Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas!

May you all have a blessed Christmas.
I know what I am getting for Christmas this year and every year for the rest of my life...and I couldn't be happier!
For the past 15 years or so, I have done a non-traditional Christmas letter to send along with my Christmas cards. Each year it gets harder and harder to come up with an original idea and I swear that it will be my last year for letter writing. But somehow at the last minute, after much stress and anxiety, I think of something. Here is a copy of this year's letter. And ya know, I think this will be the last one I write :o)

Sometimes life with a two year old feels less like parenting and more like being a member of a reality show.
Here’s just a sampling of what it is like to be a castaway on

Episode One: The Birthday Party
The season premiere starts innocently enough. Our three castaways, Tony, Teri and Molly, are unwittingly marooned on a desert island during Molly’s second birthday party. Everything seems jovial enough. Decorations abound, gifts are exchanged, cake is consumed. Festive. But soon after, the castaways are divided into two tribes. Tony and Teri become members of the Parental Tribe, while Molly seeks membership into the Toddler Tribe. This seems like an unfair advantage; the Parentals have two members, while the Toddlers have only one. However, things are not always as they first appear.

Episode Two: Toddler Tribe Treks into the Terrible Twos
This episode starts with the Parental Tribe’s attempt to form an alliance with the Toddler tribe. The effort is rebuffed. It is two weeks after Molly’s second birthday and she feels empowered. “I am toddler, hear me roar!” And roar she does. For about six months. Throughout this and subsequent episodes, Molly can be heard snarling the phrase, “NO, IIIIIIIIIIIII DO IT!” and various other tribal chants. These utterances are often accompanied by ceremonial dances that involve rolling around the campsite with hands and feet thrashing violently. At the Tribal Council, both Teri and Tony attempt to vote themselves off the island. The judges catch wind of this escapade and deem that both must stay for the duration. Joy.

Episode Three: Surviving Sturgis
At the start of this episode Tony reveals that he has won an Immunity Challenge and gets to leave the Tropic of Toddlerhood to perform engineering duties in Sturgis, Michigan. Funny how this coincides perfectly with the terrible twos time frame. Hmmmm, lucky break—or is it? Tony discovers that he must remain in Sturgis for much of the six month time period, with only occasional weekend excursions back to the island to visit his wife and child. Fortunately for him the Toddler Tribe and the better half of the Parental Tribe take pity on him and make several trips off the island to visit him. Because Molly is always told that she is going to see Daddy at work in Sturgis, she erroneously believes that her father works at the Holiday Inn Express. Humorous to hear her say, but kind of sad in reality. Maybe he’s the hotel’s Cabana Boy?

Episode Four: Myrtle Beach Vacation
After Tony’s six month stint off the Island, it is decided that members from both tribes should take a vacation to relax, reconnect and rekindle their relationships. A Myrtle Beach holiday is planned. The Parental Tribe, knowing the Toddler’s strengths and weaknesses, decides to begin this 14 hour driving adventure at 4 a.m. The Toddler should sleep through much of the journey. Right. Molly stays up for the entire 14 hour drive. She’s a trooper and doesn’t even cry once. It is soon discovered though that she is storing all of her emotions for the next day. Wow, not a fun day. Tony and Teri immediately plead their case to be voted off the show to the Tribal Council. Luckily the vacation gets progressively better. Molly thoroughly enjoys the pool, the beach and going way out in the “monster waves” with her Daddy. Mommy sits on the shore and tries not to watch as Tony holds Molly, who was giddy with laughter, above his head as each wave swallows him up.

Episode Five: Molly’s Porcelain Lagoon
As this season of Survivor draws to a close, the Parental Tribe decides that it is time for the Toddler Tribe to be potty trained. They spend the next several weeks paying homage to the porcelain throne with their own chants and dances as Molly learns how to live without diapers. Although the mission is a success, Teri misses diapers very much. She is now forced to find a bathroom with three seconds notice any time Molly deems it is necessary. She has been seen toting a toddler as she sprints through shopping centers, restaurants and parks. Oh, the joys of this Survivor Game.

Episode Six: Season Finale
Tony, Teri and Molly return to camp to reminisce about their adventures on this season of Survivor: Tropic of Toddlerhood. Despite the challenges, good times did abound. Everyone feels extremely blessed to be cast members of this unique reality show which serves to strengthen their bonds with one another. They are also overheard wishing friends and family everywhere a Joyous Christmas and Jubilant New Year.

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