Christmas 2011! Weren’t we supposed to be flying Jetsons-style and getting caught in crazy things by now? And shouldn’t Christmas letters write themselves? Have we really achieved ANYTHING as a species? Were it not for Chipotle and the Internet, we might just disappear into a cave and eat bugs off of each other for nourishment. Actually, as we wrote that sentence, Lily and Becca walked by with each other’s hair in their mouths and Jill is yelling at Zoe to get her head out of the trash can. The cave may be an upgrade.

Wow, 2011. It was HUGE for the Goodrichs. We are not sure you can handle all of the FANTASTIC things that happened to our favorite family of six + dog + frogs + guinea pig + fish this year. Good gawd, is that how many animals they have? Isn’t there some kind of code or legal definition of “zoo” that they are violating? Well, we can all rest easy knowing there is NO WAY they’ll get any more pets. Death, taxes, and the Goodrichs not getting a new pet in 2011 are the new absolutes in life.

OK, enough chit-chat, let’s get down to some nitty-gritty updates. The year started with Glenn turning the BIG 40. There was a big surprise party where Glenn’s parents and sister flew in and a bunch of friends were there and there was cake and drinks and a slideshow and OMG Glenn TOTALLY ROTFLHAO. Everyone there had a great time and stayed right up until the open bar closed, at which point it was just Glenn alone and OTF. We bet you think that turning 40 pushed Glenn into some crazy mid-life crisis, don’t you Smarty Pants??? Well, it’s not true. Glenn is the same long-haired, job-changing, Sunglasses-From-CHIPS-wearing, um…., OK, maybe a itty-bitty midlife episode has come to pass. First things first: Glenn looks like Nerd Jesus. Haircuts have gone the way of the Dodo, as Glenn is under the delusion that it’s 1979 and he is Fabio before discovery. Compounding his retro look, someone let Glenn buy some Aviator-style knock-off sunglasses. With those on, he looks like Disco Nerd Jesus (“I heal you in the name of the Compiler Boogie!”), which is really not a good look. You’d think that would be enough, but DNJ is also messing with his career. Feeling that the world of GIS (Geographic something something) is not nerdy enough, Glenn took on the role of Managing Editor for a website called We tried to read some of his stuff, but frankly it’s less accessible than Aramaic. Here is a subtitle from one of Glenn’s posts (it’s also the only string of words that we could understand):

Client-side Directory Structures, and the Women Who Love Them

So, um, there’s that. Lastly, the mucking about with the career hit full stride in late December when Glenn actually quit his GIS job to join a startup company in Charlotte. The new company is KYCK and its byline is “The Global Soccer Experience.” When we first read that, it made us wonder if Glenn knows what the word “soccer” means. Anyway, wish Glenn luck as he risks the future of his family, career, and long, flowing locks to be King Nerd of a Soccer company.

Jill, as you might have guessed, also turned 40 in 2011. Jill’s approach to 40 was to create a list called “Things to Do Before I Turn 40.” Here are some of the things on the list:

  • Make the World Super Better
  • Hit Glenn Over the Head with Bottle
  • Recycle Bottle
  • Hug the Tree That We Tether the Kids To
  • Ride a Unicorn over the Rainbow Bridge to Fairytopia

OK, we made those up (except we think the last one is on Lily’s list), but Jill documented ALL of them (who the in the world is watching those kids???) on the Goodrich Blog, so now you have something to do while other people are opening their presents. Jill also changed her job at the (IT’S FUN TO STAY AT THE) YMCA (Try getting THAT song out of your head.) where she moved from KiddieWatch to the Sports Department. Now, she works on making sure that the Construction Worker and Indian are not always on the same team, because that’s just not fair to the Cowboy and Policeman. She continues to be a girl scout leader where, as Glenn is quick to point out, she gets absolutely NO DISCOUNT on cookies. Jill takes the girls “camping” (in quotes b/c we don’t know the word for “sleeping in a cabin with a kitchen and beds and calling it camping”) along with the one other adult that drew the short straw at the pre-camping Parent Meeting. Finally, Jill continues to coach the three oldest kids’ soccer teams, turning every Saturday in the fall into the World Cup.

Inspired by his mother, Logan also made a list of things to accomplish last year. Here is that list:

  • Play catch
  • Play catch
  • Eat dessert
  • Go to bathroom (skip if playing catch)
  • Play catch

Logan likes to play catch. A lot. In fact, we are having to catch the ball and throw it back to Logan between sentences as we write this. The obsession that was coins is now football and sports in general. He loves to tell us how he’ll beat Georgia single-handedly when he is playing free safety for Georgia Tech. His NFL career, spent with the Dallas Cowboys, will include multiple SuperWHAM…OUCH LOGAN, WE WEREN’T LOOKING, DANGIT….GO EAT DESSERT OR PEE OR SOMETHING..ahem..Bowls, restoring past glory to his favorite franchise. Logan was also in a school play this year, singing “Conjunction Junction” in School House Rock. Logan performed admirably, and the screenwriters should be commended for allowing Logan to play catch while he sang.

