Monday, January 01, 2007

2006 on a Ritz - Our Christmas Letter

This year the letter duty has fallen to me. Our normal pattern is to comfortably wait until after Christmas then send an email. So please note that this was at least typed before Christmas this year. Whether or not you are reading it before Christmas is another thing. This has been an interesting year with several milestones and a few kidney stones. I suppose we’ll start out with me as I am the one writing this:

I am still working as a programmer/web designer/printing setup guy/database guru/video guy/audio guy/a lotta other stuff guy. I have had my hands in many varied projects which has forced/allowed me to expand my skill-base and knowledge of my industry.

My business is still running under Dad’s capable hands. He has really earned his dollar this year. I developed our own shopping cart system which will allow us to customize the heck out of it. This not only saves us money, but gives us a lot more flexibility with our promotions.

I have been writing a lot, focusing my time on two different books. One of them has been completed in first draft, and is currently undergoing a rather sweeping revision. I have had a few test readers, all of which loved it. I have a goal to finish this draft in the coming month, then do another revision to smooth it out and expand it further. As it sits now, it tells the complete story, but it is about half as long as it should be to hold its own as a novel. My second book, which I think is even better, is around 2/3 of the way done in first draft.

I have been sick for the bulk of the last 3 months. I started out with a very nasty case of Bronchitis which left me with a dry hacky cough. I went back to the doctor for that, and was told that it was just part of the recovery. Two months went by with nightly coughing fits. I finally went back in and had a chest x-ray done, and was told I have pneumonia. They also said that I have an enlarged heart. I am still waiting for my doctor to hook me up with the cardiologist.

Erica has been the queen of everything this year. She started her own scrapbooking business which works a lot like a tupperware party, but more fun. She invites the women-folk from my family, and a few others sprinkled in. Erica demonstrates the latest nifty gee-whizzies, everyone oohs and ahhhs, and then buys stuff.

Several people have come to her in a panic, wanting to do a scrapbook for Christmas, but feeling overwhelmed. Erica stepped right in and either helped them, or did the work herself.

The ward has made good use of her as well. She has been working very hard in the Relief Society in the Enrichment committee until she was released recently. This demanded a lot of her time and energy. She is also a weekly episode for the nursery and sharing time crowds. In sharing time she is “Sister Spotlight”. She dons an apron with colored spots on it, takes a flashlight, and does a spotlight on one of the kids. She is a hit. She also is the singing lady for the nursery kids. She has immortalized the “Slippery Fish” song.

I know that she is overwhelmed most of the time with her many activities and pressures. I want all of you to know that she is a wonderful wife and mother who we all love very much, even though our housekeeping skills don’t show it. She puts up with a lot and gives of herself almost to her bounds. She is a friend to everyone, and everyone loves her.

Clinton has been banging on the drums about 80% of the year. He has been in Marching band, Concert Band, Drumline, district band, and several other things. He is very impressive, and is a standout in his various groups.

He turned 16 this year which means the onset of many things. He earned his drivers license, went on his first date, and started high school. As always, he gets excellent grades. He took the PSAT and his results showed that if this had been the SAT, he would have scored 1600 on it. A quick Google on colleges/universities that would accept him with that mark showed that he could pretty much name his school.

He and I have enjoyed trying our own mini versions of some of the Mythbusters tests. I am happy to say that much fun was had with no injuries.

James began Jr. High this year and has also taken up the drums. This makes the third instrument he has attempted. He has taken piano lessons for several years, and has been learning guitar.

We enjoyed a month in the summer and short visit for Thanksgiving with him this year. We plan to see him after Christmas as well.

James will turn 13 in February. He is a great kid, and we miss him very much. Kayden talks about “Jamesie” all the time, and even sleeps on his bed.

Kayden started Elementary school this year. So if you are keeping track, we had a child start high school, one start Jr. High, and one start elementary school. Kayden is a fun-loving boy who loves everyone, and they love him back.

This year some progress has been made on his conditions, but still no diagnoses. He has been wearing leg braces for quite awhile. We call them his “legs”. These help keep his foot flat to the ground and prevent him from walking on his toes. He also underwent surgery recently for a muscle biopsy that will hopefully shed some light on the problems. He just had a botox injection each of his calf muscles with the intent of paralyzing the muscle that makes him walk on his toes.

As always, he is a little computer buff, always wanting to play a game with me. His “Moo” can be heard throughout the day as he plays various games.

Kayden is a sweet little guy, and we love him to pieces. He won’t eat anything though. It is a battle every evening to get him to eat. If he had his druthers, he’d have a gallon of root beer and candy.

We got to be bell ringers for the Salvation Army a few weeks ago, so I put Kayden on my shoulders doing our version of Bob Cratchet and Tiny Tim. We also let him stand by the pail by himself ringing the bell. He got lots of smiles and donations.

Overall things have seemed hectic, but we are all alive, and we even smile sometimes.

We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, and take some time to reflect on the things that matter most. It isn’t about the presents, it isn’t about the decorations. It is about a baby born in less than ideal conditions that grew to change the world and eternity for all of us. God bless us every one.

Dave (CheezWeezil), Erica (DramaMama), Clinton(The Large Drummer Boy), James (The Bug/Smaller Drummer Boy), and Kayden (The Bear).

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At January 03, 2007 10:47 AM, Blogger Jillian said...

What a wonderful update, Davido.

Delighted to boast that I had a sneak-peek at that great family photo prior to your having published this blog entry.


When do you next get to spend some time with The Bug?

And how is your cough?

And did I tell you that I bought Jonathan a Star Trek TNG communicator pin complete with SOUNDBOARD?

He is an official, full-blown GEEK now. :)

At January 04, 2007 4:10 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Wonderful photo and letter :) I just managed to get mine out before christmas this year!

Sounds like you all had a great year, despite the colds and being sick :)

Happy New Year~

At January 15, 2007 6:56 PM, Blogger Shane said...

sounds like a lotta good stuff. Hope your 2007 is better and hack-free.




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