"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Letter: Unrated!

Some of you are unfortunate enough to already be on our mailing list for the Family Christmas Letter and are subjected to this nonsense year after year.
We often have some ridiculous theme as the backdrop for the letter. It helps make it easier to stomach all our "look what my kids can do" and "guess where we went" info if you are at least fooled into thinking we're a little creative about it.

This year, the backdrop was a reality show. It's perhaps the lamest of all our letters, especially since Cindy wouldn't let me paste our heads on the bodies of contestants from "Big Brother." She's holding me back creatively, I'm telling you.

For those of you who didn't receive this literary gem, here it is in all its glory.
(Note: this is the "unrated" version with the "poo" references when you get to Cheddar's introduction. Sorry, Cindy. I couldn't find the finial version, so there are other differences from the actual letter mailed to family, friends and heads of state.)

Welcome to the hit reality show, “The Newlands In 2008!”

It hasn't enjoyed a huge viewership thus far, but we're hoping this mass mailing will generate new interest in the show, and maybe even pick up a few new sponsors.

The set for the show is pretty much the same as last season; it still takes place in the family's two-story home outside Bloomington, Indiana. A few pictures and chotchkis have changed around the house, but if you were to drop by the set, you'd pretty much feel like you were transported in time all the way back to 2007. Maybe for next season, the network will go crazy and splurge on a new throw rug or outlet covers.

Most of the players are the same as last season too. In fact, no one got voted out...…yet.

You may remember Scott, the father figure of the show. Some viewers have referred to him as "middle-aged," but that's probably based solely on the fact that he's balding, gaining weight and about halfway through his life. Unfortunately, with the current state of the economy, he won't be retiring this year, so he’ll keep showing up for work at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church as the Family Minister, though sometimes he shows up as “Professor Scott” or “VBX Man.” Scott continued his cheese obsession in the Christmas episode by making Velveeta Fudge. He swears that lots of people have said it is “really good,” some of them even say it AFTER they find out it contains processed cheese.

Cindy, the mother hen on the show, left her position as home school teacher at the end of last season. Amid all the hoopla in the tabloids over the "Kidsaregrowingup-Gate" scandal, she made the transition to being a substitute teacher at the kids' public school. Even though she can no longer wear pajamas to class like last year, it has its good points, like an occasional paycheck which helps support her online shopping addiction. Plus she really, really, really, really loves teaching, AND she’s really, really, really, really good at it as evidenced by the success of her former homeschool students and the glowing references from her former homeschool’s principal/janitor. She’s also been traveling like an heiress with a trust fund: Vegas, Texas, North Carolina, Mexico, Malibu, San Diego and Marengo, Indiana.

Sixth-grade Cassie, who used to fool the other players with her "shy act," is no longer the quiet, unassuming girl from last season. Some viewers have written asking if she has been replaced with a new out-going player by the same name with identical features. No, it's the same Cassie but playing with a new strategy including having a starring role in the Spring '08 musical at church, actually running for student council at school, becoming a violin virtuoso and winning her class speeling beee! Keep your eye on this girl; she's going to go far on this show.

Fourth-grade Shelby is a lot like she's been in previous seasons. She's still into sports as she continues to excel at soccer and basketball, and this year she tried softball, showing herself to be incredible at first base. The ball fields were just around the corner, so we could even walk or ride our bikes there and do our part to save the planet. (We COULD, but we DIDN'T.) Shelby has become a prolific writer, with such memorable lines from her school work as “relief flowed over him like Gatorade over a Superbowl-winning coach.” We expect her to write for some upcoming episodes; watch for her in the credits and at awards shows.

Third-grade Brynne headed off to public school for the first time. Brynne plays soccer and basketball like her sister, but she’s also started dabbling in gymnastics. During cast interviews, when asked to describe herself, she said, “I’m the SPARKLY one.” Despite her sparkliness, she dug in and got dirty in Mexico building houses for the second year in a row. This time she was able to bring the whole family. The best scene of the season was her baptism in the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. You can see highlights from that episode on Youtube.com; search for “Brynne’s Baptism.” (Seriously, it’s there.)

Second-grade Jenna also hopped on the bus for the first time this season. She loves school, is always excited to go, and she comes home with fantastic stories from her day; some of them even make sense. One of the most common questions we get about her is “Where does she get her blonde hair?” All of the girls have been blonde, but Jenna’s hair remains almost white, except in the summer when pool chemicals turn it green. She proved herself to be a daredevil in Episode 24 when the gang went to Family Camp in Seymour, Indiana. Labor Day weekend was chock-full of shotguns, ziplines, rock-climbing, death-defying flights and watersports. Jenna surprised us all by climbing a telephone pole and leaping from the top to a trapeze bar. This kid keeps the cast laughing. In fact, she’s such a hoot, she may even get her own spin-off some day.

In a shocking turn of events, a new cast member was added this season. Cheddar, the famous Maltipoo, arrived and brought much laughter, joy, chewed up pencils, and soiled carpet to the show. They don’t call him a “Matlipoo” for nothing. (Actually, the reason is that he’s a mix of Maltese and Poodle, but we enjoy the double entendre.) Cindy’s character talks a good game about not enjoying him, but when the cameras stop rolling, she can be found cuddling the puppy on the couch and making baby talk to him. What a softy.

We are sorry to announce the passing of a dear family member. Scott’s grandpa—affectionately referred to as “Buddypa”—died this fall after a long and significant life. He is already greatly missed.

Next season looks to be a good one with Scott and Cindy celebrating their 15th anniversary, perhaps another house-building venture in Mexico and [insert dramatic music here] junior high.

Be sure to TiVo the cliff-hanger season finale.
You’ll be left wondering:
Will Scott grow his hair back?
Will Cindy try to give up the unemployed lifestyle and renew her teaching license?
Will Cassie shock everyone and get lower than an A on something?
Will Shelby give up football at recess in favor of dolls and girl drama?
Will Brynne stop rolling in glitter and crushed diamonds?
Will Jenna lose so many teeth that the tooth fairy has to hire help?

The cast hopes that all is going well in your own reality shows. They also wish to thank their producer/director/creator God for all His blessings in 2008 and for His faithfulness every day this year.
And that’s saying more than normal since this was a leap year.


Tammy said...

Merry Christmas, Scott.....great letter and couldn't help but think of the Angel-zilla during this morning's reading of the Luke 2. *snicker*

Gayle said...

Great letter. I'm off to find the baptism scene.

Big Doofus said...

I would have sent you an ear of corn, however:

1) You managed to tastefully deal with the passing of your grandfather when you could have said something really corny and wrong (but it could have been funny).

2) I think the restraining order specifically states that I'm not allowed to drive close to your home, call or send any kind of parcels (including vegetables).

But seriously...Merry Christmas, Scott. I accidentally deleted your link from my page, which explains why I haven't been here in a while (that and my new facebook addiction).

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Enjoyed that!

Jennifer Raack said...

How very creative! How do you ever think of this stuff?!!! That was great!

S'more of my Thoughts said...

You definitely get the award for
Best. Christmas. letter. ever!!!!