Christmas 2014


We wrapped up a long week of driver’s education, wrestling, schoolwork, laundry, and last-minute gift buying.

We headed for New England while the rest of the Eastern Seaboard slept.

It’s not that it’s easy for us to travel for the holidays…

but when reality stares you down, and you understand that none of us are promised tomorrow,

that we’re all really living on borrowed time (especially my dad),

you go.

Simple as that.

There will always be exhaustion, chaos, and, of course,

plenty of germs to be shared.

Just comes with the territory of a large family traveling.

But I promise you, there will also be moments of tenderness, joy, connection, and togetherness,

with the circle of people you have been called to love.

Memories that will be etched forever in your heart.

Morning breaking in Connecticut

Day breaks.

Could it be we arrived in my native state without a single kiddo potty stop?

All the way from Carolina?

Pretty impressive stuff.

I hadn’t a clue about the kind of payback that awaited us on the flipside.

Snow covering the Ground

A light dusting of white greeted my children as they rubbed away sleep from bleary eyes.

Logan was convinced it was powdered sugar.

He accused me of trickery and deception.

I promised him that it was the real deal.

I think he believed me, once his warm, pink skin experienced the chilly cold of it.

Christmas 2014

Oh my, poor Gabby!

She discovered the Christmas tree at Mimi and Pop’s house that first day,

with the meager display of packages tucked beneath it. ;)

Playing in the Snow!

Amazing how much joy a scant amount of snow can provide to a gaggle of winter-deprived southern children.

They played until they earned hot cocoa with whipped cream.

Mimi Time

Mimi sparkled my girl up with some silver glitter nail polish.

We hit the children’s museum while my dad was at dialysis.

We raved about the amazing parking spot we scored for the entire ride up the elevator,

 then hopped off, to discover we had the whole place to ourselves.

Well, minus the security guard sitting as his desk, who informed us the place was-


But did that stop us?

Heck no!

It would take a lot more than that to bring Mimi down.

She whipped out her iPhone and we learned “Night at the Museum 3″ was playing,

not more than a block or two down the road.

It started in 5 minutes!

We were off to the races…

Running down the empty streets of Hartford on that chilly day,

holding the hands of little ones, we navigated intersections and safely arrived at our next destination.

A little popcorn and soda, and we were good to go!

It was actually a pretty gripping movie, even for my 3-year-old.

And we found it mildly entertaining that we watched a movie about a museum, instead of actually visiting a museum ourselves that day.


The gang went bowling that week too.

What else to do with a crazy bunch of kids in the middle of winter?

Cray, cray!

I betcha you’re wondering about the gifts…

Like how do we even make Christmas morning happen,

an eleven-hour-crowded-van-filled-drive away from home?

Online shopping is a gift from God.

Simply select your parent’s address for delivery and…


All your packages and parcels await you.

Wrapping 'til 3AM

Gift wrapping isn’t for the weak though, that’s for sure!

Here are the two of us doing all of our last minute preparations.

My dad insisted we move ahead with this operation in his “bedroom”.

I think he wanted to listen to all the silly banter as we made ready our Christmas offerings.

He may have regretted his decision when 2AM rolled around and we were reopening packages because we couldn’t remember what we had wrapped.


Her are my 7 sleepyheads on Christmas morning.

Top of the Stairs Chistmas Morning

They are precious to me.

Love them so.

Christmas Morning

Just look at the careful determination on his face…

My Logey Boy

Oh.  We gifted Gavin an alarm clock of ginormous proportions.

It was apparently designed for legally bling and deaf persons.

Sometimes, you know, it can be challenging to wrap your head around the mammoth dimensions of an online product.

He got a real kick out of it!

Clock Ginormica!

These girls with their Fur Real Friends. :)

It’s like the option for “loser parents” who don’t have the guts to move forward with a real puppy or kitten.


We got to have our quiet family Christmas before…


the legitimate madness ensued. :)


Christmas breakfast preparations were underway…

Christmas Breakfast

Keagan handled the flame thrower…


Makinley eagerly awaited the arrival of her cousins.

Waiting for Cousins!

Gabby took her puppy for a much needed walk.

Gab and puppy

And finally everyone and everything was ready!

Kids' Table

I tried to capture some pics of all the important players.

Mimi, Maddie, and Kath

My two oldest.  Wow.  They’re huge.

M and G


There is no need to photo bomb a perfectly good pic, my dearest hubby.

Mad and Mim- photobombed by Duff

I promise to capture you, in all your glory,  in due time.

Be patient.

My Man


Are you satisfied?

I’ll even go a step further and pose with you, lover boy! ;)



They begin arriving.

Can you feel the love?

Brendy Boy!

My dad, not really having his best day, but surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren,

all together under one roof, on Christmas Day.


Here is Christmas breakfast at the kids’ table…

The Kid's Table

They seem to be enjoying themselves more than the adults, don’t you think?

The Adults

We open some more presents…


Cherishing many precious smiles throughout the day.


Gigundo Stuffed Animals!

Mad Scientist

Pretty Maddie

And absolutely no doll can compare to this…

Baby Holding

A real live drinking, burping, cooing baby.

Sorta made up for the pretend pets, no?

Baby Holding 2

They took turns all day long.

Baby Holding 3

Is she not the most adorable little niece an Auntie could ask for?!

The fact of the matter is, she is only one of my many adorable nieces.

Just facts here, people. Facts.

These pictures, while treasures, don’t really tell it all though.

They don’t detail the demanding,

the uncomfortable,

the chaotic,


the difficult.

These pictures don’t show sleep deprivation,





These photos don’t convey the sacrifice and the overwhelming circumstances.

These pictures don’t share the whole story,

because truthfully, there was a lot of hard sprinkled in amongst the wonderful.

But when has doing the right thing ever really been doing the easy thing?

I walked my dad out to the van the morning after Christmas.

The van that would bring him to dialysis, where he would spend most of his day.

I told him I loved him and said goodbye.

We wouldn’t be there when he returned.

We were heading out to Boston.

He was distracted by climbing on board and greeting the driver.

He was focused on going through the motions of doing this difficult thing he had to do three days a week.

He honestly didn’t even want to do it anymore.

The van pulled away and I ran back inside to the warmth of Mimi’s kitchen.

That was the last time I would see my dad on this side of Heaven.

Exactly two weeks later, I would get the call from my mom that he had passed away, quietly in his sleep.

And do you know what?

I had sadness,

but I also had peace in that moment.

I had no regrets.

All the memories of Christmas 2014, together, would be forever etched in my mind…

And that is a beautiful thing.


“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”Philippians 2:3



  1. DiDi AuntieDi says:

    Beautiful funny and heartfelt words and as always I bawled through it all. Love you Kell

  2. Dear Kelly,

    It sounded as if you had a wonderful Christmas!
    It was also such an AWESOME tribute to your Dad.

    I LOVE U!!!!


    . Amy.

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