The Year Without A Halloween Party

If you’re new around here, you might not know that Halloween is kind of a big deal. It is my favorite non-religious holiday (although if we get down to the nitty-gritty, paganism is a religion and Samhain is a festival to celebrate the harvest…. AND Halloween is All Saints’ Eve which falls on the day before the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day… so can we really call it non-religious? I digress).

Anyway… we typically celebrate big around Halloween. For example:
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | (I didn’t post the 2013 party)

Since we said “I do”, we’ve been hosting Halloween parties. It’s expected. People start asking me in August what the theme is going to be. And while I absolutely love that and look forward to the party every year, this year it felt forced and exhausting.

So I decided to cancel it. (I’d even made the FB event already.)

As soon as I did I had a few friends reach out to make sure I was ok. I had a few people tell me they were glad I took the year off. Some people were sad to not be getting together.

I felt very blah about it. Which kind of let me know it was the right decision. If you’re not excited about a voluntary just-for-fun party, why are you throwing it?

I love having people over and planning parties and celebrating Halloween with costumes and food and games, but… none of it sounded fun to me this year. I’m worried about COVID. I’m tired from chasing a toddler. I’m swamped at work, buried in home projects, and deadass tired by 7pm.

There is a small part of me that’s sad I cancelled. It doesn’t really feel like Halloween this year. Maybe that will change when we dress Maddie up on Saturday to trick-or-treat, but I didn’t make a puking pumpkin or carve a jack-o-lantern or buy costumes for the dogs. It’s a weird year.

And also, after last year’s party, I came down with COVID. (I don’t know that it was the party- we were outside the whole time, food was individually packaged, and I was the only one of all the guests to get it.) It made me very hesitate about getting people together. And I still feel that way.

It’s difficult to make a decision that might let others down (or feels like it might). Maybe past guests are thrilled to not have to come to another Halloween party at our house. Maybe it won’t be missed. I don’t know. But it did feel a little selfish to cancel.

I know it was not. I know our friends will celebrate the holiday in their own way this weekend, and we will take Maddie around the neighborhood, and next year we can chose to have a party or not. But it’s odd to break an 8 year tradition. And there’s my explanation for why there will be no Halloween post.

And now let’s switch topics. Tell me something fun you’re doing or did for Halloween!

-Aud

An Extraordinarily Normal Weekend

I know the CDC is still making recommendations and states are revising their masks laws, but this past weekend was the most normal I’ve felt in such a long time. It was lovely and revitalizing and had me feeling warm and fuzzy and overwhelmingly grateful by Sunday night.

On Saturday one of my best friends in the whole wide world got married. I was her matron of honor and spent a large part of the weekend with her and her wonderful family. (They’re the kind of people you just enjoy being around; always laughing, always kind.)

My other best friend was the maid of honor and she stayed with us. Having her and her fiancee in the house was icing on the cake to a weekend-long celebration.

I know times are still weird. Honestly, Moo ended last week with a COVID test and if it’d come back positive, our weekend would’ve looked very different. But she was negative and we deduced that a double ear infection was the cause of her sickness. She now feels better and was even able to attend the wedding until grandma took her home for a sleepover.

And don’t get me started on the wedding day. So much love and peacefulness and celebration. I don’t think there was one single moment the bride would’ve changed- it was a perfect day.

We literally danced the night away. K and I were the last ones out of the venue- haha. I had such an incredible time. I think all the guests did.

It was weird to have a day that just felt so NORMAL. I think almost every guest was vaccinated. We wore masks when around the food. People were seated in pods but free to get up and move around. There was dancing and toasts and cake and lots of alcohol. It was such a normal, great day.

My soul didn’t know I was missing all of that until it was over. Sunday night I was folding laundry in our room, thinking about how nice it was to have a normal party with little reservations.

Today I wore my mask to the grocery store. I have not throw all caution to the wind and I know there is a time and place for intimate gatherings… but I hope that you’re able to have a little taste of normalcy soon. It feels so, so good to just relax for a moment and soak in the closeness of others. And that’s coming from an introvert.

Congratulations, Kayla and Connor ♥️ I hope you’re enjoying the hell outta St. Lucia.

