The Christmas games

Technically I still feel like I’m on vacation because school doesn’t start again until Monday. And so we’ve been staying up way too late and sleeping in until glorious hours of the morning. My Christmas tree is still up and I don’t even feel bad about it. As it turns out, waiting until a week before Christmas to get your tree is not a bad thing. It was 50% off, we only had three on the lot to choose from which eliminated a lot of my OCD tendencies, and it still looks great on January 3.

I may hang hearts on it and call it a Valentine’s tree.

Or I will take it down this weekend.


Anyway, I decided I better at least quit reading Mockingjay long enough to recap our Christmas because otherwise I won’t remember what’s real and I’ll end up telling you about that time I was thrown in an arena and made to fight to the death and, ultimately, became a symbol for an entire nation.

So we spent the weekend before Christmas making cinnamon rolls and toffee and pecan pie and anything else that involves obscene amounts of butter. And then it was Christmas Eve.

P and Caroline went out to deliver cinnamon rolls to various friends while I stayed home and finished making our breakfast casserole for the next morning. And before we knew it the day had gone by and it was time to get ready to go to Christmas Eve service at our church.

I decided to wear this chevron dress since it wasn’t cold enough to wear the jacket I wanted to wear but what are you going to do? This is Christmas in South Texas. Which is still better than Christmas in Australia because I don’t care how many kangaroos you might see, it can’t make up for it being summer at Christmas time.

Anyway, I don’t tell you about the chevron dress for fashion reasons or even just to fill in mindless details like I am wont to do. I tell you because it will become important in a minute.

We arrived at church a few minutes early which is the only time all year that ever happens. Normally, we are those annoying people who show up sometime between the greeting and the announcements, but still walk up to the front because we like to sit up close. And so we said hello to some friends, made some small talk and made our way to our seats.

The service opened with a song and we were invited to stand. And then we sat down. That’s when I felt it. Or maybe I heard it. I can’t really remember. I just knew that I was almost certain I’d felt my dress rip open down the back. This was problematic for a couple of reasons:

1. No one wants to see anyone’s rear end hanging out on Christmas Eve.

Or really ever.

2. There was still an hour of church left and I knew I’d have to stand again.

Probably several times.

So I tried my best to assess (no pun intended) the situation discreetly. And clearly I failed because P looked over at me and whispered, “What are you doing?” I whispered back, “My dress ripped”. And he started to laugh. Because he is very kind and sensitive.

When the next song began and we were asked to stand, I turned to the side so P could let me know if it was obvious that my dress was ripped up the back. Judging from how quickly he began to figure out a Plan B that would allow me to exit the church through a side door, I assumed (no pun intended again) that the answer was yes.

Fortunately, I’d made Caroline bring a little cardigan in case the church was cold and so I tied her cardigan around my waist. Which was, I’m sure, a lovely fashion statement. But it got me out the door and into the car after church without completely shaming the family. And I was glad we stayed until the end of the service because our worship team closed it by singing Feliz Navidad.

God bless Texas.

We were supposed to go to Mimi and Bops’s house right after church, but we made a quick stop by the house to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree and then for me to change clothes because OBVIOUSLY.




For the record, that’s not my underwear because otherwise you’d never see that picture. The inner lining was intact. The outer layer didn’t fare as well.

When we got to Mimi and Bops’s house, we ate tamales and chips and guacamole. And I admired my nephew Luke in his tie. Because he’s three and wears a tie. What’s not to love?


Then the kids opened their presents. While we were in New York, Caroline and Sarah both fell in love with the Fantasma Magic Set that was being demonstrated at FAO Schwarz and so Mimi and Bops bought them each one for Christmas.




However, they quickly learned that it was not, in fact, so easy that even a child can do it. But there is a handy DVD tutorial that came with the magic set. The problem is that all the tricks require actual practice and you don’t immediately possess the ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat. All I know is I’ve had a red sponge ball pulled from behind my ear more times than I care to remember over the last week.


We finally made our way home, got Caroline wound down enough to go to bed after she’d put out food for the reindeer and cookies for Santa.

Lo and behold, Santa showed up.

This is Caroline saying, “OH THE HUMANITY” while we made her wait to go see what he brought.


