Dear Family and Friends,
It seems like only yesterday we put pen to paper, or rather finger to keys, reflecting on the moments that shaped our year. As has become a tradition in our family, this is our annual Christmas letter. So many of you take the time to update us on the goings-on in your lives, as well, and words can’t express our appreciation for the opportunity to share in your happy times and sad. After all, these experiences shape our hopes and dreams for the year to come. So where to begin?
Interestingly enough, for us, 2015 will end as it began…with Star Wars. On January 1st, Jody introduced Alex and Adam to the 1977 original theatrical release of Star Wars. As you’ll recall, this was before it was “A New Hope” and it was indisputable that Han shot first. Anyway, the seventh movie in the Star Wars saga opened this month, and on Christmas Eve, we’ll be seeing what happens when “The Force Awakens”.
Although there’s not too much that can compete with Star Wars, we did have some very significant events. Not the least of which was Cindy’s jaw surgery. She had been working up to this for two years and the braces had done their job admirably. Now it was time for the real work to begin, and when it was all said-and-done, Cindy’s had 20 screws in her head, and no longer had sleep apnea (which was a side benefit). The healing was slow, and when when her strength returned, Jody and the boys treated her to a weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. And the braces came off in July! What else?
There were three weddings this year! The first two found Nick and Neil marrying their high school sweethearts. Nick married Danielle in March and in October, Neil married Rachel. We couldn’t be happier to have Danielle and Rachel become part of our family. Both ceremonies took place in Montgomery, Alabama, so we got to do a bit of traveling this year. And it’s always great to visit the kids…especially the grandkids! And speaking of grandkids, we added one more to the mix!
In August, Jessica gave birth to Carter John and Kameran maintained her position in the family as only sister (next to her mom, of course)! Cindy was able to be at the hospital for the birth, just as she was for Kameran and Oliver, only this time, she and Emilo had run out to get Jessica something to eat. Go figure, Carter would pick this time to be born. Fortunately, Kameran was there and was able to stand-in for Dad and May-May.
So, back to the weddings…number three was Cindy’s stepdad: Junior married Linda. They had a very nice wedding with some great food at the reception at Linda’s daughter’s house. There was one other kid there, Linda’s granddaughter, and she was quite the hostess, giving tours of her playroom and the swing set in the backyard. The boys had made a new friend.
Besides three family trips to Alabama and a couple of solo trips for Cindy, we didn’t do an awful lot of traveling this year. Mainly because Jody exhausted his vacation days taking care of Cindy after her surgery. So, we had a “stay-cation” and traveled locally, taking advantage of the great Florida living! Let’s see…
- There were six weekend trips to Disney, including the very last Star Wars weekend. Our goal this year was to hit every Disney roller coaster, which we did!
- We spent a lot of time on the water, and both Alex and Adam learned to drive the boat this year!
- We helped St Augustine celebrate it’s 450th birthday, and Adam became a Master Junior Ranger
- And numerous trips to the beach, here and in southwest Florida
- Oh, and there was BASEBALL!
There’s so much that happened this year, it’s hard to narrow it down to a (relatively) short narrative. We’ve captured more than a few highlights, which should pretty much catch everyone up on the continuing saga that is “The Hanks’ of Florida”. We wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and hope your New Year is filled with health, happiness, and prosperity.
Jody, Cindy, and A2 …oh, and Charlie (woof)