(Highlights – Lewis: flight instructing in a Maule and a Pitts, accident – hits a tug, building a Lance Air IV for Dick Pratt; trying to sell Cri Cri, bought a new Cri Cri; Linda graduating Regents College, University of New York; Joseph: sings Robin Hood and Little John, shoots imaginary bears and bad guys; Melanie: crawls and can stand for a few seconds)
Lewis was recently released from being the Blazer A teacher in primary. He has been flight instructing independently at the Salt Lake International airport in a Maule (which is a specialized tail dragger used for landing off runways) and a Pitts (which is an aerobatic plane). Well, he was teaching in the Pitts until last week or so when he had a little accident while taxiing the plane. Someone left a tug (a little golf cart looking tractor) in the middle of the taxiway, the guy ran out of gas and left it there, and Lewis’ student didn’t see it (neither did Lewis) and they hit it. So the plane is in the shop for the moment. He’s also working with his brother Ken building a Lance Air IV airplane for a wealthy gentleman (Dick Pratt) in his garage. It’s a good learning experience to build a plane, but sometimes working with family is hard and the pay is lousy, I think we’ll all be glad when it’s finished. Lewis is also trying to sell his little twin engine plane (Cri Cri) because we bought a new one just like it with better engines. Why? Because although he did get 100 flight hours in multi-engine planes, we need more like 500 to be competitive I the flying-job market and the old plane required too much attention in repairs. The new one has more power and therefore also has potential as an air show plane – possible work?
Linda is serving as Relief Society chorister in her ward and Primary board member over music in the stake, both are low stress jobs and very enjoyable. My big announcement for this month is that I am finally going to graduate from college! I earned my associates degree from BYU in 1990, the same time Lewis got his BA from Westminster, but I have always wanted to finish a four year degree. I have been taking home study classes since Joey was born and trying to figure how to finish without leaving my children. I was studying math, but many higher level math courses aren’t available home study so I investigated BYU’s Degree by Independent Study program which is a liberal arts degree. However when they evaluated my transcripts they said I had about 100 credit hours to go even though I was a senior. The reason was they require one of this and one of that class specifically and my classes were more concentrated in one or two areas. For example at that time I had about 23 hours of math and it counted for only 2 hours because that was all the math they required. Same story throughout the transcript. Well I started taking the DIS (Degree By Independent Study) classes and found I could skip some classes by taking a couple CLEP tests so I started studying for those and in one of the books I found out about three colleges that have “external degree programs” where you take classes from any university and this place banks the credits and confers the degree when you’ve met their requirements. I wrote to all three, and finally ended up working with Regents College which is a part of the University of the State of New York, (BYU recommended them) and I’ve finally met the requirements for graduation!!! My degree will be a BS in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Math and secondary depth requirement in Psychology. Degrees will be conferred September 23, but it will take a while to get here. What am I going to do with it? Well I hope to use it to help my family in our home. I am grateful to be able to meet this goal in my life and I’m thankful to my family for their encouragement and support. Thanks.
Joey is 3 years old. He goes to Nursery and really enjoys it. He is very observant and intelligent. He sings “Robin Hood and Little John,” “You are My Sunshine” and parts of “I am a Child of God.” He loves to play with (and tease) his little sister, read stories, watch Disney movies, and fight the “bad guys.” He keeps our house safe by shooting all the bears he finds in the bushes [imaginary bears of course]. He’s great.
Melanie is 11 months old. She crawls around and walks with help. She can stand by herself for a few seconds and it won’t be long before she can walk. She has strawberry blond hair and a ready smile with 5 little teeth. She wants to talk and can imitate many sounds. She is a mama’s girl and has quite a temper. She’s as pleasant as sunshine… as long as mom’s holding her. She’s a delight. I love my children.
(Highlights – Lewis writes book “Flying at the Edge of Perfection”, Melanie in the peach bucket, first birthday, bee sting, Joey asleep on top of the filing cabinets & store tantrum, rode a horse at dad’s mission reunion)
Lewis has finished writing (for now anyway) his book Flying at the Edge of Perfection – Best Performance with Any Airplane. He’s made a few copies and had Kinko’s (copy store) bind them to sell to his students. So far he’s sold three. He’s also been working on writing his mission stories which I hope we can get published. Lewis is a talented writer and storyteller. Lewis’ favorite color is the color of the sky during a storm, a sort of deep blue gray.
Linda – my favorite color is green. It’s getting to be harvest time and I’ve been freezing zucchini, beans, peaches, and strawberries. I’ve also been drying peach leather and bottling pears. I had an embarrassing moment yesterday while I was at the store looking for a gift for Melanie’s birthday. Joey was quite content playing in the toy aisle, but when it was time to go, Joey decided he’d rather stay. I tried the old, “Well I’m going home, do you want me to leave you here?” “Yes, go on,” and he continued playing. No coaxing, pleading, or reprimanding worked, so I ended up walking down the aisle and out of the store carrying Melanie in one arm and Joey screaming in the other arm. What do you do when you have 3 kids?
Joey – my favorite color is blue. One day my mom was busy and suddenly noticed it was too quiet. She frantically hunted inside and out for me, but couldn’t find me anywhere. She checked my room to see if I was asleep, but still no luck. Pretty soon my dad found me asleep in Melanie’s baby car seat which was sitting on top of the filing cabinets. Don’t ask me how I got up there, it’s my secret. Today I rode a horse for the first time at a mission reunion at daddy’s mission president’s house (President Mervyn Arnold). Wow, just like a real cowboy.
