Friday, December 23, 2011

The Annual Weldon Christmas Letter

Well here is a quick glimpse into our lives....Beths Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas to all! We have had a happy, healthy year. I thought that I would be more organized this year and so Sarah e-mailed the funny incidents that happened throughout the year so that I could write the letter without my failing memory. Unfortunately, my computer died in early November and I lost all of my e-mails. Some of you will be celebrating that my letter is not as newsy (long) or outrageous (embarrassing to all involved) this year. Next year I will have to try a hardcopy and hope I don’t lose it again or try backing up my computer and attempt e-mails one more time! All grandparents are doing well and we just got back from an activity packed 80th birthday weekend for Pop in St. Augustine where he did the Alligator farm obstacle course/zip lines! Mom informed everyone no gifts, just a fond Pop memory oh, and an obituary for Pop, both to be read at his birthday dinner. None of my kids had even read an obituary. Family trips to Cumberland, St.Louis, the beach, the Okeefenoke swamp, a cruise to the Bahamas with Merle and Anna, Halloween Horror Nights, a Vet school reunion, visits from cousins, Woolstons, and Sheldons, and a family survival course (including Katie and Tucker)with expert Byron Kerns kept us busy. Alan has completed 3 rounds of P90X and one of Insanity both intense physical fitness programs. He pre-ordered the newest one “P 90X2” and when I called him to say it had arrived he asked me if Tony Horton was there (the workout guy on the DVD)! I thought he had lost his mind but apparently Tony was hand delivering the first few that were ordered and Alan thought that might be his order. (I think we may have to do an intervention). Somehow I got shanghaied into 1 round of P90X (90 days) and the Insanity round (another 90days)with him ( did I mention the need for an intervention) Alan dropped 15 pounds, I didn’t lose an ounce (but I did eat whatever I wanted without gaining and it's been a long time since I got to do that)! Alan is playing on 3 league teams as well as Monday night tennis. He and Murphy are going to the USTA league Nationals in March at Indian Wells in California. Alan’s new associate Katie, is working out beautifully. He is serving as an elder at First Presbyterian church. We go to all of the Jaguar home games (unfortunately this year). Alan and Murph have started taking their bags to the games to be the Baguars when appropriate. Alan finally got a new (used) F150 and traded in his old truck with 350,000 miles on it. He has a real problem letting go of things with a lot of miles on them, I guess I should be glad. Alan and I went to see the Monkees with the Bowers and Mike and Pam at The Florida Theatre and it was a blast. Last time I saw the Monkees in Jacksonville, Jimi Hendrix was opening for them and it was the 60’s (he was booed off the stage because we all wanted to see Davy). We also went to see the Moody Blues in St Augustine with the Mikes, Teresa and Pam. We went to the ACVIM conference with Erik & Patti, DL, Cheryl and the boys in Denver and had a great time. As we headed out to the conference I went through my first full body x-ray at the airport. I was standing there uncomfortably as the female homeland security guard was examining me, and she commented "Oh, I really like your shorts, they are so cute." I was wondering if she was just trying to make conversation in an awkward situation or if she really liked my shorts!

Sarah is doing well at Wash U and lives in apartment style University housing just off campus. She is in her junior year and is a Psychology major hoping to become an occupational therapist. She works at a cookie shop called Dough to Door and has only eaten 3 cookies while working there for 2 months which just boggles my mind! She uses a bike to get to her classes and when asked if it was a mountain bike or street bike she replied "a blue bike". (In fairness to Sarah, she borrowed it from a friend of Sally's and probably doesn't even know what make it is). She took some classes at UNF this summer to get all of her prerequisites for OT grad school at Florida completed by next year. She had her first college boyfriend this year. Their first date was to the school cafeteria on Valentines Day. Before they decided that they were dating, Sarah wanted to make sure that they had no misunderstandings so she laid her ground rules (Alan “She is so like her mother!) They actually dated 6 weeks! Alan presented her last Christmas to finish her debutante year. Sarah is such a rule follower, I think she was the only deb (maybe in the history of the tradition) who refused to break the rules and never drank because she was under age! She is enjoying crew despite having to be at practice every morning at 5. She is a kind, stubborn, smart, loyal, demanding, fun, honest, sometimes judgmental, hardworking, mature, and considerate person and makes me proud to be her mother!

Dani is also in her junior year at Florida majoring in Psychology and minoring in accounting. She made it to the finals in a modeling search at Abercrombie and Fitch where she was working until September. Dani had to write a short story in her Spanish Composition and Grammar class. Her professor posted the 3 best stories online and the class voted on the best one and Dani's won by a large margin earning her a book as a reward. She continues to work for her Cognitive psychology professor in the aging and cognition lab (does Family get a discount?) and plans to go to graduate school of some sort after graduation. Alan resolved to teach all of the kids how to properly shoot a handgun this year. When he took Dani to the gun range, she told him that she was so nervous about handling a gun that she was nauseous but she followed his instructions and did a great job. After her session, she was so proud she said she was going to take her target to Gainesville and put it on her front door to discourage any would be

attackers! Dani also caught her first fish this year on Cumberland, a bonnet head shark (go big or go home). Dani is a lovely, thoughtful, picky, industrious, intelligent, neat (unusual in the Weldon household), outgoing, sometimes a bit extravagant, playful, and determined person and she makes me feel honored to be a part of her life!

