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A Holiday Letter to Friends and Family

Dear Friends & Family (yes-- that includes all of you),


We’ve found ourselves nearing the end of the year again, so it’s the time of year for another holiday letter…

Walter's ready for the holidays...


Our yearly letters (in the years I manage to write one) aren’t exactly typical holiday letters—we don’t usually have stories of involvement with sports, academic clubs or other after-school activities. This year we had hoped to share stories and photos of Nolan in the Adaptive Sports League at his high school, but clearly 2020 was having none of that.


Then again, I doubt most people’s holiday letters this year are “typical”. This whole year has been anything BUT typical…


In a typical year, we would have spent weekends exploring The Driftless Region, dragging Kirk (or making him drag us) to flea markets, or maybe finding some live music somewhere… But like everyone, 2020 had different plans for us. So this year, we’re a little short on exciting stories to share.


So what have we done this year?


Kirk and Nolan got through a whole lot of at-home school… That’s a pretty giant accomplishment. With the level of support Nolan needs for school, he’s been fortunate to have had in-person instruction for most of the fall semester. But we know most students (and teachers and school staff) in our area haven’t had that luxury.


And we did have a few smallish adventures here and there… We found more local outdoor opportunities and visited a not-too-distant waterfall that’s one of our happy places.


We said goodbye to our beloved Frodo, and welcomed Donny into our home so that Walter wasn’t alone… That alone has been a major change in our household. Frodo had been a member of the family for over a decade and had finally lost the battle against his failing health. He had slowed down a lot in his last few months, but he never lost his willingness (or even insistence) to snuggle. A few months later during a particularly rough patch, Kirk suggested it might be time to add another family member. So Donny (our first ever non-orange cat) joined the household, and he hasn’t stopped causing trouble since. If there’s something he can get into, Donny will—that’s just how he works.


We also created a logo (based on a very handsome someone you may be familiar with) and celebrated our first blogiversary. All of the writing we’ve been doing this year feels like a lot for a year where many of us felt like we weren’t actually doing anything.


Things that have been typical in other households this year haven’t necessarily happened in ours, though. No one baked a single loaf of bread (not even a quick fruit bread from a box mix) this year. We didn’t panic over a lack of toilet paper because I had bought our normal supply (which consists of one giant pack that lasts us maybe 3-4 months) just two weeks before the shortage hit. And not a single jigsaw puzzle was completed in our home (partly because all of our large flat surfaces are constantly in use and partly because our cats—ahem, Donny—are often jerks…)


So in a lot of ways, it was a typical atypical year for us. Or is that backwards? We’re atypical in a typical year, so maybe we’re just atypical in an atypical year… I’m not sure, but this is starting to feel like a word problem from math class, so I’m going to just keep moving before I get a headache or have some sort of math-related existential crisis.


Either way, we spent the year living our lives differently from most other folks—same as always. I guess as different as 2020 was for everyone, that hasn’t changed. Honestly, it probably never will change. There’s an odd sort of comfort in that, I guess.


Here’s hoping that 2021 offers all of us a bit less turmoil and trauma. And may the dumpster fire of 2020 burn itself out before it causes too much more damage.


So here’s wishing you a happy holiday season from our family to yours. May your hot cocoa always be enriched with all the marshmallows you could hope for.


Kirk, Cindy, Nolan, Walter and Donny

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