Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our Overly Revealing Family Christmas Letter

Happy holidays from the Reese family! Whether you are celebrating Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just Taylor Swift’s birthday on December 13th, we hope this letter finds you well. #shakeitoff

It has been an exciting year at our house. I had a secret goal that I didn’t even tell my family about at the beginning of the year. For 2017, I wanted to really LIVE. Not just let the days pass by. Not just survive. But really LIVE. I wanted this year to be about buying experiences instead of things. It turned out to be an amazing adventure. #sorryabouthowthatsoundedliketonyrobbinsinfomercial 

Though our consumer purchasing was minimal, we did have to crack open the check book to buy a new air conditioner. I can think of at least 7,000 things I would rather spend $7,000 on. Just imagine how many Krispy Kreme donuts that would buy! #holycholesterolbatman Here’s a little update on everyone in the house who is now enjoying $7,000 worth of cool air:

Jack and Little Debbie
Our four-legged family members remain hell raisers. Jack, the poodle, is stubborn and barks at anything that moves. This drives me CRAAAZY. Our Great Dane, Little Debbie eats as well as the humans in the house. Mainly because her head is level with the kitchen counter so she helps herself to whatever she wants when we aren’t looking. She has been a demon of wrath and terror ever since the day she was born. #calltheexorcist She gets into the garbage can and makes a gigantic mess. She barks. She snaps at you when you try to push her off the bed. #thisisntYOURbed! She is annoying and wants you to play with her when you’re in the middle of something. She likes to drink out of the bathroom sink and learned how to use the door handle to open the back door. Of course she doesn’t close the door afterward. She causes nothing but trouble. But we love her anyway. #whensheisasleep

One day I came home from work and Kylee had made enchiladas for dinner. She didn’t know how much enchilada sauce to use so she just poured the whole can over the top which made them a tad (or more than a tad) soggy. And it was wonderful. She loves to cook but has a tough time getting things to come out right. The cookies she makes are generally on the extremes of either being dough in the middle….or hockey pucks. And yet she keeps trying. She keeps cooking. I really love that. She got a 4.0 this past quarter in middle school! This year was her second year going to Girl’s Camp which she attended with Dani. In her year-end choir concert, they did a song from Moana and the highlight was the Coldplay song Sky Full Of Stars where they turned off the lights and did a bunch of stuff with flashlights. It may have been my favorite choir song ever. #seriousgoosebumpmoment. Her big thing right now is playing the ukulele. Recently we went on a road trip to Capitol Reef National Park for the first time. Our motel room smelled like a mix between a chimney and sweaty armpits. We had a blast immersing ourselves in stunningly beautiful scenery. #worththe15hoursofdriving

Dani has the strongest sense of Christmas spirit of anyone I know. #exceptchevychase She is so good about bringing us back to the meaning of the season when life gets crazy. She has been on the high school swim team and truly loves it. She is an amazing swimmer. She loves her biology class, including the day they got to dissect a fetal pig. She is an expert at Michael Jackson Just Dance, and despite my trash talking, she destroys me every time. Earlier this year we had a daddy/daughter road trip to Death Valley which is an experience I will never forget. (Think lots of hiking, lots of photography, and lots of Dr. Pepper.) On another road trip, I took her to Horseshoe Bend. She had fun (and I use the term “fun” somewhat loosely) going on a pioneer trek with our church group. She continues to get monthly penicillin shots to combat the rheumatic fever she had a few years ago. The injection is thick like Elmer’s Glue. The tradition EVERY time is for her to hold my hand and watch the song “What Does The Fox Say” on YouTube while Mel gives her the injection. I’m sick of “What Does The Fox Say”. She isn’t.

Jackson has had his share of health issues during the year. He has done some pulmonary function testing, lots of labs, and now gives himself weekly infusions of plasma. He actually sticks himself with 4 needles in the stomach each week, and does the infusions himself. Seriously impressive. He has worked at the finish line of a bunch of ultra races this year. Afterward, I always get comments from people about what a hard worker he is and how he “has a heart of gold”. I think it’s cool how the ultra community is so welcoming and is so good to him. And it’s cool how he really likes the people in the ultra community. For Father’s Day he surprised me with a trip to Denver to go to Cubs games. He used the money he had saved from working at races. We went to March Madness basketball games, and I got to take him on his first trip to Observation Point in Zion National Park. He plays the piano for the high school jazz band and the church choir. And he got his driver’s license. #insurancepremiumkicktothecrotch

This year has been a big one for Mel. After finishing her Nurse Practitioner degree, she was offered a great position in St. George. She really loves her job and her co-workers. She ran the Dirty Hurty Half Marathon this year, and….wait for it….she ran 50 MILES at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in February. She has a love/hate relationship with running (statistically, more hate than love), so running 50 miles was remarkable. In June, Mel and I went on the trip of a lifetime to Iceland. Here is a video:

We spent 9 days driving around the whole country, eating crappy gas station food (Subway using the slogan “Eat Fresh” in Iceland is blatantly false advertising), sleeping in hostels (#hairintheshower), running in the middle of the night since it doesn’t get dark during the summer, and seeing the most breathtaking black sand beaches, glaciers, and waterfalls in the world. A few months ago we went to Seattle with Jackson to see U2 in concert. Who knew you could head bang to “Where The Streets Have No Name”. Just kidding Mel.

The highlight of my year was in October when I was playing a game of Clue with the kids and I guessed the killer, weapon, and room on the first try. I will continue to remind my family of this accomplishment every time we play Clue for the rest of eternity. #legend. In April I ran Zion 100, then a week later ran the Lake Sonoma 50 in California. Mel and I had so much fun staying in the guest house of the race directors, John and Lisa, and spending time with them, their pup Zephyr, and our friend Rocket while we were there. I ran 100 miles on the high school track. #hamster This year I set a goal to run as many miles as I could on the 3.5 mile More Cowbell Trail in southern Utah, and finished the year-long goal with 422 miles. I’m finishing up a new book about Badwater, the 135 mile race across Death Valley. I’m really happy about how it has turned out so far, and it will be coming out soon! I finished up the year with an exciting invitation from UltraRunning Magazine to run the prestigious Western States 100 next year. Can. Not. Wait.

We had some great experiences as a family. In January we went to Florida. (Based on my observations, it seems that more of the US population chose to go to Florida in January than people who didn’t go to Florida in January.) A highlight was spending a couple days at NASA and we even had the opportunity to see a rocket launch. We hiked to Red Pine Lake with only minimal complaining. We hiked to Horseshoe Bend with only minimal complaining. We went to a NeedToBreathe concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver. And in September we had a family movie night that included a trip to Taco Bell and our kid’s first introduction to Dumb and Dumber. #journalworthy

We’ve had some really cool experiences this year. And we’ve had our share of challenges. Things haven’t always gone just right. We fight. We argue. We pull our ever-graying hair out when the kids don’t clean up after themselves. We want to put our dogs up for adoption when they steal cheesecake off the kitchen table or leave the back door open. (Yes, Debbie. I’m talking to you.) But in the end, we mostly love each other. And I’m pretty good with that. Happy holidays from the Reese’s. #happybirthdaytaylorswift