Christmas this year was perfection. After completely giving up on large holiday dinners, this year we had my brother, my dad and his partner over for Christmas eve. It was low-key and we ordered Chinese food and had some drinks. My brother slept over and we all ended up playing cards super late into the evening. Christmas day was sleeping in and opening gifts and instead of spending the entire day cooking, we all just ate leftovers from the night before. Perfection! Then Boxing Day my stepson and his girlfriend came over and he and Mr. Tucker cooked this incredible prime rib dinner. We stayed up late drinking bachelor’s jam with Prosecco and watching Violent Night (again. It’s that good.). It was the perfect amount of socialization and relaxation and we had zero drama.

It feels weird to be heading into 2023 when 2020 feels like it was just yesterday. We basically got off of a Caribbean cruise, went to Universal Studios for a few days, flew home and then the lockdown happened. The past (almost!) 3 years have seemed like a dream. Still, a lot has happened in that time, with this year seeing some pretty big milestones. Here is a recap.

In January, Mr. Tucker took over as head of a new team. This came with a pay bump and so we redid our budget. Overall, it was a bit of a learning curve but Mr. Tucker enjoys his new role. He ended up having to travel to Arizona that month where he got to meet a lot of his colleagues. He has worked from home since 2009 so this isn’t a new thing.

March: we had planned to go to Jamaica that month but instead of a direct flight, the airline kept changing and changing the route until they had us traveling for over 24 hours. On top of that, covid seemed to be ramping up in the area. So my friend and I booked two weeks in Puerto Rico for our families instead. The trip was simultaneously chaotic and fun but it pretty much turned us off of air travel for awhile. If a trip can be measured by the amount of stories you bring back, we have enough stories for a lifetime!

Many of my closest friends live in the US. During the pandemic my core group often played a weekly Trivial Pursuit game online and it was nice to connect. Still, most of us saw at least one other person in the group about once a year, so we were missing each other. In May we planned to get together in Denver as it just made sense given that we were in Ontario, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California. We had an awesome 5 days together despite the fact my scooter got busted up by Air Canada and I had to buy a new one (and get the old one fixed).

April saw us moving the youngest out of public school and into a private school after months of constant struggle in the public system. We all just needed a break. While our kid loved the private school, the school was poorly run by an ineffectual leader who had no conflict-management skills. Back to the drawing board.

June for the first time in years we had no summer plans at all. We typically always rented a cottage with two other families but the pandemic had made cottage rentals explode in popularity so we couldn’t get three cottages together and in our price range. While I am glad my kids had all of those years of camping/cottaging with friends, it was nice to have no plans. I am also not a cottage person and would much rather be home enjoying my pool all summer. Which I did. Which was glorious.

July was a doozy of a month. Mr. Tucker turned 50, which we celebrated by going out for dinner with my stepson and his girlfriend to a steakhouse in The Market. It was such an abysmal experience and was so expensive that it basically turned us off of dining out for the foreseeable future.

While that was happening, the kids went to Paris with a family member and came home violently sick with covid. They also had an awful time but were glad to be home. Thankfully, Mr. Tucker and I escaped catching it by a combo of making the kids hangout outside, masking inside, and constantly running our air purifier.

Come to think of it, July was a life-changing month all around!

August was low-key and saw the kids doing sailing camp and not much else.

In September the eldest started high school and joined band for extra credit. That means Mr. Tucker has to drive her at 7:30am two mornings a week. He doesn’t mind though. Since we both had families who wouldn’t have done the same for us, he doesn’t mind supporting our kind in her artistic endeavors.

The youngest started at a new public school in the Alternate program. After a terrible previous year we were all apprehensive – especially since they need to take a public bus and walk quite a bit. In the end though, it was the perfect choice. Not only are they succeeding academically, they have made a bunch of new friends and are thriving socially as well. They like their teachers, their teachers like them and the school conference gave us nothing but positive feedback about how well they are doing. Sometimes you just got to try and find a place that works for you.

OH – and we also made our mortgage pre-payment!

October is one of our favourite months because we are HUGE Halloween fans. Thanksgiving weekend is our new preferred travel weekend so we went to Toronto once again to enjoy the Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland and get the most out of our yearly passes (which we got for two years for the same price, thanks to Covid). We also went to Medieval Times which was piles of ridiculous fun. We paid 1/3 of the price to go to MT than we did for two people to eat on Mr. Tucker’s birthday – and that had no jousting!

We also planned two group friend outings: a Haunted Walk of our city and a Halloween installment at a local farm with haunted houses and hayrides. Then of course, the kids got to go out trick-or-treating. It was a great month of activities.

November saw me heading out on a trip with friends (again!), this time with my book club. We rented a house in Prince Edward County and toured wineries and ate delicious food all weekend.

A friend offered up one of her cafes to enable our group of friends to have Christmas party at the end of the month. So I ordered us a liquor licence, we planned a potluck, made arrangements for people to bring their air purifiers etc. and…then Mr. Tucker and I got Covid and weren’t able to attend. What was funny is that we had just got our bivalent shots and while Mr. Tucker got it first, he also got super sick. He had every symptom – in order – like a textbook case. I caught it when I was at peak immunity post-vaccination and to me it felt like a bad allergy attack or a mild cold. It was super interesting to compare our experiences.

Then, Mr. Tucker’s biological mom came in with some news: she had found his biological father but he had sadly passed away a few years ago. So that has led him down a weird and wonderful path of learning more about his biological family.

So that brings us to December! I already mentioned our holiday plans and we have some big financial goals for 2023. We still don’t plan to do any air travel in the new year but we do want to do a fun road trip at some point, so we’ll be saving for that.

At some point I will update a longer post about our plans for 2023 but tonight the only goal is to maybe watch a movie, play Jackbox with some friends and probably miss midnight altogether because I am super old and my bedtime is 10pm, dammit!

Happy New Year!