christmas stories & scenes

I went into this December with the lowest of low expectations. We had just moved into our house, our house flooded, I wrecked my car, it took us a week to finish moving out of our townhouse because the movers didn't finish the job, and Gracie was sick. I did not have high hopes for Christmas. I was just trying to survive, and things weren't looking good when it took me a week to find my deodorant. I didn't get my annual baking done this year. I didn't even get our tree up until a week before we left for Christmas! That almost killed me. I NEED TO BE SURROUNDED BY JOLLY FESTIVITY.

We were supposed to leave for Iowa last Friday, but Thursday afternoon, James looked at me and said "What if we left right now?" We hadn't packed. The house was a disaster. Regardless, we threw clothes into our suitcases as fast as we could and hit the road. We left with rolls of wrapping paper still on the living room floor and toys scattered everywhere. I like to leave the house clean, but I desperately needed to leave and not worry about our Drama House for a few days.

It should come as no surprise that 250 miles into the 500 mile drive, I suddenly realized I left all the stocking stuffers at home. We all kind of buy stocking stuffers for each other, which I love, and I was so flustered and frazzled trying to leave last minute that I never remembered to grab the ones I bought. And I had been so excited about the stocking stuffers I found! I was trying to hide them from Gracie, and apparently I hid them from myself as well. I was so angry.

Driving into the night turned out to be awesome. There was almost no traffic aside from rush hour traffic chaos in Indianapolis, and Gracie slept the last couple hours of the drive. Just like last year, it started snowing just as we pulled into town. I did not hate it one little bit. My parents' house is a legit Christmas wonderland and it was heavenly to walk inside after a long drive.

I had planned to spend the whole next day resting, but Gracie had just finished her antibiotics and was not doing any better. My dad just so happens to manage a clinic, and he had just hired a new pediatrician with a wide open schedule. He heard Gracie's cough and promptly made us an appointment for Friday morning. 

A few weeks ago when our laundry room flooded, I called my dad. He was the only one I could get on the phone at that moment, and I knew he would know what to do. I was SCREAMING into the phone. He was the recipient of the prior 15 minutes of pure panic and stress and unbridled fear. I was violently crying. I was LOUD. During my apocalyptic meltdown, I heard him say "Sorry, it's my daughter. She just bought a house and it's flooding. I'll be back in a minute." I briefly wondered what I interrupted, but I was in such a state I didn't care. He told me later that day that it was the new pediatrician's first day. He was in my dad's office for an orientation, and I was screeching so loudly he heard everything, forcing my dad to step out of the room. We laughed about it and I thought, well, at least I'll never have to meet this guy.


He, of course, is the man my dad made the appointment with. He told me I was so upset over my laundry room flooding that as soon as he got home that night, he checked his floor to make sure his washer hadn't flooded too. It cracked me up. 

We spent the next few days watching Christmas movies on a loop in front of the fire, occasionally venturing out for lunch on the river and eggnog lattes. There had been no snow in the forecast leading up to Christmas, and we were all bummed. I prayed every day that it would snow for Christmas. Lo and behold, we woke up Christmas Eve morning to a snow storm. I was IN HEAVEN. It snowed all day long while we watched movies. We had our traditional chili and cornbread for Christmas Eve dinner, then drove to see the Christmas lights on the river. 

We woke up to a snowy, sunny Christmas morning. It was perfect, even if I left stocking stuffers at home, which I STILL FEEL SO BAD ABOUT. Gracie had the best day of her life and she didn't even realize it. She spent the entire day, nonstop, setting up her train tracks in front of the fire and coloring on her new easel. I've never seen such a happy little girl.

The one gift I will mention because I am Oh So Proud of it is the dishcloth I knit for my mom. A dishcloth, I know, but hear me out. My mom first taught me to knit when I was 16. I've been struggling ever since. My mom is fantastic knitter and knits things like socks and intricate lace shawls. She even knit Gracie's stocking and whipped out some mittens for Gracie while we were there. It took me months and dozens of mistakes to knit Gracie's baby blanket, and it was all the same stitch. It just does not come naturally for me, but I try. I decided to knit some dishcloths, because they're small projects that won't take ages, and I can hone my reprehensible skills.

