From our Family to you . . .


From Our Family to You:


“Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”  

-- Charles Dickens

Where to begin . . . . 1st, an apology for not sending one of these letters out last year, and 2nd, an apology for sending one this year J    But Barb insists!  “We need to tell everyone what is going on,” she says, looking at me with an eye of reproachful disbelief.  “What’s going on!,” I reply, “Mayhem!  Shear Mayhem!” J   But I have been reading my Dickens and realize that we have been somewhat like oysters – shut tight and uncommunicative -- to you for the past two years.  I am also wary of the fact that “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true”, but here goes anyway, youngest to oldest.

But first!  Barb insists that I tell you of our ‘Lympics adventures.  It started with us spending a lot of money buying tickets . . .  J . . . and ended with us spending a lot of money on pins . . .  But it is the only Olympics we’re likely to every see so we decided to throw ‘caution to the wind’ and provide all the family with at least one Olympic experience.  The Hockey game was great for the boys (sans Jeff – sorry Jeff) and the girls opted for soft and cuddly Ice Dancing.  Some of us got to go to the Super G and Barb (along with her Mom and sister) splurged even more and did Bobsled, Ski Jumping, and Cross-country.  The only real ‘adventure’ of the lot came in the Snowboarding event where, unfortunately, Christie and Jeff and the boys got mixed up, went to the wrong parking lot, were told that the event had been canceled because of high winds (it wasn’t’, but ski-jumping was), then after waiting (when they shouldn’t have, but were told to do so) got on, finally, the right bus only to have the event end as they were riding up to it.  But hey!  Those McDonald’s burgers and fries were great and they saw a lot of the giant parking lots in Park City J All in all we are glad we did it.  We all got updated winter clothes wardrobes – nothing great, but I looked really good in my beanie cap some said J . . . Ahem, and others disagreed -- and we had fun as a family.  One question:  What is it with women and Olympic pins!? 

Now where was I?  Oh yes . . . youngest to oldest . . .

Little Makenzy, now one (and 2 months) is our 2nd Grandchild.  She’s learning to talk and walks up a storm and is a regular little busybody when she visits Grandma and Grandpa (that’s us!) along with her sister Haylie.  Although our children are growing older, the world is renewed in innocence by our grandchildren – thank goodness!  J

Abby (Madame Abigail Ilish) is a dog, literally! . . .  and 2 years old now.  Why do we have a dog?  I DON'T KNOW!  I wonder the same thing.  Ask Barb. 

Turning to a much more pleasant topic . . .

Then comes Haylie, our oldest Grandchild, full of life and wonder, very precocious in word and phrase, and a great blessing to us (all).  Haylie is 3 right now, but will be 4 tomorrow as I write this.  I think we are going bowling for the party – I hope they put those bumpers up so that I can compete . . . J Unfortunately, I missed Haylie’s first pre-school singing program due to a business trip to San Diego, and am poorer for it.  But I get to see the movie! J

Next comes James, little James, but not so little anymore – 11 years old – and in Scouts along with Nick.  Now there’s a pair, Nick and James.  Over our bed, viewable when lying flat upon it, stuck to the doors throughout the house, and in seemingly every nook and cranny are two sheets of paper, mischievously pasted there by these two.  What are they?  Christmas lists – detailing all demands, complete with hyperlinks and pictures, laid out in very convenient manner . . . Hmm . . . I don’t remember this being the way I used to ask Santa . . . J    James is doing very well in school, rides skateboard, wants to snowboard, has his own room now (and sometimes even cleans it J  )

Nick, is a teenager . . . what?! . . . you didn’t get the public warning message we sent out!?  J   He’s in Junior High – doing well, and also skateboards like James.  He’s asked for a Desk-top stereo system for Christmas along with some really strangely titled CDs . .  and yet another skateboard.  I consider all of these requested gifts DANGEROUS!  J

Now to Pat – Patrick Hanley to be exact.  Pat is a senior in High School.  He works very hard in school and at Ben Lomond Heating & Air Conditioning (after all, a guy has got to have money to pay for that truck of his).  Pat has been nominated for the Air Force Academy and, if things work out, hopes to attend there next year.  If things do not work out, ‘Plan-B’ is to do ROTC at a fine University (which one? I ask, but remain uninformed.  But BYU or University of Utah seem to come up – although he teasingly keeps mentioning out-of-state something or other.  Might it be WHATSAMATTAU? J  ).  Long and short – Pat wants to be a pilot.

Christie continues to work at Lil’ Audrey’s Health Spa and date Jeff ‘The Truck’ (I quote from the last newsletter – “so named because of his exceedingly fine conveyance – much better than ‘The Beast’ he used to drive”).  Chris is doing well and we are glad to have her home with us for a little while at least.

Melissa, Brodie and Mika (a beagle ala snoopy) still live in their condo not far away from us.  There’ve been changes however.  Brodie moved to a new, and much better job, with Maverick Country Stores (An Oil & Gas Company – 7 states, 170 convenience stores – see -- also see for Brodie’s personal web site).  Melissa works full time at the DMV as a manager (a very tough job but she does well at it) and continues her studies at Weber State University. 

Jon, Misty, little Haylie, and little Mackenzy still live not too far away also.  Misty is a stay-at-home Mom now; while Jon works at Ben Lomond Heating and AC.  Both work very hard.  Jon is an avid and very skilled fly fisherman who ties his own flies, expertly, and makes his own rods . . . and sometimes he brings home little water critters so that he and I can look at them through the microscope.  In regards to Haylie and Mackenzy I can do no better than quote from the last news letter . . . . “many-a time helped me at the grocery store and then afterwards paid a visit to the ducks that live near the market . . . moments neither silver nor gold could ever buy.”

I (Steve) come next, being younger than Barb (not really . . . she’s two months younger . . . but this is an on-going controversy and family joke J  ).  Me?  I’ve sat at basically the same desk and changed companies 3 times (a sign of the times). First Thiokol, which turned itself into Cordant, which sold itself the Alcoa, which then divvied up the assets and sold the old Thiokol to Alliant Tech Systems (ATK) --  so now I work for ATK Thiokol.  Did you get that?   Anyway, I have continued to guard the motherland throughout all this J and work manufacturing systems, programming, and project management, and sweep the floors, and whatever, etc. 

Barb is, as always, a great Mom and Grandmother (and sweetheart too J).  She is Young Women’s President of our LDS Ward and spends a great deal of time in service to the young women of our neighborhood.  She doesn’t have much time between her children, grandchildren, and her church service for her Battenburg Bunny tole painting home business, but she’ll always be ‘Bunny Battenburg’ to us (and a bunch of telemarketers and junk mail senders too J ).  Writing of Barb makes me reflect on another great Dickens Quote; 

“Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it cannot be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues -- faith and hope.”

We do try to have Faith.  And we do Hope and Pray that the Holidays will find you in good spirits and in good health.

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Merry Christmas!! and have a Happy New Year!



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