Santa brought a Kindle and perhaps best of all, a remote control helicopter that is surprisedly robust considering it was made by elves. It must have crashed into our Christmas tree at least forty-six times on Christmas morning and kept going.




We spent the morning playing with new stuff and eating breakfast with Mimi and Bops. Then it was time to go to P’s mom’s house for lunch. More presents. Turkey and dressing. Chocolate pudding. And Caroline doing her imitation of Sydney Bristow.


Even though she doesn’t know who Sydney Bristow is yet.

But she will. Because that’s important.

Even more important than Katniss Everdeen.

I hope y’all had a great Christmas. I’ll be back to posting every day on Monday.

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  1. says

    We never get our tree till they go on sale & may or may not have waited till Christmas Eve one year. Always leave it up until after the New Year. Just long enough to enjoy & yet not get on my nerves. Happy New Year!!

  2. Pam says

    The built-ins are beautiful……but I have a burning question……is the dear head still up?!!!

  3. Vicki B says

    Dress may have ripped but your hair looked great! I can’t believe how tall Caroline is getting. What is the game she and P are playing at the table?

  4. says

    I love that you took a picture of the ripped dress. I would totally do that and then my husband would turn 9 shades of red in embarrassement. Then he would turn 5 more when I posted it on my blog. Rock on, sister!

  5. AnnaM says

    Again…your dad has the happiest expression on his face. Love that as I am a grandparent to a most amazing 9 year old, too. Love the built-ins, love the dress and love that you showed us the rip. Have a great rest of the holiday. God bless!

  6. Makila says

    Your dress picture totally made my day.

    In random other news, (that you could care less about) I finished Friday Night Lights. I am sad but I love that they wrapped up the story lines. :) Texas forever! I may have to start over.

  7. says

    We’ve been sleeping in (skipping the gym), and eating all the leftover Christmas goodies around the house (making skipping the gym all that much worse), BUT I’ve decided that calories don’t count until the kids go back to school. Caroline will LOVE that helicopter for years to come. My 17 year-old got his years ago and it STILL works! And my husband would laugh too if my dress ripped in church. And my father-in-law would probably announce it if he knew (he’s the pastor)! That’s why we sit in back! LOL.

  8. Lavonda says

    Two summers ago we watched the whole Alias series on DVD because my kids never got my Sidney Bristow references (they were so little when it was on tv, I used to put them to bed a good half hour early so they’d be sure to be sound asleep before it came on). Needless to say, they are fans. And as good as Alias was when it was on television? SO much better on DVD without the commercials. You could easily watch 3 episodes in one sitting. It would be bedtime and they’d beg “pahhhlllleeeeaaassse just one more Mom! We have to know what happens!” <—Yes dears, and imagine we used to have to wait a whole week to know back in ye olden days.

    Merry Christmas Melanie and Happy New Year! Sorry about your dress Christmas Eve too!

  9. says

    Oh the ripped dress! Isn’t it crazy how stuff like this happens?
    I think God must know…..mama’s can handle ANYTHING! That’s why it happens to the mama and not the papa!

    Fun Christmas memories!

  10. Alisha says

    As if I didn’t love you enough already, you done went and mentioned Syd B. And you showed the world of cyber space your ripped dress. Love!

  11. Erin Seaman says

    My 10 year-old son got the same helicopter for Christmas this year. Made it through numerous crashes into the couch, people’s heads, ceiling fans. All great. Until I got ahold of it this morning after he went to school (yes, they started back today. How does that make sense?!) And literally the second flight I took it on broke a wing off. Oops. Guess I’m going to be ordering a replacement wing. :/

    And I have to say, I kinda missed a picture of the Santalope of the Lord this year.

  12. Lisa D. says

    Oh, I see a game of Spot It going on!!! That is one of our FAVORITE games that my sweet Mama introduced us to and we will always remember her when we play it. There is always a large amount of screaming and laughing…which kind of defines our fun family game time. 😉 Happy New Year!

  13. Brittney says

    It amazes me how much C and my sister are alike! Same age, grade, style. She’s reading this with me and she has the same Vera Bradley bag that she got for Christmas! I told her I like reading your blog because C reminds me so much of her!

