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XPmas Letter 2011

‘And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: ‘Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, Unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2:11

In this letter you will find some other interesting things that Angel said concerning Christmas.

2011, This is the Hart family – Angel, Von, Frank, and Kim… AngelVonFranKim.

(We sat around the dinner table and recorded this conversation, and then typed it word for word to make this letter. Merry Christmas.)

Las Vegas and Roller-coasters

Frank: We’re talking about the last year, this is our Christmas Letter. So, what did we do this year?

Angel: Well… This year we went to Las Vegas, it was a lot of fun…

Frank: What was cool about Las Vegas?

Angel: We got to go to a VERY big hotel (Excalibur), I think it’s the second biggest hotel in, pretty much, the earth. (nope) and it was really fun because they had three pools and they were about seven feet deep, and it was pretty cool… Von?

Von: My favorite part of the trip to Las Vegas was I got to ride my first BIG rollercoaster, and I also really liked the big water slide at our hotel.

Frank: What was the name of the big rollercoaster you rode?

Kim: New York, New York.

Angel: New York Giant.

Von: New York, New York.

Frank: And it went around the casino outside…

Von: Yep.

Frank: And you were a little shook up by it.

Von: Yes, I was, but what was really funny about that was that I didn’t know when we actually went through the loop-de-loop.

Frank: Because you had your eyes closed?

Von: Yeah. And I also liked that we went to that other place…

Frank: On the way back home? We went to Six Flags in Dallas.

Angel: And at Six Flags I went on this big rollercoaster called Texas Giant, and it was the second biggest rollercoaster, the first is called The Titan, but I couldn’t go on that one. But, the Texas Giant was awesome, it had, like, it was, it went on a really high thing then it went down super fast, and it was awesome! Then we went on this rock… you know the boat that swings like a swing, it goes like that, then we went on a rocket that goes all the way around. But, dad and Von Behr didn’t want to do it.

Frank: Did you want to ride the Texas Giant when you first saw it?

Angel: No!

Frank: Did you have to be talked into it?

Angel: Yes.

Von: And then you wanted to go again, and again…

Angel: I went once with Mom and once with Dad.

Frank: What else did we do?

Grand Canyon and Favorite Drinks

Angel: We went to the Grand Canyon, right before we went to Dallas. It was about a twelve thousand mile ride.

Kim: (Laughing) Twelve hundred miles.

Angel: Twelve HUNDRED miles to Las Vegas and it was sixteen hundred hours , because we went to the Grand Canyon, then we rode about… two more days… what?

Frank: What did we do at the Grand Canyon?

Von: The Grand Canyon was soooo beautiful, it seemed like every time we looked at it, it changed completely, even though we had barely walked very far at all.

Angel: We walked about two miles?

Frank: Did we take some photos?

Angel: A lot.

Von: Tons.

Angel: We had a contest.

Von: And so many times I was worried about Angel falling off the edge.

Frank: That’s true.

Von: Cause Angel is a daredevil and he would get up on the rocks and I would be like, “No! Don’t get up there!”

Kim: He could have fallen and it would have been bad, but he didn’t, so it was all good.

Angel: At one point I slipped on the…

Frank: I think everyone should hike the rim of the Grand Canyon with an 8 year old boy at least once in their life. It’s good for you. This trip wasn’t like the other trip that we took with our other kids, though…

Von: Dad! Stop it!

Angel: You didn’t have any other kids!

Frank: Fine. So, if we were to paint our house a new color, Angel, what color would you want it to be?

Angel: Black!

Von: Me too. Black.

Kim: I would want our house to be (kids start giggling) a bluer grey than it is now.

Frank: What’s your favorite drink this year?

Von: Root Beer.

Angel: The vanilla… kind of like root beer…

Frank: Cream Soda?

Angel: Yes. Cream Soda! I drank so much of it one night that I… every time I smelled…

Kim: Cream Soda? Vanilla?

Angel: No… every time I smelled…

Frank: Boogers?

Angel: NO!!!

Von: DAD!!

Angel: It was the… a certain kind of meat… shaush-age, Shaush… SAUCE… Oh, my gosh….

Kim: Sausage.

Angel: Yes. I couldn’t smell that smell or I was going to get… barf.

Frank: That’s very interesting, Angel. What about you, Kim, what’s your favorite drink this year?

Kim: Um, my favorite drink is Mountain Dew, right now.

Von: What about you, Daddy?

Frank: Ranger IPA. That’s my new favorite.

Little Zack Black and Bikes

Kim: So, what did you get for your birthday, Von?

Von: Well, I sort of got a puppy! I saved up my own money. (Little Zack Black, the miniature poodle)

Frank: You certainly got puppy accessories.

