Happy Holidays from the Vollmers!
7536 Rexford St.
Navarre, FL 32566
(850) 939-6771


Patricia's Blog: http://vollmerdp.blogspot.com
Dave's N-Scale Juniata Division Website: http://www.thevollmerfamily.com/Pennsy

The family on a brief visit to PSU in June.

Greetings!  This year's holiday newsletter will be particularly short and sweet!  If it seems long it's because the pictures are coming in a little larger than I'd like.  I'm not really saying much...really!

We are enjoying Florida very much, Dave is enjoying squadron command, and we have been enjoying all of our visitors and travels around the region!  We hope as Dave continues to recover from his back surgery from October, we can return to the active lifestyle he's been missing this past year.

After the holiday season last year, the boys delved into sports, which here started in JANUARY!  Jacob had baseball tryouts in late January and then had practices in most of February, with the season starting in March!  It was incredibly busy for us, but Jacob seems to be a natural and Dave and I were so proud of his great performance in his first year of baseball!

Timmy played soccer again, and I had the honor of coaching his U6 boys team.  I had a lot of fun coaching -- all 6 of the Kindergarteners and 1st graders on the team were well-behaved, good sports.  We had an undefeated season, often with scores like 14-1.  My biggest challenge was teaching the team some humility -- they didn't understand why the other teams' kids were crying by the end of the games.

Sports and the boys' school dominated most of our spring in 2011, but we were still able to enjoy numerous visitors during the first half of the year.  Grandma and Grandpa Fox visited in January, Grammy and Grandpa Vollmer visited in March, and my sister's family visited in March as well.  We definitely spent many many many days at the beach, whether we had visitors in town or not!


I kept my AF Reserve job in Nebraska, so interspersed through our year were several trips back "west" to perform my drill days.  I made trips in February, May, September and October.  Luckily, I had "front loaded" my Fiscal Year 2011 days before we left Nebraska so I had to only make 4 trips in 2011; I will probably make 5 or 6 trips this coming year.  I am thrilled to have been selected for a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel this past August, but I won't actually wear my new rank until next summer sometime.

In June, we took the kids out of school a day before the last day of school and headed down to Disneyworld for an impromptu trip.  Boy were the kids excited!  Our dear friends Andy and Suzy McNabb invited us to join their family and another family from Ohio.  We enjoyed visiting Disneyworld, especially with the "Star Wars Days" going on at Hollywood Studios while we were there.  It was extremely hot and crowded, though, so we quickly remembered why we traditionally have made our Disneyworld trips in the cool weather months of the year.

In late June, we drove the gang up to the northeast for the annual Vollmer-side-of-the-family reunion!  Our year simply isn't complete without a weekend on Uncle Jack and Aunt Shirley's farm in Lancaster County!  After the reunion, we zipped up the road to visit with my parents briefly, then to Harrisburg for the Annual N Scale Convention.  Dave was invited to give a talked called "Getting the Most Out of Your Small Layout", which is linked here if you'd like to see it.

Getting the Most from a Small Layout from David K. Smith on Vimeo.

We stayed as a family at the convention for a couple days, then Dave remained in Pennsylvania while the boys and I proceeded up to New England, where I met Megan and Aidan for a long weekend camping in central Vermont.  We had a great time visiting with each other, unobstructed by technology.  We visited the Wanderlust yoga festival and had a fun day of exploring Stratton Resort in Vermont and an evening of Mayapuri and Michael Franti and Spearhead.

After we got home from New England, we had a couple days to unwind before the boys got a BIG surprise!  We wandered over to Pensacola airport on July 3rd and who was there?  Their besties from North Carolina, Joey and Johnny!  Don't fret, their Mom (and my dear friend) Maryann was with them too!  In typical North Carolina fashion, we had a full week of adventure for our boys!  We did several of the typical activities: the beach, the fireworks, the Naval Aviation Museum, the water park at Navarre Park and Destin Commons.  But the highlight for me during that week was our day of canoeing and swimming at Blackwater River State Park!  It was a super-hot day, the river was nice and cold (colder than the Gulf of Mexico at the time) and the kids had so much fun!