  14. says

    That’s awful about your cute dress! I hope it’s mendable.

    LOVED the Sydney Bristow impersonation. Caroline is just about the coolest kid EVER. Wasn’t it even called Project Christmas where she was assembling guns blindfolded as a kid? Very nice tie-in by you!

  15. Brittany D says

    I am loving your hair Christmas Eve night, Caroline’s painted nails, and P’s Gingerbread PJ’s. Did they not come in Camo? 😉

  16. Missy says

    Loved Alias. It was one of the first shows we ever TiVoed. (The most awesome invention ever!) I will always love Jennifer Garner as well–because secretly I think she really is Sydney. I watch Covert Affairs just because it is like Alias. Not as good of course. But similar enough for my mediocre taste in television.

    Hope all is well with you guys.

  17. Cindy says

    Caroline is just precious!!! I always thought she looked like you until I saw her in this pic with P… She really looks like her Daddy!! Either way, so adorable! You’re house looks darling! The new built-ins looks amazing! Please do a post on your home!

    Happy New Year!! :)

  18. Leah says

    So glad you are a Sydney Bristow fan….and hopefully planning to raise up the next generation to properly appreciate her complete awesome-ness!!

  19. Carol says

    Thank you for the sweet recap. Thanks for the visual on the dress malfunction – very brave!
    I love that P is wearing gingerbread pj pants on Christmas morning. Happy New Year!

  20. Blessed says

    it would have been so mean to tell us the story and NOT give us the ripped backside shot–thank you! ; ) And Happy New Year!

  21. Chrissy says

    Loved that you wrote about your dress incident. Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger ! A couple years ago we attended an outdoor wedding in North Carolina. Beautiful setting, however they used white outdoor chairs. And, of course, I got the one that they had not wiped out the bleach from completely. Yes, my dress was black. Yes, the first time I stood up my husband whispered – You have something on your rear end. When I carefully pulled the dress around to look, I almost passed out ! It was a perfect imprint of , oh yes, what did he call it ? My Rear End !! And we had to walk up these rock steps to the reception area. My husband offered his suit coat to tie around my waist. I told him I would rather catch a squirrel and tie it on my head as a distraction. Well, all’s well that ends well. The wedding planner drove me back to the hotel and I changed into the same outfit I had worn the night before at the rehearsal dinner. They reimbursed me for the dress and we ended up having a great time at the reception. We still laugh about the “impression” I made at that wedding !

  22. Laura B says

    Where are my cinnamon rolls??? I know I was out of town and everything, but man, did I miss them! Read the Hunger games a while back and LOVED them. All three books. Have you seen the movie? If so, we must plan a summer movie outing to see the next one! My kids love it too. If you like this series, try the City of Bones series. It is also very good.
    And thank you for reminding me of Sidney! We need a new series to watch.
    Cheers to you all and Happy New Year!!!

  23. says

    My family also uses an obscene amount of butter at Christmastime. I was at the store with my kids and I was instructing them to grab 5 boxes of butter (yes, 5 lbs of butter) and the lady standing next to me said, “I didn’t expect anyone to outbutter me, but I think you’ve just done it.” Also, I love the fabric on your chairs. Would you be willing to share the name of the fabric or where you got the chairs? They are awesomely cheery.

  24. says

    She does look like Sydney Bristow! Good person to favor. Thank goodness for dresses with lining! Glad you all had a wonderful Christmas!!!

  25. says

    Thanks for keeping it real and sharing the dress photo :)

    Is that Dobble? It’s a big hit in our house.

    Happy New Year.

    2/3 of my kids are back to school, but one isn’t – so I am sticking with them and feel I am still on hols here too.

  26. says

    I’m sorry if this is creepy, but your dad looks like the nicest, sweetest man ever. He just looks like he is a very warm soul. I noticed it in other pictures but these Christmas ones sealed the deal.

  27. Mary E. says

    If it makes you feel any better, Melanie, that ripped dress doesn’t hold a candle to what happened to us at the symphony once. A guy in the row in front of us was enthusiastically following the music and when the piece finished, he clapped and jumped up out of his seat so fast … well, let’s just say, his pants didn’t follow. We got the full moon. I have never laughed so hard in my whole life.