Category Archives: Family

Yip Yip Family

Most of my generation who grew up in front of public television remember Sesame Street and its host of memorable characters: Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, The Count… Who can forget such gems as “It’s Not Easy Being Green” or “C is for Cookie” or “Rubber Ducky?”

As fun as it is to wax nostalgic with Sesame Street, I can’t say that I really enjoyed the show that much as a child. I was terribly averse to anything that felt like learning disguised as entertainment. My fondest memories from the show actually come from some of the more obscure characters such as the Martians, a.k.a. the Yip Yips.tumblr_mjtvxkvoiT1qb5gkjo1_500

The premise behind the Yip Yips was to teach kids about the properties of certain objects by looking at them from an alien perspective. Although this concept was by no means new or revolutionary, the Yip Yips were able to pull it off in a way that still makes me laugh today.

These were probably the simplest puppets ever featured on Sesame Street, controlled by only a pair of sticks. Yet I remember quoting them back and forth with my dad for years after, well into my teens.

Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube and some other kind souls who apparently thought the Yip Yips were worthy of preservation, my kids have now become subject to my crazy sense of humor.

So now, we’ve found ourselves going around in public saying dumb things like, “Book say Earth person have hands!” And the little ones oblige me by replying with the obligatory, “Yip yip yip yip yip!” It’s a strange feeling, to say the least – I’m so proud of them for having such offbeat senses of humor, but I worry that I’m going to make them as nuts as I am.

Unfortunately, Tabitha is not immune. While digging around for Yip Yip videos, we found one with a Yip Yip family singing a cute song that I didn’t seem to remember from my childhood. Of course, it didn’t take long before we all knew the words and started singing it back and forth, because it embedded itself in our heads. It’s getting as bad as Bananaphone was at first.

So, if you happen to see us over the holidays or any other time in the future reciting some ridiculousness back and forth, please don’t be alarmed. Don’t start making your way to the nearest exit while pretending to take an important phone call – all the while dialing 9-1-1. Just ask us what movie or show we’re quoting and we’ll happily show you what’s so darn funny on the nearest available interweb portal.

For more Yip Yip hijinks, check out what happens when they find a radio, a fan, a computer, and Planet Earth.

Saying No To Santa Claus

The deeper that Tabitha and I get into the Christian life, the more we’ve come to realize that we needed to tweak the way we celebrate Christmas. We’ve been trying to move away from the whole “Santa Claus” thing and instead return the focus of the holiday back to Jesus Christ.santa

This is not to say that we’ve taken all the fun out of Christmas and turned ourselves into a couple of Scrooges. We still exchange gifts, but we try to do it in the true spirit of giving and to commemorate the fact that Jesus once gave us the ultimate gift: The gift of salvation.

I understand that there are compelling arguments both for and against letting children believe in Santa Claus. Tabitha and I dealt with them extensively before making our decision. Ultimately, we let our hearts decide, but I want divulge some of the logic behind it all.

I remember that as a child, there was something “magical” about believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The anticipation on the nights before Christmas and Easter was always overwhelming. I’d hate to be the one to deny that magic to any child, but if I want my children to learn the true spirit of these days, an unfortunate side effect is dispelling all the myths surrounding them.

Besides, I believe that there is something even more “magical” about believing in Jesus Christ. Santa and the Easter Bunny are only around a couple of days out of the year, but Jesus is eternal! And the best part is, when my children get older, they won’t be crushed to find out that they believe in something that’s not real. Belief in Jesus, unlike belief in Santa Claus, doesn’t have to stop when we’re eight or even when we’re eighty.

Jesus does not abandon us if we’ve been “naughty,” (as if “naughty” children don’t receive Christmas presents from Santa Claus, anyway) but cares for us even when we’ve hit rock bottom. He wants us to pick ourselves back up and make things right, and he’s willing to help us every step of the way. His teachings invariably transcend the materialism of Christmas presents and Easter eggs.

