I dropped the ball on Christmas cards this year. I’d make some excuse about how busy we’ve been (true!) and how many wrenches have been thrown in our plans, but honestly – this is just a case of me deciding that there are worse things than not sending out a perfectly creative and curated card. We’ll have better luck next year. (Maybe!)
My favorite part about receiving cards from our friends and family are the updates – announcing marriages, pregnancies, moves, new jobs, and family vacations. I smile each time I open one and see your families, tan and smiling on a faraway beach or snuggling close at a Christmas tree farm. So, I couldn’t face the holidays without sending an update of our own, even if it’s digitally. I know these days we get our updates via Facebook (and I over-post my family, because I can’t help but share their happy faces), but those are only snapshots, not the full picture. So here goes, 2016 for the Giordanos.
This year, Finn got the greatest gift he didn’t know he wanted (he’ll figure that out one day) in a little sister, our sweet Holly Kate. While Finn lulled us into a false sense of perfectly behaved security, Holly prefers to shake things up. If you ever needed proof that no two people are the same, have siblings close in age. Woah! Finn loves her madly. He has no idea that she’s plotting to ruin his life. He hugs and kisses her constantly and pays no mind to the fact that at a mere 8 months old, she’s already pulling his hair and stealing his toys. She embodies girl power, this one.
Finn will be 2 in March. I don’t know how that happened. All I know is I demanded he stay a tiny baby and he didn’t listen. We’re looking into preschools and I’m trying not to cry every time I think of him, a too-big backpack over his shoulders, waving goodbye to me from a bright and happy classroom. Will his teachers know to pretend to blow on his food, even when it’s not hot? Will they be tender with him when he’s nervous? Truth be told – he’ll do fabulously. It’s me that will lose my cool.
Mike has had a busy year trading bonds. At least, I think that’s what he said. I know there was a lot of mentions of interest rates, yields, returns, something like that. I know he’s good at it. I’m so proud, even if I don’t understand a ding-dang word. He’s adjusting to his new office in Austin, where I’m told the office snacks are really good. (I might not understand finance-lingo, but snacks are my language.)
Which brings me to our biggest update… We moved to Austin, TX! Well, we moved to a quaint little town about 25 minutes outside of Austin. Buda, TX is the Stars Hollow of Texas towns. It makes me happy just driving down Main Street and passing the farmers market and storefronts lit up with Christmas decorations. (As I write this, Mike just sent me a photo of Cowboy Santa, greeting people outside his office. Oh, Texas.)
For those of you who don’t know, Mike and I grew up in the same little New Jersey town of Ridgewood. It’s where we met, at Somerville Elementary. It’s where we got married. It’s where we had both of our children. Ridgewood is, and has been, home to us for 25 years and leaving was terrifying. We spent 3/7 days a week with either one of our families. There was rarely a Sunday where we didn’t start the day at Grace Church. We’d sit next to my parents, usually followed by brunch and the occasional hockey or soccer game. Then, the evenings were usually spent at my in-laws, where we were well fed and sent home with the most amazing leftovers. To say that we miss them would be the understatement of the century.
But, it’s been really amazing to settle in as our own family on our own adventure. Mike is home more often, and we finally have time to spend together as a family. I still pinch myself when I hear him pull into the driveway at 5:00. God works in mysterious ways, and kept telling us to prioritize family time over our fears of leaving home.
Moving was an absolute nightmare, but because we have a knack for chaos and a healthy sense of humor, we had a lot of fun. And a lot of fast food. (FYI: Texas has a drive-thru for everything.)
While waiting for the movers to arrive, we shared a twin-size mattress, that was meant for Finn’s bed, and the kids swapped out carseats and a pack-n-play. We all got Bronchitis. Finn got an ear infection. Finally, three weeks late, our furniture arrived.
This brings me to our theme for 2016: Things that matter.
2016 has taught us many things, but above all, it’s shown me, and us, not to stress the small stuff. Even when we were all miserably sick, sharing a tiny mattress on the floor of an empty house, I had more than I could possibly ask for. God is good, all the time. Discomfort teaches you many things – but above all, it teaches you gratitude.
So, Merry Christmas from this little house in this little Texas town from this little New Jersey family.
May God bless you. And may you keep sending us those sweet cards with your fabulous updates – because they light up our hearts!
All our love,