On Holiday’ing

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This is how my day began (via blackberry messenger):
Nina:  Did you put Gatorade in LB’s water bowl?!?
Ryan: I may or may not have thought Luna Bell needed to up her electrolyte count.
Never a dull moment with that one.
The holidays snuck up so quickly this year and this is my excuse for the lack of blogging.  My dad and Kari and my cousin Kalia and her husband Ken were in town for the 3rd Annual Gardner Family Christmas Kickoff the first weekend in December.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  My Dad decided that we needed to create a plan where we meet in Chicago to kick off Christmas–that no matter where Kalia and I are, we’ll grab the husbands, kids, pet hamsters, whatever and make it to Chicago the weekend before Christmas to spend some family time.  The first year, I took the Amtrak from Grand Rapids only to have it stop in Hudsonville due to some other train hitting a truck. The Polar Express it was not.  When I was told that we would be going backwards to GR at 10mph, I made the conductor let me off the train, and I hiked in my Uggs with my luggage through a snowy ditch to the Tractor Supply Company across the street and read my new Vogue next to the topical ointments for udders until Kalia and Ken could come get me.  Everyone got John Deere socks for Christmas that year.  In gift bags with horses on them.
Ryan and I drove up to Crystal Mountain Resort in northern Michigan last weekend for the wedding of Sara Neinas and Travis Young.  The Lambert’s and Neinas’ are like family to my mother and I–time spent with them is time of great appreciation.  They love being together so much and the warmth is just palpable.  And they’re huggers.  I love huggers.  It was such a blessing to spend the weekend at a ski lodge with my mom and celebrate with a beautiful, super fun wedding.
Congratulations to the newlyweds!
I’ve so enjoyed all the hustle and bustle of the last month but I am so looking forward to just being in the city this weekend with no plans.  My favorite thing to do these days is stare at my Christmas tree so I imagine there will be a lot of that going on.  I’m dedicating today to holiday baking.  My dear friend Shana is home today as well and I’m so excited to share in one of my favorite holiday rituals with her.  No matter how busy this time of year is, I love how spending time with people who make you happy and make you laugh is more of a priority than it is at other times.  Part of why I moved to Chicago was to be with my “tribe”.  Community is so, so important and I don’t think people get that.
There is such a need for connection, for communication, to have people around you to go “You too?!?”.  I am so blessed to have my friend family so close by and now, my work friends.
Wherever you are and whomever you’re with, I hope today brings you joys, small and large, a few belly laughs, and time to reflect on good fortune and a bright future.
High Five of the Day: Speaking of community, you know who had an amazing one? George Bailey.  I was watching “It’s a Wonderful Life“, I watch it every year, and I just cried and cried today when the entire town comes to their house with that basket of money.  “No man is a failure who has friends.” -Clarence, Angel Second Class.

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