Friday, December 25, 2009

From Our Zoo to You

It’s a Christmas miracle! Two posts in 1 week! Wow.
But I have to admit I’m totally cheating on this one. This is the annual Christmas letter I send out to the 38 people we love most in this world. Sorry if you didn’t make the list. With only room for 38 it’s a hard cut to make. Kidding, it’s more about me being cheap and not wanting to buy stamps for 150 cards/letters than anything else. Who am I kidding? We don’t even know 150 people that would WANT to get cards from us!
Anyway, here’s the letter. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you already know this stuff but here it is for your reading pleasure.

Dear Friends and Family,
Grab a cup of coffee or cocoa, a blanket and snuggle up to read the novel also known as the annual Koons Christmas Letter. It could take awhile. I know, I know, it’s the highlight of your holiday season. You’re welcome.
This just keeps getting harder and harder to write and not for lack of happenings but more so lack of recollection. The older I get the harder it becomes to remember what we did over the weekend let alone 9 months ago! Lucky for us all, I started a blog back in January that should help jog my memory If you don’t already read it, check it out. It’s bound to make you a) smile, b) roll your eyes, c) never speak to me again. I’ve had a blast recording my our mishaps and adventures here and in my old age it helps to have something to refer back to when it’s time to write the yearly letter. Enough with the shameless plug, now on with your regularly scheduled programming.
What to say about 2008? Oh wait, that’s right it IS 2009. This year FLEW by! We have 3 school aged kids now and have now officially entered the “on the go w/ 7000 different activities” stage of life. Why can’t they just be lazy, unambitious couch potatoes? I tease.
Dakota is in her 2nd year of piano lessons and can now play a moving rendition of every Christmas carol known to man. She also started horseback riding lessons and has officially found another passion in life, right up there with hunting, fishing, and drawing. I’m hoping she can teach this ol’ cowgirl a few tricks given that I tend to scream like a scared little girl when my horse goes at any speed faster than standing still. Dakota is and always will be our brainiac kid. She’s incredibly intelligent when it comes to reading, writing, science, math, you know the normal academic stuff. Common sense, however, I’d give her a D+….on a good day. She makes us proud and drives us crazy all in the same breath. Smart, sassy, blunt, funny, confident, artistic, independent, tomboy tough, country girl, camo princess…that’s our Dakota. She entered the double digits this year by turning 10, which means that Justin is one year closer to a heart attack as she nears the teenage years. Help us all.
Then there’s Blade, our “rule the school” 2nd grader. Growing up I always wondered what it would be like to be the cool kid at school, and now I know. Blade is THAT kid. He’s good looking, smart, polite, witty, athletic, and everyone loves him. Already I’ve had to break the hearts of several young girls by telling them they were NOT ALLOWED TO CALL OUR HOUSE TO TALK TO MY SON ON THE PHONE IN 2ND GRADE. Seriously…2nd grade?!? Yeah I ‘m not winning any popularity contests, oh well. Besides warding off advances and phone calls from girls, he’s been very busy being Mr. Athletic w/ soccer, wrestling, and football. Never thought I’d enjoy being a “soccer mom” or a “mat mom” but he’s really fun to watch. He tells me he’ll give me his first Superbowl ring. I’m holding him to it. In addition to playing sports, he’s turned into quite the football nerd, just like his father. He LOVES the Iowa Hawkeyes (duh) and the Florida Gators (solely because of Tim Tebow) and watches the games religiously. He’s a wealth of football information from rankings to plays to players. If he’s not watching football he’s playing it out in the yard (or in the house if I’m not looking). His Daddy is so proud. He nominated us for Parents of the Year when we took him to his first Hawkeyes game in Iowa City this fall, the highlight of his young life. Surprisingly enough we did NOT win Parents of the Year…weird.
Then there’s Ryder, my baby. My 6 year old, 1st grade, not so little baby. Darn him for growing up. Ryder is coming out of Blade’s shadow this year and into his own. He also inherited my Justin’s athleticism and is doing everything Blade is doing. Sometimes on the same team, now THAT my friends is good entertainment. He’s not quite as competitive as Blade so if Blade didn’t think Ryder was doing his best he’d give him a little “coaching”, oh so lovingly of course. Ryder is pure orneriness and sweetness wrapped up in one little adorable blonde headed package. He too is smart (3 for 3 YES!) and when I asked his teacher at conferences if he was doing okay for being the youngest in his class she said, “What do you mean the youngest?” to which I responded with “He’s an August birthday so he started school days after turning 5.” She was shocked, she’d known he was an August birthday but based on his social and academic levels assumed he was among the OLDEST in his class. Well okay then. I could go on and on about this kid because needless to say he’s got me pretty well wrapped around his finger, it’s the whole baby of the family thing…sigh.
As for our other kids, our animals, we’ve expanded yet again. Hang on to your seat for the yearly zoo count: 3 llamas, 5 horses, 2 emus, 1 mini horse, 2 sheep, 1 fainting goat, 1 peacock, 3 chickens, 2 geese, 1 duck, 1 red golden pheasant, 2 pot bellied pigs, 3 bunnies, 2 dogs, 1 cat. Still working on the zebra…stay tuned. I did successfully complete the Cow Challenge of 2009 (yay me!) so in the spring we will be adding at least one cow to the flock or herd or whatever you call it. Clearly I still have a lot to learn about this farm stuff.
Justin aka GI Joe (read the blog you’ll understand) is still recruiting for the Iowa Army National Guard. He had a great recruiting year and was promoted to Sgt Something or Other (that’s the unofficial term). To be promoted though he had to spend 2 weeks training In NE and another 2 weeks in Little Rock , AR meaning I was left unattended to man the zoo solo for 4 weeks total. I’m happy to report that everyone and everything survived…barely. Besides being a part time zookeeper, chauffeur, cook, maid, cheerleader, etc I’ve still got my fabulous job at a place I cannot disclose for fear of being "dooced". :) My job responsibilities increased as other positions were eliminated and now includes Public Affairs, Communications, and in general just being awesome. I’m not complaining I love the variety and the fact that I still have a job that I look forward to going to every day.
Besides working hard we played hard throughout the year. In February, Justin and I escaped the bitter Iowa winter to Puerto Rico for 4 days, courtesy of our chauffeurs, the Air National Guard. He may have FINALLY made up for our first Valentine’s Day as it was an awesome trip. Even more memorable is the fact that I hung up my Type A hat and didn’t plan a thing in advance…GASP. Of course I’d done my research and had my folder full of print outs, maps and brochures (hey a girls gotta be prepared) but we just went with the flow, so freeing. As great as that was, I put my Type A planner hat back on for the annual National LamKoons Family Vacation. This year’s destinations: Nashville , TN ; Virginia Beach , VA ; Washington D.C. ; and Gettysburg , PA. It included a little something for everyone; time with my sister Hilary and family in TN, the BEACH, history, and sight seeing…perfection. Lots of great memories made and the kids have now been to 26 of the 50 states, only 24 more to go.
That’s our year in a very tiny nutshell, so many more stories and anecdotes I could enlighten you with but I’d hate for you to miss Christmas because you’re still reading my letter. You’ll just have to check out the blog. (Shameless plug #2)

The Koons Zoo Staff


  1. You've got me beat in the Christmas letter department...and I thought our family misadventures were entertaining!!!

  2. Glad I am on the 'special' 38 people list ;)