Our 2016-In-Review Christmas Card!

Merry Christmas from the Porath family: Nathan, Nichole, Gretchen (Greta), and our newest addition Anna Kathryn!

2016 was a fantastic year for us.

Nathan continues to work at Midwest Dental in Faribault. He loves his work, his staff, and his patients. 

Nichole works in finance 27 hours/week at Bethel Lutheran Church. She truly loves her job and the opportunity to utilize her financial management experience to make changes to the delivery, analysis, and overall financial management of the church. 

Nichole also continues to coach 10-15 athletes from around the country as a part of TNC Endurance (TNC = Team Nichole Coaching). Her athletes are lean, mean, PR-producing machines! She really enjoys writing their crazy workouts, doing some of those workouts alongside her athletes (and was able to run alongside 5 different athletes from AK, WA and AZ this year!), laughing at the crazy texts and other fun racing/workout stories, and sitting on pins and needles for race results. 

TNC had a great showing at Grandma’s marathon this year. 
Nichole proudly represents the Defeat the Stigma group, a project that brings awareness to mental health.

In addition to her part time finance position, part time coach/business owner, she is a full-time mom and wife. She never thought she would say this, but coming home to her little family is the highlight of her day. She enjoys taking care of a lot of “the little things” in and around the house.

Enjoying the zoo together this Summer.

Athletically, both Nate and Nichole tried to stay as active as they could. One of the highlights of Nathan’s racing was his 4th win in the 35k Mora Vasaloppet skate race. He also finished another Birkie while the entire family cheered in cow suits. 

Perhaps the coolest skiing picture ever.
Greta told Dad she wanted a horsey for Christmas.

So he went out an won her one at the Mora Vasaloppet. 

Skiing with dad!
Nathan has really enjoyed his new bike! He often bike commutes to or from work. 

Nathan and Nichole found out they were expecting #2 early in 2016!

The room on mom’s lap grew smaller and smaller…

Pregnancy didn’t slow Nichole down. Her original goal was to run Grandma’s marathon, and despite the fact that she was going to be 22 weeks pregnant, she decided to still do it. She finished in 3:38, enjoyed walking whenever she felt like it, and liked the ability to chat with everyone around her. The guys who were racing around her were not too happy with their situation, though :). She said she could get used to running marathons “for fun”! Fun fact: She averaged 70 miles a week through the first half of her pregnancy and had logged over 1800 miles by the time Anna arrived. If exercising through your pregnancy truly does increase baby’s IQ, Anna should be a genius!

Nichole ran Grandma’s marathon at 22 weeks pregnant. It was a very hot and humid day so she took it very easy with lots of water and a few walk breaks. She said she could used to running marathons “for fun”!

Nichole (~20 weeks pregnant) and Mesa took 3rd place at the Fast and the Furry 5k, a race they do together every year. Mesa kindly asked that Nichole not be pregnant next year so they try to RACE it!

Greta is becoming quite the little whiz at the Northfield Montessori school. She knows how to count to 12, knows her colors and shapes, how to sing most of the “ABCs” and a few other songs (Twinkle, Twinkle; Rudolph; Rock-a-Bye-Baby), and can do 24 piece puzzles crazy fast. She tried gymnastics (where she mostly just wanted to “run, run, run!” on the tumbling mats) and swimming lessons (those went a little better) this year. She is looking forward to putting on her skis this winter with dad. Hopefully her feet are finally big enough to fit in the bindings! She is ever happy and truly loves life.

Greta continues to have a love for LIFE! She is ever happy, curious, and a little smarty pants!
Greta loves being active. She loves to bike, run, swim – anything!
Here she is, biking all the way to Craig’s house (one mile away). She wanted to visit Craig and his chickens – and once she started out (with mom walking beside her), she never looked back! Looks like an endurance athlete in the making… and it also looks like mom and dad will have to keep an eye on her!
At the Frightening 5k, a race that Nichole directs in Northfield. Here is Greta with Tia Jessica!

Hard to believe she is already 2! Celebration #1 in the hospital the day after Anna was born.
Happy Birthday, Greta! Celebration #2.

She chose the “Mad Cow” cupcake to eat πŸ™‚

Bike rodeo at school! She hardly said good-bye to mom when she was dropped off.

Common comments from her teachers: Man, she loves to bike! Wow, she can really go!

