Every year about this time 200-300 Christmas cards and letters go out from my parents' cute little Cape Cod in Brookhaven, PA. This little tradition grew a few years ago to include a photos page of the kids and grandkids (and granddog's) activities for the year. I have been an indifferent supporter of the letter process most years. Looking through the pile of cards at my sister's on Christmas Eve, I realized just how big this Christmas letter phenomenon is. Dozens of letters were in the stack, from 6 pages down to a paragraph or two. Seems like pretty much everyone publishes an annual family update.
As a guy who basically does that every day in this space, I get that. The penny finally dropped. People want to stay up to date with their friends, and some folks don't stay in touch any other way, even with Facebook and personal websites.
This year, my mom floated the idea of a 'greener' approach to the letter next year. I suggested creating a website for the letter and photos next year and giving people a link to the site in the cards they send. If the USPS is still in business next year, that would still mean 300 or so cards with stamps, but would save about 900 sheets of paper and gallons of ink!
So in an incremental step toward greening this Pesotski tradition, I present below the 2011 Pesotski Family Christmas Letter. The photos page will be posted as soon as I figure out how to get it on the site easily!
Happy Christmas 2011
Hello family and friends,
Again this year our son Matt and his bride Heidi headline our annual letter. On July 7, 2011, Heidi and Matt were married on the lawn in Kennebunk Beach, Maine. The day was sunny and warm, the dog, children and even the adults were well behaved. Following the short ceremony, we walked to the beach to take photos in front of an incredible sunset and were invited onto a deck overlooking the water to finish the picture-taking. Heidi was a beautiful bride and Matt wore the widest smile we’ve ever seen. Both immediate families and Matt’s godmother Judy Flannery attended. We feasted on Maine lobster, steak and chicken followed by a delicious cake with blueberry filling made by the bride. We danced to a playlist that Matt put together. The tables under a tent canopy were decorated with wildflowers that we’d picked at a nearby farm market, and Heidi carried a bouquet of daisies and wildflowers. The canopy was decorated with huge paper flowers in various pastel shades, made by the bride and her family. Matt and Heidi for the first time were able to spend almost all of the two week vacation in Maine with us. Heidi’s family stayed for a week in a nearby town and we all enjoyed hanging out together and getting to know one another. It was a wonderful vacation.
In August, we spent a week in Cape May Point, joined by Susan’s brother Bill and sister Marianne. Carin’s family stayed nearby with our friends the Ranson family. Chris, John, Emma, Matt and Heidi all joined us for a few days. We celebrated Carin and Kevin’s tenth anniversary with dinner at a Cape May restaurant.
Flash back to the present: it’s cold outside, and we even had a light dusting of snow Saturday night. On Sunday, as their wedding anniversary gift to us, our children and grandchildren put up and decorated our Christmas tree, train and miniature houses. This year the grandchildren were very much part of the activity, crawling through the cubbyhole where the decorations are stored to locate various decorations and covering the tree with ornaments and candy canes. December 14 was our 43rd anniversary; on that day we went with Carin’s family to see Santa Claus, had a celebratory dinner at Pinocchio’s Pizza and took a horse and carriage ride around the nearby town of Media. Last weekend we along with our sister-in-law Paula and her friend Nick enjoyed a Victorian Christmas dinner at a little British-style tea house in Media called Tea and Cakes. On the following afternoon, Susan took grandchildren Andrew and Ellie to lunch with Mrs. Claus at that same tea room.
During the year, Susan enjoyed working in the garden for most of the spring and summer. She planted more perennials this year because they come back the following years, which lessens the amount of planting each year. Spending time with her grandchildren, her favorite activity, still occupies much of her time. Three days a week she gets Andrew off to school and takes Ellie to preschool, playdates, lunch, and other activities and then greets Andrew when he returns on the bus. Aunt Heidi has taken over on Grandma’s two days off each week. Susan spent several weeks in Georgia this fall. She planned a short visit with both sisters, but stayed longer because Marianne had a serious lung infection that was very resistant to treatment.
