Friday, December 31, 2021

Final Recap of 2021 Goals

Another year is drawing to a close.  For me, 2021 went by quickly.  At times 2020 felt like it was dragging along, and 2021 certainly made up for that.  

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Back in January, I posted my 2021 goals with the hopes that this year, I'd make a lot of headway on them.  After the disaster that was 2020, I assumed that I'd have all the time in the world to be home to working on my goals.  But after Eliot and I were both fully vaccinated back in May, I naturally wanted to get out of the house more.  Thus, I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped to with my goals this year.  

If you want to read up on previous years, you can find my past Disney goal posts at the following links: 2014 goals2014 recap2015 goals2015 recap, 2016 goals, 2016 recap2017 goals2019 goals2019 recap, 2020 goals and 2020 recap.

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For those of you who are new readers here, or for those who need a quick reminder, here is the short cliff notes version of my goals for this year:

Melissa's Blog and Disney Goals for 2021

1.) Celebrate Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary
2.) Get Two Puppies and Give Them Disney Names
3.) Work on Disney Scrapbooks
4.) Decorate the House for the Holidays

5.) Rebrand Blog and Social Media

6.) Make Disney Home Decor for the House
7.) Use My New Disney Princess Planners and Journals
8.) Make Disney Decor for the Holidays

9.) Make Disney Accessories

10.) Have Disney Movie Nights

11.) Have Disney Board Game Nights

12.) Disneybound/Themed Outfit Challenge
13.) Have a Disney Themed Party
14.) Take an Online Class

15.) Design an Imagineering Project

16.) Read Disney Books

17.) Paint Disney Art

18.) Decorate House with Disney Touches

19.) Launch My Clothing Line

20.) Launch Our Home Decor Business
21.) Create New Products for Happily Ever Hatter

So let's see how I did with my 2021 goals!

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Melissa's Blog and Disney Goals for 2021

1.) Celebrate Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary- Goal Met
I was careful with my wording on this goal.  My first goal for every year is to go back to Walt Disney World.  However, with the ongoing pandemic, I decided to change it to celebrate WDW's 50th, whether I was there in person or at home.  Instead, I hosted my own personal celebration in the form of a bunch of blog posts, watching videos, and celebrating from afar.  It wasn't the same, but it was still magical!

2.) Get Two Puppies and Give Them Disney Names- Goal Not Met
Eliot and I wanted this to be the year, but it wasn't in the cards!  Hopefully next year!

3.) Work on Disney Scrapbooks- 
Goal Not Met
After the disaster of Squirrel-Gate, I haven't had a chance to finish cleaning my office in order to get this stuff out.  Hopefully I can start chipping away at it next year!

4.) Decorate the House for the Holidays-
 Goal Not Met 
I really wanted to get our decorations out this year, but we decided to keep them packed away safely.  However, we were able to organize some of them!  Progress! 

5.) Rebrand Blog and Social Media- 
Goal Met
This has been a goal of mine for a while.  I'm not 100% where I'd like to be, but I made a lot of improvements this year and it makes me really happy to see them on here! 

6.) Make Disney Home Decor for the House- 
Goal Met
I haven't really posted much about it on here, but I was able to work on some home decor pieces this year.  I'll be sure to share them once I start putting them in our house!

7.) Use My New Disney Princess Planners and Journals-
 Goal Not Met 
This is probably my biggest disappointment on this list.  Eliot and I got so much planning stuff for this year and I definitely did not do it justice.  However, I am not one to waste anything, so I'll happily use the calendars and stuff that I can't use next year in my scrapbooking projects!  Nothing will be thrown out!

8.) Make Disney Decor for the Holidays-
 Goal Not Met 
I love making holiday decorations, but this year I didn't really have much time to!

9.) Make Disney Accessories-
 Goal Not Met 
I also didn't really take time to make myself any new accessories this year.

10.) Have Disney Movie Nights- 
Goal Met
This year, I made an extra effort to use our Disney+ account more often.  I watched a few movies, but what I really enjoyed were the series and shorts.  I loved watching Pixar Popcorn Shorts, Monsters at Work, Dug Days, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., and Olaf Presents.  Eliot and I I really love the Disney+ original content!

