Monday, December 20, 2021

Digital Christmas Card


An accurate portrait of our life: no one looking at the camera and freaking out about something silly (in this case the waves hitting them), the dog happily trotting through life running and jumping, Matt being Matt, and myself behind the camera because who else would capture these moments? That's right, no one else because I'm the only one who takes the pictures of our family.

I don't do Christmas cards. It's not that I don't enjoy them, and I absolutely love getting them, it's simply that I see very little point to them in this social media world. Everything that I would put in a Christmas card, I put on social media and say to people directly. I put Christmas cards with gifts to our families and write all of the heart-felt notes in those, but I still don't feel the need to do the typical Christmas cards. Of course, my children are a different story. This year I was shamed for not sending Christmas cards, despite never doing them in the past. I informed my lovely children that I put everything anyone needs to know (and likely more) on this blog or on some form of social media. Therefore, people are caught up on our lives. Yet, they want the Christmas card. So they are settling for a digital Christmas card via the blog.

2021 has had its ups and downs, as life is. Overall it's been a fantastic year for our family.

Doc and Sophia are 15 1/2 years old, turning into grumpy, old cats, who still love to cuddle on chilly nights. They continue to not like the dog and tolerate the rest of our household. The highlight of their year has been Christmas tree water.

Zeus is 20 months old and full of energy. He is our highlight. He LOVES the daycare kids, spending most of his days allowing littles to climb, jump, and pull on him. Long hikes and road trips are his jam, along with pizza and cookies. 

Elizabeth turned 9 this year and is fully immersed in spending two nights a week at the dance studio learning acro, jazz, tap, ballet, and hip hop. She is already planning on adding point to next dance season. Getting her ears pierced was a highlight for her and now has a crazy collection of earrings. She continues to enjoy homeschooling, with language arts and social studies being her favorite classes. She was thrilled to see a humpback whale in person on our fall trip this year, stating that she had always wanted to see one.

Harrison turned 11 this year and is also enjoying his jazz and tap dance classes. His spunky personality continues to keep us all on our toes. He's also quite the chef and baker, looking up recipes and creating things in our small kitchen. He's still working on growing his hair out, is obsessed with Teslas, and is never without a comment.

Max turned 13 this year and is ready to be done with middle school at home. He made great strides in swimming over the summer and will be completing a few courses over the summer for high school credits. He continues to have the same best friends he's had since kindergarten, while also branching out on his own to fearlessly try new things. We are always in awe of his mind and artistic talent.


Ashlen continues to enjoy being a daycare provider at her inhome daycare, writing, and serving on the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Children's Museum. It's been a big year of personal growth, figuring out how to travel solo with three kids and a dog in tow, and playing the role of teacher during homeschool. While she has very much enjoyed homeschooling her children, the adventures they've had together, and learning right along with them, she is VERY much looking forward to sending them back to the classrooms next school year. The year was a big one for Ashlen, as she completed one book and is currently attempting to get the book published.

Matt is in his third year at Cintas and took on a new role in the company mid-year. We have been so incredibly proud of him in his growth at work, his work ethic, and continuously working throughout the pandemic with very little complaints. While the home improvement projects keep piling up, he often indulges his wife's craziness with road trips and tags along for adventures.

2021 was a year of gratefulness for our family. We were very much aware of the phrase "you never know what you have until it's gone," and enjoyed spending time with our family and friends in person. We took advantage of our homeschooling status to travel more. We spent May in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The end of summer brought a houseboat living adventure, while fall saw Ash and the minis off on a cross country adventure to Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and South Dakota. The beginning of December found us in Chicago enjoying Museums, a concert, restaurants, and friends. All of it has been an amazing experience that the minis used for education purposes (which took slightly more planning on Ash's part!). Those are all of the ups. The downs have been a major car accident that totalled our family vehicle and left us scrabbling to buy another during an unideal car buying time. There's been long work days, rapid Covid testing at various times throughout the year, and heavy life decisions to make. Despite all of those ups and downs, it's been an amazing, unforgettable year for our family. We hope the end of the year finds you well, happy, and loved.