A (F)untraditional Christmas!

Hello beautiful people!!! I am typing up this post from the air heading to Dallas, TX! Woohoo!!! So much has happened since my last recap, and I’m excited to fill ya in! To be honest… this holiday season I have been a bit of a Grinch. Not outwardly, in my conversations or by my actions…but certainly when reflecting on my own thoughts. I’ve known for a couple months now that I was going to have to work on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 27th. This only left one day for celebrations (the 26th)… and any time I work three in a row I have a difficult time opening my eyes the next day, nonetheless try to throw together a Christmas celebration on my “Sammy day” as we say (sandwich day in between work days).

I begged DJ to fly back to Ohio to be with family. After all, I would be at work majority of the time and when I was not I would be, well, .. A. exhausted and B. an actual B. Catch my drift? It’s just reality. I turn into a MONSTER by day three. Like Wicked Witch of the West meets Ursula. But, alas, the sweet hubby refused to leave me.

If ya know me, I have more “basic” tendencies than not…a la CHRISTMAS OBSESSED. Yet this whole season I didn’t feel inclined to blast Christmas music, baking cookies, or watching Christmas movies when I felt there would be no real culmination celebration with family and friends to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Ya knowww?

BUT there were till some fun happenings that didn’t allow me to avoid the season entirely.

On December 16th, One of DJ’s coworkers held a beautiful Christmas party in her home. It was incredibly elegant with charcuterie galore, hors devours, caviar, an omelette station, a plethora of salads, biscuits and gravy, mini parfaits, etc. etc. Not to mention the most satiating dessert bar. It was delicious and fabulous! I had a ball getting to know Dj’s coworkers better too.


For the 17th and 18th we both worked hard and then the next few days I tried to round up most of my research project. It’s due the 8th of January so we are ticking down to the last few days!!! Y’all I am PUMPED about it. I cannot CANNOT wait to share it!

On the 19th, Sara, Tammy, and I all headed out for some bday celebrations for Sara’s bday!


We had drinks and cheered to another year of our Sara over salted caramel popcorn complete with peanuts, bacon, and rosemary (it sounds like an interesting combo, but it is an interesting combo that WORKS!).


I savored their irresistible pan seared salmon with sauvignon blanc sautéed salmon, asparagus, zucchini, red onion, red pepper, fennel, roasted beets, avocado, arugula, and lemon vinaigrette.


Tammy tried their butcher’s flat iron dip with carmalized onions, fresno chiles, mustard aioli, Havarti, and au jus.


Sara opted for their cowboy burger with shoestring onion rings, bacon, cheddar, and beer barbecue sauce.


We finished off with a complementary birthday Sundae for Sara. It was way too fun and nothing beats some good girl time. These two have kept my spirits afloat this year. I don’t know what I’d do without the two of them.


When I went home, I was greeted by some decadent truffles from another client of DJ’s. I am a sucker for truffles. I cannot get enough. You all know I love a good cliché, and does it get more cliché than Christmas truffles? I think not, and if loving this cliché is wrong I do not want to be right.


The 23rd-25th were work days. Guys, so much happens during my day on our crazy neuro floor and I have so many stories that I’d like to share (protecting all anonymity of course)…. But sometimes there is just too much to say and explain that I avoid sharing anything all together. These days were filled with my first patient fall, rushing a patient to surgery to prevent paralysis, and a few tears. The thing is…..each day I have worked has a story, a situation that would make you gasp, cringe, squirm, or cry tears of joy and sadness. I am afraid to share these stories because I don’t want to do an injustice to the experience, to the fact that these are real lives, real person’s & family’s reality. However, for 2018, I am considering sharing a story, maybe once a week or every couple of weeks before I forget them. I have learned more about humanity, vulnerability, compassion, patience, and love in this past year through neurosurgery. I’d love to share these lessons and stories that have left a footprint on my soul. So stay tuned for how that all plays out.


Our coworkers are so encouraging, and I’m thankful that we all have each other’s backs in the chaos.


Also, one of the nurses brought in this HOMEMADE cake. HOW?!?


The 26thDJ and I had our day to celebrate our Christmas. I kept telling him the 25th was our Christmas Eve. He played along like a trooper (even though I’d snap at him every time he mentioned Christmas being on the 25th… “NO HUN, IT’S CHRISTMAS EEEEVVVVVEEEEE”.

On our faux Christmas Day we slept until the cows came home and then had “Christmosas”, cinnamon rolls, an omelette, and I even made some turkey bacon for Deej. I love whipping up big meals, but now-a-days I feel like I have such little time to cook like I prefer to. This morning was a treat for me.


