Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

As I sit here, listening to the crackling of a virtual fire on the flat screen (funny, I still feel cold) and Christmas music blasting on the ipod dock, I notice a streak of chocolate on my hand. Oops. Missed a spot when I cleaned up from making toasted walnut chocolate glazed biscotti. From old-fashioned baking projects (peanut butter bars - check - microwave marshmallow fudge - check - biscotti - cooling; cupcakes to do for tomorrow) to online everything, Christmas certainly looks different this year!

With the time crunch, I decided I would go virtual and post our annual Christmas letter on my blog. I want you to know this is a hard choice. I'm one who values tradition and doing it the same way. Twenty five years of Quantrell Christmas letters. I guess I'm ready for a few changes. Biscotti has never been on my holiday baking list nor a digital Christmas letter. Changes, here we come.

The Quantrell family had an eventful 2011. Time marches on, and we certainly feel the effects creeping up on us, from scrambling for cheaters to read small print to more aches and pains upon waking to the difficulty of keeping up with a two-year-old and a 4 month old! But enough about us old folks.

Dad Quantrell passed away on March 29. Bill has had poor health for quite a few years due to stroke issues. But what got him was complications from pneumonia. It was a sad but peace-filled day. He is missed greatly, but we know he is no longer suffering and we are quite sure he is chatting away with everyone he meets.

Taylor has completed his full time obligation with the US Army. He is now in the Army Reserves out of Ft. Lewis. He is employed with D.R. Brown Trucking in Yakima. This job is a perfect fit for our super-mechanic. He did end up with stitches within the first 2 weeks of working there (some heavy engine thing fell on his hand - don't ask, I have no idea, truck engine parts are another language for me - and you know diesel engines are HUGE and HEAVY). Our boy loves being covered in grease from head to toe, so the job is a perfect fit. He now gets paid to be dirty. Taylor is close enough to go check on Grandma Q. at lunch, call mom and dad, and visit Grandma and Grandpa Hill up on the mountain.

On August 5, Taylor and Jamie were married at Ft. Simcoe. What a beautiful wedding! Despite the appearance of hordes of yellow jackets at the rehearsal (they wanted fried chicken), we survived with barely any small visitors the day of the wedding. Many family and friends traveled way out to Ft. Simcoe to help celebrate the big day. We are happy to welcome Jamie (formally, as they've been together for about 7 years before the wedding) as our daughter. They are renting a little place near Harrah, where Jamie is teaching preschool at the same school I teach. (Only minor confusion about which Mrs. Quantrell people are talking about or looking for...)

Chelsie, Collin, and Hayden had a lovely addition to their family on August 23. Khloe Chevelle popped out weighing 9# 1/5 oz. Big girl! Poor mama was ready (we thought she might surprise us at the wedding, but no, had to be induced one week late). Hayden loves his little sissy, even if she does hog attention from him. We love hearing that little voice shouting, "Nana, 'are you?" (Nana, where are you?) as he comes into the house. We cannot, however, keep up with him! Mommy is getting ready to go back to YVCC and study radiology while daddy works many, many hours at Pepsi. Chelsie also works part time with Kevin at Keith & Keith and Langevin-Mussetter - and she helps take care of Grandma Q.

Kevin still works at the Dignity funeral homes in Yakima and Wapato. He is part time and does the bulk of running around for them. Between work, taking care of momma, and working with Amplify (the little church start we are working on), he can count his free time on one hand. I do enjoy his flexible schedule, as he is Mr. Me and has dinner started most days when I get home from school! What a great guy. Think I'll keep him. It has been 26 years...yes. I think I will keep him.

I'm still teaching at H.C.C.S. This year I am living in the kindergarten room! I love that age. It does require a different sort of energy level than what was needed for 2rd-3rd grade...We get to do lots of fun things. I'm still writing for WMU, but not as much. I want to write more, but with school schedules, classes I've had to take, and life in general...there is NO TIME. (Hence the electronic Christmas Letter. haha)

Trips this year, a scant few, but memorable - Las Vegas to be in my cousin's wedding (Elvis did the ceremony!), Whidbey Island for me (college friends 30th reunion), our high school class 30th reunion, a few runs to Seattle...Wow. Not much happening on the trip schedule. Bigger plans for next year. After all, it's not often that one of us turns the big 5-0.

This December finds us just finishing our Christmas tasks with a day to spare. Whew. I'm eating carefully, as my temporary crown (Happy Christmas to me and a wonderful school vacation) has my jaw sore and sensitive. I've got to do better planning. I also have my annual physical next week. Not a good time with all the special treats that have been coming our way. Next year, new goal. No doctor or dentist appointments allowed for Christmas vacation. That's a great idea, Mrs. Quantrell!

The cooling biscotti are calling me for packaging. My kindle is ready to be enjoyed. Cupcakes are needing baked for Baby Jesus birthday treats. Gifts are strewn about the office floor dreaming of which wrapping paper they will receive. The daily walk needs to be enjoyed, dinner awaits preparation, and a quiet evening with my honey needs relishing before our Christmas Eve candlelight service and Christmas Day celebrations.

(Sometimes, you just feel like lying on the grass...)

May the Lord bless and smile upon you and your family during 2012!

Hugs and kisses from the crazy Q's.

And who knows how I ended up with blue font??? Didn't know that was an option...

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