BONUS Blogmas: Ball Ground, shopping day, and flying!

My annual Blogmas typically ends on Christmas Day each year. But this year, I had so many fun plans after Christmas that I wanted to document them, too. So here’s a bonus post recapping the remainder of my Christmas break!

On Sunday afternoon Brooke and Colby picked me up and we drove to a cute downtown area about 30 minutes away from us to meet up with Carly. We sat outside at a coffee shop for several hours and visited and opened Christmas gifts (Brooke got me a beautiful journal). It was so good to spend time together and catch up with them!

On Monday Kenna and I had a shopping day. I don’t get to go out and shop in stores very much because it’s difficult for me physically, so it was SO much fun! We went to Target, the bank, Aldi, Home Goods, and Trader Joe’s and were out all afternoon (I definitely overdid it, but it was so worth it). I stocked up on some fun groceries at Aldi and Trader Joe’s (yes, it’s way more than I will eat, but it all looked so good!). I also found the most adorable ceramic canister at Home Goods to sit on my kitchen counter and hold my tea bags (which were previously just tossed into the baking section of my pantry). We had the best shopping day!

Then on Tuesday, Kenna and I went flying with her grandpa, who is a licensed pilot! We flew over my apartment and my parents’ house (so crazy to see it from above); Amicalola Falls; and Kenna’s house. It was so much fun to learn a little bit about flying, and we ended up with the most gorgeous clear day and amazing views. I really appreciated Kenna’s grandfather taking us out and had such a great time.

(The good quality photos are from Kenna’s phone–the poor quality ones are from mine. Also, yes I own more than one mask and yes I wash my mask, lol.)

This week has been so much fun; I wish Christmas break would never end! It will definitely take me several days to recover from all of the fun–I’m so tired and in pain today that I can barely move, sit up, or walk. But the last few days were awesome. Today I hope to have the energy to do things like writing for fun, blogging, working on letters, organizing, doing Diamonds stuff, figuring out my income for this year, etc. Then tomorrow I hope to go back to my family’s house for our typical New Year’s Eve fondue and board games. I would like to spend two more nights with them before I have to get a COVID test this weekend and isolate in preparation for a medical test next week. What better way to ring in 2021, right?

Okay–now Blogmas 2020 is officially over 😉 I plan to have a couple of other posts go up this week recapping my year!

What have you been doing over Christmas break? Let me know in the comments!

Blogmas 2020 Day 25 (MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!)

I woke up at FIVE THIRTY this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep (partially because of sleeping in an unfamiliar place/on an air mattress/people making noise, but probably partially also because it was Christmas, lol), so I just got up at seven even though I was obviously exhausted and feeling pretty miserable. I drank a mug of tea and talked to Grandpa while Mom and Joshua cooked. We let Sophie open her stocking. Then we waited around for my grandma to get up so we could start opening gifts at 10:00.

Giving gifts is my outward love language and buying gifts for people is my favorite thing in the world, so Christmas morning is always the BEST when everyone can finally open the gifts I got them! I got my mom a wooden “Home” sign; a zucchini spiralizer; a box of her favorite maple leaf cookies from Trader Joe’s; and a glass jar filled with seashells from our September beach vacation (normally my mom is hard to shop for, but this year I was full of ideas for her).

I got my dad these cool slate coasters from Etsy (each one has a famous Braves play on it–I also got my grandpa on my dad’s side of the family a set of these coasters) and wrote him a poem about all of the monthly outings we went on this year (which is scary lol, I don’t write poems).

I got Joshua a copy of Renegades by Marissa Meyer and a Harry Potter pencil case, in addition to an Oreo hot chocolate bomb in his stocking.

I got my grandma a piano blanket.

I got my grandpa a copy of The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson, the fill-in journal What I Love About Grandpa, and a glass jar filled with seashells from our beach trip. (I also want full credit for thinking of the air plant and the mug with a watercolor bird, both from the Freys, that my mom got him. And credit for keeping the air plant alive for the past two months before Christmas.)

In my stocking I received Lily’s peanut butter cups, Ocho coconut mini candy bars, two Enjoy Life chocolate bars, small cutting boards that I’d been wanting, some tea from an Amish store, and Post-It notes.

For gifts I received two acacia wood trays; a 2021 daily planner; washi tape; a charcuterie board; two sets of notecards (one with hummingbirds and one with cats); a set of small acacia wood bowls; and a wax seal set to use for envelopes, which is definitely the thing I wanted most/was most excited about and will remember most from this year.

