Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas overload

I'm just gonna go ahead and warn you that, like all of my (or anybody's, really) holiday recap posts, this is going to be really long. BUT it's full of pictures so if you just want to glance over them that's fine with me. Or if you want to read everything that's fine too. That's better, actually. OR if you just read these first few sentences and you're already bored and you're like "Oh my gawd, Juliette, enough with the recaps!" and leave without reading any further then that's fine too.

ANYWAY. Vacation started Tuesday night. I left work around 5 and got my stuff together and cleaned out my car so Keith and I could begin the 5 hour drive to his parents house in California's Central Valley. I think we ended up leaving around 7. The drive was pretty boring at first, but then I convinced him to eat Taco Bell with me and then I asked him like 50 billion questions which I'm sure weren't annoying at all. Questions like, "What's your favorite food?" "What's your favorite dessert?" "What's your favorite drink?" "What's your favorite childhood memory?" And we had some really great conversations because of those questions so if you're going on a long drive with your significant other or anybody, really, ask seemingly boring questions because the answers may surprise you.

We got to his parents' house around 1230am and his parents, grandma, and brother were still awake so we spent an hour talking about my job and other things I only vaguely remember because it was after midnight and I was practically asleep.

Then I slept in the laundry room.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, we had a big breakfast with all of his family and then his parents and his grandparents gave me gifts and it was really sweet but also really embarrassing because 1) I had to open things in front of everybody, and 2) I hadn't gotten them anything. I mean, what's the protocol for getting your boyfriend's family gifts? My parents and siblings-in-law didn't exchange gifts until after there was a wedding, so I just didn't even think about it. Am I the rudest? Should I buy them things and give them gifts when they come visit this weekend? HEEEEELP!!!

Then I drove to San Luis Obispo and you guys, it was gorgeous. I usually filter the crap out of all of my pictures but I didn't touch this one.

After spending about 3 hours doing last minute Christmas shopping (procrastinators unite... tomorrow!), I headed home where most of my family had congregated. My grandpa and aunt from Sacramento were visiting but if we're being honest, I was mostly excited to see the cutest baby in the entire world.

I was feeding her avocado and had sat her on the counter. She crawled over to the window in the corner and barricaded herself in the corner by the apple cider and the coffee maker and she held onto a bag of bread and absolutely did not want me to take it away from her. She thinks it's funny when people sneeze, so I was sneezing like an idiot and then she made the face below which was like the beginning of a sneeze and my ovaries exploded.

Obviously I had to take pictures of how excited Baby Kate was to see me. Sorry if her joyfulness is overwhelming.
There's a Christmas Eve service at my parents' church every year, and usually the whole family goes and afterward we get together at my parents' house and do a small gift exchange and eat snacks. This year we fed the baby pizza and nobody cared about anything else because why would you?

The house was pretty crowded, but I loved it. Christmas morning everybody was awake by around 9am. We've never really been the kind of family who gets up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. My siblings and I have never been morning people, which is funny because for the past few years we've all had jobs which required us to wake up around the crack of dawn so I think that's what you call irony?

Anyway, the family that was at my parents' house grazed on some breakfast (mostly coffee) and watched some Hallmark movie - I think it was called "The 9 Lives of Christmas" but I'm not sure - and then we opened some gifts around 1pm. Since Baby Kate wasn't there we got our entertainment by watching my sister's chiweenie run around like a maniac attacking her new toy and trying to get the squeaker out. I think that dog's mantra is something like, "If it squeaks, it dies."

THEN we went to lunch. I used to think it was just so wrong to not eat a home-cooked meal on Christmas, but we've been going to Madonna Inn for several years and I really love that tradition. Plus, there just isn't enough time in the day to do all we need to do and cook a big meal, so Madonna Inn it is. (Google the Madonna Inn. It's even on Buzzfeed. Oh and definitely google "Madonna Inn men's bathroom.")

This Christmas was wonderful and also kind of bittersweet. I sat next to my Grandma at dinner and I kept almost tearing up because there's a very high likelihood that this Christmas was her last. I know, morbid, right? But that's pretty much all I was thinking during dinner.

Baby Kate really was the star of the show, and everybody wanted to carry her around and let her see and feel all of the decorations. At one point she was carrying around a roll and just sucking on it and I kept cracking up at her. She was constantly pointing at things and saying, "Wooooooooow," and everybody commented on how adorable she is.
After dinner we went to my Grandma's house for dessert and more gifts, and really there's nothing else to say except that all the attention was on Baby Kate.

