Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Report

It was quite a successful Christmas, in both our giving and receiving. The highlight, of course, was talking to Kira's brother who is serving a mission in the Mediterranean Sea. Well, in the area anyway (he's actually not allowed in the water). It was also quite busy, having 5 children ages 5 and under in the household where we celebrated. Poor Avey was quite the good sport, trying to sleep among the chaos and strange new environment, but she's been making up for it by sleeping on Dad whenever, wherever she can... We spent a lot of our time cooking and babysitting both our child and our nephews and tidying up after them. On most evenings, after they had all gone to bed, we usually got some "adult" time where we watched a movie, played games, or just chatted. Kira and Eli went to a wedding reception for Kira's relative, and then to her luncheon the next day, leaving Avey with the grandparents. She put them to the test, but they survived and Mom and Dad were glad for a little time to themselves. We even quickly went to admire the Christmas lights on Temple Square.
Avey went to the movie theater for the first time yesterday. We were hoping to see Enchanted, but it was sold out, so we instead saw The Golden Compass. I, having read the entire trilogy twice, was actually quite pleased with how well they followed the book, but also a bit disappointed that there was not time for more detail. I suppose that's how it is with any movie made from a book.

I will not speak of the BYU @ Boise State game.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Politics of Christmas

Among the hours of conscious thought that I dedicate to nonsense on a daily basis, I spent about 15 minutes today pondering the unspoken/unwritten language of gift-giving. And here's what I've concluded:

There are basically four types of gifts, each with a certain accompanying message.

1. Cash/Money - this is certainly the safest gift, as it tells the receiver you do not think you know him or her well enough to know exactly how they will spend the money. The disadvantage, of course, is that the receiver now knows exactly how much you spent on him or her, and will probably base your relationship on that value to some extent (at least in this country).

2. Gift Cards - this is pretty safe also, as it has the advantage of leaving the final choice up to the receiver. So you're probably okay if you know the person wants clothes, or really enjoys board games, or whatever. But there is still the disadvantage that it's a little more specific; for example, if you give me a gift card to a Chinese Restaurant, you'd better be darn sure that I like Chinese (and I do), and that I like that restaurant (and I do, as long as it's Chinese), or you just wasted that specific amount of money and blatantly showed me that you don't know me very well.

3. A specific gift - these can be hit or miss. Some advantages are that they are never exactly sure of how much you spent, meaning you can get something on clearance and the receiver can't feel cheated. Also, if you hit it right on and they love it, it strengthens your relationship and shows that you are close (or that you've been reading in the other person's journal) or that you, at least, went to the trouble of checking with someone who is close to the receiver.
Of course, the disadvantage is that the receiver gets what he or she gets: no choice, and if you're wrong, awkwardness looms over your head for the rest of your life around that person.
But then, there's the gift receipt - your "get out of jail free" card. If you include the gift receipt with the gift, it doesn't matter how far off you are, the ball is in their court. And if they return the gift, they now ruined your relationship by placing no sentimental value on your gift. It's a trap!

4. What my wife calls a "thought gift" - This is something that usually doesn't cost money, but that you put a lot of thought into that would have a deep, special meaning to the receiver. This is dangerous ground. If you're dead on, you've spent probably several hours working on whatever the gift is, and you make the person cry, and then you hug and all that jazz. If you're wrong, either you've wasted your time, misread the person, and possibly offended him or her, or all of the above.

Yet, we all do this little equation in our heads every single year, don't we? And somehow, we've managed to keep the tradition of gift-giving up and running. Fascinating.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It Finally Came!

Yes, it is true. I am sure you will all be glad to know that I, Eli, finished my last application to graduate school today. Bravo.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'Lashes, etc.

I've recently decided that part of the reason Avey is so incredibly and undeniably adorable is her unusually long and, I dare say, perfect eyelashes (pictured below). Every day I look at her and think, "Holy cow! Those things are getting long!" For the first time this week, two people in a row said that she looks like Daddy! Boo yah! Well, that's kind of a bad thing, because I'm not as cute as her mom, but it's nice to know she got a few of my features in there somewhere. They both said it was the eyes. My mother tells me that everybody thought I was a girl when I was a baby on account of my long eyelashes, so maybe that's something she got from me. In any case, there's no denying the cuteness... At this same event where people thought she looks like me, we also did a white elephant gift exchange. Kira and I are a winning team at this, apparently, because we ended up sweeping the sweetest gift there; you guessed it, "The Bourne Ultimatum" on DVD! I haven't even seen it yet, but it was pretty much on my Christmas list, so that saved us some time and money. We actually brought real white elephant gifts that didn't cost anything, so the whole event was win-win. Well, I guess it was actually win-disappoint, because the people who ended up with our stuff got a laugh and some really ugly ties and tons of notebook paper.
Avey, aside from being a model at heart, has been sleeping 8 and 9 hours straight at night. This, of course, leaves Mom and Dad feeling much better than they had been. Of course, she still likes to stay up until midnight or so, then Dad has to get up at 7 no matter what, but Mom gets to sleep a bit longer. To balance it out, though, she's been more fussy than usual during the day.
Kira's cousin and her husband babysat yesterday so that Mommy and Daddy could go to a BYU basketball game. It's good to remember what life was like before Avey, but even better to come home to her and get a nice smile. She really is worth it all.

Dad is just about an hour and a half away from being completely done with all his graduate school applications! It's been a long road, and I hope I don't have to do this ever again! I'll keep you informed on what happens next. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Public Debut

Yes, Avey ventured out into the world a couple of times this week. The first was at my work Christmas party (pictured below). We dressed her up in a little maroon number with gold bows and white lace. What you can't see in the picture are the adorable little black shoes she was wearing. True to form, she was very well behaved and spent most of the night either looking around and blowing bubbles at my coworkers or sleeping. She was certainly a hit, but who could expect anything less?
Her second public appearance was at church today! No no, Kira's not dead, she just wanted to come and see Daddy conduct a couple of songs at church, and Avey wanted to hear Mommy and Daddy sing in the choir. Unfortunately, she missed it because she was asleep through the entire meeting.

Daddy's playing the Horn in F in the Stake Orchestra tonight for a Christmas Fireside. Avey's not quite sure if she's up for another display, so she may stay home with a sitter while Mom goes.

Please don't think we're blasphemers by taking a picture of our daughter in a manger. We're not trying to compare her to the Savior of the world; she's just so darn cute and we had a manger already. You can see the bind we were in.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Busy...

We all had quite the busy week. Kira and Avey were still living it up in Colorado, but staying very busy with various appointments, including a professional photo shoot for Avey. Can't wait to get the negatives of those!
Meanwhile, Dad was busy at home working four 10-hour-days to make up for missing Monday, and he had appointments every night but Thursday. In between all that junk, I was working on grad school stuff, but had quite a bit of success; I've got two down and am just a couple of hours away from finishing the last three. I can't tell you how nice it feels to have a whole month to do it in either.
Avey caught a little (baby-sized) cold in Colorado. She's got a little sniffle, but her spirits are high. She's glad to be home, as she has expressed through a complicated language of smiles, spit up, and diaper signals. Those are like smoke signals, except for some obvious differences.
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