Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year..... the lights, the smells, the kids excitement, the joy of giving, the importance of teaching the true meaning of Christmas and enjoying quality time with family. I love it all! The only part I don't like is the cold that comes with this time of year. Now that I mention it, my teeth are chattering as I write this letter. BBBBrrrrrr.

Ryan turned 6 this year and is in 1st grade. The school year started off a little rough for Ryan, it was hard for him to switch from a social atmosphere to academic. He has settled in now. His teacher moved him to the top reading group and he just brought home an certificate of excellence in math so my cup runnth over with pride. He is still his happy little self with a laugh that is infectious. He keeps us laughing but also keeps us on our toes. I wouldn't have it any other way. Ryan played tball and soccer this year, he loved tball. Ryan is truly my homebody child. He is perfectly happy and actually prefers to stay around the house. He is in his element playing outside, tagging along when the guys are farming or trucking, setting up his own farming operation with his huge tractor/equipment collection and he has gotten pretty good at bugging his sister.

Miss Veronika....WOW....what a year it has been for her. She turned 11 this year and she is in 5th grade. She has been working very hard at learning English and getting caught up both academically and socially. I must say her English is incredible. Most people can't even tell that she has only been in America for a little over a year. She played softball and volleyball. She is also in gymnastic and will start dance in January. Her passion is probably music. She plays the clarinet in band, would love to learn more instruments, sings all the time, listens to music, etc. This year has not been without struggle for her though. Living amongst new people in a new country, speaking a new language, eating all new foods and having parents who watch over every move can be overwhelming at times. All in all, things have been better than anyone could have imagined. We are so proud of our daughter.

Well, Ben and I are not nearly as exciting as the kids. Ben is still plugging away at farming and trucking. I am still working for International Spine and Pain Institute in Story City. We are at a great place, we both really like what we do. The kids activities keep us busy but we wouldn't have it any other way. I was honored to join the Camp Hope (the organization that brought Veronika to America) board of directors this year. We are just starting to get things rolling for Camp Hope 2011 so I looking forward to that experience. I volunteer at the school and in the community as much as I can. Ben says I don't know how to say NO but honestly I like helping out when and where I have the time. See we are pretty boring.

Enjoy our 2010 photo recap!


Veronika's first big public outing - Incredible Pizza in Des Moines
Of course, my social butterfly loved it


The reoccuring theme for early 2010 is SNOW


We went to Amana for our annual friends weekend. We stayed at a waterpark hotel all week. Always a fun time.

Our newest family member joined us in March. Stella is a great little dog. A true lap dog.


Ben is teaching Veronika how to drive the 4 wheeler


The first thing on the to do list when the weather got nice....learn how to ride a bike! Both kids caught on quickly.


We bought a camper in May. So we enjoyed our first of several camping weekends. Camping is one of our favorite family past times.

My family biked up to the campground to visit us


Veronika's 11th birthday

Last day of school

Ryan loved playing Tball

Veronika first attempt at sports in America, softball


We love Colorado! It helps that Ben's sister lives near Colorado Springs. Gives us more of a reason to go out there.

We spent a few days getting to know our newest nephew, Drew Colt, gotta love that smile

Forth of July in Colorado
Nothing like Christmas (we spent the day at The North Pole amusement park) in July

Off to the mountains for some ATVing. This was probably one of my favorite trips ever.

Eating lunch on the trail
Feeding the chipmunks at St Elmo

Both kids fell asleep on the trail

See that white stuff on the ground, hail! It was hailing so bad we had to stop and take cover under some trees.


Sweet corn! An Iowa favorite. We froze about 60 quarts of corn.

Minnesota Vacation
We stayed in a cabin along the banks of Kabetogama Lake with Ben's family. A week on the water. Couldn't think of a better way to spend vacation. We did do some fishing but I didn't take any photos.

Veronika and Ben kayaking

Ryan kayaking

We swam in a waterfall. See the little green speck that is Ryan. Very majestic!

Sunset boat ride

Family games

Veronika on a water bike

Veronika being launched


Ryan being launched


Veronika being launched by Grandpa


Quick trip to Branson, MO. The kids and I headed down to Branson to visit my aunt and cousins.

First day of school 2010-2011

Ryan - 1st grade Veronika - 5th grade

Veronika's first haying experience. Hard work!

Ryan's 6th birthday


My family all met up in Des Moines over Labor Day weekend. I love these weekends.

Grandpa and Grandma with the grandkids

Veronika and Libby at the waterpark hotel

Blank Park ZOO

Things are changing on the farm. Barn and silo demolition


Family Photo Opp


Ryan is an Indian Chief Veronika is a ChaCha dancer


This is the way we eat family suppers during harvest

Our girls weekend in Prairie Du Chien, WI

Veronika and I along with Ben's mom and aunt made a weekend out of art shows and apple orchards. We made stops in Amish country, Decorah, Prairie Du Chien, Effigy Mounds and McGregor. It is beautiful up there in fall.

Veronika went to a cheerleading camp then cheered at a home football game.

Back row in black sweatpants

Ryan playing soccer - goalie


My little brother got married! I have a wonderful new sister in law and neice. It was a very casual wedding. Short and sweet!

My family

All the kids on my mom's side of the family waiting for the lighted Christmas Parade to start in Washington. It was really great to spend time with this side of the family. It doesn't happen very often.


I can't believe I don't have any photos to share from this month. We have been busy with Christmas concerts, parties and shopping just haven't had the camera in tow. I will be sure to have the camera ready for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

We really hope that your 2010 has been as blessed as ours. Happy 2011, make it the best year yet!


The Johnson's

As you can see, I wasn't very good about keeping the blog up to date in 2010. My goal is to do a better job next year.