Holiday Letter 2021

Season’s greetings! We hope this letter finds you safe and well.

As with many things in 2020, the holiday letter went out the window. So, this will be a two year recap. 😉

Little did I know that taking a leap of faith into my own business in 2018 would prove helpful during a worldwide pandemic a year and a half later. I was already accustomed to working from home and had clients who relied on some of my services even more-so without in-person events. The 50-50 in 2020 organization had made the decision to dissolve after the candidate training cycle that concluded with the Blueprint for Winning Academy at the end of January 2020. We were able to wrap everything up neatly well before the pandemic hit. I knew this would be concluding when I first signed on with the organization, and the timing of everything proved to be impeccable.

Covid affected each of us differently. My favorite saying pertaining to this strange time has been, “We may all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” Each of us experienced a different reality. Thankfully my life was not disrupted to the extent others’ were. I was able to mostly work from home and stay safe and covid free. When the derecho hit Des Moines in August 2020, I experienced two and a half days without power and a fridge full of spoiled food. Once again, I counted my blessings.

My fifth niece Mary Josephine was born on July 18, 2020. With Covid restrictions in place, I was not able to visit the hospital and instead spent two days and one night as Nanny Mel for her older siblings in Bennett. We had a blast! And then, when my sister Sarah and brother-in-law-Jeremiah arrived home from the hospital, the kids surprised me by telling me that I would be the first to hold sweet Mary. So I am 6 for 6 with holding my nephew and nieces first after their parents!

The most trying part of 2020 was my mom’s 70-day stay in hospitals and rehab facilities after aspirating on food and enduring multiple complications from Parkinson’s disease. You can read previous blog posts for all of the details. She and my dad left home for routine appointments and errands on August 28 not knowing that she wouldn’t return until November 6. So thankful to have Mom at home again, albeit with a lot of new caregiving requirements.

Percy, Gemma, and I moved from Des Moines to Davenport on November 4, 2020. We found the perfect rental house in the McClellan Heights neighborhood complete with a porch and swing, fenced in back yard, and an amazing front room for our office. We love being back in the Quad Cities and closer to family. I enjoy more frequent visits from my nephew and nieces, as well as my once or twice weekly trips to Durant to see my parents.

While concert going and cross country and overseas trips were put on hold during these past two years, I was able to enjoy a few other fun times:

  • I read 67 books in 2020 and have read 55 books thus far in 2021.
  • The pups and I have explored many new trails and parks across the state of Iowa.
  • I took one weekend trip in 2020 to Omaha/Council Bluffs for cousins Allison and James’s high school graduation and great aunt Marilyn’s memorial service.
  • I visited my bestie Jen and her family, along with a few of my college friends, in Lee’s Summit, MO in July 2021.
  • I treated myself to a long weekend in Milwaukee when visiting the city for cousin Tess and Eugene’s wedding in August 2021.
  • My favorite kids resumed their weekend visits to my place in December 2020. While we were not able to venture out during the first round of visits, we are now visiting more of the Quad Cities including the Quad City Symphony Orchestra at the Adler Theater, Cafe d’Marie, Figge Art Museum, Freight House Farmers’ Market, Me & Billy, Putnam Museum, and multiple River Bandits minor league baseball games at Modern Woodmen Park.

As 2021 comes to a close and I reflect back on these past two years, I am amazed by all that has happened within a short window of time. I have learned to embrace change while becoming more resilient. By going through the tough times, I am learning how to better enjoy the good times. Let’s all unleash the joy during this holiday season, and let it carry us into 2022.

Love,
Melissa, Percy, and Gemma

Advertisement

Top 12 of 2012

12.  Bestie Jen’s pre-wedding, wedding, and post-wedding festivities

This is first listed because it consumed most of my year – so fun!

Dress shopping, Creston bridal shower, Kansas City bridal shower, Chicago bachelorette weekend, the main event in Loose Park in Kansas City, reception and dance at Boulevard Brewery.  Of course we jammed out at the dance.  😉

11.  Bestie Lexi’s first baby – Charlotte (Charley)

Another bestie moment.  I love my friends like family – just ask the Andersons back in the Burg.  🙂  I only wish we all would see each other more often.

10.  G and L

I continue to spend as much time as possible with my favorite little people, my nephew Gabriel and niece Lucy.  I like to brag about them here in my G and L series.

9.  Social Media

My love affair with social media continues.  Where else can you have Ivanka Trump, John Rich, Kate Snow, and NBC’s Rock Center retweet and/or reply to you?  Twitter is my favorite!

8.  M-A-D-O-N-N-A!

Jen and I made it onto the big screen in the Sprint Center when were were dancing it up during the opening show (of course).  Madonna had the #1 best selling tour in 2012.  I know why – simply amazing.

7.  Denver with cousins

Lots of good eats and drinks, along with cousin bonding time.  And I didn’t go to bed that much earlier than my 20-something cousins each morning.  😉

6.  Career moves

When I left Target Optical at the end of 2011, my regional manager told me I’d be back.  I laughed then, but he is laughing now.  While I enjoyed my time as a Business Development Associate for Rainbow International Restoration and Cleaning in Davenport, the bullseye pulled me back.  I became Optical Team Leader of the Davenport store in August.

5.  Jagger Q

Jag the cat turned 10 years old in August.

4.  Political nerd forever

Still actively involved in political stuff and enjoyed five minutes of fame when Romney came to town in June.  A few people told me I need to smile when on national TV.  Noted.  (In my defense, I was trying not to make a funny face and it was HOT that day.)

3.  iLove

Best book I read last year was Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  And I finally bought an iPad.  Best investment since my iPhone and Dyson purchases during previous years.

