The excitement of Winter Break

We have two weeks off this year for Christmas and New Year’s, and I thought I’d highlight some of the noteworthy events.

  • We spent Christmas Eve at my parent’s house for the traditional Abbott gift exchange. Adhering to tradition, Scott and Katy were about two hours late. Since Stephen and Alex had to leave to go to Alex’s family gathering, and Scott and Katy’s lateness had made them late, Stephen began distributing gifts with about the same urgency as D-Day sergeants urging soldiers off the troop transports at Omaha Beach.

Go! Go! GO!!! We need those gifts OPENED by 18:00!!!

  • We made the rounds of local tacky Christmas light houses. McKenna rated the different houses, and it became clear that there was one feature that was decisive in earning McKenna’s highest rating.
Snow machine = McKenna's highest rating

Snow machine = McKenna’s gold star.


While McKenna loved the Phifer Christmas House, it failed to earn top marks due to the lack of a snow machine. So one snow machine > 500,000 multicolored lights.


If that snow man had been created with a snow machine, the Phifer House would have scored better in McKenna’s system.

  • For Christmas, McKenna got Frozen dolls, shirts, and even underwear, supporting my theory that the team responsible for merchandizing Frozen singlehandedly pulled the nation out of the Great Recession. McKenna’s new Frozen sisters joined her Barbies and Winx to form some kind of Avengers-like super-team of 12 inch fashion dolls.
It didn't take long for the loose morals of the Barbie house to infect Anna.

It didn’t take long for the loose morals of the Barbie house to infect Anna.

  • McKenna also got a scooter for Christmas, and we went out Christmas day so that she could take it for a spin. Her lack of balance was an issue, and she wanted to quit. Fortunately, i was able to get her to keep going with this winning parenting strategy: I shamed her with a video of a three-year-old riding a scooter:


Evidence of awesome parenting at work.

  • The day after Christmas, McKenna’s friend Ella came to spend the night. In order to get rid of some of their post-Christmas energy, I took them to Sunday Park to play on the playground and feed the ducks. When we arrived, though, Ella revealed to me that she was afraid of ducks. “She means that she’s afraid of geese,” I thought, because geese are mean bastards that will bite. In fact, my brother Scott was bitten by a goose as a child. Of course, he was also chased by a chicken at the Maymont Petting Zoo, so there might have just been something about Scott that enraged birds. At any rate, Ella WAS afraid of ducks, but she developed a strategy to feed them anyway through a quick strike approach that involved sprinting to the pier, dumping all of the bread into the water, and then retreating as the menacing ducks drew closer. It was kind of like how characters on “The Walking Dead” distract the zombies.

Don’t you doubt that Ella was keeping a watchful eye on those ducks.

  • After Christmas, we heard that my niece had come down with the flu and that the flu had also hit the family of Laura’s friend Sam. Within hours of hearing of Brooke’s illness, Laura began to detect her own flu-like symptoms. The next day, the symptoms had disappeared, as Laura’s desire to reorganize the closet had overcome her urge to diagnose herself with a disease that she did not have. In keeping with this theme, when we started to clean up our bed room to paint it (part of our ongoing plan to sell the house in the spring), we found a past example of Laura diagnosing herself with a phantom condition:

These are Laura’s reading glasses. If you haven’t seen her wearing them, don’t worry – as it turns out, they are for hipster purposes only.

When it comes to these false self-diagnoses, Laura is fighting her genes. It turned out that Laura’s vision issue was as much of a problem as her Aunt Anne’s short-lived gluten allergy.

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