Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving

7 months.

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving

Dear Holly,

You turned 7 months old on Thanksgiving, which was your very first Thanksgiving, by the way. It was a larger gathering than normal for us, as your Uncle Andrew’s parents were in town. Plus, your Great-Uncle Al and Great-Aunt Sharon visited us as well.

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving a3 a4 a5

Something I officially realized about you during this holiday is that you genuinely love being passed around to different people. It’s a win-win. You love being held- and people love holding you.

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving a12 a14 a15 a17

In particular, you like to test people out and their cuddling abilities. It’s hilarious to watch you just lay your head down into a person’s shoulder within a minute of meeting them. You naturally assume that everyone wants to be your friend- and you’re right!

You automatically smile real big anytime you see a new person, so naturally, they want to hold this smiley baby girl.

As I look through these pictures, I love seeing the obvious difference in skin tone, comparing yours to pretty much everyone else in our family. I know I probably mention this a lot, but it really is fascinating to me how you have collected the rarest of genes from the family tree.

We had a vegan Mexican feast for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, you were introduced to a new baby food: applesauce and prunes. Fortunately for your digestion, you liked the combo. I am so happy you are able to rely less on formula and more on solid foods.

Your brother was happy because he got some birthday presents; a Lego set and an electronic board set.

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving a7 a8 a10 a13 a16

Before everyone left, we took some family pictures. We should do that more often.

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving

So there you go- that’s what you did during your very first Thanksgiving! And now we’re less than a month away from your first Christmas. I’m really excited about what Mommy and I got you for your main gift…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your 1st Thanksgiving

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

You’re likely reading this because you fall into one of two categories: Either you’re a fellow vegan like me… or you’re simply curious to see what a Thanksgiving looks like without the traditional turkey and dressing.

Well, I can’t speak for most plant-based families out there, but I can definitely tell you what our family did for Thanksgiving this year.

We had a very vegan, and Mexican, feast.

Why Mexican? The main reason is because it was the easiest menu for my wife to plan and prepare; not to mention, we were travelling with the food for 3 hours from Tennessee to Alabama.

The other reason, though it could arguable be a coincidence, is that my side of the family is part Mexican; so it simply seemed natural to do so.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

When we drove in the night before Thanksgiving, my mom made some homemade Michoacán style “tacos” for my wife and me to try. The recipe was one that my Grandma (who was full Mexican) passed on to my mom.

Plus, we made vegan pancakes. Not to mention, avocado toast. And some breakfast muffins, using chia seeds as part of the recipe.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

The next day for our actual Thanksgiving Day feast, we had a taco bar. My wife cooked up 3 pounds of Beyond Meat (made from pea protein) for the main filling. Plus, my mom prepared black beans, pinto beans, and refried beans. We of course had veggies to dress the tacos, as well as avocado, which serves as a high-fat cheese substitute. There was also some really healthy black rice with almonds; so hearty!

My mom also made some bean salads for sides and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

There was so much food that we still had enough left over to have the meal again the next day. Both times we had the meal, we had guests over. We didn’t tell them it was vegan, but they seemed to enjoy it just the same.

So, there you go. That’s what we had for our Thanksgiving feast. And it worked so well, we plan to repeat our menu again for Christmas!

Whatever brings you to this blog post today, please know that you are welcome here. No pressure at all for you to adopt the wildly strange and counter-cultural lifestyle I have lived for many years now.

Just enjoy the scenery and scratch your head in wonder. It’s okay. This is a safe place.

Our Very Vegan (and Mexican) Thanksgiving Feast

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

4 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

Dear Jack,

On November 26th, the night before Thanksgiving this year, I was driving home from work. Normally, I would have had you in the car with me, in the back seat.

Fortunately, Mommy got off work early that day and she picked you up instead.

As I drove down that narrow, wooded, farm land stretch from Cool Springs to Nolensville, on Clovercroft Road, I made sure to slow down, going under the speed limit because of all the light rain and heavy fog obstructing my view.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

Less than a mile from home, I looked over the left hand side of the road to see what appeared to be a skinny white cow running faster than I’ve ever seen a cow run.

As it made its way down that hill, which was part of a farm, I noticed it was being chased… by a deer.

At that point, I realized that actually, both animals were deer.

The all-white one jumped the 4 foot tall barb wire fence. In a split-second moment, I had a big decision to make:

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

I chose to remain cruising at the same speed and let the deer run into the side of me.

Officially, I did not hit a deer… a deer hit me!

