5 Days of Christmas

My office shuts down during the holiday, which equaled out to 12 days (including weekends) this year. We spent five of our 12 Days of Christmas with my husband’s parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephews.

On the first day of Christmas…

…my true love and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, to hit the road just after 5 a.m. with his parents and our toddler.

Don’t worry. I packed a lot of snacks.

He’s very into getting his picture taken.
He spent a good couple minutes sitting here tapping his fingers like he might be scheming.
Somewhere in Illinois, he gave up. Car seat became life.
Finally, in Indiana, he took a 20-minute car nap. Car naps have magical powers. He was awake for HOURS after this.

Twelve hours later, we pulled into their driveway with a very done toddler who was just so excited to see his cousins (and get out of the car).

On the second day of Christmas…

…we slept in — except for Matt, because “I snore” (I do snore) — and got ready for a train ride to the North Pole.

While waiting for the train, we watched a miniature train that was entertaining for about 3.5 seconds and resulted in a toddler fit about not being able to touch it.

The Santa Express out of Sullivan’s Hardware Store in Indianapolis took us on a pretty exciting adventure.

We rode in the “lellow” car.

We choo-choo’ed through a forest full of bears — who were having way too good a time (#drunkbears) —  and my kiddo loved it…

…past several stations full of Santa’s (really creepy) elves working on Christmas tree repair, candy cane striping, the final sleigh overhaul before Christmas Eve and the reindeer getting into shape…

How creepy is this. Really creepy that’s how.
MRO for sleighs.

…through Downtown North Pole, where there were many great places to shop, but we didn’t have time to stop if we wanted to see Santa…

…and all the way to Santa’s house, where we played and played and played with all the toys, and then screamed at Santa. Because, of course.

Santa had a grocery store, diner and a vet’s office to play in.
And we colored OTHER CHILDREN’S papers because someone is bad at sharing.

His first two encounters with Santa were 1) confused, but OK and 2) so fast he didn’t realize what was happening.

This year?

I dressed him in sweat pants for his school pictures, so this is a step up, really.

After such an adventure, it was time for a nap. While my toddler slept his fuss off, we played Clue and decorated cookies.

Puts a whole new meaning to “sugar cookie,” doesn’t it?
So many Santa treats.

The boys, moms and grandma decorated holly, mittens, snowflakes and trees in the holiday spirit, and my husband made a “Christmas amoeba.”

With an endoplasmic reticulum and everything. The snowflake sprinkles? Lysosomes.

And he told me the only thing he remembered from high school biology was “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.”

Our kid ate it.

After the littles were bathed, ‘jammed and put to bed, the adults played horrible card games, drank beer and ate an unnecessary amount of Christmas treats we didn’t have to share.

Played this with my father-in-law, and he legit read the cards and we legit died.
I’ve never had a currant, but currant beer is very tasty.
These are the best snickerdoodles I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t care who knows it.

Honestly, I’ve never felt more like a parent.

On the third day of Christmas…

…I woke up Christmas Eve morning after seven hours of blissful sleep to the sound of my son’s soft snores and his heartbeat sound machine. No alarm clock. So relaxing.

My husband slept in the basement because “I snore” (I do snore), so perhaps he woke blissfully, too.

Christmas Eve is all about prepping for Christmas morning, so we (← not me) baked and cooked and prepped almost all day.

But there was still plenty of time for games (← me).

Corner on nothin’ over here in the Pit.


We made reindeer food out of oats and Christmas sprinkles, put cookies and milk out for Santa and read Christmas stories in our new Christmas jammies.

My toddler in his Santa jams looking at daddy with his binky face.
My husband reading a Christmas story about a gingerbread man — but it’s not the one you’re thinking of, and I don’t remember what happened in it.

Christmas overload?



We didn’t read my mother-in-law’s grown-up gift for me to the littles, but I did scratch and sniff every one of them. A unique perfume each.

At 8 p.m. — sharp — we all went to bed. And this is when you could feel the Christmas magic sweep through the house.

On the fourth day of Christmas…

…my son woke up at 5 a.m. Christmas morning. Not because he was excited; he barely knows what’s going on. 

He’s just a horrible toddler who would have definitely received coal in his stocking had he done it any other day but Christmas.

Merry… Christmas…?

Compared to previous years, it looks like I didn’t take enough pictures to truly showcase the magic that is Christmas and how much I. LOVE. IT.

Truth is, I did take a lot of pictures.

…a lot of blurry pictures.

Of the back of my kid’s head — as he ran away after his cousins and the puppy. (Oh yeah, we traveled with Bam-ma’s new Golden Retriever puppy, too.)

Of him getting into mischief with the Christmas tree on which hung a number of stuffed animal decorations that he needed to hold. He needed to.

Of all five boys playing games and running amuck in the joy that is Christmas.

On the fifth day of Christmas…

…we woke up at 5 a.m., packed up the car and drove the long haul back to Kansas. Christmas is done, and the New Year awaits.

He’s making rolls with his aunt, the Minister of Christmas Magic.

My sister-in-law and her husband put together a truly magical Christmas for the boys — mine included. Baking rolls, cookie decorating, delicious Christmas dinner, treats galore and more.

Thank you for making it so special, guys.

Fingers crossed I can do the same in 2020.


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