I realized that not all of my faithful blog readers are also Facebook friends or email connections. So lest you miss the delight of receiving our family Christmas letter, here it is, reproduced in full (and for those of you who’ve already read it twice and are wondering when I’m going to stop posting it . . . um, sorry):
Dear Family, Friends, and Random People Whose Emails May Have Been Accidentally Added to our Mailing List and are Thus Subjected to the Annual Honor of a Summary of our Life,
It seems like 2012 was an unusually tranquil year. Maybe it’s because we only moved once, and it wasn’t even internationally, just cross-country. Last year at this time found us in California, temporarily staying with family after returning home from more adventures abroad. In February we moved to Deltona, Florida, which is more or less a suburb of Orlando. Hilariously enough, we were written up once again in the local newspaper, just for moving here and being odd.
A dubious honor, to be sure, but we’ll take fame where we can get it. We have not yet made our pilgrimage to Disney World (we’re going next month, courtesy of Grammy and Pampa), but we’ve spent plenty of time at the beautiful beaches nearby and hiking in the lovely and fascinating Florida scrub habitat.
We haven’t seen any alligators yet either, but we’ve encountered manatees, snakes, anole lizards, cardinals, blue jays, gopher tortoises, frogs, toads, ibises, foxes, cranes, eagles, raccoons, and various other wildlife, much of it right in our backyard.
In addition, there have been a few nastier run-ins with things like scorpions, poisonous brown widow spiders, and huge flying palmetto bugs (in case you haven’t yet had the pleasure of their acquaintance, I’d describe them as cockroaches on steroids).
Despite the bugs, the heat, and the hurricanes, at eleven months we have now lived in this house longer than we’ve ever lived anywhere during our entire nine-year marriage. Hurrah for us (or hurrah for Florida, perhaps). Tony has a glamorous job working for The Nielsen Company’s Television Ratings Project. Highlights include getting bitten by a dog in the wilds of Ocala, going on an exotic trip to New Orleans, and meeting some of the more eccentric residents of Florida, like gun-toting survivalists and Star Wars geeks who make costumes for conventions. Sarah has fulfilled a long-cherished desire by acquiring an adorable pair of sugar gliders (yes, in Florida it’s legal to own just about any exotic pet you can think of).
Christened Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, they go everywhere with her, ensconced in a discreet purse designed especially to accommodate them.
Casteluzzo Academy (aka homeschool) is flourishing, built on a foundation of the ever-overflowing book collection (we just bought another bookshelf last month) and supplemented by weekly trips to the library and the goat farm.
Axa keeps busy catching lizards, snakes, and toads and reading everything she can get her hands on about dinosaurs.
Raj envisions a future world in which robots do all our work for us, and he can usually be found toiling to make his dream a reality through the mediums of K’nex, legos, tinkertoys, cardboard, scotch tape, and miscellaneous recycled household items.
Sarah, Tony, Axa & Raj