Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Christmas 2013

I blinked and Christmas has already come and gone. I always seem to start planning and anticipating this holiday earlier each year and then I take a breath and I am gearing up for the new year. 

This year was much like the ones past and I am entirely alright with that. Lots of family, too much food, and the realization that another Christmas season has quickly come and gone. 

Christmas Eve was spent at Vintage City Church for a service and then we went on to celebrate with my side of the family. 

Christmas Eve Aftermath 

The big difference this year was the fact that we are currently childless, with one on the way. Next year will be completely different. I am very excited to live this season through the eyes of a child because I remember all of those years of hardly sleeping on Christmas Eve and anxiously awaiting the presents, laughter, and good food that arrived the next day. It will be a whole new world for us and I can't wait. 

Christmas morning was quite and peaceful at our home. Ryan had brought home donuts the evening before for his pregnant wife. The lady at the bakery was out of sprinkled donuts and made some especially for me! We also enjoyed a french press of Starbucks Christmas Blend, which year in and year out is a favorite of mine. It was slow and wonderful. 

New Christmas Jammies and a Growing Baby Bump
Give the pregnant lady all of the sprinkles.

I did try to soak it all in this year. I tried to not ask for any baby stuff and kind of make this my last big Christmas hurrah before we have a little one running all over the place. I received gifts that will help me reach my goals in 2014 (hello Fitbit!), accessories to make me feel like a human being when I find myself becoming a frazzled mama, lots of kitchen items (including one that has been on my list for years and I was shocked to receive), and Ryan and I bit the bullet this afternoon and bought ourselves new iPhones. I couldn't have asked for a better season with a better bunch of people. 

Christmas Day was spent at the Hollen's. We ate meatballs and mashed potatoes. It was awesome. 

I am ready for the new year. I am realizing that I am 44 days away from my due date as I type this and our nursery is in the room next to me in piles. There's is much to be done. I don't want to lose myself in all of it. I want to be a good mom and a good wife. 2014 will be a crazy year. But, for this evening, I want to dwell in all that 2013 has been. 

We have a few more days of this year to embrace and I want to soak it all. 

Christmas Decor 2013

I finally bought our very own white Christmas tree this year. Every year before has showcased a hand-me-down tree. This one is ours. I bought it in October. The guy at Walmart thought I was crazy. I love it. I'll take crazy. 

Hardly anyone has graced out doorstep this holiday season so I figured I'd post some of our decoration for the Christmas season. I probably decorate all of this far more for myself than anything else. I like it. I spend most of my days making sure Geoff the Cat doesn't destroy anything. So far, so good. The tree has remained in mostly one piece. 

This season has been busy. We have spent quite a bit of time at home as a couple, which I am totally fine with. Being exhausted and pregnant also helps with the hermit mentality. Our lives are going to be much louder and crazier in just a few weeks (holy cow!!!!) 

Geoff, plotting his destruction.

I love this wrapping paper from Target.

I will be sad to take all of this down. 

Hollen Family Christmas Cards

We accomplished something this year that we have never pulled off before....sending out Christmas cards! I probably had way too much fun picking out the design and figuring out the photographs for the card. It is difficult when you are both photographers and don't have anyone to take your own photos, go figure, but we managed! As long as you have a picture of your cat somewhere on the card to keep things real, you'll be fine. 

This also means I can cross another item off of my 28 Things List! (Click on the link to see where I am at in that whole process....) 

On the Back Blurp: 

Merry Christmas from the Hollens! 2013 was a year of many changes for us. We are expecting a daughter in February. Her name is Marin Ryan Hollen! We have spent the year playing as much music as time allows, keeping busy with work, photography, and film projects, and tolerating our cat, Geoff. We want to wish you joy and peace this Christmas season and pray for many blessings for you and your family in the New Year! 

It has been very enjoyable to receive cards from so many of our friends as well. Snail mail is pretty much the best thing ever. I will definitely try and keep this up as a tradition for the next few years. 

I hope all of you that we sent cards to received them. My handwriting is pretty horrible, but I really tried to keep addresses legible! Fingers crossed....

