Holiday Letter 2012

 

Fairy CroppedHow? How is it possible that another year has gone by already? How could our children have grown four inches each? How could our ancient cat still yowl as loud as an oncoming train? How could Marjie end up with a fish she didn’t know she wanted? How could David’s computer support job turn into cell phone sales? It has been that kind of year, but here are

 The Top Ten Things We Learned in 2012

  1. Having older kids is just plain fun. With laundry two floors below bedrooms, we have been known to make early morning raids into someone else’s dressers. So when Anna wondered why her underwear was disappearing so fast, Marjie covered for Hailey by explaining, “Well, you haven’t been paying your underwear tax, and the underwear fairy has been coming by at night to collect double.” “What? Tax?” Anna crossed her arms and snapped back, “I don’t have any stamps to put on it. What’s the address I mail it to? And just what does the underwear fairy do with this tax?” She finished with, “Will this be in the Christmas letter?”
  1. Our children frighten us without even trying. Hailey recently became the final family member to get glasses. After picking them up, she kept sparking, “I can read the Wendy’s sign! Oh, that’s how much gas costs! I can read the ad in that window!” Then she scared the bejeebers out of her mother, “Hey, I can see the speed limit on that sign!” Marjie could read it without her glasses. Good grief, girl child, you are two years away from your learner’s permit and you can’t see past the front bumper?
  1. Our children continue to astonish us. Anna’s school has a turkey gobbling contest. Imagine our surprise when Anna told us she won the school title… without gobbling. Instead she said, “I am not a turkey! Do not shoot! Repeat! Do not shoot! Gobble? That was not me! Look at the turkey over there! Shoot her!” Where does she get this stuff?
  1. You have to go over everything. Despite being so young, Anna sings from the back row of her choir. She explained that it had advantages, “In case you get the itch…” Before their big concert, her director had gone over this very problem, plus hands in pockets, poison ivy, wedgies, and even a bug in your underwear. We feel sorry for the short kids in the front row.
  1. Demand the fine print. Anna takes care of the class animals and has never recovered from the ancient fish that died under her watch. She had a school funeral and dug a grave for it. RIP Old Blue. When she begged to take care of the guinea pig Mr. Doodles over the holidays, we were sympathetic. Then she presented us with a handwritten contract. It seemed innocuous enough so we signed. We should have asked more questions. It lives in a cage the size of a studio apartment. David could barely jam it into the cab of the truck. Mr. Doodles himself is no slouch. Now we know why one of her class science assignments was to design exercise equipment (which all failed) for him. Anna says that the most exercise he gets is when they put apple slices on the floor and push him toward them. He couldn’t fit in Anna’s room so he’s staying in Hailey’s.

 

  1. Kids’ menus have an age limit for a reason. Hailey trades menus with nine-year-old Anna so they can order for each other. At a local barbecue joint though, Hailey looked at the kids’ menu and said, “Has anyone else noticed that the characters look like road kill?” No, we hadn’t. But thank you for putting a dent in our appetites.
  1. You can’t always get what you want. At three in the morning, after driving through vicious rainstorms on the first night of our road trip, Marjie had a hankering for ice cream and stopped at McDonalds. Sorry, they were cleaning the machine. After sunrise, she pulled off at a random exit and was thrilled to see a twenty-foot-tall ice cream cone. Sorry, it was outside a house. We later found a Nebraska coffee shop where the owner made ice cream sandwiches for us. We would go on to a wedding in Wyoming where our car battery died shortly before the minister got arrested, a name-brand hotel where touching the front door gave us a zap, a doughnut shop in Portland with a line down the block, a lost ATM card in Idaho, and an endless, confusing drive on Oklahoma toll roads. We are still expecting tickets in the mail. (The Colorado bill has already arrived.) Ice cream, however, is safely in the freezer.
  1. In this electronic age, cars and houses simply disappear. Our GPS says we are home half a mile before the garage door opens. B of A tried to make us buy flood insurance even though we live at the top of a hill. This year, our credit card quit working when the letter carrier returned the bill marked “insufficient address.” It’s in big numbers on the mailbox, and the prior fifty months haven’t been a problem. Then, our hot water ran out, followed by our heat. After taking a freezing shower in an icy bathroom, David figured out that we were out of propane. The driver had missed us for eight months. Finally, the tow truck driver skipped the body shop and took Marjie’s wrecked car to a storage lot. It took paperless AAA two hours of phone calls to find it. We brag to our kids about how many of the things we used are in the Computer History Museum, but we do begin to see the down side.

