This year, unlike any other year of our marriage, there was no fighting over who would write the Christmas letter.

I could not muster the cheer in light of recent events. Yet Jared, in his steady way insisted on focusing on the positive. He’s right (but don’t tell him that).

We spent 2016 pursuing our passions, receiving much love, and enjoying adventures.

So, in the spirit of having a grateful heart, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you all:

One would think since the family pictures were taken in November that this letter would be finding you all in early December because obviously we are well-organized adults. Wrong. We haven’t found a smooth enough road yet to type a letter on. Instead, we have found ourselves blessed with the lifestyle to travel with friends and family to see more friends and family.

With Squidget being a strong-willed, red-headed cowgirl, she hasn’t allowed a dull moment. I am told that stubbornness runs strong in the ginger children and I find I am wearing down when she says, “Daddy, horsie, please.” Although her vocabulary mostly consists of the words “poop” and “undies,” we have also managed to get some ABC’s in there and the numbers 1-5, 8 and the ever-popular 9. Besides studying the English language, Squidget has also been working on mastering the art of potty training. What was going very well hit a hiccup during a two-week vacation to Neigh Grammie’s for Thanksgiving and we reintroduced “adventure undies” to avoid blowouts on the road. Now, all she wants to wear are the adventure variety.

In addition to being Squidget’s chauffeur to and from the park and friends’ houses, Alice has started a new approach to her photography by displaying it on T-shirts and note cards. She started this summer with a stand at the farmers market and has continued with a few craft shows since then. To keep her on her toes, I also call on her to help on the farm, whether it’s driving truck, shoveling grain or moving vehicles.

As for me, I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to get out of work and go play. This year we chased snow to Bend, Oregon, to ski with Dwayne, Ann, Asher and Leonie in endless powder. We hit our other favorite Montana hills too and skied well into March.

In May Aunt Sally came for a visit and joined us on our annual bike trip up Going to the Sun Road. You should try it. Come with us next time. Really. You won’t regret seeing the park via your own sweat power, especially since there are no hoards of tourists blocking the views.

In June, we spent a weekend celebrating my grandparents’ anniversary with cousins galore camping in the Bear Paws. In August, Squidget finally made it to her namesake lake for a long weekend of tenting it. She only kept the campground guests awake one night and they quickly forgave her when they found out it was her birthday.

We also made a trip out to see Knight and Leonie in Washington before they moved and were spoiled by great food and the opportunity to see the ocean from the westernmost corner of the lower 48 states. Knight and Leonie also decided they should try and kill us over the 4th of July by taking a quick, 49-mile hike in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We may not have seen THE wall but gosh darn it we saw a BIG wall and it was great. (Alice maintains that I should never be allowed to pick the trail if we want to have fun.)

The snow is flying and all three of us have new skis to break in this winter, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – we wish to see you and make great memories in the upcoming year!

Jared, Alice & Squidget




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