Christmas 1985

Season's greetings to you all!

Sigh! Last year at this time we were planning a week in Hawaii (sans children); we left right after Christmas and spent a week exploring Oahu, Hawaii, and Kauai. It was our first trip to our 50th state, and now it’s clear why many people who visit go back again and again. We returned to find Cathy laid low with mononucleosis, which cramped her style for a few weeks. She still managed to turn in winning performances for her high school swim team, but looked pretty beat much of the time.

After our solo vacation, we played hooky from school in February for a long weekend in Yosemite where we tried out cross-country skiing at the Yosemite Institute. David stayed with a friend, but he’s convinced that soon he’ll be old enough to join us. The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative: warm and sunny, but still lots of snow on the ground.

Beach camping was first on the agenda after school let out. Our trip coincided with some forest fires near the coast, and our campsite was blanketed with ashes. The dry heat was of no help to the firefighters and at times it was too hot for us, even with the water nearby.

At the end of the summer we spent a few days in northern California visiting friends, doing a little water-skiing and spending a wonderfully lazy afternoon rafting down the Sacramento River. We visited the State Fair while we were there and watched kayak races at Lake Natoma, in which several of Cathy’s friends won awards. Everybody’s favorite place was in the mountains outside of Redding, where we had a mini-reunion with college roommates and their families. All of us were trying to decide how we could sell everything and move up there — even our city-slicker kids!

Cathy got her driver’s license in the spring. Although this means there’s one more chauffeur in the family, Larry has discovered that this is not always a blessing; 3 people into 2 cars don’t go, and we sometimes come up short. So it looks as if we’ll be buying a third car soon. Jenny recently passed her written driving test, but can’t get her permit until February, when she turns 15 and a half. In the meantime she’s content to pass her classroom wisdom on to her parents: “Dad, what’s the speed limit here? Was that a complete stop? Is the turn signal broken? Mom, aren’t you following a bit too close?”

Since school started, Cathy’s been working at a new after-school job at our dentist’s office and Jenny’s been busy with speech and debate, taking 2nd place in her first competition. She’s also been helping in the production of children’s plays put on by a local group. Brian is occupied with soccer (his team is tied for first place this year) and finding his way around his new intermediate school. He started orthodonture this year; now we have four of us going! David is in an all-day kindergarten; he has an obsession with numbers and will finish the first-grade math book in a few weeks. In idle moments, he counts to himself. He usually stops at 3,000, but has been known to go higher. He knows most of his times tables and all squares up to 20! He has spent countless hours playing “Math Blaster” on the computer (although lately he has forsaken it in favor of arcade-type games).

Larry, still consulting at Litton, moved onto a multi-year project there some time ago. He’s writing software to test the latest generation of inertial guidance systems. At the moment his work week has escalated in an attempt to meet urgent deadlines in December and January. (I hope we don’t end up celebrating Christmas in February.) My teaching keeps me out of trouble mornings and a couple evenings. I have a 7th grade class at church which has accelerated my aging process considerably. Why is energy given to the young, instead of to those who would really appreciate it?

We’ve reached a milestone in our lives: five years in the same house! Now we’re paying the price: what was fresh when we moved in now needs painting or fixing up. We recently redecorated the kids’ rooms and repainted the garage. I suspect the coming year will find us involved in many more rejuvenation projects around the house.

We hope your holiday is a happy and joyful one!