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Monday, December 24, 2007


This Christmas we decided to make paper wallets for everyone and fill them with custom made cards and fake money with pictures of the family on it. The back of the money contained information about each person and what they did during the year.

The cards were created in Inkscape.

The money was created in the GIMP and Inkscape.

Owen started off the year right, with a little plastic surgery. Not to remove his ever growing arm muscles, but to remove a sebaceous cyst on his forehead. He recovered very quickly, and now he has a scar to match his brother. Owen never ceases to Amaze Sandy and I with his positive spirit and constant happiness. He mastered the art of bouncing on his bouncy ball, riding his first bike, and swimming with a life preserver. Owen loved going on boat rides with our friends the Larsons, climbing rocks in Duluth, and chasing the cat. Owen also received his Bachelors in the Porcelain Arts this year, though he still wears a “Pull Up” at night. I guess he’s a deep sleeper. Also, Owen and Alex graduated to big boy beds this year. Both boys play very well with each other. They fight a lot, but they always make up and give each other hugs. Owen turned THREE years old on a trip we took to Wisconsin. Of all the kids, I think he is the biggest Packer fan, as he wears his packer shirt most often, and always seems to be playing with the cheesehead. Finally, Owen is a fast runner, and WON FIRST PLACE RIBBONS at this year’s Rochester All-ComeRs track meets. HE’S OUR LITTLE BIG MAN!

I think that the terms that most describe Alex this year are persistence and intelligence. To us that translates into stubbornness and amazement. To put it another way, when Alex does not want to do something, he will not do it. When he wants to do it, no one can stop him. He has been completely potty trained since just after he started, and will get up several times at night to go as well. Alex got really good at riding Annika’s scooter this year. Alex continues to be a very sweet boy, and will often run to get blankets or toys for Owen when he needs them. This year Alex and Owen have been very interested in helping around the house. They like to feed the dog and cat and their fish Sprinkles. This year Alex was a farmer for Halloween, but he enjoyed dressing up the whole year. Alex and Annika could often be found dressing up in princess outfits. A few times I would come home to three princess waiting for me. Alex is usually the first one up in the morning. He likes to let Yorkie out and give her a treat, and then will ask me to make him breakfast.. IF HE EVER HAS TO LEAVE THE TABLE, HE TELLS US NOT TO TAKE HIS FOOD. Alex enjoys playing by himself in the toy room and LOCKING DOORS. He loves singing and making up jokes., and THE THREE YEAR OLD GIRLS LOVE HIM.

As always, Annika made the most of her year. She managed to get Sandy and I to get her horse riding lessons, and started learning how to swim. She is very good at swimming under water and is not afraid to swim in the deep end when she needs to. Annika ended her experience with PAIIR pre-school and started home schooling. Her main focus this year is learning to read. Annika loves to illustrate stories and make signs. “No Flushing Pincher Bugs” was a funny sign we found on top of the toilet tank earlier this year. Other highlights of the year were losing her first tooth, collecting jewels, wearing dresses whenever possible, burying her pet fish Daisy, pining for Santa to bring her Butterscotch, the animatronic pet horse, choosing which of her brothers to marry each day, sneaking upstairs at night to sleep on heater vents, and attending ballet class. Last but not least, Annika learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this year! Annika also enjoys pretending to be a long lost princess who needs shelter. Such a cutie!

Sandy has kicked some major butt this year, folks. After signing up the family for the Y late last year, she joined Weight Watchers and lost over 75 80 pounds. This also resulted in healthier meals for the kids and me, and with the kids going to the Y most days, they are more active than ever before. This fall, Sandy participated in her first 5K prediction race and came in second place after missing her estimated time by only 5 seconds. Sandy’s dominance continues in the kitchen where she continue to hone her culinary brilliance. She even managed to sneak sardines into some homemade mac and cheese, which the kids devoured. Sandy filled her year with taking the kids to the zoo, getting them involved in extra activities, and as always, keeping everything in our lives going smoothly. This year, Sandy also took over the role of Cherub choir instructor for our church, and decorated a Christmas tree for the Rochester Festival of Trees. At night, after the children have gone to bed, Sandy can be found planning the next day, writing a witty blog entry, charting her fitness progress online, or assembling the Christmas letter.

Well, another year, another Christmas letter. And another time to reflect on the peace and joy that my family gives me every day. Our summer days were spent playing outside with the kids, going to the zoo, watching TV shows from NetFlix, and watching our kids grow up. Each one is so wonderful in their own way. Annika is sweet and thoughtful. Owen is energetic and happy. Alex is intelligent and steadfast. Sandy is great. She pushes us to do our best by her own example. The kids love her. We have lots of time to spend together at night. This year we took some fun trips to Duluth and Detroit Lakes and Waupaca, Wisconsin. We plan to do even more next year, driving out to Colorado for sure. Work-wise, I am leaving the print team I have been in for 9 years to be part of a new creative team that will support a soon to be released IBM product running Linux. I feel secure here. And that’s all I need. Along as I can maintain the excellent life that I have, I can honestly say I have all I will ever need. I am the luckiest guy I know. Merry Christmas to you all, we love you. -- The Schroeders

The Wallet was created in Open Office

You can download a PDF of the Wallet. The wallet was printed on cream colored cardstock and cut and folded into a functioning wallet. If the portion of the wallet containing the fake money is opened wide enough, one can see the music for a song printed there. The song is Once in Royal David's City.

Printing It

Everything except the wallet was printed at FedEX Kinkos in full color. 100 pages @ 49 cents plus tax. Each wallet with the cards and money took about an hour to cut out and assemble.

Merry Christmas!


ellen 12/23/2007 07:10:00 PM  

Your card just blew me away. If you have any extras (and you probably don't) maybe you should send 1 to Glenn Blohoviak, your high school creative writing teacher. He'd be mighty impressed!

Kurt Schroeder 12/23/2007 08:39:00 PM  

maybe I'll send him a link!

Kurt Schroeder 1/08/2008 08:31:00 AM  

E-mail from my retired co-worker Roger:

Hi Kurt,
Thanks for the card and money you and Sandy sent me. I used the three dollar bill at the local Kwik Trip here in Spring Valley.
My second court hearing is on the 15th in Preston.

Happy New Year!