Christmas Vacation: Part I

Months of planning and anticipation culminated this weekend. After hosting our first Thanksgiving last month, Kates and I hosted our first Christmas this weekend.

My parents, aka Grandma and Grandpa H., arrived late Wednesday afternoon. We did the usual catching up on our lives, work stuff, family goings-ons, and before long we were mulling what to do about supper. We ended up Carson's, a popular sports-minded bar and grill on the downtown square, dining on burgers and club wraps. The food was delicious as always.

Back at home, Phoebe entertained us with her dance moves. We watched a little TV. And we called it an early night.

* * *

The next morning, Thursday the 22nd, I was awake and heading to work at 7:30 while the rest of the household was just getting up.

At the university, earlier in the week, we’d named a new director for our business and technology center but initially decided to hold the announcement until after the holidays. Yet, when the elements I needed fell into place Thursday morning, we decided to go ahead with the announcement before Christmas. So, for me it was just another work day filled with writing news releases, announcing major university hires, the usual stuff. So much for the easy-going morning I’d planned of cleaning out files and packing things away for the holiday break.

At about 10 a.m., I saw a tweet from Stephanie that she, Joel and their brood were passing through Kansas City, which meant I had about an hour or so before I needed to be home to meet them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t break out of my office until about 11:20. I headed down our street toward our house, hoping I’d beaten them. Then I spotted Joel’s car parked in our driveway. “Shoot!” I said as I pulled into our driveway. They’d beaten me to our house by mere minutes. I lost.

As the afternoon passed, the kids were up and down the stairways, carrying toys and setting up camp on the living room coffee table, while “Tangled” and others from Phoebe’s DVD collection played on our TV.

The rest of us grazed on the snacks filling the kitchen table and counter space -- including the finest cheese and sausage from Wisconsin -- and kept up our usual family discussions about life, work and politics.

We agreed to allow Mom in our kitchen so she could make a ham for our evening dinner, and at about 5:30 we were seated around our table -- all nine of us -- enjoying a Christmas meal together. It wasn’t extravagant -- ham, mashed potatoes, corn and crescent rolls. The fact that we were together mattered most, especially to my mother, who exclaimed repeatedly that this was “the best Christmas ever!” After all, as our family has expanded and branched out and relocated over the years, we figured it’s been a good eight or nine years since we’ve been able to celebrate Christmas together without having somewhere else to rush off to after dinner or unwrapping gifts.

Once the kitchen was cleaned up and the dishes were away, the gift unwrapping began.

Now, Phoebe has known for months what she wanted for Christmas. Every time anyone asked her what was on her list this year, she was amazingly consistent. And specific.

A “Cars 2” movie
A Rapunzel doll
A potty for her baby doll
A microphone
A Buzz Lightyear
And an orange teddy bear

On Thursday, she checked off one of those things from her list: the Rapunzel doll, compliments of Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Joel. Phoebe has watched “Tangled” incessantly since we first saw it in June and then purchased the DVD for her -- although, technically, it was a birthday present for Kates -- in July. The deal for the doll was sealed in October when we spent a weekend with Joel and Stephanie, and cousin Sophia had a doll of her own.

Phoebe also got a Barbie doll, with camping accessories that included a tent. And Sophia got a Barbie doll and a car to go with the new dollhouse she got earlier this month for her birthday. Cousin Freddie got a Fischer-Price car set, and he was set for the rest of the night, playing with it in the corner, oblivious to anything else happening around him.

It certainly gives us a whole new perspective, watching the kids open and love their Christmas gifts. To them, every new gift is the best gift ever. And then, as the festivities drew to a close, we watched the kids began to crash, one by one.

By 11:30 Thursday night, everyone was tucked into their beds and the house was quiet.

* * *

Friday turned into a mild, sunny day. So good for a late December day in the Midwest that we contemplated heading outside to play. But we never followed through on it.

Kates and Stephanie took off for a day of shopping, while the rest of us stayed back at the house, talking, playing with the kids and enjoying each other’s company. And, of course, watching another showing of “Tangled.”

By the time the girls returned, we were discussing supper plans and decided on ordering takeout from A&G’s, another popular local establishment. Joel, Dad and I picked up the order and we enjoyed one more meal together before Joel, Stephanie and their kids loaded up to head back to Ozark country.

