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

Happy Anniversary, Baby

Posted 10-12-2011 at 06:41 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

October 12th, 1991, was the day My Merry Christmas was born. That also happened to be the day I got married.

Those two events go hand-in-hand for one reason: Aubree, my now-25 year old daughter.

We became a family that day. And almost immediately we started making plans for Christmas.

She presented to me a terrific challenge. For all of her short life she had celebrated Christmas one way: every Christmas Eve she spent at her grandparent's home in a sea of family. They ate, opened gifts and enjoyed each others company.

For all of my 28-years I had celebrated Christmas differently -- like a child. Every Christmas Eve we would stay home as a family and hang our stockings. We might see some family drop by and we might spend time with them on the phone. But our home was ground zero for Christmas and the action all happened within footsteps of my bedroom. Christmas meant that intimate family time together, reading the Christmas story from...
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Old

A Clumsy Christmas Eve Remembered

Posted 09-19-2011 at 12:48 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

We have so many crazy memories of Christmas Eve that it is hard some times to account for them all. A neighbor next door to me reminded me of a moment I failed to tell anyone about -- because it was a bit embarrassing.

About ten years ago my son asked for a drum set for Christmas.

A wise elf admonished us early in our marriage to always clear a wishlist to Santa with Mom first -- if Mom didn't approve, Santa wouldn't deliver.

There was just no way my son was getting drums. He was eight, all boy, and prone to, uh, enthusiastic activities. We had not one but two little girls under the age of three and life was chaotic enough.

No drums. Mom said no. I said no. And Santa never heard the request.

But a neighbor did and a few days before Christmas, as they cleaned out their basement in advance of a house move, he brought us over a set of used drums. This good man was a musician with years of experience and when I...
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Old

Love Story

Posted 07-26-2011 at 09:02 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Someone once asked me why my wife Sandy isn't on My Merry Christmas. There are several reasons for it though she would tell you frankly that she just doesn't have time for the computer.

But it is much more than that.

I've taken great pleasure this week watching her get up early each day to run over to my Mom's house.

Mom, as you may remember, had two devastating strokes a little more than a year ago. In fact, last summer at this time we endured an endless string of nights and days at the hospital as Mom fought to recover. Those are sad and painful memories for me that I hold to myself these days because Mom doesn't remember them.

That is part of what made the stroke experience so hard. Her stroke was not of the variety that stole a lot of her physical abilities. Her stroke affected the parts of her brain that control memory and personality. For quite a while Mom was just not Mom. She was "living dead" because she wasn't "in...
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Old

Christmas Countdown - 2011

Posted 07-07-2011 at 05:56 AM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

I should have blogged this instead of being so long winded in the Countdown thread. What I dork I am sometimes.

As a footnote to this I would just note that I find the day after the Fourth of July to be kind of like the day after Christmas. We spend some time cleaning up the sad remains of a good time and contemplating how long it will be tell it comes around again.

Of course, unlike Christmas, in Utah we get TWO Fourth of July holidays -- there's the 4th and then the 24th of July, which is called Pioneer Day here in Utah, commemorating the arrival in the valley of the Mormon Pioneers on July 24th, 1847.

What else is there to do on the 24th besides BBQ, fireworks and water fights? Well, there's the parade, the biggest in America, featuring pioneer and cowboy themed floats from all over the valley.

For me though there is just one Fourth of July, just as there is just one Christmas.

I know folks who celebrate...
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Old

Home

Posted 05-15-2011 at 03:27 PM by Jeff Westover (A Merry Blog)

Late last night my girls came home.

They left ten days ago, my 25-year old, Aubree, at the wheel of her 15-year old Honda with 160,000 miles on it. Her two teen sisters -- Allie, age 15 and Maggie, age 13 -- providing navigation and good humor all the way.

They left as a birthday/Mother's Day surprise for their grandmother, living some 700 miles away in California.

Was I nuts? How could I allow such a foolish thing to happen? Sending three young women alone across the wilds of Nevada with miles of lonely road where anything could go wrong.

Years ago I made the same trip many times in my little Dodge Colt. Alone. Often on short sleep. And every time with little money in my pocket. Back in those days I could make the drive from Utah to California for $30 one way and more than once I left Friday after work just to see my Mom for a little while before heading back on a Sunday morning. Ten hours -- if lucky and I pushed it -- was...
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