2023 has been a roller coaster. Lots of highs, lots of lows. It's been a ride... I started the year with a barrage of bizarre maladies that I've slowly worked through. I started with one doctor, found one I really liked so I changed to her, and then she left the practice this summer, so now I'm looking for a new one. Our healthcare system sucks. But I'm doing much better and I have my medications dialed in pretty well. Work wise it's also been weird. I'd say we were just about the closest we've ever been to going out of business for the first time ever. I was actually looking for jobs. And then in the fall, we landed the biggest deal we've ever been a part of. It finally closed this week. And it's a multi-year contract so we'll be pretty comfortable for a while. So that's a huge relief. I still volunteer at the elementary school quite a bit but I'm starting to take a step back so the other dads can pick up where I left off. It's bittersweet that we only have 1 more year of elementary school.

Lynn volunteers a lot of her time at the school. So much so that she might actually get a job there part-time next year. She volunteers a few hours nearly every week in Mrs. Parker's first-grade classroom, working with the kids on sight words and other tasks. She was Arden's first-grade teacher and ever since then, Lynn has been in her classroom helping out. She still loves cooking and has done a great job of introducing the kids to new foods, some of which they will actually eat!

Lyza is full-on teenager. She has taken to Jr. High like a duck to water. She's doing so well in school and we're so proud of her. 8th grade already! She's nervous about high school next year. She still doesn't open up about some of the more personal stuff but we can see her growing and changing into a full-fledged teen. One minute she's screaming that I'm the worst dad in the world! And the next she's snuggling me and telling me that she loves me. She loves her ticky-toc and makeup tutorials. If she has a dollar in her pocket she wants to spend it at Sephora on makeup. Or on a pink drink from Starbucks, or maybe a boba tea. Either way, she needs a job soon or I'm gonna go broke!

Speaking of broke, Arden started playing hockey this year! I often say "We" started playing hockey because if he plays, I have to be there to help him dress and lace up those skates. He started with playing floor hockey, then he wanted to learn to skate, then we signed him up for a weekly hockey skills class, then he joined a 10U Squirt team. They're very good and I think they'll win it all, which is very good for his morale. The other kids have been playing longer than he has so sometimes he doesn't feel like he contributes as much. But every time he steps on the ice he gets a little better. And we're proud of him for that. He did score one goal so far and brought home the coach's "Player of the Game Belt" which we wrestled for when we got home. That was a fun week. He's doing great in 5th Grade and he loves his teacher and classmates. He spends a lot of his free time watching and creating YouTube videos and playing video games like Fortnight and Roblox. He is such a good kid. If I could guarantee that they'd all turn out like Arden, I'd have 10 more kids.

Theodore the puppy dog is still that. A puppy. He's got so much energy and is just the goodest boy. I broke the news to him that he is adopted but he didn't seem to care too much. I think he was far too focused on the pepperoni I was eating at the time. He LOVES visiting his Grandma Char but especially his Auntie Karen. Oh, how he adores her. And I suppose by association his puppy cousin Pablo. He loves spending the night with them at their house when we're out of town for a week or two, or when Auntie comes to our house to drop something off randomly on a Tuesday. I swear he thinks she's there to pick him up and take him to her house whenever she comes over. If she sneaks out and doesn't say goodbye he is left confused and sad. So now we have to make sure we say our goodbyes and watch her car drive away from the patio door window on the second floor. Then he's fine. Otherwise, he's a mess for a few hours.

We traveled a bit this year, we ended our Christmas season last year on a Disney cruise out of San Diego. We had a blast. We spent Spring break in Seattle and we loved it. We also took Lady with us and it's not just because then we had a babysitter on the trip... I know that's what you're thinking and it's NOT true. Seriously though we had a great time and we saw so much cool stuff. We spent a lot of time in WI this year. I got back for a funeral in spring, we did our annual summer trip, and we went back for fall break for two weeks. We got up to Minneapolis to visit my cousin and his family on our summer trip. We visited the first-ever Target store! I thought it was way cooler than everyone else but that's ok. We also got up to Marshfield twice this year to see the Bauer Family (Lynn's cousin Jess who is more like a sister) to see their new house and for Danny's 50th Surprise birthday party. I'm looking to take an actual Vacation this year. Like a sit on my ass and read a book vacation... A do nothing but drink daiquiris by the pool type of vacation... We'll see what 2024 brings... We wish you nothing but health and wealth in the New Year. ❤️

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