I also received quite a bit of money from my very generous grandparents. Today I used part of it to order the DVD of Boy Meets World season 4 as well as three books: Dust by Kara Swanson, Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren, and Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. I also ordered a Hogwarts wax seal stamp and a set of sealing wax sticks in all different colors. And I’ve been wanting a new comforter for my bed (I’ve had the same one since I was six and it’s time for an upgrade, lol) so I’m planning to use part of the money for that.

We were done opening gifts at noon and had lunch at one (the usual Christmas dinner suspects–ham, sweet potato souffle, baked pineapple, fudge pecan pie, etc.).

After lunch I learned how to make wax seals from a YouTube video. It’s way easier than I expected, so much fun, and my new obsession–a whole new world!

I’d pushed myself as far and hard as I could, so I took a nap midafternoon. Then I did a couple more wax seals, we had a small late dinner, watched Elf, and Christmas 2020 was over.

Today I’m grateful for: My family who knows me so well and gets me thoughtful and generous gifts to enjoy.

Check out Blogmas Day 25 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Normally Christmas is the last day of Blogmas, but I have some fun plans with friends over the next several days, so I’m thinking this year there may be a bonus Blogmas post or two coming your way. Stay tuned and Merry Christmas!

Blogmas 2020 Day 24 (Christmas Eve)

The rain woke me up this morning and I couldn’t go back to sleep, so eventually I just got up. I made an elaborate breakfast that tasted like cardboard and watched the Christmas episode of Girl Meets World. I’m not able to watch TV or movies very often due to various symptoms, but Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World are my absolute favorite shows in the world and I love them more than words. As usual, it made me laugh and it made me cry (and minorly freak out when my computer crashed at the end of the episode).

After that I did my laundry and packed up everything I needed to take over to my parents’ house, where I’ll be staying probably until Monday. By the time I finished that I was falling asleep and in so much pain I could barely stand up straight, so I went back to bed with my heating pad for a while. I read Shannon Lee Barry’s book. Then I got up, finished packing, and got ready to go.

I got to my parents’ house around 1. My grandpa from Mississippi got into town yesterday, so he’s here for Christmas in addition to my family and my grandma who lives with them! I wrapped a few gifts, ate lunch, and finished up one final Christmas gift. My mom, grandpa, and brother helped with the gift–some of them more than others.

Then Joshua and I watched a couple of Christmas episodes of Boy Meets World.

After that we sat around and talked, hung out, and got food ready for tonight. It started snowing (a mixture of rain and snow), which absolutely THRILLED me! When Joshua and I made a quick trip out to look at some Christmas lights in nearby neighborhoods, he had to scrape snow off of my car–something we’ve never had to do!

When we got back around 6:30 it was dinnertime. This year I was all too happy to skip our usual Krystal-after-church Christmas Eve tradition and instead do charcuterie/snack boards for dinner. We did a savory board, a dessert board, and a fruit board. It was delicious and a lot of fun!

I’m absolutely exhausted, but we’re watching The Christmas Story now before bed.

Today I’m grateful for: Being able to be with my family on Christmas.

Check out Blogmas Day 24 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 23 (enjoying Christmas break)

I woke up this morning exhausted, in pain, and mildly irritated that I had some client work to do today. I managed to get up around 11 and get it done before one so I could move on to the rest of my day–having fun getting things done on Christmas break!

First things first: Before I completely ran out of energy, I went to the kitchen, turned on some Christmas music, and made some gingerbread brownies (a recipe I’d never tried before–they ended up not really being my personal favorite).

While they baked, I cleaned the kitchen, ate a small lunch, and practiced voice (pictured below is the face the cat makes whenever I start doing my vocal warm-ups). Then I wrote a letter and journaled while they cooled.

After that I had to rest in bed for a bit. When I got up around 4:30, I was feeling pretty terrible. But I made myself do some physical therapy/stretching, take a quick shower, and start my laundry. Then I had a small dinner and settled onto the couch with my Gatorade fruit juice to do some computer things–working on a Christmas gift and working on my Diamonds talk. And somehow now the day is already over and I’m going to bed to read for the night.

Today I’m grateful for: The virtual Christmas card I got from a coworker and the Merry Christmas email I got from a mentor and friend.

Check out Blogmas Day 23 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 22 (EMG and Whole Foods)

This morning I had a nerve conduction study with my Emory neurologist. I’ve already had one EMG this year–I feel like there’s some kind of joke in here about not being able to get out of 2020 with just one. While nerve conduction studies are by far not the worst medical procedure I’ve ever had, they also aren’t necessarily the way you’d choose to spend your Tuesday morning. And, oh yeah–today’s procedure was at 8:45 in Atlanta, meaning my dad and I had to leave at 7:45. And as you’ve probably noticed by now, most days I’m doing good if I’m able to be vertical before 10 A.M.

