2015 Merry Christmas!

With the Olson Family

First of all, to enhance your viewing experience, please press the orange button to listen to our Christmas music specially selected for you.

And if you want the quick version of our year, it is as follows: Ian is in everything, Quinn made his Eagle Scout rank and graduated, Kent is still at the helm of the Air National Guard with 34 years under his belt, we went to Glacier National Park and the lighthouse in WI for vacation, I worked on our family tree histories, Quinn went to college at Dakota State U in Madison, SD for Cyber Security, and Ian is still in everything. Rinse, repeat.

Oh, by the way, we did the ancestry dna for Kent's ancestors and they are as follows:

Kent's Dad's side - 62% Great Britain, 36% Scandinavia, and 2% Finland/NW Russia with a few small percentages of others. For his mother's side - 40% West Europe, 28% Italy/Greece, 21% Scandinavia and 11% other trace ethnic backgrounds. Some surprises there, that's for sure. If you want to see the info further, drop us an email and we will send it to you. We are still working on my side.

For the pictures below, just click on each picture and they will give you all the info and enlarge.

Merry Christmas!


White Christmas - Panic! at the Disco by patdbr

Quinn's Newest Quest

This year found us with one less child in the nest. Quinn is now sort-of-happily ensconced at Dakota State University in Madison, SD, (majoring, for now at least, in Cyber Security). He is a quick 3-hour drive straight down on I-29 and has made it home on a fairly regular basis in the Smart Car. We did have him bring it home for the rest of winter, though, since the winds can be brutal on the plains and Smarty doesn't provide a lot of ballast. He tells us that he is doing fine (in a very cautious tone, of course), so I'm sure everything will turn out ok. He has made some friends and is promoting the idea of pets in the dorms.

The Year in Review

Kent is still the Base Commander of the ND Air National Guard but, once again, we probably tested the limits of his vacation time off by taking a road trip to Glacier National Park in June. Unfortunately, what we also tested was the limits of dad's lower back strain which found him in a prone position on various picnic tables around the park in order to alleviate the pain. I found myself in the equally unpleasant position of telling him that no-way, no-how was I driving the Road to the Sun's upper reaches without the safety of a guard rail between me and a precipitous drop to the bottom of a gorge. I drove as far as I could, then hoped that his dose of ibuprofen and a back brace were enough to get him through to the other side. Most of the time, I had my nose in a book and only peered over the top to see the mountain goats and exceptional scenery. We joined the invading hordes at the gift shop at the top, of course, and peered through the clouds and gazed at the majestic landscape. Postcards and a blanket were duly procured to commemorate the occasion. Since his back actually felt better in an upright posture, we took a boatride on Lake Josephine and saw the old lodge that only a week later would be in grave danger of burning from the horrible wildfires that would ravage the area. (Nope, it wasn't us). I went back to the lodge while the guys went hiking over to one of the last glaciers, found another gift shop, a great lunch and sat back to enjoy the fabulous scenery from the comfort of my Adirondack chair. We also managed to get reservations for a ride in the vintage red "jammer" open cars that tour the park, which we were most grateful had been updated with new gearboxes so we didn't find ourselves lurching along.

We stayed at a nearby KOA campground with special door latches that supposedly kept out the bears that populated the area. But then to tempt fate, we stayed one night at Glacier Under Canvas Glamping Lodge, which is not very reassuring when you think about it. It was a luxury canvas tent with a separate toilet and shower room area, a deluxe king bed, some sort of deer-type skin on the floor and a woodstove. I've never stayed in a tent that had sheets with a high-thread count and a feather duvet, but I could get used to it. Except that absolutely NO bedtime snacks were allowed due to the presence of ursus arctos horribilis (grizzly bears) and ursus americanus (black bears). It's kind of hard to forget that sort of thing when you wonder all night if the chocolate that you accidentally left in the pickup was attracting undue attention from any furry marauders.

After that, we went down to Ronan, MT and saw Kent's aunt Lorraine and her family. Kent's cousin Cathy and her husband Nels were kind enough to have us stay at their beautiful home on the golf course, in the shadow of the Mission Range. We went to the Smoke Jumper's Museum, the boys went horseback riding, and had a great time looking at dinosaurs at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Not to be missed, by the way, if you find yourselves out that way. We also stopped at a lavender farm and brought some back and safaried around the National Bison Range. There are some great art galleries in Missoula and Bozeman that I went to, and the guys just roll their eyes and settle back with their music until I get back.

The rest of the year passed in a blur of school activities, some weekends at the lake, and work for Kent. This year they received their 17th Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. They have worked very hard and it was wonderful to see everyone's contribution rewarded. We celebrated Virginia's (Kent's mom's) 90th birthday in July so more people could be there and it was very well-attended. She is still going strong and will probably outlive us all. We made it to the Rawley Point Lighthouse in WI for our 8th time, so it is like our home away from home. Door County never gets old and white sand beaches are always a welcome sight.

The Endless Drive

The Accomodations

The Wildlife

Glacier National Park

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The Relatives in Ronan

Ian's Schedule

Ian is currently in (deep breath) orchestra, jazz band, student congress, speech, the Fiddler on the Roof musical, men's choir, show choir, Boy Scouts, confirmation, and curling, with an online course in health on the side just for good measure. He is managing great grades and keeps his white board at his side at all times to keep everything on track. He definitely likes to multi-task, and will probably be bored out of his mind with any plain-vanilla job. I don't know where all this will lead, but he will always keep us on our toes and do it with a smile.

And as a final thought......

We hope that this year has been a wonderful one. We are very grateful for the friends and family that we have and hope the same for you. Merry Christmas!