Deej figured out how to get a fireplace to play through our TV. I just love love love ! Thank gosh he knows how to work technology. I swear I am from the stone ages when it comes to working a remote control.


Christmosas: Dry champagne/ Martinelli’s grape juice/ granny smith apply slices/ pomegranate seeds.


We then blasted our Christmas music, put on our now traditional Christmas onesies and opened presents on the ground like a couple of children. It was obnoxiously fun, and I want to say a massive thank you to all who sent the most beautiful gifts and stockings to our house to give us a real Christmas. It really did feel like Christmas, and I am so thankful DJ played along with me. Jesus wasn’t actually born on the 25th, right?!


In the afternoon I laced up the new pair of Adidas Boosts DJ gifted me and headed out for  Christmas run… a Jingle Jog if you will! The weather was perfect, I had the sugar from the cinnamon rolls rushing through my veins- I was zooooming. Talk about a runner’s high! I felt like I could have ran forever. It was one of the most glorious runs I have ever had.


For dinner, I whipped up scallop and crab stuffed sole (from Omaha Steaks- thank you Aunt Terry and Uncle Pat), asparagus, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted veggies with tofu, and grand’s flaky biscuits. We savored every bite over some nice white Pinot Grigio and a Charlie Brown Christmas.

img_4979-1img_4978-1img_5007-1img_5011-1We finished the night with some GLORIOUS Moser Roth truffles (THE best truffles on planet earth- their strawberry rhubarb is a must-try) and our classic Chocolate Chip cookies.

For being an untraditional Christmas, we both agreed it was one of the best. This was certainly a year I will treasure forever. I loved celebrating with my patients and my husband. Sometimes different is not so bad.


I had to head back to work the 27th, it was a difficult shift..

I’m tired, y’all. So very tired. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our project will soon be submitted and I will have a minute to breathe…. Maybe… we’ll see! I’m learning to just enjoy the small moments, take deep breaths, and count my blessings because there are so very many- this blog and all of you being one of them. This has been the hardest year of my life (besides the year I lost my Dad). But I would not trade it for the world.

This morning (28th) was filled with early morning wake up call, stuffing myself with some toast, a full on pat down going through security (I was basically stripped to my breeches in the airport), and now a minute to sit back and relax on the plane. We are heading to Dallas and are munching on nuts, a salad for me, and a burger for DJ. I am working on my thank you cards from Christmas (I am one of those odd birds that genuinely loves writing thank you cards). I cannot wait to see my momma and step dad, Pete, and of course, my little pooch, Jade.


I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions. But this year I have one…

I have learned an enormous amount this past year and one of those lessons is that there is freedom in vulnerability. I have things I want to share but have not yet had the courage to. I have slowly showed you all my heart in certain situations, but I hope in 2018 I can dive deeper, share more of my heart, and be honest about parts of my story that I have never shared before.

Thank you for sharing in our life, for supporting and encouraging us on our journey. I am thankful, I am so thankful for each of you.

xo <3


37 thoughts on “A (F)untraditional Christmas!

  1. I truly cherish our time together, ALWAYS! Love you friend. I hope you have the best time with your family in TX! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

  2. I adore this post & have missed you! But I knew you were busy. So much kudos for seeing the glass half full/brightside of this situation. Working on a holiday would be so upsetting. All of your meals look so incredible! Matt also found a crackling fire on the tv, & we actually loved it too! Hahaha. It made us feel warm & cozy. That party & spread – oh my word how amazing! And ever since discovering Moser Roth at Aldi, I’m hooked on their chocolate. I’d LOVE to try those truffles! Safe travels, & I hope you have the very best trip!! XOXO

    1. Hi Kori!!!!!! Awww, I MISS YOU! I am so eager for this doggone project to get turned in so my free time can be my free time again! Isn’t the TV fire the BEST?! I love love love it. We willl definitely be playing it all through the winter. I swear- Moser Roth is The. Best. I am blown away by how good the chocolate is. That reminds me… I’m gonna go grab one right now! XO

  3. What a lovely post…your beautiful words and pictures have touched my heart…I wish you and yours all the best in the coming new year…I’m reminded of Leonard Cohen’s gorgeous song, “Hallelujah”…2017 may have left your heart wide open but that’s how the light gets in”.

    1. Hi Kimberlee!!!! Thank you thank you for reading and sharing this BEAUTIFUL song with me. I haven’t heard this version of it, and you are so right- it is nothing short of GORGEOUS. I haven’t heard it in a while and this lifted my heart. Those lyrics… wow.. those never fully registered. You are so thoughtful, and I’m thankful for you as a friend here and your wisdom you always share. I hope you have the most special year ahead. You are a treasure, my friend!! <3 I'm going to replay it again right now..

