Season’s Greetings from the Schimelpfenigs!

by Kat Wopat

DEAR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

The Mannheim Steamroller is playing on the Bose, and I have a steaming cup of hot lemon water here by the keyboard, so it must be time to wish you and yours a happy holiday season! We feel so blessed this year, so much so that I wanted to get my annual holiday letter written "stat," to get everyone up to date on the Family Schimelpfenig before the flurry of festivities begins.

Indeed, between my scrapbooking hobby (or as Larry says, obsession!!) and my handbell choir rehearsals, I have scarcely had time to keep up with Dancing with the Stars this season. But if you're in the Cedar Valley area over the holidays, don't miss our Silver Belles' year-end concert, "The Silver Belles' Very '70s Christmas," with special tributes to the Carpenters and Grand Funk Railroad. Should be magical!

Did I mention that I'll need a "date" that night? Larry, who is semi-retired from Allstate these days, will be in Trenton, New Jersey, getting ready for his Christmas morning Washington-crossing-the-Delaware reenactment (again!). Here’s hoping he doesn't get pulled aside at the train station again for his portable cannon. Seriously, since when does a silver-haired guy wearing a tri-corn hat mean anyone harm?

To be honest, scrapbooking has been pretty easy this year—as Larry always says, all you have to do is open up the Cedar Valley Sun-Times to see what’s happening with the Schimelpfenig clan. The kids are pretty much grown, but everyone is still close to home — so blessed! — and Laurence Jr. is even still in his old room (or he will be soon — more on that in a minute!).

Let’s start with the twins. Maybe you saw in the paper back in June that our darling Tamara got married. We couldn’t be more tickled with her choice: Doug Kaczinski (not those Kaczinskis!), who's the new choir director at Cedar Valley High. They met in the crafting store (Tamara loves scrapbooking, too!), and Doug's just a wonderful guy: at the wedding, he created a beautiful ice sculpture of Adonis that reigned over the shrimp cocktail table, and during the reception he sang—I can't remember the name of the song, but Clay Aiken sang it on Idol — in perfect harmony with his groomsmen (some of his college fraternity brothers, I assume). It had everyone on their feet by the end, and wiping the tears away. Tamara was crying so hard she had to go lie down in back before they cut the cake (a fondant-and-flowers-covered dream that he made himself! Ladies, where were boys like this when we were single??).

We’re also quite proud of Taryn this year. A year ago, as you may recall, she gave us our very first grandchild, our adorable Poughkeepsie, who we just spoil like crazy (six scrapbooks in one year!). Poughkeepsie's dad is still a state secret as far as Taryn's concerned, but now that Kippi is old enough for daycare, Taryn has been able to take on more hours hostessing at Macaroni Grill (don’t miss the tiramisu!) and get herself in pre-baby shape again with an interesting new fitness regime. They call it "pole dancing," and it's great for tightening up that belly area, and apparently it’s fun to do to music (Larry says I should try!). Taryn can shimmy up that pole like nobody's business, and defies the laws of physics with those gorgeous legs. She's gotten so good that she even won a trophy in August at this big tournament out at the Nimiquat Casino. Larry and I went for the whole weekend and we were just so proud. Larry got his picture made with all the contestants, he was so impressed with them all.

And what about Laurence Jr., you ask? He finished his BA in American Studies last January (finally!) and spent the spring and summer pounding the pavement for a job, but darn it, it's tough out there. He got himself in a bit of pickle around Halloween, if you didn't read about it; he decided to join some friends at this "Occupy Cedar Valley," a rather impromptu "campout" in that little park located between city hall and the Chick Fil-A. They had their pup tents and someone’s guitar, and one evening I took them a hot pan of my chili-mac casserole as well as the ingredients for s’mores. (Some girl with a nose ring sniffed at my casserole and asked me if the cows had been "grass-fed!" You're welcome, young lady!)

I went home after that little exchange, so unfortunately I missed getting a first-hand look at the "incident." Laurence tells me that the marshmallow sticks just got too close to his tent and it went up in smoke, and then the other tents, all crammed into that little park, followed suit. The paper said something about a "Molotov cocktail," and that someone, surely not Laurence, kicked over a bench outside the Chick Fil-A and kept yelling about "the earth taking back its own," or some such. I can vouch for the fact that Laurence wasn’t having any cocktails—he drinks nothing but that Red Bull soda. As usual, you can’t trust everything you read in that Sun-Times. Certainly not my horoscope — that was the same day it said I would get reconnect with an "old flame"—ha!

Luckily, Larry's got a nice attorney friend from his Allstate days and we're hoping that Laurence will be back home — here with the girls, Doug, Poughkeepsie and our five fabulous corgis — and with all the charges dropped by Christmas Eve. Because isn't family the most precious gift of all?

Blessings to you all this holiday season!!

Carol

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