11.) Have Disney Board Game Nights- 
Goal Met
Eliot and I didn't have as many game nights as I wanted to, but we did get to play Disney Uno a few times over the past few months.  We also played Villainous with Jeremy over Thanksgiving.  Hopefully we can keep playing more next year!

12.) Disneybound/Themed Outfit Challenge-
 Goal Not Met 
I didn't even make much of an effort with this.  Honestly, I spent most of this year in my pajamas and lounge clothing.  Although, I started to put more of an effort in around the holidays so that's definitely a step in the right direction!

13.) Have a Disney Themed Party- Goal Not Met 
With COVID still raging on, having a party at our house was not something I wanted to do.  Hopefully, 2022 will be safer to host people and parties!

14.) Take an Online Class- 
Goal Met
This did not go as planned, but I did attend quite a few online classes and seminars.  I found a few different things that interested me while scrolling on Facebook... and I'm happy to report that I found them really inspiring!  Hopefully I can take more next year!

15.) Design an Imagineering Project-
 Goal Not Met 
Eliot and I love talking about Imagineering ideas.  I had one that I really wanted to work on, but with COVID still happening, the design seemed a little out of touch.

16.) Read Disney Books-
 Goal Not Met 
I'm a bit disappointed about this one too.  I really need to start making time to read!

17.) Paint Disney Art-
 Goal Not Met 
I also need to make time for myself so I can paint!

18.) Decorate House with Disney Touches-
 Goal Not Met 
One of Eliot's and my main goals is to finish our house.  Unfortunately, this year we weren't able to do that.  Thus, I didn't really do any decorating.  Hopefully next year!

19.) Launch My Clothing Line-
 Goal Not Met 
This was something we planned to do this year, but the year went by so fast.  By the time I was preparing to do it, we were approaching the holidays and I decided to wait.

20.) Launch Our Home Decor Business-
 Goal Not Met 
This was another big goal that we decided to hold off on.  We're still tweaking a few things with Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations, so we held off on the home decor for now.  But we are getting closer to finally launching it!

21.) Create New Products for Happily Ever Hatter- Goal Not Met 
I ordered supplies for a few new ideas, but I never put anything together.  Next year!

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And there you have it!  Six out of 20 wasn't exactly what I had planned, but it's still better than how I did back in 2020.  Plus, I also started doing seasonal bucket lists this year- which is a totally new thing for me.  Basically, on top of these goals, I also gave myself a bunch of other goals to accomplish each season!

Taking all of that into account, I'm really happy with how everything ended up.  I feel like I got a lot of stuff done in 2021, and that I had a lot of fun too!

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Finally, you might recall that my 2021 word of the year was PURPOSE.  This year, I really wanted to focus on that, and I definitely did.  Throughout the year, I reminded myself of the word's two meanings.  As a noun, it means "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists."  As a verb, it means "one's intention or objective."  Both of those spoke to me and I got really confident in what that means to me.  After losing my purpose a few years ago, I reignited the light inside myself and proclaimed my status as a Magic Maker.  And if that alone was the only thing that I got out of this entire year, it would 100% be worth it.

Thank you 2021 for the memories, laughs and magical moments!!!  °o°

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 Year In Review

I can't believe it's time to write another year in review.  For me, 2021 flew right by.  I had a lot of high hopes after the disaster that was 2020.  This year still had a lot of challenges with the pandemic, but things are (mostly) looking up.  I definitely felt like this was a more complete year than 2020 ended up being.

With the COVID vaccination's roll out, things got more back to normal.  They're still not 100% there, but they might not be for a while.  However, in 2021 Eliot and I got out a lot more and did a little bit of traveling.  We had a lot of great memories and moments!

This year, I also left my house more than I did in 2020.  It felt like a more "normal" year even though things certainly aren't back to normal.  Eliot and I started to do a bit of traveling.  We also timidly dipped our toes back into the world of amusement parks.

Here's an overview of Eliot's and my 2021!

2021 Year In Review:

January- Eliot's and my New Year started colorfully with the addition of our new Twinkly Christmas tree.  We had our eyes checked while the January 6th mob was attacking the Capitol Building.  NHL Hockey returned and we watched our first San Jose Sharks game since the pandemic started.  We celebrated Happily Ever Hatter's 7th birthday and National Hat Day.  We finally went down to Massachusetts to visit the Disney Store.  We watched the Inauguration and I was inspired by the shattered glass for women.  Bernie Sanders and his mittens were what united the country in laughter through numerous memes.  Jeremy visited us over his birthday weekend.  For the first time, I publicly acknowledged my mental health struggles over the past few years and stepped into my power and purpose as a Magic Maker.

