Four days until Christmas – can you believe it?! 2016 zipped by in the blink of an eye, and the holiday season in particular has gone so fast I didn’t even have time to send out Christmas cards. I am the worst, because 1. I design stationery professionally so this shouldn’t have been a big hurdle and 2. we received so many gorgeous cards from friends and family and my guilt is heavy that we didn’t reciprocate. Friends, keep the cards coming! I wrote your addresses down in a very organized list and promise we’ll get our act together next year.
So this year, in lieu of holiday cards and a newsletter in comic sans, I’m excited to share our family photos and annual update here – as much a record for myself as for you. I don’t ever want to forget the big and little things that made this year memorable for our family.
Not gonna lie, 2016 started out rough for us. Amos was sick nonstop, Brad and I had each lost a grandmother, and we were in the process of saying goodbye to Brad’s grandfather as well. Losing three grandparents in the span of a few months was an emotionally shocking and draining time for us and our families. But amidst all the memories we’ll forever carry of our grandparents, we are so thankful to have had the time we did with them – and that they got to meet and spend time with their great-grandson Amos. This holiday season has highlighted their missing presence; but I know they’d be delighted to see the traditions and legacies that they built live on.
Thankfully winter gave way to a sweet and refreshing springtime – we took our first family vacation to sunny Florida, where we rested and recharged and enjoyed the beach for the first time with Amos. So many fun memories from that trip and we’re grateful we took the time to sneak away! It’s hard to take time off of work when it’s just the two of us running the business, but the extra effort is always worthwhile.
Brad continued working hard on our house all year, perfecting all the nooks and crannies to our liking and focusing almost all of his efforts and free time on our master bathroom remodel. He re-did everything from the ground up, and the results are stunning – he’s a superhero! The house has kept him busy for nearly two years now but we’re happy to say we’re “done.” It’s so restful now to just sit back and enjoy the work he’s put in to making our house the home we always dreamed of.
Summertime brought lake house trips with both sides of our families, road trips to West Virginia and Georgia to witness friends and family tie the knot, and Amos’s first birthday. We celebrated big with a Mexican fiesta and enjoyed having so many of our loved ones gathered together to party alongside us and toast, margaritas in the air!, to this special milestone.
Fall was full of cliché family fun – leaf piles and pumpkin patches and hayrides and apple orchards, and we were loving every second of it. We dressed Amos up as a raccoon for Halloween and forced some photos with our coonhound Norm (oh the irony!). Amos could (finally) walk and take part in all the seasonal festivities, so we had a blast enjoying the cooler weather and beautiful Ohio scenery.
This year, we kicked off the holiday season a little early (pre-Thanksgiving, don’t hate!) so that we could enjoy it as long as possible. Work is always so hectic at Christmastime that we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the hap-happiest season of all. We visited the sweetest local tree farm and cut down our own pine tree, watched all the Christmas movies, drank egg nog by the fire at night, and got our shopping done early so we could just chill as the 25th approached. A couple of weeks ago we hosted our third annual Weck the Halls Christmas Party, which we look forward to more and more each year. It never ceases to amaze us how many wonderful people there are in this town, and each year this party is a reminder of all the folks who bless our lives with their friendship. We basically ate, drank, and were merry – it was perfect.
This winter has been magical so far – Amos is infatuated by all things Christmas-y… the tree, the white sparkling lights that line our rooftop, the glittering ornaments, the sound of Mariah Carey singing Christmas songs nonstop in the background. It seems the only thing better than Christmas as a child is Christmas as a parent, and watching your kiddo catch the magic. I hope each year is as festive, cozy, and merry as this one’s been so far.
Professionally, things at The Oyster’s Pearl were successful and fun! Brad and I are so excited that our business doubled from 2015, he and I got into a good groove with our independent roles as business partners and teammates, and I finally found a good balance of working from home and having Amos in childcare for about half of the work week. I had the pleasure of teaching a Skillshare course in January, we expanded our wholesale business, and developed a new partnership with department store Lord & Taylor.
This was also the year of collaborations – a crazy fun photo shoot in April, courtesy of the talented Leigh Elizabeth Photography, featuring us and a handful of friends and cute babies modeling newly-designed clothes for the website. We also expanded our Brand Rep program and collaborated with influencers – the connections made through these partnerships were so fun! The last of our holiday orders are being shipped out as I write this, and it feels so good to take a deep breath and rest now that our busy season is coming to a close and I know that the business officially survived & thrived in 2016.
This year, as any other, had its ups and downs – moments of mourning and grief, frustration and boredom, stress and worry. But it also had moments of pure magic and delight, success, rest, joy, and peace. We’re so thankful for everyone, near and far, who was a part of our year – whether through personal connections or business interactions, purely online or walking alongside us in real life. We’ll be slowing down for the next couple of weeks – savoring these fleeting days as we count down to Christmas, resting and celebrating with family, exchanging gifts and quality time, and looking ahead to a beautiful 2017.
We hope you experience similar magic, rest, hope, peace, and joy among loved ones this Christmas and New Year.
“Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name”
All our love,
Emily, Brad, + Amos (and Norman)