So, backing up a few days on the calendar, Gracie and I flew out to Utah the Friday before Christmas, affording us a luxurious 7 days and some hours at my parents house. I haven’t spent that much time at home since my first Christmas break in law school (or perhaps college?) and it was nice to actually be able to spend time doing the “little” things rather than trying to cram a few big things into 3 days before turning back around. B joined us a few days later (billable hours are the devil’s work) which gave me ample to opportunity to tell him just how tough it was flying with Gracie on my own.

Please note: don’t get on airplanes at bedtime with toddlers.



Also, airplanes don’t serve milk, LESSON LEARNED. Double also, my Dad was on the plane but in the cockpit in the extra seat up there, so it was this cruel “help is so close…yet so far” conundrum. Oh well, we made it, as did our luggage, and that is what matters, amirite?



My Mom, brother, and I spent a few days just the four of us (nephew hadn’t arrived/Dad was flying/B was in Chicago) and we filled it with things like sushi dinner (Gracie = not a fan), Target trips (eh, whatever, they sell diapers and sometimes you need diapers), a trip to historic 25th Street in Ogden (I bought a vintage hankie embroidered with a map of Chicago), another trip downtown to check out the new Citycreek area, and much checking of the weather report to see if snow was on its way (hint: it was).



Gracie spent a LOT of time playing my nephew’s play kitchen, so much so I think she needs one in the upcoming year.

B flew into town on the 23rd, and we promptly made our way to In-N-Out for double doubles and fries (Gracie had a milkshake = big fan) before heading home to begin the task of sorting through the 25 (give/take) boxes that we had shipped to my parents with various gifts for various people.



I missed all of this, taking the morning of the 24th to get some sleep as Gracie did not get the memo on the time change and was getting me up at 6 am every day before B arrived.

On the evening of the 24th we did what we do best, and made pizza, our long term family Christmas Eve meal. My parents got fancy and grilled the pizza (delicious) and we had friends over to partake in the DIY pizza bar. Gracie ate her weight in cookies and we just shrugged…Christmas Eve only comes once a year. My brother and I (and by extension, my nephew and Gracie) did our annual Christmas Eve gift exchange. My parents always had us exchange our gifts the night before, but only if we could remember what the person got us the year prior. It was a nice way to ensure that we always remembered what our sibling had picked out especially for us. It was at this point that my brother gave Gracie my old doll high chair, which he had taken apart, refinished, repaired, and painted the same color as her high chair, and we needn’t have bothered with a single gift after that. Gracie fed her baby approximately 1000 times that night, in every spot she could put the high chair down, serving “soup” and “milk” and “cookies” and she was over the moon with excitement. The highchair is currently en route to Chicago and when it arrives, it will be like a second Christmas.

By the time Christmas morning came, through some sort of miracle, all of the adults woke up before the kids, allowing time for coffee making and breakfast starting. We also woke up to a winter wonderland, as it had snowed about 4 inches over night. In Gracie’s words, “POZEN!”

Eventually the two wee ones woke up and all madness ensued. Gracie wanted to tear the paper off of gifts like a maniac, but then wanted to stop and play with each toy she opened. My nephew, overcome with excitement, would have opened all his gifts in five minutes flat if given the opportunity (but was happy to help Gracie get through her pile). Although I try to skip listing off gifts received (which often comes across like a braggy brand dropping snooze-fest) there were a few highlights under tree. My Dad got both of the kids leather soccer balls made out of up-cycled Southwest Airlines plane seats and B bought me the mandoline (food slicer not instrument) I’ve been asking for for….years. (I promptly ordered a special glove to wear when using it to prevent me from chopping off my fingers) He also surprised me with a new camera lens (24 mm), which was very unexpected and loved. Gracie particularly loved her stuffed Olaf and her B brand water drawing board, and Santa brought my nephew a kid’s guitar and many boxes of Legos. There were large stacks of books for everyone and it was all in all, very magical. (Amazon links are affiliate, I recommend buying B brand at Target for the best price, or you know, wherever you prefer to do your shopping)

Friday was our last day in Utah (we flew out pretty early Saturday morning) and the original plan was for my Dad and I to hit the slopes. Between him not feeling 100% and the crazy zoo that was the resort, the plan was scrapped, and instead B and I took Gracie snowshoeing before meeting my family for lunch at the resort.

We didn’t anticipate how long it would take us to park and get the start of the trail head, so we didn’t get to go nearly as far as we wanted, but we still had a great time before battling the crowds for lunch. Gracie demolished a bowl of vegetable soup, hung out with the bronze moose at the base of the mountain (seriously, giving it hugs and yelling with glee) and touched some snow before we headed back to my parents to get ready for their not-quite-annual December 26th chili party. It was a great way to end the trip, seeing family friends and enjoying chili and fixings with everyone. Gracie ate another one million cookies before we put her down and tackled the task of trying to pack up everything we had accumulated over the holiday. We went home with 2 more suitcases than we came with, and there is still more being shipped….oh well. The flight home was uneventful (Gracie was on her best behavior on this go around) and we were back in our house by 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a wonderful holiday and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to spend Christmas with my family in the mountains.