Our Old-School Christmas Letter

Remember when we used to send out full on letter updates about our family? As a child, I remember it being SO fun to get the mail in December and rip open the Christmas cards from all our friends and family.

We would sit around and read the lengthy updates about our cousins, besties, and random friends of our parents who we apparently met that one time. 

It was such a beautiful way to connect with others, reading about what mattered to them that year and what they were proud of. Now, with social media, it seems like we always know everything about people’s lives and because we’re constantly consuming the highlight reel, we don’t send these updates along with our annual photo anymore. 

Well, I miss it! So this year, I’m writing up our Barton Family Christmas Update for you! Grab your hot cocoa and travel back with me to arguing over who got to open and read the cards each day in December …

Hi friends and family! 

2023 has been a year to remember for the Barton family. Each of us has grown a lot this year and we’re once again so blessed to love one another and spend lots of time together!

Jaxlee (9) has participated in three intensive therapy programs this year! One of which was a new program in Arizona that encompassed light therapy with motor movement and targeting different parts of the brain to open up new neural-pathways. 

We’ve seen some really great improvements for Jaxlee in 2023. She now walks around our house without her walker she fondly named “purple star” and can go about the length of a football field on her own without falling! She is making gains every day and we’re so grateful to the Lord for all of her progress. 

Jaxlee is also using her communication device more this year and is quite the inquisitive little girl. One of her favorite questions to ask is, “Do you speak spanish?” It’s been so fun to communicate with her in this way and feel more connected to all her brilliance. She is such a gift and we’re thrilled about everything she is doing and who she is becoming. It’s not lost on us what a miracle she is!! 

Braedy (4) is such a middle child, basically I feel like I am re-watching my childhood through her because she is so ME! She has been enjoying a few things of her own this year including gymnastics, soccer, and sign language classes!

It’s been so fun to watch her develop this new skill and opportunity to communicate in a different way. She goes to preschool twice a week and often reminds us how ready she is to move up to Kindergarten! 

Tripp (2) is our little bundle of light & vigor. He is such a joy to our family and is seriously obsessed with his sisters. He’s basically Braedy’s puppet!!

Tripp started gymnastics this year which is just the cutest thing to watch. He’s a total maniac and goes head first after everything in the gym having the BEST time. After our first class I knew why it’s mommy & me … bless the teachers trying to get 2 year olds to listen when there’s a jungle gym in front of them! 

We’ve taken a few trips with Tripp (no pun intended) to UCSF this year to treat the malformation on his face that he was born with. He’s been making incredible progress on a new medication and Jonny and I have selfishly really enjoyed the time just being with him for those appointments! 

Jonny continues to LOVE his job with the LA County Fire Department. If you, like many, are worried about the commute, rest assured Jonny loves the opportunity to listen to a podcast or audio book on his way to work and mentally prepare for the shift ahead. And on the way home, he’s able to decompress and prepare to enter our home again!

As soon as he walks in the door, Jonny is on the floor with the kids, wrestling and playing (often as the one being ridden). My mama heart just melts! 

In March, we received an unforgettable call from Jonny’s captain at the fire station. On speaker phone with the family, he told us that Jonny was a true hero. He was awarded the Act of Valor (one of three awards given in the LA County Fire Department) for going into a burning home without a water source to save a paraplegic man from his burning room. 

He and I attended the award ceremony together and it was such an honor to witness first hand the video footage of him pulling the man from the burning house and saving his life. So yeah, I can confirm he’s not just my hero— he is a hero to all! #hubbygoals

Jonny continues to be an incredible husband and father for our family. We’re so blessed!

Emily (hey, that’s me!) has had a big year, too! At the start of 2023, I didn’t know what the year would hold, but I quickly got started on my first digital education course for bridal hair and makeup artists. I poured my heart and soul into that and launched at the end of summer! 

I learned so much through the process not only about myself, but as a business owner and doing things for the first time! #scary 

I’m now a course creator (wow!) and love pouring into my Bridal Beauty Business Blueprint students. I still love my work as a bridal hair and makeup artist at weddings on the weekend and will forever be grateful for the success of that work and my Beautycounter business. 

When I’m not doing all things glam & digital business owner, you’ll find me working out with Jonny, cooking with my family in our backyard (don’t be impressed, it’s usually cheeseburgers), and chasing my kids up and down the neighborhood on whatever type of wheels their on at the moment!!

Whether you’re an IRL friend or a digital connection, I’m so glad you’re here on our journey. We are praying you have a blessed Christmas season and look forward to all the connections and memories we’ll make in 2024! 


Emily + the Barton Family

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