Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Holidays from your favorite feline friends! :)

Greetings, everyone!

I know you usually receive this masterpiece before Christmas, but this holiday season has been hectic. Cash and I have been busy nursing our parents back to good health for the later half of December. Even though they got flu shots this year, they still developed a nasty case of the flu and then had ear infections and a sinus infection. They have had this croupy, yucky cough that makes them sound as if they are hacking up their lungs. We had to separate them because the two of them together and coughing made our house shake. Their voices also sound funny, as if they’ve been smoking multiple packs of cigarettes. We’re so glad their sickness can’t spread to us. They are finally feeling better!

Look how beautiful I am in the glowing light of the holidays. :)
While I was doing my best Florence Nightingale impression during their illness, Cash attempted to start typing our annual letter, but he realized he could only spell his name backwards and the word tuna, and his paws are too big for the keyboard, so his version of a letter wouldn’t have been all that fun, or even possible, to read. I had to take over, so here are some highlights from our 2014.

Cash likes to nap in his cheese house. See how it complements his eyes.
After I put my paw down and had a serious conversation with our mom about the importance of finishing what she started, she finally defended her dissertation and successfully completed her Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) degree from the University of Tennessee. It was eight years in the making (as long as we’ve been writing this letter), but now both of our parents have doctoral degrees. Talk about the pressure for Cash and I to succeed in our third year of kittygarten!

The other exciting news about our mom is that she accepted a full-time position as a faculty lecturer in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky in August. She teaches four writing, public speaking and digital media classes each semester and has about 100 students total, ranging from “I want to clone this student because she/he is perfect” to “Reading your paper makes my eyes hurt.” Her students now call her Dr. DeVito, and many of them have started addressing her as “Dr. D.”

Check out the cool UK gear and supplies they gave our mom on her first official day!
Our dad finishes dental school in May and will graduate with his DMD from the University of Kentucky (so he’ll be Dr. Dr. DeVito) on Sunday, May 10. Yes, that is Mother’s Day, but here in the Bluegrass, it’s much better to have graduation ceremonies on Mother’s Day weekend instead of the weekend before, which is when the Kentucky Derby happens up the road in Louisville. Many universities start their spring semester a little later in January so graduation does not fall on Derby weekend. That’s a big no-no, or should I say, neigh-neigh. Anyway, we are looking forward to having family members come up and celebrate our parents’ over-educated achievements.

Our dad completed a summer internship at two dentist offices in Kentucky and learned a lot about how to run a successful practice.

The office staff at one of the practices loved our dad so much that they decorated Libby on his last day there. How cool!

He continues to see a variety of patients during his clinic schedule…a few wonderful patients, some OK patients and a number of insane patients who can’t understand which end of the toothbrush to use. We were able to see many family members during 2014.

Grandpa Sam visited us for more than two weeks in June. He stayed so long that Cash and I thought our parents had adopted him (like they did us) and this would be his forever home.

Our parents took him on a train ride on Father’s Day (probably the highlight of his year) and out to a nice dinner. Guess what they got him to try? Sushi…and he actually liked it!

Yummy in the tummy!
While he was in our neck of the woods, he also ventured into other parts of the state, and he and our dad went to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. On the drive home to Florida, he wandered through parts of the Carolinas and saw even more trains and museums. It was a purrfect vacation for him! He had knee surgery in the fall and has been recovering nicely with physical therapy several times a week.

It might be hard to tell, but that's Grandpa Sam at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailes, KY
In September, our parents flew to Florida for a long weekend beach trip. Every year, Aunt Donna and Uncle George go to the beach with Grandma Bouffard, and to celebrate grandma’s 85th birthday this year, lots of family members joined in the sun and fun.

Isn't cousin Ava the cutest? I wonder if she's as loud and has as much energy as cousin Adley?
Our parents spent time with Grandma Betty and Grandpa JP, Aunt Allison, Uncle Matt, cousin Ava and many other aunts, uncles and cousins. Our mom got to shop at Publix three days in a row, which if you know our mom, was a thrilling experience.

