Friday, December 23, 2011

Family Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas 2011

I was hoping to get this out early this year, but here it is two days before Christmas and I am still finishing up.  I hope that everyone has had a good year and great holiday season.  This year has been a lot of the same stuff with a few surprises thrown in.  As far as our jobs everything is mostly the same.  I am still teaching at Mueller Park Jr. High with 8th and 9th grade English.   This is the first year that I have not had a new subject; although the first little bit of 9th grade felt new since I missed the first seven weeks of the year.  I did apply at the new junior high they built here in Kaysville, but my friend got the job.  Last year our entire English department was expecting.  I had mine in August before school started, the other two had theirs after the year ended, and neither came back.  The fourth teacher was the one who got the job at the new school. That left me as the sole returning English teaching. I had several other friends that quit or moved to the new school, so there have been a lot of changes. It has been a bit of an adjustment getting know and work with new people.  Allen is still managing the subway in Ogden.  Other than the constant influx of new employees not much has changed on that front. 
Annika is now four years old.  She is really enjoying being a “big girl.”  She is also generally a fantastic older sister; although sometimes brother “bothers” her.  They are both still at the high school day care.  Annika loves it there.  She is always excited to go to school.  I think that socially it has been a great thing for her.  She has learned a lot about being friends and interacting with others.  She loves to sing.  Her favorite song right now is “I’m getting nothin’ for Christmas.” We are getting a little tired of hearing it.  She is also obsessed with princesses.  She was a very pretty princess for Halloween. 
Aidan is almost 17  months .  He is a happy baby.  He is always full of smiles and mischief. At school he is one of the favorites. All the high school girls liked to hold him. He went 14 months without getting teeth and then got six all at once. That  did make him a little cranky, but he seems to be doing better now.  One of his favorite activities is to open and close things, especially cupboards.  He also loves his blankets (there are five of them.) He is always carrying one or more of them around.  He doesn’t always have to be holding it, but it must be on floor in close proximity.  He also loves to be outside.  I have never seen a child before who got so excited about shoes and socks.
Our first big surprise of the year was Allen’s opportunity to go to Africa with his uncle.  He was gone for two and a half week during July.  The rest of us kept occupied with camping trips and family reunions, but we missed him a lot.  He spent most of the time in Tanzania and Kenya.  At the end of the trip they flew down to see Victoria Falls as well.  He was his uncle’s photographer.  He “had to” get a new camera before he went and then rented a fancy high zoom lens (you don’t want to get too close to those lions after all.)  He took about 16,000 photographs.  You can see some of his favorites at 

I also have a flickr page,, my pictures are generally not as impressive as Allen’s.   The other thing I got into this year was blogging.  There were two blogs I started reading, which inspired me to start my own blog.  I have really enjoyed writing it;  although  I have not publicized it very much. You can read my posts about some of the other things we have done this year at: 

The other thing that has kept us busy this year is finishing our basement.  Allen started it in the summer, but he just didn’t have time to really work on it.  We ended up hiring help.  They have completed all the work but the painting, which Allen and I did.   It has taken longer than I expected, even with professionals. Right now Aidan is sharing a room with the computers.  It makes it hard because the best time to work on things is when he is sleeping and you can’t because the computer is in the room with him.  I am hoping that once the computers are downstairs, I will be able to do more with my blog, scrapbooking, and dealing with our family pictures.  I also am very excited about my new tub we installed in the basement.  I can’t use it though because it doesn’t have a surround.  All we have left to finish is the tub surround and floor in the bathroom.  That,  however, is on hold, because something else came up.

Allen’s sister told us in October that she was engaged.  That normally wouldn’t have been a big impact on our basement, but she picked the Laie Hawaii temple.  We had six weeks from when she got engaged until the wedding.  To complicate things the trip would be over Thanksgiving and my birthday.   It ended up being pretty good, although there were a few problems.  Aidan ended up being sick the day before we left, and then I was sick on the plane there.  It is never a good sign when you are nauseous before you get on the plane. The first day there was the wedding.  It was very nice.  The temple workers were amazed that we all came so far for the wedding.   We also got to spend a little bit of time at the beach.  The second day we went to Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center.   The third day there was snorkeling, shopping, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, some more beach, and fish for Thanksgiving dinner.  The waiter also sang me happy birthday. I got a piece of coconut cake.  It was very tasty.  We flew home that night at midnight.   It was fun, but short.  Mostly it helped us know what we want to do next time we go. 

We welcomed December with a huge windstorm.  We did have some damage.  One of our windows was broken by a flying shingle, the roof was not as well covered as it had been, and the plum tree in front of our house was gone.  We were saddened by the loss of the plum tree.  There were originally two, but we lost one in an April snow storm.  It was half dead and kind of ugly, so we didn’t mind too much.  The other was bigger and had a nicer shape.  Our house now looks naked without them out front.  I almost stayed home that day because I was so traumatized just driving up to the high school.  I got hit by a large tree limb and almost by a garbage can.  I was assured that school was on, so I braved the winds rushing through Centerville.  It was terrifying to drive down the road feeling your car sway in the wind and see semi after semi tipped on its side.  In Bountiful it was much calmer.  By the time I got to school the power was already out.  At the end of the first hour we were informed that we weren’t getting power back and we started sending students home.  Emergency evacuations are a huge mess.  I spent the morning as a runner going to get students out of their classes when their parents came.  By the time it calmed down at 11:00, I had over 6,000 steps for the day.  At that point I found out the daycare was closed and left to go pick the kids up.  Unfortunately I had left my lights on and my car was dead.  I had to have another teacher jump my car.  It was one of the most exciting days I’ve had in a while. 

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas Season.

Love the Widdison Family


  1. Thanks for the Christmas letter, I just noticed it. Even though I see you quite often it was still nice to read about your year. I am sorry about the tree out front of your house too.

  2. It is nice to hear that someone enjoyed it. I bought fancy paper and was planning on printing them, but it didn't get done. So I posted it and was going to e-mail the link and post it on face book, but I haven't done that yet either.