Well, something clicked. I followed an intricate intermediate pattern with no major issues. I did have to rip the first four rows out 3 times, but I finally got the hang of it. Giving that to her felt a little like coloring a picture and giving it to her like a kid, but I thought she would appreciate the fact that I knit something for without going to her for help, and she did. I'm still shocked I managed it!

Clearly I need to work on weaving in the ends.

Don't be fooled. Christmas with a toddler isn't straight perfection. Gracie definitely set the table on fire during Christmas dinner. One tantrum-induced flailing arm later, and a candle tipped over and the table cloth went up in flames. Mom grabbed the candle just in time and the damage was very minimal, but sheesh. 

I woke up on Tuesday morning and checked the weather. The temperature at home was MUCH colder than forecasted with wind chills well below zero. I hadn't gotten out of bed yet and was already stressing about frozen pipes. With the way our luck has been going, I was convinced we'd come home to another plumbing nightmare. I texted my friend to check the pipes and let the faucets drip.

I'm not kidding, as I was running through worst case scenarios in my head, I heard my mom yell in the guest bathroom. I didn't even have to ask, I just knew. They had a frozen pipe and the guest bathroom didn't have water. James and my dad stayed home to wait for the plumber to come take care of it, and mom and I got the heck out of the house because I was NOT about to be home and deal with more plumbing issues. Ignorance is bliss.

We had already planned to go shopping. I'm not a big shopper, but I love me some after Christmas sales. Something was in the air that day, because one of us accidentally spilled an entire water bottle on a display in Old Navy and soaked all the clothes, held up a long line with coupon issues, and then broke an eyeshadow display in Ulta.

I guess that's what you can expect when you try to run away from your problems.

I did hit the jackpot and finally got to add to my Fiesta ware collection. I haven't bought anything and I've been using the Fiesta ware we got for our wedding, but we have some gaps and I got some dinner plates and bowls that were marked down to $2!

And then I opened the car door when we got back to my parents' house, and the bag fell out of the car and one of the bowls hit the garage floor and cracked.

But at least the plumber thawed the pipe without any major water issues. I can't say the same for the water bottle in Old Navy. I think we have some kind of plumbing curse that's spreading and affecting our families, because yesterday my mother-in-law said her washer flooded her house.

We drove home yesterday and I cried my eyes out. I hate leaving my family. Not to mention, the wind chill when we left was -23. NOT an ideal travel day, but we didn't have a choice. I had such low expectations, and it turned out to be my favorite Christmas yet. I hate that it's over. We came back to a house in chaos which is making me twitch but thankfully no frozen pipes. 

And also no stocking stuffers. It took me awhile, but I finally found them in my closet. I have no memory of putting them there.


  1. That last picture is gorgeous. Although -23 sounds horrid. I can’t even imagine. But yay to fiestaware!

  2. Welp, at least you had a good Christmas ;) Our pipes used to freeze in the kitchen at the old house and we'd just open up the cabinet doors to thaw them out. Who knows what fun surprises this house will bring.... ha.
    Hope this week had been relaxing and healthy so far!

  3. well the christmas looked picture perfect, even if the in-between parts might not have been haha. there is something about being home for christmas that just feels so cozy!

    1. Thank you! Overall it was an amazing Christmas, sickness and frozen pipes aside.

  4. I’m so happy to hear you had some redemption to the Christmas season this past week. I would have loved to see all of your mom’s Christmas decor in person! And also to watch G baby have a magical time with everything.
    You did such a great job knitting- it’s so pretty!

    1. I wish you could've, too! But at least you got a little glimpse via Facetime ;) Come hang out with us!!

  5. Your Christmas spirit is honestly one of the big things that puts me in the spirit every year. Glad you had a good holiday!

  6. Good job making that dishcloth! That's a really pretty pattern. This sounds like such a lovely Christmas celebration overall! I think it's so wonderful that y'all had snow-I had been hoping and hoping for snow (because it just doesn't feel like Christmastime without snow), and a weatherman acquaintance of ours had said we weren't expected to get snow for Christmas. Well, on the 23rd, the day that we were leaving town for Christmas celebrations, we woke up to a teeny tiny dusting of snow! Even though it all melted within a couple hours, I was so happy :)

  7. Um, does your mom's stocking say "Pan"? "OK, see you later, Pan." Heheheh.


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