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Christmas 1984

Dear Friends,

Things have been quite topsy-turvey with us of late. Gene has been working his strange hours at home now for almost a year, but the extra denero is starting to manifest itself a bit. We bought a new dishwasher (his name is Raymond), and finally broke into the ranks of the twentieth century families with the purchase of a microwave (a micro-microwave; it's one of those little guys), and a compact disk player for the stereo system (got to have the hi-fi toys). We plan on re-doing the bathroom this winter, and on getting some sort of VCR, and as soon as the town will let us, we will rebuild the deck that is almost falling down (something about being too close to the lot line. I'll leave it to the lawyer).

The biggest thing by far, though, was a trip to Ireland in September. We left the kids with Gene's sister Gerry (what a trooper!), and scurried around the lower half of the emerald isle for a week. We visited quite a few of Gene's relatives (he's been there before), and put many a mile on the built-backwards rental car. Having a steering wheel in the passenger's seat and none in the driver's seat takes more than a week to get used to. The worst part is turning. The mind screams in panic as the body forcibly takes a wide right turn or a tight left turn. That one aspect probably takes years to get used to. If you're in to masochism, ask us to show you our slides of the trip. It's not too bad, only 13 carousels! Only kidding! There's only one carousel.

Gene has finished up the first operational version of the computer system that he was working on at home. The company is out selling them now. Now he gets to streamline and enhance what he's already done, but he gets to do it at a more human pace (hooray!!). One offshoot of all the computer work is that he almost knows how to type now (almost, but not quite). His daytime work is going well in spite of the yearly reorganizations. He's in charge of the software development for a few current projects, and is learning how to use new types of computers and new programming languages.

Lynn is taking a break from all her music activities. She enjoys it all when she has the time for it, but the time just hasn't been available lately, and without the time, the activities become a real drudge. Her dulcimer lessons are on hold for a bit, and she is not in the choir (yet) this year. -2-

She's thinking about getting some sort of job, to graduate from the Goo-Goo level of talking and deal with real humans for a change (Gene doesn't count. He only grunts). Dealing with 2 year olds and 4 year olds all day can turn your brain to oatmeal real quickly, so she wants to break and avoid that before it happens.

Megan is getting to be quite a "kid" now. She is in her second year at Pilgrim Nursery School, and seems to like it a lot. She is 4 and a half now (leave off the "half" and she'll bite your knee!), and I think she enjoys being a big sister, even though she might tell you otherwise. She loves to boss Audrey around. Or at least she tries. Half the time (maybe more) Audrey gets the upper hand somehow. Those are probably the times when Megan doesn't like having a little sister.

Megan is still a bookworm, and is actively trying to teach herself to read. She likes to memorize the books so she can pretend to read them to Audrey or her stuffed monkey, George (Curious George, of course). She loves to color, and is just recently composing picture scenes on her own without relying on coloring books. She'll draw a house, and some trees, and a road, and a whole scene to go with it, all freehand. She will dance and sing for hours at home (her newest love is ice skating; she saw some on TV), but her teacher at school says that she is shy and doesn't like to sing with the other kids. It's like hearing stories about some other kid you don't know.

Audrey will be three in March, and we can't wait. Everything else she has done has been right on schedule, so we anticipate the terrible two's will end right on her third birthday. Not a moment too soon! She hates being a little sister, and will let Megan know it whenever she feels like she's being bossed around too much. WHAP! She wants to be four years old so much it hurts. One thing about copying your bigger sister, though; your artwork gets better quicker. Audrey is drawing faces with eyes and pupils, teeth in the mouth, curly hair, ears, and she draws Daddy with a beard and mustache in place! She can cut a straight line with scissors, and does a fine job of staying in the lines in coloring books. She is much more athletic than Megan. She does headstands on the couch and watches TV upside down. She walked across the top of the climbing rack on the swing-set long before Megan had the nerve to. She skips everywhere she goes; she never walks.

Audrey is in toddler school (pre-nursery?) two days a week, and loves it. Last year, when Megan got to go to school and she couldn't, she was heartbroken everyday ("heartbroken" really means that she threw one whopper of a tantrum every day). So we found a school close by (Grace Chapel) that took two year olds, and she's having a ball. She gets the social aspects of the school, which is always good. Her teacher tells us about some other kid we don't know just like Megan's teacher does. Audrey's teacher says that she is cooperative and pitches right in to help clean up after activities. Our Audrey??

With the Christmas season upon us again, we finally got to follow through on our plan from last year. Last Christmas, we bought a live Christmas tree in a root ball. Gene got a hernia lugging it up to the living room, but we took care of it (the tree, not the hernia), and planted it just outside the front door come spring. It took hold, and grew and got real healthy over the summer. Now our hopes for an outside Christmas tree with lights have come true. It's all decked out with colored and white lights, and is the prettiest tree this side of Boston Common. The kids are enraptured by it, which is a lot of the reason why we bothered. We are enjoying the "family" centered time of Christmas. Christmases past were nice, but the real spirit of Christmas for us is in watching the kids, and being a part of their future memories.

We find ourselves reflecting on our good fortune this time of year; even more so in these times of famine and disaster in other parts of the world. We have our family, we have our children, we have our health, and we are thankful, but if only we could all do more...

Close your eyes, and cup your ears, and you will just be able to hear the Vogts shouting "Merry Christmas!!" in their four off-key voices (nope, only three are off-key. Lynn sings right). "Daddy sings bass, Mamma sings tenor......."

.....and to all a good night!!

Lynn, Gene, Megan, and Audrey





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