Glory be! After roughly 36 hours without either cable or internet access, our house (and neighborhood it turns out) has been reconnected! So I can finally start unloading some of the accumulated content from the past week-plus.

First, Happy New Year! I hope your celebrations, large and small, were fun and safe.

Let’s go back to 2017 and review how our family rolled over Christmas.

Christmas Day

I believe I mentioned this in my annual Christmas Spirit post, but the myth of where gifts come from was finally burst in our house this year. There was no formal acknowledgement, just little comments here and there that made it obvious the girls know that all those Amazon packages that show up from late November through December contain their gifts, not a jolly fat man and his reindeer who deliver them on Christmas Eve. L still put up appearances at times, because that’s what she does. But we knew the girls knew.

It didn’t help that at least one of them found our gift hiding place. For years we’ve been able to put boxes on a shelf in our closet that only I can reach. It’s just inside and behind the door, so younger eyes were generally not looking in this area. But one night I went in to change for bed and noticed the box was on the floor. I asked S about it the next day and she said she hadn’t taken it down. We’re not sure how but one/a combination of the girls pulled the box down and saw all their unwrapped gifts. S was more than a little pissed and wanted to say something. I pointed out that one year I had unwrapped nearly all of my gifts well before Christmas.[1] Looks like we’ll have to hide things better next year.

Anyway, Christmas morning… our girls all did well. M got the Beats headphones she desperately wanted but was sure we wouldn’t get her. She also got some new adidas and a shirt. Yep, she’s reached the age where she’s more interested in clothes than toys. Along those lines, C got a new desk and sheets. L got an Amazon Fire tablet and some Star Wars Legos. All were pleased with their gifts.

After presents, we did our final packing and headed to the airport to catch our flight to Denver. As we had hoped, the Indianapolis airport was pretty slow that morning. The weather was fine – we got about an inch of snow on Christmas Eve, but Christmas morning was cold and clear – and our flight was on time. We looked forward to being in Denver in a few hours.

The Flight

Facebook friends know our flight had some issues.

We took off as scheduled and headed west. Shortly after the fasten seatbelt sign went off, we heard an announcement that the front lavatory was not working. A few minutes later, the pilot said the rear lavatories were out of order, too. They were trying to figure out a fix in the air, but he added they were “exploring all options.”

About 15 minutes later, he came on again and said that they were still talking to the ground to see if the lavs could be fixed in the air. He also said that because our flight was so heavy, we had limited options on where we could land if we needed to. That seemed a little ominous. He would keep us updated, he promised.

Another 10 or so minutes went by when he came on again and announced than none of their in-air fixes were working, so we were turning around and landing in St. Louis, hopefully for a quick fix and back into the air shortly thereafter.

We were just a few minutes past St. Louis, so were on the ground quickly. Then we waited as technicians came in-and-out trying to get the shitters fixed. We sat for an hour, with some folks exiting to use the airport restrooms, before they announced we were switching planes. So off we went, down one gate, and waited about another hour before we boarded and took off again.

We figure St. Louis was the only airport on our path that had an extra plane we could switch to if needed. Because it would have made more sense to continue to Kansas City and land there. Yes, I was wondering if there were any decent barbecue places in KCI these days.

Oh well, we arrived about three hours later than planned, hungry, tired, but excited to start our Christmas adventure.


So my sister-in-law and her husband knew we were coming, obviously, but their kids did not. We Facetime with them once a month or so and ever since we booked the trip in the fall, our girls were always giggling and whispering “Don’t give it away!” when we talk to them. My sister-in-law picked us up and delivered us to their front door, where we all donned Santa hats and rang the doorbell. The kids answered and freaked out a little bit. My nephew, who turned 8 the next day, fell over and grabbed his heart. His five-year-old sister squealed with delight. It was exactly the reaction we had hoped for and a Christmas surprise all the kids will never forget.

On Tuesday we celebrated W’s birthday. We went bowling in the afternoon and had his local grandparents and an uncle over for dinner that evening.

On Wednesday we drove up to Vail, where my brother-in-law’s family has a place, for some mountain time. Since we were only spending one night there, we decided not to have the girls try skiing. So Wednesday we walked around Vail, had lunch and dinner there, let the kids ice skate in the evening, and got our girls the obligatory local sweatshirts.

On Thursday we drove down to Frisco and went snow tubing. That was a lot of fun. We did this ten years ago at Keystone, and that was a small hill on a golf course you had to drag your tubes back up each time. This was a manicured hill that was twice as big and had a Magic Carpet ramp that hauled you back up. We found that connecting multiple adult tubes together really made you fly. It was a pretty good time and no doubt better for our girls than trying to teach them to ski in just one day.[2]

I was pleased at how well we handled the altitude. I was very nervous because 10 years ago I had a really hard time in my first 24 hours in Breckenridge. But I had only occasional moments of needing to quickly catch my breath in Vail. We figured it was because 10 years ago our time in Denver was in a hot hotel where I didn’t drink much water, with a wedding squeezed into the final night. I went to the mountains dehydrated that time, where I was drinking tons of water as soon as we got to Denver this time.

Unfortunately, by this time my nephew was getting pretty sick. And it was beginning to pass through to our kids. C was coughing a lot and the rest of us all had sniffles. So Friday we kept things pretty tame. We had planned on going out that night to look at some of the holiday stuff in downtown Denver, but the kids were dragging so we let them watch a movie at home.

Saturday morning C was feeling much worse, coughing like crazy, and having trouble breathing at times. There were a few moments where we worried about whether she’d be able to get on the plane or not. But we got her steadied and we made it home without incident.

Other than the illnesses, which you kind of have to expect if you travel this time of year, it was a great week. We had plenty of fun in Denver. I do admit it was weird spending Christmas week somewhere else. When we got home Saturday evening I kept thinking, “Wait, Christmas is over?” My brain is still having trouble with the abrupt ending to all our traditional activities. But I also appreciate how our Denver relatives are often spending their holiday week in Indy with us, so was glad they could stay home for a change.


As has become a family tradition[3] we threw together a last-minute dinner for S’s sisters and their families. I made chili, there were lots of appetizers, and we did a mock countdown around 10:30 for our girls and their young cousins. It was a fun night. I’ve managed to hold off the illness for the most part, but was still pretty wiped out. I think I read until about 11:15 before I called it a night. L claims she was still up in her room until after midnight.

F&%K It’s Cold

We’re are about 36 hours away for setting the longest stretch in Indy history where the temperature has not risen over 20. We had some more light snow Sunday and are supposed to get enough to make rush hour tonight pretty nasty. When it finally warms up a little on Sunday we’re supposed to get hit with an ice storm.

Already so sick of winter.

We’ve had a couple practices and have a couple more later this week. The girls have some friends over now. L has a party Friday. We are gathering with some friends on Saturday. I’m trying to come up with some other indoor activities to get us to next Tuesday when the girls begin the new semester.

  1. We’re a put all the gifts under the tree Christmas morning family. My mom preferred to slowly lay them out over the course of December. Since I was home alone roughly six hours every afternoon/evening, I sliced through the tape on one side of each box, carefully peeked inside, then placed a new piece of tape directly over the original. Christmas morning I made sure to open each gift from the re-taped side to hide my work. As far as I ever knew, my mom had no idea.  ↩
  2. And, to be honest, me as well. I only tried skiing once, 30 years ago, and was not good at it in the hour or so I tried. I’d be starting from scratch, too.  ↩
  3. Based on the last two years only.  ↩