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We had a year!
Not just; “Yeah, a lot happened this year…” But, A LOT happened this year! Since our last letter, we lost Julie’s dad, Dennis, and Chr’s’s mom, Kay. We gained TWO son-in-laws, AJ and Ryan, a feisty grand-daughter with attitude named Isla, a fluffy grand-dog named Kody, and, wait for it… we installed wall ovens and a dishwasher! That last one nearly threw us over the ‘stress-hold. ‘

All this got us thinking about our heritage and origins. We felt we owed it to our progeny to let them know exactly where all their ‘stellar’ genes come from. We felt is was especially important that Isla be able to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, and fly the Canadian flag with a friend and not be accused of cultural appropriation. Do what makes you happy, be with those you love. There shouldn’t need to be racial or biological splits, life is complicated enough trying to navigate through 537 cable TV channels.

We thought about spitting in a test tube and sending it off to the “just for December Sale” of $49 in a pre-paid cashiers check and waiting 6 weeks for our test results, but, that is sooo gross, and, we’re too impatient. We just finished tuition payments for Shannon who became a practicing psychotherapist and thusly, we have had many, many, of our quirks analyzed at the dinner table. We thought we would just review our ancestry based on those quirks and behavioral traits and pocket the cash to be used for purchases of future winning billion dollar Mega Millions tickets.

Here is a sampling of our conclusions:

Icelandic: We’ve been celebrating in “Hugge” fashion for several years without realizing it. We make the annual Christmas bookstore pilgrimage in jammies, followed by food and hot beverages. And chocolate. We don’t forget the chocolate. Chocolate goes well with nearly all books.

Italian: Our kids were introduced to Cosetta’s Italian Deli before Gerber baby food and they are still eating it. Just to be clear, they still love Cosetta’s, not Gerber, so this genetic heritage really can’t be disputed by anyone.

Swedish: Hello? We built a coffee nook into this dining room and Starbucks gift cards are found in the Christmas stockings. The blood runs hot here either black, or with a little milk and sugar. It is interesting that the split in the DNA happened in the twins with Shannon being of Swedish heritage and mainlining coffee, and Liz taking after her mother with a higher percentage of English blood as she and Julie, and now Ryan, all drink tea.

Brazilian: Raise your hands for Fogo De Chao, and join us in some ‘meat sweats.’ We have not celebrated our Brazilian roots often enough this year as getting from Cannon Falls to Minneapolis with road construction is a nightmare right now. Minneapolis is currently known as a city difficult to get into, and impossible to get out of.

Caribbean: Chr’s and Julie are firm believers in Jamaican Jerk Sauce and letting the salt air clear their sinuses. Medicinal stress relief of course. Sun and sand and a holiday CD by Bob Marley can do wonders for the psyche.

Gypsy: We didn’t even know about this dormant gene until wedding 2.0 and 2.5. Our second and third girls had glorious weddings this summer. Liz and AJ got married at the Cannon Valley Fair with festoons of tulle and flowers, kettle corn and, yes, carnival rides. Shannon and Ryan got married in Duluth with a sea of rhinestones and pearls and an enormous amount of sparkle and glitter. We couldn’t have had more fun at either wedding. Isla was the flower girl for both weddings of course, a stunning start to a resume for someone who can’t even walk yet and has no hair.

We have a smattering of Irish, mostly by marriage. If Hannah and Riley had mixed their names in the new millennial marriage trend, they could be the McPhelps family, which kind of sounds like a new burger so it was probably better they didn’t. Julie likes the occasional mixed adult beverage with a good Vodka so she must have a bit of Russian, and Chr’s can be glimpsed on his rare day off sitting on a leather sofa reading bad Sci-fi with a fingerful of McCallan so a bit of the Scottish plaid runs through his veins. Our affinity for cake at breakfast indicates a spattering of French blood we assume.

We caught a documentary about Alien life forms on one of the “educational channels” and apparently, even if we can’t quite test for it in the Mayo laboratories, it is theorized that all humans harbor some ancient, extraterrestrial DNA. The logic of the Vulcans runs deep in all the Phelps Phamily, even though our logical conclusions are sometimes mutually exclusive, but that was another letter. Medical professionals like Julie are sometimes accused of having the tough exterior of a Klingon, but the secret is out, they cry behind closed doors at the ends of their shifts and are known to be excellent huggers.

Throwing a royal wedding party at 3am and actually getting people to come to it shows a little witchcraft and wizardry run through our veins. Our hatred of black walnut trees shows we have no relation to the squirrel genus but our affinity for morning walks may indicate a smattering of canine contribution. Chr’s is now comfortable expressing that he prefers to be walked in the park vs. the aisles at the Mall of America.

The cultural melting pot is more common than you realize. People gather in groups to watch the Olympics every year, regardless of their taste for or against tacos, or if they can use chopsticks correctly, cheering on countries for the sheer pleasure in it. They may like the uniform colors of a marching team, or the cheeky grins, the can-do attitude, or the charming accents. We all just want to be part of the collective, to laugh with others and to show our strengths by flying under our own personal flag. We are so convinced of this that Julie somehow got on the township planning commission and watch out – “Stanton Township hosts Olympics 2074 in the Cornfields” just might be coming.

Get out there and experience the world, you have a bit of many parts of it in your past, don’t hesitate to experience it in your future. Peace, Love, Joy, and don’t forget to turn in your PTO request to be off for Boxing Day, then wish your boss Happy National Totem Pole Day, and serve sushi on Cinco De Mayo!

Julie and Chr’s

2018 Christmas Card
Shannon Wedding 2018