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Christmas Newsletter 2023

After a lot of contemplation, we decided to move away from our tradition of sending out Christmas cards. Who knew that would be such a tough decision?! But instead of spending all of that time and energy on the cards, I've opted to write a quickish Christmas Newsletter recapping the last twelve months...beginning with LAST December. :)



Kamryn and Kindrey had a handful of Christmas concerts...

We were able to get together with the Swanson crew for an early Christmas celebration. Puzzles and Christmas cookie decorating with family = a happy holiday!

We went to the Christmas Eve church program, and then we left for our annual Texas trip on Christmas Day. That was a tale in and of itself!


We woke up in Oklahoma City at one of the coolest hotels on New Year's Day before heading home from our trip.

Kindrey got her ears pierced for her birthday. She has been rocking her earrings ever since! Kamryn asked to go to the tubing hill, Cone Park, in Sioux City for her birthday. It was a great time for the four of us, and it was there that the girls decided they liked ice skating.


Kamryn participated in an honor band in Stanton. Kindrey played basketball in the Pender league. This girl LOVES playing basketball. Does she practice? Not that much. But she's having fun, so I guess that's all that matters at this level.

One fun project that started in December but was finally finished in February was redecorating our bedroom. It felt so nice to have a comfortable adult had previously been a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture and had become a storage space for items needing to be donated.

Also in February, we hosted St. Mary's Day - a holiday we created just for my mom since she isn't in our Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas rotation.


We took the kids to Omaha for a shopping trip, ice skating, and a little fine dining. That was a really great weekend. The girls need a LOT more practice ice skating, but they seem to enjoy just standing on the ice or awkwardly shuffling around. To each his own. And it was on this trip that I had a Seinfeld experience in the restroom at the fancy restaurant of all places. I won't go into all of the details, but "I can spare a square" came out of my mouth. Luckily the gal immediately recognized the line, and we had a good laugh.

Another interesting thing that happened in March was that Kam gave speech (duet/trio acting) a shot. I didn't get to see her performances, but I'm not sure Kam had the greatest experience. Ha!


Kam had another honor band in Pierce. For someone who doesn't like to drive, I found myself travelling all over the countryside this year.

The girls had their spring concert in April. They played all kinds of instruments...a ukulele, a recorder, a clarinet, and a trumpet. :)

One awesome event that happened in April is that our niece, Lennix, was born. She's a cutie!

We hosted Easter for the Swanson side. Yes, this was the holiday where I added way too much nutmeg to the Swedish meatballs. Sorry guys.

We found an interesting way to watch Ted Lasso. Just thought it was a fun memory.

Jake and I went to Forks, Corks, and Kegs in Deadwood, South Dakota. Had an amazing time sampling the restaurants' appetizers and entrees and tasting all of the wines!

Kam had more speech. I prided her for sticking it out. Although, I admit, I gave her permission to not perform in the little showcase they had at the end of the season (where all of the Pender speech students performed their pieces). There were scheduling issues. Oh. And she didn't want to do it. ;)

Kindrey had her dance recital in Norfolk. She sure loves dancing...and we decided to let her try out for "Company" - the competitive dance team at the studio she goes to. We're happy to say she is dancing with the Hip Hop Posse during the 2023-2024 season.


The girls were in the school musical - Frozen. Kindrey was a troll and Kamryn was a townsperson. "There are no small parts. Only small actors." The production was really fun.

Kam played in the junior high jazz band at the junior high concert. I did not know that the junior high had their own music concerts. So...yah...the concerts just keep happening.

Kindrey and Kamryn were among the students recognized for her test scores. (I only got a pic of Kindrey...oops)

We went to the "6th Grade graduation" for Kamryn and her classmates. It's crazy how time flies! But during the little event, they had a slideshow of all of the kids' school pictures over the years. Oh my gosh. Kam has had some doozies. So awesome. :)

We went to the Orange City Tulip Festival. It was really cold the day we arrived. Like super cold. But we still managed to have a great time. The kids enjoyed the carnival rides, and held baby kittens, and we had our first poffertjes. Yummy in our tummies.