In mid-July, Dave took command of the 2d Combat Weather Systems Squadron, after having been the Director of Operations for the past 8 months.  All four parents came down for the special event, as did Dave's brother and our niece Gina.  It was great to have so much family in one place!  We had an Uno tournament!


The day after the ceremony, we rented a pontoon boat from the base outdoor recreation shop and took the gang out to "Crab Island", which is a sandbar area where you can swim and play in shallow water.  We packed a picnic lunch -- it was laid back and a lot of fun!


Dave's parents took Jacob and Timmy back to New York with them at the end of the weekend, and Dave and I were left with nearly two weeks of...just ourselves!

Even though Dave had to work every day, we had a good time on the weekends tubing on the Blackwater River and PARASAILING!  Parasailing isn't scary at all -- and thanks to a 1/2 price Groupon deal, it wasn't terribly expensive.  Definitely worth it!

I picked up the boys in New York -- with stops at my sister's house in both directions -- with just enough time for our NEXT road trip! (Phew!)  A weekend in Atlanta to celebrate Dave's birthday with the Atlanta Braves!  We visited Stone Mountain Park east of the city, and went to two Braves games that weekend.  A good old all-American baseball weekend!  We had really good, but very sunny, seats!

We were back in town just in time for school and Cub Scouts to start up in late August.  This year Timmy was able to start his Tiger year, and I volunteered to serve as his den leader.  Dave is Jacob's den leader, and we're all having a good time with it.  We have already done one camping weekend in DeFuniak Springs and they're enjoying all the field trips!

September 30th was Dave's long-awaited official promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.  Because all the family had just visited 2 months prior to his change of command, we kept this event smaller, but we held it outside and it turned out very very beautiful!  Dave's squadron did a wonderful job putting together a solemn ceremony at the Commando Air Park on Hurlburt Field.

The boys are now in 3rd grade and 1st grade.  In our community, this means Jacob now goes to a different school than Timmy.  This has both pros and cons.  We're super fortunate in that the boys' schoolbuses come about 5 minutes apart both in the morning and afternoon, so there's no significant time differences.  We're very proud of how well they're doing in school.  It's great to see Jacob's reading improve -- he'd been reluctant at the beginning of the year, but he seems to be opening up his mind to reading voluntarily a little more.  Timmy, meanwhile, is a reading MACHINE!   

Howie is doing quite well.  He's 11 1/2 years old now, and at the beginning of the year, he blew out his OTHER rear knee CCL joint, almost exactly 2 years after hurting the first one.  This time around we opted for cold laser therapy with our local vet and that seemed to do the trick.  He enjoys walks around our neighborhood, although it's a lot harder than it used to be.  We are blessed that he's still a joy to the family.

Our year is closing with Dave still recovering from his October 31st surgery.  Because it isn't autumn without Dave getting surgery, right?  He had a back procedure done called an Axia-LIF, which is basically a less-invasive spinal fusion surgery.  He only required an overnight stay at the hospital.  After over 8 years of progressively worse discomfort, Dave followed the recommendations of several fellow Airmen who had to have the surgery and he was able to work with a well-regarded neurosurgeon here.  

As of this writing, Dave is 6 weeks post-op.  He is certainly not 100% yet, but it looks like most of the time he's feeling better than before the procedure.  It's a long recovery ahead, with significant exercise and movement restrictions until at least this coming summer.  Enjoy this picture of him just as he went into his recovery room.  Because it was Halloween night, I took the kids trick or treating at the military housing area nearby in between our visits with him.  Much of our Halloween was cut short this year, but I'm pleased we at least got to do the trick or treating!

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to some fun adventures this coming year!  By the time I'm writing our next holiday newsletter, we will know where we're going from here.  It's still VERY much up in the air -- so you'll just have to stay tuned!

Best wishes!

Dave, Patricia, Jacob and Timmy

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