Since Ethan Plath decided to stop having contact with his parents, he and his wife Olivia are focused on making new happy memories together.
This year, after testing negative for COVID-19, the couple traveled from Georgia to be with his grandparents in Minnesota, where the eldest son of Welcome to Plathville's Kim and Barry Plath experienced his first snowy Christmas.
"This is Ethan’s first white Christmas because he didn’t celebrate Christmas growing up, and so it has been a lot of fun. We’ve watched a lot of Christmas movies and hung out with his grandparents here," Olivia, 22, tells PEOPLE.
Also joining the pair for the holiday was Ethan's younger brother Micah, 19. "I’m really excited to go skiing with [Ethan] tomorrow too. He’s never been skiing and Micah’s up here; Micah has," says Olivia. "So I know that they’re going to have a blast together."
And for New Year's, "we’ll probably still be skiing actually," says Olivia. "We’re going to go up north by the Canada border, so it’ll be a very cold New Year’s."
As seen on the current season 2 of the TLC reality series, the conservative Plath family is at odds and has split into three households — Ethan and Olivia, Micah and Moriah, and Kim and Barry with their youngest children — though they only all live blocks apart.
Ethan, 22, also revealed on the show that he and Olivia, who celebrated their two-year anniversary in October, "needed space as a couple, so we decided that that meant no contact with my parents" — a decision that came after he and his wife were no longer allowed to see his youngest siblings.
Currently, "we are still on a no-contact basis with his parents ," Olivia tells PEOPLE.
"I know it hasn’t quite aired yet, but I think they have teased it that there is a point at the end of the season where Ethan does talk to his parents and lets them know how he feels about things. And that was a pretty wild little adventure in and of itself," she explains. "But as of right now, we just decided, you know, we’re on a no-contact basis."
In fall 2019, viewers met Kim and Barry, who chose to raise their nine children on a 55-acre farm in a rural part of south Georgia and have largely abstained from technology in the 21st century world — all with the goal of instilling their traditional values and beliefs. They are parents to Ethan, Micah, Moriah, 18, Lydia, 16, Isaac, 14, Amber, 11, Cassia, 9, and Mercy, 7. There’s also daughter Hosanna, 21, a violinist who tours full-time with her pianist husband Timothy Nobel. They were married in the spring of 2019 and live in Ohio.
Since Ethan decided to stop speaking with his parents, Olivia says that Kim and Barry have not attempted to reach out.
"When Ethan went no-contact, his parents basically said, ‘Alright, we’re totally fine with that’ and haven’t made any effort to reconcile," she says.
Coming to the decision to distance themselves, "it was the healthiest and best thing for us when Ethan decided that and just focusing on us, focusing on moving and growing," Olivia says. "And I’m focusing on the rebrand and my business and just trying to do everything I can to make sure I’m in a healthy and happy spot."
Recently, Olivia, who works as a traveling photographer, rebranded her photography business, which will launch in January.
The decision to rebrand and also produce a photo shoot, which she posed for and did the artistic direction on, came about as a result of the novel coronavirus, which decreased her amount of work in 2020.
"This year with COVID, I had very little work, understandably, and I was just brainstorming like, ‘What can I do to level up? What can I do to offer better services? What can I do to better connect with people?’ And I decided to do a complete rebrand, so I rebuilt my website from scratch, and that was a huge learning process. And then I just tried to work with as many vendors as possible, giving them work during COVID in a safe way," explains Olivia.
Partnering with multiple small business owners — Maejean Vintage Jewelry, Jennifer’s Bridal, Heritage Gatherings, Janelle Putrich Photography and Air Hair and Makeup — for the photo shoot, held at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art this fall, enabled them "to contribute a product or contribute to the shoot in a safe way and it gave them also like new portfolio work in a time when very few people were booking work," says Olivia.
The day was also a representation of Olivia's own growth. "It was a really fun shoot to kind of symbolize maybe how far I’ve grown," she says.
"I think when season 1 aired, I look back now and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I was still like a little kid.’ And still like figuring out who I was," she says about Welcome to Plathville. "And I still am — I haven’t figured it out."
For Olivia, "that rebrand was like a step in the process of learning that it’s okay to be a strong woman."
"I think sometimes our society has a problem with strong women and that’s something that I have definitely found throughout the course of the show," she shares. "So that was kind of a moment of like taking that back and saying, ‘You know what, it’s okay if I know what I want. And it’s okay if I’m not afraid to speak up and pursue it.’"
Looking to 2021, Ethan and Olivia are preparing for all of the new adventures to come — including a move away from Cairo, Georgia.
"We’re looking to move in January and I also launch my new brand in January and I’m really, really excited for that. I’m really excited to share all the photos from the brand launch and the website I worked really hard to build," says Olivia. "We’re trying to start this [new year] out with a bang after January 2020 when we all thought it would be good."
And down the road, the couple is excited for the day that they can make new memories with Ethan's youngest siblings.
"I wish so bad that Ethan could celebrate the holidays with his siblings. But then on the other hand, his siblings don’t celebrate holidays and never have and they wouldn’t be allowed to. So that part of it is just, in a sense hopeful because we know that in the future when they’re older and they can drive and they can make their own choices like Micah and Moriah, then they will celebrate holidays," says Olivia. "And then we can have new memories with them."
Welcome to Plathville airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.
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