The Hollen Holidays | Christmas 2016

Christmas was another whirlwind this year. I can't believe it's already come and gone once more. I'm still trying to detox my system from all of the sugar I have consumed in the past week. 

Since I work for a church, I work on Christmas Eve. We had two services this year at 2:30pm and 4pm. It was nice to be done earlier and able to go spend time with my family. The services went very well and it was a great way to end the year. 

After church, I hurried to the Hollen's home for chili and cinnamon rolls from Silver Grill. 

Marin received so many cool gifts this year. She is set for a while. 

Christmas morning we woke up and woke Marin up. I think I was almost more excited about her big gift from us...a bike! She's been talking about it all year. Every time we go to Walmart she would ask to go look at the bikes. This bike even has a seat for all of her buddies. 

Ryan rocked at my gifts this year. I love them all. 

After we opened gifts at our house, we went to my grandparents home for Christmas morning with my side of the family. 

We had an italian dinner at my uncle and aunt's home after that, had a round of white elephant, and ate too much food once again. 

I'm pretty ready to take down the decorations and start fresh for 2017. I also need to not eat a cookie for a while. 

Merry Christmas! 

Christmas Baking

We don't bake a lot but I figured that because it's nearly Christmas, it was time. We haven't had a spare morning to do anything lately so today was the day. Marin and I picked out two recipes: Cookies and Reindeer Chow. They are pretty easy recipes and don't have a million ingredients. They are also delicious. 

Marin takes any opportunity she can get to wear an apron. 

Marin's favorite part is sneaking M&M's when she thinks I'm not looking. 

Now we just need to share all of these goodies with other people so we don't eat them all ourselves. 

The Hollen Home | Christmas Decor 2016

It's no secret that I love decorating my house, especially for the holidays. I get the itch as Thanksgiving is upon us and I try to wait until after that holiday to begin another. This year, I didn't, again. 

I will admit to one thing though this decor is literally exactly the same as last year. The only difference is the wrapping paper. We have a toddler. I was tired. I liked our stuff last year. So, this will look pretty similar. 

Marin was given a little tree for her room from the Great Grandparents. She is obsessed with it and sleeps with it on every night. 

The nutcracker is new. Marin is finally warming up to him but still isn't quite sure about this guy yet. 

Someday we will have a house with a fireplace mantle. Until that day comes, I have my piano for things like that. 

Marin made these gingerbread men at school. I think they are awesome. 

I would love to keep our Christmas lights up year round. The glow of our living room is my favorite thing. 

Merry Christmas! 

I did this last year too, but here's a glimpse at our home for Christmas past. 


Good Things

It's been forever. I have only written in this little space a few times this year...the least amount of time in all of my years of blogging. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes. Life has moved so fast this year and I cannot believe it is nearly 2017. 2017! 

I am hoping to do more blogging in this little space come the new year. The truth is...I miss it. It's nice to be able to look back on the past few years and all of the things that have happened in our lives. 

2017 is gearing up to be a crazy year. I hope to keep track of it way better than I did for 2016. I have no idea what this space will look like but I'm willing to give it a lot more time than I have been. It will be good to pick up my camera more often and document our lives. Good things are happening and good things are coming. 

The End of One Thing, The Beginning of Another

Nowadays, not very many people can say that they have worked in the same job for 35 years. Not very many people can say that they stuck it out, worked their hardest, and lived a full life. I feel like in a lot of ways, longevity like that is a lost art. So many people nowadays start one job and are on the to the next the blink of an eye. 

Not my dad. He finished strong. Now he's ready for whatever else life has for him. 

I was able to celebrate a major milestone in my father's life on Monday: his retirement. It's pretty crazy to think how many years he has spent as a firefighter. He has been a firefighter longer than I have been alive...35 years of his life have been spent in this career, this life. 

When I was little, I used to try and not think too much about what my father did for a living. Honestly, it scared the crap out of me most days. I remember a few nights waking up and praying for him because I wasn't sure what was going on but I was sure that he was probably heading into a burning building, or on his way to car accident, or something else that most people will never witness in their lives. I'm certain my dad has seen many things and been in many situations that he will never tell me about. 

The respect I have for this man is unending and massive. He has sacrificed his life over and over again with every fire he has fought, with every crew he has fought those fires with. He has always stood strong, fought hard for his crew, and worked hard. I am honored to be his daughter and to have witness him throughout the years as he went to work day in and day out. 

On his last shift, firefighter crews from all over Fort Collins came to pay their respect. They lowered the station flag and gave it to my dad. 

I know my dad is now leaving a job well done and I know that whatever he does next, he will approach the very same. 

I love you, Dad. Thank you for your service to this community and for dedicating most of your life to helping others. I am excited to see what is next for you in this thing called life.