Hellriegel’s 2010 Holiday Newsletter (a must read!)
Another year has whipped by and we find ourselves back at the holiday newsletter time of year. In short, we are all alive, healthy, and wiser(?). So if you want to skip the rest of this newsletter, please go ahead, just remember to recycle it (it would make a lovely wrapping paper for my gift)!
The kids are all doing well. We still have three (I haven’t killed anyone….yet). J (20) is living with his dad and working at Toys R Us. At least he has a job in this lousy economic time. My wife and I are still both working so that is great news, right? It was one of my best years in real estate and my school photography business is still solid. It just goes to show that if you actually do a great job, your clients will stay with you!
What about the younger kids that inhabit our home, drain our energy, and think I am awesome? K (8) is in 2nd Grade and is developing my sense of humor! Thank God for that! Rest assured that after I’m dead and gone, she’ll continue to bring that sick and twisted Hellriegel sense of humor to your lives. She complete her first year of soccer (loves it), bridged over from Daisy Scouts to Brownies, continued ballet (now switched to Jazz), and went on a Dad and Me Camp (Girl Scouts) with me (where I was the coolest Dad around-at least I thought so).
H (12) is now in the 6th Grade and in his last year at elementary school. As a pre-teenager, we are seeing the switch in his attitude from child to obnoxious son. He believes 20 minutes of arguing is better than doing the five minutes of work he is arguing against doing. He played indoor soccer and outdoor soccer, is now in Boy Scouts (following his old man & uncle on the path to Eagle Scout), came in 3rd Place in popcorn sales for the troop (thanks to me!), and has long hair (unlike me!). I attended summer camp with H for a week (Camp Piggott) where he earned 5 merit badges (compared to only 3 that I earned my first time at summer camp). You’ll be pleased to know that he too has my sense of humor (much to my wife’s dismay). Perhaps that is why he likes to argue so much?
Vacation Trips: Don’t get too excited; our vacations are usually pretty boring, road trip style because I’m such a frugal person (or cheapskate as my wife likes to say). Our school vacations were also cut short because of the teacher’s strike so we did mini-vacations. We went to Portland, OR over the New Year’s Break and we rode the Portland Streetcar around (because H and I are train geeks) while my wife humored us. Luckily, we are grooming K to be a train geek as well…soon there will be another (insert evil laugh here). We also bumped into one of the four people I know in Oregon right at Powell’s Bookstore. Man, there goes my chance to win the PowerBall Lottery with a random run in with a friend named (get this) “Chance”. Seriously, that is actually true and his actual name.
We did our annual trip to Lincoln Rock for a week in June (out of the rain!). Then we did a freezing cold Oregon Coast trip (in July) with temps of 40-60 degrees. I was blamed for the cold weather (not my fault, it’s an act of God ok?). Overall, Oregon Coast was fun because we had extended family camping trip with campfires and family time. We also managed to make it another time to the warmth of Eastern Washington and a waterslide park. We did a few trips to the Anderson Island cabin. Since I’m the oldest of the children and can blame all the broken things on my brother and sister, we had a raging party with 100 of my closet friends from the tavern (at least that is what my father firmly believes).
Additional Members of the Family: This year we added a rabbit to our family named “Puppy” (that was his name before we got him). I renamed him “Zoltron: Destroyer of Planets”. It sounds more Star Trek-ish and manly (if those two terms can go together). No offense to the folks that speak “Klingon” in their spare time (i.e. no social life). Our dog Shelby turned 10 in February and is greatly loved by the kids (who don’t seem to remember to feed her or pick up her poop unless it is on the bottom of their shoes).
My wife had some good “Girlfriends without Whining Husbands and Demanding Children Trips” with a wine tour to Lake Chelan and a trip to the Oregon Coast. Thank God, I had stocked up on Pop Tarts (a most delicious dinner!), peanut butter, and insane amounts of hot dogs. What else would we eat when she is gone? McDonald’s? With each vacation my wife takes without me, our marriage grows stronger because now I can bank more days into my “Dad Alone Vacations”! I’m up to 16 weeks of vacation now. Hmm, an extended trip to Europe by myself? Maybe a trip to South America? Or a couch surfing trip to NYC (hint, hint Cousin Stephen and his wife Melissa)? Truth be told, I like to use my vacation with my family and hold it over my wife’s head as an evil overlord. This way I can “feel” better about myself (and still keep those vacation days in the bank!).
The end of the year brought us Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Thanksgiving was bittersweet because of the snow and we stayed at home instead of getting away to Anderson Island.
Other News: I continued on in my Aikido class and passed my 5th kyu (I’m “grasshopper” like in the TV series Kung Fu). I also had 11 Cub Scout finish up their Cub Scout careers and me as their Den Leader in February. Then I got sucked into an Assistant Scoutmaster position (hence my week long “vacation” at Boy Scout camp instead of Hawaii). Actually, we are in a good troop and H and I are both having fun.
Between my endless hours of wasting time on Facebook and watching TV (mostly reality shows), I have mostly neglected my family and household duties this past year. However, I did manage to write more on my blog (which I wholeheartedly encourage you to read on a weekly basis). Is it as funny as the newsletter or my various Facebook status updates? Sometimes. Will you get more of my weird sense of humor? Of course!
Feel free to call us or stop by the house anytime you happen to be in Kent!
Warmest Holiday Wishes,
Kevin & Family!