 

  1. It’s hard to stay ahead of third-graders. Marjie’s class had been practicing for the Spanish-language mercado for weeks. The student teacher was describing what the students could bring from home to sell, when one girl popped in, “Can I sell my sister?” “No,” the new teacher replied, thinking quickly, “You can’t bring anything alive.” She wasn’t fast enough. “Can I sell my dead sister?”
  1. Enough experiments. We have endured goops, bugs, butterflies, fish, mice, dry ice, fires, stargazing, assorted skeletons and food coloring stains on everything. But we may be done. The girls discovered that shredded toilet paper, water and soap make a soft, fluffy snow that turned into an awesome snowball fight. As Marjie wondered at the white blobs on the floor of the master bathroom, she then noticed them on the rug, the counters, mirrors, light bulbs, faucets, toothpaste, lotion, hair brush, cat dish, cupboards, bathrobes, soap, and the towels. Even though Anna was in bed, she was covered in the stuff as was part of her room, and the girls’ bathroom was worse. While the entire family stayed up until midnight wiping down every edge and surface in three rooms, a grumpy Marjie imagined boys would have been easier. They only throw spitwads at the ceiling.

We hope that your freezer is full of good food, that your home stays warm and cozy, and that all of your snowball fights are outside. Happy holidays!

Love,

David, Marjie, Hailey, Anna, Harley & Eliza

How? How is it possible that another year has gone by already? How could our children have grown four inches each? How could our ancient cat still yowl as loud as an oncoming train? How could Marjie end up with a fish she didn’t know she wanted? How could David’s computer support job turn into cell phone sales? It has been that kind of year, but here is…

The Top Ten Things We Learned in 2012

  1. Having older kids is just plain fun. With laundry two floors below bedrooms, we have been known to make early morning raids into someone else’s dressers. So when Anna wondered why her underwear was disappearing so fast, Marjie covered for Hailey by explaining, “Well, you haven’t been paying your underwear tax, and the underwear fairy has been coming by at night to collect double.” “What? Tax?” Anna crossed her arms and snapped back, “I don’t have any stamps to put on it. What’s the address I mail it to? And just what does the underwear fairy do with this tax?” She finished with, “Will this be in the Christmas letter?”
  1. Our children frighten us without even trying. Hailey recently became the final family member to get glasses. After picking them up, she kept sparking, “I can read the Wendy’s sign! Oh, that’s how much gas costs! I can read the ad in that window!” Then she scared the bejeebers out of her mother, “Hey, I can see the speed limit on that sign!” Marjie could read it without her glasses. Good grief, girl child, you are two years away from your learner’s permit and you can’t see past the front bumper?
  1. Our children continue to astonish us. Anna’s school has a turkey gobbling contest. Imagine our surprise when Anna told us she won the school title… without gobbling. Instead she said, “I am not a turkey! Do not shoot! Repeat! Do not shoot! Gobble? That was not me! Look at the turkey over there! Shoot her!” Where does she get this stuff?
  1. You have to go over everything. Despite being so young, Anna sings from the back row of her choir. She explained that it had advantages, “In case you get the itch…” Before their big concert, her director had gone over this very problem, plus hands in pockets, poison ivy, wedgies, and even a bug in your underwear. We feel sorry for the short kids in the front row.
  1. Demand the fine print. Anna takes care of the class animals and has never recovered from the ancient fish that died under her watch. She had a school funeral and dug a grave for it. RIP Old Blue. When she begged to take care of the guinea pig Mr. Doodles over the holidays, we were sympathetic. Then she presented us with a handwritten contract. It seemed innocuous enough so we signed. We should have asked more questions. It lives in a cage the size of a studio apartment. David could barely jam it into the cab of the truck. Mr. Doodles himself is no slouch. Now we know why one of her class science assignments was to design exercise equipment (which all failed) for him. Anna says that the most exercise he gets is when they put apple slices on the floor and push him toward them. He couldn’t fit in Anna’s room so he’s staying in Hailey’s.