During October, we finally had the chance to meet our human cousins, Judson and Adley. They drove up with Uncle Jason and Aunt Kristen and visited for several days. To say the kids LOVED us would be an understatement. Adley walked around the house mildly yelling, “Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!” for five straight days.

As soon as they returned home from an adventure, Adley was wanting out of her cat seat to see the "KITTY!"
Cash was a trooper and let them pet him and chase him. I don’t know where they get their energy from but it’s impressive. I tried to teach them the importance of taking naps early and often, but they never caught on. My favorite game to play with them was hide and seek, where I hid and they never found me.

Our parents took them to a fall festival at a local pumpkin patch where there also was a petting zoo and a hay fort!

Uncle Dave checked Judson's and Adley's teeth. They are doing a great job brushing and flossing! Check out those cool Halloween PJs.

Even though our mom officially graduated in August, UT doesn’t have a summer graduation ceremony, so she participated in the December commencement ceremony. She had to wear a long gown and a funny-looking cap, and then her adviser had to place a hood over her head, so she spent all this time earning her degree and all she gets is a funny looking outfit?!

Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Amos drove up from Florida to see her in this costume, and then our mom got the biggest surprise of her life. She was at the hotel in Knoxville getting ready for the ceremony when suddenly there was a knock at the door, and guess who it was??? Judson, Uncle Jason and Aunt Kristen were outside! 

Judson was a great addition to graduation weekend. Our parents missed Adley, but she had lots of fun playing with JuJu, Papa and cousin Lukey-man back in Florida.
From what I hear, some happy tears were shed, and it was a great weekend celebration, complete with a Publix cake, balloons, sunflowers and Judson singing, “Happy Graduation, Aunt Adda!” many times.

After celebrating in Knoxville the night of graduation, they traveled to Gatlinburg and saw all the wonderful lights and displays. They also broke out the Eskimo gear while waiting in line for a trolley ride. It was only in the 30s, but for Florida folks, that's downright cold!

It was a busy year, but our Christmas was nice and quiet with our parents making a homemade meal of seafood pasta and roasted asparagus.

Cash wanted to see the new movie “The Interview” that deals with two Americans trying to assassinate the evil dictator of North Korea, but our parents didn’t want him getting any ideas. Sometimes, I wish I could send Cash to North Korea. I have a strong feeling he wouldn’t return. ☺ We hope you enjoyed a memorable holiday season, and we wish you the best in 2015!

Happy New Year, Sammie, Cash, and Drs. Allyson (Beutke) and David DeVito

P.S. I love waking up early on Saturdays to watch Tim Tebow on ESPN’s College Gameday show. He does such a great job reading the teleprompter. I also think UF made the right decision in letting Coach Muschamp go since he clearly wasn’t a champ. Maybe the new coach will work out. The third time is the charm, right? Go Gators! Go Vols! Go Cats!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas from Sammie Claus and Cash Kringle: The DeVito Family's Annual Christmas Letter

December 2012

It’s Sammie Ann Beutke DeVito, the feline daughter of David and Allyson, writing again this year.
I was delayed in writing this year’s Christmas letter because my brother Cash and I have been preparing for the end of the world. As you might have heard, an ancient Mayan calendar predicts the world will end on Friday, December 21, 2012. We’ve been stockpiling cat food and kitty litter. We’re on a first-name basis now with the PetSmart employees. 

We were impressed with the variety of Christmas and holiday stamps this year. Someone has to keep the post office in business, and we do our part with this letter mailed to more than 100 family and friends. We like the online version though because we can add all the photos.
 We’re hoping to be around in 2013, but if the world does end, we’ve had a pretty good 2012, even though we slept through most of it. 

My dad is now in his second of four years of dental school at the University of Kentucky. During the spring semester, they dissected a human cadaver who they named Betsy Ross. Don’t ask. Even though he’s going to be a dentist, they still make him take classes about all parts of the human body. He has learned more than he ever wanted to know about diarrhea and worms.  

