Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another Christmas has come and gone

As much as I enjoy this time of year, I am as glad to see it go for another 11 months too. With the 12 inches of snow the metro area received yesterday, driving to everyone's house made me realize I need to have Christmas at my place next year.

Caleb won the award for most obsessed over a single present this year. I bought him the Thomas and Friends Cranky playset. Cranky is a character on the show that loads the trains in the shipyard. Caleb had built his own version of Cranky from his blocks for the last several weeks, and so I knew buying this for him would be the answer. He played with it for several hours yesterday, clinging to it tightly as we left the McNeill's and headed over to Papa's house. Separating him from this toy was like taking a baby gorilla from his mother. All I can say is, I'm glad he enjoyed it so much. But I think I've created a monster.

Allie and Geoff likely spent their last Christmas's as single folk, as the future's for both with their respective love interests looks very promising. It reminded me of when Heather and I started dating, which was during the holiday season. I spent the entire Christmas Eve evening at Nana and Papa's house thinking about Heather.

I surprised Heather more this year than I had at any other gift giving time in our relationship's history. To make matters even better, I have the documented proof. Other than the night I proposed to Heather with ring in hand, I can't think of another time she was more excited. I got my hands on an iPod Nano for really cheap from a friend I work with. She was absolutely ecstatic! I haven't received a kiss like that since before she found out she was pregnant. It was one of those moments where all the hassle of the holidays was worth the reaction she gave.

I got some presents too. Since I didn't really ask for anything other than a laptop, and since I knew that wasn't going to happen, I had no idea what to expect. But I was happy with everyone's thoughtfulness. Heather got me a golf bag for my clubs that I got last year, as well as a sport coat. For the most part, everything I got was practical. I also scored in the movie department. The biggest was The Simpsons Movie. I look forward to watching that again. I also received The Karate Kid, Miracle on 34th Street, and Superman Returns. Plenty of movie watching ahead.

We opened presents at Heather's parents, and via webcam had Joce and Scott in attendance as we opened our presents to each other. It was pretty cool. It made the distance that they were apart not seem so far away.

All in all, I enjoyed our holiday. With the insanity of the day, it made me long to come back to work after a 4 day hiatus. At least there I could relax a little.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Tree finally up!

The car battery nearly died on us on the way home. The further we traveled, the dimmer the lights got, and the lower the power on the car. I turned off the headlights as we pulled into our complex to get over the speed bumps. It was amusing. I took the car into Checker and they confirmed it was the batter and not the alternator (thank goodness). $70 later, the card was running lickety split.

Heather and I spent a couple of hours after I replaced the battery on the car finishing the tree. We started over a week ago, and had a challenge finding a string of lights that worked. Now it's up in all its glory. Caleb was actually saying 'cheese' when I took that picture if you couldn't tell. it turned out well, don't you think?

Christmas is only 17 days away. We're about ready to leave for our Ward Christmas party. See you later!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Baghdad Much Safer as Refugees Return Home

Reason 2,468 why I distrust the majority of the national media in the USA. Things are much better in Iraq according to this BBC video about thousands of refugees returning home from neighboring nations. Another article about this is here. As many as a thousand refugees return to Iraq per day as the war-torn nation settles down after years of conflict.

The thing that obviously infuriates me is were it not for a European news service, information like this would not have even been mentioned by the likes of CNN, Fox News, or anyone else.

Whether or not you agree with the methods or decisions of the Bush administration the last 7 years, the truth is things are much better in Iraq than they have been in 50 years. Free democratic elections are a reality, security on the streets have increased tremendously. Fewer American and British forces are having to police the streets of Iraq as citizens have taken over operations and helped Iraqi police snuff out insurgents from their neighborhoods. Families that have stayed during the war have reported areas they live as being "100%" safer than even 6 months ago. What are we seeing here? We're seeing a nation establish independence and stability in a fraction of the time that even our great nation took to maintain. There are still hurdles to overcome, but when all you heard about today in the news is about erased CIA interrogation tapes, it's nice to hear some good news.