      1. Wow, this warms my heart…I’m so glad it was able to lift your heart…it’s a powerful piece! Thank you for your very lovely words, they made my (very rainy!) day!

  4. You are just the absolute cutest! I should know better by now to not read your posts on an empty stomach; you’ve got me craving just about everything now! Wishing you the best of the upcoming New Year. Hoping 2018 will bring us together at some point, granted we live so close! Much love.

    1. AWWW!!!!! You stopped by <3 Thank ya, girlfran!

      LOL! I hope you were able to get a few good meals since this comment 😉 And YESSS it will happen! Even if it's just coffee…. we need to exchange numbers too or e-mails so we can coordinate. Feel free to shoot one via my contact page or I will do the same to you! XO

  5. First of all, I love truffles and I also write Thank You cards. Second, I’m waving at you from my corner of Dallas to your corner (aka general direction). And finally, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but my brother has been studying to be a PA (just graduated) and his wife is a nurse, and we get the “working at Christmas” thing. It was my sister-in-law’s turn this year, and last year, his clinicals kept him from traveling. We all live in different states so we have learned to adjust to the schedules. This year, we texted pictures back and forth and mailed gifts to one another.

    1. Hi Katy!! Seeing this comment from you made me super excited. Aren’t truffles the best?! I was just craving one just now. Awww!!! I wave back! One day when I’m there we really do have to sit down for coffee. It’s nice to hear that other families go through the same motions during the holiday.. it’s so easy to feel alone in that. Thanks for sharing this with me. I love that you texted pictures back and forth.. we facetimed a bit. I guess you just do what you can do and it makes the time you do have that much more treasured. I hope this year is your best yet. I anticipate it will be with the arrival of your baby boy <3 Praying for you always! XO

  6. Truffles are the best! Have you ever tried making your own? So easy! How nice of your coworkers to bring in treats, also that cake is beautiful! I love the onsies you and DJ wore and not I’m tempter to buy them for the bf and I for next year hehe. I hope you have a wonderful trip girly!

    1. RIGHT!??!? SOO GOOD!!!! I made them one time, but I swear they are never as good as the store bought ones. But if you have any recipes I would LOVE to try them! LOL.. the onesies are our favorite. They are legit the most comfortable clothes we own. We bought them as a joke last year, but are sticking to it! They are from “Snug as a bug” company. I hope you had a beautiful start to your new year! I can’t wait till this darn project is done so I can catch up on your blog too! XO

      1. I made some over Thanksgiving actually! My boyfriend’s dad was talking about them like a week later lol. So maybe try that recipe? (I’ll post the link later this morning). I’m totally going to check that company out. Thanks so much! I hope the project is going well 🙂

  7. Your life is filled with so much delicious food I’m jealous! Honestly, though, aside from food I have so much admiration and respect for you – your job is so precious and important and, while it’s sad you got basically no time off to celebrate Christmas, I know you did so much important work over those days, saved lives, gave your patients respect and attention and made them being in over christmas a bit better for them. Hope you have an amazing 2018 <3

    1. Hi Mia!!!! Lol, well the thing is I have this tick where I can’t help but take pictures of all the food. I will be mortifyingly embarrassed in a nice restaurant and I . just. can’t. help. it. It’s like can I eat the food if it wasn’t documented?!? haha.

      Girl, thank you so much for the kind words. This means everything and encouraged me more than I can even say. You have such a beautiful way of articulating the sentiment behind what we do as nurses. I so appreciate you here, Mia! Hope you have an amazing year as well. Can’t wait to follow along!

  8. Happy new year doll! And it seems you had a wonderful faux Christmas with DJ 🙂 that totally sucks that you absolutely have to work through the holidays, leaving you little time to spend with family and friends, but you managed to make up for it on your day off. I admire your unshakeable determination to keep going even when you’ve had rough days. But you have such a beautiful heart, I firmly believe that you were made for a job like that. 🙂
    I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s and I wish nothing but happiness, good health, and success for you! 🙂 Good luck with your research project! I bet you’ll pass with flying colors! <3

    1. Hi, love!!!! Oh my gosh, Rossy!! Thank you, dear! It was a great faux Christmas 😉 I hope you had the BEST time with yours. I am dying to read and catch up on your posts… our project is due the 8th so I will definitely have more time soon! I wish the exact same to you, dear. You are the best. So thankful for your friendship here. <3