* * *

Christmas Eve for us was as calm, quiet and low-key as the day before. Mom and Dad headed into town to run some errands in the morning. I headed out on my own, picking up some last-minute items for Christmas day and making sure the Forrester was ready for our drive to Wisconsin on Monday. In the meantime, Kates and Phoebe made peanut butter cookies for Santa, before heading out to run some errands, too.

By late afternoon we were getting ready for the 5 o’ clock church service. Somehow all of us were buckled in the car by 4:45. Being Christmas Eve, we expected having trouble finding seats at church -- we had contemplated leaving as much as a half hour before the service -- but to our surprise the church parking lot was hardly full when we arrived. Our family was one of the first seated in the sanctuary. It turned out our timing was right because the sanctuary was full a few minutes later.

This was our first Christmas Eve service in The ‘Ville, and -- Kates and I may never live through another Christmas Eve without comparing it to the epic “sickly” one of '08 -- it was a good one.

Our church service was a wonderful mix of Christmas scriptures, carols and special music sung by some of our congregation’s most talented members. We shared communion, too, which I’m not sure I’ve ever done during a Christmas Eve service. And the tradition of sharing candlelight while singing “Silent Night” at the end of the service never gets old. Although I did miss hearing the Manheim Steamroller arrangement of “Silent Night” played in church this year.

Afterward, we found ourselves surrounded by friends as we exchanged Christmas greetings with the Walkers, the Schrags, the Parsons, the Bradleys, the Fergusons and others. In one happy exchange, Mrs. White turned to Kates and said, “Well you’re looking very pregnant this evening!” So many moments tonight were reminiscent of Christmas Eve ‘07 when Kates was carrying Phoebe. … As usual, we were one of the last families to leave the church. The hugs and greetings and Christmas wishes were warm, cherished reminders that we are in the right place for this time in our times, truly living a new chapter in a new home.

Back at our house, as Kates finished the preparations on our Christmas Eve dinner, Mom, Dad, Phoebe and I sat in the living room. Phoebe cuddled up with her blankets on the love seat and began playing a game with the rest of us. She was closing her eyes, pretending to go to sleep and begging the rest of us to close our eyes, too. Eventually, she closed her eyes and went silent for more than a few seconds, a signal that she was no longer pretending, but that she had truly fallen asleep.

Phoebe was out for the night. A couple days of no naps and non-stop running and playing with her cousins had caught up with her. The rest of us ate our dinner while she stayed sleeping on the couch. We tried waking her a couple times, but to no avail. And soon, there was nothing we could do but carry her to bed and lay her down for the night.

Kates and I had all of these fun plans for Phoebe to write a note to Santa, lay out cookies for him, spread reindeer food on the deck and hang a magic key for Santa on the door. … Instead, Kates plated three of the peanut butter cookies she and Phoebe made that afternoon. I wrote a note to Phoebe from Santa and ended up eating two of the cookies, leaving the third as a special treat for Phoebe from Santa.

With Phoebe in bed, we turned on the “A Christmas Story” marathon on TBS, a Christmas Eve tradition in our house. I watched it three times before finally heading to bed at 1 a.m.

* * *

And today is Christmas Day. I was awake at 6 a.m. Mom and Dad came down around 6:30, and Phoebe stumbled down just a little before 7. Her face lit up when I showed her what was left of the plate of cookies and explained that Santa must have been at our house. Then she snuggled into me as I read her the note from Santa and Kates appeared at the top of the stairs.

The gift-unwrapping began a couple minutes later, but Phoebe never has been one to rush the process. The first gift we revealed to her was a new baby doll that uses a potty; a little pink seat was included with the doll along with a bottle to feed her. Of course, Phoebe was delighted and begging us to unpack the doll before we could unwrap any other gifts.

Kates and I also got her a copy of “The Polar Express” -- Phoebe recently saw the movie for the first time -- and a Disney Princesses "Look and Find" book. There was a neat moment after Phoebe unwrapped those books, and she shuffled right into Kates’ lap, asking her to read both books. Phoebe sat contently in Kates’ lap for the next 10 minutes or so as Kates read the books aloud to Phoebe, first “The Polar Express” and then the princess book.

As the gift-giving recommenced, Phoebe unwrapped the 'Cats cheerleading outfit I got her since she's taken such a liking in watching the cheerleaders at the football games. And Kates got her some clothing accessories, including a sparkly red headband that Pheebs will probably wear non-stop until it snaps. We also gave her a pink plastic cup with a straw -- the reusable kind that are popular right now -- because she'd seen Kates and I with ours and had been asking for one of her own.