It reminded me of some generic yet familiar scene from Lost, where some big explosion happens and the character wakes up wondering where they are. (That seemed to happen a lot on Lost!)

Miraculously, by the grace of God, the albino deer didn’t crash through my window. It hit hard against my driver’s side door and tire.

However, the impact didn’t slow down my car or knock my car off the road.

When I looked back behind me, I saw no sign of the deer; nor did the cars behind me have to swerve. The albino deer just completely disappeared.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)I was able to drive home, with no injuries.

However, when I got home, I was unable to open the driver’s side door, as the deer’s impact had jammed the tire panel into the door.

And for some reason, the battery was dead the next morning.

I ended up having to have my car towed. Please note to avoid having an insurance claim in between the 2 biggest holidays of the year.

Keep in mind the accident occurred on November 26th. Well, I got my car back from the shop just a couple of days ago, on December 30th; about 5 weeks later.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

I have to compliment Service King in Cool Springs, TN; where my car was towed. They did a flawless job of keeping me informed via text messages and phone calls on the status of my vehicle’s condition.

Yes, it took 5 weeks to get my car back after the accident, but in no way was the delay because of Service King. It had to do with the insurance inspection in the midst of the holidays, as well as a surge of claims of deer hitting cars.

My car was towed to facility to a place where they total cars; only to eventually learn that, thank God, my car wasn’t totaled.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

So after a couple of weeks of that, it was finally taken to Service King, where it was repaired.

Just to be clear, though, it was nothing short of a miracle that my car wasn’t totaled. The state of Tennessee requires insurance companies to total vehicles if the damage is equal to 70% or more of the vehicle’s value.

Looks like I was only safe by a couple hundred dollars.

One good thing that came out of all this is I got to review 4 cars during the past month. For example, here are the stories that came out of the Lexus LX 570:

l1

Dear Jack: My Childhood Christmas Tree, The 1980s Time Capsule

Dear Jack: Christmas Is Always Quirky Wherever We Are

Discovering A Mysterious Purse While Geocaching In Fort Payne, Alabama

Dear Jack: Little River Falls/Abandoned Church Christmas Trip

Dear Jack: The Day After Christmas Was Still Fun Too!

How To Have A Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher Or Plant-Based Christmas

2014 Lexus LX 570: Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

I also reviewed the 2014 Lexus RX 450h during this 5 week period as well:

2014 Lexus RX 450h: 2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review; Dear Jack: Marvel Universe Live- Family Friendly Review (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Meeting Santa With Sophie At Bass Pro Shop (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Jacob’s 5th Birthday Party In A Tractor Store (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: The Old Abandoned Silo Tower On Main Street in Spring Hill, TN (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Our New House’s Shutters, Mailbox, & Interior Paint (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review 

Dear Jack: Marvel Universe Live- Family Friendly Review (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Meeting Santa With Sophie At Bass Pro Shop (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: Jacob’s 5th Birthday Party In A Tractor Store (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Dear Jack: The Old Abandoned Silo Tower On Main Street in Spring Hill, TN (Lexus RX 450h Weekend) 

Dear Jack: Our New House’s Shutters, Mailbox, & Interior Paint (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

In closing, please remember my words of wisdom: Never slow down, stop, or swerve to avoid hitting an animal.

Dear Jack: I Was Hit By An Albino Deer! (Yes, An Albino Deer)

Had I done any of those things, the accident would have been billed as my fault. I would have had a $500 deductible, plus my premium would have went up.

But because I chose to let the deer hit me, I remained safe on the road, and my deductible was only $100; not to mention my premium will not increase.

Here in the state of Tennessee, you seriously have to watch out for those albino deer…

2014 Lexus RX 450h: 2014 Lexus RX 450h 5-DR SUV (DVD Player Equipped): Family Friendly Review; Dear Jack: Marvel Universe Live- Family Friendly Review (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Meeting Santa With Sophie At Bass Pro Shop (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Jacob’s 5th Birthday Party In A Tractor Store (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: The Old Abandoned Silo Tower On Main Street in Spring Hill, TN (Lexus RX 450h Weekend); Dear Jack: Our New House’s Shutters, Mailbox, & Interior Paint (Lexus RX 450h Weekend)

Fortunately, your Uncle Andrew and Aunt Dana bought me a deer warner for Christmas.

Love,

Daddy

2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

December 3, 2013 at 12:05 am , by 

3 years.

Dear Jack,

Last Tuesday when the nice man came to take back the Toyota Tundra (which we used for your monster truck road trip in to celebrate your 3rd birthday), he randomly replaced it with a new 2013 Toyota Rav4. I was totally not expecting that!