Sometimes our dad and his classmates take a break from classes to eat cake. Even dentists love sweets as long as you brush and floss regularly. UK's College of Dentistry celebrated 50 years this year.
They recently discussed a case about a woman who had maggots living in her gums because of the poor condition of her teeth. I could show you a photo, but you're probably grossed out already just after reading about it (And before you ask, no, she wasn’t from Kentucky). Also, did you know there is a Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G. What about Hep F? Guess they don't want you to feel bad about having hepatitis and it being an F.

Doesn't our dad look like a dentist with his scrubs and surgical gown on. Paging Dr. DeVito, Paging Dr. DeVito!
He is seeing patients now in the clinic, which he enjoys a lot more than his classes. The spring and fall 2013 semesters are supposed to be the most difficult part of dental school, which means he’ll have even less time to hang out with us and handle our litter box. That should be interesting. He will take his board exams this summer. 

This was one of our dad's Christmas presents last year from Aunt Laura and Uncle Chris. He practiced with it to prepare him to work on real teeth.
It’s also now impossible to watch TV without our dad commenting on people’s teeth and mouths. Trust me, he’ll tell if you have a diastema, a class 3 bite or a pronounced sternocleidomastoid. Cash has all three!

During an American Student Dental Association meeting in February, our dad won a gift basket from Hooter's complete with gift certificates, a calendar, men's and women's shirts, playing cards, plastic cups, an orange rubber duckie, lanyard, chip clips, a fashionable trucker hat and an "anatomically correct" beer/soda can holder. We're wondering how this relates to dentistry. :)
My mom has taught five classes each semester between Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky. 

Eastern Kentucky University's campus during the winter.
She said listening to Christmas music was the only thing that got her through grading their final exams, papers and projects.

The University of Kentucky's campus
During the fall semester, one of her students was confused about Generation X. This student in her early 20s claimed she is part of Generation X. When my mom tried to explain that she is actually part of Generation X, and the student is a Millennial, the student responded, “Um no, you’re a baby boomer.” Goodness gracious! There is hope for this generation though because not everyone knows who reality TV personality Honey Boo Boo is. During a class discussion one of my mom’s students said it’s an old cartoon that featured a cousin of Winnie the Pooh.

Our mom's part-time faculty office at the University of Kentucky now has signage, so all of her students can find her!
Kentucky and other states were hit hard with some severe weather and tornadoes in early March. The meteorologists weren’t sure where the storms would strike, so we all huddled in the laundry room, sang Kumbaya (Cash’s favorite song) and waited it out. We were lucky that the storms passed us, but not our neighbors in West Liberty, Kentucky where there was a lot of destruction. Our veterinarian collected pet supplies to deliver there, so our parents donated some food, litter and some of our toys.
A few days after the bad storms, it snowed five inches in Lexington, our only real snow of the winter season. 

As the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Kentucky, just wait until tomorrow because it will change.”

Speaking of mother nature, we experienced our first earthquake this year. That’s right, I said earthquake. We were all sitting here on a Saturday afternoon in November when we felt the house move slightly. At first, I just thought Cash had passed a giant you know what, but it was actually a 4.3 magnitude earthquake in southeast Kentucky near the border with Virginia and Tennessee. I wasn’t that impressed, so I went back to sleep. 

My parents drank the blue Kool-Aid and became huge basketball fans when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team won the national championship game in April. They haven’t been to any games, but they did see head coach John Calipari in Kroger one day, which I understand was a thrilling event. 

Grandma Betty and Grandpa Jean-Paul flew up and spent Easter weekend with us. 

I had to make sure the flag was ready to hang outside.
Cash tried to talk them into buying us a baby chick or bunny, but they bought us a new vacuum cleaner instead. It’s the Dyson animal model designed to suck up pet hair. I was hoping it would suck up all of Cash and not just his hair. 