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving 2013 (Better Late Than Never)

It's officially Christmas Eve and I'm just now blogging about Thanksgiving. I think that little fact is a great representation of how insanely fast this season has flown by and how preoccupied I have been with being pregnant over the holidays. My mind is in about a million places at any given time. But, even in the midst of the chaos, I know once thing for certain: We have been blessed with amazing families and the fact that we are bringing a child into that family is very comforting and exciting. 

One of my goals for the New Year should be to take more pictures of Ryan and myself. We are always on the other side of the camera. Always. 

Happy Thanksgiving (On Christmas Eve)!

Better late than never. Right? 

Fall 2013

This time last year, I was painting our front door a lovely orange color. Pumpkins sat upon our newly built porch. I drank some good beer and hard cider. I decorated for fall.

This year, my door is still that awesome color of orange. We haven't made it out to buy pumpkins for the porch. I can't drink any of those lovely things mentioned above. But, I have decorated for fall. I have spray painted cheap plastic pumpkins in my garage out of a random decor obsession. I have brought more orange color schemes into our home and I obsessively light apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice candles in our home.

I love this time of year. Every time it comes and goes and I try to embrace it by making our house feel more like a home. It's all in the little details.
My little owl is my favorite. 
Gold spray paint forever. 

I secretly love all of the orange with our new rug. 

I made this leaf garland last year. 

Baby Marin: An Update

I haven't written in a few weeks and for that I am sorry. 

The last post had me waiting for news on our little girl. 

The news we received was good. The news we received only met our ears because of all of you wonderful people praying so fervently for our little Marin. 

I am overwhelmed by the power of prayer. I am overwhelmed by this whole process of bringing a new life into this crazy world. 

My fluids are slowly increasing. I still am drinking water like crazy and trying to take it easy. 

Baby Marin is still measuring a little behind but she is growing, by God, she is growing. 

We return to the specialist this Monday and will probably continue to do so through the rest of my pregnancy. 

Thank you for you prayers and your kind words. Our little growing family is extremely blessed. 

Thank You. 

I feel my nesting obsession slowly creeping into our home. I am ready to decorate a nursery. We are starting to talk about baby showers. I
currently am craving sprinkled donuts (only the cake kind) and honey crisp apples. My belly is growing at an alarming rate and sleep is starting to become a bit of a challenge. I am obsessively watching the X-files all the way through for the third time in my life. 

I am fine with all of these things. As long as she is growing big and strong. 

I currently sit here at 23 weeks and 3 days. My little phone app states that we have around 117 more days to go.

Here we go. 


My mind is everywhere these days. Pregnancy is a huge distraction for me. I am consumed by it most of the time, every hour of every day. I’m either reminded about how I won’t see a pair of pants with an actual waistline for months-I even have begun to miss buttoning my pants, now I don’t even have the option, elastic reigns. Or I ponder how I’m slowing getting to the point of not being able to see my feet and that I needed a pedicure yesterday. There will also come a time where shaving my legs will be a comedic event. Then to add on to all of this, I  have decided upon the crazy notion of possibly growing out my hair again because my hair is growing so quickly these days but also know that I will face an awkward Justin Bieber grow out stage. 

I’ve also been having pregnancy dreams like crazy. Many of them lately have involved running, like athletically. Let me just take a moment and state that I have never been a runner, I have tried in the past and have failed miserably. I am the person that tries to run but turns into an asthmatic mess of a human, hacking and wheezing my way through very short distances. But, in my dreams, I run. I compete. I fly. 

I also dreamt last night that I gave birth to three puppies instead of a baby. We pulled them behind our tour van (since we were touring musicians in my dream) in this pimped out trailer that was nicer than the van. But, they kept getting out and I couldn’t keep track of all of them. 

Lord, please let me not have 3 babies or puppies at one time. 

On top of my pants not fitting, I also am still worried about out little Marin. I try not worry, I really do, but it’s tough when I can’t quite feel her yet and know that she’s in there but could still be facing risky conditions. We see the specialist again on Tuesday and I hope to hear miraculous words come from his mouth: “She is measuring fine now and your fluid levels are up. I don’t know what you did, but great job!” Then, in my mind, I will be praising God in heaven and thanking all of you that have been praying and praying and praying. 