Oh, What A Year

The whole country (& world) shut down around K’s birthday last year. March 12th was our last meal in a restaurant. Sunday night suppers at my grandparents’ house stopped, mindless Target wandering was no longer ok, and spending time at home with our 3 month old became our only entertainment for a while.

Running a company is always a stressful thing, but watching K sort out how to keep everyone safe, employed, healthy, and just OK in general has been exhausting and painful. (I can’t begin to imagine how he feels about it.) It’s been a soul-crushing year.

(Our primary customers are schools- specifically the extracurricular music programs in schools. The programs that have been cancelled, delayed, reduced due to COVID.)

It’s been an atrocious year to say the absolute very least. I don’t know if we’ve (Kyle’s) ever been this stressed out, 24/7, without relief. It has most certainly shaved years off his life. The rebound/rebuild isn’t a walk in the park either.

And while he’s walking into a new year with a shorter fuse, more grey hair, and a much bigger chip (gash?) on his shoulder, he’s also grown into an even more wonderful human, partner, and dad.

We’re raising a smart and snarky little girl that loves to play with and laugh with her daddy. We have two dogs that get excited every. single. time. he enters the room. K has started cooking his way around the kitchen and- spoiler alert- he’s really good at it. We’ve bought a camper and started down that literal and figurative road. He’s paying better attention to his physical and mental health. He listens to me and encourages me and calls me out on my b.s. when I need it.

Despite all the things that I know weigh him down, he’s such an accomplished, fulfilled, incredible (almost) 34 year old. My life is good because he’s a part of it. We’re in a pretty tough, stressful season of life right now, but seasons change.

Happy Birthday, love. It’s going to get better and then maybe worse again but then better.

Goodbye 2020!

I know we’re supposed to hate 2020, but if I’m being honest it was a relatively ok (dare I say good?) year for me… Compared to 2019, I would do 2020 again in a heartbeat. 2019 chewed us up and spit us out. Then stepped on us and lit us on fire.

I know that 2020 was an awful year for many many people, though. I don’t discredit that and if you’re someone who suffered terribly these past 12 months please know I’m thinking about you and praying for you. I, too, am looking forward to hopefully never having another year like that again.

But as I said, 2020 wasn’t the worst year I’ve had. We got to spend SO much time with Moo. We got to hog her for holidays and witness so many milestones. We had a forced slow down with work (through which we tried so hard to maintain and take care of employees) and we didn’t travel one single place after March. After years of professional go-go-going, it was weird. And it was eye opening. And it’s helped us to prioritize a little more going forward.

We are lucky that our family has been mostly healthy and safe. A few of us have had COVID, but we haven’t had any loss in our family and I am so grateful for this. My heart breaks for those who’ve had a year marked by death.

I still haven’t convinced K to get me a kitten. We bought a camper. We cancelled countless trips. We fought over whose mask was whose. We survived sleep regressions and teething. We had groceries delivered and quiet holidays. We had a slow year that I very ironically wished for at the end of 2019.

So here’s the normal pic recap…

New Years! | Finished nursery | Baby Moo | Fender Bender | Fly to TX | Moo at the Alamo | K drumming | Swiss relative visit | Pandemic yoga w/ best friends
Lots of family walks | Baby Moo | Easter | First taste of cereal | Green beans fail | Hike w/ Bristol | Anniversary pic | Kayla’s Matron of Honor! | Off to buy a new truck
Aub engaged! | Cousin graduates | Family cookout | First Moo swim | M actually likes food | K takes up cooking | Moo 6 months! | Lots of front porch time | K’s 1st Father’s Day
Bike trailer for M | Zoo | 4th of July | 1st camping trip | Bought a camper | Family front porch time | 1st time in our camper | Family fun | F&C buy a house
Purple hair | Fall | Kayla’s dress!| Social Distance get-together | Baby Cooper | Bday hike | Halloween | COVID | Corvette pics
Big girl! | Friday’s with AJ | Outdoor hangs | Thanksgiving | 12 month pics | Moo’s 1st Bday! | Xmas tree | Merry Christmas! | Christmas morning

It was a weird year, but looking back it seems we made the most of it. Here’s to 2021 being better than its predecessor. Honestly… it shouldn’t be tough.

Hopefully you find some bright spots when looking back on your year, too!