  9. Happy New Year!! I’m glad you were able to manage a special Christmas celebration on your day off. Best wishes for 2018. xx

  10. Ahhh a Mack post! (and I can finally comment because I have my laptop back woot!) Woot so happy you got to go to Dallas to see your family, and girl huge hugs. You are allowed to be a Grinch! (though I find it very hard to believe you actually were because you are the sweetest!)
    Also DJ just won all the brownie points in the world! So sweet that he stayed!
    And girl your food is killing me! (my fault I am reading and responding ON an empty stomach…Shame on me;p )
    You are absolutely amazing and incredible! Seriously! You are a rockstar and your patients are so incredibly lucky to have you! and what great coworkers you have! I am glad you are all supportive of one another that makes my heart happy!
    Oh my gosh you guys are the sweetest! Seriously! What a fun Christmas! I am glad the two of you got to have a celebration! AI love those sneakers! And your food! Hun if you ever don’t want to be a nurse, you have a calling culinary! Martha Stewart has NOTHING on you! <3
    Oh my gosh I just died at you getting patted down! I usually do, ironically it is always my hair because I usually have it either in a pouf or a bun, and I am like NOT my precious hair! Okay in my mind, because to them I usually just laugh and shrug anyways I am rambling, but it isn’t anything big, but when I flew back from Georgia I got almost strip searched. And I was wearing yoga clothes so it was like what could possibly have shown up in the x ray? I guess my yoga pants were a little to saggy or something. LOL.
    Girl if I did not think we couldn’t be more of friends you just proved me wrong. I LOVE thank you cards! (Speaking of which your christmas card is on its way…Like tomorrow. I promise! I am so bad! )
    I hope you had a blast in Dallas and beauty you are already incredibly beautifully vulnerable. Your writing always gets me on such a visceral level. Happy new Year beauty I hope 2018 is an amazing year for you! <3

    1. OK I just came off an INSANE shift, and I saw this message and lemme say it changed everything and LITERALLY MADE MY WHOLE DAY. Yay for having the laptop back! Oh my gosh, you were probably a lost pup without your writing pad. Oh my goodness… girlfriend, I hate to say it, but if you saw me hangry your whole opinion would change. Poor DJ witnesses it more than anyone. LOL. Great coworkers makes this world go round <3 I always say the HIGHEST compliment someone can pay me is telling me I’m a great cook. So thank you thank you, love. Next time you come I’d love to whip ya something up!

      BAHAHHA that is so funny about your hair. It’s just so dang platinum.. of course that thing is going off 😉 I was gonna make a joke about how your hair is the bomb.. but that didn’t seem appropriate.

      Thank you for your sweet, sweet words, love! I am turning in my research project NEXT WEEK, and then you better believe I’m going to spam your wordpress inbox. Sending big big hugs. Hope you are staying warm in that tundra!

      1. Awe this just made MY day! You are the best! (And okay I know I said I would send you card but I swear I will do it today…Like a happy mid January snail mail though it was written like a month ago…Anywho digressing lol.)
        I so was! It was torture. If you ever need to get information out of me, just steal my laptop, I will sing like a canary!
        And I still don’t believe it, because you are as sweet as can be! Huge hugs. I mean every word! I bet you are fantastic! Seriously your food always looks amazing. Food Network is missing out on yoU! Oh my gosh a Mac Culinary delight? Yes please!!!
        Bwahahaha I just spat out my coffee, at the hair comment. I mean they d use so much bleach on it, I am surprised it DOESN’T go off lol.
        Awe anytime sweets! Oh my lanta are you done yet? I be you kicked booty! Awe you are the sweetest! I will take Mack spamming any day! Sending you huge and so much love sweets!
        And I am! It is above freezing now! Downright balmy! ;p <3

      2. Aww! No worries at all.. girl, story of my life! If anyone understands, it is me hahhaha. <3 <3 And your hair is perfection, so a few security alarms- WORTH IT! <3 MUAH!! I hope you are staying super super warm!

      3. SO many hugs beauty! Bwahaha thank you sweets Haha right? Okay slightly naughty joke, but when I was flying back from SF I had my hair in a bun, and Sarah was with me. And I commented how they always search my hair, and she goes without even thinking well your buns are pretty awesome. We both pretty much keeled over in the security line laughing and how they let us through I have no idea lol.
        Thanks beauty! Trying to I miss cali weather! <3

      4. LOLLL! Okayyy I love you two. And that humor is so up my ally, you know this has me laughing too! *insert laughing emoji* *I can’t because I’m on my laptop* *How would we survive without our laptops?!*

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