Life and Living with Crohn's Disease

Life and Crohn's

Running Tips and Fitness Advice

Let's Talk Running

Coach Suz Training

Work with Me!

Epic Lyfe Events Lyfe Marvelous Travel

Look at the Difference (Virginia Christmas 2016)

Look at the difference one year, two years, more years makes in what we find normal, comfortable, and the way that we choose to live our lives. A brief recap of our Virginia Christmas as well as some more general thoughts!

Don’t forget about the Hello Fresh giveaway! Linking up with Katie for Marvelous Monday.

If you have followed the blog for the past few years, you know that Thanksgiving is generally spent with my mom and brother and then Alex and I a trip during December to spend time with his family in Virginia for Christmas. Last year, that trip coincided with New Years, the year before, we went to Virginia for an entire week (split between time with his family and Charlottesville). 

This year was so similar to our other trips in so many ways: lots of great time hanging out with each member of the family, delicious food, quality conversations, complete comfort and familiarity, and the true meaning of family. 

Of course there were many traditions: the stockings stuffed with fun things, ornaments, and candy (they always give out chocolate!). A fun holiday dinner at home the first night (this time it was turkey with all the fixings, which you know that I loved) and leftovers for a meal the following. Getting out for a meal at a local family restaurant. SO MANY cans of Fresca. All the desserts. And, of course, gift giving and excitement and bewilderment (mostly by Alex’s dad, who received a Chromebook and may have held it upside down in befuddlement, lol). 

But this year was also a bit different, and the differences reminded me just how much life evolves, circumstances evolve, we evolve. And it also demonstrated to me that family takes so many forms.

This Year…

This year… I (and I think we all) took fewer pictures. There is a part of me that is a little sad about this–I wish that we had some more pictures of the group for posterity. But there is also something to be said about the fact that we were completely at ease, and no one felt the need for formalities and such. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t respect: we all put in some effort and didn’t look like complete hot messes!

This year… we didn’t turn on the TV (other than to watch Stranger Things, because Alex wanted to introduce it to his brother. They watched the entire thing). I don’t know if it was timing with the other years, but this year? Other than watching the (recorded) UVA basketball game, we didn’t watch TV. We didn’t need the distraction. Instead…

Our Nephew 2 years ago!

This year… we had so much fun with Tyson! The little guy is about 2.5 years old, and even from two weeks ago, when we saw them in Palmetto Bluff, he seems to have made a huge jump in his development. Like CRAZY. He is remembering us, feeling comfortable with us, and staring to vocalize and string little sentences together. He creates stories in his head for his duckies–he is starting to use imagination of his own! Seeing that development is so exciting.

This year… made me realize just how real the whole starting a family thing is, how much it will change our lives, and how much we (Alex and I) are really ready and just so excited for it to happen. Interestingly, and I don’t know if my being on birth control played a role in it…

Look at the difference a year (or even a few weeks) make! #happyholidays #sweatpink Click To Tweet

This year… I really really really really missed my fur children. Seeing our nephew with his parents, I craved the closest comparable relationship that I have to that: my relationship with Ridley. Past holidays, Alex and I have really missed Zoe, and we got a little bit of an itch to see the pup when we came back from our other trips. But this time, I REALLY missed Ridley, even after 24 hours. Total #mommoment.

My girl.

This year… Alex got all the running gear! I’m going to blow your minds, but I got no running presents! Remember how Alex’s family gave me almost exclusively running gifts a few years ago? Well, this year, Alex got all the running gifts to help prepare him for winter running. I got all the warm gifts (a new robe, gloves, thermos, fuzzy socks, just to name a few!) and puppy gifts (daycare hours for Ridley–which I asked for because it is the only way for her to play safely in this weather–and a toy for Ridley as well as a bag with RIDLEY’S FACE ON IT! This was waiting for us when we got home–I’ll get a photo up soon!). 

This year… we all made ourselves at home. Saturday, I took charge and set up the leftovers lunch so that Alex, his brother, and sister in law could watch Stranger Things. Alex and I borrowed a car and went to a local Anytime Fitness for a workout (also so I could do a little recon for my gym). Not to say that my brother in law and his wife weren’t hosting us, but we are all so comfortable around each other that we can take certain initiative and it is a-OK.

Speaking of, this year I could run! I could move around! IT WAS FABULOUS!

This year… I was reminded that I mean something to people back in Chicago while I was elsewhere. I got a text from my boss Friday night with something that really gave me the warm and fuzzies: he and the general manager had gotten a running shoe ornament for the gym tree to represent me. That tiny gesture meant so much to me. I’ve never felt valued like that at any of my previous jobs. It was a truly profound moment for me. 

This year… the future is certain, and uncertain, for all of us. Alex’s dad is retiring from medicine after 40 years of 60+ hour weeks and trying to figure out what comes next. Alex and I now know where we are living for the next few years, but we don’t know how our own immediate family will change over the next year. Who KNOWS what is going to happen to this country in the next year. 

