I decided tonight that I wanted to chronicle the happenings of this Christmas…after all, it is our last Christmas as single individuals.  There will never be another Christmas like this.  From here on out, things will be drastically different.  It’s strange to think, but for seven years I have waited to marry my best friend – and now here we stand, waiting for this Christmas to pass so we can continue on with our engagement, knowing that when this time comes next year, we will forever be changed individuals.  No, not changed.  Maybe that’s not the right word because yes, I will still be Amanda and he will still be Neil, but we will be one.  Everything about ourselves will revolve around each other.  It sends chills down my back.

So here I lay in bed, at 11:30 on Saturday night.  I’m running on approximately four hours of sleep and I can’t quite figure out why I haven’t hit the sack.  Then it occurs to me…I have to write about this Christmas – and everything leading up to it.  Tonight is the perfect night to start.  I want to remember this – how I felt, what I did – so that next year, I can look back and see how much has changed…or not changed…

Today is the 19th.  Exactly one year ago today, my dearly beloved bought the gorgeous ring that has now found a home on  the third finger of my left hand.  According to him last night, he didn’t know until I left for Florida last year that he was going to propose on Christmas…way to think it out, Bud!! 🙂

We arrived in Florida today around 9:30am.  It was an exhausting morning, but an even more exhausting day!  Neil enjoyed a wonderful – but challenging – day of golf with his soon to be father-in-law (even though I don’t particularly love that phrase, but to keep from confusion, that’s how he’ll be referred to on here!), brother-in-law (again…), and Grant (Paul’s brother).  Grande Dame of Honour and I rented a flat-bed truck that was way too big for both of us!  It’s nice having my groom down in Florida with me.  In all of our (what seems like) hundreds of Christmases, we have never (yes, never) spent Christmas day together.  We started going to Florida for Christmas the year Neil and I met – and sure, he’s always come down the night of or the next day, but never have I woken up on Christmas morning and seen my Neil.  But odd how on our first day of our first vacation for 2009, I didn’t spend much time with him at all!!  Oh well, I cannot complain.  He’s giving up Christmas in Indiana to spend it with me in Florida – what more could I ask for?

After our lovely afternoon of zero naps, we headed off to the Florida Everblades hockey game.  If you know Neil, you know he’s a hockey nut.  I guess playing his entire life growing up is to blame…but it’s nice.  I knew nothing about hockey before Neil and I met – okay, I knew it was popular in Canada and that it was played on ice…but that’s about it.  Having Neil in our life has re-opened some wonderful memories for Dad.  He used to go to Chicago Blackhawks games with his dad…he loved those games.  We were fortunate to have Neil bring hockey into our lives.  And while Amy thinks they could do away with the two “thingy’s” and could probably be just fine with two periods instead of three, I think she still enjoys it.  If nothing else, there are a lot of interesting people to watch – and us Arnold girls…we love to people watch!  Surprisingly, we stayed for the entirety of the game.  That made Neil’s day – especially since it’s the only hockey he can count on each year!!

It’s so unbelievable to think but in just a few short days, we’ll be celebrating what will be known as our last Christmas as an unmarried couple.  Never again will we have a Christmas like this.  Sure, this may not be the most exciting of posts, but it’s really more for myself than anything else.  I feel so fortunate to be able to share this Christmas with both sides of our family.  It makes it so much easier that way.

I love you, Neil.  I’m so excited to see what this Christmas holds for us – and I cannot wait to celebrate every Christmas in the future as your wife.  You have no idea how lucky I truly am!