Our dad shows Grandma Betty and Grandpa Jean-Paul what he does during dental school.
They also drove up to see us for a week in July along with Grandma Bouffard, Aunt Allison and Uncle Matt. 

Grandma Bouffard enjoyed sitting in this rather large chair outside a craftsman's workshop in Berea, Kentucky.
Aunt Allison wasn’t feeling so great because our human cousin, who was about the size of a blueberry at that time, was causing her to have morning, noon and night sickness. Baby Ava Marie Beeman is due at the end of February. We’re sure our canine cousin Toby will be a big help with changing her diapers, especially the ones with turds in them since he enjoyed ours so much last year when he visited. 

Ava definitely isn't the size of a blueberry anymore. :)
Speaking of babies, Aunt Kristen, Uncle Jason and cousin Judson welcomed baby Adley Faith Beutke the night before Thanksgiving. 

She’s a cutie and weighed almost 9 pounds at birth. 

She has lots of hair, and my mom said she should use some hair gel that Uncle Jason used religiously every time he left the house during middle school.  

Adley loves wearing the Minnie Mouse pajamas we sent her for Christmas.
Our mom drove to Florida at the end of May to visit her family. She had lots of fun playing with Judson who calls her Adda. Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Amos tried to teach him to say Ally, but he likes Adda better. He calls our Dad, Daaaaave. He also says Cash and Sammie. What a smart kid! 

Judson loves to play with keys. When our mom took this photo in May, he called them "look looks."
He made up his own names for grandma and grandpa. They are Mimmy and Bapa. 

Because your day isn't complete until you've sat on your grandpa's head. This is probably our favorite photo of Judson in 2012. Mimmy captured it while Judson sat on Bapa's head and pondered the meaning of diapers.
Judson’s favorite book for Mimmy to read to him at her house is the biography of African-American country music singer Charlie Pride. He loves it. 

While our mom was there, they also had a surprise dinner to celebrate the 44th wedding anniversary of Shamos (the combination of Sharon and Amos. When our mom really wants to get their attention, she calls them Sharamos!)

Our dad flew to Florida in June for a Father’s Day weekend surprise visit to see Grandpa Sam. He didn’t have a clue our dad was there. They then traveled to St. Augustine and visited the many, many, many, many historical museums and sites. 

Grandpa Sam could spend hours in a museum. We think he could actually live in one.
The only thing that made Grandpa Sam happier was the outcome of the presidential election. On presidential election days in Kentucky, all the schools and universities are closed, so my parents had the day off. They voted and then let us wear their “I voted” stickers for the rest of the day, and Cash tried to eat his. I didn’t care for either candidate. Cash likes Obama because he doesn’t know where he was born either, but he also can relate to Mitt Romney because he lives off his parents’ wealth and doesn’t have to work that hard. 

Cash likes to jump inside the grocery bags our parents bring him from the store. He even jumps in before they've finished uploading everything. Guess he's looking for his next free meal.
Well, I better sign off because my parents want to drive us around to look at Christmas lights, but being a Siamese cat, cars and I don’t get along.   

Our dad wore this awesome Christmas shirt to spread holiday cheer around the dental school. Don't you just love how the candy canes make little hearts!
If the world doesn’t end this week, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

I like wearing this Santa hat about as much as I like driving around in a car. Can you tell?

Cash is also excited about celebrating Kwanza. 

Please come visit us, and remember to have your pets spayed or neutered! (Did you see that television history was made this year when "The Price is Right" had its first male model...look how far men have come!)

What a cutie! Courtesy:
Sammie, Cash, David, and Allyson DeVito ( or

P.S. If you’re one of the 10 people who follow UK football, you’ll know that we have a new football coach who used to be one of the coaches at Florida State. I have such conflicting emotions about this hire. On a more positive note, UF is playing Louisville in the Sugar Bowl soon. Guess the Gators will enjoy beating those Cardinals. Hmmm….wonder if our parents will let us have a cardinal for Christmas dinner. Go Gators! Go Wildcats!