Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
This is Degan, I hope you are doing well. I had this idea today that we would write up a letter as a family and send it out to some family members as a way to keep in touch and be able to say more than we might be able to over the phone. I’ve been teaching classes for a couple weeks and the semester is going well. My students range from young adults to adults starting second careers, and all of them are respectful and nice to work for. The month of January has been filled with me being fairly sick with a flu. Normally I try to run about 25 miles a week, but I haven’t been able to do any exercise in several weeks. I have been so tired that I even fell asleep at the movies last weekend while on a date with Danielle. At this point all the symptoms have subsided other than being extremely tired most days. I've wondered if that is what was getting older is like, if so I don’t think I want any part of that.
The weather here in Oklahoma ranges from freezing to mid-60s on any given day during the winter. All of the grass is brown and the trees don’t have their leaves, so except for some very beautiful sunsets the scenery isn't nearly as beautiful as it was in the Summer and in the Fall. I’m sure the Spring will be gorgeous, but we haven’t seen one yet.
I was doing a service activity for church this week and tried to get home by taking some back roads in the dark. Unfortunately I went the wrong way and it took me about 50 miles to get home and my car is covered in mud from driving on some dirt roads (it had rained earlier).
A few weeks ago we had a sewer pipe get backed up. That caused some minor flooding in the house and it smelled bad in the room while the carpet dried up. Apparently some tree roots have grown into the main sewer pipe right by the exterior of our house. The plumber told me the part of the pipe that needs to be replaced and so I might try and dig it up and fix it myself one day.
I’m driving a gold 1997 Nissan Maxima and have done so for the last 6 years or so. The acrylic coating is starting to chip off and there is a big dent in it where a neighbor without coverage backed into it a couple years ago. Danielle has noted that most students at school drive a newer vehicle in nicer condition than I do. I wouldn't be self-conscious about it Danielle hadn't brought it to my attention. Well, at least it is paid for and the engine is still in great condition. Since I just live a few miles down the road from the University I don’t have any need to get a new car. Also, it isn't like I’m single and need to attract a lady or anything so I’m good with what I have. I’d rather save up my money for investments at this point. Danielle drives a gold 2000 Honda Odyssey van. We sold our 2005 van while in school because we couldn't afford it and bought a lesser model. It isn’t anything special to look at but it has been very reliable like all Honda vehicles are.
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Hi, it’s me, Gabi! I hope you’re all doing alright. As for us, it’s kind of been a routine of McKay getting into trouble and craziness happening over here in Oklahoma.
I’m now 12 years old, and in 7th grade. Katie just turned 11 in January, and McKay is six, turning seven in April. His birthday is approaching fast! It’s kind of scary, actually, mostly because he seems to get more and more crazy and reckless as time goes on.
For example, just this morning, McKay was climbing on the shelves in his closet, for heaven-knows-why. He ended up falling off and hitting the back of his head and getting some weird-looking scrapes and rug-burns under his hair. And since Mom was in the shower and Dad was outside doing something (probably working on the yard or something), I ended up taking care of him for a little while. Then he ran off to play with his Legos (he bought a whole ton of them after Christmas).
Katie’s been becoming more and more fascinated with stuff that’s “in” and all the new trends, even though I was never interested in that kind of stuff in her grade. Such as, a few months ago, she was begging Mom to let us go to a girl’s clothing store called Justice. Once there, she was fawning over every little thing, like some pairs of mustache mood-changing earrings. Katie was picking out everything that was “in” from “out of style” and ended up having the majority of her Christmas presents come from Justice. To be honest, I am a little jealous that she’s so good at that kind of thing.
As for me, middle school has been driving me insane. I can’t even attempt to think about being “in-style” with all the homework and social drama in my now-everyday life. And there’s all the popular kids who seem to have made it their mission to either embarrass me, confuse me, or use me. Since I’m constantly focused on not failing my classes (thus ignoring everything else), whenever we’re doing group assignments, all the popular girls choose me to be in their groups, then force all the work on me as they talk amongst themselves. Then there’s the fact that Oklahoma is a part of Tornado Alley. One time, I was waiting at the bus stop when I saw a tornado, right there in the 7 AM morning sky. It didn’t touch down, but it made the sky really, really dark and scared the heck out of me, because I’ve never seen a tornado in person before. Then the populars teased me because I was freaking out during classes later.
And as if that weren’t enough, I’m constantly worried about food fights in the school cafeteria. Yes, I said FOOD FIGHTS. You’d think that in junior high, people would be mature enough to handle themselves, but noooo. A bunch of the guys (and a few girls, but not as many as guys) will suddenly start chucking food across the cafeteria. I’ve been hit in the face with soggy carrots and unidentifiable liquids way too many times. Ugh.
But I guess it’s not all bad. For example, the cafeteria has an epic snack bar. Unlike my last middle school, where the greatest thing that could be considered a “treat” is a 4-dollar slightly-bitter blue slushie smaller than my palm that melted in minutes, this school has Gatorade, chips, cookies, all sorts of snacks, and at LEAST twenty different selections of 75-cent ice cream-related frozen treats. Every week or so, I’ll brave the mile-long lines and snag an Orange Popsicle or a sherbet or two with my leftover lunch money.
Although I still miss my friends back in Arizona and try to keep in touch with them, I’ve made several close friends here, too. We’ll all geek out over our various hobbies and joke about all sorts of things.
All in all, I think that so far, our exploits in Oklahoma have been alright. There have been our ups and downs, but I’ve had a good time.
Finally, I hope you’re doing well! Bye!
Gabriella Christine Kettles
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
I am now in fifth grade and I go to Washington Irving elementary in Edmond, Oklahoma. In fifth grade we’ve just finished the fractions unit, and are now starting a new unit. In science we recently used a battery, a couple of wires, and a tiny light bulb to create a circuit. It was hard to get the light bulb on at first because the wire had to touch the side of the light bulb. In reading we just finished a chapter book called The Riddle of Pencroft Farm. It was a very interesting book. It had a lot of riddles in the book that was solved at the end of the book. I think it is a historical fiction and a mystery. Also during the summer my parents painted my room bright purple and got a bunch of other things for my room. Also for Christmas “Santa” got me a mini locker that matches perfectly with my room. On my birthday my mom and dad got me a pink fluffy chair for my room. I got my ears pierced a couple months before my birthday, so I can now wear earrings. I also had a birthday party with my friends and we had a good time. I also got on a swim team because I’ve always liked swimming. There is much more I could tell you, but I have to go now.
Dear Grandpa and Grandma,
I got the Lego Batcave. And I had my friend Brooks over today. And Brooks introduced me to a new show. It is Power Rangers Jungle Fury. I got my own trash can in my room. I'm in gymnastics. I'm learning new skills I think. I lost two teeth. (One is his top front tooth). Something that I don't like about the house, I had to take out the trash once. My favorite thing at school is rainy day games.
I was trying to get my water shoes and I got them down but then I fell down in my closet. I slipped because I put my hand on the shirt and then my hand started sliding down and then I hit the back of my head and arm and foot. At school they set up a swing set for the special needs kids. (But he can't play on it because it is for special needs). If I could go anywhere in the world I would go to the Lego discovery center (in Dallas Texas).
From McKay Kettles.