The Mazzola's

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Holiday Season Recap

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been two and a half months since our last update and as you can imagine we have done a lot in that time frame.  Normally Leslie writes our updates but with this being my favorite time of the year I thought now might be a good time for me to put pen to paper.  There are several reasons why these past two months are so special to me.  First, I love the change in seasons.  While the Fall/Autumn officially starts in late September it often doesn’t really feel like fall in central NC until early to mid October.  That means it arrives just in time for Halloween.  As a kid Halloween was my second favorite day of the year, behind Christmas of course.  There is just something great about dressing up in a costume and getting as much candy as you can in your sack.  As a parent it’s almost as much fun to watch your child do it as it was to actually do it yourself.  There is no doubt that Emilia, Chase and their cousin Holden had a blast this year.  I enjoyed sharing their candy with them too!

Second, I love the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and officially kicking off the holiday season.  Once the Halloween decorations come down there is a very short turnaround time before the house is filled with Thanksgiving décor.  From Halloween to Thanksgiving our family uses this time to share with each other what we are thankful for each night during dinner.  We have a lot to be thankful for and it’s wonderful to share what those things are.  Another aspect of Thanksgiving that is so special is that it brings family together.  This year we spent Thanksgiving Day with the Mazzola family (my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law to be, and Aunt Gin) at the coast.  It was chilly so our time on the beach was limited but it was great to be with family catching up, eating, watching a little football and simply enjoying one another’s company. 

Third, Christmas!  As a kid I loved Christmas for the obvious reason, the presents, and not just seeing them but receiving them.  As an adult and parent I love it for all of the other reasons.  The decorations, the music, the opportunity to put thought into getting something special for family members, the religious aspect, and of course more time to spend with family.  Emilia and Chase thoroughly enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree, going for a ride on the Santa Train, and waking up each morning so that they could advance their advent calendars and look for their Elf on the Shelf, Buddy.  This year we spent Christmas in the Cary-Chapel Hill area with the Flair family.  The kids had a great time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.

Another aspect of Christmas that is a lot of fun for me are the surprises.  This year we took the kids down to the Hilton Head area the day after Christmas.  My parents met us at the hotel which was a total surprise to the kids.  It was neat to see them so excited although we learned quickly that there isn’t much space in a hotel room to get out all of the excitement.  The next morning my parents surprised the kids with a trip to Walt Disney World.  We jumped back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Orlando where we spent 4 great days with the kids and my folks.  We visited the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Sea World.  Despite the long lines at the Disney resorts we had a blast.  From going on rides, to meeting the Disney characters, to seeing the killer whale and dolphin shows at Sea World we all made lasting memories.  Thanks again for a wonderful trip DayDay and Grandma!

We rang in the New Year the night we got back from Orlando.  It was a quiet evening at our house as the clock turned midnight.  We weren’t looking for much out of the evening except for some rest and well wishes to family and friends in the New Year.  At the start of each year I think we all hope for good health and happy times to come.  And speaking of happy times we have a wedding to look forward to this year(ish).  My brother is FINALLY engaged.  He met a wonderful woman by the name of Corrie and they will be getting married sometime within the next year or so.  A big congratulations to the two of them.  We are so happy for you guys and can’t wait for the wedding.  While I wish all news could be that joyous realistically you know there will be tough days mixed in with the others but one can only hope that they are few and far between.  For my family we have already experienced some trying days in this New Year.

As some of you know we said goodbye to our dear friend Fletch Mazzola on 1-9-2013.  Fletch (aka Bubba), our Golden Retriever, had been in our family since October of 2001 and had become a very special part of me and Leslie’s life.  Those of you that knew Fletch knew he was an incredibly sweet, loving, and patient dog.  I could spend the next three paragraphs describing all of the wonderful qualities that he had and in the end it still wouldn’t really do him justice.  I think the most important thing is that he lived a great life and brought a tremendous amount of happiness to me, Leslie, Emilia and Chase and the memories we had with him will last a lifetime.  We were sent a quote that reads “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”  That is certainly true of Fletch and he will be eternally missed.  On a positive note Leslie and I received a tremendous amount of love and support from both friends and family over the course of the last week.  That meant the world to us and has helped us through this difficult time.  It has also given us a new appreciation for how difficult it can be when someone loses a pet that is dear to their heart and how meaningful the support can be.  So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
We wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year.  We hope you enjoy the pictures of our family.  Take care and God Bless.


Joe, Leslie, Emilia, and Chase