I love them!
I tape them around our door frame, from the kitchen into the living room. We stop and stare at all the pictures. I feel blessed to know all of you and to be a part of your lives.
This is my official Christmas letter.
We've had a blessed year here at 5J Farms. There's been lots of chicken and pig chores, a trip to Mexico, friends, family, a bathroom remodel, kids activities and how 'bout I just show you some of our highlights?
Sweet Kelli is a sophmore at Dordt college. She is still hanging in as a Biomedical Engineer major and made it through her toughest semester yet. She tackled differential equations, statics, circuits and a computer class as well as being a tutor for Calculus 1. Yikes. If you ask her, she'll tell you she loves it.
As her mother, I thrill to watch her fight through it. The name "Kelli" means 'Warrior Woman" and she is. You'd never know it when you meet her because she is full of sweetness and grace, but don't underestimate her. She'll take you out with a smile.
Kelli was part of the concrete canoe club at Dordt. They travelled to the University of Iowa in April to compete.They started mid Fall, giving up three to four hours every Saturday, through 'pour day' (the day they poured the concrete) in mid February. After the canoe was built they changed gears and spent their Saturdays working on their reports that were part of the competition.
It was a great experience!
She spent the summer here at home. She worked at a soil testing lab and took a fabulous vacation with her incredible family.
In the Fall it was back to her prairie campus life. Friends, classes and of course study breaks.
Lizzy is a high school junior and is not home very often. She turned 16 this summer and since then we haven't seen much of her. She has a busy social schedule and we love watching her and having her friends over to hang out as much as we can. She is sweet and fiesty and growing up way too quickly.
On her 16th birthday we took a group of her friends to the lake for a couple of days. I took a friend with me as well and the group of us had an absolute blast. This will now be an annual event so if you want to join us this summer, let me know.
Lizzy is a part of FFA which stands for Future Farmers of America. It's a school sponsored club. Through this, she takes hogs to our county fair and gets to show them. Last year she had a fabulous pig. Rhino was fat, happy and the judge loved him. This year her pig, was not a Rhino, not as fat, still happy 'cause pigs just are, but the judge didn't care for his slim happiness. Oh well. The fair is an awesome place to wear your cowboy boots and eat pie that the ladies of the local Methodist church bake, and that's exactly what Lizzy did.
In celebration of Homecoming Week, Lizzy ran in a community color run. She and her friends got sufficiently bombed with color and apparently loved it.
Friday night football is a big thing around these parts. It's something I don't think I'll ever fully comprehend but I guess it doesn't matter. Lizzy loves it and her and her friends attended most of the games. Our school team did fairly well this year and Liz had a great time getting ready for games with her friends and cheering on our team.
Lizzy will be a senior in the Fall. I can't believe it. I know she's ready to jump into whatever comes next .
Will is an 8th grader. His last year of middle school is almost behind him and high school is waiting. He'll be able to get his learning driver's permit in a couple of months, which is impossible for me to wrap my brain around.
Science olympiads kept him busy last winter. He did two different events. One was a crime solvers project and the other was a wooden car project. The experience was a good one and he'll be repeating it this year.
He also played baseball this summer but apparently I didn't take my camera with me to any of the games.
Will also participates in our county fair but does so through 4H. This year he took a goat, a pig and chickens and was very busy choring all his critters the week of the fair.
Chicken bath the day before the chicken show.
Goat beauty day here at home the day before the fair began.
I think one of the highlights of Will's year would have to be the Kansas City Royals making it to the American League playoffs and then to the World Series. Both Farmer Boy and Will are HUGE Royals fans so it made for a lot of excitement around here.
One Sunday morning, Farmer Boy tiptoed into Will's room and told him to get dressed. They were heading down to Kansas City to take in a game. They got to see the Royals vs. the Detroit Tigers who battled for a playoff spot most of the season.
Very cool for both of them.
This Fall Will participated in cross country. Again, apparently I didn't take my camera to a meet. I believe lack of pictures is the official curse of the youngest child.
To close out the year, Will went with Farmer Boy on the annual deer hunt. This was the first year he got to carry a weapon, a 20 gauge shotgun. Unfortunately, deer in those parts sent out a memo, alerting all their friends to steer clear of humans wearing bright orange. There were very few deer seen and Farmer Boy was the only one to get off some unsuccessful shots.
Farmer Boy and I
As always, life seems to fill up and as the kids grow older, seems to go faster and faster.
Here are some of our highlights.
There was of course the hunt for Foxie Loxie that proved fruitless.
There was a NeedtoBreathe concert that the whole family loved and agreed was one of this year's highlights.
Not a great picture but a great concert.
Mexico was definitely a highlight.
Farmer Boy is finishing up his third year with Iowa Select and is still enjoying his work. I started working full time as a temporary employee this Fall and will continue on through the month of February. The future is a bit fuzzy after that.
I think I've covered most of it. My fingers are tired and my brain is weary.
Thanks for spending some time here and catching up with the Johnston clan. We hope to see you in the New Year and please know you are welcome anytime.