Finally, from Santa, Phoebe got the microphone she wanted, along with an instrument kit that no doubt will provide her with endless musical fun for the next few months. She's also working on her conducting skills; Watch this video from lunch ...

And here we are tonight. We just finished watching the Packers game, a sound 35-21 win over the Chicago Bears featuring a stellar performance by Aaron Rodgers.  I actually pulled out my Wisconsin Badgers Snuggie -- a Christmas gift last year -- for the first time.

Tomorrow, we embark on the second half of our Christmas vacation with a road trip to Wisconsin.

It's Christmas!


President Obama meets with Nickelback fans

So my office cohorts and I have had an inside joke about Nickelback's power to repress and annoy people -- I say it's a miracle they remain relevent in the media -- since a couple months ago when our university photographer posted a football highlight video set to a Nickelback song and viewers overloaded the video's messageboard with disdainful comments.

My friend Mallory delivered the latest punch line this week by forwarding this photo, which has been circulating around the Internet for some time with the caption:

President Obama meets with Nickelback fans.


One player’s missed dunk is another player’s highlight

Not bad ...

Christmas cheer

Saturday Night Live, you did it again ...

After a sub-par year season last year, you've reeled off several cheer-worthy episodes in a row. Kates and I watched Saturday night's Christmas episode with Jimmy Fallon (and Michael Buble, among many others) on our DVR tonight, and it was indeed a good one. EW smartly called it "joyful and triumphant" and "an instant classic."

Check out some highlights ...

(This, Fallon's monologue, after a couple nice surprise appearences by Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler in the opening sketch.)

The Buble Duets ... Hilarious.

The Christmas Treat ... Classic. So good to see all these guys doing this skit again.

The Weekend Update Joke-off ... Legendary.

And finally, Tebow. ... Believe what you want, but this was funny.


Cubs buy McDonald’s property across from Wrigley Field

Well, that headline caught my interest today ...

For me, the McDonald's across from Wrigley is as much an institution as the stadium itself. None of my visits to the stadium are complete without a stop at the McDonald's for a Big Mac.

It won't be the same if the Cubs move to demolish it.


SNL: Katy & friends

So Katy Perry hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend ...

Mostly, her performance was a disappointment.

My favorite skit proved to be a Weekend Update bit featuring Bill Hader playing Stefon ... I watched the show live on Saturday night, and the bit had me laughing out loud then. But when I played it for Kates tonight and thus saw it a second time, it had me laughing so hard my side hurt and I nearly fell to the ground.

My honorable mention for the episode goes to the Digital Short, featuring Matt Damon and Val Kilmer ...


Hit me, Baby, one more time

It’s been a long time coming. There have been a lot of twists and turns and stops and delays. 

But, if all goes well, Phoebe's wish for a new brother or sister will come true in late May.

Kates and I -- and Phoebe -- are expecting Baby No. 2 on May 27.

We’ve been holding this secret since the end of September. Given some bad luck last spring, Kates and I proceeded with caution this time and agreed not to tell -- ok, barely told -- a soul.

Finally, Nov. 30, we headed to the doctor. There was a heartbeat, and Baby appeared healthy on the ultrasound monitor. Doctor said that at this point, we’ve got little to worry about. … We were ecstatic.

* * *

The next step, of course, was telling Phoebe. We’d been dancing around the topic for weeks. Not to mention all of the other family discussions we’ve had about the possibility. And we've been dealing throughout the fall with Phoebe’s tendency to tell her teachers and other caretakers that’s she’s going to have a baby brother -- or sister -- without fully understanding what that means, or even whether there was any truth to it. … For days during those first weeks of classes, we got questions from people. ...

“Are you … Because Phoebe said … ”

No. We’re not, we’d say.

Then, as the fall progressed, there were the gentle nudges from the teachers and co-workers.

“Are you going to have another one any time soon? … Phoebe really wants a baby brother or sister.”

When we know, we’ll be sure to tell you, we’d say. … The truth was, We think we are. We’re just not ready to tell you.

So after getting confirmation, we developed the plan to tell Phoebe last weekend. After decorating our Christmas tree and after tucking Phoebe into her bed Saturday evening, I placed the ultrasound photo into a small frame, put it in gift wrap and placed it under the tree.

Surprisingly, Sunday morning she didn’t speak a word about the lone small package that had appeared under the tree overnight. Although, I’m sure she noticed it because at one point I caught her looking curiously at it. It had her name on it, after all.

Later, when we returned from church, we told Phoebe we had a surprise for her. We sat her on the couch with us and handed her the gift-wrapped picture frame. She unwrapped it and then, with her trademark giggle, she asked, “What is it?”

“It’s your new baby brother or sister,” Kates told her. “You’re going to be a big sister.”

Phoebe continued giggling, not really sure what to make of the news.

“There’s a baby growing in my tummy,” Kates said.

Then, the classic line we'll repeat years from now when we tell this story: Phoebe asked Kates, “Did you eat it!?”

With the big announcement settling in Phoebe’s brain, she clutched the frame and studied the grainy black and white photo. Then after awhile -- just as Kates and I might have predicted -- she walked away with the frame and said “I’m taking this to my room so I can put it on my dresser!” Where it will no doubt be displayed until Baby arrives.

That afternoon we attended Phoebe’s dance recital, and celebrated the Packers run to 12-0 on that incredible fourth-quarter drive against the Giants -- though with Aaron Rodgers, was there really ever a doubt!?

That evening we shared the good news with my parents via Skype, and we did the same with Kates’ parents the next night. We had discussed holding our secret until we could tell them in person during the Christmas holiday … But Kates’s belly is getting bigger and something had to give.

On both Skype calls we started the conversations with some small talk. Then, after a few minutes, we gave Phoebe the cue that she had “a very special surprise” -- it took some good sweet talking to keep Phoebe from blurting it out the moment either call began -- she pulled her picture frame out from underneath her and we held the ultrasound photo up to the camera to let our parental units figure it out.

They did, and it was a really sweet moment both times. During the call with my parents, my mother asked Phoebe, “Are you going to be a big sister?”

Phoebe shouted, “I already AM a big sister!”

Fast forward to today, and we had this conversation at lunch

Phoebe: Am I a big sister yet?
Kates: No not until the baby's born.
Phoebe: Is it coming yet?
Kates: No, it's growing in my tummy.
Phoebe: Is it ready to be born now?
Kates: We have to wait until May.
Me: After your birthday.
Phoebe: Ohhh ok. I'm sorry.
We shared the news with our extended families and co-workers as the week went on. Phoebe took her ultrasound picture to her preschool sharing time on Friday, and that was her way of telling her teachers and class.

Funny, last weekend, Kates found a bargain on a Graco crib online. She ordered it to have it shipped, and it arrived Wednesday. I was the first to arrive home from work Wednesday evening, and when I saw that big cardboard box propped on our front stoop and the word "GRACO" stamped on the box, I thought, Man, if anybody drove by our house today and saw that, it's no secret now. It turned out when I told our news to my team of co-workers Thursday, one of them had indeed driven by our house, seen the box and was on to me.

We made it official on Facebook earlier today, which always makes for a good time to watch the comments and "likes" coming in from all eras of our lives.

* * *

So now the next phase of questioning begins …

How is Kates feeling?
Not great. She’s dealt with bouts of nauseousness since day one, and she’s pretty beat after a day of teaching her squirmy fourth graders and chasing Phoebe. Given her condition during labor with Phoebe and the days after that, we’re keeping pretty close tabs on her blood pressure, too.

Me? I’m just trying to keep up with making sure Kates is ok, in addition to doing the house chores and keeping the home fire burning.

This was a conversation we had in October, during a weekend that she was cooped up on the couch because she wasn’t feeling well
Kates: Let’s just fast forward two months, ok? 
Me: How ‘bout we hit pause, so I can do all the work that I need to get done, then we fast forward to months?

Kates: Hitting the pause button wouldn’t make me feel any better. 
Me: Actually it would. Because if I hit the pause button, then you’re on pause and you wouldn’t know how you’re feeling. While I’m running around doing all the work, then I fast forward two months and -- bam! -- all the work’s done, you’re doing ok, and you didn’t miss anything.
Is there anything Kates can’t eat? Has she begun to have cravings?

Dairy products, she’s learned, are a big no-no. Which is tough for a family that comes from Wisconsin and typically has multiple dairy products on the table with every meal.

