Thursday, November 27, 2008

2005 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas from the Claytors!
(actually 4 Claytors and an extra…but you get the idea…)

So much has happened over the past year, your feeble minds would literally EAT themselves if I mapped it all out for you. So as usual you’ll just have to suffer through with the Cliff Notes. Hey, it got me through high school…

As always, the newest member of the household takes the leadoff position. Everybody say “HI” to Kelly (hi Kelly.) Certainly everyone is aware of her importance and influence in our family, and she has finally blessed us with permanent residence here at the madhouse. She’s working as a Land Planner (her chosen profession,) and just a couple little hobbies - horseback riding, climbing, glassblowing, hippie style organic gardening and mural painting have rounded out her first full year as a Chicagoan. Frequent travels to the East Coast as well as taking in all that Chicago has to offer has really kept her on the go. It makes me tired just writing to you about it.

The Boy (Colin to those who wish to call him by his proper name, but what fun is that?) has truly begun to form a personality all his own. And if he had any “class” that personality would be “CLASS CLOWN.” He revels in his newfound ability to make us all laugh, and with the completion of the home climbing wall, The Boy has shown a drive and passion for climbing that we never expected from him. Gee, before you know it he’ll be just like his old man…skipping out on school, bumming rides to the mountains, frequenting the emergency room, hanging out with shady characters…the memories will be priceless. Get your bail money ready…

Caitlin has begun her horseback riding lessons in earnest this year. With Kelly to motivate and guide her she is well on her way to (you guessed it) bankrupting her Dad. Chaps? Boots? Lessons? No big deal, but A HORSE?!? Well we haven’t gotten that far…but who’d bet against it? Caitlin’s final year in elementary school has gone swimmingly, and she looks forward to entering the exciting world of Junior High next year. So everybody smile and tell her it will be wonderful…she can learn the horrible truth on her own. It builds character.

So in moves Kelly, and along with her? A new buddy for Sherpa. Otter is the name, and if both his brain cells are working, he’s a great addition to the animal contingent of the house. Adopted from the same shelter that gave us the stoic, honorable, steadfast border collie Sherpa…well, he’s a goofy little dog (Akita/Shepherd/Heeler mix?) but we love him anyway. The two have been getting along great and faithfully guarding their herd together.

This year has been particularly swell for the man of the house, Chris. The new job is going great (almost 2 years now and continuing to grow.) Yes, he’s still to blame if you don’t have blankets and orange juice on your next commercial flight. Wildly successful climbing competitions, home improvements, hiking, biking, traveling, GOSH…life is like a great big apple. But he doesn’t like apples, so for him it’s more like a cookie. An enormous cookie, and it’s getting sweeter by the day. No one should be allowed to have this much fun, and if he slows down and stops FREAKING OUT about it all, he might just enjoy it! Or check himself into an institution. Whatever.

So to sum it all up – with Caitlin and The Boy becoming more active, more animals in the houses, and an ever changing family dynamic, it’s been quite a year. I’ll lay money that 2006 will be no different so stay safe, be good, check your knots, fill up your car, save your money, and have a great holiday season!

With all the love we can shake a stick at !

Chris, Kelly, Caitlin, Colin, Sherpa and Otter –

See you next year !