Emily Parnell — Family isn’t always a perfect fit, but it’s still the best gift, and ‘you get what you get’

Ahhh, the annual dirty Santa gift exchanges are upon us. It goes by all kinds of names — Kris Kringle, Christmas Rob-a-Thon, the Grinch Game, but the rules are pretty much the same. Everyone brings a wrapped gift, numbers are drawn, when it’s your turn, you can pick a gift from the pile and open it, or steal an already open gift from someone who went before you.

Emily Parnell — Choosy mothers choose gratitude

I decided to give my kids a refresher in how to receive a gift or a meal that you don’t like. They were scheduled for play dates, overnights and family get-togethers, and it seemed a good time to brush up on handling disappointing situations.

Emily Parnell — The dogs provide the winning hand

Our bed has one side that is greatly superior to the other. The good side is close to the bathroom for midnight runs. It’s near the bedroom door, handy for 1 a.m. kid nightmares, 2 a.m. glasses of water, 3 a.m. dogs wanting out, 4 a.m. insomnia episodes, and 5 a.m. rising early for work. From the preferred side, there is a straight path to the light switch. In the summer, the vent blows cool air over whoever has the luxury of sleeping on the good side.

A new wave coming to Bay Water Park

By opening day next season, the water park on Longview Road is expected to include a FlowRider wake-boarding and surfboarding simulator, said Kansas City Parks and Recreation director Mark McHenry. Its cost tops $1 million.