pointer puppy. He knew it was a long shot but we had been thinking for awhile that Thor needed a playmate. Wayne was set on getting another pointer. Well Michael found a breeder in southwest Missouri that had a litter of pups ready for adoption. They had 2 females left so on Thursday we went to look at them. We picked one out, put down a deposit, and said we would pick her up Friday morning. So we are now the proud owners of TWO dogs Our new puppy is liver and white with one large spot on the right side of her back and many smaller spots. She also looks like she has muddy paws. We are still discussing names for her. A few photos:
- Had a great time with our company at the beginning of June.
- We went to Point Lookout and waded in the Patuxent River.
- Went to the temple and visitor’s center in DC and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania all in one day. It was a VERY long day.
- Went to Calvert Marine Museum and Anne Marie Gardens. Really enjoyed touring the lighthouse at the museum.
- Went to Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake in Annapolis. They dressed up kids in pirate gear and then we had an hour long boat ride on the Bay complete with treasure maps, buried treasure and water canon fights. Definitely an adventure and well worth the $$$.
- We went to Kings Dominion. While there my keys flew out of my pocket on a roller coaster right into the lake beneath us. Then our very last roller coaster, Flight of Fear, was under ground. We were almost through the ride when the power went off. We ended up being stuck on the coaster in pitch black for about 20 minutes.
- The last place we went was to the Washington Mall and two of the Smithsonian museums. We were there with half a million Girl Scouts and their leaders and it was HOT!! We took the METRO in and walked more than I think I ever have before. But it was fun.
- I forgot my camera on most of the days but did get a few photos from Kings Dominion and DC.
I went on this roller coaster once. Davey and Michael went on it two or three times. The last time they rode it I took some photos. You can see Michael on the photo below in the last visible car closest to the camera. I though the photos turned out great especially considering how fast they were moving.
- I went out to Utah.
- I got to play with Abbie and Jennica and Sammy and Caleb.
- I got to see Julie and Daniel.
- I got to meet Zach and much of his family.
- I got to meet Caulene.
- I put together puzzles, played pinochle, and read.
- I had a LOT of fun.
- I gained a LOT of unwanted pounds.
- While I was gone we got a new boarder (Matt).
- I came home.
- Wayne went to Texas the next day.
- I got a new calling (First Counselor in Relief Society).
- I have meetings – Relief Society meetings and knitting class.
- Wayne came home.
- I went to the Washington DC temple.
- I taught in RS this morning.
- Michael gave a talk in Sacrament meeting this morning.
- I have a Wellness Challenge starting tomorrow.
- We have company coming in one week.
- This is only the third time we will have had visitors.
- I have a ton to do to get ready for them.
- We will tour DC so it will be fun.
- We are reading the Book of Mormon as a family.
- I have a partly painted ceiling on the main floor of my house.
- I want to have the ceiling painted by the end of tomorrow but I don’t think that is going to happen.
Here is a photo of Abbie shortly after my arrival. Below is right before I left in the same outfit to see how she had grown.
O…and I swear we must have about 30 fish now. I took a video…I will try to get it. OK…I guess I’ll have to make a YouTube account and link it that way Something new to learn and do…YAY!!
So I have this ongoing project. I am making postage stamp quilts for all my grandchildren. So far I have made ones for Elisabeth,
Caleb’s is the one on the left and Sammy’s is on the right. So…they take time. A LOT OF TIME!! But I love doing it. I still need to make one for Aaron then Natalie and eventually the new baby once she gets big enough for a twin bed. I also made a small blanket for new baby girl (I hope she gets named soon).
I am heading to Utah with the above 3 blankets/quilts since they all belong there but I decided I had to bring something for Jennica too. So this is what she gets:
I hope she likes it!! I have also begun a quilt for my bed but I know it will take a LONG time. It is a double wedding ring quilt. So far I have 2 blocks done. I will take photos when I have a few more done and them put together.