Thursday, December 23, 2010


Post number 2! And you thought it would never happen! IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!! Well, most of the work on this one is courtesy of my two good friends, Copy and Paste. Much like last year, I spent some time jotting down a recap of our year, highlighting some of the shenanigans you may find interesting. And much like last year, I'm about to post that letter in all its glory.

So Happy Holidays everyone!

Ho ho ho and happy holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. As I write this, Old Man Winter has blanketed much of Minnesota with over a foot of the fluffy white stuff, forcing many of us to either tunnel our way out of our homes or to fire up the ol’ snowblower. So there certainly won’t be any dreaming of a white Christmas this year, Mr. Crosby. No indeed. But before you sit on Santa’s lap and rattle off your holiday wishes, or fill yourself with a healthy dose of eggnog or Tom & Jerry’s, allow me a few moments to fill you in on what’s been happening in our little corner of this snow-covered globe.

My beautiful better half continues to amaze this humble guy every day. Alex is pretty lucky to have such a wonderful, loving mother. And boy does the kid know it. Even when she’s not around, he’ll walk around the house shouting, “Mom? MOM!” looking for her. Jen continues her work as Lead Photographer for Chicago-based VHT. Each day, she travels the construction-filled or ice-coated highways of the Twin Cities photographing a wide variety of real estate for over a hundred different realtors throughout the metro area. She also visits various offices, speaking to large groups of realtors about photography. Boy, to be a fly on the wall during one of those meetings! Despite this busy and demanding schedule, we were able to travel this past winter (another of Jen’s loves), taking a long weekend and introducing Alex to the oceanic shores of beautiful Naples, Florida. He was a little terrified of the water, but he enjoyed the feel of warm sand in his toes (and yes, he sampled a small taste of it, as well. He did not like it). Through it all, Jen has documented our adventures with that trusty camera of hers, filling many an album with memories we will forever cherish…and a few we will use to embarrass Alex in the future.

As a stay-at-home Dad, I have been able to share quite a bit of time with Alex. From story time at the Red Balloon bookshop to summer trips to the water park with friends to frequent library visits, our days are chock full of activities. I’ve also been able to spend time with my laptop, writing two children’s graphic novels for local publisher Stone Arch Books. Both titles are a part of their collaboration with Sports Illustrated for Kids, and both will be available in 2011. The first is a football story titled Quarterback Scramble, and the other a surfing – yes, you read that right – story whose title is yet to be determined. This year also saw me braving one of the most dangerous places known to man: elementary schools! I visited a number of schools, both in Mankato and around the state, speaking about writing and sharing my book Drake Bacula: MonSTAR! with students. Kids are an imaginative and energetic group, and I had a blast creating stories with them. On the film front, I was able to participate in a couple of great short films this year, and even dabbled a bit in the commercial world again, as an Assistant Director. All in all, I’m a pretty lucky fella, and I count my blessings each day.

When last I wrote one of these, Alex was a mere seven months old, just barely sitting up and eating solid food. What a difference a year makes! Our inert baby has transformed into a raucous toddler with only two settings: Sleep and Perpetual Motion. He goes from zero to one hundred faster than a European sports car. Now nearly nineteen months old, Alex is changing everyday, and is a true marvel to watch. Here’s a rundown of just a few antics the energetic lad is up to now:

- He runs everywhere
- He dances to any and all music (thankfully, he has his Dad’s stylish moves)
- He loves to help us cook
- He’s quite proficient at animal sounds. Ask him what a lion says, and cower at his mighty roar
- Included in his animal noises are sounds for ghosts, dinosaurs, and Santa
- His every-growing vocabulary includes words like Mom, Daddy, yes, no, ball, book, ding-dong (for bell, not an affectionate nickname for anyone), yummy, clock, and star
- Our nightly dinner routine includes Alex holding his cup in the air, shouting “Cheers!” and waiting for each of us to clink it
- He loves to color and draw, and appreciates his parents’ art school expertise (stick figures and smiley faces)
- There is nothing cooler in this world than a curious monkey named George
- He loves the library, bookstore, and comic shop, and will sit in his chair and flip through books. Like Papa, like son.
- He makes us – and himself – laugh every day
- His camera smile and his stink face look suspiciously similar
- He talks up a storm. True, he speaks his own language most of the time, but he seems to understand what he’s saying, even if we don’t

When you’re young, time finds a way to slow down. Christmas seems ages away, and you feel like those prettily wrapped packages sitting under your tree are never going to be opened. But as you get older, time finds a way to do the exact opposite: it slips by without you even noticing. The holidays are the perfect reason to slow down, to enjoy the presence of family and friends, and to tell them how very special they are to you. We have been blessed to watch our little baby grow into a tiny man this past year. Even though he’s only nineteen months old, we know that before too long, he’ll be asking for our car keys and applying to colleges. So amidst your hectic schedule of holiday programs, last-minute shopping, and repeat viewings of Frosty the Snowman, take a moment to show friends and family that you love them, because, as the residents of Whoville reminded the Grinch, “Christmas day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.”

We love you all dearly, and wish you and your family nothing but hope, love, and happiness this holiday season.

All our love,
Brandon, Jen, and Alex Terrell

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