Spafford – Berger 2017 Christmas Letter

Well, Well, Well,

Another year has zipped by and it’s time to send out the yearly update of the Spafford-Berger family. I’ll start by letting you all know that we set out to make Spafford’s great again in 2017 and I believe we may have accomplished it. But, you can be the judge of that. It goes without saying, I think we did a tremendous job.    








Why don’t I start with my major accomplishment of 2017 (this is Jason speaking, by the way). While we visited my parents this summer–  residing in Eagle River, WI – we decided to take the kids to a nearby lake for a swim.  I mistakenly got off the road to the lake and ended up on a not so dissimilar ATV trail, without immediately noticing. The Volkswagon Routan minivan performed wonderfully at top speeds of 9 to 10 mph.  By the time I realized I was on the ATV trail, it was too late to turn around. We went 5 miles on the trail, surprising several groups of tourist ATVers and showing them how it’s really done up nort’. Cynthia and my sister, Nicolle, were laughing so hard that I was afraid for them. The children seemed to slip back and forth between fear and joy. Once again, I think the fear came from watching their mother and aunt on the brink of actually dying from laughter.

Lila is now a freshman in high school and just turned 15. She’s excited about learning to drive. She has already stated she won’t be learning to drive with her dad because he’s such a “worry wort”.  Where does that phrase come from? What would a wort have to worry about? I mean, aside from Lidocaine. I’m certainly not afraid of Lidocaine. Her mother, on the other hand, has the steely patience of a chess champion with a morphine drip. This year Lila continues to go to school, while listening to Twenty One Pilots and keeping her snap chat streaks current. She has also begun to rake in the big bucks babysitting. This year’s December piano recital saw Lila perform City of Stars from the film La La Land. Regarding other pop culture, our whole family irritates Lila to no end by referring to her favorite band as Twenty Pilots and the popular show, “Stranger Things” as “Stranger Stuff”. Uggh. We are so embarrassing to her, but we’re proud of her for being a presenter at the MREA Energy Fair for a third year in a row, teaching a kid’s workshop.

Hoyt turned 10 this year and is all about soccer. I’ve become a soccer mom (minus reassignment surgery) driving him all over the place. I’ve even played against him on occasion, in an effort to twist an ankle. I predict that for 2018. Hoyt also takes piano lessons with our next-door neighbor. He is also very much a fan of mathematics. Nonetheless, we, in this non-mathematics household, are learning how to love him like he is one of our own.  Sometimes before dinner, the other four members of the family will talk about our favorite numbers.  Hoyt shakes his head in disbelief when Lila says her favorite number is the “The Hills are Alive” from The Sound of Music.

Iris is now 7 and exceptional in school. When I say “exceptional”, I actually mean that she does well at things “except” when she’s in school. Of course, that’s only a joke. She loves school and everything associated with it – like making friends, recess, and telling the boys that they need to let her play soccer or she’s going to hurt them. On top of her new found interest in soccer, she’s also in gymnastics. Iris has piano lessons next door and sometimes enjoys singing outside in the yard by herself. I’m not sure if this is appropriate for a Christmas letter, but I think she may end up being crazy someday. You know – “good” crazy.

Cynthia is in the middle of another good year of teaching art at South High School in Minneapolis and she’s been painting and screen printing. She’s hoping to have a website up soon to put some of her paintings on sale.

We spent a couple weeks in New Hampshire this summer at Gamma and Gampa Berger’s and had a chance to eat ice cream, see some sights and get some free stuff at a thrift sale. We headed out East again to have Thanksgiving at Shohola, PA on the Delaware River at Cynthia’s Aunt Judy & Uncle Lloyd’s. We added a lot of non-four wheeling minivan miles this year in an unprecedented effort to make minivans great again.

Wishing You Happy Holidays,

Jason Spafford, Cynthia Berger, Lila, Hoyt & Iris

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