Christmas 2013

 Many moons ago, we declared that when we had kids, Christmas would be at our house.

Anyone who wanted could come over, but we didn’t want to travel for the holidays.

It was important to us that our kids woke up in their own beds, came down their own stairs, to the tree they helped decorate.

And so it was for the last 7 years.

This year, we made an exception, for lots of reasons, but one of them being that Great Grandma, at 94 years old, should be the one in her own home this year.

We spent Christmas Eve at MY grandma’s house.  A tradition I’ve sorely missed and was so excited to be at again…and for my kids to experience.


Unfortunately, this girl was so so so sick.

She had been battling the same cough/cold/yuck that everyone else had…except that she always gets it so much worse.  And being sick is a seizure trigger.  So there’s always that added bonus.

She was sick even before we left the house, 5 days earlier, but, we reasoned, she’d get better…it would be fine…it was just a cold…


Wrong decision.  She was SO sick.  And SO miserable.  And by the time Christmas Eve rolled around, we were exhausted from 5 days of watching her like a hawk to see if a seizure would be triggered.  Waking up every 20 minutes to check on her in the night.

She was so bad by Christmas Eve that we had to give her some heavy duty rescue meds…which just made her throw up all over herself.  Swapping one thing for another.

I miss the days when colds and flus were just annoying.  But thankfully, we avoided an ambulance ride.  So that’s a plus.


But we tried to make the best of it.  Even if this guy was ready for bed at the time the party started.  Gah.


My sister’s fiance dressed up as Santa…which Owen was thrilled by.


My kids and my sister’s kids.

And Santa.



The next morning, we headed to the OTHER great grandma’s house in our new Christmas jammies, where the gifts we hauled 200 miles waited under the tree.


Jill was still yucky, but not nearly as bad as on Christmas Eve, so that was nice.

And guess who was perfectly fine and back to her normal self on December 26th?  Kids are so annoying.


I love that they cannot even walk into the house without clinging to each other in some way.

Also, that my cheap self always buys jammies big so they last longer…except that Henry’s pants literally fell to his ankles if he didn’t hold them up.  Oops.


My baby can’t read.

So he commandeered Jill’s Santa gift.


Henry scored himself some Hex bugs, and yes, much to his delight, a Rubik’s cube.


It was a Calico Critter Christmas for Lu.



Owen got sippy cups.  It’s all quite exciting.


Over. Stimulation.


How much did he love his new One Way shirt?  (He made sure to wear it to the skate park yesterday.  So cute.)


Henry’s love language is quality time.

His favorite part of the day is bedtime when I read a chapter to him out of a book.

Tradition now dictates that we watch the movie once we’ve (slowly) made it through the book.

I’ve never read, or seen anything Harry Potter.  Ever.  At all.  Because I don’t like this kind of stuff.

But the mama gift was the complete set and all the movies.

2014 (and maybe even some of 2015) will be marked by all things Potter.



This year, I took each of the Bigs shopping for their siblings with a $10 per person budget.

I loved this because I got to see just how well they knew each other.

During our Toys for Tots shopping, Lucy was a trooper and never whined, begged, or complained.  The ONE thing she did mention she wanted was this stack of bracelets.

Henry remembered.  Of course he did.



My boys (Andy included) are obsessed with flashlights.  OBSESSED.  We seriously have a ratio of 8 flashlights per family member.  No.  More than that.  It’s ridiculous.

Lu wandered the toy aisles of Kohl’s for the better part of an hour unimpressed.  As we wandered out of the store, she saw a display.  And just like that, her gift to her brother was a green flashlight.  Which honestly, couldn’t be more perfect.

Our Christmas this year was hectic with all the packing, unpacking, sick kids, and general crazy.  While we are definitely glad we did it once, I think we’re gonna stick to our Christmas At Home rule from now on.  As we drove from one place to the next (after packing up the car for the 1 billionth time), Andy said “You know, with all this hullabaloo, I feel like we’ve missed the whole point of Christmas this year.  Like, we haven’t had a chance to catch our breath and reflect.  Much less with our kids.”

Agreed, Husband.  Agreed.


Do you go out of town on Christmas or stay put?













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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.


  1. 1

    Santa comes to our house before church on christmas eve, then we go to my dad’s side of the family. Weather depending we either drive 2 hours down to my mom’s side of the family, or we wait until christmas morning and then drive down. its a tradition that has worked for at least 20 years. We’re all comfortable with it. Thankfully we’re at mom’s side of the family often enough that no matter John’s health they can deal with it. But its wonderful that you open your house for anyone to visit. Do what works for you.
    Katie´s last blog post ..Looking Back 2013 (and Forward14!)

  2. 2

    We stay home. We are a military family living on the opposite coast from our immediate families, so it can be a bit hard, but at the same time now that there are 5 of us, it is so fun and we still fill out the dinner table and I love having an intimate morning and not stressing.

  3. 3
    rachel slagle says:

    I too love the simple Christmas mornings spent at home. they’re the best. and I may have gasped out loud at your gift to Henry! I might be slightly jealous :) I didn’t think I would be into the whole Harry potter thing either before I saw the first movie… after that it was all downhill and I was hooked (as in I’m currently rereading them for the 9th time) I hope you enjoy them… and reading them with Henry will be awesome – Dillon and I have read a few together.

  4. 4

    You never fail to bring sweet tears to my eyes! Such great memories here! And… HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be warned, they will suck you in and you’ll never be the same. Ok … well I have read them a dozen or more times (I’m currently on book 3 for the zillionth time – Askaban is my fav), and the magical world is so captivating. Such a great fantastical adventure to take with your child! Enjoy every minute of it!

  5. 5

    We usually stay home but this year opted for Christmas/New Years overseas. It’s been great, and I would do it again.

    We didn’t haul much though b/c Miss A doesn’t get much for Christmas, which made lugging baggage easy. The trip home will be different lol

    What a great Christnas present you have to the great Grandmas! I bet they loved the visit!


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  7. 7

    Funny we like to stay put too, and yet this year we traveled. It is WORK to travel for the holiday, but we had spet Christmas with everyone except one half of my in laws, so it was due. I am glad that we all had that time but I missed things that we do at home. Christmas eve party, too many people making dinner ….. you know the simple stuff.
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