But, I’ve learned that sometimes in life, it’s just best not to question things…

With that being said, for the past week now, our family has got to drive around in our 3rd Toyota. (The 1st was the Sienna minivan.)

Therefore, I suppose, by default, I am becoming a car reviewer; analyzing cars from the dad’s perspective, as I see how the vehicle works for the whole family, not just the driver.

I will start out by saying this, the Rav4 is definitely my favorite Toyota I have driven so far in my small list of reviews. The Rav4 is a perfect physical and pscyhological fit for me.

At 5’9″, which happens to be about the height of the average American man, I found the vehicle to have the ideal amount of space for me. If I were an SUV, I think it’s safe to say I could very easily be a Rav4.

Small SUVs have always been my personal preference as far as the actual car I drive: My first car was a 1988 Ford Bronco II and my current is a 2004 Honda Element.Basically, I love a good “commuter SUV.” I don’t need a big engine or a lot of power, but I do like a little more cargo room and height that an SUV offers compared to most cars.

Plus, most importantly, getting good gas mileage is very crucial to me. The 2013 Rav4 gets 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway, for an average of 26.

Something else I should point out about the new, 4th generation, 2013 Rav4 is this: It’s feels plenty masculine enough for me. I had always tagged Rav4s as a “girl SUV,” like the Nissan Xterra. (I don’t know why that is, but that’s what I’ve always thought.)

But this newest rendition of the Rav4 looks a lot different than its predecessors, so I want to say “good job” to the people who designed this one. I would very proudly continue driving the Rav4; again, it’s a perfect fit for my lifestyle and personality.

So, what did you, the 3 year-old little boy who is obsessed with cars think about the Rav4?

Well, you said out of the 3 JToyotas (Sienna, Tundra, Rav4), your favorite was actually the Sienna minivan.

You didn’t give me a reason, but I think it’s because the Sienna is “all windows” and you were better able to see all the other cars on the road during the drive to and from school each day.

But of course, you were satisfied simply because of the fact that the Rav4 is an SUV… and that our model has a moon roof. (You love SUVs!)

The Rav4 was our vehicle for Thanksgiving weekend so we definitely had a lot of family fun in it.

Mommy got to drive us to Starbucks on Thanksgiving to buy the newspaper with all the ads in it. She accidently wore your bear hat inside the store and didn’t realize it until she came back to us in the parking lot.

Plus, the Rav4 became the 1st vehicle to transport you “diaper free” to a public place, where you successfully didn’t have an accident. More on that tomorrow; I’m not completely finished talking about the Rav4 yet.

Okay, so, tomorrow the nice man is supposed to pick up the Rav4 and take it back to Atlanta. We’ll either be back in my Honda Element… or we’ll both be surprised and I’ll end up writing another car review about a different Toyota.

Maybe I’ll do this car reviewing thing enough to where people actually start seeing me as a serious family car reviewer?…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

Tundra

Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort Of

Nashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park

3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

Sienna

We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!

It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now

 

How to Purposely Prepare to Not Feel Miserable during the Holidays

While it is indeed important, I’m not talking about truly remembering the real meaning of Christmas – I’m just talking about avoiding a headache, along with possible mild depression and constipation.

Thanksgiving Day wasn’t that long ago, so there’s a good chance you have fresh memories of sitting around the house all weekend, eating too much food, and ultimately feeling miserable.  That was my story for so many years.  Until last year when I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore during my days off from work.  So today I share with you two easy tips so that you may truly enjoy my holidays with friends and family.

Bring a case of bottled water and fresh salad to the meal.  Part of the reason it’s so common to feel yuckified during the holidays is because it’s way too easy to become dehydrated (there is such an easy access to both soda and alcohol at these holiday meal gatherings both of which dehydrate the body).  Also, holiday meals are very similar to a Chinese buffet in that they mainly consist of carbs and sodium.  Not only is it too easy to eat too much, but it’s too easy to also eat virtually nothing nutritious in the process.  When the freshest vegetable dish available is green bean casserole, you’re bound to feel down.  Drink plenty of water and make sure there are fresh vegetables available, if it means that you are responsible for bringing it.

Get out of the house and out into the cold. As much time as you will spend watching the 1983 classic A Christmas Story on TBS repeatedly and playing Wii with your nephews and nieces, there’s a good chance that your idea of “getting out” simply means going shopping for good deals or running to the convenience store to buy more milk.  You need real exercise and fresh air during the holidays.  So in addition to bringing the salad and bottled water, your responsibility is to stand up and say, “I’m going for walk outside- who’s with me?”  (Don’t forget your coat, of course.)  You’ll be the hero.  And you’ll be surprised at what interesting conversations can arise from a (30 minute minimum) walk in the cold: Certain conversations just can’t be born while lying in a coma-like state on the couch.

