Troy and Sarah Klongerbo with their dog Pali

An Open Christmas Card from the Klongerbos (2021)

Klongerbo Christmas card 2021

Merry Christmas, everyone. Troy here.

We’re trying something new with this year’s Klongerbo Christmas letter. Instead of trying to cram 100 words on a card to capture an entire year’s worth of events (and ruining Sarah’s cute layout), we decided to go with a full Christmas letter, posted online.

If you’re reading this, welcome.

As you may have read on our physical Christmas card, our 2021 had some ups and downs.

Most of those were packed into a 50-day stretch starting in May, when Sarah and I found out we would be growing our family, only to learn two months later that we had lost our little baby.

The highs, then the lows. 

Sarah wrote about it better than I ever could, so you can read her story.

If you’ve experienced this type of loss, you understand it’s quite complicated. As we’ve talked with friends and family who have gone ahead of us in losing a baby, the reactions are far and wide.

My biggest reaction: that of disappointment.

You just get your hopes up.

Beyond that, as men, we don’t know where our responsibility lies. The thing that felt the best for me was to just sit by my wife as she cried. Rarely shy to open my mouth, I healed by sitting in the silence with her.

It was a reflective summer.

Sarah Klongerbo with her positive pregnancy test
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo holding hands after their miscarriage

As for work, we’re both mostly “out on our own” now. 

Sarah is killing it as a freelancer, where she designs websites and writes copy for businesses, putting her love for words to the test. You can learn more about her work here on her website (where this letter is posted!). 

Sarah transitioned away from her full-time agency job at the end of last year and now works about 50/50 time — partly on her freelance work, and partly for an advertising agency called Till. She loves the team she works with at Till (remotely; she’s the only one from South Dakota) and enjoys the creative work.

Sarah Klongerbo at her downtown Sioux Falls office
I’m in this picture too, just behind the lemon poster on the wall. Yep, we’re that close.

As for me, I’m still plugging away with Fisheye Marketing, where we celebrated five years earlier this summer. Hey, five years ain’t nothing to slouch at!

It’s such a blessing to have meaningful work and to strive toward building something bigger than yourself. Fisheye has had its own highs and lows, its own triumphs and bumps… but this is a Christmas letter, not a LinkedIn page or business website. (Actually, this is a business website, but I digress.)

Also, I started working in the world of e-commerce, alongside my bro-in-law Matthew. We’ve been shipping boxes across the country, selling bee foundations. Ask me about it in person. Like I said, this is a Christmas letter.

The Fisheye Marketing office
Fisheye’s HQ in downtown Sioux Falls (summer 2021).

Now that we’ve got some highs, some lows, and our careers out of the way, there were a few other things we did this year that I’m sure those of you who don’t follow us on social media would love to learn more about.

In early February, one of my longest-standing golf buddies and I made the trek to the coast of Oregon to check off one of North America’s meccas of golf: Bandon Dunes. 

Word count doesn’t matter in an online Christmas letter, so I know I can type forever about this trip without any repercussions… but I’ll save you all the strained eyes and summarize that it was absolutely amazing experience (even though we did a little too much, playing all five golf courses in just three days, all in the soaking rain and wind).

Troy Klongerbo and Matt Bertsch at Bandon Dunes
Me and Matt Bertsch on the coast of Oregon.

Late February carried with it the passing of Sarah’s grandmother, Helen Munce, after a long bout with Alzheimer’s disease. Anyone who knows the disease understands the feelings toward the end of the journey with it, but Sarah and her siblings honored her amazingly at a small family funeral in February, where they all contributed to the service. 

Again, Sarah said it all better than I could if you want to read more.

Sarah Klongerbo and Grandma Helen

Now, for some Klongerbo travel news…

  • At the end of March, Sarah and I snuck away to Arizona with some friends.
  • In May, we zipped down to Kansas City for a long weekend and a bunch of KC barbecue.
  • In June, we drove to the Black Hills with friends to play in the SDGA Two-Man golf tournament.
  • In July, we visited my parents in Duluth, taking a day trip “up north” to see my brother Sean and his girlfriend Bekah at the lodge they help run.
  • And in August, we spent a couple of days working and playing at The Prairie Club.

As you all probably know by now, we Klongerbos like to travel. (Admittedly, probably Sarah even more than I.) But we do our best to get around and see what’s beyond the Klongerbo backyard fence and the walls of our downtown offices.

Sarah Klongerbo and friends in Arizona
Tempe, Arizona, with friends (Overwegs, De Groots, and Velgersdyks).
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo shopping in Kansas City
Kansas City, where Sarah “improved my fashion.”
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo on scooters in Kansas City
Now this is a nice selfie of us.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo and their friends hiking in the Black Hills
Spearfish, South Dakota, during the SDGA Two-Man in June. No, that’s not the golf course; this was on a hike.
Found a lake to jump in.
Klongerbo family at Sag Lodge near Grand Marais
Left to right: me, Mom, Bekah, Sean, Pali, and Sarah.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo golfing at The Prairie Club with their dog Pali
Pali went golfing at The Prairie Club. She loved it, even though she had no clue what was going on.
Troy Klongerbo reading at The Prairie Club
A ravenous reader, this guy. Sort of. I’m working on it.

Golf did what it did.

I played tournaments; Sarah came and caddied when she was able. I don’t think I played a single round of note all summer. Is this what getting older looks like? That I just play averagely crummy golf the rest of my days? Sheesh, I hope not.

