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THE 19...

Friends!!! We did it! We made it through the most notorious of years ever known around the world! Farewell 2020 and WELCOME 2021~

It's been over two months since I actually wrote a blog post and although we as a nation weren't really able to do much, it's amazing what all has happened in those two months. Let's just say, EMOTIONS RAN HIGH!

First, I want to apologize for not keeping everyone updated! Second, I want to thank those who sent me email messages asking if everything was okay or just wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas. Yes, I literally went through two of the most popular holidays here in the US WITHOUT a blog post!

So, to get started, we have to jump back to October and HALLOWEEN! My last blog post I spoke of the beautiful and glorious autumn we were having and couldn't wait for Halloween. Well....evidently we did not get the "all points bulletin" about sitting outside to pass out candy. Our total trick or treater headcount was FOUR. I was pretty bummed. We live on an 8 house cul-de-sac and we can see the main road at the top of the street from our windows. We would watch the kids and parents walk at the top of the street and a majority of them don't come down our little cul-de-sac. It is a very large subdivision and I can understand not "wasting the energy" to visit side streets, but when I was growing up, on Halloween you NEVER missed a house with a porch light on! Anyway, we still have the few who don't mind the exercise and will make their way around the few houses on our little street who pass out candy faithfully. But it was hadn't been in school and were dying to get out of the house and burn energy! Or so we thought...and as luck would have it, it wasn't good...and we just couldn't figure out why. At one point there were kids making their way to our house and were literally running through the yards and got to our front yard and NEVER CAME TO THE DOOR! We were watching out the window and saw them run from our yard (our porch light was on along with all our halloween decor lights) and they bolted across the street to a neighbor's house who had guests passing out candy while they took their own daughter trick or treating. I mean, THEY WERE IN OUR FRONT YARD....STEPS FROM OUR FRONT DOOR!! We finally figured it all out the next day when my son, who on Halloween, had left during the prime time of trick or treating, told us that while he was leaving the subdivision, he noticed ALL the homes passing out candy had people sitting outside doing so! No one was going door to door...🤦🏻‍♀️ Don't get me wrong, I understand/stood the reasoning behind it, but evidently this was the strategy to pass out candy that I/we were not made aware of. The rules had changed and no one informed all the players... Kind of put a damper in my spirits...and as if that wasn't enough, it just got worse...

No, this isn't my house, but I kind of wonder if it were would kids even think to come to the door even though it looked like someone threw up Halloween? Guess not in 2020!

So, that happened, then guess who got Covid? Or what our family has come to call "The 19" 🙋🏻‍♀️ Yep, this girl! Honestly, we all felt it was bound to happen. Bill has had to work through the entire pandemic, in and out of homes and worksites. And he did everything he was suppose to because he didn't want me to get sick (underlying asthma conditions), but we also didn't want him to get sick because THE 19 has a mind of its own and basically no one was really safe because it affects each person differently.

It started with him, although we didn't know it was THE 19 as he only had head congestion and achiness from the chest fever, cough, nothing. He was better within days. Then I got it. Same symptoms, just not really energized, but not "sick". I was better within 3 days. On the 4th day I was serving dinner when I realized I couldn't taste or smell any of it...😳 So after dinner we drove to the nearest clinic where I got tested. It took 4 days before I heard back and by then I was feeling just fine, but the health department called and told me my test was positive. In the meantime, our son who lives with us also lost his sense of smell and taste so he went and got tested (turned out he was positive, too). Because of my underlying condition, I immediately contacted my doctor to create a proactive plan for my breathing. He went over what he had been seeing, patients feeing bad, then good and the whole thing lasting for about 2 weeks. He also stated that I was already one week into it and just needed to be safe and get over the second week....because some people do take a turn for the worse after feeling good. And it wouldn't be 2020 if poop wasn't going to be flung....guess who took a turn for the worse? I'm ever so thankful we set a plan for my breathing because through it all, my breathing was absolutely perfect. My taste and smell came back in a week, although I do believe to this day that it's still not as strong as it was. But the headaches, upper back pains and NIGHT SWEATS were UNGODLY. The headaches gave me blurry vision all day as well and all of it combined completely threw my MOJO out of whack...I would and did cry over little things, didn't care about decorating for Christmas or even wasn't pretty. Bill was super understanding and very patient. Fortunately he was already on a "planned staycation" because it was hunting season and was able to hunt and take care of me and quarantine.

The headaches started to simmer down by my birthday which was 20 days from the start of all this and I can't begin to tell you all the gifts and cards and notes and texts that I received that really really helped with my mojo. This mental "room" I was in scared me. I didn't like it and I was starting to feel out of control which scared me more. I always try to keep myself upbeat and think positive thoughts and vibes to psyche myself up, but nothing was working. But it started turning around once my headaches started to diminish. Regardless, I can't thank my family and friends enough for showering me with such beautiful birthday wishes and gifts. So friends, please remember this: never think a gesture like a 'Happy Birthday' or 'Love You Friend' text or email or phone call is too small. I know first hand that those gestures literally got me over a huge hump!!!

