2014 Christmas Letter
Doing the Digital Thing
Dan and Mandy
Dan is still at home with the boys full time, all of them playing lots of board games and reading lots of books. They have the freedom to take off on trips every once in awhile without me, like when they went to San Diego with Dan's dad in April. Second only after making sure the boys don't spear each other with their homemade swords or break their necks jumping off the landing of our stairs, Dan is responsible for taking care of me. Making my meals, washing my clothes, taking me to work on the occasional early morning. Since I've had friends tell me they'd like to have a "Dan" at their house, I'm considering starting a new business in which Dan trains starry-eyed young recruits in his skill set and then rents them out to needy households. Let me know if you're interested.
When Dan isn't running around taking care of everyone else, he does find some time to pursue one of his passions - boardgaming. Besides getting out once a week to play games with his buddies, he has also started a homeschool boardgaming group at two game stores in the area. He and the boys have a YouTube channel on which they post videos of boardgame reviews. Now, I know I tend to be a little tongue-in-cheek in these letters sometimes, but this is actually the truth! Check out their videos here. They currently only have 17 followers, but I'm convinced they're on the verge of going viral.
Another passion that consumes a bit of Dan's free time is roasting, grinding, and brewing coffee. He's a bit of a coffee snob and has started purchasing green coffee beans so that he can roast them to his preferred darkness in a rigged-up air popper in our garage. I always know he's been busy roasting when I pull into our garage and there's a blizzard of coffee chaff flying through the air. If you come to visit, it's more than likely that he'll send you home with a sample.
Unfortunately, I don't have any hobbies as fascinating as boardgaming or coffee roasting. In fact, I really don't have any hobbies at all, which Dan reminds me of all the time. "Why don't you just sit down and do something fun?" When I have free time, I like to play games with the boys, read a good book, go for a run, or watch old episodes of Top Chef. I'm still teaching Biology at Springfield High School, which is part of the reason I don't have a lot of free time for hobbies. Those of you who are teachers out there know that it's not your typical 9-5 job. As of this past summer, I'm also our district's technology integrationist, which is a fancy way of saying I help other teachers find creative and meaningful ways to incorporate technology into their students' learning. I enjoy the new position, but it brings with it a whole new set of responsibilities.
When I'm not teaching and Dan isn't roasting, our fall and winter are busy coaching the boys' LEGO League team, running them to guitar lessons and gymnastics practice, and sneaking in an episode of Mad Men every once in a while after the kiddos have gone to bed. We all look forward to the summer when our lives slow down a bit and we can go on our annual family road trip. This past summer, we went to Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, and we were not disappointed. It was two weeks full of challenging, beautiful hikes and much-needed family time. The photos below do it more justice than my descriptions ever could.
Quinn (7 years old)
Egen (10 years old)
I like making Dungeons & Dragons characters and playing board games and video games. My favorite video game is Terraria and my favorite board game is Galaxy Trucker. We have a pet cat named Cordie, but she's getting old. She's been losing her fur and drooling.
Remember to give us a call if you ever find yourselves in Southwestern Minnesota!