2016 Family Christmas Letter

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Dear Family and Friends,

Well, it’s that time of year again. Our family Christmas cards have been mailed and now I’m putting fingers to keys to bang-out our traditional here’s-the-year-in-review Christmas letter. After all, what are the Holidays without a little solipsism? Seriously, though, we always enjoy the letters we receive from family and friends at Christmas time. We all get so busy throughout the year, it’s nice to be able to keep-up with everyone. Besides, it’s nice to just sit back and reflect on the year.

2016 was a great year for visits from family and friends. We took a road-trip to Alabama to visit the grandkids, and spent a day in Huntsville, touring the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Over the summer, we had a continuous string of kids in the pool, and made several trips to the beach with the grandkids and neighbors. We also spent a lot of time on the water. There was a boys-only road-trip to Virginia to visit Nana and Pa, and the climactic Star Wars Birthday Party that was several months in the making!

Oh, and 2016 was ‘The Year of Disney’, as we took full advantage of the parks’ proximity and our annual passes with several mini vacations. In all, there were three visits to the Magic Kingdom (here, here, and here); two visits to Disney Hollywood Studios (here and here); and a visit each to Epcot and Animal Kingdom .

We also took the boys on their first cruise this year, which was as you might expect, a Disney Cruise (here, here, and here)

This year also saw Cindy start a new business venture with Rodan+Fields. She’s an Executive Consultant and is working hard to be successful. It’s stretching her in ways she’s not accustomed to and is certainly taking her outside her comfort zone. Jody and the boys are very proud of what she’s doing and what she’s accomplished so far…and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Speaking of new (ad)ventures…the boys became Cub Scouts this year! And that’s not all, Cindy is the Den Leader for eight Tiger Scouts, while Jody helps out as the Assistant Den Leader. Anyway, it’s a lot more work than we thought it would be, but we’re having a great time together and the memories we’re generating are priceless. There will be plenty of scrapbook tales to tell for Cindy.

What else? Oh yeah, we lived through another hurricane! Hurricane Matthew was a Catagory 3 storm as it passed about 30-miles off the Jacksonville coast. We were just outside the evacuation zone, so had decided to ride it out. Although it tore-up some of the coastal areas, we came out of it practically unscathed. Matthew was actually the third hurricane the boys have experienced. The first one was Gustav. Cindy was still pregnant as we evacuated for this storm from our home in Mississippi. The ‘hurrication’ was a lot more difficult than the storm turned-out to be for us, as Gustav veered west and missed our home. The second was Irene, which really surprised us because we were living in Pennsylvania at the time!

This year also saw the passing of our friends, Rob Hamby and Mark Courreges. Aside from the void the absence of these friends leaves behind, the experience brings to light the question of the meaning of our lives. Or rather the meaning IN our lives. After all, it’s not about the job, or money, or “things”…it’s about moments. Moments spent with great friends, or watching your kids grinning from ear-to-ear at a baseball game or seeing the joy on their face as they experience their first concert. These are moments in memory and give our lives meaning.

That about wraps-up the year! Thanks for letting us share our moments with you. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and find your New Year filled with happiness and prosperity.

Best Wishes,

– Jody, Cindy, Alex and Adam, and Charlie (woof!)