Happy New Year + Christmas Season Recap

Jan 5

Honestly, as I sit here staring at the screen, I don’t know where to begin. So I’ll start by saying a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to you! And then I’ll break down our Christmas season as best as I can. It FLEW right by. It was busy, fun, full of family and activities…and the month of December ended with a new family member joining us. I also worked quite a bit so there’s some organizing to sprinkle into this post…with more in-depth details about each project to follow soon.

I’ll also be honest … the holiday season is really not something I look forward to. I’ll spare you from the “why” behind that, but wanted to mention that I KNOW the holidays can and are really depressing for lots of people. And I found myself down off and on throughout the month. But instead of letting that feeling take over, I put on a happy face and made really fun plans for the kids, hosted several family events and went all in on gifts that were meaningful and special. GIVING is what pulls me out of my funk every single time. So this season I GAVE to the point of exhaustion.

No joke, come Christmas night I was in bed earrrrrrrly. Same on New Years Eve.

Although I was tired at the end of it all, giving definitely made the season a happier one.

Anyway, let’s get this wrap up started!


I shared some of the beginnings our family room Christmas decorating at the end of November…

But I ended up moving this snowy tree to the formal living room to make space for a real tree for the kids…

There’s nothing better than a real tree. And we had a memorable night pulling out the special ornaments …

My favorites are the photo ornaments and anything with a handprint. And of course this one…

My oldest works at Ace Hardware so we picked up the tree from their garden center…it was the best little tree! Stayed fresh for weeks and drank lots of water. So pretty!

I did have other spaces in the house decorated just a bit but didn’t take very many photos this year.


The season was full of activities and gatherings. Was grateful to host my mom one weekend and our cousin’s Christmas.

As a gift to my mom, I started the process of transferring old home movie reels to digital. When my grandma passed away a few years ago, she left me all of the family photos and videos. It was the most special gift she could have given me. I had 4 videos completed in time to share with my mom during her visit. The tears and squeals in reaction were amazing! And it was a reminder to have family sit down and write out who these people are and any memories they have. SO many people in these videos were special family members I had only heard about and never seen in photos. My mom doesn’t even have photos of them. To see her yell out “That’s Grandpa Julius!!” with such excitement…and then burst into tears because that was her favorite grandfather. PRECIOUS MEMORIES. And I loved that my kids were here to see the reaction.

Oh my gosh…my grandma. In these videos! She was a stunning woman. To see her as a young mother … my mom as an infant and my grandmother tending to her while wearing a full face of make-up, hair done, dressed to kill and IN HEELS?! Amazing! It was truly a different time.

Left me excited to continue the process of transferring everything over. My mom is 75 so it’s amazing to think these reels have lasted as long as they have. A few were a bit worn down so it’s motivating me to really get on the ball.

I hosted 15 of us for our cousin’s Christmas celebration. Really fun night and NO ONE knew I invited a surprise visitor to stop by…or fly by…


He arrived around 7:30 and stayed for over an hour to read a book, hand out a few gifts, sing carols, take photos and spend time with everyone. It was awesome seeing their reaction when we heard his bells jingling at the front door. He didn’t knock…just jingled his bells loudly. And was yelling “Ho Ho Ho”…everyone was hanging out in the kitchen so I went to open the door and he walked right in past me and into the kitchen. SO awesome to see their reaction!

Magic! Total magic. Especially for my 4 year old great nephew.

I did get a little time with him to put in a request ;-)…

Natalie’s school finally had their Christmas concert, after not having one for the last two years…

It was a packed house…we were all the way in the back and that’s me zooming in as much as I can with my phone camera. The little kindergarten voices made me cry. Goes so fast, you guys!

( silk skirt | sweater | heels )

Took the kids to San Francisco on the last day of school to see Elf in concert at the symphony…

I LOVE the symphony! This is generally the only time I go – last year we saw Love Actually. But this year I’d like to see a real symphony performance. It’s moving!

We went out to dinner after – a great afternoon / evening! Love my hometown!

We also went to a Warriors game…

And I attended a Christmas party at one of my favorite homes…with an even more beautiful couple who lives there…

We mostly stuck around town for this long break – which is still going on because the kids aren’t back in school until next week…but there’s one big (or tiny) reason I didn’t make plans to go out of town this long break…

Ready for it???!!!…


This one! She is deserving of her own post…I have to explain to story of trying to find her, finally locating her, how I planned to surprise the kids (which totally didn’t happen the way I planned) and how they reacted. She is seriously THE BEST and we are absolutely in love!

Meet Nova…

Our 3.5 pound ragdoll kitten.

We adore her and she is SO GOOD! Fits right in, was immediately bonded to us and never leaves our sides. Ever.

I promise not to spam you with kitten content…but our phones are full of photos and videos of this sweet girl…

She is very tiny…and yet for some reason every photo makes her appear bigger than she is. She fits in your arm. Tiny girl with lots of fur…

I was THE ONLY one who knew about her. For months. MONTHS. Keeping this secret as long as I did was one of the most difficult things I’ve done but I had to keep it to myself if I really wanted to pull off the total surprise.

For my friends here who have been along the blogging journey, you know very well Charlie was our heart. It was 3.5 years ago we lost him. 3.5 YEARS!! June of 2019. I’ll never forget it or having to tell the kids. Not a week goes by when we don’t send a photo or video of Charlie to each other. A random memory pops up or the kids see something on social media that remind them of him. He’s very much still a member of this family and deep in our hearts.

As soon as I knew we were moving this year, finding a new kitten was one of the things that kept me going. I had no idea it would be the perfect Christmas Eve gift…but am so glad it all ended up the way it did. I thought it may have happened over the summer…but God (and Charlie) had a different plan and I’m so glad I let it play out the way it was intended to…because being patient led us to her. And she is the perfect fit for these kids. They adore her!!!

And we all believe Charlie had something to do with this girl showing up for us.

Natalie thinks Charlie kissed her forehead and looks a lot like his because of that kiss (insert tears!)…

Do you see the resemblance?

She’s the ultra feminine version…but she’s her own girl. We love her!

Anyway, you can see why I didn’t book travel over the break. We’ve been enjoying her and the rainy weather…the Bay Area is getting pounded with rain and storms…

I’ll share more about her later…and where I ultimately found her too in case you are looking for a ragdoll.


In general, projects tend to slow down in December but they were definitely still rolling. I installed this under stairs closet…while 3 team members worked on their garage.



This one didn’t have the awkward angles, but instead had a low ceiling…

I added knee pads to my Christmas wish list…as well as Advil for my kinked neck on recent projects…lol!

And just in time for Christmas, we installed the final Elfa closet of 2022 for a very excited mom…

( elfa )


More project details to come!


Won’t elaborate too much today on this topic (will soon)…but regardless of how busy life can get during the holidays, I made my fitness a priority. Working out is my therapy so when times get stressful, I need it more than ever.

( leggings | top )

I’ve made some edits to my workout routine which I’ll share soon. Have also been incorporating my good old thigh wraps for extra targeted sweat…

( thigh wraps )

They just work!

Hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with lots of memories…and that your 2023 is off to a great start! I’ve already dismantled and tucked away our decorations and spent two days this week doing the same for one of our families. The best way to see in the moment happenings is still via the Instagram account so make sure to follow me over there. We have a lot of fun!

Back soon with more – Happy New Year!

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