Saturday, December 28, 2013

1998 Christmas letter and taking time off to be parents

The portrait session just happened to be on the same day as the Redwood School Carnival for Halloween


Dear Friends,

Finally I can sit down to write a Christmas letter without any bad news about anyone in our family.  In fact, remembering 1998 will always be a pleasure. It isn't that we don't still miss Papa Paul.
We always will, but this year we had so many opportunities to spend time with people whom we really love.  The best thing that we have done is taking the time to really enjoy our family.

Easter Egg Hunt in Brookings Library
When 1998 began, Dixie was in the middle of s years leave of absence with the school district.  From January through June, I stayed home with Austin and Emerson, if you can call it that.  I had them enrolled in a dance and tumbling class and in June their class performed the role of the gingerbread boys in Hansel and Gretel.  We also took them to swimming lessons several times through the winter, and to a story/craft time at the library in Brookings, Oregon once each week.  Then we had a season pass to Ocean World here in town and spent a lot of time there pet tin tide pool animals and Leopard sharks and watching trained sea lions.  Emerson, Austin and I spent part of every week making sand castles or fishing or hiking in the redwoods and I taught them some of the things from my old preschool class so they could earn field trips to parks and places like the peering zoo to pet baby possums, skunks, bearcats and tigers; and the Sumeg Indian Village with its Dance Pit, redwood slab houses, and sweat lodge and dugout canoe.  In Wyoming as a child I never quite believed a dugout could be made to carry a person but here they are easily big enough to carry an extended family.

The school year flew by for Dixie although it was a bit of a struggle for Greg. Then in June we drove up to Salem to visit Aunt April and Uncle Vince on our way back to Wyoming. We basically moved in with Grandma Scilla and Uncle Lance and sweltered through six weeks of 100 degree weather except when we were 10,000 feet up in the Beartooth mountains having a snowball fight in July.  The boys and their Cousin Lacy did T-Ball and Swimming Lessons. They also played every day with LUke and lacy at Grandmas in a wading pool or at Brett and Shannon's on the trampoline.

Grandmas captured by Emerson

Lance and Priscilla also went with us to Newcastle where we spent a wonderful week invading my in-laws.  Harv took us out on the prairie for a wonderful time looking for arrowheads.  Grandma Mimi explored the Black Hills and Custer State Park with us and we saw lots of bear, wolves, buffalo and Burros.  We went miniature golfing at Pirates Cove in Rapid City which is an adventure all its own.  We saw the new and unimproved area around Mt. Rushmore and wept at the loss of the old Natural beauty.  We went to a play at the theater where Greg and I spent our first summer as newlyweds. In short we did all the tourist things.  Then Grandpa Harv took the boys out  on the oil patch to work with him and also out on his boat where they each caught a trout.

 On our way home from Wyoming we spent a day playing, swimming and riding roller coasters and cable cars through LAGGON outside of Salt Lake City.  That is an incredible water fantasy place which was even more perfect as the temperature was over 100 once again.  The park is filled with water slides, hot tubs, volcanoes, rivers and of course lagoons, all of which you can climb on and in as you swim through six acres of heated canals.

Once we got home the boys started another swim lesson session and soccer.  Austin was aggressive and scored a goal every game and three in one game.  Emerson loved to be the goalie and made several saves, and we won't mention the time that he got so excited that he had stopped the ball that he turned around and flung it into the goal himself.  They were on the Dalmatians team with several friends they already knew, so we enjoyed it for the seven weeks before the last three games were rained out.

At Uncle Brett's with the cousins

Dance Art Studio

From Hansel and Gretel
At our house with Aunt April

Once September came, Greg began his year off from teaching and I started a new position teaching emotionally disturbed children in a classroom sponsored by the school district but on the grounds of the county mental health building.  I really love my job and especially love not having to work for my old principal and my new one is wonderful.  I have eight students who all go to different schools in the morning so I travel around working with them. Then in the afternoon they all come to me for some school work and a group therapy session with a mental health employee.
Austin Started kindergarten and has been very successful.  He's reading at about the same level as most first graders and the teacher says she always  uses him as a role model.  He hasn't been in the time-out chic yet which, considering his energy level, must require a lot of self control.  His teacher is also our neighbor and Greg babysits her three sons after they get out of school each afternoon.  Both A and E also started Music lessons. Em is taking Violin and Austin is playing the Cello. They love and hate it both.

We saw Keiko the whale the day before he was flown to Iceland.  Greg joined a church choir.  The boys are still dancing.  If our life right now seems to be filled with our boys, that's because that is exactly how we chose it and want it to be.  They are growing so fast and constantly delight and amaze us, as they keep us seeing all the wonders of this magic world through their eyes.



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