Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Letter


Wow! What a year this has been for us. In some ways it seems a bit unreal. After living in our house in Farmington for 29 years I didn’t think we would ever leave. In October 2006 we became enchanted with a lot we walked by every morning on our hill climb. It is in a gated area where there will be 35 houses and someone will shovel the snow and mow our lawn. There is a wonderful wooded area in the back. After seeing a model of the house in Draper I was smitten and we began the process. In January we rented a storage unit and started to go through 29 years of pack ratted stuff. We needed to move—finally, there was pressure to sort and discard.

We put out a For Sale sign in late March and sold the house in 10 days. The new owners wanted to take possession in one month. Our new house would not be finished until the end of September so we moved everything we could live without into a storage unit and moved into an apartment in Kaysville.

The apartment ended up being an adventure in itself and I could write a couple of pages about it. I will just say that we threatened to call the police on our neighbors who had something noisy going on outside our front window night and day.

This time in transition wasn’t a rest. We refinished 19 chairs (three of them with upholstery) 3 tables, curtains for seven windows, a bedspread and various pillows. Mike made 2 stained glass windows. We also ended up finishing 28 doors and 14 panels for the cabinets in the new house but that is a long story that I will leave untold.

We had some summer trips planned but didn’t dare go anywhere because it was necessary to check in on the house daily as there were too many mistakes happening. Maybe this is what house building is always like. It wasn’t very fun.

We moved everything into the garage of the new house from the storage units and apartment the last 3 days of September. Then I walked 50 miles every day for three weeks opening boxes and finding a place for everything. Sometimes the place was DI or the dumpster. We didn’t sort and discard enough in the beginning. Mike may have done permanent hip damage carrying boxes. Two months later he is still hobbling around. This move nearly killed us both.

We love the house and feel lucky to be in such a beautiful place. It has so many convenient aspects that we will enjoy until we move to the rest home.

Late November we flew to San Diego and then drove to Ensanada Mexico to spend a week on the beach with the Whitmer and Johnston Families. Jared Johnston rode his motorcycle in the Baja 1000 race and his sister Tara rented a house that held 20 of us to be there and support him. It was a rest we needed.

Beau is still in LA working for Electronic Arts. He made a WWII video game this year. We see him every other week as he flies home to be with Michael. We taught Michael how to play baseball in our apartment back yard this summer. Mike got him his own golf clubs and hopefully now he will make him into a good golf partner. Michael started Kindergarten and is growing up too fast. I cherish his beautiful little soul. Colette is the best mom ever and a daughter we adore.

Maren was made manager of the new Tai Pan store in Clearfield. It was a great career advancement for her but she is paying the price this Christmas season with 14 hour days.
Ian moved to Portland the end of last year. A gallery sponsored a show for him in August. He worked very hard all summer oil painting 12 paintings for the show. It was nice to see him work hard and get some exposure.

Leif is in Seattle. He plans to get back in school this year, hopefully at the University of Washington. He wants to get a teachers certificate in photography. He has worked as a student mentor in a city photography program this year and likes working with young people.

The move put a big halt to my painting but I have a wonderful new studio and plan to get started again when the holidays are over. I did paint a still life that I had made into tile for my kitchen backsplash. It turned out to be a fun addition to the kitchen.

Mike’s days are numbered at work but we don’t quite know what that number is. He is only working half time now and may retire for good sometime next.

I try to write something regularly and teach a class on occasion to Relief Societies. In February I have a group signed up for a 6 week class in "Writing Family Stories."We are involved with about 6 people in a Spanish discussion group. Mike is our fearless leader. He has been great with lots of creative ideas to keep us learning. After 9 months we are seeing some progress. Mike just needs some immersion and he will be fluent. I just need more time to study and maybe I will progress. That is my new year’s resolution. I feel a Spanish speaking mission coming on.

I now have a blog and am excited about the prospects to share lots of ideas, recipes, stories and pictures. Check it out and please leave me a comment if you do. It is:

Life is good. I hope it is for you also.
Love, Charmaine

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Charmaine & Mike, It was great to read your Christmas letter and get a recap of what we watched you go through for the last year. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Maybe now you can relax and enjoy the coming year as you get ready for your next big adventure. You both have the great gift of being highly motivated. What a blessing it has been for all of us. Alicia & Garn