Dear Family and Friends,
When I resorted to sending e-letters two years ago, instead of tangible Christmas cards, I called this post The Christmas Letter. Last year, I was a tad bit later with my letter, so I named it The New Year Letter. Well, I'm really late this year. By the time I sat down to start this letter, it was National Strawberry Ice Cream Day. So, since it's too late to call this a New Year letter and it's too early to call it a Groundhog Day letter (barely!), this will be The Strawberry Ice Cream Day Letter. Seems fitting to me!
2015 was a fabulous year for our family. We had lots of fun and made lots of memories. A couple highlights include a wedding in the family and our first year of 4-H. We set a goal of making more time for fun and we did pretty well. We did more swimming and fishing, we camped and we waterparked, we did more snow tubing and sledding, and we learned that fun can be last-minute and uncomplicated.
Dan is rocking third grade this year. And when we celebrated his birthday last month, I realized through tears that he's half-way to being an adult. He still loves engineering things outside – this year he hand-carved a sword out of a cedar branch and imagined the rows of bales behind the barn into castles and pirate ships and forts. His indoor activities still include reading and LEGOS. Dan also started piano lessons this year, which inspired me to start playing again; it is a delight to hear piano music in the house again.
Even though first grade has meant a lot more homework for Monika, she has taken it all in stride. She became a full-time dancer this year and is now talking more seriously about gymnastics. She still loves to help milk cows and name the new calves. Her list of calves to take to the fair next year would fill two trailers. I've found her playing LEGOS more and she's been teaching herself piano with Dan's music.
This was a big year for Daphne. She really found her voice and has been exerting her independence. However, she'll still tell you that she's "Dad's girl" and "Mom's girl". She'll also tell you that she's a dragon, which is sometimes a good simile for her behavior. She thrives on spending time in the barn and in the tractor. She loves LEGOS as much as her brother and sister; it's incredible to watch her little fingers build.
Glen continues to be steady as a rock, stabilizing us all as life tosses us in a million different directions. He puts in long hours outside and his hard work is evident in the well-being of our cows and the quality of our crops. His ability to analyze situations and think outside the box keep our farm business moving in a positive direction. In his spare time, Glen took up tinkering on old tractors this year and looking for old anvils at auctions.
I'm still splitting my time between farm chores, keeping up with the kids, writing, and agricultural advocacy. I'm also finishing up a year-long dairy leadership program. My off-farm adventures brought me to some really cool places this year. I am incredibly thankful for all of the people who pitch in at home so I can be away.
This year is shaping up to be just as full as any other year. My goal for this year is More Together. That doesn't mean "get it more together", although there are days when I feel that way. The goal is to work more together and play more together. Dan and Monika are becoming capable of helping with more chores outside, not just their chores in the house. I believe it's critical for them to continue learning that work is important and so is play. And both are more fun when done together.
If you want to keep up with our work and play, and what's happening on the farm, you can follow along here on my blog (you can sign up to have blog posts delivered to your email inbox), on Instagram, and on Facebook.
I hope the remaining 48 weeks of 2016 are full of joy and togetherness for you and your loved ones.
Glen, Sadie, Dan, Monika, and Daphne