If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, it might just be my Christmas letter.  Last week, I gave you the whats and wherefores about Christmas letters.  So now I’m putting mine up for mockment, commentary, WTFs, and hopefully, the occasional guffaw:

Dear Family, Friends, and otherwise,

So here we are another Christmas in view with the holidays kicking off the same as always – me with a list a mile long and Jason thinking we should skip it and take a nap instead.  Perhaps he has the better plan, but please don’t tell him that.  It goes straight to his head!  I can’t tell you how many millions of times each year he reminds me that he’s always right.  Blah, blah.  He’s just lucky I don’t debate the issue.  Actually, we’re both lucky.   We’re well aware that we live the dream.  It may be more of a local yokel’s dream, but a dream nonetheless. 

We left off last season with a Christmas blizzard in which it was definitely a white Christmas, or what I call the “Christmas that wasn’t” for pretty much everybody around here.   Christmas was just the two of us and our snow-blower.  Luckily, it worked well and got us out of the drifts in time to head for Vegas with the VHs.  But well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  So I think I’ll just move on and say that Jason got to go to a Chiefs game with Robb.  A highlight for sure.  As usual, no good deed goes unpunished, so cattle-hand-for-all-seasons/above-average-dolly-cart-pusher, Jason dragged me to Des Moines in February to help my dad with Winter Beef Expo again where I stayed on for an extra few days.  After getting back, Jason “party planner” Carley threw me a birthday party.  From there, we managed to fit in a Tim McGraw concert and watch a lot of the Olympics before Jason was called back into action full force at Carley Construction.  As I said, “lucky” is the term for our year as Robb scored jobs close to home in Council Bluffs this go ‘round, leaving Jason a few more minutes at home each day which he, of course, spent heckling me, watching Burn Notice and NCIS, or sleeping!

Shockingly enough, spring did finally show up, although it was seeming pretty questionable at the time.  My uncle put in new countertops and sinks for us while Jason was slaving away on Broadway in CB and I was teaching at Logan, getting 3 college classes done, and releasing my first young adult e-book called, Hello, Summer Vacay! (sounds pretty good right about now as the wind whips by my house at 35mph).  With the e-book, came more writing and contests.  I joined three blogging sites, and hopefully, you are my friend on facebook and find time to read me at www.boltoncarley.wordpress.com.  If not, I guess we know how you really feel. J 

As always, we try our best to make it to all family functions.  Highlights this year for our 14 nieces and nephews (a spectrum of ages 27 to 5) were Chad graduating from high school (off to Iowa State which meant another IA St. orientation for me!) and Taylor getting confirmed, but all are busy with sports, 4-H, jobs, etc. A Stille family gathering snuck into our April calendar and my mom and dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just a few weeks ago with a big party.  Whereas, we happily toasted simply making it to 5 years the week before that!  I also made time to take my mom back to Indianapolis to visit Tiffany in June for RAGCRAI to the third power – my Regular Annual Great Car Ride Across IA, IL, and IN and did the cattle show route with Dad, Chad, and Kyra, too. 

I’m not gonna lie, I had a little more time off than Jason (lol) so I also had the great fortune of making a trek to MN to see a bunch of old friends after making the Cedar Falls run for the Loop Girls’ Sweet 16 Reunion.  Not only was it a blast, but let’s just say there’s never a dull moment with the Loop girls in town!  Again, I feel lucky to have such great friends, not only all those girls, but all the ones Jason and I keep close by here in Bellevue and scattered throughout the country.  Of course, I swear everybody we hang out with has decided this is the year of conception!  Grant Bane made an appearance on my birthday and Jack Chapman found his way into the world on Jason’s.  In between there, Brevin Leggott joined the party, and I made a trip to Grand Island to meet Katelynn Brus.  But now I have even more very dear friends who are preggers and have me scared to even drink the water.  Guess they’ll give me plenty to write about in next year’s Christmas letter!

Now, those may be the highlights, but the under-the-radar stuff is a lot more fun.  There was my foray into an art gallery showing, Rochford and my judging the semi-finals of the National Poetry Slam Contest in which we feared for our lives, Jason and my run-in with a bat (the animal not the wooden kind), our new best friend, Roland the deer who got his name because he just rolls on in and makes himself at home in the backyard, my rendezvous with the sidewalk snake, our epic battle of the smart-phones (Jason with the Blackberry and I with the Droid), and my attempts to kill myself off with deafness and a proverbial, al beit very real, bull kick to the face causing the broken nose story of 2010.  Oh yeah, we keep it humorous.  We keep it simple.  We keep realizing how lucky we are.

So there it is in a nutshell, well, more of a nuthouse really, but whatever.  Here’s wishing you a happy holiday season and a misery-free 2011!