Saturday, December 13, 2008

The 5 Days of Christmas

Regina and I like to challenge people. No, not to arm wrestling or sudoku, but simply to be their best. For the holidays, we decided that the best gifts to give, besides an iPod Touch or jerky, would be to challenge those around us to make them better people. It's kind of like getting New Year's resolutions as gifts. You'll thank us later.

First of all, we decided that remodeling the house, again, and adding a couple of new rooms during the holidays would be a terrific challenge to our marriage. Remodeling is perfect for testing your patience. So far it has gone well, but next week the low temperature is expected to dip below double digits, I'll be in Las Vegas, and the construction crew will be tearing down an exterior wall. Hurray! We couldn't ask for a better challenge.

Also, I didn't want to make this project exciting only for us, so I decided to challenge the carpenters. I decided that our twelve foot Christmas tree, which is loaded with breakable ornaments, should be placed against the wall that will be removed. This way the crew can have the good feeling of Christmas as they try not to destroy our tree. I know these guys and I figured they'd appreciate a good challenge, especially in cold weather.

For my bride, I decided to hang the fun ornaments down low on the Christmas tree's branches. So the sock monkeys and rodeo Santas are all within reach of the surprisingly strong grasp of Dylan. We have bets on the condition of the tree and its decorations by the time Christmas rolls around. I figured, while I'm gone, playing "ornament saver" would be a fun challenge for her.

For my baby, I went with two challenges. She's at an important developmental stage and she can only benefit from the extra work. First, for a physical challenge, I brought home a Australian Shepherd/Border Collie puppy with very sharp teeth. While Dylan still can't outrun the pup, Floyd, she has learned that leg strength and staying upright during a puppy attack are critical.

Second, less a challenge than a plea, is for Dylan to stop calling me Mommy. I know she can say Daddy, she will if you ask her my name, but the rest of the time she looks up at me, stretches out her arms, and says, "Mommy!" It's a challenge for her to use the right words and a challenge for me to keep my self-esteem.

It wouldn't be fair to give these wonderful gifts without giving myself a challenge. I've decided that gagging less at poopy diapers and asking Regina, "Do these match?" every time I pick out an outfit for Dylan would be suitable self-improving challenges.

Oh yeah, I've also challenged myself to a Blackjack contest, this Sunday, in Vegas. I guess I'd better show up. If I don't do well, it may be a challenge just to get back home.

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