Christmas Letter – 2005
I’m writing this letter with wrinkles on my face (discovered in October by Sarah), age spots on my hands (discovered by Darell) and a few gray hairs (discovered by myself).
This year two themes kept reoccurring throughout the year: Journey & Family. As we get older, our family and extended family seem to be more important than ever and spending as much time with them is priceless. Darell has always believed in the words
“Life is a journey, not a destination”.
The Lord has blessed us and we have so much to be thankful for in 2005, here is our journey.
In January, Grandpa Bob (Darell’s Dad) drove up from Ohio to watch Rebecca play in a Greater Northwest Basketball tournament. Rachel was also in a jump-roping contest the same weekend.
In March, our family was fortunate enough to travel to Hawaii (the big island). We joined Nana and Papa (my mom & dad) and Lisa & John (my sister & brother-in-law). We stayed at one of mom and dad’s time-shares. Dad was our tour guide. After sightseeing the entire island for five days, Sarah begged Papa to go back to the beach for the second time to rent boogie boards & ride the waves. On Good Friday part of the gang went deep-sea fishing and Darell caught a 280# Blue Marlin. The kids had so much fun in Hawaii that they are planning a trip back, next time they want to go to Maui. It took me over 40 years to get there the first time, something is wrong with this picture!
In June, Grandpa Bob came up to visit. He joined us for the girls dance recitals and softball tournaments.
In July, the girls went to Williamsburg, VA and Hilton Head, SC for two weeks with Nana & Papa. Darell flew to Williamsburg to take the girls to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. I stayed home and had a thrift sale, again something is wrong with this picture! (Really, I didn’t have two more weeks of vacation).
In September, Darell journeyed 700 miles back home to Ohio on his Victory Vegas motorcycle. He wanted to surprise his dad and see if he could make the trip on his bike. Ah, but he also had to get back to Eau Claire on his bike, another 700 miles. He made it in one piece, although his throttle arm was a little sore. Ever heard of cruise control for motorcycles? Me neither.
In October, we had our first annual (and possibly our last, the verdict is still out) Hawaiian Luau complete with a pig roast. We celebrated Rebecca and Rachel’s birthdays. Over 80 family, friends and neighbors attended. Whew! Once again Grandpa Bob made the eleven-hour trek to Wisconsin to join us.
In October, I had two minor accidents within three days. Just a little reminder from the Lord that he is in charge. Once in a while he likes to test me to see just how much I can take! I should be good for a while. The first accident I had with our new van that only had 1400 miles on it. A lady was in a hurry and tried to pass me on the left as I was making a left turn into a driveway. Ah ha! That’s why I had slowed down! Thank goodness for insurance and that no one was hurt. The lady that hit me was uninsured. Then two days later on Rebecca’s birthday I was taking her and her girlfriend to school and backed out of our neighbor’s driveway and backed into a parked car. The expedition only needed a new taillight but the other ladies vehicle needed a new window, mirror and door. Again, I say thank goodness for insurance and that no one was hurt.
In November, my Granny celebrated her 90th birthday. All the relatives had a very nice party for her. Overall she is in good health, her knees bother her but her mind & memory are still as sharp as tacks.
For Thanksgiving, our family traveled to my brother Scott’s in Ely, MN. There were sixteen of us total. Between Scott’s four boys and our three girls there are seven cousins between the ages of 13 – 6. They all get along and play well together. Imagine no TV, electronic games or phone for four days! Just fun playing Risk, Trouble, Go Fish, Michigan Rummy, Ship, Captain and Crew, Cribbage, putting together two 1000 piece puzzles, baking, sliding, interviewing Granny, reminiscing, etc. Darell took some fabulous pictures with his new digital camera. After all these years I’m finally starting to rub off on him. He is finally seeing the importance of taking pictures and taking more than me. Now that’s hard to imagine!
For Christmas, Darell’s brother Scott and his wife Aimee, and Grandpa Bob are coming to visit. This is the first time that Scott and Aimee have joined us for Christmas. They wanted to experience an “Olson Christmas”. Mom and Dad go all out decorating and entertaining; it’s truly something to experience.
Rebecca is thirteen, in the seventh grade and started middle school this year. She loves school. She got straight A’s first quarter. She is our social butterfly. She plays volleyball, basketball (GNBL traveling team & CASE), and softball, will go out for track in the spring, dances (tap, ballet, & jazz), plays both the clarinet and bass clarinet in the band, and is in the cribbage club.
Rachel is eleven and in the fifth grade. Rachel also got straight A’s first quarter. Rachel has an itinerary for everything. She is very driven and motivated. (Typical middle child, oh how I can relate!) Rachel has no clutter in her room and has practical things on her Christmas list; you know the typical things that an eleven-year-old girl would ask for (socks, twisties, lip balm, lotion, mechanical pencils, etc). Last year she even had hand sanitizer on her list! Rachel plays volleyball, basketball (GNBL traveling team & CASE), softball, dances (tap, ballet, & jazz), and plays the trumpet.
Sarah is seven and in the second grade. We just found out that St. Olaf’s will be closing next year and Sarah will have to attend another school in the CASE system. She started basketball this year at the YMCA, is in her third year of dance (tap & ballet), is in Girl Scouts and plays softball. Sarah has ATTITUDE (you know the hand on the hip, toe pointed out and roll your eyes kind of attitude). She is the comedian of the family. Last week she purchased some Billy Bob hillbilly teeth (crooked teeth) for $4.11 at Whiz Kids, a toy store. Only my Sarah! Yes, she is the one who discovered that her mom has wrinkles on her face and extra skin under her chin. This is what happens when the good Lord decides that you should have your last baby when you are almost thirty-five years old. Nothing goes unnoticed with Sarah! She is our informant, our tattletale. She even felt the need to call me at work one day to inform me that Rebecca and Rachel were fighting. Do you ever wonder why only moms get these types of phone calls at work and not dads? Me too! Last week I was getting dressed for work and put on a long underwear top to wear under my sweater, I like two layers when it’s this cold. She asked, “Is it pajama day at work today?” I just laughed to myself and told her that I wished that it was. She is truly our princess!
Sorry this letter has gotten so long. Please stop by if you are in the area. Our phone number is (715) 832-4085 and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t guarantee that the kitchen table won’t have papers piled high & that there won’t be dirty laundry but as the old saying goes, “A clean house has an uninteresting person living in it!”
Peace to your family and wishing you a happy and healthy 2006.
Darell, Renee, Rebecca, Rachel & Sarah