You guys, she can walk in high heels already!! She's obsessed with shoes. My aunt gave her some red sparkly shoes, and my sister said, "Katelynne, let's put your shoes on!" and she raised her little feet in the air all ready for the shoes. Kill me with the cuteness, kid.

The next day some of us went bowling. My 85-year old grandpa is in a bowling league and we've always wanted to bowl with him, and we finally got to! It was a blast, but I broke three nails. I also had forgotten socks and this was like, the one bowling alley that didn't have a sock vending machine, so I had to wear paper towels in my shoes. It was disgusting and I wanted to chop my feet off.

My aunt taught my mom how to play pool .I never thought I would see my mother holding a pool stick (or is it a cue stick? Isn't the cue the white ball?) so I guess you could call this a Christmas miracle or something.

The rest of the day was kind of awful. My aunt used to have two cats, and in November she unexpectedly had to put one of them down. The day after Christmas her other cat (who had been sick for about two years but still had pretty good quality of life) had another stroke and she had to be put down also. I went with my aunt because nobody should have to go through that alone. It was the saddest thing I've ever seen, but the vet we went to was extremely kind and sensitive so all things considered, it was pretty pleasant. Sad, but not as awful as it could have been.

On Saturday I met Keith in Morro Bay for another Christmas celebration. We ate and did a white elephant gift exchange. The cutest part of the day was when I peeked into a bedroom and found Keith bonding with the kids and watching them play Minecraft or something. Clearly he hated every minute of it.

The gift exchange was really fun. Keith exchanged the bedazzled toilet plunger he originally opened for a bathroom set that had toilet paper, sudoku, a candle, and other bathroom necessities in it, and I came away with like 4 peoples' gifts because I kept asking people for their stuff. Mostly mugs, because I love mugs. Like LOVE mugs.

And then his aunt took this picture where neither of us look demonic AT ALL.

Saturday night we drove back over to the valley and Sunday we went to church with his family, ate lunch, and watched the Packers/Lions game. We got back to the mountain around 1030 on Sunday and I'm still catching up on my sleep.


Christmas 2014 was absolutely wonderful. Next year the whole family won't be together on Christmas Day (having married members of the family makes things difficult sometimes), so this was most likely the last time we'll all be together on December 25th. Knowing that helped me to really try and make the most of the holiday, and soak up every moment that we had together. I know this Christmas is one that we'll all look back on fondly.

That's all the end.


  1. I made it to the end of this post and read every bit of it! Thanks for being with your Aunt during that difficult time; and glad you had a great time otherwise! Love your blog.

  2. That baby is the cutest thing I've ever seen! I love the red high heels on her.

  3. Wow! Your Christmas was a whirlwind!!! I'm glad you had a good time. And as far as the in-laws? I gave presents to my parents-in-law before we were engaged/married and they gave me a little something. Now that we're married they gave me a little more. We were lame and gave them nothing good. Felt totally bad or that.

  4. so many pictures and I loved every second of it.

    Baby Kate needs to just STOP BEING CUTE ALREADY. I mean really.
    Also, now that I know you love mugs.. GUESS WHAT YOU'RE GETTING FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY.

    Sorry about your Aunt's cat, that's really sad.

    But overall I'm glad you had such a wonderful Christmas with your family. That gives me the warm fuzzies <3

  5. I love all the pictures! The one of you and your grandma is really beautiful and so special, you should frame it. Also I’m definitely a little bit scared of demon-eyes Juliette.

  6. I HATE opening presents in front of people. My wedding shower? Awful. Especially when people pick out decor for your new home but it's ugly, not your style at all, and doesn't match any of your decor. Why do you people buy other people decor without seeing their house or knowing what their color scheme or style is???
    As far a family gifts, I don't think they expected you to get them anything. I didn't get Nick's family gifts until we were together a year BUT Nick and I went in together. So he picked it out, I shopped with him, and we put both our names on the gift. And we did the same with my family. So do that next year! In doing that, we spend a little more too per gift instead of us each buying one smaller gift (and me thinking of a gift for his family on my own.)
    I completely understand the feelings behind your Grandma. My Grandma isn't close to death but I always want to soak up my time with her and understand she's getting older and healthy can decline quickly. So while I think I have a few more Christmases with her, I also NEVER expected my Grandpa to go so quickly. He was the healthiest 82 year old (people thought he was 70) and I thought he'd outlive my Grandma. Then out of nowhere, with no ailments or sickness, he was diagnosed with cancer, one month later had surgery, and two months later passed away. It happened so quickly and we never expected it :/ I wish your Grandma many more years and also wish you all many memories between now and when she leaves this world to go to Heaven!