2.  Melify

My sister coined this term, and I embrace it.  I am always keeping busy with one project or another, whether it’s with SendOutCards or organizing random stuff.

1.  Holiday spirit

After a long day of work and post-work shopping on December 19th, I returned to Smurfette to find a card on her window.

UBWP: Day 8

Jen’s Wedding Day:  Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  Saturday, July 7, 2012

Days To Go:  8

How is it only eight days until Jen’s wedding?  Sure, these past few weeks have been crazy, but it still snuck up on me.  I had my dress and shoes in hand about three weeks before the wedding date.  And the dress hung in the plastic bag for a good three days before I mustered up the courage to try it on.

I tried it on, and it fit!  Well, mostly.  Needed to take in the top.  Story of my life.  Not mad, just a predictable fact.

I also tried on my bridesmaid dress from sister Sarah’s wedding.  Still fits!  Woot!  So what if I never followed through with this UBWP thing?  (In my defense, I have run/walked the one and only Bix at 6 that has been held so far this year – 7 miles!!!)  The dress still fits!

And one must not forget the shoes!

I finally took my dress to be altered at the beginning of this week.  Delorus Bockwoldt near Durant is amazing.  She’s an older lady who took care of all of the dresses for my sister’s wedding.  I called up Delores, trecked on three miles of gravel with Smurfette, and the dress was pinned and ready to go.  One day later, I received the phone call that it was ready for pick up.

One week from today at this time, I will be at rehearsal in Loose Park in downtown Kansas City.  Unreal that my bestie from college is getting married.  So happy for her!

UBWP: Day 25

Jen’s Wedding Day:  July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  June 20, 2012

Days To Go:  25

“Ultimate Bridesmaid 48 Day Workout Program” is definitely not the best title I’ve come up with to date.  Must have been the bottle of wine I drank during Mad Men a few Mondays ago that blocked my ability to come up with neat – and short – titles/names.  I decided to shorten it to an acronym: UBWP.  I googled it to make sure I was in the clear, and the only thing it can really be confused with is Upward Bound Wichita Prep at Wichita State University or this rural development organization.  Different enough to not be infringing on any brands, I’d say.

The UBWP was a great concept.  And I have a feeling it will finally be put into action when I run the Bix @ 6 tomorrow.  I have proceeded pretty well with the baby steps.  However, going to Chicago, Waco, and then Kansas City – all in a ten day jaunt – was too much for even baby steps to deal with.  And then I get run down, and when I am run down and super tired, I just don’t care about something as lame as the UBWP.

I made an awesome discovery during this past weekend though.  That size 6 bridesmaid dress I wore in my sister’s wedding six years ago?  STILL FITS!  Woot!  Tried on the dress for Jen’s wedding and other than some adjusting to take it in up top (story of my life), it fits beautifully.

But no pigging out yet.  I still need to get a bit more toned.  My bestie Jen was very kind in choosing a dress that hides the belly pudge that I noticed in a photo I appeared in at the Romney event on Monday.  I hate the belly pudge.

So UBWP continues, or maybe starts soon, however you want to look at it.  I’ll be the first to proclaim I am a work in progress.  If you want true workout motivation and inspiration, check out my sister’s new blog.  She is the workout rock star.

Ultimate Bridesmaid 48 Day Workout Program

On Sunday, May 20, 2012, I declared the following day to be the beginning of my self titled “Ultimate Bridesmaid 48 Day Workout Program.”  Actually that would be the following Monday.  Seems I miscounted and shaved off a week from bestie Jen’s wedding date.  Good thing, because I didn’t start on May 21 anyway.

Jen’s Wedding Day:  Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  Friday, May 25, 2012

Days To Go:  51

I don’t consider myself to be obese or even fat.  And my bridesmaid dress measurements were taken in early February – in the middle of winter when I had not been exercising at all.  However, my pants have been feeling a little snug lately.  And the photos taken on July 15 will be around for FOR-EH-VER.  And I want to make my bestie proud.  I want to look my best for her wedding.  No, I’m not worried about showing up the bride.  She is going to be the most stunning lady, even if I’m at my hottest.

The last time I was a bridesmaid was on July 22, 2006, at my sister’s wedding.  I lived in Houston then, worked out a lot, and had a nice light tan.  I was also six years younger.  Something about the thirties just makes pudge stick to the belly.

My last bridesmaid appearance (I’m on the far right): July 22, 2006. Oh, to be 27 again! 🙂

After going down to Creston for Jen’s bridal shower and festivities last weekend, I decided I need to get on the ball.  It’s crunch time.  The wedding is less than two months away.  And then panic set it.  THE WEDDING IS LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AWAY!

Yet, I didn’t jump on the running trail as soon as I got back to Davenport.  I looked at my to do lists each day during the five days since I came home from Creston and decided social butterfly activities and volunteer projects should fill my evenings.  I skipped a few lattes this week in favor of plain black coffee, but that was about all I did to forge ahead with my plan.

Today: Adding “work out” to my planner so I have no excuses. Also munching on animal crackers while drinking my black coffee. It’s all about baby steps. 🙂

Step 1:  Add “work out” to my planner to do list.  Must treat this as a real task.

Step 2:  Give kudos to myself for drinking more black coffee.  I like black coffee, just takes a larger amount to get me going in the morning since it’s not laden with espresso shots.  Small steps make a difference.

Step 3:  Be ready to literally hit the ground running on Monday, maybe before.

Step 4:  If I hit said ground running prior to Monday, realize this does not give me a break on Monday.

Step 5:  Enjoy my weekend without going too crazy on the calories.

Ultimate Bridesmaid 48 Day Workout Program preparations are complete!  Ready to officially commence in three days!