Christmas 2009 – Renovations, Recreation and Speedos

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It’s hard to believe that it is time once again for our annual Christmas letter – time does fly when you are busy with a wedding, Hawaiian vacation, new baby and house renovations!  Now, I know that all of you have focused on different items in that last sentence – so let’s start at the beginning of the year.  It seems so long ago – but we managed to get Pat on a plane which flew over the ocean!  Of course, he probably would never have done it, if it weren’t for the fact that our son Tim decided to get married on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii!  On January 28th, at sunset, we were standing on Shipwreck Beach on the island of Kauai in our summer clothes, watching two beautiful young people get married in a Hawaiian ceremony.  Not only were we overwhelmed with the beauty of the beach and the ocean – but we were extremely happy that we weren’t back in Omaha freezing our tushies off!  We stayed in a cottage on the Navy base for a week and enjoyed everything about the island – mostly hiking and the warm weather.  Pat didn’t get to go fishing, but Tim did try to kill him several times by taking him on hikes that 20 year olds have a hard time completing!  Becky, Bob and even Grandma were able to come along for all of the fun – but we had to leave home Jenny, Mike and Elizabeth because they were getting ready to add another person to their family!  On April 2nd, we added another little person –  Liam Michael Clark – to the clan.  Liam is a very laid-back kind of guy and he finds his big sister totally hilarious!  Right now Lizzie loves him – but he hasn’t really started getting into her stuff yet.  I’m sure when the Princess realizes that the Prince has the same rights as she does – there will be heads rolling!  We weren’t able to take another vacation later in the year – since we had spent all of our money in Hawaii, so instead we are using our time to try to fix up the old barn.  We have managed to paint every room except our bedroom and are now working on the kitchen.  Taking down all of that stupid wallpaper made me want to open a vein – and tempers were short while that was going on.  Never, ever, ever again will I put up wallpaper – and if I do, I think I’ll just burn down the house rather than try to take it down!

Jenny’s family, as I already mentioned has grown by one.  Of course, adding one person has multiplied the amount of stuff in their apartment by 10!  Jenny is still working as a stylist for JC Penneys, as well as teaching pre-school at the YMCA – plus she is working on completing her degree in business.  Mike is a manager at Ace Hardware, as well as being in a band.  All of this is in addition to having Liam and Lizzie keep them very busy.  Lizzie is taking dance lessons where they are teaching her the finer points of being a princess of the realm.  She is definitely a natural!

Bob is going to University of Nebraska at Omaha full-time and working on his degree in English.  He is planning on starting to apply to law schools next year.  I think he wants to go into politics – I don’t know which is worse – a son who is a politician or one who is a lawyer!  Although, Bob has indicated that if he doesn’t get into law school, he would like to teach – and I think that is even scarier than the other two options – Bob teaching a bunch of impressionable kids – Oh My!

Tim and his lovely wife, Sanaz, have moved back to Omaha.  Tim left the Navy and is now in school full-time at University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He is working on an environmental science degree and is hoping to work for the National Park Service in the future.  No surprise there – he always wanted to live with the wolves and the bears – I’m just not so sure Sanaz will be happy with that!  Tim is still in the Navy Reserve – so he is hoping he will get to do some training overseas – the boy definitely has a travel bug!  Sanaz is working full-time at Younkers in the cosmetics and fragrance department.  She hasn’t run screaming from the room yet when she is around the whole dysfunctional bunch – so I think we will keep her!

Becky is finishing up her last year of nursing school at Creighton University.  She will graduate in May and is keeping her options open as to where she will go to work.  I think that she likes the idea of leaving Omaha for a little adventure (too much like her brother, Tim) – and we are hoping she goes somewhere we can spend a week of vacation.  We haven’t told her that yet – it might make her drop out of school!  She loves her nursing program and tells us stories of all of the gruesome procedures she gets to see – usually while we are eating! 

Pat and I are doing great!  As I said, we are doing some work on the house – it is slow since we would rather be going to a movie, or out to dinner, or shopping or going to the dentist — but we will eventually get it done!  You may remember that it took us 5 years to get the bathroom re-done, so we are actually ahead of schedule at this point!!  We do spend a lot of time enjoying the grandchildren – mainly because they still love us and don’t ask for any money!  Pat is exceptionally happy because he has playmates again – and of course, they both adore Grandpa because he does things that irritate both their mother and their grandmother!  I’ve been excited to have all of my children in close proximity for the first time in five years – I know Bob, Becky and Jenny are glad to have Tim home so he can listen to some of my nagging instead of it all being aimed at them!

We wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season — the weather may not be as warm as Hawaii in January – but may the love of those around you make you feel like you are basking on a beach in Hawaii.  We only ask that you not parade around the house in your bikini or speedo swimsuit – there are limits to what any family will accept as normal behavior – even ours!

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