The First Post of the Year!

danielle-macinnes-222441-unsplashI’ve been blogging a little over a year now, but 2019 makes for the third calendar year I’ve been writing and throwing it all out there for everyone to see. It wasn’t lost on me this go around that the first post of the year is kind of a big deal, ya know? It has the ability to set the tone for the year, you see.

It’s like that scene with Santa at the North Pole in The Polar Express, when he presents the first gift of Christmas.

No pressure or anything. It’s just, you wonder if you should be able to hear the elves cheering at the North Pole here in Ohio when you hit the “publish” button.

Is it a wee bit ironic that this particular blog post is not the first post of the year? I digress….

It’s January 11 and our Christmas decorations are still up. Don’t judge! I suppose I could be removing Christmas ornaments right this very moment but I am choosing instead to write. Priorities, priorities… There is so much to catch you guys up on!

The weeks leading up to Christmas are a big blur and a big ball of stress but somehow I wake up on Christmas Day and everything is right with the world. Sure, we didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to this year, but the day was fun and relaxed.

One of my favorite weeks of the year is that time between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Like that line from the Chicago song, does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? It doesn’t matter if I’m working or not, it’s a pretty relaxed week and quiet at work if I do, and there is simply no pressure to do anything if you don’t want to. Talk about blessed.

I wish people weren’t in such a hurry to rip down their decorations that week. I think we should all just hit the snooze button on life and take a lesson from the Danes and embrace hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”).

Hygge is kinda hard to explain, so I’m told. It’s a state of being. I suppose you can describe it by saying it’s the cozy feeling of contentment that overcomes you when you just hang out at home in PJs and fuzzy slippers, feed the fireplace, drink hot cocoa, snuggle, and be happy. I even got a book about hygge this Christmas. Can’t wait to crack it open this winter and enjoy. Hygge is my favorite state of being. I inherently knew what hygge was before I knew there was a word for it.

Perhaps if I got a tattoo, it should say “hygge me” inside of a heart. I might be onto something there…


We sent our Christmas cards to family and friends but this year, I took the unprecedented step of writing a letter to go along with it. Let that sink in for a moment: I love to write but I never did that before. Isn’t that funny?

It was pretty well received. A few people contacted me to say they enjoyed it. What they didn’t know is that I wrote it off the top of my head and the original version was six – count them, SIX – pages long! It hit me that 1) no one wants to read six pages about the five of us, and 2) that gets a little costly for the number of cards we mail, so I was forced to play editor and whittle it down to just two pages.

Do you know how hard that is? I mean, I had YEARS worth of news to catch people up on, people I don’t get to see very often if at all.


I’ve had a lot of thoughts and content bubbling up inside for the last few weeks but I just couldn’t find the time to get it written down. Instead, I’ve been on the prowl for a puppy.

Yes, a puppy. Our oldest seems to be allergic to big dogs, so this makes the effort a little challenging. We would love to welcome a pet into our lives but we’re all allergic to cats. It’s been over five years since our angel of a basset hound, Monk, passed away. I’ve been researching breeds and we think we are ready to move forward with a Maltipoo, a low-shedding, hypo-allergenic cross between a poodle and Maltese. Part of me is a little anxious about having to train a puppy but “designer dog” rescues are hard to come by although not impossible. We may have found a rescue, actually. We need to do more research on that but at least we’re aware of one.

<<< Isn’t this little guy cute? Be still my heart. I want to hygge him.

But these last three or four weeks? I’m exhausted. It occurred to me today that I am “puppy pregnant”, which is not to say I’m actually pregnant. Oh, no…. Mama Louie’s uterus is closed for business, shall we say! 😳

But seriously, I’m scanning puppy sites in my every spare moments. I’m scrolling through endless dog names. I notice everyone who already has a dog. I’m wondering if the dog we get will look like my husband and the kids (dark-haired) or more like me (returning to the blond of my toddler years)? I’m starting to buy things to nest. The kids can not wait to add to the family. Our youngest is looking forward to no longer being the youngest. 🤣

Did I mention I’m tired, oh so very tired? This past Monday wasn’t even my first day back at work but midway through an afternoon meeting I wanted to grab a pillow, curl up in a ball, and nap.

Will it be a boy or a girl? Will it be a colicky baby or sweet? Will it come “late” or “early”? We’re not even sure when we’re “due”.

Puppy pregnant is a real thing.

I need a nap.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

 

Brief Reflections on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve at Louie Lodge. My husband and I will be apart today for the first time since I met him 18 years ago. One of the high school bands he works with was invited to march in the Citrus Bowl parade in Florida yesterday while today they marched at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I stayed back here in Ohio with our kids.

December 31 is usually a quiet night for us. We hang out at home, watch the ball drop on TV, and catch a few musical performances. No big parties for us. Nobody but us. I often wish we had a big group of people to hang out with but the truth is we don’t have a posse we feel close enough with to do that. I’d rather lounge on my comfy sofa with the blanket and fireplace going and not deal with whomever is on the road and shouldn’t be.

Tonight is a night of quiet reflection, again.jeshoots-com-490731-unsplash

I usually make a big list of resolutions at the start of the year and take this last week of the year to reflect on the progress I’ve made so I can plan next steps, but not this year. I’ve had the last few days off work but instead of reading, relaxing, and reflecting, I’ve been tidying and tying up loose ends: making overdue appointments and dates with friends, cleaning, and purging clothes and household items that clutter up the place. I’m glad I did…it needed to be done…but I feel very unsettled heading into 2019. I haven’t done the proper meditation and planning to start the new year.

How I love a fresh slate, an opportunity to start all over again. I am way overdue for reinvention, for new beginnings. My husband jokes with me that I need a change of some kind every three years: a new city, new house, new job, or new kid. It’s been 14 years since we’ve had a new house or city, and eight years since I changed employers or had a kid, so I am well overdue on many fronts. Given that we aren’t planning any more kids, you can see where this is headed.

I was feeling very hopeful about 2019 until about an hour ago. I had my heart on a certain puppy for the last week or so, and I thought the breeder told me we were next in line to choose, but I learned moments ago that the puppy I had my eye on has been scooped up by someone else who jumped ahead of me. Perhaps I misunderstood the breeder, but I’m actually heartbroken over this. It’s crazy. It’s just a puppy but I woke up this morning of new year’s eve thinking she would be ours and join our family soon, another sweet little heartbeat to add to the home, but instead she’s gone, just like that. Now I don’t know what 2019 holds for us.

Pardon me while I go take some time to think about that as the clock winds down to midnight.

But before I go, here’s wishing you all, around the world, a peaceful and prosperous new year full of good health and joyous community with your favorite heartbeats.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash