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Long-winded Christmas musings and observations in operating My Merry Christmas.
Family Life As the title says...
Old

Movin' on Up, Moving on In...

Posted 07-08-2012 at 11:40 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

It has been a time of unprecedented change for us. But things are starting to look up after what has admittedly been a horrific year.

Here's the outside of our new country home...



This home is located some 100 miles from our home of the past 12 years. It is located in the country, some 2 miles away from a Pepperidge Farms facility that manufactures fishies (my kids insist this is an important detail and "new feature" in their lives).

It is a pretty drastic change from our humble little city track home. We're leaving a community of 90,000 in a suburb of Salt Lake City for a tiny farming community of 2,400. The absence of traffic noise, the presence of country aromas (cows), and the brilliance of the stars at night are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the change this is for us.

The house has a very park-like setting...

We have...
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Christmas Makes the House a Home

Posted 04-19-2012 at 12:54 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

We're moving.

After 13 years in the same place we're officially in the hunt for a new residence.

We came here when my sixth child, Madelyn, was just a week old. Our seventh, Emma, was born here and has known no other home.

If these walls could speak they would have stories to tell: like the Christmas we got Sam, our now ten year old border colllie. I had to bring him to my parents house on Christmas Eve morning for safe keeping and then I had to stay up with his whiny little puppy butt half the night to keep the kids from discovering him too early.

He's still as big a baby as ever.

And he has never known another home.

But things have changed for us and we're in need of relocating. It will be a local move and it introduces us to a new stage in our lives. Three of my adult children, due to their uncoordinated young adult activities, are all leaving the nest at one time. A mass migration.

That...
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Old

Finding Christmas

Posted 03-08-2012 at 08:13 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Here it is early March and my Christmas tree is still up.

That sounds like the confession of a crazed Christmas fanatic but the truth is far less romantic. My tree is up because much of my house, my life, my websites (such as this one) has all been in a suspended state due to a family crisis.

I won't detail that event here other than to say I'm sorry I've been gone. It is easy to excuse things when you can claim it is a life or death situation but honestly, it hasn't been life or death, at least not in the traditional sense. It has merely been what some would classify as teenage drama.

I don't suspect anyone will understand that. But these are MY kids I'm talking about and they are simply the world to me. I know they have to grow up and I know they must assume adult issues at earlier and earlier ages. But oh, how I wish I could go back in time and preserve them for just a little while longer, locked in their innocence and purity.

...
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Shaking the Tree of Tradition

Posted 11-29-2011 at 01:34 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 11-29-2011 at 01:37 PM by Jeff Westover

Inspired by a forum post by a new user, I decided to take up the idea of "coding" the presents under the tree this year. There are nine of us living in the house and there just happens to be nine famous reindeer on Santa's Sleigh so come Christmas morning everyone is going to have to figure out who "Rudolph" is...and all the others.

I announced this the other night when we did our annual drawing of the names.

Each Thanksgiving weekend it has been our tradition to draw names and discover who each of us would be secret Santa to for the season.

The secret Santa gig wasn't just a present to open on Christmas morning (last year's secret Santa gift budget was $5.12 per person, so you can imagine how inventive those gifts can be). Being a secret Santa also means doing anonymous acts of service above and beyond the norm leading up to Christmas. If you're smart, you'll do different things for different folks through out the season just to throw off...
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Old

Pain of Change

Posted 11-04-2011 at 11:08 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)
Updated 11-04-2011 at 11:12 PM by Jeff Westover

We live in a sea of change in my home. With kids in various states of chaos -- age 25, 19, 17, 15, 13, 11 and 9 -- change is what life is all about right now.

And I don't have to tell any of you how hard growing up can be.

One of the elements of growing up is dealing with things that have changed beyond our control. Aubree, for example, still helps track Santa on Christmas Eve. That's in her control. Whether we get snow on Christmas is not within her control. And sometimes that is hard to deal with.

I had the other day my teenager daughters (which is code for "shoppers") starting to talk about getting up at 4am on Black Friday and hitting the stores. Like little old ladies they were waxing nostalgic.

I hated to throw cold water on them. But as this week has unfolded with Black Friday news it has become evident that the 5am openings of the past are just that -- over.

Now all stores look to either be open on...
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