 

  1. Kids’ menus have an age limit for a reason. Hailey trades menus with nine-year-old Anna so they can order for each other. At a local barbecue joint though, Hailey looked at the kids’ menu and said, “Has anyone else noticed that the characters look like road kill?” No, we hadn’t. But thank you for putting a dent in our appetites.
  1. You can’t always get what you want. At three in the morning, after driving through vicious rainstorms on the first night of our road trip, Marjie had a hankering for ice cream and stopped at McDonalds. Sorry, they were cleaning the machine. After sunrise, she pulled off at a random exit and was thrilled to see a twenty-foot-tall ice cream cone. Sorry, it was outside a house. We later found a Nebraska coffee shop where the owner made ice cream sandwiches for us. We would go on to a wedding in Wyoming where our car battery died shortly before the minister got arrested, a name-brand hotel where touching the front door gave us a zap, a doughnut shop in Portland with a line down the block, a lost ATM card in Idaho, and an endless, confusing drive on Oklahoma toll roads. We are still expecting tickets in the mail. (The Colorado bill has already arrived.) Ice cream, however, is safely in the freezer.
  1. In this electronic age, cars and houses simply disappear. Our GPS says we are home half a mile before the garage door opens. B of A tried to make us buy flood insurance even though we live at the top of a hill. This year, our credit card quit working when the letter carrier returned the bill marked “insufficient address.” It’s in big numbers on the mailbox, and the prior fifty months haven’t been a problem. Then, our hot water ran out, followed by our heat. After taking a freezing shower in an icy bathroom, David figured out that we were out of propane. The driver had missed us for eight months. Finally, the tow truck driver skipped the body shop and took Marjie’s wrecked car to a storage lot. It took paperless AAA two hours of phone calls to find it. We brag to our kids about how many of the things we used are in the Computer History Museum, but we do begin to see the down side.

 

  1. It’s hard to stay ahead of third-graders. Marjie’s class had been practicing for the Spanish-language mercado for weeks. The student teacher was describing what the students could bring from home to sell, when one girl popped in, “Can I sell my sister?” “No,” the new teacher replied, thinking quickly, “You can’t bring anything alive.” She wasn’t fast enough. “Can I sell my dead sister?”
  1. Enough experiments. We have endured goops, bugs, butterflies, fish, mice, dry ice, fires, stargazing, assorted skeletons and food coloring stains on everything. But we may be done. The girls discovered that shredded toilet paper, water and soap make a soft, fluffy snow that turned into an awesome snowball fight. As Marjie wondered at the white blobs on the floor of the master bathroom, she then noticed them on the rug, the counters, mirrors, light bulbs, faucets, toothpaste, lotion, hair brush, cat dish, cupboards, bathrobes, soap, and the towels. Even though Anna was in bed, she was covered in the stuff as was part of her room, and the girls’ bathroom was worse. While the entire family stayed up until midnight wiping down every edge and surface in three rooms, a grumpy Marjie imagined boys would have been easier. They only throw spitwads at the ceiling.

We hope that your freezer is full of good food, that your home stays warm and cozy, and that all of your snowball fights are outside. Happy holidays!

Love,

David, Marjie, Hailey, Anna, Harley & Eliza the beta fish

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