Our Christmas Letter.

December 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Dear Family and Friends,

A lot has happened in our family since I last wrote a Christmas Letter four or more years ago. As a result, I feel that it is only fair for me to go all “old-school” this year, transcribing the “Second Annual Thompson Christmas Letter”, instead of just signing our names to a pretty little postcard adorned with photographs of our precious children who are pretending to love one another. (No offense to those who can achieve the latter. We just happen to have a, well, “spirited” child in the household who would give even the best family photographer a run for his or her money.)

1So yeah, where do I begin? While perusing the “First Annual Thompson Christmas Letter” (circa 2011) I realized that we used to do a lot of traveling. Since the arrival of Rex a.k.a. “Rexy” (3 years, 10 months) and more significantly impacting aforementioned travel, Grant, a.k.a. “Trouble” (15 mos), we have gone basically nowhere. We have discussed traveling of course, but then we attempt a simple trip through Trader Joe’s with the boys and quickly come to our senses. Essentially, there will be no trips for us until “Trouble” is at least four years old.

4So what do we do to entertain ourselves you might ask? Well, aside from the (completely exhausting) family outings to the grocery store and (equally arduous) trips to Target and Costco, we arrange play dates with other families of small children. The latter, of course, is really just a chance for the kids to run around chasing one another and doing “dive bombs” off various pieces of furniture. The hope is that they will take a really long nap and then still be fast asleep at 8PM so that we can be asleep by nine. Yes, we are livin’ the dream out here in California. Planning on a third? Uh, no thank you.

10All kidding aside, we do actually feel that our two (four if you count the dogs) boys are really quite wonderful. Rex has taken to the role of “Big Brother” and usually likes to share his toys with Grant so long as he is the one to decide “when” and “if” said sharing is going to occur. This year he became a “preschooler”, who loves anything Lightning McQueen (I think I have seen that movie over one-hundred times now) and/or Dusty Crophopper (same). Rex loves to read, color, play soccer and (as of last week) swim. I’m not sure if a swimming scholarship is necessarily in his future, but if he makes it to the wall without needing to be rescued, we can chalk it up as a success. I would be remiss if I did not also mention that Rex has a best friend, “Bo”, who pretty much trumps all of us in terms of who he would like to spend his free time with. (And yes, he does refer to Bo as his “other brother”.)

3This brings us to Grant. Let me say that to use the words feisty, strong-willed and resolute to describe him would all be an understatement. The kid is fearless and in my opinion destined to either join the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity (a la “Animal House”) or shock us all and become a neurosurgeon. Grant has endless amounts of energy and a frightening amount of self-confidence. He has no issue plowing through a bunch of three and four year old boys to get to a favorite toy, or standing his ground against a five-year old who happened to get in his way at the Train Museum. Grant loves banging on stuff, climbing on stuff and diving off stuff. He currently has three words in his vocabulary, “duh”, “dive bomb” (di baaaaam), and “uh oh”. To Grant, a simple “uh duh” covers just about anything that he feels is important to say. All kidding aside, Grant is very endearing and probably(?) pretty smart. I mean, after all, he did start wearing glasses last month and glasses always make you are smarter, right?

2As for the dogs, both Myles and Floyd have learned to tolerate the boys. Myles is the responsible one, alerting us when either of the boys is distressed, and then silently judging us if we do not rectify the situation immediately. Floyd, on the other hand, just goes into hiding. If you were to ask Rex, Myles is his dog while Floyd belongs to Grant. Floyd, however, feels that he doesn’t actually belong to anyone. Since Grant feels the same way, they are kinda a match made in heaven. Myles (our million dollar Havanese) did manage to also get himself a new knee for Christmas. It amazes me that small, white lap dog that sleeps twenty-three hours out of a day can still manage to blow out his knee, but whatever, I guess it was super important that he jump off the couch to protect the family from that rogue squirrel.

6In 2014, we also became the proud owners of a brand new minivan. Yes, we traded in “Snowflake”, our perfectly capable white Acura TSX for “Big Pearl” a Honda Odyssey (also, white). “Pearl” is a workhorse with a whole lotta heart (and space). In the past year, we have camped in her (never again!), watched a movie in her, stuffed the whole family (and then some) in her to save money on parking, and transported an entire sectional (sofa) down the interstate. Pearl is also a kid magnet. Between Rex, his BFF Bo, our nephew Jack and our niece Olivia, it is pretty fair to say that all of them would give almost anything to cruise around in her plush, applesauce stained leather seats and milk crusted door-handles. Ah, a minivan, where else could a banana go into hiding until it dehydrates itself.

5Dane and I are pretty much the same, just a lot more tired and a lot less fun. No one reads these things to learn about what the adults are up to, so I’ll keep it short. I continue to work at Jive Software (go Jive!), making sure that large corporations are always able to alert their employees to the fact that the Company Picnic is this Friday at 4PM. I’m clearly not saving babies or anything like that. 🙂 Dane on the other hand, might be. He is currently spending a lot of his time in Berkeley working with a bunch of physicists to build a quantum computer. Babies are always going to need computers? Right? And because, a Christmas Letter would not be complete without a rundown on our current afflictions, Vern, the kidney stone did come back this year. As a result, we have that to look forward to in 2016.

While Dane’s family has always been local to us, with Grandma (Patty) and Grandpa (Jim) offering endless amounts of much needed childcare this year, “Ma Self” (now known simply as “other grandma”) moved out to California in July. We welcomed her with open arms, but 7were not as enthusiastic about her welcoming her guard cat “Lucy”. Aside from the fact that Dane and I are both allergic, we are also really scared of her. All I can say is that who needs a pit-bull when instead you own a pure-bread Siberian longhaired cat. As for “Pa Self” (aka “Gran-Paul”), he will be joining all of us for Christmas this year. Since it is meant to be 70 degrees and sunny in Baltimore (who said that Global Warming isn’t a real thing?!) I’m not so sure he is going to enjoy our weather, but he will get the pleasure of watching the boys tear (quite literally) through their Christmas presents.

9So that about sums it up as we once again say goodbye to another year and get ready for the new one filled with endless possibilities and limitless material (for next years letter). We wish you all the best this holiday season and in the New Year and hope that you remember to leave cookies by the fireplace for Santa and carrots for Rudolph (he’s a vegetarian) because they have a LOT of work to do this Christmas.  Take care, be safe and have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!

Peace and Love,
(or per Grant, “uh duh!”)

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What I did on my maternity non-leave…

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