December 25, 2011: Luciana’s First Christmas

Medifast Status: Day 236, Down ~72lbs

We were up decently early this morning, like around eight, and headed over to the Grices’ with the girls.  Oreo stayed behind in his kennel at Joe and Britt’s house so that he could sleep.   The mayhem of opening presents would be way too much for him and there is no reason for him to be there then.

We ate the coffee cake that John and Michelle sent to us this morning which has become a bit of a Christmas tradition for us.  They had sent it to me while I was still up in Dallas and I delivered it down so that we could eat it here.  It was awesome.  Everyone really liked it.

We got started on the late side for the opening of presents.  This year is really crazy as there are so many kids.  Liesl was only somewhat involved in the present opening process last year and Clara was not involved at all.  But this year we have five kids opening presents with only Luciana being too young to take part.

Liesl, of course, made out like a bandit and has all kinds of cool, new stuff.  She had a great time and is very excited about her new toys, art stuff, school stuff, clothes, etc.

The big gift for Dominica and I is money for a Rug Doctor.  We will be buying that next week.  This year was the first year that we had figured out what we wanted to Christmas way ahead of time and have known what we wanted for about eleven months.  Normally we wait until the last second and then struggle to come up with the right thing to ask for.  This year we were prepared but spent the entire year looking forward to it.  It may seem like a mundane present but when you put as much work into cleaning carpets as we do it becomes one of the most exciting things that you can imagine.  We are really looking forward to deep cleaning our carpets on a regular basis.  They really need it.

Liesl’s big gift was Kinect for the XBOX 360.  Garrett got one as well.  We are hoping that because the Kinect works by watching the kids and does not require any remote that it will work better for them being so young than does the Wii.  Liesl has a really hard time taking the abstract concept of the Wiimote and figuring out how to translate her hand motions into video game interactions.  That every controller today is different makes this much harder.  She is good with touch screens and has some concept of keyboards and a mouse.  But Wiis and XBOXs, for example, have extremely different controllers that look much alike and the Kinect is completely different yet.  So there will be some learning curve, but we are hopeful.

The Kinect came with three games and Liesl got a Sesame Street game for Christmas too.  Dominica also got a Kinect game for Christmas based on a game show that she really enjoys but whose name escapes me at the time that I am writing this.

One of the coolest things that I’ve gotten for Christmas in a long time are whiskey stones.  These are square chunks of soap stone that you put into the freezer and then use instead of ice in a whiskey (or any drink.)  They keep the drink cold but do not water down the drink so they are way better than normal ice.  I have wanted whiskey stones for years and now I have some.

This evening I put in some time working on Francesca’s second computer – the one that recently got a really bad virus infection.  It has not been working for a while and they were unable to find any installation media for it (it was purchased used) so we decided to install Ubuntu Linux for her to see if that would work out.  I got it installed pretty quickly and she tried it out and was really happy with it. It has everything that she needs, looks way better than Vista, which is what was on there before, and should not have any need for anti-virus software making it was less cumbersome for her.

Madeline and Emily’s big presents were Apple iPod Touchs which are pretty awesome presents.  They are basically full-blown handheld computers with Internet access.  So now they have new ways to have handheld video games, music, movies, television shows, books, chat, email, etc.  I spent much of the evening getting the iPods set up and working.  It is amazing how much work it takes to get those ready for use.

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