If you know me, you know I love Christmas. If you don't know me.... I LOVE Christmas. It has always been one of my absolute favorite times of year. I love the movies, the music, the food, the fires, the lights, the togetherness (not the sicknesses - I'm on round two!), and just the general spirit and excitement that comes with the Holiday. But this year felt different.
When we found out we were expecting in February - I was SO excited to have a baby at Christmas time that I bought the cutest burts bees baby PJ's. Then we lost it. Lots of tears and heartache and seven months later in September we found out about baby number two. I of course had a cute Christmas announcement planned. I was so excited to include this news in our Christmas card. When we lost number two the hole in my heart was just so deep. Some days the pain is so bad I feel physically sick. Other days I am optimistic and hopeful. This journey is such a whirlwind of emotions, I cannot even describe to you. I went through some dark days/thoughts and decided we wouldn't do a Christmas card this year. We've done a card every year since 2010. But It's been such a hard year for us I just kept thinking how I don't feel happy - why make a happy card when I'm not. That feeling fortunately (partially) passed.
So -- I had this idea that we would cut down our tree, keep it on the Jeep, put the dogs in the car, snap a pic -- perfect. Well I elected my very pregnant non-photographer sister to take this photo -- combine that with my dogs not listening (every other day in their life I cannot keep their heads out of the windows, but on THIS day they would not stick their heads out!) -- we had treats and were jumping - making weird noises, anything to make the dogs look. We ended up with one shot where the dogs weren't sneezing or blinking and we were looking at the camera. Whatever! It works! And then I wanted the back of the card to be Nick and I holding the tree over our heads -- turns out a 12 ft tree is really REALLY heavy. So after several attempts, me throwing out my back, and Nick repeating "babe I just want to get what you want, its okay we can try again" - I started having a melt down. Real tears. I threw a fit. Blubbering "I'm not happy I don't even care about a card I don't even want a card. I don't care I don't care I don't care." My emotions got the best of me and a switch went off. Fortunately when I have these moments and days I can usually bounce back pretty quick. (And then I go through days of guilt because I acted so ungrateful for all we have).
It all turned out okay. We did a one sided small/simple card this year with the one image that worked. (1st one below!) I took time this week to go back through all of our cards from years passed and it made me smile. I have every card we've done over the last 7 years and its cute to watch our family grow (and our awful hairstyles and design taste change haha). We got Jude in 2010, our first card! 2013 Scout joined our family. I know in years to come our family will grow and we will look back at this time with bitter-sweet feelings in our heart. Our journey may not be perfect, but its still our journey and I can resent it or embrace it.
Here is my family at the Christmas tree farm. We haven't had a good portrait in a few years so I am really glad we captured this moment. Cutting down our trees is one of my favorite family traditions that we've all looked forward to every year. And anytime you get my Dad in a collared sweater it has to be documented! HA.
Even in hard times if you look around you'll see there is still so much to be thankful for.
In discussing our cards from the past.... 2010 and 2011. Gotta love the straight bangs.
2012 and 2013. I think 2012 is one of my favorite cards yet. My photo friend Allison came to our townhouse in German Village and took some cozy shots of us with Jude. Those are still some of my favorite photos of us to this day! (When we were puppy parents of just one, were way cooler living downtown, and when life was a whole lot simpler). And 2013 with Santa's missing reindeer (aka my very disturbed dogs, anything for their Mommy!).
And then 2014 - the year we got married. I found this graphic that looks just like our 1969 ford and couldn't resist its cuteness. That was a sweet time in our lives and maybe one of our best Christmases, ever. 2015 - This image was taken literal days after moving into our new home. We had no heat, no internet, were living in boxes, and the house and property were a complete mess -- Amazing what a year can do. And although our 2016 card is simple and the memories behind it may not be all great - I am hoping one day I can laugh about my temper tantrum and the fact that I thought Nick and I could gracefully hold a 100 pound tree over our heads. If you stay focused on the good, the bad doesn't seem so bad.
Hope you are having the happiest holiday season! I've had a crazy couple months with work, and am officially caught up! Made homemade marshmallows last week and dog treats last night for all the puppies in my life. A wedding tomorrow and then I am taking all next week to focus on this magical holiday I love so much.
Challenging myself to have faith in our family journey and be grateful for all the good we have. Appreciating our support system this year, all who have reached out, sent cards, sent gifts, sent texts. Being thought of is a really great feeling. I know we have so many people pulling for us. I am going to enjoy this Christmas with Nick and our dogs, who knows - it could be our last one of just a family of four. There is always always always something to be thankful for. Take a second to look around and see if you can let a little extra Christmas spirit in your heart this week.