As for cravings, there was a day in October when I had to make a lunchtime run to Taco Bell to feed one of her cravings. … I went to the drive-thru and placed the order. But when I got to the window, their computer was down, and they were only accepting cash. So I had to make a run to the bank for cash and then headed back to Taco Bell for the nachos Kates requested.

Yeah. That was a fun day. And I’m happy to report there have been no cravings since.
Are we going to learn Baby’s gender this time?
Yes. We had the whole “we don’t want to know” experience with Baby No. 1. This time we want to have the experience of learning the gender from that ultrasound and preparing for that boy, or that girl, ahead of the due date. Plus, we’d kind of like to know if we need to start buying some more boy things, or we’re good to pass down some of Phoebe’s things.
Notice all of my gender references refer first to the possibility of a boy. Here’s hoping. Although Phoebe seems pretty sure it's a girl. When her teachers asked her more about the baby, she told them, “It’s going to be a girl. Mommy and Daddy don’t know it yet, but it’s a sister!"
Are we going to share the gender with other people when we know it?
That’s still being debated. I’d prefer to keep it between us.

So here we go again. ... I've got five months to finish the baby's room, which needs more work than Phoebe's room did at this point in the cycle. Kates and I have some ideas for names, based on the list we compiled for Baby No. 1, but there's sure to be more debating this time. And I've got to start working on a new lullaby playlist.

Should be fun!

Say it ain't so

This weekend has been as close to perfect as they come in the middle of December in The 'Ville. ... The only thing that could have improved it would have been a semifinal football game yesterday featuring our 'Cats. But we lost that opportunity last weekend. 

Friday night, I had my last graduate class of the fall trimester. I was dreading it because of the teaching assignments that are part of each class session. It's not that I don't like teaching; it's the fact that we're thrown a chapter from our textbook at the beginning of the class period, given 30 minutes to prepare a lesson about it and then have to teach it to the class -- and a simple straight forward lecture with the pre-made PowerPoint slides that come with each assigned lesson doesn't cut it. ... In the end, I had nothing to worry about. My friend, Angel, and I were assigned to teach the chapter about leadership ethics, and we rocked it.

Thankfully, for the next four weeks there will be no text to read and no papers to write. Best of all, I can now say I'm a quarter of the way to earning a master's degree.

* * *

Saturday, we slept late. Spent an hour at the church for our Christmas play rehearsal. And spent the rest of the day preparing for the office Christmas party we hosted last night ...

We had a full house. It was one of those great nights where the adults hung out in the living room and kitchen, and we left the kids to terrorize the downstairs play room (We had to break just twice for a crying child. But none of them left with broken bones, so that was good ... ) ... Best of all, there were many, many moments I found myself nearly laughing to the point of tears or laughing so hard I was having trouble breathing. It was a good time.

My world was perfect. Until ...

* * *

As Kates and I started getting ready for bed, I switched on the TV in our bedroom and turned to ESPN. Sportscenter was on, and the anchor had just spoken a set of words I never expected to hear in my lifetime ...

Ryan Braun reportedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

My heart sank.

Since Ryan Braun came up from the minors in 2007, there is no baseball player I've admired more. There's no athlete I've admired more, although Aaron Rodgers comes close. ... On the surface, Braun has always appeared to play by the rules. He's been one of the truly good guys in the game.

So the news that he may have broken the rules, especially after the summer of fun he and the Brewers served up this year, really stings.

For now, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. Reports coming from sources other than ESPN seem to be pointing fingers at the behemoth sports enterprise for jumping the gun on the story without all of the facts. And Braun's side appears to be staunchly protesting the ruling, in a sense that I didn't get with previous accusations ... Even ESPN's reporting last night did seem to have some holes.

I'm praying it's a case of bad reporting.

(Updated 12.13.2011) Good reads ...
aBaseball turned upside down by Braun allegations
aBraun's reputation at stake
aSource: Braun didn't take PED
aBrewers slugger, who won 2011 NL MVP, is appealing finding


Video of the week

I meant to post this video weeks ago, but it slipped off my radar until I saw it this morning and was reminded of it.

I fell in love with this song during my first play of Sara Bareilles' "Kaleidoscope Heart" months ago, and the video stands up well against the other videos off the album, "Uncharted" and "King of Anything."

Although, I'll admit the whole dancing-in-a-grocery store concept does feel a little bit like a ripoff of Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet."

Either way, that Sara Bareilles is a charmer. I've got a crush.