Miss Emma’s list would look like:

  • Read
  • Repeat first item on list
  • Have fit about how the world is SO UNFAIR AND LOGAN’S LIFE IS SOOO EASY.
  • Slam door
  • Forget to feed Jingles (the Guinea Pig)

Emma’s nose is almost constantly in a book. Jill and Glenn have taken to communicating to her by writing books and placing them in strategic places. The title of this book, if you ask Emma, is “Ways Logan’s Life is Better Than Yours.” The actual title of the book is “Put This Book Down and Do Your Chores” and it climbed as high as #2 on the Best Sellers List, where it could never overtake Becca’s Magnum Opus “Screaming: Why Communicate in Any Other Fashion.” Emma also has become a decent little soccer player, which you would never know by watching her. If Pepe Le Pew played soccer, he would look like Emma. She kind of prances slowly around the field, almost as if the game is in the way of her daily stroll. Every so often the ball comes to her, and she politely moves it toward the goal and, next thing you know, the ball is in goal. The whole event is so off-putting and the smattering of delayed applause says “Um, yay?” Emma bounces back to midfield, grabs a book, and starts reading.

Lily is now a full-fledged Kindergartner. The crack squad on our local School Board made changes this year that extended the school day, which means the kids are now away from the house from 8AM to after 5PM. Yes, you read that right. Our 5-year old has longer hours than a banker, but at least she isn’t using that time to destroy the US Economy. The result is a very tired Lily, all the time. Very Tired Lily responds to everything by whining. I mean EVERYTHING. Here is a standard interaction:

Jill: Lily, here is the ice cream sundae you ordered being served by a princess riding a flying unicorn. After you eat it, you’ll be a fairy and have magical abilities, including the ability to fly. Lily: (whiney voice) But Mommy, I wanted the ability to float on the air, not FLLLYYYYYY!

According to her teachers, she does not act this way at school and they love her. We think they are lying or too busy making change for their customers to notice (get it? Banker joke? Man, that was a stretch?). Lily also started soccer this year, coached by Jill, of course. If you’ve never watched a soccer game played by 5-year olds, try the following:

1) Find several small dogs and muzzle them. 2) Tether some of the dogs to random spots on the field. Distract them with whistles. 3) Put a steak inside a ball and roll it onto the field. 4) If the steak-ball every gets close to either goal (not likely) drag the goalie dog off the field. 5) If the steak-ball goes into the goal, unmuzzle the goalie dog and let it loose.

Actually, I think the dog game would be more exciting.

Becca (a.k.a. “The Boo” a.k.a. “The Noise”) is three. Three is the devil’s age. Every one of the Goodrich kids were pure evil at three, and Becca is really trying to distinguish herself in this area. Becca’s list for 2011 would be:

  • Talk. Loudly. All the time.
  • Upon seeing a stranger, ask them (again, loudly) about something odd in their appearance. (i.e. “Why is your belly so big? Why are your teeth brown?”)
  • Scream. Randomly.
  • Wear ballerina dresses or nothing at all.
  • If another child has something, including a disfiguration, go into immediate tantrum about how I want that and it’s not fair.

Jill is attempting to domesticate Becca with things like Kindermusik and Art Class, with disappointing results. If the Goodrichs had a nickel for each post-class, teeth-gritted “Becca…sure…is…um…lively” report, they’d be independently wealthy. The Goodrichs are counting down the final months of Becca’s third year. We think the Mayans end-of-the-world predictions for 2012 may really be about the end of three-year old Goodrichs.

One of the coping mechanisms the Goodrichs use is travel. 2011 was no exception. Straight out of the gate in January, the Goodrichs invaded Disney and Universal in Orlando. Glenn was so excited about Harry Potter land that he started calling everyone else “Muggles,” and yelling spells. He would, for example, yell “Expelleramus!” when in the bathroom, causing other park-goers to give him a wide berth (“They can feel my power.”).

Jill started the year off impressively with a mission trip to Haiti, proving that there is no place not preferable to the Goodrich house. The time was spent crying and lamenting the hygeine of the local kids, and that was Glenn back in Charlotte. Jill had an unforgettable trip, playing soccer with the local kids, teaching the volunteers yoga, and gaining incredible perspective.. oh, and she helped rebuild a house.

To celebrate Jill’s 40th, Glenn and Jill travelled to Costa Rica in March. Costa Rica, if you’ve not been, is fantastic. The couple stayed near a volcano, which Glenn blamed for various noises:

Glenn: Man, that volcano’s rumbling sounded like it was right behind me! Costa Rican: Senor, it is inactive. Glenn: What is? (Costa Rican walks away, gagging slightly.)