Von: And I tried to have my first sleep-over party. But, Holly was the only one who ended up staying all night.

Kim: But, it was still fun?

Von: Oh, it was still fun. My friends came over for the first part of the party and stayed late.

Kim: What about you Angel?

Angel: Well, my big birthday gift was the Lego Alien Car set. But, it’s not the Alien, it’s the good guy that fights the Alien. And I had a sleep-over, too. But at my party EVERYONE stayed over!

Frank: So, what else has been cool this year?

Angel: I got this football game for the PS3, Madden NFL. And I got some other Lego sets, a log house and a castle… OH! And one day after school, a nice calm day, I got home, I saw inside, I looked around, like usual I put my backpack down, then I looked beside me, and I saw a bike! A brand new black bike! And that was pretty exciting

Kim: That’s pretty nice. We’ve been going on bike rides.

Von: What I got for this year, technically, is my Grandma and Grandpa, I got last Spring.

Frank: They moved-in in March.

Grandma and Grandpa and Books

Angel: It’s been fun! They have two dogs, Willow and Misty, one’s grey and one’s black and white. One is a schnauzer and one’s a snit-shoe…

Von: Shih tzu. Grandma and Grandpa have been great! They babysit us when mom and dad have to go somewhere, or when mom and dad and Angel have to go somewhere.

Frank: Worked out great for you during Flag Football Saturdays, huh?

Kim: Von got to sleep-in and not have to get up and go to the games.

Von: Yep. And Grandpa takes care of my dog while I’m at school, because Dad’s at work, Mom’s at work and Angel is at school with me.

Frank: And Grandma fell and broke her hip, but she’s getting much better now. My Dad is working part time at the church, and they have made friends. They will become members of the church in a couple of weeks.

Angel: Oh, this is pretty exciting, this is the first year we put Christmas decorations up outside, it was pretty hard, I mean, I didn’t do any of it, but, my Grandpa and my Dad did it.

Frank: This will be the first year for all of us to not be in Illinois at Christmas Time. With Mom and Dad here, we will stay at home.

Von: I really like talking to my Grandma, she is a good conversationalist. Did I say that right?

Kim: Uh huh.

Von: We talk about interesting things when I go over there and visit with her. And sometimes the dog will sneak over there and the cat will get the doggie treats down off the shelf, and Grandma and Grandpa don’t really get too upset about that.

Angel: What did you do for your birthday, Mom?

Kim: Well, for my birthday I went with my husband to a bed and breakfast and spent the next day just going to places that we hadn’t been for a while. Places around Houston, different shops and places.

Angel: Did you go to our old house?

Kim: Did we go to our old house? No, we didn’t go there that time, but we have been by it a few times.

Angel: Well, Dad what did you get for your birthday?

Frank: The Annual FrankMas Party, of course! Mom got a Kindle for Christmas last year and she’s been reading a lot since then.

Angel: Like at least over twenty books…

Von: Over… About a hundred!

Angel: No way! Mom, is that impossible?

Kim: Well, it’s not impossible, but I haven’t read a hundred.

Frank: But, I have read “The Tale of Despereaux” to both of you, and I have been reading “The Dragon Rider” to Von for the last year.

Von: More like the last two years. It’s nothing like the movie “DragonRider.” Which none of you can remember.

Frank: That’s because it doesn’t exist.

Angel: Dad, you got like five shirts for Christmas. That’s pretty much all you got.

Kim: I don’t remember what it was, but we got your present before Christmas.

Frank: Impossible. That would be breaking the rules!

Kim: You went on the leadership retreat in California. Have you guys heard him talk about his leadership retreat?

Frank: Yeah, that was a pretty great experience. A week in Southern California learning about how I can be a better leader.

Kim: Did it help?

Frank: You tell me.

(Both laugh. No good reason.)

Kim: We spent a lot of time preparing for Grandma and Grandpa to move in. We had a lot of help converting our garage and part of our house into an apartment for them.

Frank: It’s true. We’ll never be able to pay all those people back.

Kim: We had a lot of help. In a lot of different ways.

Frank: Mom likes to call it a “suite” not an “apartment.”

Von: I call it their “apartment” and then Grandma says, “No, it’s a suite!”

Frank: Either way, it doesn’t look like a garage anymore.

Kim: There’s a bedroom, a living room, a little breakfast area, a walk-in closet…

Frank: A couple of open areas, we added a couple doors, they have their own private entrance, front and back, as well as an interior entrance to the rest of the house. It’s pretty cool.

Von: I don’t remember life without it, or without them living with us anymore.

