Dear December, we can only laugh

Dec 15

Dear December, we can only laugh

Evidence it is December:

Greta’s teacher called me last week right when Greta got to school.  “Jen,” she said, “Everything is fine, but I just want to you to know that Greta showed up with two lunches (packed in two separate lunch boxes) today.”

I laughed because what else can you do?

I had just spent the twenty minutes between when Greta gets on the bus and when Maren gets on the bus running around looking for Maren’s lunch box and muttering like a crazy lady, “I know I packed it.  Where is it?”, said, “Ah HA!  I am losing my ever-loving mind.  Thank you for telling me where it is, and I sent Maren to school with a different lunch.  I was sure I was going to find it in the dryer or something.”

God bless our teachers who take care of our kids and their mamas.

I went to wash my face at the end of a long day and looked in the mirror to find that I had only put mascara on one eye.  (My eyelashes and eyebrow hair color can best be described as ‘clear’, so it is a stark difference to have one eye made up and the other not.) Ooops.  That was an interesting look for a Tuesday..

I went in to school last week and had lunch with Maren and her friend, we’ll call her Peppy.  Peppy joined us after she went through the lunch line, and the three of us sat down at a table.  Peppy was eyeing her calzone with a funny look, so I asked, “What’s with the look on your face; I can’t read what you are thinking right now, but it looks amusing?!”

Peppy, “Well, my mom announced this morning that she’s not making lunches or doing laundry anymore.”  Peppy is eleven, and she says this with a deferential tone and shrug wherein I could infer that this was a long time coming.

I pretty much burst out laughing, knowing daughter and mother as I do.   “Did you get a warning or a heads up or anything, or did this just happen?”

“Nope, no warning,” she laughed and shook her head, “But I don’t think any of us are surprised she did it.”

Boom.  I kind of wanted to applaud my friend for her line in the sand and the immediate consequence of Peppy’s reaction to her calzone.  All of a sudden, Mama’s packed lunches looked pretty amazing.

One of my dear family members gave me a heads up that she’s shipping a giant Christmas present to my house so she doesn’t have to travel with it from out of state.  Easy for both of us.

This morning she texted to let me know it had just arrived at her door because she forgot to change the shipping address.

I mean, she can probably strap it to the roof, right?

We have a piano recital this week, which is a big deal and one of our favorite bi-annual events.  Our awesome teacher rescheduled a lesson on Thursday, asking us to have Maren come on Sunday.  “Sure, no problem,” I said as I added it to the calendar.  Sunday came and went, and I picked up my phone (also it has my calendar) at the end of the night after intentionally not having it by my side during family time, and realized I had forgotten to send Maren for her Sunday lesson.  We were all home, no distractions, no excuses.  Just plumb forgot.  Argh.

Maren needed five ounces of clear glue by Thursday.  Instead of Amazon Prime-ing it on Monday, I went to about five stores on Tuesday and Wednesday to track it down.  Lesson learned.

In cleaning out the storage closet and pulling out Christmas, I found some secret stashes of presents (stocking stuffer type things) that I don’t recall buying.  Maybe our elf really is working some Christmas magic around here.  And I am clearly a goddess of organization.  Ha, not!

Maren, by the way, is like the Best Elf Mover Ever.  Greta is totally, one-hundred percent buying it, and it is fantastic.  I get daily stories from G, “Her eyes moved!”  “She was facing the other way!”  “Her hands were unclasped!”  (And yes, Greta used the word unclasped.  Huh.)

A friend drove across town to bring my family a meal.  Cooking for other families in December?  That’s love and a level of selflessness that is legit.  I need to take notes on how those mamas are doing all the things.

One friend cleaned my house for me on Monday (I leave her a list with three things on it, and she did like seventeen things.)  I am telling you: switch houses with your BFF and clean for an hour.  Then have coffee for an hour.  It will be the best two hours of your week.

A lot of my more ambitious counterparts are baking this month: cookies, fudge, cake pops, gingerbread houses.  I, on the other hand, added sprinkles to peanut butter bread and have convinced my children that this a special December treat.  I’m kind of proud of this one, actually.

Greta came home from school with news that as of yesterday (December 14), there has been a huge rash of elf injuries in our community.  Several of her friend’s elves, and even some of the teacher’s elves broke their legs and can’t move.  Several have the flu and need to rest and stay asleep.  Greta exclaimed how lucky our elf is that she’s not injured.  She doesn’t know how right she is!

One family I know has an elf with a broken leg, but the middle daughter — who is all in on the magic — ran to her room and gave the elf her doll crutches.  So now — ha ha — that little elf is not out of commission after all!  Crafty kid!

I went to Maren’s school today for the Spelling Bee and saw the Lost and Found line up.  I had to take a picture for proof of the seventy-five linear feet of lost items.  I’m not kidding.  The gym is on the other side of that wall and the lost items run the whole length of the wall.  There seems to be enough sweatshirts there that everyone in the school could just pick one and take it home.  Wowza.

The mailbox is full of good cheer in December.  It’s always a nice moment in my day to open mail from my people and receive smiles and a laugh.


Happy Thought Bubbles is my sister’s business: she is a glassblower and her studio is her happy space, so she blows happy thoughts into each one of her hand blown glass ornaments.  I have a large collection at my house, so if you are on the hunt for holiday treasures that are personal and meaningful, please reach out.  Her website is if you are out-of-town, and she ships, takes commissions, and would love to ‘meet’ you.  (She’s sold out of a lot of her listed inventory on the website, but she has a lot of freshly made glass that is ready-to-ship, so just send her an email with what you are looking for.  Check out #happythoughtbubbles or follow her @happyfancythoughts on Instagram.) It’s both her livelihood and a project of love for me, as she was inspired to do something to put some good in the world after I was diagnosed with cancer.  Last week I gave one to each of my nurses and it was fun to see the different personalities emerge as they each picked out their own Happy Thought Bubble.

That’s winning December to me.  Receive what comes with grace and put goodness back into the world.  Amen.




  1. You are amazing and your sense of humor is priceless!!! I could “listen to you” for hours…lol. God bless you and your family ~ have a Merry Christmas!!

  2. Newbie Friend /


  3. Merry Christmas to you all!!

  4. Roslyn Mathie /

    And laugh I did. Thanks for that.

  5. Jen,
    What a beautiful update. Praying for you and your fam often.

  6. Aunt annie /

    Keep on sharing the laughter!

  7. Marlayne Skeens /

    Smiling BIG Time ? I’ve had a few December Moments also ? Love Your Postings ? Merry Christmas ?✝️?

  8. You want another sprinkle treat that you could order from Amazon?

    Dutch sprinkles!

    I love Forest Fruit and the Wild Fruit but cringe at what it costs to buy them online vs actually in the Netherlands, but alas I am here and not there so it’s the only way to go.

    We do them on toast w/ just butter (put them on after toasting the bread) b/c they melt a bit and sort of turn into jelly but the princess loving girls of my best friend that I brought some home to do them on peanut butter and use it as jelly as well (no PB allowed in this house so I can’t vouch for that)

    The chocolate ones are great too. I buy them at Cost Plus World Market sometimes but you can buy 3 packs on Amazon for pretty similar price (for whatever reason the fruit ones are way more on there)

    I do those on French bread or sourdough w/ a bit of butter and LOVE them.

    Might be a fun stocking treat for the girls? (they have milk chocolate also – actually white now too I think) (forest fruit)

    Sample box w/ 8 smaller ones

  9. I thought it was just me! This morning I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out why a headlamp hadn’t shipped with the rest of my sibling’s gifts–was it back ordered? Did I leave it in the Amazon cart? Finally I added up the total cost of the gifts that had arrived (we have a $50 limit in our family gift exchange). Sure enough, the total price tag was $49.74–I’d forgotten that I decided to buy the cd and extra book instead of the headlamp. Glad to know I’m not the only one going crazy this December!

  10. Jen Powers /

    You summed up every mama’s December perfectly. To a tee. Love this. too funny!

    • Lindsay /

      Just read this post and I’m cracking up! Spot on, like Jen said!

  11. Peanut butter with sprinkles… now why didn’t I ever think of that? (Relieved mama who raised littles before Elf on the Shelf)

  12. PS: Thank you for the Happy Thought Bubbles link!

  13. I’m going to try your sprinkles trick this morning! Could be a new family tradition! Thanks for the morning smiles!

  14. Julie Hines /

    Prayers for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

  15. I love looking at life through your eyes! Thanks for sharing such fun moments with us : )