BEST OF 2005

Hello from the merry Land o' Zenz

As we review the year that was, a wide panel of Zenzes has voted on a few of their favorite things from the last 365 days, and we are happy to bring you the results.

The winner of "Best New Baby Zenz, Boy Division" goes to Elijah David, aka LizaBaby.  He still doesn't do much yet, but there wasn't a lot of competition in the category.  He struggled in the Talent section, but made up for it in Swimsuit.  The clincher came during Q&A when a sleepy burp was interpreted as "World Peace."  We were elated to see Elijah's cousin Mercy Isabel take home the trophy for "Best New Baby Girl Zenz."  What were the chances?  Two award winners!  Grammy and Grandpa must be so proud.

Taking the top slot for "Best Trip in Foreign Lands" goes to Aaron and Amity's April trip to England.  We boarded a flight alongside two great college friends, and we met up with another family of great college friends living and studying in Oxford.  We were struck with how beautiful everything is there... From buildings to gardens to doors.  Extra effort goes into the aesthetic, compared to America where everything is square, flat, and functional.  I also got the sense of being very 'young' heritage-wise.  When you are staring at one mere building that is four times as old as your entire home country is, you feel very shallow and naïve.  Highlights of the trip included visiting C.S.Lewis' home (while eating Turkish Delight (purchased the week before IN Turkey, no less)), dining at the pub Lewis and Tolkien frequented, rushing around London, circling Stonehenge, visiting a bombed out cathedral, and exploring a fantastic ruined castle.

"Best Trip within the Continental United States" goes to a July campout in Tennessee.  Gnats, rain, and morning sickness threatened to leave us without a contender in this category.  But salvaging it was an awesome camping spot in one of the State Parks, set next to a trickling stream filled with climbing stones, perfect for childhood adventures.

With the Lord of the Rings movies over, the winner of "Best Pop Culture Phenomenon to Ensnare my Wife" goes to the puzzle Sudoku.  Amity's hooked.

"Best Tonsillectomy of 2005" goes to Isaac.  The honors of "Worst Tonsillectomy of 2005" also go to Isaac.

The "Getting Your Head Stapled" award goes to Gracie.

The "Most Notable Clipping of a Tied-Tongue" goes to Elijah.

And Lily receives the "2005 is Not Quite Over Yet...What Medical Mishap is Going to Happen to Lily" Award.

The honor of "Best Story about a Large Mammal Chased by Other Flustered Creatures" goes to... King Kong. 

BUT -- "Best Story about a Large Mammal Chased by Other Flustered Creatures Written by First Time Author and Illustrator Aaron Zenz" goes to... The Hiccupotamus!  It's been a ball to work on, and an even greater delight to have finished.  Signings have been amazing... 86 copies sold and signed at Jackson's Toy House, 100 copies at a Hillsdale College signing, 125 at an elementary school.  I've done library readings, and I absolutely LOVE visiting schools...  I've done two school visits so far and have them lining up in March.  And we just got word that the book had another big order, sending it into its THIRD printing already!  My head is swirling from it all, but most hippo things should be slowing down with the close of the year.

One last entry -- "Best New Website" goes to !

Well the polls are now closed.  We are sorry that many of you are not Zenzes and could not participate.  But even though, we think you're all the best.

All our best,
Aaron, Amity, Isaac, Grace, Lily, & Elijah