Tuesday. I have to wait until Tuesday. 

I’ve been making it my point to slow down and rest, firstly for my baby and secondly for my sanity. The other evening I came home, put some thumbprint cookies on a plate, made a cup of decaf (so over that), and sat down to read one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. It was like this book was made for me at this point in my life. If I had the guts to, I’d go through and obsessively highlight every line on every page.

“Oh, but my stomach, she is like a waterbed covered in flannel. When I lie on my side in bed, my stomach lies politely beside me, like a puppy.” 
 Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

“I don't remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don't even know exist until you love a child.” 
 Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year 

I need times to breathe like the other evening. I’ve also needed the rest of this weekend. I actually was able to spend two whole days off with my man. We slept in, went shopping, watched movies, ordered pizza, made italian. My heart and stomach are full. We seem to keep getting stuck in this routine of me leaving early for my day, him working late, and me being basically asleep by the time he gets home. I cherish every moment that we have together now. 

Overall, Tuesday. I have to wait until Tuesday. 

And finally, thank you all for all of your prayers and encouragement. You have helped carry us through these past few weeks. 

If You Are The Prayin' Kind

Yesterday was very hard. Very hard. I am still trying to grasp a lot of what we were told. The news wasn’t good, the news wasn’t ideal. But there is one thing I know for certain, one thing I will hold on to with every ounce of my being: 

My God is bigger. My God is stronger. If His will is to bring this little girl into this world, it will happen. No matter what. 

Those could be the only words I write today and that would be enough. 

My faith doesn’t rest in my medical doctor, my faith rests in God alone. 

We were told yesterday, after being sent to a different specialist for an ultrasound, that Marin is measuring smaller than they would like. 

They also told us that I don’t have enough amniotic fluid to help guarantee the life and growth our little girl. 

Our God is bigger. 

Our God is stronger. 

The hard part with this situation is that there isn’t anything I could have done differently and there isn’t much I can do moving forward. We have another appointment set for the first of October with the specialist. For now, the only thing I can do is guzzle water like it’s going out of style. 

Prayer can change things. God can cause our little girl to grow big and strong. God can cause my amniotic fluid to increase to a point where it is safe and healthy. 

If you are of the praying kind, please pray with us. 

I want nothing more than to meet our little, healthy girl in February. 


I can mark yet another item off of my list. My whole 28 Things List is actually going quite well. Let's see if I still say that once a baby comes into the picture. 

This list item: TAKE AN IKEA TRIP. 

I love IKEA. It's like the land of inexpensive furniture that I can actually use in my house. Did I mention there are meatballs? There are meatballs. And mashed potatoes. And Swedish everything. 

A few years back, Colorado finally got their own IKEA. When I lived in the northwest, I used to drive by the IKEA in Portland every single day on way to class. Talk about tempation. Luckily, the Denver location is a pretty long drive. Convincing my husband to drive all of the way there isn't always the easiest of tasks. But, this time, I succeeded. 

We also didn't bring the mom van (bad choice.) But, we ended up fitting everything in Ryan's car. I had to ride in the back seat on the way home. I bet we looked like an odd pair driving back to Fort Collins. 

Some of our goals for this trip: 

1. We wanted to bring back the Man Cave. Now that we don't have room mates, I figured I'd be a nice wife and let my husband have his room back. 

Sad Man Cave 
Geoff helping. Not. 
2. Since he was getting back his man space, I wanted a new rug for the living room and whatever other goodies I could find. 

3. We wanted to check out the baby/kid section at IKEA. Before this, I always breezed through that area because I didn't really have a need to look at that stuff yet. We have a lot of ideas for the nursery now. 

Our Man Cave....

I would like to take a moment and tell you that I am a total nerd. The X-Files, I Want To Believe poster, all my idea. Mulder and Scully forever. 

Our Spruced-Up Living Room....

I am obsessed with the rug and pillows. Obsessed.
A few other odds and ends from trip....

Dish Towel 
Kitchen Rugs 
This same weekend, I finally painted the accent wall in bedroom as well. 

I feel accomplished and really like these little additions to our home. I predict that we will be taking another trip to IKEA for some nursery items in the future. And meatballs.