...and here is the letter that accompanied said Christmas Card. I think the letter is funny. Rachael thinks I overestimate how funny it is. You be the judge!
2010 Christmas Letter
This year, as a change, Rachael has commanded Kevin to write the Christmas letter. However, she still retains editorial control. So, if you feel like some of these events could have been described in a more humorous manner, be advised that they probably were in the first draft.
Our lives were markedly different this past year, because of…wait...why was that again, Rachael? Oh, right, we have a baby, who is named…um....(Rachael punches Kevin)...Daisy. That’s right. Daisy. She is a little mischievous imp of a girl with a beautiful smile and an uncanny ability to consistently identify the most dangerous item in a given room, which she then tries to eat. She turned one on November 20, which, coincidentally, is also the number of times she has been bathed by Kevin in the past year. Of the many blessings we have in our lives, she is surely the brightest.
Kevin loves his job at Ball State University, where he teaches Risk Management and Insurance. He won the Miller College of Business teaching award, which he thinks is largely due to his jokes (actual joke sample: He uses Titanic characters in one insurance example, asks if “Titanic” jokes are too old to be useful, and when told “yes”, responds “Well, I’ll never let go.”)
Rachael has begun to integrate herself in the “mommy” community of Muncie, filling her and Daisy’s time with play groups, library programs, mothering support groups, and art programs. She enjoys her “mommy’s helper” twice a week, which allows her to maintain her sanity and her (entirely too rigorous) housekeeping standards. Our helper is arguably a better parent than either of us, and we are grateful that our paths crossed.
We lost some important people in our lives this year. Kevin’s great-aunt Carol, who lived with his family for several years during Kevin’s adolescent years, passed away in October. Carol once made a deal that she would take Kevin and his sister to the junior high dance if they could go a week without fighting. They could not, and the junior high dance was spared Kevin’s dancing. Carol was right to be consistent. It’s a parenting lesson Kevin has never forgotten, and one for which he’s now thankful (Daisy may not be so sure, however). During the trip back to Minnesota for Carol’s funeral, Daisy got to meet both of her great-grandmothers (on Kevin’s side) for the first time. We also spent some quality time with Kevin’s sisters (Kate and Kristin) and parents, as well as many of the relatives on his mother’s side. We also toured Bruce and Jodi’s farm, where Rachael got a chance to name her first calf (Sneakers, formerly #168).
Rachael’s great-uncle Jim passed away in July. She remembers working with him in the pharmacy, his zest for life, and the amazing parties he used to throw at his lake house featuring every type of watercraft imaginable. Our family journeyed to Oshkosh for the funeral. On the way, we stayed at a hotel that was located between 1) a fireworks store and 2) a gentlemen’s club. Kevin swears this was a coincidence. We were able to spend some quality time with Rachael’s sister Autumn, and two of our nephews: Nick and Maddox.
We were fortunate to be able to have both of Rachael's siblings in one place in January in Fort Myers, Florida. A highlight was driving to Naples (1 hour away) to watch Rachael’s brother Franco skateboard at a skate park. It was closed. On the positive side, it turns out that Naples has THE best TGI Friday’s.
In June, we decided it was high time Daisy went to Vegas. And go to Vegas she did, ending up with a onesie that says “I drink until I pass out”. What? It’s true. The occasion was the wedding of a friend we knew from Tallahassee, and it was great to be able to reconnect with several other Tallahassee friends. At Circus Circus, Kevin won two stuffed animals for Daisy, which, statistically, represents an infinity percent increase over the number Rachael won.
Several times this year, Rachael’s parents came to visit. We are very grateful for their help in a number of household improvements, but specifically in painting and decorating the nursery—it looks beautiful! During another visit, we all went to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Raise your hand if you’ve ever fed a giraffe. If you look closely, you’ll see Amy’s hand in the air! They also helped cook a wonderful Thanksgiving feast at our house.
In November, Kevin was scheduled to give a presentation at the Insurance Nerd Conference (OK, fine, technically the Southern Risk and Insurance Association) in Charleston, SC. Rachael and Daisy accompanied him, and while he was at the conference, shopped and bought many unnecessary items, such as two pounds of Gummi candy for $22.95. Statistically, this represents an infinity percent increase over the amount of money that was spent on candy for Kevin. Not that he is bitter.
For Christmas this year, Kevin’s entire immediate family is coming to Muncie. We are all excited and cannot wait! Tales from this encounter will likely be the start of next year’s Christmas letter.
To close, we look forward to next year. The most significant event will be the birth of our second daughter, Aria, due in February. Most of you already know that she will face serious challenges. She was diagnosed in utero with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and agenesis of the corpus callosum (missing the structure that allows the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate). She also has duodenal atresia (intestines that do not connect correctly) and a dilated kidney. Some of these conditions will require surgical correction upon birth. Others raise the likelihood of developmental delays. There is no way to predict in advance what the outcome will be, and we can do nothing but wait, prepare, and pray for the best. If she survives, we will give her the best life we can. She’ll have a big sister who loves her, parents who are ready and willing to accept responsibility for her, and a fabulous pink, green, and aqua bathroom.
In the meantime, we count our blessings. We have each other. We have our beautiful daughter Daisy. We have our immediate and foreseeable needs met, while so many do not. Most importantly, we have all of you. We are grateful, and wish for you a wonderful and blessed 2011.
Kevin, Rachael, Daisy, and Aria