But hey, any time you get to travel around and drag the sticks, that’s always a plus — regardless of the quality of play. That said, I think I enjoy golf now in my 30s more than I ever have. I hope each decade does that for me. I say that sincerely.

Sarah and Troy Klongerbo golfing
I don’t remember this picture — what tournament is this one, honey?
Sarah Klongerbo caddying for Troy Klongerbo in 2021
My caddy likes wearing the cute little sanctioned bibs.

In September, Sarah and I did another thing we’ve never done before: a “workation” at the Schock family cabin in the Black Hills. 

We hauled our computers out and simply worked, read, walked, hiked, and reflected. (And saw a few thousand buffalo storm a valley in Custer at the annual Buffalo Roundup.)

It was a fantastic week — a quiet week — that I know we’ll relish having memories of.

Troy Klongerbo and his dog, Pali
Pali doesn’t understand pictures.
Sarah Klongerbo getting work done in the Black Hills
Sarah writing, as she does.

And to finish the year, we sprinkled in a bit more travel with our biggest trip of the year. For Sarah’s 30th birthday and our sixth wedding anniversary, we did an East Coast road trip.

We flew into Philadelphia (what’s up, Dill and Krissy), took the Amtrak to New York City (heyo, Levi and Suzy), drove to the Berkshires and upstate Connecticut (fantastic meal, aunt Barbara and cousin Ingrid), and cruised down to Rhode Island for a few calm days on Aquidneck Island.

There were highlights everywhere on this trip, but here were a few:

  • Walking the old streets of Philly
  • Eating phenomenal NYC pizza (especially John’s of Bleeker Street)
  • Meeting Jeff Daniels after his performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Wandering through upstate Massachusetts
  • Hiking the rocky shores of Rhode Island
  • Eating dinner at the nation’s oldest tavern.

It was awesome. Want more? Scroll back through Sarah’s Instagram, or ask us next time you see us.

Troy Klongerbo and his friend at Independence Hall in Philadelphia
Dill and me, maybe debating. While we’ve each lost a step physically, we’re still sharp as tacks.
Sarah Klongerbo and her friend enjoying pizza in NYC
Sarah and Suzy found pizza. And giggles.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo and his friend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Ran into a few brews by the river.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo and their friends at To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway
To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. Five stars.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo at the Brooklyn Bridge
We walked 32,000 steps this day.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo at Granville House in the Berkshires
She did it again. She’s got a knack for finding cute places.
Sarah Klongerbo at Granville House in the Berkshires
Outside of said cute place.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo and her cousin and aunt in Connecticut
Left to right: aunt Barbara Schock, cousin Ingrid, Sarah, and me.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo at The Breakers mansion in Newport, RI
Tour of a mansion called The Breakers. Quite the summer getaway for the affluent families of the late 1800s.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo in Newport, RI
Hiking the south coast of Newport, Rhode Island.

In November, we were able to cap off the year with the Klongerbo family in Eagle River, Wisconsin.

It was the first time that Grandma June’s entire family was under the same roof in many years (my guess would be at least eight). It was an amazing time of connection and family. 

We even took pictures of the group. Here, look at us:

The Klongerbo family in Wisconsin
The Klongerbo family in front of a fireplace

We are so blessed. God has decided to be so generous with us.

Even through the trials of life, we’re seeing how He works and where He moves. His love for us is so deep, and as we’ve pursued Him, we’ve found that our marriage has continued to get stronger each and every year. 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a wonderful 2022 ahead.

— Troy (and Sarah… and Pali)

P.S. If you didn’t receive a physical card from us and want one next year, please email us so we can update your address.

P.P.S. If all that weren’t enough, you can check out a few other highlights from our year in the photos below.

Sarah and Troy Klongerbo hunting in South Dakota
Pali went with while we went hunting in late January. She doesn’t quite “get” hunting, but that’s Dad’s fault.
January 2021 Highlights for Sarah Klongerbo
Christmas at the Schocks’.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo making dinner with Skajewski Catering
Sarah’s anniversary present: cooking lessons with Chef Nicholas Skajewski.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo making dinner with Skajewski Catering
Making homemade noodles.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo with Acura MDX
Sarah upgraded her vehicle. This one should do better in the winter snow.
A summertime gathering with Sarah’s family.
Sarah Klongerbo holding her new nephew, Miles
Baby Noah on the Fourth of July.
Kyle Schock getting his fourth hole in one at Willow Run in Sioux Falls, with Troy Klongerbo
My partner (Kyle Schock) made a hole-in-one in the SDGA Mid-Am Two-Man. I couldn’t top it. Awesome memory.
Sarah, Troy, and Grandma June Klongerbo
Grandma loves her Twins gear.
Troy Klongerbo, his dad, and his brother-in-law reseeding his lawn
Elliot came in clutch — helped me reseed our whole front yard. More pictures to come in the spring. Oh yeah, Dad helped too.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo and his parents in a golf cart
Is having three caddies illegal?
Sarah Klongerbo and her family at her surprise 30th birthday party
Sarah’s family surprised her with a 30th birthday party.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo at their friends' wedding
At our friends’ wedding in Iowa.
Troy Klongerbo with his Thanksgiving turkey from 2021
Made my second Thanksgiving turkey!
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo and their dog Pali
Pali was a liiittle excited at Sarah’s brand photography session for her business. Our little family.

An Open Christmas Card from the Klongerbos (2021)

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