I guarantee you will have a better holiday experience if you try abiding by these two tips.  Cabin fever can be prevented.  And you can be the Holiday Armadillo that changes things in your household.  No matter what you believe the winter holidays are actually about, the importance of giving to others is ultimately attached to your religious or cultural traditions.  So give to the needy.  Care for the orphans and widows.  Love the unloved.  And lastly, give the gift of “not feeling miserable” to others.


Does Facebook Make Life More Real or Does It Actually Take Away from the Realness of Life Instead?

And is it possible that the facebook world is more of the real world than the actual real world?  And why is facebook noticeably less interesting on the weekend and during holidays?


Editor’s note: Keep in mind that with any of my posts, if you see something underlined, you can click on it to read another one my writings specifically about that phrase, or it may even lead you to a Wikipedia entry, which is equally as exciting.

Like most tricky open-ended questions I propose to world-wide audiences, it depends on the perspective and lifestyle of the person being asked.  But since part of my job as a writer who strives to be unpredictably provocative is to choose a side and stick with it, I have a firm answer for this “there’s no wrong or right answer” kind of question.  Often, the side I choose is the least expected one:  I am typically wired to root for the underdog.  So of course, anyone who reads my writings regularly should correctly assume that every time I will be defending the less popular answer.

Obviously, the overtly “correct” answer is that facebook takes away from the realness of life.  It prevents us from actually going over to each other’s houses and playing Yahtzee like we should.  It keeps us from calling our family members on the phone when we can just read their status update or look at their newest pictures.  Facebook is single-handedly deconstructing what real relationships are all about.  Facebook ironically eliminates actual face time with the people we are close to.  Therefore, the people we are “close to” literally become distant from us.

And while I acknowledge the relative truth in the paragraph above, it’s not the school of thought I am compelled to believe as my own reality.  In my version of reality, facebook actually makes life more real.  If I really want to call a person, or invite myself to drive to their house, I will.  Facebook doesn’t stop me from doing that.  Maybe that makes me old-fashioned.  But for me, facebook actually enhances the relationships in my life.  I often actually have more to talk about with people on the phone or in real life, sometimes because of something that happened on facebook.

Admittedly, out of my nearly 800 facebook friends, it’s safe to say that I literally don’t know who a quarter of them are.  The majority of my facebook friends are not people who know me well enough to have programmed my number into their cell phone number.  But when I propose one of my deep questions like the title of this post, or “what makes a person normal?” it’s often these exact people who are the first to respond.  Interestingly, the people who typically respond to my randomness are not the people I see on a regular basis or even within the past year or two.  (And for the people who I actually do see and talk to on a regular basis, I’m asking these questions to their face and they are answering in person so there is no need to answer on facebook.)

So what does that say about how facebook enhances relationships?  For me, I’d say it completely sustains the friendships which would have likely disintegrated if not for the opportunity to casually engage in a brief, random conversation topic without the commitment ever having to say “hello” or “goodbye”.  But is there any possibility that facebook is actually more of a reality than actual reality? I say absolutely yes.  It just depends on your definition of “reality”.

I have written before about how the time we spend at work is not the real world, but instead a necessary Avatar world or Matrix or lucid dream (reference to Vanilla Sky) that we enter in order to fund the actual real world.  Therefore, the true real world is the “off the clock” reality where we spend time with friends and family, along pursuing our own interests and hobbies.  With that being said, if the real world is largely defined by the people who are who are important to us outside of work (though obviously everyone has some “real friends” at work who supersede both realities), then I have to acknowledge that the interactions I am involved with on facebook are in a sense more “real” than most of the other hours spent each day.

To me, when I jokingly harass my arch nemesis/friend Ben Wilder via a wall comment, or I “like” someone’s picture of them embarrassing themselves, or I send a message to a friend about weekend plans, that’s more real than the four collected hours I spent talking to clients on the phone at work that day.  It’s more real than the round-trip hour I spend in the car driving to and from work each weekday.  For me, true reality is all about the people who mean something to me, whether those people are literally in the room there with me, or 700 miles away but on facebook.

The proof in the pudding for me is when I check out readership trends on this site, Scenic Route Snapshots.  There are typically hundreds of more readers on normal weekdays, compared to weekends and holidays.  That’s because people escape the fake real world (their work life) by playing on the Internet, therefore entering the actual real world.  Ironically, this post was written and ready by Thanksgiving Day, but I had allow for the holiday fallout to settle before publishing it.  Otherwise, it could have gone unnoticed.