We ended up being at the doctor’s office for almost two hours. I had both parts of the procedure (which involves electric shocks and being stuck with needles–I spared you the bloody pictures), and then they kept me to do one additional small procedure. Finally, we finished talking to the doctor and wrapped things up.

We were in a rush because my dad had somewhere to be, but we stopped by the Whole Foods across the street before heading home. This was my first time ever going to a Whole Foods and it was very exciting! (Also very expensive, but we won’t talk about that lol.) I’m absolutely over the moon about the Kite Hill tortellini I got. I’m not a big pasta person but I do love tortellini and ravioli, and I haven’t had either one in a year and a half. I also got some fun little candy bars, lemon cups, a new kind of granola, a few other snacks like yogurt and crackers, and some produce.

It was noon when I got home. I ate breakfast, showered, and then sat down with my computer to do a few small tasks–blog things, medical things, Diamonds things. Before long, though, I ended up in bed to watch YouTube and rest. But as tired as I was, I couldn’t actually fall asleep. So I eventually got back up and made a scrambled egg with cherry tomatoes and tortilla chips for lunch. Then I wrote some letters, and by then it was almost dinnertime.

My stomach has been a mess today and I definitely overdid it at dinner, but I had so much new food that I was so excited about, I just couldn’t resist! I made a pork chop, a zucchini, and the Kite Hill dairy-free tortellini (which was really good!); I also tried these little vegan lemon tarts, which were absolutely delicious! I can definitely justify all the money I spend at specialty grocery stores these days if it piques my appetite and gets more calories in me.

This evening I did a few blog things, voted, and FaceTimed with my mom and brother for almost an hour and a half. Now it’s 9:00 and I’m going to bed with a book.

Today I’m grateful for: It officially feels like Christmas break now–I don’t have any more medical appointments until January 2nd (unless anything goes wrong, knock on wood)!

Check out Blogmas Day 22 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 21 (dietitian appointment)

I woke up in a bad mood this morning. I was feeling pretty badly and was stressed about medical stuff and client stuff (as in, I woke up to three client emails giving me assignments for this week and had to remind them all that I’m off work for the rest of the year). I laid in bed for a while trying to wake up and then made myself get up, get ready, and make some tea.

At noon I had a voice lesson via FaceTime to make up for the lesson that, ah, didn’t go as planned last week. We briefly reviewed the song I’ve been learning and talked about what we’re going to work on in the new year.

When my lesson was over, it was time to leave: I had an appointment with a new dietitian today. The appointment was about 45 minutes away one way in an outpatient education facility associated with my hospital. I thought the dietitian was knowledgeable and nice; she didn’t necessarily tell me anything that I didn’t already know, but sometimes it’s just nice to get a fresh perspective and hear things from somebody else.

It was almost five by the time I got home and I was feeling pretty terrible. I made myself eat a small dinner, take a quick shower, and write a few letters. It’s 8:00 now and I’m feeling better and more awake, but I have an early morning tomorrow, so I need to get ready for bed.

Today I’m grateful for: Getting mail–including Christmas cards, letters, and the magazine pictured below! With the post office delays this month I haven’t been getting as much mail as usual, but things have picked back up the last few days.

Check out Blogmas Day 21 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 20 (homemade bread and Our Odyssey!)

I woke up at 10:45 this morning feeling sleepy, in pain, and very glad I had a day at home to rest. I laid in bed for an hour watching YouTube.

Then I got up and went to the kitchen to make some bread! I went through a big baking phase back in August, and homemade French bread was on my list to try. But I’d never gotten around to it–until Shannon inspired me yesterday with her homemade sourdough and made me want to try again.

I used this no-yeast recipe from Pinterest and got to work. The bread was very easy and fast to mix up, and I baked the loaf for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. It came out SO GOOD!!! I literally started jumping up and down when I tasted it because it tasted AMAZING (especially the crust–and especially with blueberry jam) and I was so proud of myself!

When I finished baking bread and cleaning the kitchen, I wrote several letters, mostly to new pen pals. Then I scheduled some posts for Diamonds social media. At 4:00, I went to the virtual Our Odyssey meetup (Our Odyssey is an organization for young adults with chronic and/or rare diseases). I haven’t been to an Our Odyssey meetup in a while and it was good to see everyone! Topics of conversation ranged from the COVID vaccine to the curly girl hair method to dad jokes.

She loves watching people (and their dogs) walking by on the sidewalk, and I love watching them notice her.

I was tired after the meetup; I wrote a few more letters and laid in bed for a while trying not to fall asleep. It’s 9:00 now and I just got up to have a snack (peanut butter banana toast) because I haven’t eaten much today. Hopefully I can find the energy to take a shower before going to bed.

