Christmas Lessons Learned

December, as usual, had our family busy and was full of fun times with the Christmas holiday.



1.)  We decorated our new house for Christmas for the first time…..

The white tree I got on clearance last year after Christmas looked fabulous in the living room.


The white tree was something I wanted last Christmas and I waited until after the holiday for it to go on clearance.  Patrick did NOT want a white tree, even though I insisted it would look beautiful once I had it decorated.

Right before the new year last year, he went out-of-town and I bought it anyway.  After talking to the manager, I got a great deal…80% off and all the gold ornaments.  After getting it home and hauling it downstairs, I stored it ALL year without him knowing.  When he went out-of-town for business just after Thanksgiving this year, I worked hard taking the tree out of our storage, putting it up, and decorating it before he got home.   When he walked in the door, he said, “Wow!  That tree is beautiful!  Where did we get that??”


Lesson Learned:  Trust your instinct, not your husband…..most of the time!  🙂


2.)We gathered money for Jack’s teacher from his classmates and made it look cute!  Hope he had fun shopping!

Jack also wore a cat sweater in honor of his new kitty Charley on the last day of school!

Lesson learned:  It feels better to give than to receive!  Teachers give to children all year, therefore should receive!  AND….cat sweaters on little boys are cute!  🙂


3.) Patrick got out the Santa Suit for the first time in 12 years!  He made a surprise appearance at my neighbor Jessica’s Christmas party, a Friday coffee date with my girlfriends and Christmas Eve with friends.

It was festive, jolly and so fun!

Coming from our backyard to say hello to friends at coffee
A selfie with Santa in the living room after he crashed our coffee date



Saying Merry Christmas to the kids on Christmas Eve



This Santa is a cute one!!!

Lesson Learned:  Everyone loves Santa in December…even when not invited or expected!  Also, surprising your neighbors and friends is so fun!


4.) Mid December, my Dad retired from coaching football after almost 40 years at the same school……and although it was hard to see him retire, I am happy that he finally will get to relax a little.  There are so many memories growing up with him as a coach and sitting in the stands with my mom or being a cheerleader on the sidelines.  He was always a hero in my eyes.

This article in the local paper was my favorite.  He has touched so many lives and should feel so proud.

Lesson Learned:  One person can change many lives and a community for the better.


5.) On the really cold days when I didn’t want to get out I tried a few projects.

Here goes nothing…..



This project had me a little nervous.  I had been looking at a few DIY blogs where they had painted tile to update the look.  Our living room has a brown tile fireplace that I did not love, so I decided to buy some primer and try to paint it.


First coat of primer….still nervous. Hopefully I have time to fix this before Patrick gets home.


Last coat of primer

The final product looks like this:

Much better!  I covered the primer with the same paint as the trim and this is the finished product.


Another project started with my friend and neighbor, Karen and I trying a new Magnetic paint.  During the move last year, a large mirror of mine broke, but I kept the frame and backing.  I knew I would like to use it for something else.

I went ahead and painted the backing with magnetic paint and then used Modge Podge to put a Makenzie Childs wrapping paper on top.

A picture of the frame before it was painted green. I had originally chalk painted it white.



I had a hard time choosing a green, but went with a Home Decorators paint called green apple from Home Depot.



It was the perfect back drop for the large Santa head I ordered from Grandin Road.  Isn’t he cute???

Lesson Learned: You can paint anything!



6.) The first snow of December came right as the holiday break was starting.  We were home watching a movie and noticed our cat Charley sitting watching the snow.  You could tell by her body language and movements she was fascinated.

After watching her for a while, Thomas took her outside to see it.

Charley was in awe of the snow.


I took this picture from inside. You can see the happiness in Thomas’ face as he gets to show Charley what snow feels like.


Lesson Learned:  Enjoy the simple moments AND Cats are so much fun!



7.)  On Christmas Day, we traveled 99 miles south to my hometown of Pittsburg, Kansas to my parent’s house.  They have lived in the same house for 36 years and raised all seven children in this house.  Now everyone has children and we CRAM into this space.  Ever since we were young, my mom always goes crazy on Christmas and fills the room with presents and bakes up a storm.

Patrick took this picture….It’s present time! How many people can you fit in one room???

Since the weather was mild, the boys were outside playing football, while the girls played cards and the kids played games with their cousins.

A family football game on the 60 degree Christmas afternoon


Thomas and Jack with their cousin Nick that lives in Los Angeles.


Lesson Learned:  There is no place like home at Christmas…..especially when you have 30 people in a 3 bedroom house.



8.)When we first walked in to my parents house Christmas afternoon, my Dad said he was going to pick up a friend named Kate.  “On Christmas?” I thought.  To be honest, I hadn’t seen my two brothers that live in California and Texas in months and selfishly didn’t want to share my time with a stranger.

However, when I heard that this woman, from Nigeria, had no family or friends in town, I was glad that my Dad had invited her over.  She had won a lottery in her country to allow her to go to school in the US and she had just received her degree in Biology from Pittsburg State.

She went to church and my Dad noticed her alone every time she came.  He spoke to her and became one of her only friends in Pittsburg.  Can you imagine going to another country, speaking their language with a heavy accent, looking completely different from everyone and then NO ONE speaking to you?  It would be extremely hard and lonely.

Kate will leave for Virginia next week to attend a technology program and hopes to eventually work for the Center of Disease Control.  It was a pleasure getting to know her.

My parents with Kate


All the girls in the house

Lesson learned:  Don’t be afraid to be a friend.  People need other people to be happy!


9.) On this last day in December, it’s fun to look back at all the memories, not only this month, but the whole year.  This was a transition year for me as I went from going to work and school every day to staying home and being a housewife. I had to learn a new normal and how to keep my creative juices flowing.  In my heart, I know it was right to be home with my family during this time of Patrick traveling for work  and I don’t have any regrets, so my last lesson learned is:

Follow your gut.  With time and patience, God will give you the answers you are looking for.



For the last few years we have sat down as a family and each set smart goals for ourselves.  We post the goals and revisit the previous goals when the New Year comes.  Next month, I will share the big goals for 2017.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

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