2017 Christmas Letter

Every year, I pen a letter to help us remember our past year.  Here’s 2017.


Lake Michigan, June 2017

Every year, I pen a letter to help us remember our past year.  Here’s 2017.


A  – ATTITUDE.    As a family, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about attitude this year.  We’ve discussed having “an attitude of gratitude”, as well as using that positive outlook on each day to shape the way we react to what is happening.  Our children are ages 11,9,6,3, and it seems like we are spending an increasing amount of time coaching them in their life skills, as opposed to attending to their daily needs.

T – TRIPS.    We traveled more this year than normal.  Liv went to Florida with Joe’s sister’s family, while we cared for their 1-year-old.  Vince attended a special dairy event at the MN Viking’s US Bank Stadium, as well as a week camping in the Black Hills with church boys.  As a family, we travelled to Cincinnati Children’s hospital and did a ton of fun things like the zoo, an amusement park, Red’s game, downtown Chicago, Lake Michigan beach, and catching up with my college friend, Liz, and her family and farm.  What sticks out most in my mind from the trip was a lot of putting wet swimsuits on, but I think that kids enjoy pool time more than any other aspect of vacation.

T – TRIPS.      We did so much traveling, it requires two letters this year.  We attended a wedding in Baltimore, and our 3 oldest children spent extra time out there with Joe’s mom and cousins exploring D.C.  Just recently, Joe and I went on another Claas trip to see agricultural machining and do some sightseeing in Germany and France.  I would go back to Paris with Joe in a heartbeat, but really, we have done enough traveling to last me for quite a few years.

I – INCOGNITO.      Wonderful news we received at Ava’s doctor visit – she no longer needs to wear her brace during the day!  Now, people see her as just a regular girl, not a girl with a disability.  She was a flowergirl the very first weekend she didn’t wear her brace, and incredibly proud!  While her nerves are still making some connections, the changes aren’t as ‘reportable’ as last year.  She is simply getting better at using the function she has, and adapting to the world around her.  I recently talked to her brachial plexus team, and they said not to give up hope for more hand function for another couple of years.  Please keep praying!

T – THREE HUNDRED TEN.     310 extra cows made their way to us from Carlson Dairy in Pennock, Minnesota, in June.  The dairy had experienced a massive windstorm, destroying some of their barns.  Joe, acting as a general contractor, along with many employees, had just wrapped up an addition onto one of our barns so we had the space.   The amount of trust Carlsons placed in us and everyone at the dairy to care for their cows was humbling.  We loaded the cows back into trucks in September, but the friendship remains.

U – UNIQUE.    Our children are so different from each other!  Vince is the volume in our family.  (It should be noted that I finally allowed him to quit piano.)  Liv is the compassionate caretaker and super big sister.  Ava is the entertainer and is ridiculously set in her ways.  Violet is a charmer and has her way of melting hearts.

D – DAIRY FARMING.     I think we maybe should just stick to cows, because our chicken farming experience this year was a disaster.  Also, we had two baby goats born this year, but our calm and loving Momma Goat Tess died a few months later.  Joe has promised an upcoming Chicken Coop Construction “Family Experience”, so stay tuned.

E – EARLY.  Next year’s Christmas letter.  Maybe.