4 January 2011

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If someone had told me ten years ago that celebrating Christmas at home with four kids (aged ~6, 3.5, 3.5, and 0.25) and four houseguests from my family, plus occasional visits from six or seven other family members--all in a three bedroom house--would be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable experiences of my recent past, I think that 2000 Me probably would have concluded that either 2010 Me was going to be nuts or that some really bad stuff would happen to 2010 Me not long beforehand.

Fortunately, 2000 Me's conclusion would have been entirely incorrect (well, the 'nuts' part is debatable, but it always has been).

Some highlights:

* Sleep. My parents were happy to look after, and feed, the three older kids when they decided to get up at 7 AM and wander downstairs to where my parents were sleeping. I got to sleep in until after 10 most days, which was especially helpful considering that Megan and I took turns being quite sick (me mostly at the beginning, her mostly at the end) and Liam was varying degrees of sick most of the time, which meant he woke (us) up more during the night, so not having to get up early (and being able to go to bed late) was really nice.

More generally, this is the first time that I've had an opportunity to watch the multiple-adults-raising-children thing from the inside, as it were. My parents don't always do things the way that we would, but that's not always a bad thing, either; at worst it's given us an alternate perspective, and they respected our overrides when we made them. And it's nice to be able to distribute the parenting load a bit.

* I got a chance to have some real conversations with my younger sister. (She was adopted by my parents after I'd moved out, so we've never lived in the same house, and some of our previous interactions have been kind of rocky, so it was good to get a chance to reset things a bit.)

* My brother and I got in a few games of Starcraft 2. This gave us an opportunity to demonstrate that neither of us is capable of taking on a medium-difficulty AI player without assistance (we always play cooperatively rather than against each other), but we had fun.

* My family in general has a highly developed sense (if that is the word) of silliness. This will be made apparent in the photos once I post them. :)

* We took the opportunity to go see Tangled. As Megan put it, it actually made the story of Rapunzel make more sense than the usual variants. It wasn't much more than 'OK' in terms of characters or character development, but it did paint an interesting portrait of a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship*, and some of the cinematography was really beautiful. (We saw it in 3D, which was mostly neutral but was used to great effect in a couple of cases.)

*which the twins found disturbing enough to want to leave; fortunately I was able to talk them out of it.

* I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Dad. He's had a lot of interesting experiences as a doctor and a senior Army officer that make for good stories and discussions, and I respect his opinion. We don't talk much (or often) on the phone, so this was a rare treat.

Other than that...work continues to be a great place to work in several respects, and while the commute is still a pain in the butt, the continued decline of the local housing market gives us hope that we might be able to move closer to work sometime in the next year or two.


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