Dear Family and Friends,
The highlight of our year was a car trip to Kirtland and Nauvoo with Janet's mom. It was just like National Lampoon's Summer Vacation. Our car broke down the first day and was in the shop the whole second day. We had whiny teenagers and small kids that had to use the bathroom. We did three days sight seeing and four days driving. We did get to see corn and soybean fields all across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (both ways)! When we got home, we asked our kids which of all the church history sites they liked the best: Kirtland Temple, Nauvoo Temple Site, Carthage Jail, the Whitney Store, Joseph's, Emma's, and Hyrum's grave site--or the Speedway at Indianapolis. They exclaimed unanimously: "The pools at the motels!"
CHELSEA turned six this year and is in the first grade. She is just like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh--always bouncing around. Chelsea is a Barbie fanatic and loves to design new clothes for the doll. It's scary, especially the Ken doll outfits. Her favorite subject in school is math, and she is determined to do her best, especially on the timed tests. She has joined the neighborhood gang and can often be seen hanging out on the street corner, chalking the gang's graffiti all over the sidewalks and street. They've even taken to mounting their bikes and riding as a pack to terrorize the court around the corner.
BROOKE turns 12 at the end of the month. She set two school athletic records at the end of 5th grade last spring. This fall she played soccer for the first time, which, we must point out, had no connection whatsoever with the fact that her team came in last in the league. She started playing the flute at school and is using the same flute Janet used in High School. Yeeuuchy! Instead of being blood brothers, they are slobber sisters.
RYAN will turn 14 in January and is in the eighth grade. He has taped about 30 episodes of The Simpsons (the cartoon, not the trial) back to back on the same video tape. He and his friends watch it over and over and over--so much so that they repeat the dialogue to each other as the tape plays. In between episodes of the Simpson's, Ryan finished the dreaded project and all the merit badges for Eagle Scout. Now comes the hard part--paperwork! He should have his board of review sometime in January.
STAN (16 going on 25) is in the eleventh grade. He got his permanent driver's license, a part-time job, and a haircut all in the same year! One month he ran up a $50 AOL bill, so we canceled his account. He showed us by running up a $90 phone bill the next month. (We will get even when he least expects it!) The really embarrassing part is that the calls were to a girl in California he 'met' on AOL. (Everyone start singing. . . "And they called it, Cyber-Love.") He bought a drum set (so now he has two). He invites his friends with electric guitars to come over and 'jam' in our basement. On a completely unrelated topic, I have lost most of my hair and Janet has developed a twitch in her sleep.
Stan's explanation of how he was planning to pay off his phone bill.
JANET would not be happy unless she was over scheduled and over extended. Her piano business is thriving; she continues as a counselor in the Relief Society; and repeats as a volunteer at the school. She recently took off one Friday morning for Williamsburg with one of her friends. We did not see her again until late Saturday night. She's also starting to feel the effects of middle age: aching joints, creaking bones, fading freckles, and a longing for grandchildren--or maybe she just wants to send our children home with somebody, anybody.
CALVIN cheated on a deal he made with Janet. She said if he lost 10 lbs., he could buy more RAM for his computer. Well he lost 8 pounds and bought the memory on the promise of losing the other two. Janet is still waiting! Calvin has almost completed his 5th year as Scoutmaster and was recently given the 'Scoutmaster Award of Merit' by the Blue Ridge District. He recently talked his employer into four 11-hour days instead of five 10-hour days. Well, as soon as the Stake President got word of that, he and Janet were called as Ordinance workers at the Temple. There is no rest for the wicked!
We've included some pictures that highlight the best of 1996.
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