What a fabulous 2019!

This was a fabulous year for us. So many highlights!

Greta, now 5:

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She learned to “ski” as a part of Northfield’s MYSL program beginning in January. I don’t know if she loved it, but the following winter (now), she is scooting right along. She even said, “I’m gliding” the last time we went out for a family ski!

She graduated from the Montessori Preschool program in May, moving into their Kindergarten room. She will likely do Kindergarten again next fall in the public school (Sibley or Prairie Creek). She LOVES to learn. We are amazed daily at what she knows. She easily reads level 3 books without much hesitation (and uses inflection, even!), usually asked for math problems or science explanations on car trips, and can hear a song once and remember all of the lyrics. The picture with the scrabble tiles just blew me away this summer. I put all of these letters in a pile and asked her if she could unscramble them. It took her just a couple minutes to figure out what the letters could spell.

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Her ability to concentrate still amazes us, although you would think we would be used to it by now!

Both girls enjoyed a lot of fun family and cousin time, between “The Farm” near Marshall and the cabin near Hayward, WI.

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Yes, that is my dad, dressed in a cow suit for the Kiddie Parade for DJJD. What grandparents won’t do for their grandkids 😉

Greta is now in the Tykes program in Gymnastics, the first “Team” at her club. She is really proud of that and loves flipping around the bar her Uncle Brice built for her. She is so strong! Anna practices with the help of her sister as they both really want to be in Tykes together.

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After her first Tykes practice. She was so excited she hopped up and down during any of the instruction time 🙂

Anna, now 3:

She is our more stubborn child, although that comparison may be unfair as anything compared to Greta’s “please you at all costs” personality is likely to be labeled stubborn/fiesty! She is in the toddler room at Montessori and says, “I love Miss Liz”. She loves anything her sister is doing, cleaning (really), playing soccer and riding her bike, and being a goof-ball.

Anna really likes doing soccer. I found it amusing to watch both girls at one of their practices. Greta went first and frequently “let” her friends get the ball when they wanted it. She would then spend time dancing and twirling mid-field. Anna, on the other hand, gets right in the middle of the game, fighting for the ball, smiling, and running until “I really need a rest”.

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Moving into a toddler bed this summer (2 years, 6 months). She potty trained in about 3 days when we brought up this bed as motivation.

She really misses Mesa around the house and has repeatedly asked us for a puppy. She asked Santa for a “real dog”, but he told her he couldn’t make real animals. She was really happy to get a fluffy pretend dog instead :).

 

The girls have so much fun together. Our house is filled with laughter, imagination, craft projects, box forts, couch forts… you name it. We get the occasional complaint from either girl about something annoying them, but it is infrequent. We consider ourselves SO lucky!IMG_1577IMG_0845.jpg

 

 

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Anna was our official worm girl when fishing. She also loved throwing the fish back in the water. Greta, not so much.

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Fun on the lake! My “mini-me”, just a bit 🙂

Nichole:

I continue to work 30 hours/week as Director of Finance at Bethel Lutheran Church. It has been a really rewarding 5 years. They have allowed me to inject more and more change and creativity into daily operations, as well as continue my transformation of their finance department (capital asset schedules and forecasting, GO!). It has brought our family much closer to church which has been great in and of itself.

Last winter I decided I wasn’t working nearly enough (between Bethel, TNC Endurance private coaching, and Head Boys & Girls Cross Country Coach) so decided to take the Head Nordic Ski Coach. That turned out to be… a lot… as the craziness of the season is crunch time at Bethel. It wasn’t sustainable, and I am happily just concentrating on Bethel work this winter :).

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Someone (Leigh, here’s looking at you) convinced me that doing the Birkie would be a good idea. I dusted off the skis after not using them for 10 years, and although it was NOT like riding a bike like Leigh promised it would be, I finished! It was my 6th Birkie. I fell SO many times during the race. If I’m going to do this race again, remind me to train!

I am loving being a mom to two of God’s greatest girls. Oh, the adventures we went on this year! They are at such fun ages: they’re curious and funny, they still think I’m pretty awesome, and watching them experience things for the first time makes my heart melt.

 

Of course, I am still running! I won several races this year: Get It Dunn 1/2 Marathon, Musky Fest 5k the day after Grandma’s, Defeat of Jesse James 15k, and the Stillwater Log Boom 10 mile.

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With 3 of the 4 NHS Assistant Cross Country Coaches (Craig was on vacation otherwise he would definitely have run as well). How wonderful to have a coaching staff who runs/competes!

I ran Grandma’s marathon with a fever (thank you, Anna) – NOT recommended. I felt so terrible (3:07).

