Christmas Letter 2010

2010 has been a year of hoping and praying the economy will improve! We have been holding on to see what happens next.  The last of the landscaping projects around the house need to be finished for the upcoming graduation party to be held on Saturday, May 21st ….if all goes as planned.   We are on a schedule now!

After last year’s job promotion, trip to Europe and completion of two UCLA Executive Course Series, Kelly has slowly started to accept the realities of the work-a-day world.  Eat, sleep, work, and do it again the next day!  She is still working on the unmanned drones and continues to plot, and plan her next career move while being active in the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers this year as Vice President. She was able to attend the national conference in Orlando, enjoying the 5 days of training, inspiration, and partying! In May Kelly, and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, got a place together and they have been settling in with finding furniture, and getting pictures on the walls.  They both have cats, Kelly has Carmen and Jeremiah has Ash.  It has been a process to blend the two families but they seem to have come together with only minor issues.

Every time we see him, Brett is wearing his famous smile.  I’m telling you, ear to ear with the three rows of dimples going up his checks.  A super senior, on the home stretch, his final semester with only his senior project and two business electives to go until he walks with his Degree in Business Administration! Not to mention the much anticipated 5 weeks off for winter break. Managing to survive another wave of layoffs, Brett is still employed while living in the old house with two good roommates. How much better does it get?  The college life has brought some new experiences, away from the watchful eye of the parents; he has become quite the brewmaster! With several brews being quite tasty!  Between the college speakers the CEO of Stone Brewing and his Boy Scout cooking skills…hum mm we thought we were giving him good role models, he seems to have found an enjoyable hobby! 2010 has been all about the anticipation of 2011, graduation, full-time employment and 6 weeks of planned travel in Europe…don’t you need to get back to go to work?
Life is good!

The parents, Ray has expanded his shop into general repair and brought in a lead mechanic. With this change he has applied for AAA certification.  Brett has been working with Dad to bring the business into the computer age, everything comes off the computer, invoices, checks, service reminders and of course a state of the art webpage, take a look at it’s all about surviving in the recession. Saturday mornings it is time to dust off the mountain bike and meet the guys at 0800.  He is still in the game.  And he is still holding his own on the dirt bike up against that 22 year-old son.  He does seem to sit and read more and more tho!

Mom, well she is slowly getting a life!  She has consistently attended yoga classes this year, has joined the North Inland Chapter of Assistance League and is sharing some volunteer responsibilities with a friend for Make-A-Wish.  And she talks about the retirement plan. Will it be 5/28/11 or 5/28/16 or somewhere in between?  If she is going to get that new Beemer she has her eye on, it will be the latter! Other than that she has been trying to adapt to the aging process by preparing those easy to digest meals and getting out for walks.

After15 years of talking about going to Yellowstone National Park we finally were inspired to hit the road in the new motorhome. Dad and Brett headed out to ride the motorcycle trails of Utah for a week before meeting up with Mom and Kel at the Jackson Hole airport for our trip into the Grand Tetons and the final destination of Yellowstone.  Wow!  What a trip, hiking, biking, kayaking and more hiking.  We tried to see it all in the two weeks we were in the parks.  On the trip home we stopped for a couple of days each in Bryce and Zion.  Between 3 cameras and the video we have it well recorded on the family website here!

We are talking about doing a trip to Costa Rica as our next adventure. Still working on coordinating dates in all of our schedules; no easy task with all of us going in different directions.

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Happy Holidays 2009

Happy Holidays
Ray, Laura, Kelly & Brett

2009 was the second year in our new house. It is starting to feel more like home! After putting the airplane hanger on the property last year, Ray set about filling it up with his toys. Under one roof he is able to store the motorhome, ski boat, catamaran, motorcycle trailer and his truck. One of the benefits of living in the county is that you can have all your “stuff” on your property and no one gets annoyed.  The house projects continued this year at a much slower pace, added a drainage system and drought resistant plants. Now that the rain has softened up the earth we’ve embarked on the last two landscaping projects, a waterscape and wood burning fire ring. We also added a pet and she has helped us settle in a little more, too! See pictures below.

