Merry Christmas! Another incredible year is nearly at a close! As always, I’d like to slow the clock and have more time to enjoy the summer or lazy Saturdays at home with the kids. We do try to enjoy each moment, or day, or season as they pass and not wish this time away. After all, time is precious and these kids are only with us for so long.
In February, we traveled to Aruba and were able to enjoy a week of fun and sun as a family. That trip is always a favorite for me because our toughest decisions are what time to hit the beach or the pool and where to eat supper that evening. Each of us takes what they want from the trip: Katie and I read and lay in the sun, Matt catches up on his sleep and tv shows in the sunshine, Campbell and Jack keep in contact with their friends and sleep the days away.
We took a trip to Utah in April. We visited all of Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks in a whirlwind 7 days and 2,000 miles. Although there is always a heated discussion as to our personal favorite of the five parks, we all agree there was something breathtaking and unique about each one. We also visited Antelope Canyon in Arizona and had an incredible tour there. If you are looking for a great family trip, we’d highly recommend both Utah and Antelope Canyon and would be happy to share our itinerary and tips with you.
We spent a lot of time this summer on or near water. We bought a cabin on Bass Lake, near where Matt grew up, in June and spent many relaxing days at the lake. The pontoon continues to be a favorite hangout spot, with the boat and jet ski coming in as close seconds. We were able to entertain family and friends often and can’t wait for next summer to roll around. As always, Lake of the Woods is another one of our favorite places to be. We camp, fish, relax and enjoy time with family and friends, both old and new. Our annual trips to Bayfield and Grand Marais weren’t in the cards for us this year. I always joke that we enjoy too many activities and there aren’t enough summer weekends to enjoy them all.
Matt and I snuck away to Scottsdale in March and August for a couple long-weekend, continuing education classes. Jack came along with us in August to visit a friend. If I could peer into a glass ball, I believe we’d see Arizona in our retirement future. Between the sunshine, blue skies and beautiful scenery, Arizona is hard to beat.
Matt never seems to slow down unless he’s at the cabin or camping, and even then he is rarely idle. He used his summer weekends to pack in as much fun as possible. He caught a lot of walleyes this year. I enjoy watching him play on the boat or on the four wheelers like a teenager. There is always a new project simmering in his head, so it’s best for us to always be ready for anything. He is a patient teacher and encourages the kids and me to try new things, from driving heavy machinery to docking the boat. Although, if you lose a fish off your line, you’ll probably hear about it for the foreseeable future.
I continue to enjoy photography, reading and writing. I amped up my involvement at work some more this year and work almost equally in the office and from home. Books are still my favorite “splurge” items and I always seem to have at least a couple paper books and audiobooks going at once. My favorite books this year were Us Against You by Fredrik Backman and Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I drive an average of 300-400 miles a week, playing taxi driver for the family. I went from the second tallest in our little family (when the kids were younger) to the shortest this year; Katie passed me up in height this summer. While I love to watch the kids play sports, I realized I enjoy just hanging out with them a lot more. I still adore, in no particular order, hot weather, sunshine, traveling (especially road trips), camping and beaches.
Campbell is ready to drive and is eager to take her road test when she turns 16 in January. To be honest, we are all excited for her to get her license! She is excelling academically her sophomore year at Marshall and always strives for excellence. She played both golf and volleyball for school. She managed the boys’ basketball team last season and is excited to manage again this year. While she still thinks she’ll go into dentistry, we can’t help but wonder if she will choose to venture into sports management as a profession. She loves spending time with her friends, listening to loud music, driving the four wheelers and boats anywhere and everywhere and attending sporting events, whether she is participating in them or not. She is a country girl at heart.
Jack is 14, a freshman, and growing like a weed. He has a hilarious personality and is fun to hang out with… when he isn’t sleeping. He reminds me a lot of my dad and brother – extremely laid back and easy going, almost to a fault. He is married equally to his XBox and phone. He keeps friends from both Hermantown and Marshall and hangs out with them often. He and Matt went to Canada fishing in June, and Kansas in September for a deer hunt. Jack also fished with us at Lake of the Woods this summer and enjoyed pheasant hunting this fall too. He plays basketball for school and is a contentedly lazy teenager.
Katie is practically 13 and continues to keep us on our toes. She is playing Junior Olympic volleyball again this year and also played volleyball for school this fall. Her heart is huge and she will champion anyone in need. She’s also the girl that will attack her brother or sister for looking at her wrong. She is very proud of her sleeping record: 17 straight hours at the cabin. She is a good student and plays both the flute and piano. She loves to hang out with her friends, read and drive the four wheelers and snowmobiles.
The dogs are annoying, oops! I mean sweet, as ever. They immediately take care of any food that hits the floor and remind me when their food and water dishes run low. They whine to go outside, then whine to come inside most of the day. It’s a fun game! Ollie is almost 3 and loves riding in the car, hunting, dock jumping, playing fetch and holding hands with his humans. Alvin is 5 and diligently protects our yard from squirrels, chipmunks and deer. His chihuahua/terrier blood keeps him barking and anxious, but he still loves snuggling with the kids.
The office continues to be successful and we are thankful every day for all the wonderful people we work with and patients we see. This year, especially, we are reminded of what a true and dedicated team we are there. Even though I feel the business is like another member of the family, constantly needing love and attention, I can’t imagine life any other way. There is much to be thankful for!
A friend of mine always says, “Life is good!” and I cannot disagree. Life is good and we hope you feel the same. Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas and a healthy and happy 2019! Cheers!
Matt, Stephanie, Campbell, Jack and Katie Jugovich