Tuesday, December 25, 2007

 

Our White Christmas

Today was the snowiest Christmas day in 25 years in Minneapolis. It was idyllic. No commuting for me, nowhere to be, and all the time in the world for the kids to enjoy what today had for us. Here's a synopsis:


Corrie ran up to our room to wish us a Merry Christmas, and was thrilled to find gifts in the living room:
She spent time with Wes:

Jack got to put the Baby Jesus in the Manger on our advent calendar

Jack enjoyed his Harold the Helicopter Toy

Corrie loves those Disney Princesses


Both the kids love their new Thomas the Tank Engine tent


Wes and I did some hanging out!


Then Corrie and I shoveled snow



And Corrie insisted upon going to our local playground, which was covered with snow. But the loader could still move snow!
After this we headed home. Corrie declared our home "the land of cocoa", because "all of the people make cocoa there."

It was quite a day. The evening news' top story was the fact that we had a White Christmas, and it was a beautiful sight:


video



Merry Christmas!

 

The Serious, Sappy Christmas Post

As the snow flakes drift down onto our already stunningly beautiful snowy landscape today, many things come to mind:

-A recent promotion at work has brought some exciting and difficult challenges. Some of the challenges directly related to this time of year make it very difficult to filter them. This time of year begins to feel like its more trouble than it's worth. I deal with this by realizing that I celebrate a different holiday than most folks in the world.

-People are unable to accept grace. If someone receives a gift, they feel obligated to return the favor. This could not be more true than when it comes to the Messiah. Since we have nothing to give back to God but our thanks, I think it makes it that much more difficult for people to accept Christian truth.

-Why does snow add so much? I spent many happy Christmases as a child in Southern California with no snow. I guess it can be a sort of icing on the cake. To look across the street and see post card worthy beauty is wonderful. Across the street, the neighbor's pine tree in the front yard is decorated with lights. And there is a certain glow which emanates from the light when snow covers the lights. It makes the lights glow in a different way. Saturday, my parents got out of town just before a snow storm that freshened up our landscape, and made the tree tops glisten.

-The light of the world came to a frozen landscape. He came at a time when we all cherish warmth the most. The light of the world thaws our frozen hearts and enables us to receive him. How appropriate that we celebrate his coming at a time of bitter cold and short daylight. The great light of the world came into our hearts and minds in a land where it was always winter, and never Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

 

Vindication

Those of you who have known me awhile know that at the mention of the name Roger Clemens, my blood pressure goes up. I have maintained for quite some time that he is and was a bad thing for baseball. This belief was cemented into place by the event depicted in the photograph to the left. In the photo, Roger Clemens is throwing a bat shard at (or toward) Mike Piazza. (As an aside, for those who don't know, there was history to this. Earlier in the season during interleague play, Piazza had hit Clemens very well, and Clemens proceeded to hit Piazza in the head and give him a serious enough concussion that Piazza was forced to sit out the All Star Game). This bat throwing incident happened when the stakes couldn't be higher. It was months later in the World Series, and Clemens was in the early part of the game. After the incident, Piazza walked toward Clemens with a look on his face that said, "Are you nuts?" Until that moment, my general disdain for the Mets had forced me to root for the Yankees, but Clemens' action and his teammates total support for him pushed me into rooting for the Mets. Also, the fact that Clemens was allowed to play and pitch a 2 (or 3, I can't remember) hitter told me that Major League Baseball (MLB) had no guts to deal with criminal behavior in their game.

Since that awful night, I have held Roger Clemens in contempt. I always thought him to be a fine pitcher and worthy of the Hall of Fame, but I was always puzzled by the accolades he would receive in spite of his brutish behavior. He was called "a fierce competitor," "intense," as well as other things meant to denote a positive competitive streak. And I have long thought him to be suspicious in terms of the steroid controversy. It seemed odd to me that a 44 year old could still be so dominant. But for some reason, all the flak went onto Barry Bonds, mostly because the press, for some reason, likes Clemens but not Bonds.

So today, I felt vindicated (but also saddened for baseball and its fans) to see Clemens' name appear in the George Mitchell report on steroid use in baseball. I hope that the press and baseball fans everywhere can begin to see him for who is truly is: a brilliant pitcher whose intense desire to win drove him to unhealthy extremes and excesses. No more can we all pretend to be horrified by the activities of Barry Bonds and turn a blind eye to "the ones we like." He should have been booked on assault charges that night in 2000, so I hope that now he doesn't dodge consequences yet again. What those consequences are is hard to say. MLB and the players union cooperated to make this mess, so it seems odd to keep these folks out of Cooperstown. But my hope is that the tarnish this brings to the game will wake up the establishment and its fans and bring consequences to those who have soiled this great game and its cherished records.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

 

The Boy Can Eat (and Count, Apparently)

Monday we went to the local Pannekoeken Huis (a Minnesota establishment that features amazing pancake-like delicacies called Pannekoeken) by my work. The kids had pancakes, and I cut up Jack's pancakes. After I had cut up the pancakes and dumped some of the syrup on them, he started eating. After a few minutes, he looked up at me and said longingly, "MORE SYRUP."

I proceeded to dump more of the syrup, though not all. I returned to my delicious Pineapple Pannekoeken for a few more minutes, only to hear yet again, "MORE SYRUP." At this, I drained the syrup cup and allowed him to enjoy all of the syrup which he was allocated.

Today, when the boy did his business on the potty, he got his typical chocolate treat for so doing. I reached in the bag of M&Ms and took out 3 of them (my usual ration for him). As he began eating them, he said to me, "I want four."

I guess he knows how to count too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

 

A Different December

Last year, we got no real snow until December 31. This year, we are having a snow storm every other day, leading to a very different December than our first one as Minnesotans. The kiddos were ready to conquer the neighborhood slopes in their snow gear:




We enjoyed several runs on the sled. Jack ended each run with the phrase, "one more time." After the romp in the snow, the kids then retired to the dining room for the necessary cocoa:



The snow has combined with below average temperatures to make for, to quote the locals, "an old fashioned December." I'll take it. The pine trees are decorated with snow, and the Christmas lights reflecting off the white drifts of snow make for quite a sight. And I have the privilege of watching tomorrow's snowfall from my home. Since the one down side to all of this was a very slow drive home from work on Tuesday, I'm glad that tomorrow I can stay home!

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