Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Letter, 2013

Dear Friends,
I hope this letter find you happy and healthy this Christmas season.  2013 has been an interesting and exciting year for our family, certainly full of its share of moments worth sharing.  For one thing, our dog Dixie passed on this year, which made me sad, especially since she was the last remaining member of my family from Tennessee.  But we also welcomed a new puppy into the family, Faith, and she’s brought a lot of joy and happiness into our lives.
For me, the early part of the year revolved around the triathlon season.  This was the second year that I’ve coached the Woodruff Family YMCA’s Triathlon Club, and as an age-group triathlete, it was perhaps my best year yet.  I aged up to the 40 – 44 year age bracket and then won my age group in my first race of the season, got onto the podium twice more, and qualified for the National Championships in both the Olympic distance race and the Duathlon.  Then I cut back my training starting in July, and we took the kids to Maine in August, which was without a doubt the highlight of our year.  We rented a cabin on Green Lake, hiked Cadillac Mountain as a family, and generally tried to lose ourselves in the great outdoors of Acadia National Park.  To say the least, it was hard to come back.  Finally, there was Thanksgiving.  I grilled our family’s turkey over an open fire using real wood charcoal, and while I don’t know that doing that made me special, but it certainly made me feel manly.
Hannah, Emma, and Faith  on their way down from
the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
I think Sally had the most impressive year of anyone in our family.  She started her own business, Art and the Artist, teaching elementary-aged art education out of our home.  Since she began, the thing has been growing by leaps and bounds, exclusively by word of mouth, and let me tell you, watching it develop has been truly awe inspiring.  Sally hosted an art show for her students earlier this year in which they sold two pieces, she’s had them display multiple times at various local libraries, and she’s done all of this while continuing to run Hannah’s Girl Scout Troop, running two triathlons—and getting on the podium once!—and starting to teach fitness classes at one of the local gyms.  Truth is, I married an amazing woman, and most days, I can barely keep up.
Me and Sally shortly after the Charles Island Sprint, late August, 2013.
Hannah’s year has been a singing, crashing, Rainbow Loom weaving extravaganza.  She sang “Castle on a Cloud” from Les Miserables at her studio’s spring performance and then covered Madonna’s “Lucky Star” in the fall.  Hannah has always had a great voice, but this year has been the first time that we’ve seen any real stage presence from her, and it’s been fun to watch that emerge.  Hannah’s other highlight came while we were up in Maine.  She crashed off of her bike head-first, ripping her arm open and giving herself a little concussion.  Not that it stopped her.  Granted, we had to take her to the Emergency Room in Bar Harbor, but she’d bounced back by the end of the day, and indeed, we had her back out on the bike—albeit on a trail-a-bike—before the week was even over.  Finally, I’ll note that Hannah has decided to weave a nativity scene on her Rainbow Loom this week, which I’d have said was impossible had I not seen Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, all shaped using half-inch colored rubber bands.

Last but definitely not least is Emma, my #1 pro-wrestling fan, devourer of Harry Potter books, and all around enthusiast of all things geek.  I started handing down choice bits of my coveted comic collection to the Emboo earlier this year, and she’s been working her way through them ever since.  The girl reads at an astounding rate!  Emma is also our family’s future pro gymnast.  Having mastered the back bridge, she’s now in line for the next level of gymnastics classes, and she earned the nickname “Dancing Machine” at the girls’ singing camp over the summer.  Truth is, she’s just like her mother—and twice as hard to keep up with.
Hannah and Emma, Thanksgiving 2013.
And that was our 2013.  We hope yours was great, too!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.        
Dan, Sally, Hannah, Emma, and Faith

Merry Christmas!


  1. You have a nice family. I had a problem on Christmas eve, my daughter had an accident on her bike. You commented on my posting about in on the triathlon community. All is well now.

    I'm still jealous as Acadia Nat'l Park was closed the day I went there. I did see the shops Bar Harbor. I'll just have to go again.

    1. Thanks. Acadia is definitely worth the return trip. Awesome, awesome place.

  2. Beautiful family and a wonderful year. Wishing you continued success in 23014 for the entire clan.