Sunday, December 8, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Claytors 2013

Well it’s been an eventful year (Really?  Are you new here or something?)  Sorry, talking to myself has become a bad habit.  After all, no one else is listening to me or willing to carry on a constructive conversation.  What was I talking about again?  I know I know…just get on with it already!

Caitlin had an unforgettable year.  In her last semester as a Senior at Prospect High School, she jetted off to Orlando with the Mixed Company show choir for Spring Break.  Keeping her grades nice and strong, she toured her list of colleges and decided on the University of Illinois, majoring in Music Education (…duh!)  She once again made her own dress and jewelry for the prom, and was voted by her classmates to earn the Medallion Award for Vocal Music, which she proudly wore to graduation.  The summer started with a post grad trip all over Europe with the Prospect Madrigal Singers, and followed with a “cough cough” JOB!  She scored a sweet one working full time with Dad during the day, and rehearsed in the evenings to shine as the lead in The King’s Players production of “Kiss Me Kate.”  She turned 18 in July and was headed to Champaign, IL in August a week before classes for the Marching Illini Band’s Hell Week, and moved into her dorm.  Being centrally located, she receives parental and grand-parental visits regularly (whether she wants them or not!)

Not to be outdone, The Boy has continued blazing his own trail.  He gets lost a lot, but if you help him he’ll never learn on his own!  Does he miss his sister?  (Who?)  Having turned 13 and officially a “teenager” he’s exercising as much independence as he can get away with.  He’s continued to move up the ranks in Taekwondo, expecting his first Black Belt test in 2014.  He also dominated the Do-Jang’s pushup challenge, doing over 3000 in 6 weeks.  (Yah Ahnold, he’s huge…he’s got no neck.)  With Caitlin in Florida over spring break, he went golfing with his Grandparents in Arizona, but did join Caitlin as a tagalong in Europe (or roadie I guess?) and landed his first legitimate chorus part in “Kiss Me Kate.”  Afterwards, he and Grandpa Bob Schwabik embarked on a weeklong road-trip tour of National Parks on the East Coast, highlighted by shooting things…with both cameras at the parks, and firearms at Grandpa’s Gun Club (safety first!).  He’s now halfway through Junior High School and has traded the Trumpet for Guitar lessons.  You know…’cause chicks dig that sort of thing!     

Sherpa and Otter had tons of fun, traveling to Michigan for a week on Long Lake, and spending more time with the neighbor’s dog Riley, including a few sleepovers.  Although Sherpa has been showing her age, she still has enough energy to put Otter in his place and assert her dominance.  Otter then makes sure Sherpa’s not looking when he steals her biscuits.  It’s a tenuous peace, but calls to John Kerry have been unanswered so far.  Neither party has developed Uranium rawhide, so the world is safe…FOR NOW!   

What is it with Kelly and all the tree-hugging critter-attracting behavior?  Over the winter, an opportunistic little mouse found his way into her car to nest in the heating filter.  Having removed that and called exterminators, she was determined to not learn her lesson and lobbied our village to allow us to build a chicken coop in the yard (decision is a NO so far…) She earned a long overdue promotion at work and celebrated by making mini terrariums for co-workers.  Seriously, they have pastoral settings with sheep, shepherds, and everything.  It’s clinical!  Aside from these projects, time has been largely devoted to the super double secret project.  It rhymes with “look” and it you can read it when she’s done…someday!  

And how can Chris compete with all these goings on?  Well…he can’t so why bother!  If you can’t beat ‘em, right?  He read up on what breed of chicken Kelly should raise, built epic stage sets for Kiss Me Kate, carpooled with Caitlin to work all summer, matched The Boy in his pushup challenge (yep…all 3000!) and is disturbingly prone to wearing University of Illinois sportswear.  For himself though, he did reminisce around his old haunts in northern Michigan with Kelly and the Dogs, and enrolled at the Music Institute of Chicago to take Recorder lessons.  A petition from the members at Vertical Endeavors saw him rejoining the ranks of Route Setters.  The old man’s still got it!  Well…I’d consider buying stock in Advil and Blue Emu.  Sales are about to spike!   

OK…if you’ve made it this far, seriously consider the choices you’re making in life.  A couple states have legalized recreational marijuana.  I’m not “saying,” I’m just…you know “saying.”  Stay tuned for more blog entries…we’re getting marginally better at updating to anyone who cares…
Merry Christmas and Happy 2014!

Slapping you butt and saying “good game, ”
Chris, Kelly, Caitlin, The Boy, Sherpa and Otter ! 

and Quincy. Quincy Nelson.