All we know is that we live as best we can for today. You hug, laugh, get miffed, straighten things out, share, hide. You join the party and find time for yourself.

Differences bring us closer together + help us remember moments of our lives #holidays #christmas Click To Tweet

At the end of the day, you do you best to live, to look at but not focus on the differences, because those differences help you remember the moments of your life. And then you say Thank you to a world that is so uncertain for giving you something that you can always count on:


That got a bit deeper than I thought it would, but thank you for bearing with me!

And now we are back to Chiberia.

How do you navigate the holidays? Do you have more people around you at Thanksgiving (or another holiday) or at Christmas (or other holiday)?

Do you pick out the gifts that people give you, or do you see what they come up with?


Previous Post Next Post

Have you read these gems?


  • Reply Carla

    I love this. And I love that your boss texted you and it made you feel valued and asked of you matter. That last one is key for me with all the things.
    Carla recently posted…4 ways to make transitions less terrifying.My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 5:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That little thing–that little moment of feeling valued. It goes so far.

      December 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Haha is it really that cold there? It was a high of 55 Saturday and I thought I was freezing!

    December 19, 2016 at 5:14 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    No running gifts this year?! At least you will be warm! The week of Christmas is always the busy one for us and we try to see everyone then, while Thanksgiving has been a bit more low key lately. I love that ornament and that is such a great feeling to be so appreciated at work!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Just Bundle Up and Run!My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 5:49 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I just enjoy an overall low key holidays. And I think that it is just because I already have all of the running things I need at the moment!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Sounds like a great trip. I love the running ornament. My sister gave me a similar one last year and I love it!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…But Can I Still Run?My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 6:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We gots to represent, right?

      December 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    Gah so fun! But I understand the no running gifts for you with all that is to come, and your gifts sound heavenly! haha I think it’s always hard to leave fur babies or your kiddos! You grow so attached to them and it’s difficult, totally get it! It’s like you’re so ready for a break and can’t wait then once you leave you’re like omg I need them! haha
    Heather @Lunging Through Life recently posted…Weekend Before Christmas Fun + Our Christmas Card!My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 6:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I”m hoping that next year I will be gifted a jogging stroller!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Isn’t it incredible to see how things are different each year? I bet we will be amazed next year at this time too. And I am certain that Fresca will continue to be as delicious again next year!
    Sarah recently posted…Avoid The DetoxMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 6:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This is TOTALLY true.

      December 24, 2016 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply lindsay Cotter

    big differences but seeing the good in both. I love that! well, minus the cold. BURR! Tell Alex’s dad to start triathlon. That will take up all his time after retiring! haha!
    lindsay Cotter recently posted…Easiest Made From Scratch Quiche Recipe {Gluten Free}My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 6:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG don’t give him any ideas…

      December 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Kimberly Hatting

    Awww, that ornament πŸ˜‰ A friend (a very dear running friend) gave me a running ornament last week and it was the first one that made it onto my tree this year (I’ve had the lights and ribbon on for almost three weeks but am really behind with the ornaments)
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Holy Brrrrr, Batman!My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 6:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hey, at least you had the tree. We just put ours up!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    No running gifts? I actually didn’t ask for workout stuff this year either. We do a secret buddy swap in our family so we each get a bigger gift it’s really nice. WE are headed out of town to somewhere warm this week yeah!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Pumpkin and Cranberry Holiday Oatmeal BakeMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      ARUBAAAAAA Where happiness lives πŸ˜€

      December 24, 2016 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Sounds like such a special weekend! I feel the same about photos: I often later wish I had them, but in the moment I just want to be present. We usually see more family at Christmas than any other holiday, but this year we are staying here and instead my mom came out for an early celebration.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Mile Markers: Post MarathonMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And to give you all your snowshoeing gear πŸ˜€

      December 24, 2016 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Jamie @ The Mom Gene

    You will be great at whatever this new year brings and fur babies are JUST as missable (maybe more?) than children.

    We always say we are alternating holidays with the extended family but somehow everyone still manages to sneak in two Christmases.
    Jamie @ The Mom Gene recently posted…Chevy Chase Got It: The Mixed Bag of ChristmasMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha I’m so glad that you understand! And with the holidays–you figure out how to make it work for the ones that you love!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply kat

    This sounds like such a wonderful family experience. Family is my everything, so holidays for me are always about just being with them in any capacity. And while I don’t want any running gifts for Christmas, I do hope I get some kind of fitness gifts! Maybe new leggings? Or a new foam roller. Oh man I really need a new one of those…
    kat recently posted…Apple & Cheddar Butternut Squash SoupMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      What about one of those new heated ones?