February- February brought cold winter days, snow, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and Mardi Gras.  We helped Eliot's sister Elissa start a zoo blog.  I started working on my own blog updates and re-branding.  I refreshed the graphics for both of our Etsy shops.  I also said goodbye to my original blog logo.

March- In March, my spring sewing class started.  I finally officially changed my blog name!  I got my new glasses and I was obsessed with all of the options available!  We officially marked one year since the coronavirus pandemic started.  On St. Patrick's Day, we were dealing with a squirrel in our house.  Eliot did the first cuts on our laser machine.  Eliot and I caught the squirrel a week after it made it's first appearance.  I officially changed my social media accounts to reflect my new blog name!  Finally, I took an online coaching class that I really enjoyed.

April- Eliot and I went down to IKEA and the Disney Store with Jeremy over Easter Weekend.  Things went on as usual... I had my ear, nose and throat appointment while Eliot had a tooth extraction.  I finished my spring sewing class.  We saw the first looks at the Disney Wish.  And Disneyland re-opened for the first time in 412 days!

May- May meant spring was slowly arriving.  I celebrated my 8th blogiversary.  Eliot and I got our first COVID vaccines on Cinco de Mayo.  Eliot and I received some magical mail and merchandise from Aulani.  We got together with my parents and Jeremy in Freeport over Mother's Day.  Eliot's sister Sara graduated and became a doctor.  I got a nice half birthday surprise.  Things started to get really busy with our businesses and personal lives.  Eliot used up the rest of his vacation days at the end of the month.  My family came down to visit over Memorial Day Weekend.

June- Eliot and I got our 2nd vaccine shots.  We got our butts kicked the next few days, but it was worth it.  We celebrated Eliot's birthday.  We reached our freedom point and the world suddenly felt new.  We had a reset back to normal.  Eliot and I made progress working on our house.  My family visited over Father's Day weekend. Eliot went away for a few days for a business conference.  It started to get really hot out, but thankfully I was still able to see my cousin.

July- Our July started with a new found sense of freedom and optimism.  I was so excited to be able to do things again, that I made a Summer bucket list.  We celebrated the 4th of July in Bar Harbor.  I also celebrated Emoji Blitz's 5th birthday.  We booked our vacation down to Virginia.  Disneyland celebrated her 66th birthday.  I had a minor operation on my head.  The Tokyo Olympics started.  Eliot and I enjoyed Christmas in July.  We marveled at Simone Biles.  I also celebrated Harry Potter's 20th Anniversary.

August- August kicked off with a lot going on.  I did my first DIY tutorial on here in years.  I reached 100 blog posts for 2021 using a new method I started doing.  The Olympics ended but they left me feeling inspired.  We did a bunch of summer things like going to camp, taking our first trip to Water Country and going to Scoop Deck for ice cream.  Then, we had even more summer fun like going to BBQs, playing board games, watching Jungle Cruise, seeing the Old Orchard Beach fireworks, playing mini golf, getting Pier Fries, having a picnic at the park and visiting the Portland Headlight.

September- September came and the fall slowly crept in.  Eliot, Jeremy and I took a Farewell Tour to our closest Disney Store and Outlet Store.  Over Labor Day, we went up to visit my family and we had a BBQ, went mini golfing, and had s'mores.  We all marked 20 years since September 11th.  I celebrated National Felt Hat Day by paying homage to all of my ear hat creations.  We went to Virginia for our first vacation in a year and a half.  I celebrated National Talk Like A Pirate Day.  The following day was Eliot's and my 9th Wedding Anniversary.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Virginia and the chance to relax and catch our breaths.  We returned from Virginia rested, relaxed and rejuvenated.  We ended the month by saying our final goodbyes to the Happily Ever After fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom.

October- October kicked off with Walt Disney World's 50th Birthday!  I hosted my own at home celebration filled with small shop finds, 50th merchandise, new nighttime shows, specialty foods and a throwback of my 50 top WDW memories.  In the middle of that chaos, my fall sewing class started and Elissa also visited us.  Eliot and I watched the new Muppets Haunted Mansion special on Disney+.  Hockey started and we enjoyed watching the Sharks again.  Eliot announced his decision to start his own YouTube channel (coming soon!).  We took a weekend off to visit my family and enjoy Acadia National Park.  Then we went down to Massachusetts for a few days for Eliot's EASTEC conference.  We enjoyed our trip to MA and going to Six Flags, the Yankee Candle Village, swimming, shopping and out to dinner!  Eliot got promoted to senior mechanical engineer at work.  We ended the month with me confessing about my candy corn obsession and we enjoyed Halloween with our neighborhood!

November- As soon as the calendar flipped to November 1st, I was ready to deck the halls.  We celebrated the 20th birthday of Monsters Inc, got choked up over the new From Our Family to Yours video, and booked our first flights in also two years.  Eliot and I explored Salem and went to see Simone Biles and the US Women's Gymnastics Team during the Gold Over America Tour.  We celebrated Mickey's birthday with a throwback post.  I celebrated my 37th birthday and had a wonderful weekend.  Beauty and the Beast turned 30.  My fall sewing class ended.  Eliot and I went to my parents' house for Thanksgiving Weekend and Hanukkah began.

December- Eliot and I continued to celebrate Hanukkah.  I took time to acknowledge Walt Disney's 120th birthday.  Eliot and I celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our engagement.  Eliot and I were crazy busy between work, our businesses, my parents visiting, massage appointments, shopping, food poisoning, me covering for my old job, finishing all of our holiday orders and having our first neighborhood Christmas Cookie Exchange Party.  I stopped for a moment to take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the First Day of Winter.  Eliot, Jeremy and I went to my parents' house for Christmas Eve and Christmas and we had a mostly magical weekend!  Now, Eliot and I are ending the year with a trip down to Pittsburg and West Virginia to meet up with Eliot's family... (more on that trip sometime in the new year once we're home)!

As you can see. the year definitely picked up in excitement and activities after Eliot and I received our coronavirus vaccinations.  It still hasn't been what I'd call normal, but 2021 definitely beat out 2020!  There's no denying that!

I think our 2021 was a great year.  It was filled with a lot of fun, wonderful moments and memories that we'll always cherish.  Thank you 2021 for all of the fun!!!  °o°

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Holiday 2021 Bucket List Results

The holiday season is winding down for another year.  We just have New Years Eve and New Years Day and things will settle back down once the calendar flips.  Of course, that also means it's time to check in on my holiday bucket list.

I wasn't able to do as much as I wanted to.  But more importantly, I was able to take some time to enjoy the holiday season... and that was the whole point of this anyways. 

So, without further ado, let's see exactly how I did with my Holiday 2021 Bucket List:

1.) Drink Hot Cocoa

I didn't get a chance to drink hot cocoa this season.  I've been having some stomach problems though, so that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

2.) Read a Christmas Book

I really wanted to take time to read a Christmas romance novel or something... but I wasn't even able to buy one.  I'll have to do this next year!

3.) Watch all 3 Santa Clause Movies

I didn't watch these this year.  I usually do, but this year I couldn't squeeze them in.

4.) Wear Christmas Pajamas

I wore my Mickey and Minnie Gingerbread pajamas on Christmas Day!

5.) Play the Dreidel Game

This is the second year in a row that I've insisted Mom and Dad get Hershey's Kisses and we still haven't played the Dreidel game.  Next year... I'm determined!

6.) Drive Around to Look at Christmas Lights

Eliot and I did this a few times during our travels.  It's such a simple thing to go out and do, but it brings me so much joy to see all of the decorations and houses lit up.

7.) Make a Christmas Craft

I didn't have time for this, but I made a bunch of mouse ears and desk accessories!

8.) Bake Cookies

Our oven has been out of commission so this did not happen.

9.) Hang a Wreath on the Front Door

Eliot and I did hang a wreath!  We actually have two so when we get home, we need to find a place to put the second one up!

10.) Donate to Toy's for Tots

I didn't know where to donate toys... and apparently Eliot's work has been a drop off place for years.  (I found out when I went to check the locations on the website.)  Next year, I'll do it earlier so we catch the box before it's picked up!

11.) Send Christmas Cards

This is a work in progress.  (I'm literally doing this in between working on this post.)  It's after Christmas and they're late, but since this is the first year I've ordered cards since we moved into our house in 2015, it's progress and I'm happy about it!

12.) Watch All of the New Hallmark Christmas Movies

Ok, this technically isn't officially finished yet, but all of them are on the DVR and Eliot and I will be finishing the last few movies once we get home from our trip!

13.) Listen to Christmas Music

Eliot and I started listening to Christmas music as soon as we flipped the calendar to November. We've listened to the classics, pop, Glee, Disney and country.  I love it!

14.) Take Christmas Photo

We took a family photo over Christmas weekend!  Our new ring light works really well!

15.) Light all Eight Candles for Hanukkah (electric or flame)

Eliot and I did light our electric menorah each night of Hanukkah.

16.) Wear an "Ugly" Sweater

Eliot and I wore our new Disney sweaters a few times this holiday season!

17.) Watch the Disney Christmas "Parade" Christmas Morning

We tried to do this as I wrote about in my Christmas 2021 post.  We did DVR it, so Eliot and I will watch the rest of it once we're back from our trip.

18.) Do an Advent Calendar

Eliot and I opened our Wishables advent calendar early, but it was an advent calendar so I'm still counting it.  Next year, I'll have to get one that we can open each day.

19.) Go See a Christmas Light Display 

I really wanted to go see a special Christmas Light display and not just driving by houses.  We were able to do this when we went to Gardens Aglow over my birthday.

20.) Have a Family Game Night

We weren't home long enough to play games.  Maybe next year.

21.) Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

We weren't home long enough to do this either.  Boo... 

22.) Make a Hanukkah Craft

I wish I had enough time for this!  I do have an idea I can do next year though.

23.) Decorate our Yard with Inflatables

Eliot and I never put our inflatables up, but we really enjoyed seeing all of my Dad's up!

24.) Make Treats for our Neighbors

We didn't make treats for our neighbors since our oven was messed up, but we did prepare cookies for our First Annual Neighborhood Christmas Cookie Exchange Party!

25.) Watch Favorite Christmas Movies (Elf, Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, etc.)

I totally crushed this last goal!  I watched so many of my favorite classic Christmas movies.  (That's why I wasn't really that worried about the Santa Clause movies.  I watch those all the time.)  This year, I watched Frosty, Elf, The Grinch (the 2018 one), Noelle, Same Time Next Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, and all of the Christmas Prince movies.  I loved the new animated Grinch movie.  That's the only one I'll watch going forward.  I haven't watched Elf in a few years.  I've only seen the first Christmas Prince movie and that was back in 2017 when it came out on Netflix.  I really enjoyed binge watching those last week.  Plus, I enjoyed seeing Same Time Next Christmas again.  I also have Rudolph on the DVR to watch when I have some time!

And there you have it!  Overall, 14 out of 25 isn't bad!  Considering how busy Eliot and I have been the past few weeks, I'd say it's actually a small miracle!  While I wasn't able to check everything off of this list, I am very happy with what we were able to do.  

At the end of the day, the only thing I wanted to do was to spend Christmas at home with my family and to be able to hug my family.  That's all the holiday magic I need.  °o°

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Christmas 2021

It's hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone.  This season always goes by so fast for us, but it was definitely a merry one despite a few hiccups!

Eliot and I had planned to go home to my parents' house on Thursday, but that was foiled when we lost our electricity the same time we were getting out of bed.  It was only out for about 3 hours, but that was all it took to derail our day.  We had planned to do laundry and wrap things up with a few orders, but with the power out, we couldn't do that.  Instead, Eliot sat on the living room floor wrapping Christmas presents.

While the power came back a few hours later, Eliot, Mom and I all agreed that it made sense to stay home for an extra day.  Eliot and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening finishing orders, cleaning the house, doing laundry and getting things packed for Christmas.  Eliot and I were also able to watch a few more new Hallmark movies and get those off of the DVR.  At the end of the day, we were able to get to bed early so we would be well rested for Christmas weekend!

Friday morning, Eliot and I got up and finished our Christmas preparations.  We packed our orders, packed our gifts and packed up the truck.  Around 12:30, we were on our way north!  We made a quick stop for gas and to pick one of Mom's presents from our storage unit.  We stopped again in Topsham at the Arby's for lunch.  Then, we stopped at Lowes in Augusta to see if they had any good deals.  We ended up getting a steal of a deal!  Everything was 75% off the already reduced rate of 75% off.  Eliot and I got a bunch of pre-lit garlands for 94 cents each.  It was crazy.

Eliot and I continued making our way north with our inflatable Rudolph right by our sides.  Eliot drove the second half of the trip.  We made one more stop at the Brewer Lowes.  They had a bunch of the Disney Christmas pathway lights left, but that Lowes manager wouldn't give us the extra discount... even though that's what the sign in the store said.  We decided that we didn't need the pathway lights, and instead we bought two Disney flags and a bear tabletop inflatable.

We pulled into Mom and Dad's driveway right about 6:00 pm.  Eliot and I were greeted by Dad's collection of inflatables.  He didn't put all of them out this year, but he still had a good collection of them on display.  Eliot and I walked up to the end of the driveway with Dad checking them all out before going inside to say hi to Mom and Nana.  While we were telling them about our Lowes deals, Jeremy pulled into the driveway.  We were all home and together for Christmas weekend!

We spent the evening visiting and catching up with each other.  Before bed, we laid out our stockings so Santa could fill them up with goodies.

Christmas morning, we woke up around 8:15.  Jeremy actually woke Eliot and I up since I forgot to set my alarm the night before.  I had been having a crazy dream, so I was thankful that he woke me when he did.  We waited until Mom, Dad and Nana were all ready in the living room.  By the time they got settled, it was probably 8:45.  

Eliot and I opened our stockings and took in all of the items that Santa left us on the couch.  It was clear that we were going to make out like bandits again.  (Santa always spoils us rotten.)  I got the Mickey Popcorn Maker I asked for.  I also had a large pile of beads and UV resin jewelry making supplies.  There was the Haunted Mansion game I'd wanted.  In the middle of the couch was the Sesame Street Lego Set Eliot and I both asked for.  A quick glance at Eliot's side and I saw Pokemon Legos, a Villainous game expansion pack, Villain Monopoly, and the Drill Press he wanted. 

After stockings, we decided that we had time to open presents so Jeremy, Eliot and I took turns opening the 5 presents that Santa had wrapped for us.  For me, it was two Disney cookbooks I'd wanted, two of the Disney Possible Dreams figures I'd asked for, and the jewelry stamping kit I had on my list.  Eliot got two of the video games he wanted, some Lego sets as well as some tools he asked for.

We still had some time, so we started to open our gifts to each other.  Eliot got me a custom Tervis tumbler with pictures of us and the donkeys from some of our recent adventures.  It was really special and brought back a lot of wonderful memories.  

I gave Eliot some handmade Christmas stockings of Figment and Orange Bird.  I had seen them posted on Instagram by a small shop I've purchased from a few times.  I've been wanting to buy him the pillows she's made of them, but when I saw the stockings I knew I had to get them.  We'll be able to use them to decorate our living room each year.  They're really cute and he absolutely loved them!

Nana gave me money and Eliot got a Home Depot gift card.  I gave Nana the passport bag Mom and I bought her from Hot Topic.  (Mom and I each got one too.)  It has all of the Disney Princess symbols on it- including Cinderella's Slipper and Coach.  Nana commented to my Mom about how much she loved my little Mickey purse so we knew she'd like this.  I also showed her the Cinderella fabric that we bought to make her pillow cases for the little arm pillows Santa brought her.

Mom and Dad also got Nana a Cakeworthy Fairy Godmother flannel shirt that I'd spotted on Shop Disney.  It says "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" on the back in sparkly white letters.  Then, the front has Fairy Godmother embroidered on the collar and her image coming out of the pocket.  It really is beautiful... I have to order one for myself too!

Eliot and I gave Mom and Dad a bunch of little things.  Mom had already gotten the Scentsy Disney Christmas tart warmer we'd all gotten her back at Thanksgiving so she could use it.  Then, Eliot and I also bought her a Mickey Christmas Tree Truck pillow from Kohls.  She also got an apron with Mickey and the red truck.  Then, we found a cute Snoopy baking set.  Finally, we got her Mickey and Minnie Door greeters that we got on sale at Lowes.  Mom loved it all and especially enjoyed the red truck stuff.

Dad's gifts were also from Lowes.  Eliot and I had originally planned to get him one of the mini Airdorable inflatables, but since Lowes had them on sale we ended up getting him four: Olaf, Frosty, Mickey and Minnie.  We also gave him Coca Cola playing cards which he enjoyed, but they were nowhere near as big of a hit as the inflatables.  He was like a little kid; as soon as he opened up Olaf, he had to set him up.  It took him a while to open all of his gifts because he kept adding batteries to inflate them!  They were really cute and he enjoyed his little army of mini inflatables!

Eliot and I weren't sure what to get Jeremy, but I've been seeing an Amazon ad on Facebook for some collectible Seven Dwarfs plushes.  I finally took it as a sign that I should get those for him, and he loved them.  (Jeremy always loved the Seven Dwarfs when we were growing up.)  After opening his present, Jer said he'd actually seen them online the other day and was checking them out.  They even come in a nice box so you can display them without taking them out of it!

Jeremy broke the bank; the gifts just kept coming.  He gave me another one of the Possible Moments figures that I'd wanted- the one that I'd texted him about finding on eBay.  It's a retired one that I'd never seen before I came across it and he told me that he ordered it as soon as I sent the text.  He also got me a Dumbledore and Hogwarts Castle Funko Pop as well as a Dug Days Funko Pop of Dug with all of the puppies.

Jeremy gave Eliot a Pokemon Funko Pop.  Inside the back of the Funko box, was the rare Pokemon card he told me he was going to give Eliot.  I've known about it for a few weeks; Jeremy had pulled an expensive card that Eliot has been wanting to find.  He told Eliot about it over my birthday weekend, and apparently that was his way of sneakily finding out which cards Eliot would want the most.  Eliot was so happy to get the card that he teared up while thanking Jeremy.

What I wasn't expecting was my final gift from Jeremy.  He told me that he found one on eBay from Europe, and I had no idea what it was.  When I opened it, it was my turn to cry.  Jeremy found one of the Ariel Atlantica Castle figures that had sold out on our US Shop Disney website before I was able to order it.  I had mentioned to Jeremy that if he saw one (when the Disney Stores were all closing) to grab it for me.  He wasn't able to find one, and I figured they'd be too much to find on eBay so I had given up on it.  But Jeremy kept a look out and found one at a good price.  I have the best brother.

Jeremy even bought our three donkeys a present... three pairs of fuzzy Sesame Street slipper socks- Elmo, Cookie Monster and Ernie & Bert!  They're really cute and they'll be really soft to wear.  Meep Meep spent all afternoon on Christmas cuddled up in a box with the slipper socks as a blanket.  He was living his best life!

We got so caught up in opening gifts that we lost track of the time.  Before we knew it, it was 10:00 and the Disney Christmas Parade was starting.  And it was at this exact moment that Mom and Dad realized that they had misplaced the remote the night before.  Apparently, when they were taking stuff out of the boxes, organizing our gifts and prepping for Christmas morning, the remote got lost in the shuffle.

Things got a bit jumbled then.  We looked for the remote and it was no where to be found.  We ended up opening a few more gifts.  Then, we tried to look for the remote again.  Eliot eventually realized that he could use his cell phone to change the channel, but we'd already missed the first 45 minutes of the parade.

Nana, Jeremy, Eliot and I settled in to watch the rest of it, while Mom and Dad made breakfast in the kitchen.  Since things were so crazy, we decided to wait on the waffles until the following day.  Dad cooked up some ham, eggs, and toast and we enjoyed it while watching the rest of the Disney Parade.

In the afternoon, Jeremy wanted to watch the Celtics basketball game so we used Eliot's phone to switch it over to that.  Eliot fell asleep for a long winter nap on the couch.  Nana dozed and Dad was passed out on the chair for most of it.  Mom and I talked in the kitchen for awhile so as not to disturb everyone else.

Later in the evening, I went outside to take photos of Dad's decorations before it got too dark.  Then, Eliot and I went out with him again when it was fully dark so I could take a few videos of his lights dancing to the music.

For dinner, we had spaghetti whenever we were hungry.  Throughout the day, I had snacked on fruit, nachos, shrimp, cookies and other small treats.  I ate my dinner while we settled in to watch a movie.  Eliot and Jeremy wanted to watch Encanto but I insisted we watch Noelle since it was a Christmas movie.  Eliot and I were the only ones who had seen it, so it made sense.  Mom fell asleep on and off and Eliot was out cold in my lap again, but Nana, Jeremy, Dad and I all really enjoyed it.

After that, we all made our way to best since we were completely exhausted!

Unfortunately, my slumber was not wonderful with visions of sugar plums.  I awoke around 6 am with pain in my stomach.  By 6:15 am, I was in the bathroom... and that was the beginning of the end.  I spent the next six hours back and forth between our bed and the bathroom.  In between visits to the bathroom, I tried to get sleep.  It was awful.  I was sobbing at one point because I didn't think I had anything else left in my body.  It wasn't until around 11:00 that I finally fell back into a deeper sleep.   

At one point when I was asleep, Jeremy had come in to ask if I was ok long enough for him to shower.  I gave him a thumbs up and fell back asleep.  Around noon, I came to again.  I could hear Jeremy talking to Mom and Dad downstairs.  I woke Eliot up and we made our way downstairs to join everyone.

Dad was already at work cooking the Mickey waffles.  Mom felt bad that I had spent the entire morning sick, but I assured her that I'd be ok.  We didn't think it was food poisoning since I'd eaten the same things as everyone else.  The only thing that I could think of was that it was the spaghetti sauce.  When I was sick a few weeks ago, I had eaten ravioli with meat sauce at Olive Garden.  (I'm wondering now if I'm having some problems with my body digesting tomato sauce.)

Everyone else had a wonderful breakfast of Mickey Waffles.  Not wanting to abandon the tradition that we started last year, I decided to have one.  It was one of the first ones out of the waffle maker so it was kind of squishy.  I put a teeny tiny bit of butter on it and slowly ate it.  I still didn't feel great, but I was glad to have eaten something.

Jeremy packed up and headed home a few minutes later.  I gave him a big hug and thanked him again for all of the wonderful presents that he got us.

I felt awful because I was incredibly weak and I couldn't lift anything.  Eliot worked really hard packing all of our Christmas presents up and taking them out to the truck.  I eventually gathered enough strength to take a shower.  I was really slow, but it felt so good to have the warm water washing over my poor weak body.  After my shower, I got dressed in my clean Christmas outfit and I was ready to go.

Before heading out, Eliot and I said goodbye to Nana.  Then my Dad helped Eliot pack everything else into the truck.  Mom and Dad walked us out to the truck.  We talked to them for a few minutes before saying goodbye and thanking them again for everything.

Eliot and I got on the road around 3 pm.  Thankfully, he thought he was good to drive the entire way home since I was completely wiped out from lack of sleep and from being sick that morning.  He planned to stop a a bunch of places on the way home so I knew that would help keep him alert on the ride.

Eliot ended up stopping at five different Walmarts along the way: Ellsworth, Brewer, Waterville, Augusta and South Portland.  Each of them had varying amounts of Christmas stuff left over.  Eliot found good deals at a few of them.  He got a few lights, some wrapping paper, tape and bubble mailers.  (We're planning to use the tape and bubble mailers for the businesses.)  He also found us both some discounted Disney Happy Planners for next year!  Other than those, I think my favorite find of his was the strand of Twinkly lights he got deeply discounted!  (Although, I was also pretty pumped about the banana he bought me in Brewer!  It was so yummy!!!)

I only got out with him at Waterville.  I really didn't need to use the bathroom since I was still so dehydrated, but I thought I should get out and stretch.  It was literally all I could do to walk around the store.  I could tell how weak I was.  Eliot asked me multiple times if I was ok.  After that, we stopped at the Waterville McDonalds.  I was able to eat a few French fries, and 10 chicken nuggets.  Thankfully, my stomach was ok with them and I felt much better having something else in my stomach!

We finally arrived home around 10 pm.  It took us twice as long to get home as it should have, but Eliot really enjoyed himself shopping along the way.  I had dozed off here and there, so I was perfectly fine with it.  I was happy to be home though.  Once we unloaded the things we needed from the truck, we went inside, called our parents to tell them we were home and went to bed!

Christmas 2021 wasn't without a few small glitches along the way.  But at the end of the day, I was so happy to be home with my family, vaccinated, and able to hug them that even a terrible case of food poisoning wasn't going to stop me from enjoying it!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family too!!!!  °o°