Monday, December 23

Happy Holidays 2019

Happy Holidays! Joyful Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Best Wishes! Joyeux Noël! Feliz Navidad! Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan! Glædelig Jul! Gajan Kristnaskon! Hyvaa Joulua! Buorrit Juovllat! Gledileg Jol! Nodlaig Mhaith Chugnat! Buone Feste Natalizie! Natale Hilare et Annum Faustum! Pozdrevlyayu s Prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom! God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt! Season's Greetings! Peace!

     I hope this greeting finds you well. It does us. Another excellent year has passed. In almost every way - a great year. 

The absolute highlight for Kate and for me has been the arrival of Frances Grace "Frankie" Oleson on May 30th. Most of this card will be devoted to her arrival and presence in our lives. But not all of it. So I'll start with some non-Frankie highlights and photos. 

For the fifth year since our retirements we spent all of February and parts of January and March south of Minnesota, much of it in Cedar Key, Florida. Warmth. Birds. Books. Sunrises. Sunsets. Food. Drink. Doing (next to) nothing and resting afterwards. And this year I even spent some time fishing next to an 8 foot alligator. 

We even made it home in time to celebrate the NCAA basketball tournament with a couch full of fellow basketball fans.

Kate and I made our way to Pennsylvania and became long-haul truckers and moved some family heirlooms to Minnesota.

We added a new "outbuilding" at the cabin (now officially known as the "Hill House"). With lots of help (especially from Dan) I finished the inside of the Hill House. We hope this will add to the comfort of our guests - particularly those who, like us, are less than pleased to climb into a top bunkbed once (or twice or three times) a night. And we got lots of good time at the cabin - both alone and with great friends. It's a joy to spend quiet time at the cabin, particularly so in the middle of the week!

Of course we made our annual sojourns to the great Minnesota Get-Together. A highlight of the end of summer (spoiler alert - Peter, Erin and the aforementioned Frankie joined us at the state fair. So there will be a Frankie "sneak preview" in one of the next two photos. See if you can guess which one).

In connection with one of our trips to Colorado we made a side-trip to the Durango area to visit cousins Bill and Diana, and on to Mesa Verde and Moab. Great fun. And we returned to Denver in time to attend Frankie's baptism and the attendant festivities.

I think you will agree it's been a year of political turmoil in the United States and around the world. I found I was getting pretty worked up over some of the craziness.

I decided I needed to get control of myself. So I became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church. [The real reason for this 'epiphany' was to enable me to officiate at the wedding of my godson Will Summitt and his now-wife Sophia]. It was an honor and a great experience for me, and a powerful reminder of the joy that exists in the world.

I've delayed Frankie for as long as I can (and I hope at least some of you are still reading this). But first a story that I find funny. Since the beginning of our parenting years I have made fun of the need of parents and grandparents to regale one another with stories of the exceptional nature of their children and grandchildren. Over the years I've tried to deflect some of this blather by saying something like "My daughter is the 95th percentile in fingernail length." Imagine my joy and wonder when this photo was one of the first batch of photos we received of Frankie! She really was in the 99.99th percentile in fingernail length!

As far as we are concerned Frankie is in the 99th percentile in every way. We've so enjoyed our chances to get to know her. This card is perhaps a bit late, in part because Peter and Erin were kind enough to let us provide a week of daycare services in Denver earlier in December. What a joy! Here are a few photos of Frankie in roughly chronological order. If you want to see hundreds more - just stop by any time.

All in all, it's been yet another excellent year for us. All the best to you and yours. Enjoy the holiday season and every season. We'll do the same.

Here's to a joyful 2020!

Stan and Kate

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