Murphy is in his sophomore year at UNF and is a business major. He plays just a little tennis, a LOT of video games, and goes to Jaguar games with us. He had his first real job this summer working as an assistant to Arnold Tritt's maintenance supervisor and it was a superb experience. He learned how to fix AC's, plumbing, roofing, duct work, mowing, and even replaced 2 toilets. He made good money and is saving it to purchase a car. It nearly came to naught in Murph's early weeks while he was giving Spencer (his supervisor) a ride to their job at the beach moving Arnold's family. Murph made the mistake of "Hot boxing" his boss (passing gas in a closed vehicle). Spencer wheezed "Is that you, boy?" Murph embarrassedly explained that he had eaten at Moe's (a Mexican restaurant) last night. Spencer grumbled "I don't think I'd be eating at Moe's any more!" Only Alan's son would get in trouble at work for passing gas!( That’s my boy) When they got to the beach, Arnolds wife Danielle said to Murph "You are learning so much, you are going to make someone a great husband someday!" This time Spencer muttered "I pity the fool!"Murph is still trying to find his direction as far as career options (recommendations are welcomed, at least by me). Murph is a quiet leader, tends to take the path of least resistance, often helps without being asked, frequently thinks of others, can be a bit bullheaded, has a great sense of humor, has a great work ethic when he commits, is always willing to come home and hang with Polly and Mac when needed, has a great brain (when he decides to use it), honors his elders, and is a true blessing in my life!

Polly is a senior at Episcopal and going through the college application process. She likes FSU, UCF, and UF. She has already gotten into Auburn and FSU. She is still working at Parkway on weekends and 2 days after school. She just finished cross country and was awarded the Coaches Award and given a Varsity letter as well even though she ran JV which made her ecstatic! She is taking 4 AP classes and Honors Algebra as well as working, volunteering, and running cross country and is one of the busier people that I know. She wanted to return to the Dominican Republic for another mission trip this summer but we send each child only once so she used her earnings from Parkway to pay her own way. A major goal this year is to get her braces off before prom. She was off campus for lunch with friends when one of them got pulled over. The officer didn't believe that they were high school seniors and called the school to verify and make sure they were legally off of campus. After verification, he looked back at Polly and told her "You look like you are 10!" “You look like you have eaten too many doughnuts” she replied silently in her mind. No wonder she wants her braces off. Dinners have shrunk and Polly and Mac have developed a language of their own that involves lines from and references to The Office, Scrubs, Futurama, or movies they’ve seen. Usually Alan and I don't have a clue what they are talking about. Murphy ‘s fluent in this language and Sarah claims to understand it but can’t speak it! Polly had a scare this year when her dog Momo got too close to our psycho cat Pauly. Pauly lunged at Momo and happened to get a claw right into her jugular vein. Momo proceeded to screech and gush blood and a panicked Polly came running up to me in the shower screaming that Momo was dying. I reminded her that she hopes to be a vet and to calm down and hold the wound off. By the time I got out of the shower it was clotting and we placed a bandage. I got abused at work the next day because only an Iggy (Italian greyhound) could be mortally wounded by a single cat claw puncture! Polly is bright, hardworking, a bit sensitive, inclusive, congenial, humorous, not the most coordinated, entertaining, vivacious, and brings me much joy.

Mac is a 10th grader at Episcopal and is dreading Polly's imminent departure for college. He ran cross country with Polly, Pepper, and Tucker and is currently wrestling on the Varsity team. When the coach told Alan that wrestling would be good for Mac because it would give him confidence, Alan almost refused to let him do it since Mac has confidence to rival Alan’s' (which is quite a lot)! Another common occurrence at the dinner table is "that's what he/she said” jokes and" ______ her I barely know her" jokes (I think both originated from the Office). Alan and any kids’ present love to engage in these. Unfortunately, Mac was not thinking when in study hall the teacher reprimanded a student for discussing liquor at school and Mac automatically piped up "Lick her I barely know her". Needless to say Mac got the next reprimand and rightly so. No more of those jokes at the dinner table! On a happier note, Mac is a teachers dream. 5 of his 6 teachers (all but his computer teacher) commented on his "enthusiastic learning and participation" in class discussions, a trait unusual in males his age (particularly those with the last name of Weldon). Perhaps the confidence is not all bad. Mac also plays a little tennis and some video games. He will be getting his Drivers License in about a week so you are forewarned. (Mac drives well IF he notices the stop signs and red lights.) Mac is the child most likely to just come up to me and tell me he loves me and give me a hug when he's not angling for something. Mac is a real outside of the box thinker, mouthy, brilliant, stubborn(are you noticing a trend yet?), confident, intellectually curious, sometimes oblivious, warm, and cheerful person who is not shy about showing his affections and I am delighted to have him as my son. Have a Happy New Year!