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Grandma’s Marathon with my #1 fan

I was looking for redemption this fall at TCM, but low and behold, after 3 miles at 6:45 pace, I had to tell Carrie, my pacing partner, I just couldn’t hold the pace. Similar to Grandma’s, I had no power in my stride – but it was a little different. My lungs felt fine, I just couldn’t get off the ground or move very fast. I finished in 3:11, a bit devastated that I couldn’t see the results of ALL of those training miles.

Several weeks later I was feeling nauseated at night and took a pregnancy test. Positive! That explained it! Ha! I had been combing through my logs for weeks trying to figure out what I needed to change!

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Midway, TCM (3:11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are so excited to welcome baby BOY Porath into the world next June. He has me feeling much more tired than either girls did, and immediately slower with my running. Other than the sleepiness, I’ve been feeling great! Now, we actually need to buckle down and come up with a boy’s name… hmm… we have always struggled with boy names. Criteria: Scandinavian, Old-fashioned, and easy to cheer for (Leighton, love your name, but it’s too hard to yell out! Ha!). Suggestions?

I finally upgraded my wedding ring. When we first got married I forbid Nate to spend much money on a ring – we instead were going to put a down payment on a house. I found this beautiful light pink sapphire and simple diamond band and fell in love. More in love when I found out later that it’s the gemstone for October (the girls’ birthdays).
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I am still coaching ~10 athletes around the country through my TNC Endurance business. It has been fun to coach to TWO world records, countless PRs (even by those who competed in college and who are much older now!), two former Olympians, and hopefully my first Olympic Trials athlete after a qualifying attempt in January.

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Jeff after setting his world record in the 1/2 marathon while pushing a double stroller

IMG_2642I also finished my 3rd year coaching the Northfield High School Boys and Girls Cross Country team. One parent explained it best: “Their end of the season speeches used to be about hating running, but being surrounded by friends. Now their speeches are all about the adventures they have while training and racing together AND how much fun they’re having!”. The team is improving every year as well. This year I had my first MN State Meet qualifier. Now both the Boys and Girls team is excited to see if they can make it as a team next year. I can’t wait!

As part of the Cross Country season I organize an Alumni Meet, complete with kids races. This year we had over 130 runners between current athletes, alumni, parents, and Future Raiders. It was something I brought to the team when I started (think: TON of work to get it off the ground), and I was filled with pride this year to stand back and see it be an actual “event”. Greta and Anna really look forward to the kids races – and the medals they win (made by our Award Engineers, one of the many roles I have the athletes on the team take on).

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Nathan:

His 2019 was spent skiing, working, and loving time with family.

IMG_1137The skiing highlights include helping Nichole coach the high school Nordic ski team last winter (and continuing to help Craig coach it this year), winning another Vasaloppet 35k, and finishing another Birkie in the top 100. IMG_1202

His work at Midwest Dental is still going strong. The practice has now officially doubled in size since he started there 9+ years ago, and he is thankful for my co-workers and patients who keep coming to work rewarding and interesting every day. A particular dental highlight was spending a time in Florida, including 4 days of continuing education at the Pankey Institute. The days were long, but the comradery was great, and the material was engaging. I flew down to FL for the weekend and we enjoyed a warm 2 days exploring the Everglades and Miami. He will be back there for 5 more days of continuing education in 2020, and he is already looking forward to it.

His adventures as the dad to Greta and Anna just keeps getting more fun. They are both great kids who still want to hang out with him, so he says he will soak it in for as long as that lasts. He is excited to meet their little brother this summer. 🙂

Family adventures:

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We had a friend help us to plant a native prairie in our backyard.
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The girls’ first camping outing – in our backyard. Anna’s expression is so – Anna! Greta loved the experience, minus Anna “keeping her up” when she wanted to go to bed. Anna was just so excited she couldn’t stop whispering “secrets” to her sister and wiggling around the tent. It was precious.
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Landscaping was done last year, but the mulch side of the house is being filled in as we find plants. Here we are re-homing some of Julie Cardinal’s precious perennials. We love and miss you, Julie!

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6 Comments

  1. Beautiful. I admire the amount of work you put into this. You truly have a beautiful family. Nigel? Means champion.

    1. Probably too much time – but it’s fun to look back on year after year! Nigel (and it’s meaning!!)… hadn’t thought of that one, but I like it!

  2. Beautiful recap of your year and precious family photos! Thanks for sharing.

    Congrats on the exciting news of your baby boy. I vote Nils for his name. Yes, that’s the name if our firstborn, but it’s a good one!

    Happy 2020, Porath family!

    1. Amy! It’s been so long!! 🙂 I’ve come across Nils on many of our “suggested name” lists. Is it pronounced like gills, only with a N? Or like Bells with an N?

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