They also did canopy walks, ziplines, tarzan swings, and tours through a national park on the beach. On some mornings, there were monkeys right next to the restaurant (“Man, that monkey sounds like it’s right behind me!”, “Senor, they don’t make noises like that.” “What doesn’t?”) and bugs that you could use to haul luggage. Also, there are several types of snakes whose bite will immediately kill you. The Costa Ricans talk about them like they are cute and will all but hand you one as they are doing so. Once snake was so close to Glenn’s face that the, um, volcano erupted, if you catch our meaning.

For Spring Break, the family drove (yes, drove) from Charlotte to Hershey, PA to Montreal to Niagara Falls to home. We’re not sure about you, but driving 15+ hours (one way!) with 4 kids to a place where they will consume their body weight in chocolate sounds like something a judge would hand down. The Chocolate Factory was yummy and fun and everyone got to wear hair (and beard) nets. Montreal was, um, French for “lame”. Grey and cold in April, and, much to Glenn’s surprise, everyone speaks French (“How far did we drive???”). Niagara Falls was breathtaking and disgusting all at once. The Falls themselves are beyond words, but the surrounding areas are a Tourist Wasteland of Filth. Seriously, even with all that water there, the family never felt clean.

What travel year would be complete without a trip to the beach? This year, the Challas Family (a giving family that goes on vacations with other needy families as a part of a church outreach program) met the Goodrichs in Hilton Head. We think the goal of the Challi (ugh, what’s the plural of Challas? Challi? Well, it is for this letter) was to try and normalize the Goodrichs and show them how a nice family interoperates. Days on the beach, sunburns, dolphin watching, and pool time are examples of the tools used, some to great effect. While it was a valiant effort, the dedication of the Challi will be tested, as this act of charity will take years to see any tangible results.

In October, the clan flew to Austin to surprise Glenn’s Dad (Poppy) for his 70th birthday. To let you know just how much age and hair can change a person’s perception, long-haired Glenn greeted his father at a restaurant, masquerading as host. Poppy answered several questions from his alledged son (“How many in your party?”, “Would you like to sit outside?”, “Do you know who the heck I am?”), until Robyn (Glenn’s sister) said “Do you know who that is?” and now we all know what someone looks like when they enter a patch of lucidity. Poppy was very surprised, and the week in Austin was spent seeing cousins (Jake and Luke), aunts and uncles, going to UT football games, and letting GaGa cook. Best 70th Birthday ever.

At the beginning of the letter, we mentioned all of the pets in the Goodrich Zoo. The fish (“Fred”) is a wasteland of news, but there is big (meaning “gross and terrifying”) news on the Frog front. Both Emma and Lily have frogs, two each at the beginning of the year. A few months ago, one of Lily’s frogs (“Sammy”, I guess) took to floating with something protruding from his frog torso. If this wasn’t gross enough, after a few days and questions from Lily (“Mommy! He’s growing!”, “Um, yes, growing.”) Sammy was GONE. Alyssa (the other frog), noticeably fatter, now stares out at the family with hungry eyes. THEY HAVE A KILLER FROG. Even worse, Jill got a snail and put it in with Alyssa. Alyssa, within days, had turned the snail shell into a headdress, and the snail is GONE. (DRAMATIC MUSIC)

Zoe, the family dog, must have resolved to eat anything in 2011. It’s as if Zoe and Alyssa are the last two contestants on a never-ending game of Fear Factor. Zoe eats anything, such as:

  • Napkins
  • Anything served in a trashcan.
  • Depostis from the litter box.

What we can’t figure out is….wait….what?? Litter box? Why do they have a litter box? We’re being told that the Goodrichs got a cat this Fall. Yup, that’s just what they need. The cat’s name is Skylar, it’s a bobtail (meaning, it has the gross nub of a tail) and its neck is in a constant I-shoulda-had-a-V8 tilt due to some other animal shaking the cat some time ago. Probably for doing some I-am-totally-better-than-you cat thing. Due to the crooked neck thing, Glenn wants to rename the cat “Catawampus” which means “Positioned diagonally” and then get rid of it. The other logical explanation for the constant amassing of animals is to supplement some kind of kid-animal army. The only thing we don’t know yet is what that army will attack or if it will just be a standing force. Or maybe Alyssa is forcing them to build up animals to satisfy the her endless bloodthirst. Either way, it’s not good.

Well, there you have it. 2011 was a travel-filled, life-changing, older-getting, cat poop-eating, list-making, frog-canabalizing extraveaganza. Every one in the National Republic of Goodrichandia hopes your 2011 was grand and that your 2012 is free of killer frogs.

Happy Holidays, Glenn, Jill, Logan, Emma, Lily, Becca, Zoe, Skylar, Fred, Claira, Hopper, and (DUN DUN DUUUN) Alyssa.