The holidays on Hillside Lane came in with a bang this year, beginning on November 21st, when Andris had reconstructive foot surgery. It’s been six weeks and three holidays since that day and I will admit to it all being a bit of a blur – but dotted with moments worth remembering.
Andris’ surgery was one week prior to Thanksgiving. We were lucky enough to have our family come to us this year, with Andris still very much laid up with this heavy splint and souped-up on pain medications. We went slightly non-traditional for our family feast and had beef instead of turkey…something I am more than happy to continue. Obviously, I am a traditionalist in many capacities, but I could really take or leave turkey most days, so beef sounded like a great replacement. As in most of our family gatherings, we clearly could have made the meal entirely of appetizers, but it was delicious from start to end. We felt so fortunate to be surrounded by family – despite the fog that we felt we were living in at that point. Poor Dris looks back at the very few pictures we have of that week (which not only included Thanksgiving, but my 20-week ultrasound and my birthday as well) with little to no recollection. Like I said – it has been a bit of a blur.
Meet Chicken the Turkey (named by Luci)…
Continuing traditions with these two…
The appetizer spread….
Checking on the beef…
With Turkey Day behind us and a few more weeks into this post-surgery routine, we were starting to find our groove at home, despite some untimely sleep regression by a certain 2-year-old. I think one of my dearest memories this year will be the addition of Jim the Elf to the Lizenbergs family. We introduced Luci to her elf shortly after Thanksgiving and it was pure joy to wake up each morning to Luci’s excitement of finding Jim (name credit goes entirely to Lucija). This is a tradition I will enjoy for years to come.
Every year I look so forward to Christmas time and all that comes with it – putting up our tree, the music, seeing family; but at the same time, it seems that each year ups the ante from the year before, cramming an unimaginable amount into 3 weeks. This year seemed to be no different. It could have been that I was running a bit extra because Andris was still on crutches and we’ve got a very active 2 year old, coupled with being six months pregnant; but there were definitely moments that I just wished we could slow things down to actually enjoy…or, on some particularly stressful days, I may have wished out loud for it just to be Valentine’s Day already. Luckily, despite the flu systematically making its way through our house, Andris trying to navigate snow and ice on crutches, juggling logistics to get Luci to and from daycare each day (thank goodness for her grandmothers) and a notice from Santa that Luci’s gift was back ordered until January – there were moments of pure joy dotting the season that seemed to make it all worth it.
Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!
I like to think that one day our excursions to get our Christmas tree will consist of searching out the perfect tree, cutting it down, cups of steaming hot chocolate and pictures of our growing family dotted with cute plaid scarves. Currently, it consists of going to Home Depot for the $35 Frasier Fir. Not quite as romantic, but I will say that we lucked out this year and got a great tree. Andris’ enthusiasm for decorating the tree is mediocre at best on a good year, but with crutches, cast and elevation required to keep down the swelling in his foot – it was probably a bit more non-existent this year. He has a valid excuse. Luckily, I got an extra special memory with my mom, who helped me to decorate our tree from top to bottom. She definitely had the touch when it came to wrapping the ribbon around the tree. In years past, my attempts have resembled something more of a lasso. This year, the ribbon had much better movement and flow – really making it all work a bit better together. It was such a fun thing to enjoy with my mom and I will readily recruit her help for years to come 🙂 I loved adding our newest ornaments from Cabo and Latvia and enjoyed taking out all of our favorites from years past. Like my dad has always said, bringing out ornaments is like greeting old friends you only get to see once a year.
Gingerbread House Joy
I had never made a gingerbread house before, but watching Luci put hers together with my mother and father-in-law just made my heart smile. My girl loves to bake, so constructing the house was right up her alley, but the real fun came when she got to decorate. The dedication and attention to detail that she paid to this house was just a highlight of the entire season. I laughed when I was about to throw out the house after weeks of showcasing it on our kitchen peninsula and Dris quickly doubled checked whether I had taken enough pictures of the finished project. Clearly he was quite the proud papa of his girl’s work.
The holidays pull you in a million different directions – friends, family, Christmas parties, shopping, baking, work events – and this year was no different. I feel like carving out time for our little family can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Some of my favorite parts of the season are the memories made with just the three of us. This year we continued our Lights Night tradition with popcorn, Christmas blankets, hot chocolate (or chocolate milk for the backseat crowd) and Christmas tunes. It is always simple and sweet, but something I look forward to every year. The other moment happened a bit more unexpectedly. It was the 23rd and Luci and I were out running one of our last errands before Christmas. Dris was leaving work soon and I suggested that we meet for dinner at Hackney’s. It was primarily fueled by a lack of desire to make dinner and do dishes, but it ended up being such a fun night for the three of us. I already can’t wait to make a reservation for our family of FOUR next year.
Home on Hillside Lane…
Despite the threat of a back-ordered dollhouse, Santa came through (as he always seems to) to give us this face on Christmas morning.
Somehow all the hustle and bustle (and stress) of the season becomes worth it and you are (almost) ready to do it all again next year.
We are so blessed to have these holidays filled with all the most important things in life – family, friends, faith and home. Andris’ foot surgery hardly seemed to slow the pace of the season and we did our best to keep up, but in the end – it seemed to be those simple moments that we cherished the most. Here’s to more of those moments in the coming year.