Today I’m grateful for: IT’S CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!

Check out Blogmas Day 20 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 19 (picnic and Christmas gifts)

As soon as my eyes cracked open this morning and I realized how tired I was and how much my legs hurt, I knew I’d overdone it with my plans for today. But once I laid in bed and rested for a while, I started feeling more awake and energetic, and was able to get up and put away my laundry before it was time to go.

At 12:30 my friend Shannon and I met at the park for a picnic. She brought us tangerines, lingonberry jam, and the most amazing homemade sourdough bread (still warm out of the oven); I contributed ham and raspberry star shortbread cookies. It ended up being such a pretty day for a picnic–50 and sunny–and we had a really nice time visiting for a few hours.

On the way home I stopped by my family’s house to say hi. Then I went home and showered. Kenna came over at 4:30 for about two hours so we could exchange the last of our Christmas gifts. She gave me so many fun and thoughtful gifts that I am so excited about!!! I enjoyed sampling all the food (including some not pictured) when she left 🙂

This evening I wrote a few letters and now I’m going to bed to read.

Today I’m grateful for: The beautiful weather and having a little more energy.

Check out Blogmas Day 19 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 18 (endocrinologist appointment)

This morning I had an appointment with one of my endocrinologists. My dad took me since I still felt a little wary about driving after yesterday afternoon. My endo and I discussed everything that’s been going on (well, all of the endocrine-related things) and some potential solutions–some of which I absolutely am not going to do, but I think we’ve settled on one thing to try.

After a stop at the library, I had lunch at home (corndogs because why not), made some medical phone calls, and filmed an IGTV video that will be going up on the Diamonds conference account tomorrow.

Then I sat down to finish up work for the YEAR! I scheduled two weeks’ worth of social media posts for one of my clients, and by 4:00 I was DONE WITH WORK FOR 2020!!!

To celebrate I took a shower, started my laundry, and wrote a few letters. Then I made a chicken breast, a purple sweet potato, and a zucchini for dinner and filled out some medical paperwork. Finally, I spent an enjoyable evening in bed journaling, watching YouTube, and reading.

Today I’m grateful for: Having a little bit more energy than usual.

Check out Blogmas Day 18 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?

Blogmas 2020 Day 17 (amnesia episode)

I was very sleepy, in pain, and generally not feeling well this morning. Thankfully I didn’t have a lot of work and I could get a slow start at 11:30. Mentally I’m on Christmas break mode, and it’s the best feeling! I’m thinking about spreads I want to make in my bullet journal, graphs representing all the books I read this year, getting new pen pals… I’m also SO excited to spend time with my family. I think Christmas is at the perfect spot this year–it’s right in the middle of the two-week break, so I have a week of the break to anticipate it and then a week afterwards to enjoy, too.

But we’re not quite there yet. I wrote a client blog post and submitted a couple of the posts I’d written yesterday. Then, even though I was feeling worse/more exhausted, I got up and made some French toast and tea and cleaned the kitchen.

At 2:30 I had a voice lesson. My teacher was exposed to Covid this week, so we ended up doing a video lesson today. Unfortunately our lesson didn’t go quite as planned, though. I have occasional episodes where I lose all language capacity for a few minutes and I’m not able to speak, read, or think. I’ve been having them for almost two years, but I just recently started also having memory lapses/amnesia along with them. I woke up on the couch at 3:15 with no idea how I got there, what time/day it was, what I’d been doing today, or anything else. I had a text from my teacher asking if I was okay; I thought I’d missed our lesson because I was asleep. But then I noticed I’d had a nine-minute incoming call from her, and when I asked her if we’d been having a lesson, she said yes and explained to me what had happened. It slowly started to come back to me that I’d had one of my episodes during our lesson (they happen most often while I’m practicing voice). I had hung up our FaceTime because I couldn’t explain what was happening. Then somehow I guess I got on the couch and fell into a deep sleep. It took me about an hour (and some texts from my mom reminding me what I’d been doing today) to get somewhat back with it.

I had been planning to go to Hobby Lobby today to get a couple of final Christmas gifts. But after my episode my mom and I decided I shouldn’t drive today, so she came to pick me up and we made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and Petco. When I got home around 6 I just laid in bed for a couple of hours on my phone because I didn’t feel up to doing anything else; I’ve still been really disoriented and having trouble remembering things all afternoon and evening. Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ll be a little more clearheaded.

Today I’m grateful for: A surprise Christmas gift from Grace Anne.

Check out Blogmas Day 17 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. What did you do today?