In spite of it all!

Christmas this year was strange, I missed seeing my family but my mommy and daddy did everything to make it very special, I loved all my presents and making new traditions.

He said

Well… as quick as it came, it has flown by—Christmas Eve & Day are now in the rearview mirror. And, as anticipated it was every bit the quiet, relaxing few days with my girls I had hoped for. Especially with how this year was blown apart by COVID-19. As much as I love the hustle and bustle of this time of year and being able to get together with family, this year even with all the isolation, I was really looking forward to it over the course of the few days we had off together. We still had plenty of time together as a family thanks to FaceTime so that wasn’t missing for us at all—we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners together as a family.

With Emelia fully into the teen years, the real treat to Christmas this year was not having to be up and well into the present opening experience before the sun has even begun to rise! In fact, I think both Danielle and I were rousing before Emelia even poked her head into our bedroom! Also with her age the magic of Saint Nick has also taken a shift and present giving went from lots of gifts to less with bigger price tags. But, also ones that have a lot more meaning to who she is becoming.

I can safely say we had a happy girl Christmas morning. The big ticket items she wanted—Lululemon leggings, JBL speaker, the ‘Northern Lights’ projector ceiling lights, and the LED lightstrips for her room all made their way to under the tree Christmas morning. She was much more thoughtful and slow about how she opened her presents—almost as though she knew to take it all in. But, she was also more thoughtful and involved in the present-giving she did with us this year too. It’s so amazing to see the thoughtful, caring woman she is becoming!

We spent Christmas morning together at a very slow place while the world outside transformed fully to Christmas with a heavy blanket of snow. We got in some FaceTime visits with Poppa & Grandma and took the day very easy. We then made short work of getting ready our pre-made Christmas Feast courtesy of Danielle’s work, made by Farm Boy so we wouldn’t have to do the work. And then while dinner cooked, we got in the second big-family-FaceTime in as many days. It was the perfect way to close out a wonderful Christmas despite how lonely it could have felt.

And, as we look ahead to next weekend and officially closing off one of the worst possible years to have thanks to COVID-19, I am remarkably with happy how things went this year: We got in a FULL season of camping where we thought there might be none, I got into the best shape of my adult life and found a love of cycling, and our family grew even closer in a super difficult year. While I know others faced way more challenging years, I feel fortunate to have the one we did… in spite of it all!

She said

This year as a different Christmas and one we won’t ever forget. With covid numbers getting out of control and the verge of lockdown we took all the health warnings seriously and didn’t travel and didn’t see family in person. We kept to ourselves and used all the technology to our benefit to stay connected. As this moved through last week it was all about wrapping things up and getting ready for the big day. I had things mostly under control but there is always last minute things to take care of.

I had to work Christmas Eve but the day turned out to be fun this last day of work. I work with a great group and the company is amazing. I got some amazing gifts from co-workers and the owners including a nice Christmas Bonus along with a raise! This adjustment to working outside the house has been something to get used to but honestly it is going a lot smoother than I thought it would. As a family we are finding a new groove and work has been incredible to support me though this transition.

By 1:00 Christmas Eve I was wrapping things up at work and I could shift focus from work to time as a family. We had decided that Christmas Eve would be a low key dinner, something easy. We opted for lots of nibblers so we could focus on time as a family and connecting with all of John’s family via FaceTime. The kids were all excited and even though it wasn’t the same it felt that we were all connected in our own way. We finished our night with more family time and a Christmas movie before heading to bed.

Christmas morning Emelia came into our room around 7:00 and we headed downstairs for the big present opening. Emelia didn’t have a crazy Christmas wish list this year so we were able to get her everything on her list. All she wanted this year is to have her presents wrapped so she could take her time to open everything. So I did just that, wrapped every single present individually. She loved it, even her stocking stuffers were wrapped. Needless to say Christmas was a success, she got all the things on her wish list and even some surprises we added. She was so appreciative of it all, there was so many thank yous and hugs. Made it worth all the effort.

The other surprise Christmas morning was a full blanket of snow, it was exactly what we needed, it was beautiful and made things even more festive. We were grateful for what we had and didn’t focus on what we would be missing this year. We knew that sacrificing for just a few weeks, maybe months means that more of us will be here for the next Christmas. Hope everyone had an amazing holiday even if it didn’t look like it normally does. Stay healthy and safe.

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