It has been a big year for Kelly, job promotion, post grad classes, three weeks travel in Europe and two years with her boyfriend.  She is liking her new position working on the unmanned drones. A bit closer to the engineering side of things!  She is getting more involved in the Society of Women Engineers and now maintains both the San Diego and Southwestern Region web pages.  She has embarked on a series of classes in Digital Avionics, sponsored by her employer ($9,000!).  Her ambition of becoming a motivational speaker became a reality by presenting “What Does it Mean to be Green, At Home, In Your Office and for the Holidays” to 62 attendees at Mom’s insurance associations Holiday Luncheon.  In her spare time she has been gardening, rock climbing, and enjoying all San Diego has to offer!

Brett has completed yet another year of college courses, just three more semesters to graduation! After completing five finals, he is very happy that he has made it successfully to the five week semester break! He has continued his student intern position at Northrop Grumman, Information Systems working in the Network Communications Division. He has been assigned some substantial duties that are essential for his work group. Those duties have led to some serious hours this past summer which of course cut into his surfing and travel time.  His computer repair business continues to grow with referrals coming in from his existing clients.  He also manages both of his parents’ business websites. His newest toy is a new dirt bike, YZ250 replacing the YZ125 he has had since the 8th grade. And it is desert season in Southern California!

Dad is slowly phasing into retirement mode.  He is only working four 12 hour days and even cutting two of those to 8 hours!  Good progress. He searched and searched for just the right motorhome, it was time to move on from the bunk bed style that had been our family home away from home for the last 15 years. He loves his new mountain bike and rides religiously every Saturday with his bike group. For sure in 2010 Mom is going to get a life!  Other than work her biggest adventure is helping the kids with laundry, cleaning and projects.  We are signed up to start a yoga class at the senior center in January and for a series of eight ice skating lessons!

Kelly’s boyfriend invited us to climb Mt. Saint Helen’s this summer.  Mom, Dad and Brett combined that with an 18-day road trip / adventure starting the 3rd of July.  We spent 4th of July with Laura’s sister Lucy and her family, then continued north touring the Oregon coast and on into Washington to meet up with Kelly, Jeremiah, and his family. You can see the pictures of this high adventure mountain climb and road trip on the family website at

The bikes have been prepped and we are ready to spend New Year’s in the desert!

From our house to yours Happy Holidays!


It’s Winter!

We’re finally going to make it out to the desert this weekend! It’s been cold / rainy lately. At least the desert will be wet, what a treat! On another note, I’ve been very busy. I just finished my finals the other week, and I’ve still been busy working since. I took on the task of marketing Alliance Transmissions and breathing life into Trans Connection. Both have received a new website, with Alliance still needing work but looking decent overall. Trans Connection, however still needs quite a bit of work done to it starting with the design and ending with marketing and content. To make myself feel better, I think Alliance just needs a few more marketing tweaks and some additional content. Outside of the Internet, I find myself working more hours at Northrop Grumman, I recently took over quite a few more responsibilities there (too many to list, plus they’re boring “heh”). Besides all that, I’ve been busy building custom computers and doing repair/ maintenance for a slew of new customers around town.

Besides all of that, I’ve moved my official website (don’t get too excited nothing has really changed) to

This weekend will be a nice break!

Fall Newsletter

Our first fall in the new house!  It is very hot living so far away from the coast.  The dual air conditioning systems are helpful; if I can get the control away from the elder Seiler.  Saturday night we had a Birthday Party for Kelly & Brett.  We each invited a few close friends and wow it turned into quite a party. Brett turned 20 and Kelly 24.  At midnight Dad announced the party was over because he was tired and going to bed! It was a beautiful evening on the deck BBQing, playing pingpong and making margs.

For the kidz birthday Dad got a new mountain bike!  How did that happen?  Now this is a nice mountain bike.  This is his Christmas, Birthday and Father’s Day present.  He is one happy camper with this high tech machine.  Even purchased a matching helmet with a little help and encouragement. He had the new machine out three times the first week.  Came home in one piece on each trip unfortunately his riding buddies were not as successful.  John was taken out big time with a broken arm and Glenn a small crash.

Mom spent a week in Lake Tahoe attending an insurance conference. She  went up a day early to get in a little R&R.  She got to go on a boat ride around the lake.  Perfect weather and a very nice day!

Brett is busy back at school studying econ, business law, accounting and art.  He is still working part-time at Northrup doing data management, building & repairing computers and helping Mom with her tech stuff. He has 3-day weekends which has given him a day to surf every week.  The water has been nice this summer.

