26 December 2009

We've had a busy few days celebrating Christmas. On Christmas Eve we visited some friends and participated in their Christmas traditions. The husband just commissioned as a 2LT in the National Guard and the wife is in the OCS program right now. As with most of the people I meet, my wife became friends with her and they conspired to force friendship upon the males. The lady of the house was eager to show off her AR-15, which prompted my wife to suggest to me that we spend a portion of this year's tax return on my own AR-15 kit that has been sitting in limbo for about four years now. In addition to the gun show, we also sang (I wrangled the boy or acted as book-holder in lieu of a musical contribution) hymns and read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

This is probably not the kit I would choose, but it certainly would stand out in a crowd:

The next day we did Christmas Eve again at my parents' house. We were unfortunately late for the Christmas program and only caught the end of it, but we were in time for the seafood boil and hanging out afterward. My grandma informed me that she reads my blog, so I have to be careful what I say. The seafood boil is a fairly recent tradition and is one of those meals every year when I never want to stop eating. I am usually one of the final holdouts at the table, cracking crab legs, eating shrimp if there are any left, and digging for the last few onions and potatoes. And even when all the food is gone I find myself thinking that I could probably have packed away just a little bit more of everything.

Today we did Christmas, again at my parents' home. It was a bit chaotic, as there has been a population explosion among the ranks of the grandchildren and they like to go every which way making as much noise as possible. It was still nice, and we're lucky to be able to have all six of the siblings and our families around for the holidays. I expect to be in Iraq for next Christmas, something that I'm not especially looking forward to. I spent Christmas of 2004 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq and I recall that it was pretty miserable. The weather stunk, the overfull Porta-Potty out behind the barracks stunk, and our mail hadn't caught up to us yet so it really was the kind of holiday you'd rather forget.

My little brother liked the presents I got for him, so I felt pretty good about that. My wife spent the last couple of months knitting and sewing to prepare her gifts, and I think they went over well. She really puts a lot of thought and effort into making sure the things she makes match the person she's giving them to, and she is quite accomplished as a producer of crafts. She made matching John Deere pajama pants for the four little boys, who are all one year old (or pretty close). My dad said something about wanting a pair for himself.

I got some miniatures to start me off on my Empire army and a Games Workshop Watch Tower, and my dad gave me some very comfortable slippers. I am reluctant to remove them for any reason. My wife and I got laptops a couple of months ago as Christmas/birthday presents, so we didn't get each other anything to open during the gift exchange. The boy got a large assortment of toys and books. His favorite toys are anything that has wheels. That kid is crazy about wheels. It was a pretty good holiday all around. The boy was exhausted after today and has slept for most of the afternoon and evening.

We've recently got the wood stove going to see if running it causes an appreciable decrease in our electric bill. So far my impression is that the stove is not large enough or placed in the right location to cause much of a dent in the heating bill. The furnace is original to the house which makes it older than me by a few years and we could probably save a lot more money by upgrading that machine. The heating company is coming by on Monday to take a look at it and determine what the best course of action is. The house inspector recommended replacing it soon when we bought the place, and as the heating company is in the business of making money that is likely what they'll recommend. It may be a good time to get that done as if we do it before the start of the new year we'll be able to take advantage of another tax credit as well as a couple of incentives that the heating company is putting out there to drum up business in the depressed economy. Not directly exciting, but in theory the tax credit from a new furnace would be the funding source for my AR-15 kit. Coming back to guns brings this post around the full circle, and now is as good a time as any to end it. I was able to get a little paint on some Easterlings this weekend, and really probably only have two or three more hours until they're done. I'll post a photo when it happens, although they look just like the ones I painted a while ago.


  1. Only in the States would a pink assault rifle be considered as something to want. Girls and guns.

    Family seems to be a popular trend for the season and glad you enjoyed your gathering.

    Seasons greetings to you and family.

  2. I love that gun! Bekah always makes some of the best gifts. I always love it when she draws my name for Christmas. It was chaotic but idk if we are ready to let go of our christmas traditions at the parents and branch off to do our own christmases with our kids... it sucks that you have to get deployed again. me no like