      December 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply Cora

    Sounds warm (atleast after your gifts), comforting, comfortable and fabulous. Family time is everything. And although I love routine, I also love how each year brings something new – new memories to put into the vault. <3
    Cora recently posted…Week In Review: The Mega ‘Last Week Before Home’ EditionMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope I never forget the combination πŸ˜€

      December 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Patricia @Sweet and Strong

    OH I love that running ornament! And I am definitely on my phone less when home visiting family and friends, unless it’s to take a picture of a fab meal of course πŸ˜‰ We are traveling on Thursday for the holidays and I CANNOT wait!
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…Warm Cozy Nights, Holiday To Do’s, and other Weekend HighlightsMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 7:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope you have a great and safe traveling holiday!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    That ornament is so cute and so thoughtful of your work. It means alot when you know people appreciate you at work. I am looking forward to heading home this week to see family for the holidays in PA. Not looking forward to the cold though……..brrrrr.
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Our Race Scrapbook for 2016My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 8:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Stay warm! And it definitely makes a huge difference knowing that you are appreciated!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Aw love that your boss got a running ornament to represent you! That is way too cute!
    Annmarie recently posted…Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups {Grain Free, Dairy Free}My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 8:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It really made me feel special!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    So many warm fuzzies ❀️ Feeling lots of those here, too.
    And we basically buy our own gifts and sell them off to family members to give to us at the appropriate time… and then get a surprise or two thrown in because #christmasspirit.
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Five Friday Favorites 12/16/16My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 8:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I thought that your post on your system was awesome. AWESOME

      December 24, 2016 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy

    That ornament is adorable and so thoughtful! I love when we don’t turn the tv on at gatherings because we are enjoying company so much. But I would miss my puppy, too!
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…How I Recover From a Race + A GIVEAWAY!My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 9:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think it speaks volumes!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Emily

    That is so neat that you drew the contrast between this year and last year; it sounds like you had a really sweet precious Christmas with your family. <3 I love the picture of you enjoying the cold in your coat. πŸ˜€
    Emily recently posted…How to Receive a Gift This Christmas SeasonMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 9:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know–me? ENJOYING the cold? lol

      December 24, 2016 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    You sound so peaceful in this post. I’m happy for you and your family and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for you guys this year! Christmas is a trigger for emotional breakdowns over here. I mean, everyone has issues with stress at Christmastime for sure, but it just seems like we’ve got a lot of them. So far, so good with a glitch here and there, but hopefully we can get through it alive and able to focus on the great things that are happening/will happen during this season. xo
    Suzy recently posted…Mileage MondayMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 10:34 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’ll take a glitch, or a blip, just not the blue screen of death…

      December 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Helly on the Run

    I am SO excited for what the future holds for you and Alex!! And I’m also thankful you include us in your journey. Love you girl!
    Helly on the Run recently posted…Heroes in Recovery 6k–Last Race of 2016 and a Special OneMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 11:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you and love you back!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply San

    We were alone on Thanksgiving and we’ll be alone for Christmas… I wish we could see my family but it’s not in the cards this year. I love family holidays and am sad when we’re spending them alone, but I will try to make the best of it πŸ™‚
    San recently posted…Five holiday gifts for athletesΒ My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    I love the family that you’re so comfortable with that you can do your own thing and then regroup back together and its no big deal.
    Sounds like a great visit!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…5 Must Watch Christmas MoviesMy Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It was great–no pressure!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    That running shoe ornament says volumes!

    December 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    I’ve had to do different Christmas the last two years for the first time ever. My mom sold the house and it’s almost harder than the first Christmas without my dad here. This year is the first one I’m really looking froward to. We’re having a huge friends dinner and just chilling out in San Diego… starting a new tradition!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…High Protein Healthy French Onion Dip [Recipe]My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 8:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m excited for you two to do your own thing and start your own traditions. We are away from home for the first time for Xmas, but we are going to do some of our things when we get back.

      December 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply

    Sounds like you had a great time Suz! And I can’t believe you didn’t get any running gear. Wow. Totally understand about missing Fur Babies by the way. We miss Begbie anytime we are away now, but the cat people that look after him post pictures on their Facebook site for us to see him doing OK. recently posted…Brussels Sprout Pesto with Spiralized Sweet PotatoMy Profile

    December 20, 2016 at 2:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Um that is awesome. I wish that our people would post pictures of Ridley. The vets did the first time that she stayed there, but I want more!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Awwww life does change and evolve! I’m so glad you guys all get along so well. I miss my furbabies when I’m gone too. We’re still getting up in the middle of the night to let Makena out so it’s nice to have a break though! lol!
    I don’t know how you are handling that cold! YIKES!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Healthy Peppermint Chocolate SmoothieMy Profile

    December 20, 2016 at 7:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m honestly not sure, either. Hopefully you will be out of the dark soon with the midnight potty breaks!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    Looking at but not dwelling on the differences is such a great view to take. Life really does change as we go through different seasons – but that’s a beautiful thing!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…The One Thing EVERYONE Needs to Know About SuccessMy Profile

    December 21, 2016 at 1:34 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We need those different seasons, I am glad to have them!

      December 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge