What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

by | Jan 9, 2015 | 7 Quick Takes, Catholic Living, Christmas, December, January | 25 comments

Well, I was away from the blog for a couple weeks. And many things happened.

This happened, more than would have been my personal preference, but I’m not in charge.

But that wasn’t the ONLY thing that happened. And I felt LESS horrible in the mornings, and didn’t get sick then, so we were able to do some fun things as a family. I’ve been documenting some of our shenanigans on Facebook and Instagram, but not ALL of them. And not all of YOU are getting those updates.

So, lets catch you all up, shall we? Seven Quick Takes style? Done.

1. Christmas

As with the Grinch, morning sickness did NOT stop Christmas from coming. It came. Even though I felt barfy, it came all the same.

So . . . we got a Christmas tree.

And despite all my high ideals and my blog posts and radio interviews about the virtues of a simple Christmas, it wasn’t a COMPLETE success.

The big kids have neighborhood jobs, and they earn money, and they bought each other gifts, and those gifts were toys. *I* did manage to stick to my guns and the kids’ gifts from Santa, and from mom and dad were activities and one group technology gift. And they were perfectly happy. But they got some toys from each other, and it was okay. I may try to talk them into going in on something together next year, or I may just keep my mouth shut and let them be generous to one another in their own way. Only time will tell.

Christmas Eve was new jammies and a group reading of a kids’ theatrical version of A Christmas Carol. Anita really stole the show as Scrooge.

Christmas Day was Mass in our new duds, and the Nativity play, and my first Yule Log!

2. Also Christmas

The rest of the Twelve Days of Christmas included a boxing tournament for Boxing Day:

Plus Christmas cookie-baking, and Christmas movie-watching (but not until all the Santas are lined up properly).

3. New Year’s

As is our family habit, we celebrated New Year’s Eve a few hours early.

So we could hit an early Mass for Our Lady, and head for the Rose Parade.

The floats were impressive as usual: dragon, phoenix, trampoline guy, Jesus. The works.

My sister and her family have been in town visiting us. Anita and her cousin Emma are best of friends.

4. The Getty

The husband got some time off of work, which was lovely. He took the boys and girls on separate outings, while I lolled about the house. But one of the days I did manage to put my big girl pants on and head out to do some art appreciation’ at The Getty.

We got to see a very Catholic, very counter-reformation collection of huge tapestries designed by Rubens, alongside the oil painting “sketches” he made to prepare for them.
Hey! Look out Martin Luther and John Calvin, here comes Time . . . and Truth . . . and a, um, Dragon? Oooh, that’s got to hurt.
We also saw a collection of WWI propaganda art (this poster predates King Kong by two decades). And various lovely paintings, including this one, which I can only assume is what made the lullaby Rock a Bye Baby necessary in the first place. Doesn’t look like a great plan.

And, since there’s only so much art kids can look at at one time, we also let them run around like maniacs outside, and roll down the lovely rolling-down hill.

5. Epiphany

Epiphany also came, and the Three Wise Men left some treats in our shoes, and Anita found the ring in our King Cake and got to be Queen for the day. She requested pineapple pizza and root beer floats for dinner, and that’s what she got.

6. The Beach

While the rest of the country is in the throes of yet another Polar Vortex (or so I hear on Facebook), the weather has been lovely since just after Christmas here in Los Angeles. We’ve been inspired to actually take advantage of it, since my sister and my two little nieces will be heading back to Iowa soon (brrrrr).

The beach. Really, you can’t beat it.

7. And Frankie’s Been Frankie

He didn’t SAY it was a self portrait. But it’s a pretty uncanny likeness. I gotta say, I know how doodle Frankie feels.

And that was that. I really have been feeling much better the last couple of days. I have an OB appointment next week, so we’ll all get to find out about when to expect this little troublemaker.


  1. Erica Saint

    I am crying. #7 is hilarious and so cute!
    I think I commented before to tell you that I am glad you are feeling better, but I will type it again because I mean it. I am glad that you are feeling better. Puking is no fun.

  2. Ashley Sue

    That trip to The Getty looked fabulous! Reubens is one of my favorites. I love "The Queen of Epiphany 's" dinner choice. It screams childhood.

  3. Amanda

    I feel like you did a lot in your barfiness. I've had a sinus infection and have been far more whiny and generally refusing to participate.

    I kept looking at that picture of Lulu last night on instagram, and I love the one of Betty with her. What a great sister they each have.

    • Kendra

      They really are so sweet. Betty and Anita get along really well, but they are pretty opposite. It's fun to see Betty with her little mini-me.

  4. Natalie Zambreski

    Hahaha, Frankie had me laughing out loud!

    Sorry you're feeling barfy, but you had a FULL Christmas vacation! So.much.fun.

  5. Jacqueline Novak

    How do you manage with the nausea with your littlest one? My three are 20 months, and 28 months apart. I live in fear of how I will do it the next time I get pregnant! I get intensely sick for months. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Kendra

      My first few pregnancies weren't as bad for me. I never threw up pregnant until number five. But, I did feel sick. I'm not sure, some how, you just manage, right? It's miserable for a few months, and everyone suffers a bit, but you survive.

      It's WAY easier with big kids, of course. I can check out and take a nap or a bath whenever I need, really. And the big kids can keep things running. But when it was just me and little kids, I tried to get out of the house, to a park or playgroup. Maybe it isn't the case for everyone, but I actually feel better if I rally and get out of the house, and the kids are distracted and not making messes that I'll have to clean up.

      Other than that, ask for help. When I really need it, I have family and neighbors and friends I can call on. It sounds like you get it bad. That's so hard. Hopefully you have a safety net? :0(

  6. Nancy Shuman

    This was s super post, as always, and I've got to say that the likeness of Frankie's drawing to his own expression is uncanny! The mouths even slant the exact same way!!!

  7. Tara Vuono

    Aww, Frankie. I've got a grumpy kid too, but he is my first and I was sure I was royally screwing up this mom thing. Kids two and three are much happier… turns out some kids are just sort of grumpy, I guess. Maybe we could start a "parents of cranky kids" support group. 😉

  8. Christina Gignoux

    Love #7! Glad you are feeling better too. Anita and Emma look so sweet and so much like sisters!

  9. Christy from fountains of home

    Yay! I'm glad you're feeling a bit better, but it's nice to know you're human like the rest of us, you know those pesky rumours… 😉

    And I thought it was so cute how you all pretended to be cold so you could wear hats and scarves!

  10. Anonymous

    So glad you are back and feeling better.

    The Getty looks amazing!

    Your beach pictures make me jealous. On Wednesday in MN it was -35 windchills- and we still had school and I had to take the bus to work. 🙁
    I am typically a fan of the 4 seasons. I like the change, and the white Christmas, cozy up for the winter thing- for a little while- but it was "warm" and rainy for Christmas and not white, and now it is brutally cold. So, I cant wait for spring! Extra layers on a hugely pregnant woman is my purgatory.

    But, the real reason I even commented. FRANKIE. Gosh. I love his crankiness. I think I AM the Frankie of my family. I actually laughed out loud at his doodle. Something about his crankiness is so endearing.

  11. Jenny

    The not so self portrait is the best! Maybe the trip to the museum inspired him?

  12. WritingWillow

    What a fun Christmas season! You guys box on boxing day, that's adorable. I love that your kids roll down the rolling hill at the Getty – it truly is perfect for it. I may have to take a weekend and go to the Getty to see that Rubens exhibit, it looks awesome. Hope you continue to feel not so barfy!

  13. Amanda

    I adore Cranky Frankie, I agree with the other commenters, there's something about his crankiness that is very endearing 🙂 And I have my own Cranky Peter (or Crazy Peter as his siblings call him). He just is so different from the rest of our family, very much his own unique personality and we're often left shaking our head at the things he says and does. I just adore that crazy 4 year old boy.

    I'm glad your morning sickness is waning. I keep thinking mine is in the morning and then by 4pm I'm out for the count again. Oh well, I'm doing better than usual at this point though not nearly as active as you are! I think getting out would do me good but bundling up 4 kids and myself to drive in the now would not. So I'll just wait for spring and the second trimester I think. My first OB appointment is Monday, fun times 🙂

  14. bobbi @ revolution of love blog.com

    I hope you are feeling better! These all look like so much fun! I've been wanting to take the kids to the Getty and hopefully can make the trip this year (or next.) 🙂

  15. Alea

    It always amazes me that there are places where people can get their Christmas tree with shorts on! I know they exist, but it's just so foreign to me, living in Idaho my whole life. Also surprised that cranky Frankie self-portrait was done with a sharpie!? You're braver than me! Praying that you're feeling much better soon!

    • Kendra

      Thanks! It was a dry erase marker, not a sharpie. 🙂

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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