We celebrated my mom's 60th birthday in Sioux Falls with a hotel stay and a trip to the zoo. We went early and took my mom to the new Little Mermaid movie in 3D.

Jake participated in the Memorial Day Service in Pender as a member of the Sons of the American Legion.


We rang in our anniversary at the Cattleman's Ball that was held just outside of Pender. What an incredible event! It was incredibly dusty, too.

Later that month, we took the girls to their first concert - Matchbox 20 - in Sioux Falls on our way to our annual vacation at Rush Lake. We wanted to split the drive up a bit, we and discovered that Matchbox 20 was going to be in Sioux Falls the night we would be driving through, so we bought tickets very last minute (on the way to Sioux Falls!) and gave the girls a taste of what a real concert is like. Not sure they appreciated the music all that much, but I think they still had fun. :) And the day after the concert, we visited The Falls, and then went the rest of the way to Perham, Minnesota, where we had a nice relaxing week at the lake with Jake's family.


The 4th of July fell during an odd part of the week, so we went to a firework show on the 1st, and then one on the 4th. The thing that stood out to me this last 4th of July is that it was unseasonably cool. Also, we maybe had to take cover from rogue fireworks a couple of times!!

That next weekend, Jake and I went to a Hinder concert with friends in Sioux City. We bought the VIP tickets so we had the cushy booth...great way to take in the show!

Because of an issue with the hotel's marina, we traded in a trip to Chamberlain, South Dakota for a weekend in Kansas, Great Wolf Lodge, a women's soccer game. I don't think I'd stay at Great Wolf Lodge again, but the rest of the trip was great! The girls had a great time at the soccer game.

And we spent lots of time in our pool!


Jake and I FINALLY got to see our favorite band, Lord Huron, at Outlandia Festival near Papillion. It was unbelievably hot but so much fun!! It was a really neat festival.

The girls started school. :) We sure hate saying goodbye to the ease of schedules. No wake-up times for them. But we're all surviving. Kam is in 7th grade now (JUNIOR HIGH?!?!?!), and Kindrey is in 5th. Kamryn played volleyball with a group of girls from Pender in Sioux City as well as with the regular junior high team. Her confidence really started to grow by the end of the season. I'm hopeful that she will keep working on it. :) Kindrey also played volleyball....still serving underhand with her eyes shut. She isn't super into the sport, so we'll see what happens in the future.


We tried to enjoy as much of the remaining summer weather as possible. And we even painted the front door. What was formerly red is now a gray blue. I'm really happy with how it turned out!

We were able to get different season tickets for this Husker football season, and we were happy to get four seats together rather than two so we could all go together. They're in the south endzone and are super easy to get to. Not too bad! But then we found out that the school plans to tear down the south endzone and rebuild that's fun.

Another fun thing? I turned 40. Wah. Wah.


Kindrey had a dance camp in LaVista early in the month.

We celebrated my 40th with friends in Deadwood...and it WAS so much fun! I can't wait to do that again...not turn 40, but go to Deadwood again with friends.

The girls and I made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. Perfect weather and perfect scenery for some pics of the girls.

There was more volleyball. More football.

And we gave folks a sneak peek of the progress at Jake's office building while handing out candy there during Halloween. Kindrey was so excited to be a banana!


The girls and I went to the O'Connor House outside of Homer - another annual tradition.

Kam had the fall Junior High Music Concert I mentioned earlier, and another honor band in Columbus.

Kindrey got some new glasses. She was thrilled to see the "blades of grass". Dramatic much?

We had Thanksgiving with Jake's family, and Jake and I went to the Nebraska - Iowa football game the day after Thanksgiving. It was cold.


In summary, we had a great year doing more of the things we love doing and less of the things we don't. We're looking forward to the next year where we're going to do our best to be present and content in the moment. I'm going to focus on making life simpler by decluttering "things and obligations" that don't suit us anymore and allowing our family to do what's best for our family.

I hope you are able to do the same. <3 Our lives are blessings that we're only given once. Live it for you and the people who mean the most to you.

- Lindsey

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