'Twas the Monday Morning After Christmas

And all through the house.

Not a creature was…

Well it is "kind of" quiet. Except for it being a wonderfully rainy morning. And the dryer is going. And Mandy is snoring. And the fan on the projector is running. Morning off with rain, means Emily is still in jammies for a Gilmore Girls marathon compliments of Netflix.

It was a good Christmas. Our first Christmas as a family. Nothing over-the-top. But it was just perfect. And by just perfect, I mean imperfectly perfect. Just like our Christmas family photo. Enjoy.

We bribed Mandy with treats. This is shot number five. 


Gotta love Mandy’s weird face as she’s eating a treat that Greg was bribing her with. At least the resolution isn’t high enough to see the dog hair that has taken over our lives.

And here’s what the 4 previous tries look like. Photographing a dog and two awkward people with a self-timer, really is quite a feat.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We decided to spend Christmas just like we did Thanksgiving, just the two of us.

We decided that we weren’t going to get gifts for each other a couple of months ago. But then my husband decided to surprise me with Jeni’s Ice Cream.

I was beyond excited. Ice cream is great. But what was even more great was the thought behind it.

During our recent Nashville trip (which you can read about HERE) we weren’t able to go. I had a plan to visit Jeni’s to celebrate us being married 7 months. Ice cream has kinda been our thing. We frequented a creamery on our honeymoon and bought an ice cream maker with a wedding present giftcard. We eat a lot of ice cream. But the Nashville trip didn’t go as planned. I had a bad anxiety day one day, and while the second day was so much better, Jeni’s just didn’t happen.

Then my wonderful husband surprised me with three different flavors delivered to our door. AND he was even able to keep it hidden in the back of our freezer. What a guy, I tell you.

So I planned for us to see Star Wars that morning at 10:30. Ice cream for breakfast part one, then popcorn for breakfast part two. We prefer to live adult life with the mentality of a small child. (I’ll chose to not talk about my weight struggles at the moment…)

Confession: I had not seen the Star Wars movies. Well Greg had me watch the “Phantom Edits” which has a whole story behind it, but essentially is the first three movies with all the unnecessary parts taken out and reassembled to make an easier to understand version crammed into 2 hours. Then yesterday we watched the 4th and 5th ones (which I now understand were filmed first) on VHS. So with my husband’s gracious help, I have been properly exposed and educated on Star Wars.

We both enjoyed the movie. Greg said he was neither disappointed nor impressed, which pretty much where he stands on most things.

Then we came home, took a nap, then I made dinner.

Funny story. I bought the ham for our Christmas dinner weeks ago and stuck it in the freezer. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention when I bought it, I just grabbed the kind that my grandma would always get. I’ve made multiple family holiday dinners at my house, but my grandparents were always kind enough to buy the meat for me. So this was my first year picking up the ham at the grocery store.

When I pulled it out of the freezer, I looked closely at the label for the first time.


Well doesn't that just sound completely appetizing. I showed Greg and we’ve still been laughing about the whopping 38% ham with ground ham added. Oh geez. I’ve been trying to do my best to eat a little healthier. (Pretend like I didn’t just tell you we had ice cream and movie theater popcorn for breakfast a few days ago…) We’ve been making small steps to move in a more natural lifestyle. And then I buy a ham and water "product". With ground ham. Completely natural… It was tasty though. Fond childhood memories too. Before my awareness of the "38% product".

So a simply simple Christmas.

And so this Monday morning after Christmas, I don’t have the usual after-Christmas fatigue. I feel pretty peaceful. I feel excited about having this whole week off. I have some plans to be productive and some plans to just relax.

It’s the end of the year.

Another one finished. Another one completely different from all of the rest.

A year that had excitement, yes. A wedding and the beginning of our marriage.

But it was also a year of more space. A lot more quiet. More peace and less busy. Working less and doing less. But savoring more. Feeling more deeply. Still feeling exhaustion, but taking more time to recover.

It’s been weird and it’s been hard at times, but I’m confident there’s been a reason. This time has been shaping me. Teaching me something I needed.

And there have been plenty of lies, to be sure. Thinking I’m being selfish. I’m not doing enough. I should be doing more. There’s something wrong with me.

Plenty of times of doubt and depression.

But depression has been teaching me something. I’m not perfect. My life isn’t perfect. I can’t keep going full speed constantly. I have struggles. I need space. I need people to love me for who I am. I don’t have the energy to pretend everything is great always.

And you know what? I still have amazing friends. Not every friendship has stayed the same. Some have drifted away. But some friendships are stronger and more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed of. I have a husband who loves me. The world hasn’t fallen apart when I have the days where it feels like I am. I can be real and struggle and the world keeps on turning.

There will be bad days. But there are also lovely days. Days where I laugh my head off in the car because squirrels have the best run/hop ever. Days where the color of the sky takes my breath away. Days where I admire just how cute Swiss cheese is.

I didn’t buy Christmas gifts this year. Why? I don’t fully know. I didn’t exactly make the decision to not buy gifts. It just kind of happened. And as Christmas got super close, I just couldn’t make myself go out and get gifts. And I think that’s okay. I mean I love my friends and family. And I hope everyone knows that. And I hope they know my heart is not to be selfish or cheap. But I didn’t feel the need to force myself to do something out of obligation. I’ve got every other day of the year to love the people around me.

So yeah.

Maybe this grace thing is starting to really become a thing in my life. I feel different. I feel that bits of me are changing. Becoming more free. Becoming more full of joy.

And even if your Christmas wasn’t just like mine, I hope you know that’s okay. There are different seasons and circumstances and obstacles and joys and people and lives.

But on this Monday morning after Christmas, I hope that you can catch a glimpse of grace.

And ice cream... Ice cream never hurts.


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