If I would have won the Billion Trillion Dollar Powerball lottery, we’d have hired someone to write this annual Phelps Phamily Christmas letter. Of course, we bought the tickets, and made the budget, planned the retirement, started reading resumes for a cook, maid, a Christmas light hanger… and then poof, we checked the numbers on our phones and had to go back to real life and chuck a frozen pizza in the oven, all by ourselves, just to keep from starving to death. And then we had to do our own dishes. Again!

I’m sure a great percentage of the population went through the same Powerball scenario. Some might have satisfied their sadness with ice cream, not pizza, but to each his own.  Those that were good at math in school had a better idea than most of the actual chances of winning, but did it anyway.  I would have thought we would have had more sense than the average bear and understood the odds better.  But you know statistics, there is just so much buried in the numbers that sometimes the big picture gets overlooked. 

For example, we had kid 1.0 a long time ago.  Then kids 2.0 and 2.5 came along.  Then they evolved into 1.0, 2.0, and 2.5 squared.  Then the pets crept in.  How do you mathematically add that into the equation??? It gets so complicated. That’s why they have names.  It keeps you from having nightmares about the numbers.

We have a couple of grandkids now.  The eldest is four and would like to think she is 40.  She loves to give math problems in the car.  It’s a little hard to follow, but what isn’t in a 4 yr old brain!!??  The answer to, “what is 0 + 1 + 0” is 100.  You just have to know that what she really meant is the complexity of the arrangement of the numbers, not the actual addition (similar to a basic understanding of the stock market.) You need to be on a really long car ride to get the correct answer to, “what is 9 + 1 + 3 + 5?” It’s kind of like Wordle, but with numbers…

We’ve learned other math as grandparents.  Not sure they have written a math textbook chapter about this yet but, hmmm, this could be a new Shark Tank venture maybe. Do you know how to count by sleeps? Five sleeps until you come to Grandma’s house, and you get to stay for 2 sleeps. Simple math.  More complicated math comes in as you calculate the number of books needed before bed divided by the number of minutes before mom says it’s time to be done, or the exact number of Goldfish crackers needed for every 2 hours in the car. 

Then there are the math and time equations and calculations needed when you are doing home improvement projects.  Which seem endless in our lives.  Keith Phelps taught Chr’s (over and over and over) the famous line, “Measure twice, cut once.”  While I remind him… a lot… about this, I do notice that we do always buy the extra board at the still weekly Saturday morning Menards dates.  This year there were projects that involved driving, and measuring, and calculating, and blisters, and tile, and paint buckets, and rocks… and this is why you have children, so that you never run out of projects.  Our own projects involved moving furniture, waiting for invisible siding installers and delayed countertops, and making walls into bookcases, one of our specialties. 

Rundown on the fam: Hannah, Riley, Isla, and Ruthie have a new shed and landscaping and live 3 hours and 45 min away, or 191 miles, or 307 km.  Ruthie thinks in Kilometers.  She completed the 3rd 5K of her short life on Thanksgiving. (Yeah, we are that family who finds sleeping in on holidays over-rated.)      Liz and AJ moved to South St Paul where remodeling has given Liz space to open Artistic Mutt Grooming. Check it out on Facebook!

Shannon and Ryan are expecting a baby girl in March and Grandpa Keith has asked her to try to go three days overdue so she can be born on his 100th birthday. She said MAYBE! 

Julie still has lots of sisters, nieces, and nephews and we are doing the big Wilcox Girls Family Vaca again next year.  Want to talk logistical numbers?  Insanity, but Julie is a crazy great planner.  Chr’s commutes down 15 steps to work each morning. Quite safe, and he knows a lot about meatpacking. Neither ever caught Covid and are a little annoyed by that. (Update: recovering now and it was terrible!) Biggest news of all – we caved to neighborhood peer pressure and got our first blow up yard decoration. We are freaking full of Peace + Joy = LIFE! 

Enjoy the Season – Julie and Chr’s Phelps         PhelpsPhamilyChristmas.com

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