Kelly is on the go 24/7 between work, boyfriend, soccer, friends, gardening and doing laundry!  She has a new business venture, making hula hoops.  Working on the marketing and shipping of these fancy adult exercise toys.

Carmen is missing all the attention she has gotten for years.  Mostly home by herself; but glad to have her same bed and bedroom.

All is well at the Seiler family.  It is not looking like we are going to get away for a fall trip lake trip. Dad is itching to get that new boat back out on the lake but everyone is too busy with work & school to go play. We are looking forward to the winter desert season.

Happy Holidays 2007

from Ray, Laura, Kelly, & Brett

Well, the parents have left the kids on Ellingham Street! Moved on up to the east side. Ray’s dream of building a house on the property we bought back in 1981 finally came true. Even turned out better than we could have imagined. Oh the luxury of having all that space and it is only the two of us.

2007 was a great year for Kelly! She finished her degree electrical engineering. after all those years of studying. After a 12 week summer internship at Disney Imagingineering Kelly decided to take an offer from Northrop Grumman to work on Global Hawk. A few of the tipping issues for her were to work on an unmanned aircraft a life long dream The other issue was very close to rental property that she had her eye on. Only 6 miles to the office, all city streets. Now the question is what should I do with all that cash? What should I buy with that steady income? Her first purchase was a bigger bed. After all those years of sleeping in a twin bed oh the luxury of a queen size bed. Just enough room for her and Carmen.

Brett is a sophomore this year at California State University San Marcos located in the northern portion of San Diego County. He has continued working as a student intern at Northrop Grumman, Mission Systems, Network Communication Division. It has now been 3½ that he has dated Lauren, his girlfriend from high school. His big news this year has been the purchase of his bright red 2004 Acura RSX. After working a number of jobs over the summer he finally had enough cash for the big purchase. Oh man, the luxury of the Acura over the Sunfire! Brett was the only one in the family to take a nice vacation. Brett and his buddy spent a week in New York City, then took the train up to Toronto. Life is good as a college student.

We have spent pretty much every weekend working on the house. Then we had the horrific event of moving after 24 years. With the kids staying in the house half of the “stuff” stayed too! That has made it much easier, but going though every closet, sorting and packing and unpacking. We are slowly getting settled in the new house and the kids are turning the old house into quite a bachelor bachelorette “pad”! The living room has been turned into a projection room with a projector T.V. with a 10foot screen. A 50/50 purchase between the two of them.

We skipped the family vacation again this year with both kids working and Dad building the house. Our trips to the desert have been few and far between. The four of us did get out to Lake Mojave in the spring for some much needed R&R, swimming, waterskiing windsurfing and kayaking. We figured out it had been 7 years since Kelly had been out at the lake.

The house project has been all consuming. Kelly commented the other day, family time seems to be massive amounts of manual labor.

The last but not least family member… Miss Carmen is quite upset about the move, the noise and only occasional visits of her family. Seems the kids don’t spend as much time at home as the parents did. She does seem to like Kelly’s new bed and sleeping in the sunlight coming through the window in the morning.

The Holidays will be quite different for us this year, Kelly is going to Washington with her boyfriend to have Christmas with his family. The first Christmas we won’t all be together.
We are looking forward to a HO HUM 2008. NO graduations, no moving, no house building and returning to our at annual family vacation.

From our house to yours Happy holidays,

The Seilers

Happy Holidays 2006

from Ray, Laura, Kelly, & Brett

This will be our last year on Christmas Card Lane. Ray was successful getting a building permit from the County on August 7, 2006 for building a house on that land we bought back in 1981. It is a very long slow process family picture but we now actually have a structure that looks like a house. We are owner builder so lots of time dedicated to bidding, selecting and overseeing the different aspects of the construction. Ray is the happiest he has been in years. Also the tiredest!

Kelly is nearing completion on her electrical engineering degree at Cal Poly. So now it is interviewing for that first real job. We keep asking her about companies that are closer to home! I know San Diego has companies that hire electrical engineers. She has participated in three internship programs, a summer at Qualcomm, here in San Diego, Cisco Systems internship program in the Silicon Valley for 6 months and she spent 12 weeks in a program at one of Duke Energy’s nuclear power plants this past summer in North Carolina. She is hoping that her summer work will give her a leg up landing a good job.