And can I just share a couple birthday gifts from my daughter? I just absolutely LOVE that she (and a few of my close friends) have this "gift" of gifting people with the perfect unexpected gifts. I'm blown away that she/they think outside the everyday box and bless us or me with the unexpected. It doesn't seem like these are different gifts for some, but to a person like myself who is always thinking about necessity and functionality, the simple pleasures of beautiful books or music boxes never come to mind. And I'm learning to stray away from the necessity and functionality and go with simple pleasures! These gifts touch the heart and that's one of my new personal goals for 2021! Oh, and see that doily the books are sitting on? That was another gift from my "sister from across the pond". I will do a separate blog post on that because it is just beautiful!!!

So now that brings us to Thanksgiving...

Can someone PLEASE tell me what is so hard about taking a family picture? I mean seriously, people want to know the secret to life and I'm over here just wanting a magazine worthy family picture! Well, this is what I got! Pictured are my three kids (my son in orange is the oldest, my daughter with the glasses is the middle, and my youngest daughter has the shaved head and bun), Bill is next to her and my daughter's boyfriend is on the far end.

I had this HUGE HUGE Thanksgiving plan and we honestly were working on it for a while, but it fell to pieces when THE 19 took over Kentucky like a tornado. I don't want to divulge my plan as I hope to be able to make it happen this year (yes, it's 2021 in case you forgot lol) so Thanksgiving was pretty intimate in 2020...and loud...because us three women are anything but quiet!

Our youngest daughter lives in Virginia so while she was here we decided to celebrate St. Nick a little early. Not every home celebrates St. Nick night, but it was/is a Catholic tradition Bill and I grew up with and we passed it on to our kids. The irony here is they aren't kids anymore...and their mother knows this...and their mother can't seem to let that go are never too old for St. Nick! Having them home and doing this actually boost my Christmas spirit mood I wasn't experiencing. I thought it was THE 19, but I found that was only a small part of it. I just don't have the same mentality about Christmas as I did when the kids were younger.

My thoughts on decorating have changed immensely. A lot of it has to do with storage and "getting it all out" of storage. And I have NEVER been the person who keeps her Christmas decor up long. We literally take it all down before New Year's Eve! Looking at Christmas decor in my home after Christmas is like listening to Christmas music AFTER CHRISTMAS...I can't do it. I want my home back to 'normal' before the New Year, if that makes sense. I don't judge others for keeping theirs up, it's just me, I can't do it. So why get out all the gazillion boxes of Christmas decor for 30-50 days? If Christmas to me was a whole season, I could do it. What I really need to do is concentrate on WINTER themed decor that works both as Christmas and the winter season!❄️🎄

Plus, my decorating style has changed a lot over the years. I'm home way more than I ever used to be and I need and crave an asthetically pleasing and calming cottage feel. I used to decorate for the "magical" feeling of Christmas and now I'm at a different point in my life for that. Maybe it's because my kids aren't little, maybe it's because I don't have any grand littles, maybe it's because I enjoy simplicity so much more, or maybe I'm just lazy...I don't know. But this year it was fun picking through the gazillion boxes in the basement and pulling out what I wanted, kind of like shopping in your own store! And yes, that white tree above was our "family tree" this year...and had ZERO ornaments! I just wanted the I brought the outside in. We always see those beautiful tree in neighboring front yards all adorned with beautiful lights and NO that's what I did, I brought the outside in!

And as bad as THE 19 has been, we were incredibly blessed to have all our children home to celebrate a magnificent Christmas. The food for the entire weekend was amazing, the gifts were INCREDIBLY thoughtful, and our home was engulfed in so much fun and warmth.

But that wasn't the end...

2020 isn't just known as THE 19 around here. For me and Bill, it's also THE 30. Thirty years ago, right after Christmas, Bill and I became Mr. and Mrs. Going into 2020 the idea of planning an anniversary getaway was looking dismal, so we concluded to not even worry about it. However, days before Christmas, Bill surprised me with a gorgeous anniversary addition to my wedding ring and now my band is hugged with 30 more diamonds. To say it's beautiful is a complete understatement and oh you can bet I UGLY CRIED big time when he gave it to me😭

And just like that, Halloween was a blow, my birthday marked a day of surviving THE 19, Thanksgiving brought a family photo op, Christmas saw a ornamental-less tree, and our 30th wedding anniversary brought on an UGLY CRY...just so we could count down and say goodbye to the worldwide nightmare known as 2020. But, as you just read my last thoughts, I hope you read the sarcasm it was written in and really see the blessings that were engraved in each day celebrated. 2020 forced many people to open their eyes to their blessings. I'm just mad it took a pandemic for so many to count them.

So in 2021 fashion, let's forget the list of resolutions and just live our best lives! May we all find maximum contentment in the minimum we may do, may we always see the blessing in difficult times, may we all learn and show some form of kindness, and may we all learn to never take anything for granted...including toilet paper.🧻


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