Visiting “the farm”. We are members of a CSA and look forward to our weekly vegetable pick-ups. Greta always has to take us to see the chickens and the pigs.
This was taken the day before Anna was scheduled to arrive. Her last day as dad’s “only”!
Greta tried gymnastics this summer. It went… okay :). She was one of the smallest in her “Tiny Tumblers” class, and she didn’t quite have the grip strength to hold onto a bar.

She LOVED to sprint across the balance beam and “run, run, run!” on the tumbling mats. *Sigh*. She must be her mother’s daughter!

One of Greta’s favorite things was learning sign language. She knew about 50 signs by the time she was ~20 months old.

Anna Kathryn greeted the world on October 14th, one day before her sister turned 2. She has been a great baby, but caught RSV and the rhinovirus relatively early in life so has spent an unfortunate amount of time at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. As of Christmas eve we are nearing day 12 of our stay there, but are in good hands. She is slowly improving. It will be nice to all be home as a family again!

Welcome, Anna Kathryn! 6 pounds, 13 ounces, 19 inches long. Just beautiful!
Named after her great grandma, Anna, and her great aunt, Kathryn.

Great grandma was a little surprised – and honored – to learn baby was named Anna.

Greta is such a great big sister!
Greta is helping Anna with “Tummy Time”
*Sister Love*
Supervising our Christmas decorating
Anna on her first day at Children’s
Day 4… In the PICU
6th Floor… Day 8…

Meanwhile, Nate and Nichole are putting the finishing touches on a fully custom home in Northfield. It is being built on a walk-out lot that backs up to a 30 acre city park (no houses in sight!). The highlights of the house plans include a bonus room that will be used as “the coolest play/craft/reading/sleepover room ever!”, a gigantic work out room, a wax room for Nathan, an extra bedroom for Nichole’s quilting projects and coaching office and a space for a future sauna. The new house should be finished early in February. Their house on Crocus Ct. just passed appraisal, so the “sold” sign was officially posted outside their home! It will be a little hard to leave that house as there are a lot of memories, but we are very excited to make new memories in “the forever house”.

Biking on the trail that runs right next to the new house

Other highlights this year, in picture form:

Jim, Nate’s dad, retired in April. We have had so much fun spending more time with him!
Music, and a grandparent… what more can a 2 year old ask for?
Nathan and Nichole spent a week in Alaska in June. It was the trip of a lifetime!

Meeting up with Lisa, Nathan’s high school friend. She let us stay in her spare bedroom for a number of nights in Anchorage.
We hiked, ran, met up with friends, and enjoyed the perfect weather and nearly endless daylight! Here Nichole is with two of her TNC athletes, Erika and Beth (Beth was also a GAC grad).
On a day long glacier tour. Tons of wildlife sightings – definitely a highlight!
Celebrating Aunt Kathy’s 60th birthday on her boat!
Gustavus Alumni race!

Lots of fun times at the cabin this year, including finishing the “sand boat”
Fishing with Tia! Greta was not afraid of touching the fish. Her cousin Simon definitely was πŸ™‚
Cheering at TCM.
Grandma Colleen and Grandpa Pete came for a visit!
Nichole continues to speak about her running journey at high schools and colleges – even while 37 weeks pregnant! This is her before a presentation to the Faribault HS XC team.
Daddy’s girls
Uncle Ben and Aunt Mary flew in for a week to enjoy deer hunting with my dad, Greta’s birthday party, and a weekend with the girls!
One of Nichole’s first runs after Anna was born. Grandma Karen made Anna a second sleeping bag for the Chariot. Looks like it works well for sleeping! πŸ™‚
First bath together
Holiday program!
Guess who cried through all four songs of the toddler program? πŸ™‚
Great Aunt Kathy made Anna a Gustavus-colored throw quilt. You would think by Anna’s expression that it was St. Thomas colored… πŸ™‚
Anna says, “Merry Christmas!”

To end this year’s letter, here are some of Greta’s gems from this year:
-Greta, we don’t talk with our mouth full. Greta proceeds to take the partially chewed apple out her mouth – and continue talking.
-Grandpa Pete, asking about his Thanksgiving 5k race: Is Grandpa fast or slow? Greta: SLOW!
-Nichole: Greta, let’s sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider! Greta: No, mommy. Spider is dead.
-Someday we’ll be able to cheer, Go Raiders! for you! Greta: Nooo (said in a you’re silly! voice). Go Gusties!

Wishing you all the best in the upcoming year!
~Nate, Nichole, Greta, Anna, and Mesa

We are looking forward to the adventures to come!

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