Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Convergence of Sustained Love

Refusing to acquiesce to the manipulating spirits of materialism, our family decided to approach Christmas gift-giving a bit differently this year. Specifically, we decided to give only couple gifts (rather than individual gifts), and the gifts themselves had to be recycled, homemade, or purchased at a thrift store. Joo and I printed out homemade cards (with a bit of help from Paint) with pictures such as the one above showing how Mom and Dad look more alike every year and the one below commending Bob for choosing the correct Showalter to propose to.

The reactions were good enough to elicit a triple-digit kilocalorie loss worth of laughter for the involved parties.

We had the pleasure of staying at Ryan and Angie's house for Christmas since they were down visiting his sister. On Christmas evening, Mom and Dad gave us date boxes filled with ideas for all sorts of free/cheap dates throughout the year ranging from late night hot chocolates to books and calendars that we could enjoy together.

Bob gave me a duplicate book he owned called "Shelters" which details the design and utility of shelters from various time periods and cultures. I immediately began scheming out where and how I could build on of them this following summer. I think it must be the intense Lego addiction of my childhood bubbling to the surface.

Joo's mom and aunt had designed a silk sheet for my parents...
After opening all our Christmas presents, Dad did not tell us yet again the story of catman on Afton Mountain, but had he done so, his face would have looked something like this...

Enjoying our rare delight of having the whole family together, Mom and Dad tried to break their early sleep cycle by staying up late, but they barely made it to 10:00 before collapsing in exhaustion.

The following day, we gathered with the larger Showalter family for a chaotic afternoon attempt to catch up with as many relatives as possible. I was designated as the silent auctioneer for our charity gift sale (a new addition this year). As the years pass and our family multiplies, I find myself simultaneously more frustrated and more delighted with these annual meetings. While I treasure the ever-broadening range of discussions/games, I am also acutely aware of all those which are unable to materialize due to time constraints. Joo found a wise approach; she just hung out in the crafts room with the kids and let relatives filter in one at a time to talk with her.

John had grown quite a bit in stature and wit and responded immediately to someone's question about how he was liking kindergarten... "medium" was his succinct answer.

Claire used her family connection with me to pull some strings. I hid her bid in a small corner of the silent auction sheet so that she was able to win a pack of silly bands.
I failed to come up with any of the creative spontaneous games for the children like I have in the past (maybe all that modern algebra has drained my creative juices), and so we appealed to the default Mennonite game of Dutch Blitz.
On the other side of the country, our nephew TaeGum has more than compensated for any of the skinniness he began with as a premature baby. In fact, Joo thinks he may have a future career panning out for him as the Michelin Man.

With only a handful of days remaining in the winter break, I feel good about reducing my Google Task List by about 50% and am quite excited to teach probability and statistics this next quarter. As I move deeper into my master's program and search for ways to make math classes relevant to my students, this seems like an excellent class for exploring connections with the students' lives.

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