Family Message from December 2002

By Dana ...

Dear Friends and Family,

        Four more seasons have come and gone ... Time passes so quickly while raising a family and catering to each one's special needs and desires. This was my first year away from the classroom after 15 years of teaching all ages in elementary schools, mostly 5th-6th, yet also other programs: afterschool, migrant, science mentor, and summer school. I do miss "teaching" but can't really complain as I am still the mother of seven children with whom I am trying to impart the "lessons of life". For this I am learning to lean more and more on my creator and God to guide me through each day.

Dana During our winter vacation to Lake Tahoe, we discussed the idea of selling my rental home to purchase something in Tahoe. We fell in love with a lovely custom home built by a contractor for his family that backs into the El Dorado National Forest. We let it go for several months, and finally I convinced Dale to buy it last spring. We worked ardently throughout the spring and into the summer to furnish it as a vacation rental to help pay the mortgage. What an amazing amount of work!!! ... from varnishing pine furniture to buying everything from appliances and cooking supplies to sheets, pillows, and comforters. We are equipped to sleep 15-20 people plus air beds, so let us know when you need a vacation! Dale's brother Adam even designed and developed a website for us to advertise our Lake Tahoe properties.

Dale When the stock market plummeted, Dale also decided to invest in some single family rental homes. I have been overwhelmed with purchase contracts, escrow, title and insurance companies and rental agreements. All of the family has been involved in some way to help run the new family business. My brother Brad has been our right hand as the contractor to landscape the yards and install needed appliances while brother Spencer has been our realtor and property manager. The girls have each helped in a special way. It truly is a family business, which Dale named DMA Properties (Danny, Moe and Aaron - the Pet Boys).

Elisabeth It seems like only a few years back when my little haired girl, "Elisabeth", was born, yet this year she turned 21! She worked extremely hard this year helping organize the vacation and rental home office. I knew her coming back home to be my assistant, the boys' nanny, and attend college on the Internet was too good to be true and wouldn't last long, especially when she announced her engagement to her fine young "soul mate" named Terrell Thomas. They promised their love and devotion last August 18th high on a knoll among the hills and trees of Pepper Canyon. Dale says we all "arose to the occasion" to share in their small ceremony of Bible verses, songs, luminous bubbles, and a delicious homegrown feast. Congratulations to the newlyweds who now reside in Clarksville, Tennessee where Terrell is stationed in the Army.

Rachel Rachel passed another milestone in her life graduating from Pacific Grove High School this past June. Over the summer she traveled to Spain with her Spanish class where she suffered only mild culture shock. She worked as a hostess in two restaurants throughout the spring and summer, and recently began working as a receptionist in Dale's medical office this fall. She has also helped in the real estate business office compiling binders of instructions and appliance manuals for the rental homes. However, after this short reprieve from school, she has decided to attend the local Junior College this winter semester to broaden her horizons and career choices. I hope she explores her artistic as well as intellectual capabilities.

Rebekah Rebekah is in her senior year of High School in independent studies and hopes to return to Pacific Grove High to graduate this spring. She moved to a room in Pacific Grove in order to finish school there. She is doing extremely well and favors history overall, aspiring to a career in the legal field. She is still in love with her high school sweetheart, Matt. Moshe and Aaron love and miss her as one of their favorite sisters and demand she comes over to baby sit and play with them. She also works with us cleaning the rental homes as well as in the office.

Juliana Juliana entered high school this fall .. Truly my "baby" of the girls is growing up ... with make-up, boyfriends and all. I wish I could slow the clock down! She is still so disappointed after our move that she can't attend her "old" school in Pacific Grove. We tried a couple of private schools, and she eventually decided to do independent studies at home. She is doing well academically, yet misses the social involvement. She wants to start gymnastics and possible equestrian classes to she if she really wants the responsibility of a horse. Life has certainly slowed down way too much for her since last year in the cheerleading fast lane.

Moshe experimenting Moshe, now 5, entered kindergarten last fall. He is learning to read, write and add... constantly asking what's 2+2, 4+4, 8+8, 16+16 and so on! Besides learning the usual ABC's and reading, he and his brother enjoy the chants we've made up to learn the North and South American country puzzles. He too has a girlfriend named Amy who lives next door in Tahoe. He just gave her five rings from the bubble gum machine for the holidays (discreetly asking her if she is Christian or Jewish). He's starting a little too early... eh? Well last week he literally let go of mamma's waist straps so to speak, and went snowplow skiing straight down the mountain from the top of the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort to the bottom all day long. He professes to be a hotdog skiier!!!

Aaron and playmate Aaron, now 3, says he is "The Little Boy who loves Thomas", and thoroughly enjoy playing with his many wooden and plastic trains. He can name every train relating and reenacting all their true adventures which he hears from the books and videos. We even went to Roaring Camp to see "Thomas" as he travels around the countryside. His favorite color is "lellow" just like his hair, but he also favors green. When learning about North America, Aaron thought he'd love to travel to Iceland until he heard about the volcanos and ice ... which scard him off a little. He does love hiking and demands to hike up the hill by our house daily, even at night by flashlight. We've just begun to explore the forest behind the Tahoe house where Aaron loves to climb on the hills of boulders.

Daniel with Dana Daniel, now 15 months, is my baby bundle of joy. He has sandy brown hair which curls into ringlets on his little head. He's always smiling, that is until its bedtime or one of his bully brothers pushes him down. He started walking a few months back and toddled for quite some time. It didn't take him long until I found him climbing up the steps and walking down the path that leads up the hill behind our house. He reminds of a little "Daniel Boone" with his outdoor adventurous spirit. He enjoys hiking up to the chicken coop to get the eggs, running around with the dogs, and planting in the garden with mommy especially when he gets to eat fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and melons which he feasted on all summer.

Well that just about sums up our highlights for the year. We continue to share many happy occasions, simchas, on birthdays and holidays with friends and family, and look forward to many more in the New Year with all of you!

Dana and the boys

(Left) Dana with Moshe, Aaron and Daniel and a real-life choo-choo train.

Rachel, Rebekah and Juliana at the table (right).

the girls

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