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Updated: Nov 28, 2022

All Growing Up and New Adventures

This year has been the most exciting change in our entire family’s timeline!


"Christmas is forever,

not just for one day,

for loving, sharing, giving,

are not to put away

like bells and lights and tinsel,

in some box upon the shelf.

The good you do for other

is good you do yourself."

- Norman Wesley Brooks


The beginning of 2022 was relatively calm. My 33rd birthday began the year for us, family fun and very relaxing. The rest of the month kind of felt like a blur… work, school, more work, and more school. Working from home made things really easy on gas when prices increased. Luckily all the holidays were done and we could focus on ourselves for a bit. Riley did all the driving for him and his sister to the High School. What a great big brother for doing that when she did not want to ride the bus anymore.

Basil turned 15 this year in February. She had an excellent party with her mom hosting her and her friends for a night of glowsticks and fun! What’s better than a room full of teenagers? 😂 They even made a fun dance video. Check out the video here:

March was pretty exciting career-wise. I applied for the Bank Escalated Solutions Team doing escalated casework for customer complaints and I got the role! No more inbound calls for me and a lot more of a push in the right direction for the future!

On May 31st Riley’s Graduation Ceremony was held at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on the SCSU campus. You can see Riley at the 1:53:26 mark; his name is announced, and he walks across the stage.

On June 25th we all came together and celebrated Riley graduating High School! It was a wonderful day of talking with friends and family, playing games, and eating lots of very tasty foods. In honor of Riley, we had boneless wings, a taco bar, lots of fruit and veggies and tasty donuts, and a little candy bar. Eston, myself, and Brittany worked together to make Riley’s day as best as it could possibly be. We had a great turnout of friends and family. Watching everyone play a giant game of Jenga was intense at moments but exciting when it fell! Bean bag toss was an absolute hit being played most of the time by someone or in groups. Music was blasted from a powerful speaker, filling the room with good music and good vibes. Overall, Riley’s day was a success and everyone got to enjoy his biggest achievement today.

Basil was able to attend Driver’s education and earned her Driver’s Permit in August. She is already an excellent driver, perfecting her technique and she loves to drive as often as grown-ups let her! Now she wants to get a good job somewhere and earn gas money and Autumn/Christmas decor shopping money. She already looks like a grown adult and ready to take on the whole world!

The end of summer in August was probably the slowest month we’ve had all year. The days were wonderful and felt so long. Most days were sunny and warm, but not too terribly hot. It was such a wonderful way to head back to school for September. Basil is going into 10th grade and is excited to drive herself to school daily. We worked out a plan for each morning for who gets dropped off in which order. Leander starts his day before everyone else at 7:45 am. He is going to be in the first class, entering Kindergarten, in the newly built Pleasantview Elementary! Everything is new for his grade and the older kids and he will have a wonderful teacher who will help teach him to read more. He can already pick out some words and phrases and pretty soon he may be a bookworm.

Theodore will begin Preschool just the week after Basil and Leander start school. His first year of preschool is age 3-4. He is going to make so many new friends and we will be sure to save plenty of room on the fridge and walls for all the art that will come home. 😍 They all got fresh new clothes to show off on day one.

As Halloween approached and we got ready to celebrate one of our favorite holidays. But, our family spent a lot more time celebrating someone we truly loved and their life. Eston’s grandmother, Linda “Lynn” Kruzel, passed away before the holiday season. She had been experiencing some medical issues as of late but I am so thankful for the family that let us know what was happening and that we got to be there with her, and the family, that last night. Every minute of that drive was worth it for one last moment together. We had missed a lot of opportunities to visit Lynn due to someone in the house being ill or just not good timing. She is still in our hearts and our memories and we really want to say thank you to her for being a part of our lives and for the impact she has had on all of us. I absolutely loved that we all sang together at her funeral. “You are my sunshine” is one of my favorite songs that I like to sing quite often and to know she loved it too was awesome, especially when it really brought everyone together one last time. ♥️

As we look to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we want to share with all our family and friends how thankful we are to have everyone one of you in our lives. We may not always call or send a message but we do think about each of you and when we may see you again. To be honest, it really is never goodbye, it’s “until next time” and we will meet again. We can bring some beers too!

