Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Newsletter 2016

I haven't sent this out yet, so this may be a sneak peek for the 3 people who read my blog.

Season’s Greetings!

Welcome to the 2016 edition of the Kannely family Christmas letter.  The ending of this year finds us mostly the same, but perhaps a little older and, in the case of the kids, a little taller.  We have two kids in middle school now and so far, we’ve managed to avoid the Cheese Touch, which is a pretty big accomplishment in my book.  We are a little weird already.  We try hard to teach the girls life skills.  We are hoping at some point they will turn off lights when they leave a room and kill their own spiders when they see them.  At this point we’ve given up on the wish that all puke will end up in a bowl or the toilet.  We seem destined for shampooing a rug when we get sick.  We are trying to raise nice girls, but want them to be well-versed in all aspects of life.  Maddie has become adept at burping on command, and impressed us by doing just that for a minute straight, over and over.  Even she was impressed with herself.  I believe her exact words were, “That. Was. Awesome.”

Emma is 13, in 8th grade, and pretty much knows everything.  She is in a school and community children’s choir, plays the bass clarinet, and is working on another science fair project for the spring.  Thankfully, this one doesn’t involve rotting produce sitting on the kitchen counter.  She is upset she outgrew her Hogwarts sweatshirt, is always reading a book, and played C squad in volleyball.  She definitely inherited her parent’s athletic ability.  Emma did manage to break out of her usual fantasy genre, and read Jane Eyre this year.

Elizabeth is 11 and made the scary transition to middle school in the fall.  She’s funny, dramatic (some might say “angst-y”), is always crafting.  If there is paint, glue, coloring, tape, pipe cleaners, or project involving scissors in the house, it likely belongs to Elizabeth.  She’s taking piano lessons and also tries hard not to squeak Emma’s hand-me-down clarinet in band.  She also made honor roll for the first trimester of middle school, and we are thrilled!  She won’t pick up a book unless it is absolutely necessary and bribes are used, but enjoys the audiobooks we listen to in the car.

Annie and Maddie just turned 8 and are in 2nd grade.  Annie still dislikes displays of affection, but sometime Mom gets a pass and will be allowed a snuggle.  Maddie is carrying on the tradition of sneaking books and flashlights in bed.  The girls both played soccer in the spring and fall, and even made some progress in actually playing, instead of just following the ball around from one side of the field to the other.  The twins try to be different so people can tell them apart.  Maddie went so far as to split her chin open after a game of dodgeball was done and needed 7 stitches to put her to rights.  Annie always has her hair in a ponytail because she hates hair in her face, and refuses to let me cut her hair.

Ryan and I made the 15 years of marriage mark in August.  To celebrate we flew down to Mexico for a 5-day trip.  We didn’t go to one of the usual tourist destinations, but to Veracruz where Ryan served his mission.  We got hit by a tropical storm on our first day there, and I perfected my “smile and nod” while Ryan conversed with people he knew from his mission.  The Spanish words I picked up when I worked at the developmental preschool last spring wasn’t quite enough to get by.  We also wondered if our taxi driver was kidnapping us on our way to the pyramids at El Tajin because that was so not a 90-minute drive.  She didn’t, but she charged about 3 times more than she quoted Ryan.  All in all, it was a never to be forgotten adventure.

Ryan’s job is going well as the assistant principal at an all kindergarten school.  He deals with some interesting behaviors sometimes.  He had an out-of-control kid bite his hand.  The kid lost his tooth during the encounter, and it didn’t even break Ryan’s skin.  He now runs around outside without his shirt, claiming he sparkles in the sunlight and wants to be called Edward.  

Our “farm” is expanding.  We currently have a pig named Percy, two nameless sheep, 6 turkeys, 3 bee hives, one cat, and an unknown number of chickens.  Our feral chickens are always escaping to the neighbors, so it’s hard to count them.  Our garden was grand in size, as usual, and we added 6 fruit trees to our collection.  I won’t mention all the weeds we have, so this makes our yard sound a lot cooler and prettier than it really is.  Also, we are completely self-sufficient in onions.  I haven’t purchased one in two years.

And just because Ryan felt the need to include this fascinating tidbit so everyone, even the people we aren’t “friends” with on Facebook, know we are related to one of the guys who went on the Shark Tank tv show on ABC to pitch their toilet night light invention called the Illumibowl.  We now call Ryan’s brother Michael the Toilet King, and we are so proud the Kannely name is associated with toilets.  If anyone is interested, Illumibowls can be purchased at, many Walmarts, and Bed Bath and Beyond.  Or call Ryan.  We have several.

Well, we are hanging in there.  Sometimes maybe only by our fingernails.  Perhaps you understand the feeling.  But we are thankful for so many of our blessings and cherish our moments with family and friends.  We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Love,  Ryan, Danae, Emma, Elizabeth, Annie, and Maddie Kannely

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