Good night, Moon

My sister-in-law, Kelli, shared this on Facebook tonight ...

Beautiful and way cool.


Mates of State: A tiny desk concert

So I caught this post on NPR today about a nice unplugged gig featuring Mates of State.

Their take of "Sway," which is one my favorite Mates song these days, sort of makes me cringe; it just doesn't work when it's stripped down the way it is here. On the other hand, the soft and sweet "Desire" is a heart-melter; it reminds me of something that could have appeared on Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," and I can't get enough of the album version ... "My Only Offer," I think, sounds good in any setup. 

The opening paragraph of the accompanying story summarizes the music well ...
Mates of State's music isn't the stuff of unplugged busking in subway stations, or of singing listeners to sleep. It's big, broad and bold — voices shouting in unison over arrangements that swell and billow. In short, it may be too expansive to fit behind Bob Boilen's desk, let alone find an appropriate showcase at noontime on a fall day with lots of natural light.
In part because of the night I had a few weeks ago, I'm on such a Mates of State kick right now -- I'm obsessed with "Mountaintops" -- it's getting to the point of rivaling 2007 when I spent nearly half the year listening to little else but The Shins' "Wincing the Night Away." ...

After all, Paste recently named "Mountaintops" one of the top 50 albums of the year. An even better review of the record appears at Sputnik Music.


Mugger chooses wrong victim

My favorite Tweet of today came compliments of RedEye ...

Mugger allegedly attacks man. Man is an ultimate fighting champion. Mugger probably sorry he was ever born.

Read the full story here.


Ho ho hum

So we decorated our house for Christmas this weekend.

For the last few years, Christmas decorating has not been something I’ve looked forward to. Because it means pulling heavy boxes from the back of a storage closet. Untangling lights. … And Kates and I always end up bickering about what ornaments should go where on the tree, or how certain decorations should be arranged on the shelves. Don’t get me started on some of her Christmas tins and her affliction for snowmen.

Just today I made three separate trips to Wal-mart for extra lights and storage containers.

It also didn’t help that our Bearcats lost to one of our biggest rivals. We had the game streaming on the internet as the decorating commenced, and when the Cats went up 10-0 in the first quarter, it looked as though it was going to be our team’s day once more. But the opponent outscored us 7-41 the rest of the way. Season over.

On a side note: I broke for my second trip to Wal-mart during halftime of the football game. To my delight, the store’s sound system was broadcasting the game. The same was true when I stopped across the street a few minutes later at the grocery store. It was one of those “You know you’re in The ‘Ville when …” moments. It’s pretty special to have the town embrace the team to that degree.

We actually set up the tree Friday night, and Phoebe -- as always -- was all about helping me. In fact, it couldn’t have been a better project for her. With each of the branches coded by letters and colors, Phoebe was all over it. First she followed my directions to separate each of the branches by their colors. Then, when it was time to assemble the tree, I called out the letters I needed and she brought them to me with gusto. I enjoyed every minute of it.

By Saturday evening the three of us were cheerfully decorating the Christmas tree together …

We also got out an old videotape of children’s television specials my parents handed down to me shortly after Phoebe was born. The tape starts with “A Chipmunk Christmas,” and Phoebe was enthralled … It goes on with “The Christmas Toy,” a live- action, Jim Henson-produced Christmas story about what happens when toys’ owners are not in the room. Or as I like to call it, the original “Toy Story.”

So another year of decorating is complete. … In a few weeks, the taking down of the decorations.


Ups and downs

This has been a week of extreme ups and downs.

And some days, when the entire world seems to cut you down, a little laughter never felt so good. After all, they say laughter is good for your health.

Thank god for the TweetDeck flashing gems of great, random thoughts at the bottom of my screen every few seconds.

Today I enjoyed some laugh-out-loud moments thanks to these tweets ...

From one of our journalism students who tagged the one and only Overheard in the Newsroom ...

ME: guys it's our first christmas in the new newsroom!
GIRL PUTTING UP DECORATIONS: i'm jewish. @OHnewsroom

Accept/Except - Except for skilled ninjas, HYDRA is not accepting any new agents.
And from the always amusing and often funny AwkwardTweet:

The awkward moment when you're laughing so hard that no noise comes out, so you just sit there clapping your hands like a freak seal.

Ok, it's journalism/social media humor. But it was funny to me.