• (1 of 22) That's right... I got to see Rhett and Link in person!
  • (2 of 22) Mom is going to regret taking those family selfies...
  • (3 of 22) It was standing room only at the Neptune Theater in Seattle, but we didn't get to just see slides...
  • (4 of 22) We saw Rhett and Link... and slides of their younger selves!
  • (5 of 22) No horse show this month, but Dad came to the barn and took some pictures anyway...
  • (6 of 22) Morgan tried to do a good job for the camera, but the barn is really dark - especially in winter!
  • (7 of 22) Oh boy are those some ugly sweaters! Even Dad participated in the "fun run" in which we walked in our ugly sweaters...
  • (8 of 22) Ho ho ho - its Christmas Dog!
  • (9 of 22) Dad didn't bring his camera to the holiday choir concert, so this is what we looked like on his cell phone!
  • (10 of 22) Joshua came by for a visit after Pizza Schmizza
  • (11 of 22) Mom went to an old-timey Christmas pajama party... OK I don't really know what the pajamas were about and Dad just had to play with the picture...
  • (12 of 22) Mom sure put in a lot of work for not many cookies...
  • (13 of 22) Does Santa have nice handwriting or what?!
  • (14 of 22) Just for Tanto! I always put these together on the Christmas tree!
  • (15 of 22) We sort of had a white Christmas... we had ice.
  • (16 of 22) Don't even ask... a candy pooping penguin and a gum-ball reindeer chicken thingy... tell me that doesn't scream holiday cheer!
  • (17 of 22) If that doesn't then surely a snowman squeezing through the 'O' in joy does... (I know - stop calling you Shirley...)
  • (18 of 22) Buttercup didn't have to endure the Christmas hat on Christmas day... she just had to wait patiently for treats...
  • (19 of 22) Look at that - the annual Christmas collage... Maybe next year Dad will have something different for you...
  • (20 of 22) Look! Another group selfie! But Dad was at work so Aunt Maggie got to be the lucky participant instead!
  • (21 of 22) Mom should also learn not to mug for the camera when I'm taking pictures... you never know what Dad will do with the picture
  • (22 of 22) Dad had to steal someone else's picture to say Happy New Year from New Zealand (because they're almost first and celebrate 22 hours earlier than we do here on the West coast... of course, now you want to know who is first, don't you? Caroline Is. (you know Caroline Island, part of Kiribati...))

December 31st: Happy New Year's Eve! Unless you are looking at this on January 1st, in which case Happy New Year! Unless you are looking at this on any other day, in which case Whatever!

You know what time of year it is don't you? That's right it! It is holiday letter time!

Normally we avoid sending out a holiday letter like the plague because we don't want to make those less fortunate than we are (and who isn't really?) feel inferior. This year, however, we're throwing caution to the wind and letting our hair down (as well as letting the cards fall where they may...)

This year all started on January 1st just like every other year. Of course, this year started on January 1st, 2017 while every other year has started on January 1st, 2016 or January 1st, 2015 or January 1st, 2014, or January 1st, 2013 or January 1st, 2012 or January 1st, 2011, or January 1st, 2010 or January 1st, 2009 or January 1st, 2008 or January 1st, 2007 or January 1st, 2006 or January 1st, 2005 or January 1st, 2004 or January 1st, 2003 or admit it you stopped reading this sentence awhile ago didn't you? Well, there's no use crying over spilt milk so you might as well just move on now and just be glad that I didn't count back to Pope Gregory XIII's 1578 celebration decree, William the Conqueror's 1066 declaration, or Julius Caesar's 46 BCE edict (though the fact that it has been defined multiple times throughout history would seem to put lie to the expression "the rest is history")

Well, every cloud apparently has a silver lining and you got a little history lesson. Of course, only clouds back lit by the moon actually have a silver lining so really every cloud doesn't, but I'd hate to beg the question about trite cliches being bogus by pointing out how too many of them appear to be not what they're cracked up to be... Kind of like "when it rains, it pours" except that here in the Northwest it mostly drizzles... Once again though I have digressed and left you waiting for the aforementioned holiday letter.

So much happened this year that I don't even know where to start. Maybe it would be easier just to focus on what didn't happen this year... No Nobel Peace Prize (for that matter no Nobel Prize in chemistry, physics, literature, medicine, or economics either), no Booker Prize, no Academy Award, no BAFTA, no Palme d'Or, no Pulitzer, no Golden Globe, no BRIT, no Grammy, not even a stinking MTV Video Music Award! Damn! I thought we had a good year, but now I feel like crap! Thank you so much for bringing it up!

Just look at the pictures and leave me alone! I'll be over in the corner sulking...

Spoiler alert: look at picture 22 before reading further...

On December 23, 1994, the Republic of Kiribati announced a change of time zone for the Line Islands, to take effect January 1, 1995. This adjustment effectively moved the International Date Line over 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) to the east within Kiribati, placing all of Kiribati on the Asian or western side of the date line, despite the fact that Caroline's longitude of 150 degrees west corresponds to UTC−10 rather than its official time zone of UTC+14. Caroline Island now is at the same time as the Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time Zone), but one day ahead.

The stated reason for the move was a campaign promise of Kiribati President Teburoro Tito to eliminate the confusion of Kiribati straddling the Date Line and therefore being constantly in two different days. However, Kiribati officials were not reluctant to attempt to capitalize on the nation's new status as owners of the first land to see sunrise in 2000. Other Pacific nations, including Tonga and New Zealand's Chatham Islands, protested the move, objecting that it infringed on their claims to be the first land to see dawn in the year 2000.

However, despite many media and government claims to the contrary, Caroline Island was not the first point of land to see sunrise on January 1, 2000 (local time); that distinction belongs to a point of land between Dibble Glacier and Victor Bay on the coast of East Antarctica where the sun rose 35 minutes earlier. As this point is close to the Antarctic Circle, and the area beyond the Antarctic Circle is affected by the continuous sunlight in December, the definition of the exact point becomes a question of distinguishing between a sunset and an immediate sunrise in view of atmospheric refraction effects.

Happy New Year wherever (when ever?) you are!