Ron has taken up baking this year, producing cakes, cookies, breads and scones so far and amazing most friends and family members with his new interest and ability. He has been visiting Williams-Sonoma and other cooking emporia, in person and online, and has acquired quite an arsenal of ingredients and equipment. His grandchildren have been very impressed with the princess birthday cakes and Christmas tree cake. Susan has assisted him in many of these endeavors and we’ve enjoyed our working collaboration as well as eating the results. Ron has also resumed his hobby of photography with his Christmas present, a Nikon camera. He is retiring from constable work in January, and wisely found new ways to keep busy and enjoy himself. Ron was hoping for re-election to one last term as a state constable, but he and other Democrats in Brookhaven were not re-elected. After thirty years in office he will miss it but his new hobbies and his interest in genealogy, history, current events and his grandchildren will keep him busy.
Kids and grandkids: Chris, John and Emma moved to a small 1800s era house in Medford, NJ in August. His travel time to work at University of the Arts in Philadelphia is longer, but he lives closer to John and Emma’s schools and activities. Susan happily had some sleepovers at the new house last summer so she could hang out with John and Emma while Chris worked. Chris limited his travel to family vacations and a chance to broadcast the Division III basketball Final Four this year. John was 11 years old in June and is in 6th grade this year. He excels in school but his great love is baseball. He would play year round if he could, and he enjoys attending or watching Phillies games with Chris and with his relatives. Emma turned 8 in November, is enjoying school, friends, fixing her hair, dressing fashionably and taking ballet lessons. She happily added soccer to her activities this year. Chris learned enough about soccer to add helping coach her team to his resume that also includes volunteering as a baseball and basketball coach this year. You can follow their family blog at www.cavalier92.com.
Carin is teaching 6th grade at Springton Lake Middle School, newly chairing their Language Arts Department and coordinating the Academic Intervention team for 6th grade students who require support. Kevin continues teaching gym at Devereux, a school for students with special needs. Andrew turned eight in October and is in second grade. He enjoys school and although he still prefers recess, gym and art, he’s become a very good reader and better at math than his gene pool would have predicted. Andrew is quite busy with baseball, soccer, basketball, and Cub Scouts, as is Kevin, who coaches or helps out with all of his teams and is looking forward to a spring camping trip. Ellie celebrated her fifth birthday in November and is in her final year of preschool at the Wallingford Co-op. She loves her teacher Miss Sue (who also taught Andrew), her girlfriends at school and covering the house with her artwork, notes, and projects. Ellie visits with Grandma and Pop after school and loves trips to the library and reading books with any available party. She can often be overheard chattering and singing to herself, animals, and dolls. When it’s quiet, it’s not uncommon to find Ellie curled up asleep, one hand on her very tolerant cat, “The Girl.”
Matt and Heidi have embarked on a kitchen renovation that is almost complete, and they’re very happy with the work done by family friend Rob “Bopper” Ranson. They have new floors, bright white custom cabinets and wainscoting, built in benches and new appliances. Their black lab Sadie is full grown but still lovable and frisky. On the days that Heidi takes care of Ellie, Ellie asks her to “go get that Black Labradog” and they have a great time together. Editing Endovascular Today is still Matt’s primary job that takes him around the country and occasionally abroad to meet with doctors who practice vascular interventions. The publication continues to do well, and this year, he was recognized as one of the company’s original employees at its 10-year anniversary. In his spare time, Matt still writes for the The700Level.com, the sports blog he and his friend Enrico sold to Comcast SportsNet last year. He enjoys covering all the exciting events of one of the greatest eras in Philadelphia sports history. Heidi’s web design business has continued to grow this year.
We’re enjoying our busy life and wonderful family and friends. We’d love to hear from each of you and to get together in the New Year. Contact Susan on Facebook or at email@example.com.
Happy Holidays and a great new year to all!
Peace and Love,
Ron & Susan