Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Christmas Letter

This year I invited my family to give me a quote that would help people understand them, and their experience in 2015. Enjoy.

I’ll start with 10-year old Sabine’s quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” as stated by Edmonton Oiler’s very own Wayne Gretzky. This girl loves sports! After her first basketball game this season she said, “I forgot how much I love playing basketball! I wish my team wasn’t so big so I could play MORE!” She’s building up the resolve to steal the ball from other players’ hands. In March she had the excitement of playing in Provincials in Calgary where her team came SO CLOSE to beating some first rate teams; it was exciting and memorable. Then she played outdoor soccer in a marvelous mosquito-less spring, which was its own kind of miracle.
Lookin' fierce at the provincial finals.

Now, Everett spent some time searching the Internet for a quote. I’m not sure what words he used to direct his search but he came up with, “Only trust people who like big butts: they can not lie.” (Grandma, it’s a little word play on a popular song.) Anyway, I think that this quote choice really does capture 2015 in Everett’s life because he graduated from innocent elementary school and started junior high so his little pubescent brain has been marinating in the conversations of 12 and 13-year old boys. He’s transitioned nicely; he is learning how to play the trombone, plays on a community basketball team, and bakes tasty treats for us once in a while.
Everett's Grade 6 grad.

Perhaps you can guess who chose: “You’ve really gotta hand it to short people… because usually they can’t reach it.” It won’t be long until I’m the ‘short people’ in this house! At his Grade 9 grad, Kepler danced to an original song featuring a recorded phrase of him saying, “My name is Kepler and I’m almost six foot four.” [Click here to hear the song - the internets is so fun.] Now in Grade 10, his height has helped earn him spots on the senior volleyball team, and now the senior basketball team. In three months of school he’s had maybe five weekdays without a two-hour practice but he loves it and it has been fun to watch his games. This just in: Kepler is almost six foot five.
Posing with friends at Grade 9 grad ceremony.

Our oldest child, Robyn, emailed me her quote: “I won't eat invertebrates, because I can fight a skeleton, but have no idea what kind of spooky warrior a squid leaves behind.” Intriguing! I searched the phrase and discovered that this quote is from a comic strip called xkcd, created by Randall Munroe [click here]. Munroe has a degree in physics and prior to his career as a professional webcomic artist, Munroe was a roboticist independently contracted with NASA. “Often strips are based on his frustrations or things he finds ridiculous.” Luckily for me, the comic strip, about what a physicist roboticist finds ridiculous, has a website to explain each comic strip under the heading of “Explain xkcd: It’s ‘cause you’re dumb”. Robyn’s quote is from a comic strip entitled: “My Food Rule” which is poking fun at peoples’ complex dietary restrictions. Then I watched Munroe’s charming TED talk [click here]. I am so excited for this glimpse into Robyn’s genius mind!
Testing out Lake Okanagan

The ‘One Little Word’ that I chose to inspire my choices in 2015 was ‘fight’, as in ‘fight my bad habits’ and ‘fight for right’. It turned out to be just what I needed for 2015. But which quote to choose? This one really resonated with me: “Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.” by Glennon Doyle Melton. Society places expectations on us, and we place expectations on ourselves, but we need to focus on what matters. Melton’s book “Carry On Warrior; the power of embracing your messy, beautiful life” has an inspiring message of the power of sharing your truth with others. Perhaps ‘truth’ would be a great Little Word for 2016.

Taken at my cousin's wedding at Lake Louise.

Doug chose to Canadianize a quote by comedian Dave Barry: “Sharks are as tough as those football fans that take their shirts off during games in Canada in November, only more intelligent.” A great quote to introduce Doug’s experience at Shark Alley in South Africa back in May [click for link to captain's entry on the day Doug went]. Doug was in Capetown teaching therapists about assessing injured workers for return-to-work, and made sure to spend some time in a cage in the ocean whilst 10 great white sharks thrashed about, the biggest being 4.3m in length. My husband is so brave!

Taken by a crew member on Doug's excursion. 

Much love from the super Gross family. We’d love to hear from you.