Merry Christmas! What a whirlwind of a year 2019 has been! I feel as though we’ve hardly been home this year, but we’ve sure had a lot of fun! In January, I took the kids to Aruba without Matt, who stayed home to man the fort. It was a great trip, even though we missed Matt, and we came home with a lot of fun family memories. Campbell got her driver’s license in January. Jack played school basketball last winter and Katie played Junior Olympic volleyball for 6 months this last winter and into the summer. We fished a lot. Jack got his permit. Matt and Jack went to Canada and Alaska over the summer to fish with friends. Katie and I went to Florida for volleyball in June. Our family camped, fished some more and enjoyed the cabin this summer. Fall brought back to school and even more volleyball. Now, as winter settles in again, we are ready for a break in the craziness and some big changes at the office. One thing I’ve learned about life as a Jugovich: It’s never dull!
Matt has had both a challenging and an amazing year. Although he was the only dentist at the office the majority of this past year, he’s had his best year yet. 2019 has brought him back to the basics and renewed his passion for his profession. We are very excited that another dentist joined our team in November. With an associate at Pike Lake Dental Center, Matt may be able to take a little more time off in 2020. Matt works extremely hard, but he also plays extremely hard. He spent as much time as possible fishing this year, hitting Lake Superior, Isle Royale, Lake of the Woods, Red Lake, Canada and even Alaska this summer. He enjoyed taking the ATVs out at the cabin and driving the pontoon around our lake. Through it all, Matt has always had a great, can-do attitude and a smile on his face. He’s a trooper and makes our lives so amazing.
Campbell will turn 17 in early January. She loves the freedom a driver’s license and a vehicle provide her. Technically a Junior in high school this year, she chose to go to Lake Superior College here in Duluth as a full-time Postsecondary Enrollment Option student, which means she will graduate in 2021 with both an AA degree in May and her high school diploma in June. She worked over the summer at Fleet Farm, but took a hiatus from working this fall to focus on her schooling and to help ferry her brother and sister around. We share custody of Campbell with her boyfriend, Brett, or get them as a package deal most evenings. Campbell discovered her love for baseball, Brett’s sport of choice, and attended about 100 of his games this spring and summer, including the MN 2A HS baseball championship game, in which Brett threw the winning pitch! She is extremely happy about every aspect of her life right now, which makes us extremely happy. As one of her favorite past teachers likes to say, “Life is good!”
Jack is 15 and has been chauffeuring us around since he got his permit in May. He’s growing taller every time I look at him and is a solid 5’ 10.5” now. He played basketball last winter, but has chosen to take a break from sports this year. His schoolwork has made a fantastic turnaround this Sophomore year and I think he’s secretly pretty proud of it. I know I am! Jack had a bunch of amazing opportunities to hunt and fish with Matt this year, including a couple father-son fishing trips with friends to Alaska and Canada. I’d best describe Jack as an easy going, X Box playing, all around awesome kid. He has a dry, witty sense of humor, which never fails to make us laugh.
Katie will be 14 at the end of December. She’s already taller than both her sister and me. Volleyball is her favorite sport and she plays it year-round between school ball and her JO team. She and I took a fun trip to Orlando this summer to round out her 13s volleyball season at the AAU National tournament. She loves to read and sleep. She’s a fun, feisty, passionate kid who’s fun to hang out with. She’s consistently a stellar student and enjoys her friends and school equally. Katie is still a champion of the underdog and firmly believes in her values. She makes us pull out our hair one minute, then squeeze her because she’s so sweet the next. She makes us laugh a lot and has a quick, dry sense of humor.
I am never lacking for things to keep me busy. I went back to work full time at the office last December. It’s been a fun and challenging year and I’m thankful the gals at work have been so gracious and welcoming to me. There was a learning curve in every aspect of my life (from juggling my new schedule to making our family life run smoothly), but we managed it together – as a team and a family. I’m forever grateful to Campbell for jumping in and never complaining about driving her siblings around. And then there are my friends who have also jumped in and supported us along the way. It truly takes a village! To fill my creative niche, I subscribed to a monthly watercolor painting kit this year and have really enjoyed learning something new. I listened to a lot of audiobooks again this year and also read a few traditional books along the way. Summer remains my most favorite season and I eagerly await its return. Sunshine, sandals, boats, water, camping and campfires are still my favorite things, along with craft beer, good wine and books. What can I say? I’m pretty easy to please! Wink. Wink.
The dogs are happy and (fairly) well behaved. Ollie is nearing 4 years old and Alvin is 5. They continue to be best buddies and Ollie is happy to let Alvin take the lead in all things dog related. Ollie jumped off the dock at the cabin at least a million times this year, swimming out for his tennis ball and dropping it at our feet to throw again. He is laid back and happy all the time, if not a little over-the-top affectionate. Alvin still barks a lot and is on high alert for passing vehicles and any chipmunk, squirrel or bird that dares come near our yard. All their quirks aside, they bring us joy and are great companions.
We hope 2019 has delivered you health, happiness and many fond memories. We wish you a blessed 2020! If you are ever up near Biwabik, look us up! The cabin is always ready for company.
Our love this happy holiday season and always,
Stephanie, Matt, Campbell, Jack and Katie Jugovich