Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010 update

A while ago a friend told me about the concept of a Personal Annual Report. It works on the same principle as a business annual report. So what did the Stenbakken's care about in 2010? In January we drafted a Personal Annual Report with blanks for tallies under categories like "Family & Social" with sub-categories like backyard cookouts, Mom & Dad date nights, and friends over. The category "Personal Improvement" had headings for books read, exercise days, etc. Other categories included "Church & Service," "Long-term Financial" and "Adventure" with tallies for nights camping, canoeing, skiing and 14ers climbed.

What we quickly found is the difference between what we *want* to do and what we *actually* do. We saw how much time we invested outside the home. Some of that is a good thing, but we could see the lack of tallies in other categories that paid for it. So what difference did that make? Lots. We both cut back on runaway obligations that monopolized our time and invested in the things we *wanted* to do. Result? A better year for us. There were losses and issues, BUT we found that by LIVING INTENTIONALLY we did so much more of what we wanted to and wasted less time on the trivial (example: we disconnected TV/Cable). Result? Less "where did the year go?" and more "we're glad we did that." The stats of the Report aren't relevant to anyone but us. But the results have been very positive. (If you're interested in a sample of a Personal Annual Report, drop me a line via and I'll send you one.)

Annual reports are a great summary of a year. But how does one summarize a lifetime? Businesses have tag lines, mottos, and mission statements and we think it normal (in fact, we think it foolish NOT to have one). But what about a family? What kind of *life* goals do you have? While I encourage you to answer that for yourself, here's our family's motto: Neighbors Together Forever. Items like "date nights" and "14ers climbed" have some value… but not at the trade-off of eternity. We are Christians and Adventist ones to boot. That simply means that at Christmas we think of the first Advent (coming) more than sales rebates and toys (though we enjoy both). It's our belief and faith in a second Advent that gives us real hope and satisfaction -- yes, even more than some hashes by "nights camping." That philosophy is more than an add-on, compartmentalized philosophy; it goes to the core of what motivates us and fills us with hope. We could wish nothing better for you too.

And now, on with the highlights of 2010…

Here's our 2010 annual family card. If you missed this great deal on sale, too bad. You'll just have to settle for a blog entry. At least we're regular… every year we update it! So here is a 2010 retrospective (minus December since it's end of November as I write).

Gelerie has been practicing face painting. You can tell who holds still longer. It's our backup career plan for Gelerie.

Erik has made it a goal to climb as many 14ers as he can. Total this year: 6. This shot is by Jeremy Jacob on a failed attempt at what should have been a simple 14er (as 14ers go): Mt. Sherman. Turned around when winds hit 50 - 70 mph and visibility dropped to 30 feet (and you may have noticed, it was rather cool out). Live to climb another day.

Oh, the kids both got glasses.

Took a great vacation to South Dakota. Stayed at Custer State Park and re-took our family photo in front of the faces (compare to last year's shot).

We harvested a LOT of pie cherries from our two trees. Not sure how many, but maybe 5 gallons. Gelerie has worked hard on perfecting her pie making skills and has done deliciously well.

Not many people know this, but as the air thins at altitude, gravity has less and less effect. Some days, it's just plain hard to stay on the trail. When people say they get "winded" what they usually mean is "I was just kinda floating and the wind pushed me along." This is a rare photo of that phenomenon.

More pics… just because.

Went camping west of Fort Collins at Tunnel Campground with Erik's parents, grandpa, Rikki (Erik's sister) and her family and inlaws. Everybody smelled like campfire = good times.

They let you pretty much do anything up in Wyoming. Thought we'd give Finn a shot at driving.

Camping in Wyoming with our friends the Kahlers. Aubrey caught her first trout (on a dry fly no less!).

Yes. That's a 40 on the cake. Forty is now the new 30. Or 20. (I can't remember -- I'm over 40)

Scenes from our "What would it look like if we went to Hawaii" photo contest. We won.

We'd heard great stuff about the Great Sand Dunes National Park down by Alamosa and the spring runoff. For a few weeks every spring a river forms right along the dunes. It's generally quite wide and very shallow. Kind of like a very gentle beach with tiny waves (like 3") that roll down the river every 20 seconds or so. The kids loved it and we did too. Went with the Kahlers on this adventure too.

Annual "Aubrey in the tulips" photo shoot.

After reading time, it's tickling time. Not sure who enjoys it more, the kids or the parents. :-)

Finn pulled it off right before his first birthday: his first steps. By now he's running of course. Not with the scissors, we talked about that. But he's running with all kinds of other stuff and having a blast. We, of course, are spending more time running too: "Finn, put that back!" or "Finn, where did you get that?" or even some times, "Finn, how in the world did you get that?" So if any of you need a tiny person who can get into virtually anything (think Ocean's Eleven) … give us a call. We've got a gem for you!

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