Our Incredible 2015

Each year I pen a Christmas letter, using a word or phrase to guide me. This year is “incredible”, because of the incredible outpouring of support we have experienced. Thanks again.


I – Incredible. The support and love that we have experienced in 2015 was more than we ever could have imagined possible.
N – Nerves. Ava, our 4-year-old, rolled out of our John Deere Gator in April. She suffered nerve damage to her right arm. It is still very emotional for us to talk about that day that changed our lives so dramatically for the rest of 2015, as well as forever.
C – Cincinnati. The hardest decision of our lives was where to bring Ava to have them do a complex day of surgery to regain partial function of her arm. We chose Cincinnati Children’s Hospital over Washington University in St. Louis and Mayo in Rochester. We now feel secure that we made the best decision for her. While surgery in August took much longer than anticipated (9+ hours), they ultimately were able to do what they intended.
R – Rest. Now we rest in the peace that God will grant Ava whatever function and sensation that He chooses. Nerves grow very slowly so we pray to see some shoulder function sometime after February, and elbow flexion around May. We will wait for 2 years to see if nerves reach her hand. Just recently, she regained the ability to lift her hand away from her thigh a few inches, and that was the only bit of function she had before she had surgery. Also great news is that her sensation is coming back!! She can feel a pinch down to her elbow now.
E – Extra noise. What does a family do to cope after a tragedy? Get some goats. They made a pretty great summer project for the kids.
D – Denver. We snuck away for a weekend near the end of September to attend a wedding of one of Joe’s cousins. It is always so much fun to travel for an event like that!
I – Intense. Ava’s schedule is a lot more planned than most 4-year-olds. She attends preschool 5 days a week, has therapy 3 afternoons a week, and other specific things we work on while at home.
B – Basketball is Vince’s (age 9) latest passion. Liv (age 7) enjoyed tennis this summer. They both play piano. Vince is in his fifth year of not enjoying piano, but we’ve got a good feeling about year #6.
L – Little. Violet (age 1) is just the tiniest toddler ever. She seems almost too small to be walking. She loves to make us laugh, and she is a very easy-going daughter as long as she has her pacifier and a large canister of raisins.
E – Embrace. Our wish for you for 2016 is that you embrace each new morning and any changes that will come your way.  Happy New Year!


5 thoughts on “Our Incredible 2015

  1. Happy New Year! I enjoyed your letter and picture immensely. You have a beautiful family. I’ve been following your blog since about the time of Ava’s accident after reading about it in your father-in-law’s column in the Dairy Star. You have been an inspiration to me as you travel this journey of life, in faith, sharing what God has done for your family. We are Christians and also dairy farm in Ottertail, MN…I think we actually own one of your old dump trucks that we use to haul silage. We (my husband & his dad and brothers) milk 300+ cows. We have 7 children with another on the way in March. The oldest is 11 and the youngest is 1 and very tiny like your little one! Keep on sharing… And may good continue to heal and protect precious Ava!


    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment. The silage truck connection is a probable thing. I grew up in central MN (Pierz) so not closer to Ottertail than Worthington! You are so blessed with your large family — it is such a joy to raise children on the farm. I appreciate your continuing well wishes and prayers for Ava!


  2. Love your update and I’m pleased to see that Ava is making progress. I, too, was a city girl who married a farmer. Even though we’ve been off the farm for 25 years, I still think it’s a great place to raise children. As a former 4-H Extension Educator, 4-H is also a wonderful experience that farm kids can enjoy and fortunately now is offered in many cities as well. May 2016 bring you happiness and joy.


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