18 December 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

The yearly Christmas letter brings with it the challenge of summarizing a year in a way that might be considered somewhat interesting by some percentage of the people who actually read it. But what if it didn't? What if I did not bother to tell you the kids are doing fine in 4th and 2nd grade, that work goes well for both Shelley and me, that we got a new kitten and a new puppy? Those that care probably know these things anyway.

Now that my 41st Christmas is upon me, I've realized that a wonderful and fascinating part of Christmas is that every Christmas links back through the years to a wealth of special memories from Christmases of the past. This connection seems to go beyond nostalgia, tradition, gifts, and common memory and has a unique power that makes this time of year stand out in ways I don't really understand.

In that light, I'd like to present some random moments from Christmas Past. Some of you might remember some of these with me. Some of you will wish I had instead provided more details about the new puppy. Some of you probably gave up on this letter somewhere in the first paragraph. For those still with me, here they are:

- My dad tripping on the stairs in the front of the church during the Christmas Eve service and how quickly some old guy was at his side.
- Attending A Christmas Carol in Raleigh, NC with my fiancé Shelley and how we did not get any of the inside jokes
- Seeing the lights on High Street the first time each year.
- Staying up late putting together a train table because sometimes Santa does not assemble the gifts for you
- Trying to cajole a four month old Golden Retriever puppy and two cats to pose for the annual Christmas photo
- Attending A Christmas Carol on a fifth grade class field trip and being amazed at how the stage rotated.
- Hearing my friend Ross sing "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" as part of the Beaver Hall Christmas Tape (I wish I could forget this one)
- Being forced to wear an elf costume for the 2nd grade Christmas play that, lets face it, was a dress
- Taking the kids to feed the ducks in Baker Park on Christmas Eve
- Unwrapping gifts from my mom that she had prepared before she died
- The smell of the new guitar Shelley surprised me with
- Being at home with my mom and chicken pox on Christmas Eve while my dad slid the Plymouth Horizon down an icy hill into another car
- Taking jelly cookies each year to an old man who lived nearby 
- The various family photo combinations that were always part of Prizer Christmas with my cousins, back when we all lived relatively close by.
- Riding in the firetruck with my grandfather as part of the Fireman's Christmas party
- The new traditions of smoked turkey, lobster tail, and wearing paper crowns from Christmas crackers
- Forcing the kids to wait upstairs for a picture before coming down on Christmas morning

Thank you for indulging me with me this trip through the years. My wish for you is that this Christmas season brings with it happy memories that will be unlocked for you in Christmases yet to come.

Letters To Santa 2011

I wasn't sure if they would continue the tradition this year, but just as they did in in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 the kids have made an effort to be informative and persuasive in letters to Santa.

Letter To Santa 12\13\11

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would like some new books, a big track Jr., a nerf shield,some new arrows, and a suprise gift(If you have time). I deserve all this because A:I've gotten good grades. B:I've saved a bunch of Ella's stuff from the dog. C: I got 0 think sheets.D: I've saved the cat from the dog.



Dear santa,
For Christmas I would like a blue rubber iPod case. Also I would like some nail polish. May I have Christmas tree earrings for Christmas.

I should get these things because I take care of the dog. Also I was good because I practiced my songs. One more reason is because I get good grades at school. Thank you for all off the things you gave me.
P.S. can you bring mitten a new collar?

18 April 2011


It was a bright, crisp October Saturday in 1999 when we drove the Paseo to North Raleigh, NC to pick up our puppy. It had been a long two weeks since we had last been there to choose which one we wanted. Of the three females in the litter, one was bold and could climb the steps. One was so laid back and did not even try. One gave it a good effort but could not quite make it.

We chose the third one.

At the time Charlie joined us we were still newlyweds enjoying the life of a young married couple with no kids. She saw all that change when first one, then another baby joined the family. These were mixed blessings since they moved her out of the spotlight, but also became good sources of food and love. She was with us for two moves to eventually wind up in Maryland where she got to know a whole new set of people, and she loved them all. She survived two cats and left a kitten behind. She saw the Paseo replaced by a station wagon which was then replaced by a minivan.

Through all the changes, she was a constant source of companionship and love. It has been two weeks since she's been gone and no one here has totally gotten used to her absence. I doubt we will anytime soon.

When I started on this overly sentimental video my plan was to make it just look at her life. By the time I was done I realized that it was actually a look at all our lives through these past 11 years. This shows how much of a friend she was.