Brett chose to attend San Marcos State, a small university here in San Diego County that offers a computer science program. He is mostly taking general education: math, Spanish, health and speech. He has continued to work as a student intern at Northrop Grumman, Space Technology Division. Just by chance, his girlfriend also chose a local college. They seem to be enjoying being freshman together without much of the anxiety of adjusting to life beyond high school.

Mom, well mom is mom. Nothing ever seems to change much for her. Same husband, same kids, same job. She has been told that she needs to get a life. Just when she thought she would, supporting family picture the dream of building a house took priority! Oh well she’ll get there eventually, having her own life that is. For now she runs here and runs there chasing this or chasing down that for the construction. One new thing for her in 2006, she was asked to sit on a state-wide insurance professionals board. She seems to enjoy the opportunity to travel more frequently and make use of her insurance expertise.

No family vacation again this year with both the kids working and Dad building a house. We did take a long weekend and fly to Minnesota for a Nitz family reunion. Kelly flew up from North Carolina but it was Brett’s first week of college – how could he miss that! The reunion was a huge success thanks to all the planning of David & Carol Nitz and all the support of the extended family. A great time was had by all.

Kelly & her girl friend joined me in Las Vegas when I was there on business in June. Our last time together before she flew back east for her summer internship Brett and Dad ended their boy scouting careers with two final trips, of course the favorite annual ski trip to Mammoth and a five day backpacking trip to the High Sierras. No desert trips so far this year. The house project seems to be all consuming, time, energy and the family fortune!

We will be home for the Holidays. From our house to yours have a wonderful holiday season!

The Seilers

Happy Holidays 2005

from Ray Laura Kelly & Brett

Seiler Family 2005 Christmas Picture

Ray & Laura are starting to talk about the empty nest syndrome. Not already… it hasn’t been 20 years! The college acceptances are rolling in for Brett, he is going off somewhere to college. Child #2 off to college… what are the parents to do? Remember that piece of land that we bought 20 years ago it may end up with a house built on it. Ray is anxiously awaiting the County’s approval of a building permit. That should take up all that time he use to spend on the soccer field and at boy scouts. Other than that the beat goes on… same jobs… same drill each day.

Kelly… it’s hard to keep up with her! She has been away from school summer and fall quarters participating in Cisco Systems internship program in the Silacon Valley. three kings It has been a great opportunity for her to work in her field of study and live in a different city. In addition to working as a test engineer she has been able to explore the area (San Francisco, Yosemite, Santa Cruz and San Jose. In the evenings she worked on building her robot for the upcoming competition, joined a local swing dance club and planned her next weekend trip. This last weekend she got moved back to the house she rented in April with two other electrical engineering students. Now its back to school to finish her electrical engineering degree. She has 4 more quarters of course work to graduate. She has had 3 interviews for summer internships. Duke Energy has offered her a position and GE has asked her back for a second interview. So she could end up in North Carolina or who knows where!

Brett the mighty high school senior… seems to be walking on water! With a job, a girlfriend and a car how could he not. He was hired last spring to participate in the student internship program at Northrop Grumman, Space Technology Division. He worked full time all summer and works 12 hours a week through the work experience class at school. He has 6th period off from school and with such classes as Tech Support 3/4 and Photoshop it’s not too taxing. Dad loves the new girlfriend; she wants to be a doctor and getting good (excellent) grades as you know is part of that… haven’t had to mention once thisreindeer school year about doing homework. For the first time ever the report cards are left on the counter! So far he has 4 acceptances to college he applied to so… who knows where he will end up in the fall.

In leiu of a family vacation this year we sent both the kids to work!. Dad spent the better part of two weeks in Minnesota visiting family and friends and Mom went to New Mexico, Tahoe, Anaheim, San Francisco and Milwaukee on business.  I managed to combine two of my business trips with visiting Kelly, one in San Francisco and the other one in Yosmite. Brett and Dad went on a few boy scout trips, Mammoth, to snowboard of course, a winter backpacking trip and the annual beach campout. We got out to the desert several times to ride our bikes including 4 days out of the 10 days Kelly was home for Thanksgiving. Brett managed to fit in two other trips to snowboard at the local mountains.

The last but not least family member… Miss Carmen is doing just fine. She sleeps most of the day, chases lizardsblinking tree in the sunlight and tears around the house at night.

The Holidays will be our traditional at home Christmas and riding our dirt bikes in the desert for New Years. From our house to yours have a wonderful holiday season!

The Seilers