We are definitely ready for a fresh new year. We had a low-key party at home. Chloe took it upon herself to be the party planner, picking out the decorations, food and activities. She also had to arrange the food herself. Apparently she loves to do this! Who knew?
During the day we played a lot of ping pong. The kids brought paddles and balls from their dad’s house and I got them a net for Christmas.
After dinner it was time to get everyone ready! And I do mean everyone:
We played games (Alexia helped)…
…and watched Star Wars. Before we see the new one I need to get caught up, because sadly I have not seen all of them. This was next on our list:
And of course at midnight we counted down, tossed some streamers and said cheers to a new year!
Every year I do a New Year’s “mantra” versus a list of resolutions. A list of all of my mantras is on the “Christine” tab if you’re interested. This year my mantra is….
I looked up the definition and it said, “to start (something) anew: to refresh (something) by making a new start or creating a new version”. I think that pretty much sums up where I am in my life, and I’m looking forward to creating a new “version” of our family in 2020.
My parents came for Christmas this year, which was awesome. It was nice to have a distraction, especially on Christmas morning, which had the potential to be a little sad. On Christmas Eve we made cookies for Santa, and everyone helped decorate!
After the kids went to bed I had a lot of last-minute wrapping to do, so my mom helped!
When it was all said and done, everyone had overflowing stockings, and the tree was well stocked. Every year the sight of the tree lighting all the gifts in the darkened living room takes my breath away.
The next morning the kids had to find the pickle ornament. I’ve always had a pickle ornament on my tree because it was a gift from someone, but we never really did the whole “find the pickle” tradition. This year the kids told me to make sure I hid it for them to find in the morning, because they used to do that at their dad’s. Apparently I did a good job because they had to bust out the flashlights! Chase found the pickle so he got to play “Santa” and pass out the gifts. (But he eventually let Chloe take over, because he’s sweet like that.)
The kids got what they asked for from Santa. Well, Chloe did. Chase had no idea what he wanted this year so Santa just guessed. Chloe asked for a Fitbit, and Chase got a wifi projector so he could project his games/videos from his phone onto the wall for better viewing.
And of course we couldn’t forget the fur babies! They got new blankets, bones, and toys… and of course I had to dress them up a little, too.
Oh, and the old folks got some stuff too:
The framed artwork was from my brother and his family in Idaho. We knew we were getting a framed something (just by feeling the packages), but had no idea what. We opened them at the same time and my mom and I both started bawling. It is such a meaningful gift to me. I honestly don’t have the right words to describe how it makes me feel. It’s hard having my family so spread apart, especially right now. But my brother flew in when I needed his help with the dogs and such, my mom was begging to come for whatever I needed after Brian died. My parents weren’t planning on coming down for Christmas this year, but those plans quickly changed. Family truly knows no distance. I love them all so much.
My kids got me very thoughtful gifts this year, too, and my parents helped them pull that off. About a week before Christmas Chloe got a little panicked because she said she knew what she wanted to get me but had no idea how she was going to do it because their dad always took them to do that stuff. I told her to text Grandma, and they worked it out from there. Chloe found the item online and sent her the link to order it for her, and then paid her back when she got in town. Then on Christmas Eve my parents took Chase to Target to make sure he had a chance to get me something, too. Chloe got me a set of new cell phone cases (because mine was cracking and she took note of that… how sweet!), and Chase got me a pair of fuzzy slippers with hard soles so I could wear them outside when I take the dogs out in the morning. So thoughtful. I love these kiddos so much, and I am thankful that my mom stepped in to help them get me something I would use and love.
Of course while my parents were in town we had some other adventures as well. We decided to hit up “Christmas Towne” at Old Settlers in Round Rock. There was a carnival set up that Chloe saw one night while we were driving by that she got really excited about, so we went on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately the carnival was closed then and Chloe was super bummed… but it was just kind of “open” so we got sneaky and explored it anyway. (Shhhhhhhh…. We are so bad!) lol
Even though the carnival was closed, we were still able to explore the rest of Christmas Towne:
The adventure actually inspired us to take some pictures there for our New Years card photo shoot with my mom a couple days later. This time there was a worker at the carnival who actually let us get on some of the rides so it wasn’t so illegal.
The photos turned out so nice, but this one has to be my personal favorite. It just says everything:
Man, I’m tired.
My dad wanted to help me with something at the house so I asked him to replace my exterior lights that I have hated with a PASSION since I moved in, and I am so thankful he did that for me. What a difference! Every time I look at them they make me happy. It’s the little things!
And then of course I have photos of us just being goofy. Because that’s who we are:
This holiday was weird. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster… in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It wasn’t like I sat around feeling sad about the kids not having their dad around or anything like that… it was more like I was totally fine until something happened and I lost my cool, and/or broke down and cried. My parents were so understanding. We had some fun, but we had some tears and frustrations. It’s OK, though…. They came because they knew I needed them… not because they thought it would be a party. That’s what family is all about, after all.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Lots of love to you all.
My kids lost their dad at the end of October. My heart just breaks for them. We adopted his (the kids’) dogs and my brother came down from Idaho to help out. I was terrified about taking the dogs. I have always been a cat person, and have never wanted a dog… let alone two. At once.
I knew very little about them. How much do they eat? When do they eat? How do I know when they have to go out? How often do they go out? I was very grateful to have my brother here to answer what seemed like incredibly stupid questions. Brian’s sister and her husband also came that weekend to take care of some things and they helped me get my backyard “dog ready” by fixing my gates so they latched, and plugging gaps under the fence where the dogs could dig themselves out (because apparently they have a reputation of being escape artists).
The dogs were taken to the animal shelter upon Brian’s death, so we picked them up there. The butterflies in my stomach as we pulled into the parking lot were unreal.
But you know what? It didn’t take long to realize that these dogs are therapists with fur. My kids were so excited to see them. Alexia (the bigger, more chill one) is unofficially Chloe’s, and Cisco (the smaller, crazier one) is unofficially Chase’s. They sleep with them every night, and sometimes through the door I can hear Chloe talking to Alexia. She told me she likes to try to explain to Alexia what happened to dad, because she is probably confused about why they had to move. How beautiful isthat? She has taken it upon herself to make sure they feel at home here.
Chase is stepping up to help, too. He showers them with kisses (it’s quite disgusting, actually, because Cisco kisses him back!), takes them outside, scoops poop… all the fun stuff!
They will be going away to “training camp” for a bit to learn some basics so we can walk them (vs. letting them walk us), and they can learn to sit/stay/etc. But I am already falling in love with them….
We had to say goodbye to our precious Boom Boom yesterday morning. His health had rapidly declined, and at 18 years old… it was just time. We pulled a mattress downstairs the night before so the kids could sleep with him (he couldn’t do stairs anymore). He stayed between them all night. Listening to them sob over saying goodbye just ripped my heart out. Chloe gave him a treasured stuffed animal for our trip to the vet.
Boom Boom (Boomerang, technically) was THE coolest cat I have ever known. He made friends with EVERYONE. Even people who swore up and down they hated cats fell in love with him. In his younger days he played fetch and greeted me with a hug every day when I got home (like, literally stood on his hind legs and wrapped his paws around my neck). We would spoon every night…. Sometimes he was the front spoon and sometimes he was the back (seriously). I had him for 17 years… my longest relationship! Haha
He has always been in my kids’ lives (heck, Chase’s first word was “kitty!”), and was sooooo patient as they dragged him, carried him, squeezed him, jumped on him…. Best. Cat. Ever.
This guy…. He went through lots of life changes with me. He was, in a weird way, my rock through some really difficult, lonely times.