Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!
As I write this year's Christmas letter, we are enjoying a very pleasant start to winter, courtesy of El Niño. No doubt we'll have plenty of snow soon enough. Last winter, we escaped for a little while from the snow and cold by taking a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands with a group of fellow adventurers. We'll probably be heading the opposite direction this winter for some snowshoeing.
We spent the summer learning more about our new-to-us old sailing ketch, Lotus, and enjoying the great Lake Michigan sailing conditions. In August, we hosted the annual family gathering in Muskegon, where we rented a house by the beach. The whole family made it, and the weather was ideal for all the outdoor activities we enjoyed. In September, Kathy and I snuck away with our homemade camping trailer to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula for two weeks of relaxation and exploration. October brought the annual Father-Son outing, which consisted of beautiful day hikes in the Smoky Mountains rather than the traditional backpacking trip in deference to Dad's training injury, the result of a tumble down a steep trail.
Kathy and I took advantage of a national veterinary conference to visit New Orleans in November, where we joined some good friends for music and fine food. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the French Quarter and the National WWII Museum.
The veterinary hospital has done very well this year, a tribute to my wonderful partners and staff and the improving Michigan economy. As long as everything continues to go well, we will add our 11th veterinarian in Spring.
Kathy is still working three days a week at the dental office. Fortunately, her hands and wrists have held up well this year. She has also managed to amaze her doctor by beginning to reverse her osteoporosis using diet and exercise instead of medications.
Stache, our cat, continues to rule the household. He has figured out the fireplace is a great place to warm himself this winter, and now sits and stares at it until we turn it on for him.
Our parents are doing well. Kathy's mother bounced back from knee replacement surgery last winter, and is quite active with her church group. Mom overcame her emergency surgery in the Spring and is back to her routine. Dad continues to do well in spite of trying to dive down mountain trails with a fully loaded pack.
We hope 2015 has been wonderful for you and your family, and wish you all the best in the upcoming year.
Happy New Year,
Steve and Kathy