Melanie – I had a birthday, now I’m one. I can walk a little, but not as well as my cousin Jessica. Mostly I walk until I fall down and then I crawl the rest of the way. When my mom was picking peaches the other day, I found the best place to sit and watch – in the basket full of peaches of course. My mom didn’t understand, she kept taking me out and putting me far away from it, but I persisted until she gave up. I got stung by a bee a few days ago on my finger and it swelled up like a balloon, but my mom took care of it with some homeopathy (apis mell.) and herbs and now I’m as good as new. I say “ma ma” and my mom does anything I want. It’s almost as good as crying!
(Highlights – 5th anniversary, sold 1st Cri Cri and bought a new Cri Cri, graduation celebration, Linda called as RS secretary, ballroom dance class, Joseph makes slings to get the bad guys; Melanie – gives kisses )
This month has been eventful for our little family. Lewis and I celebrated our 5th anniversary. Lewis sold his little airplane (yippee!) and the new one is almost ready to fly. Lewis has been painting it and getting the mounds of paperwork ready to register it with the FAA, and it’s getting inspected by the FAA today. I got a letter from Regents College, its official, I am a college graduate, and the diploma is on its way. I’ll get it in a few weeks. Mom and Dad took Lewis and I to dinner to celebrate at a place called “Erik’s” it was wonderful!
Lewis and I are taking a ballroom dance class together through the community education. I look forward to it every week. Lewis and I both got new church callings. Lewis is in charge of name extraction and I was released as a primary board member in the stake and called to be secretary in the Relief Society in my ward. We both have a lot to learn.
Melanie walks well now and says mama, ba ba (bottle), and hi, and she can give real kisses! Joey delights us with his stories; he has quite an imagination. He was pretending to be Ammon the other day and put rocks in his socks for his slings to get the bad guys. I pity anyone who tries to steal his sheep. We started having family home evenings regularly and reading scripture stories every night before family prayer and it has made a difference in our family. I am amazed at how quickly Joey learns. One of the conference talks mentioned that following the gospel plan has more positive effects on raising children than any child development techniques you learn in school and I testify that that is true from our experiences.
(Highlights – Lewis flies to VA to pick up Pitts, Linda diploma arrives)
Lewis’ big event of the month was his trip to Virginia to buy a Pitts Special (aerobatic bi-plane) for a friend and fly it home. The whole trip lasted four days. He got to eat dinner and visit with my sister Becky’s family the first night. I was jealous I admit. I couldn’t go because I was involved in our Stake’s “Night on Broadway” that was on one of the nights he was gone, (that and we couldn’t find a last minute babysitter for four days, and we didn’t have money for a plane ticket for me). I was in charge of getting two musical numbers organized for our ward to perform for the Stake. We had a group of young women sing “Matchmaker” (I sang with them and my mom played the piano) and I played the piano for a couple who sang a duet called “Love Song” from Pippin. It was a new experience organizing and setting up practices, choreographing, getting costumes and making things happen. It was fun, but stressful and I was glad when it was finally over.
I’ve been busy with Relief Society. Lewis is very supportive. He’s been watching the kids a lot lately. He’s wonderful. I sure love and appreciate him.
Joey was a green dragon for Halloween, Melanie was a clown. I was Little Red Riding Hood and Lewis was a cowboy. We went trick-or-treating as a family to some neighbors in our ward. It was fun.
Joey is becoming a real asset. Although he had enjoyed “helping” me do the dishes since he was 20 months old, his help is now actually becoming helpful. He can pick up his toys, put the utensils where they belong and run errands and messages to Grandma (who lives upstairs). He loves to read his scriptures and reminds me to read to him before he goes to bed. He loves Family Home Evening, especially playing hide and seek afterwards. Even Melanie is getting the idea. Melanie is getting her molars in and she is a bit cranky. She can still be very sweet though. She melts her grandpa into a pool of butter when she walks up to him and gives him a hug and a kiss. What great kids. We’re really blessed.
My diploma finally came from Regents College. Since my degree was earned through distance learning and the graduation was held in New York, I didn’t get to go, but I had graduation pictures taken and that was fun.
(Highlights – Bountiful Temple open house, San Diego trip, story in The Friend)
Our family enjoyed going through the Bountiful Temple open house this month. I was so excited to take Joey to the temple and let him see inside. I thought he would really enjoy it, but mostly he hated the little white plastic slippers they made everyone wear over their shoes, and he was so busy saying, “I hate these stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, white things,” that I don’t think he quite got the feeling of the sacredness of the temple that I had hoped he would feel. Oh well, I sure enjoyed it. What a wonderful place to be.
We went to San Diego and spent a few days with my brother Marlow and Lorra’s family this month. It was one of the nicest vacations we’ve ever taken. Marlow and Lorra are so hospitable. Lorra would make lunches for us to take as we went to Sea World and the Zoo. My nieces Wendy and Angela gave up their room so we would have a place to sleep. Lorra even watched our children so Lewis and I could go through the San Diego Temple (Wow is that spectacular!)
I wrote about the time when Lewis was a little boy and thought he could fly and jumped off the jungle gym and broke his leg and sent the story in to The Friend magazine. That was in September, and I finally got a response in November that they wanted to purchase my manuscript and use it. I am delighted. It isn’t a lot of money of course, but thousands of little children all over the world will be able to read it.
We wish everyone a very merry Christmas!