Granted, I’m old-fashioned in that I still believe it’s rude to answer your phone or reply to a text message while in the physical presence of friends or family, especially during the middle of a conversation.  It’s a matter of prioritizing your reality.  Your top priority is those who are literally in the room with you.  It bugs me so much when I am making an effort to physically be in the same room as a person but I am second rate to another person they are talking to via text message or smart phone, who is just as real as I am, but isn’t actually there like I am.

So despite making an argument that facebook enhances reality and is actually more real than reality in some cases, I still acknowledge that respect for physical presence should not be forsaken.  Of course I completely understand who so many people feel that facebook takes away from real life, because honestly, the invention of the Internet and facebook is a lot like a modern rebuilding of the Tower of Babel- which is something I’ve noticed and written about before.

Ultimately, facebook is an enhancer of the life that already exists- like the way salt magnifies the flavor of food.  If you are already a social person who has healthy relationships with people in real life, facebook probably adds to the quality of these relationships.  If you are already a person who is not good at corresponding with people who are outside of your immediate circle, there’s a good chance you either ignore those “outsider” facebook friends even more or find them to be the most annoying (though you still haven’t gone through the trouble to delete them).  And if you’re a person who loves Farmville… I’m amazed you broke away long enough from tending to your goats to read this.

Statistical Bonus!

Below, notice the typical drop in the number of views on Saturdays and Sundays, the major drop on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), and the overall drop during the entire week  of Thanksgiving as compared to every other week.  That’s why my catch phrase for this site is “a great way to get distracted from life”- because more people visit here when they want to be distracted, not when they are actually hanging with people in their  true “real world”.

Daily Views on Scenic Route Snapshots

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total Average Change
Oct 25 

676

Oct 26 

747

Oct 27 

885

Oct 28 

695

Oct 29 

749

Oct 30 

809

Oct 31 

701

5,262 752
Nov 1 

652

Nov 2 

823

Nov 3 

910

Nov 4 

927

Nov 5 

835

Nov 6 

612

Nov 7 

588

5,347 764 +1.62%
Nov 8 

817

Nov 9 

766

Nov 10 

889

Nov 11 

741

Nov 12 

642

Nov 13 

552

Nov 14 

621

5,028 718 -5.97%
Nov 15 

732

Nov 16 

1,044

Nov 17 

935

Nov 18 

1,031

Nov 19 

984

Nov 20 

657

Nov 21 

891

6,274 896 +24.78%
Nov 22 

715

Nov 23 

701

Nov 24 

665

Nov 25 

617

Nov 26 

497

Nov 27 

538

Nov 28 

628

4,361 623 -30.49%
Nov 29 

655

Nov 30 

779

Dec 1 

776

2,292 737 +18.25%


The Holidays Can Be Painful, Physically

 St. Patrick’s Day shouldn’t be the only holiday where it’s okay to inflict pain on the people you love as well as random acquaintances. 

Surely the person who started the tradition of pinching people who don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day was OCD and a sadistic individual. And since evidently people enjoy this sort of thing I thought of some similar monthly traditions we could attach to our already existing holidays, as proud Americans. 

New Year’s Day– January 1st: Wet Willy anyone not wearing white.
Valentine’s Day – February 14th: Wedgie anyone not wearing red.
April Fool’s– April 1st: Poke someone in the ribs for those not wearing orange.
Mother’s Day– May 10th: Step on the heels of those not wearing pink.
Father’s Day– June 21st: Get a person in a headlock if they are not wearing blue.

The 4th of July– Place a lit bottle rocket in a person’s back pocket if they don’t appear to be a proud enough American.
Summer Bank Holiday (Scottish Holiday) – August 3rd: Sneak up and surprise someone by playing a bagpipe very loudly if the person isn’t wearing plaid.

Labor Day– September 7th: Make a person mow your lawn if they are not wearing a leisure suit.
Halloween– October 31st: Force feed a person vegetables if they are not wearing a costume.
Thanksgiving– November 26th: Sneak a live turkey into someone’s bed while they are asleep if they come to the dinner table not wearing one of those black and white pilgrim outfits with the bonnet thing on their head.
Christmas– December 25th: Make a person sign an affidavit swearing they will not mail out Christmas cards with their family dressed in reindeer sweaters the following holiday season if they do not dress up as the Holiday Armadillo during gift exchange on Christmas morning.