Have a safe and happy holiday season as we close out 2022. May your 2023 be everything you need and more!


This year in our holiday cards you will see a couple of extra items. The first is a "you are my sunshine" sticker. This sticker is our remembrance of Grandma Lynn and how much she meant to each of us. When you use this sticker, you can use it too to remember someone dear to you or even give it to someone whom you love very much.

The second item is a bookmark. They are made from the same material the cards are from but with a different design. This is in honor of our youngest children learning how to read and the importance of being able to read. Books are the portals to whole new worlds, new knowledge, new adventures, or even exciting ideas! Let this bookmark be your place saver on your next read.

Last was a QR code that led you here. Thank you for reading and letting us share our family adventure from 2022 with you.


Eston and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We spent the whole day as a family and celebrated together. We had a delicious lunch at the River Boat Depot in Sartell, MN. Highly recommend anyone who loves a good bar to visit this place. The food was excellent and very filling. Eston bought me the softest wifey blanket I have ever felt. Then, Leander stole it until he had his very own same soft and cuddly blanket! I handmade a cross-stitch slasher photo frame of the 5 main slashers from major horror films—some of Eston’s favorite characters like Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, and more. Overall, 10 years is a long time and we’re so glad to reach this milestone! Another 10 will be here soon enough!


Lots of Love,

the Vogel Family

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And it begins... The first day of school, new memories, old friends, and what an adventure it is going to be this year.

Basil has her permit to drive now. She is really enjoying being that cool kid that can drive to school and wants to drive around as much as she can. On day two, another kid saw her getting out of the driver's seat and said "You drove???" and she had the perfect response "Yeah, I'm that kind of cool!"

I saw she had a smile a mile wide and it was priceless <3

Leander joins his friends in Kindergarten and in a brand new school! They just finished building it and laying down the grass sod a few weeks before school started. The playground is amazing at 3 levels high! On day one, Leander was brave enough to go down the tallest slide on the playground he shared too. He is so brave!

Theodore also gets to join on the school adventure this year with his first year of Preschool. He is going to be going two days a week to start. He starts a week after his two older siblings and this week of being home by himself with us has been interesting, to say the least.

Theodore's first day with just himself to play toys with was great! He used his imagination and just got to play with such stories! In the following days, he was really feeling the weight of not having his brother and sister at home during the waking part of the day... and he was acting out a bit. We worked our best to make sure to give him enough attention throughout the day.

Next week will be the first time in over 2 years that everyone will be off at school or work and I will continue to work from home, alone. It will be just a few hours a week but its still an adventure.

Just a few short weeks left to go and Basil will begin her sophomore year of High School, and Leander will begin Kindergarten. The following week, Theodore begins his very first year of preschool!

Theodore picked out his first school backpack already. The list of supplies is easy to find, even after most stores have been picked through. Crayons, pencils, pens, markers, and more... hand sanitizer. I will admit though, that watching the kids pick out their own supplies makes it so much more enjoyable because I remember what it was like for me to pick them out myself too... <3

Next, we will be going clothes shopping for our three kids. I always loved picking out new clothes each year for school. A new outfit for a new year. Not of course forgetting the annual tradition of new socks and underwear! That is always a great feeling.

I'm going to make sure to take the day off on all of the first days of school because I'm going to be emotional watching them all go off to school and wait for them to be done so I can pick them up again.


Our oldest, Riley, now having moved out, has decided he doesn't want to go to college just yet. And, we're ok with that. He can do his own thing and we support him every step of the way. And continued education doesn't have to be a part of everyone's plan and that's ok.

We always make sure to tell our kids that they are not required to go to college after High School is done. You can make a great living with or without a college degree. Our goal, give our kids the opportunity to be successful, make their own big decisions, and let them make their happy places. Even if a job or career isn't to perfect or the highest paying if you really enjoy what you do then it's still worth it. And, you can make anything work.

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