Holiday Greetings - December, 2002

BLINK… It is truly an incredible phenomenon how fast the years fly. Katie is 6, Jessie 4, and Nick is 2. ..and never mind how old Tom and Karen are! (But we will note the gas station’s "You must be born after this date" sign…is now past our high school graduation dates!)

2002 Headlines:

Nick meets Mickey (well..sort of)

ORLANDO, November 23 – Taking advantage of Karen’s annual physician meeting location, the Aney clan descended on Orlando. Theme park highlights include the Magic Kingdom, Sea World, and Animal Kingdom. However, Nicholas was quoted as saying "Mickey Mouse is a nice enough guy in theory, but if you think I’m getting within 50 feet of that giant mouse, you are crazy!"

Katie made her Karaoke debut at our hotel, which hosted the ‘event’ nightly. She did a nice job and had some ‘accompaniment’ from Jess and Nick. As a bonus from watching all the 12-14 year old girls, Katie has now learned how to sing several Brittney Spears songs (just like the 12-14 year old girls sounded…off key!)

On a ‘Choice Day’, Tom and Katie went to Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins and snorkel with reef fish. It was VERY fun! Check out http://groups.msn.com/AneyFamily/orlandonov02.msnw for some good pictures. (Click the small pictures to see larger ones.) Jessie and Nick elected to…yee-ha...stay at the hotel and look for lizards (much to Karen’s chagrin!)

She shoots….she SCOOORES!!

ROCHESTER, October 19 – Katie and Jessie are now ‘Termites’. Their ‘colony’ consists of 35 ‘workers’. ..Of course, I’m talking about hockey. They are on ‘Termite Team 5’ which is…umm…‘diverse’ in terms of ability. This collection of 4 to 6 yr olds look to ‘Coach Tom’, who was duped into coaching the bunch. Remember all that fancy hockey coaching software Tom made a few years back? Well, forget about it! (Unless I update it to keep stats on Pom-Pom-Pullaway…)

Actually, it is quite fun for Tom and girls. Katie enjoys being the oldest and one of the best skaters. Gritty Jessie scored 3 goals and thus proclaimed that she scored a ‘Pat-trick’ in her first game. Nick (a.k.a. "Rookie" as his Grandpa still refers to him) didn’t quite make the cut. Although he skates and has a nice slap shot…at age 2½, Tom thought he needed one more year in the developmental league before making the jump to ‘Termites’.

Miracle on Ice Water

Lake of the Woods, CANADA, July, 2002 – Katie came running up to Tom saying, "It’s a Miracle! It’s a Miracle". Turns out that Karen had told Katie that it would be a ‘Miracle’ if Jessie ‘got-up’ water-skiing. Well, Miracles can happen. You’ll have to check out http://groups.msn.com/AneyFamily/summer02.msnw for proof (and note the unique skiing position she mastered). This notable event occurred while staying with our saintly Canadian kin who graciously allow us to annually shatter the serenity of their Lake of the Woods cottage. (Thanks Janet and Ken!!)

‘Jessie Bear’ as we affectionately call Jess, loves bugs and animals and art projects and just hanging out with no one ‘bugging’ her (no pun intended!). A ‘non-Jessie’ day is referred to as a day we are running all day. Another of her 2002 highlights was our annual trip to Sanibel, FL, where she would spend the days catching and playing with lizards. Sounds like eternal bliss doesn’t it?!?!.

Karen’s ‘Recipe of the Month

Rochester, 2002 – You kidding?? Sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a ‘Recipe of the Month’, but Karen’s 60% at Mayo does allows her a lot of time with the kids…which currently encompasses (1) an aggressive reading program (which includes sneaking in noon hour readings to all the kids and also recruiting Grandma and Grandpa in the effort); (2) Piano lessons for Katie and Jessie/ Music lessons for Nick; (3) ‘Junior Great Books’ and other volunteer helping at Katie’s school; (4) Central planning, coordination and scheduling of Aney Family, including swimming, tennis, school events, trips and other various activities/classes (Augh! I have no idea how she tracks it all. I’d have to write a custom database program!).Through all of this, she still finds time for medical research and finds time to exercise and stay fit.(If you are still looking for that recipe, try http://www.google.com.)<o:p></o:p>

Tom Retires

Rochester, 2002 – Headline catch your attention?Of course, I’m referring to my sentiments after I finished my first (and last?) marathon last May.I retired from marathons, conditioned on keeping my weight below X. How’s it going?Ahem..lets just say that I recently penciled in the date of next year’s race…

As for work, I’m far from retirement. I started a niche software consulting company called Benefit Technology Resources (http://www.benefittech.com). You can hit the site if you are really interested…but I’ll say that it has been very exciting so far. My clients consist of the world’s largest actuarial firms who seem eager to work with a ‘half-breed’ (½ actuary + ½ programmer).I’ve hired my brother Terry to do the ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of programming and we are having fun.I also work 25% in Mayo Foundation Benefits, providing some technical help with pension and actuarial issues.

In summary…

Aside from going by too fast, 2002 was a great year for us. The kids help us to see, appreciate and experience life in a different and wonderful way each day. The events of the world remind us to cherish the blessings we have.We wish you, our family and friends, happy holidays and we look forward to seeing you in 2003.

-Tom, Karen, Katie, Jessie, and Nick