Kim: And since you gave up your studio office to build their apartment…

Frank: Yeah, I got a new studio office! It’s not quite done yet, but it’s pretty awesome. We closed-in the back porch and made a two room recording studio office.

Angel: I like the posters you made for your Christmas song program (Fantastical Amazingly Jesus Christmas Concert) and I hope lots of people come to that. I’m pretty excited about it.

Kim: On December 16th. Which is also your brother’s birthday. (Jeff)

Frank: Speaking of my brother…

Kim: Yes! Speaking of your brother…

Babies and School

Von: Oooh! He has twins now, and his daughter, Cherish, had one baby, too.

Frank: What are the names of all those babies?

(Blank stares from the kids)

Frank: Cherish’s daughter is named Lakynn, and the twins are Silas and Petra.

Von: Which is a boy and a girl!

Frank: This was the year that you both took 1st Communion.

Angel: Yeah!

Von: That was sooo good!

Angel: It was pretty cool that we finally got to have communion again, and it was great that Dad got to give it to us.

Von: Now we get to have it every time.

Kim: What did you have to memorize for the class?

Angel: “Our Lord, Jesus Christ, on the night that He was betrayed, took bread and after He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, Take, Eat, This is My Body which was given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” That’s all I remember right now, I think it’s about a quarter of it.

Von: It’s actually more like half.

Angel: Yes, a half and a quarter.

Frank: What are some things about school? You guys are still going to Westlake Prep Lutheran Academy.

Von: Yes, and I’ve been going there for four years. And my class has only two other kids that have been here all the years. How about your class, Angel?

Angel: I think there are four in my class from the first. One of my memory verses is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Von: And my class memorized the names of all the books in the Bible.

Angel: I’m excited that we don’t really have homework, only if we don’t finish one of our assignments.

Von: I’m excited that I have the same teacher as last year, Mrs. Gerber, and my best friends in my class.

Angel: My teacher is Mrs. Hauser.

Hart Petting Zoo

Frank: Tell me about all your pets.

Angel: Well, when we got the new dog, he didn’t get along with the cat at all. But, now they are friends.

Frank: I like to watch them wrestle.

Von: The cat used to take the dog down, but now that the dog is a little bit bigger he’s getting a little bit stronger.

Frank: I think the cat’s in trouble.

Angel: We also have a lizard named Rupert. He was a surprise waiting for us at home one day. We got home and ran upstairs and Von Behr put him on her chest but I was a little scared of him…

Von: That’s explainable, he’s a big lizard.

Angel: I finally picked him up and put him on my chest and started to like him. He’s a really good pet because he doesn’t make any noise at all.

Kim: What’s he eat?

Angel: He eats crickets. It’s really fun to watch him.

Von: He eats crickets and lettuce…

Angel: and strawberries.

Von: The only bad thing about Rupert is that his claws are really sharp and sometimes he scratches me when he starts running. Did we say that our cat’s name is Number Nine?

Frank: No, but we explained that last year, if not the year before.

Requests for Prayer

Angel: Is that everything?

Kim: The principal at my school has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that’s really sad.

Von: She’s really pretty.

Angel: Whoever reads our letter, please pray for her.

Kim: My sister’s hubby, Randy also needs our prayers. He had a heart attack and my nephew, Jason called the medics and they arrived in time to bring him back to life.

Christmas, Elephants and Endings

Frank: What are you hoping for Christmas this year?

Angel: (with silly fake energy) Oh… Video games, Legos and crappy toys! There’s this one game that I hope to get… I think it’s expensive, but it’s all I really want… You put this guy in and there’s a circle on the desk…

Kim: Do you know the name of it?

Angel: No. (Laughs)

Von: I am hoping for three things… I would like a tree house, I would like to ride an elephant and I want some more Beanie Boos. The elephant thing is the one that is most likely not gonna happen… Or the tree house.

Kim: Or the Beanie Boos… other than that.

Von: Mom!

Angel: Dad, what’s your favorite dinosaur?

Frank: Maynard. Is that all you can remember from the last year?

Angel: No, but it would probably take me another hour to remember the rest.

Frank: What do you want to say to people as we end our letter?

Angel: Have a happy Christmas!

Von: Have a happy holiday!

Angel: See you later, next year!

Von: Bye.

Frank – Husband, Father, Musician, Worship Leader & Minister (CrossPoint Community Church).
Kim – Wife, Mother, Teacher (Aldine High School), Homemaker, Movie lover, Friend.
Von Behr – Daughter, Sister, 4th Grade Student (Westlake Prep Lutheran Academy), Animal lover, Artist. (11)
Angel – Son, Brother, 3rd Grade Student (Westlake Prep Lutheran Academy), Video Game lover, Gymnast, Artist. (9)