Christmas greetings! What a wonderful year 2021 has been!
Matt has had a fantastic year keeping busy with some fishing, hunting (ducks, grouse and pheasant), relaxing and, of course, projects around the house, office and cabin. Matt got a new toy this summer, a mini excavator, and is excited to get some projects done in the coming year. The extra bonus for Matt this summer was his schedule. He worked Monday-Wednesday, which gave him plenty of time for work and some much-needed play. Ever the “idea guy”, you may see some new tricks Matt has up his sleeve come out in our Christmas letter next year. Life is always an adventure with Matt!
I still work at the office and help take care of the back end of our businesses. It’s a good mix of people and numbers for me. My schedule also gives me a little more time to be “Mom” while the kids are still home. I finished reading/listening to my annual 100 book goal again this year. I also mastered using chopsticks in 2021! My interests continue to lean toward the arts. Writing, painting and photography are the activities that fuel my soul. I had a nice, little container garden on our deck again this summer. We had a bounty of fresh herbs, onions, potatoes and more this year that we’ll be able to enjoy throughout the winter.
2021 was a big year for Campbell! She officially became an adult in January. She graduated from Lake Superior College with honors and a 4.0 GPA and earned her AA degree in May. She also earned her high school diploma in June, with an additional 350+ hours of community service logged. She took a few classes over the summer and began pursuing a BS in biochemistry degree at the College of St. Scholastica in September. Campbell and her long-time boyfriend, Brett, will both graduate from CSS in 2023. She plans to apply to dental schools in the near future. Campbell also spread her wings in July and moved into her first apartment, a cute 1 bedroom unit, in Duluth. She is only a few minutes from home, but she is thoroughly enjoying her independence. She worked as a tutor for calculus and chemistry courses at LSC for most of last school year and also worked at our office on Fridays. She’s taking most of this semester off from work as she navigates a heavy credit load at CSS. Life has been busy, fun and exciting for Campbell.
Jack is a senior at Marshall and is enjoying every minute of it. He missed so much of his high school experience the past couple years, so he is making up for it at every opportunity. At 17, he is as tall as his dad, a solid 6 feet, and growing. Jack loves to drive! The kid has put a ton of miles on his car. Ever the social butterfly, he loves hanging out with his friends and playing sports. He joined basketball again this year and has learned he also enjoys golf. Jack got a few bird hunting trips in with Matt this fall too. He is finally seeing a direction in school that he enjoys and may pursue a degree in the sciences, as he is really loving his AP biology class this year. He’s applying to colleges now and is looking forward to graduation and new adventures away from home in 2022.
Katie is a sophomore at Marshall and is eagerly awaiting her 16th birthday later in December. She can’t wait to get her drivers license and gain her next level of independence. She got her first job this summer at Gordy’s Gift and Garden Center here in Hermantown. She blossomed (excuse the pun) at Gordy’s! She experienced the many rewards of having a job by making great friends, learning a lot of people and customer service skills and earning a paycheck. She was on the Nordic ski team this past winter, played volleyball for school this fall, joined a bunch of school activities and clubs, student council, and is also a student ambassador for Marshall. She bakes for the office every once in a while too! Katie is a stellar student and keeps a close eye on her grades. She enjoys challenging herself and is taking mostly honors classes at school this year.
The dogs are aging well. Ollie, at 5 years old, especially loved the summer months being up at the cabin and in the lake, along with the couple hunting trips he made to the Dakotas with Matt. He’s a hunter through and through! He’s also the most loving and gentle dog you could find. Alvin, 7 years old, still sometimes acts like a puppy, chasing his favorite ball and leaping into the car for a “CR.” We have to use a code for “car ride” because he gets so excited. Alvie will still bark at the wind, a stranger or any noise he hears. It’s great. Really.
Our other baby, Pike Lake Dental, continues to grow, especially with the addition to the building in 2020. We have added staff, patients and potential with the extra 2,500 square feet. Matt and I are thankful for the truly awesome people we have the privilege of working with and calling our friends. We often joke that we have our “family” family and also our “work family.” The counting of our blessings wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our amazing patients and the relationships we continue to grow with them. It takes a village and we are forever thankful for ours.
We snuck down to Florida a couple times this spring, once just the two of us to Marco Island and once as a family to the Keys. Matt and I also took a couple weekend trips to Dallas for some financial planning and business strategizing. It feels so good to travel again!
Our trip to South Dakota’s beautiful Black Hills was a highlight of the 2021 summer. The guys’ fishing trip to Canada was postponed again this year, so we switched gears and loaded up the family and the ATVs and headed out to Lead, SD for a week. The whole family could be together, all 6 of us (Campbell and Brett too!) which is getting harder and harder to accomplish. We visited a bunch of tourist spots and also put many miles on our ATVs. It was an awesome trip!
We fished only a handful of times this year, certainly not as often as in years past. After much contemplation, we gave up our seasonal site at the campground in Baudette. We mainly focused on being at the cabin and relaxing. There was A LOT of time spent floating on Bass Lake, quite a few campfires and many, many pontoon rides! We also hosted some fun events up there, the top few being a cousin reunion for Matt’s side of the family, an office gathering, Matt’s high school and college buddies for a golfing weekend, and Steph’s 26th high school class reunion. We love to be able to share our happy place with so many people.
All in all, it was a year of happiness and focusing on being present with our little family. We hope 2021 treated you and yours well and that 2022 will do the same. Cheers to a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year!
Stephanie, Matt, Campbell, Jack and Katie Jugovich