I suppose it’s good that we’ve made this decision while our kids are still quite young. Kristopher has always seemed rather indifferent to the whole notion of Santa Claus anyway, so when we explained the difference between the real St. Nicholas and the Santa Claus of modern times, he didn’t seem too torn up at all. He still gets to believe in Jesus Christ, a belief that will carry him much further in life than any other.

So this year, before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, no mention was made of Santa, or chimneys, or reindeer on rooftops, or magical flying sleighs loaded with toys, or industriously laboring elves, or a workshop at the North Pole. When we woke up Christmas Day, we baked a birthday cake, had a nice meal, and spent some quality time together as a family. We talked about the life and trials of Jesus, thanked him for his sacrifice, and exchanged gifts in his name.

This Christmas season, I found that when we peel away the layers of noise and distraction from our lives, we are able to see more clearly that there is magic to be found in the everyday miracles of the universe. Celebrating Christmas in this manner was a great way to bring such magic into sharper focus.

What We’ve Been Up To

Our home has remained in a state of perpetual disarray, to put it lightly, since Taylor’s arrival. Coupled with work, school, and Kristopher’s boundless energy through it all, I’m still not entirely certain how I still have the wits about me to form coherent sentences.

Ah yes. Taylor.

What can I say about Taylor? She’s quite a handful. People used to tell us what a calm baby Kristopher was. We agreed with them because he usually was, but mostly because we didn’t know any different. Only now do we truly realize how lucky we were. The mild and easy-going temperament of Kristopher’s infancy contrasts sharply with Taylor’s clinginess and incessant need.

I know several of you got a sample of her manner during the last few holidays. Don’t let it upset you if she cried when you held her. My record for “Consecutive Time Spent Holding Taylor While Awake and without Her Crying” currently stands at just over ten minutes. Mommy is the undeniable center of her universe.

We were worried that Tabitha and Taylor wouldn’t be able make it to the annual Brown’s Grove Bonfire – or at least not be able to stay long. At just over a month old, though, Taylor did really well. Everyone seemed to have a great deal of fun this year, especially Kristopher and his new friend, whose name I unfortunately can’t recall. All I can really remember was the food, which seemed particularly awesome this year for some reason. I must have spent half the night hovering around the snack table. We managed to snap a few good photographs which I’ll have posted sometime before next year’s bonfire – I hope.

Thanksgiving was actually rather uneventful for us. We didn’t really go crazy with the food this year, since we were just feeding ourselves. We didn’t even have any ham or turkey, because I most likely would have had to eat it all myself :(. In a way, the lack of extravagance kinda helped make the holiday a bit more relaxing. People tend to wear themselves out cooking and busying themselves with so many activities that they really don’t get to spend much time appreciating Thanksgiving and what it really stands for.

The funny thing about fall semesters in college is suddenly realizing that after Thanksgiving break, classes are almost over. For some, that means a mad rush of getting things in order before finals. I actually avoided that this semester and coasted relatively unscathed into a fairly respectable (but disappointing) 3.28 GPA after having to take just one final.

The weekend of December 17th we set aside some time to visit Tabitha’s family in Louisville. We exchanged a few early Christmas gifts, Tabitha got some shopping done with her aunt, and Tabitha’s dad, Kristopher, and I got some swimming time in. The pool heater wasn’t functioning correctly, and the water was actually kinda cool, but if it bothered Kristopher, he certainly didn’t let it show.

Like so many years before, we spent Christmas Eve at my grandfather’s house with my mom’s family. I always look forward to this because of the amazing food and the five dollar Chinese Auction, which has become one of the highlights of the evening since we started it a few years ago. Usually the items placed in the auction are of practical use. Sometimes, however, someone will throw in a gag gift that results in absolute hilarity.

I’m going to save my recap of Christmas day for a different post, because as it looks right now, it can and probably should stand out on its own.