Christmas Travels | The TENTH Day of Blogmas!

On the tenth day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me... a Christmas travel story Christmas Travels | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Some years we stay at home for Christmas and some years we travel to my grandparents' in West Virginia. Traveling at a time of year where snow is always possible and crowded highways inevitable always brings adventures. We've had our fair share of traffic jams and snowy slow-downs.

But it was Christmas of 2011 when my family found ourselves in a hotel room come Christmas morning. Hotel stays typically happened well in advance of the holiday. We would be dreaming of sugar plums in a white farmhouse while Santa comes to visit instead of resting in rough hotel sheets without a fireplace in sight.

My high school football team had made it big that year--we went to the state finals! An event that hadn't happened in years, so no one would miss the game , including my freshman sister and senior me. The game that just so happened to fall on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a Thanksgiving we were supposed to spend in West Virginia with my mom's side of the family.

So we stayed in town for Thanksgiving; not a problem since we could celebrate with my dad's family. But it did mean we had to stay for Christmas Eve in Indy and somehow make it to West Virginia for Christmas Day.

My parents are smart when it comes to travel plans. Thanks to my dad's willingness to drive in the middle of the night and my mom's ability to keep him awake, the plan was concocted to celebrate Christmas Eve with Dad's side, leave straight from the party, and then head straight for West Virginia, driving until we were only about three hours away from the farm.

So with Christmas (seafood) chowder warming our bellies and Eloise at Christmastime playing on the portable DVD player positioned between my sister and I, we headed east on the night of Christmas Eve.

That's how I ended up in a double bed in a hotel by the highway with my sister early Christmas morning. Our stockings, at my insistence, hung from the TV cabinet at the end of the bed. I hurried my sister out of bed and the two of us dumped out the cross-stitched, faux socks to see what Santa brought us.

As we sorted through the nail polish, candy, toothbrushes, and Chapstick, my parents worked on packing up the room behind us. We ate a breakfast of cinnamon and pecan rolls carried all the way from Indiana and dressed in our Christmas clothes before straightening up the room. Our Christmas goodies were shoved into plastic bags, the stockings carefully packed away, and anything unpacked overnight tossed back into black and purple suitcases before we rushed back into the car to take on those last three hours to the farm.


On the tenth day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

A Christmas travel story, six final to-readsdecked halls a-twinkling, a Christmas tag of sorts, two Christmas book reads, FIVEEEE FESTIVE MOVIES! Memories filled with snow, one blog tag, the best study tipsand 10 Christmas songs to sing!

What I Read: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

4/5 pineapples

Popular cover

First off: Maya Van Wagenen, I love you. You did what I always wanted to do (write a well-known book as a teenager) and you did it with style. You are who I wish I was in eighth grade. You are who I wish I had in eighth grade. And I'm so glad you wrote this book so that the millions of eighth grades like you and me out there have the reassurance that there are others like us out there. And it will be okay.

Gushy feelings aside, Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, is sweet book about the realities of American middle schools and just what it really takes to be popular. It's a super fast read (took me about 4 hours) and one that will remind you of those horrid middle school years, but then turn everything around to make you smile.

Van Wagenen's voice is refreshing in a world dominated by adult writers and I just love her guts, however I did find the writing style a little simple and the beginning a little slow. She is fifteen, and she writes like a very naturally talented fifteen-year-old; lacking the polish and detail "practiced" writers have. This didn't bother me a ton, but did tug at me throughout the book. (Bare in mind, I'm reading this a week after pouring over college reading-level books, so it just jolted me into a new genre). I found myself in despair by the series of events and results she recorded, rooting for her constantly but finding myself forever frustrated by the end results at several months.

It wasn't until the final chapters that I just got it, as I think most readers of this book do. Popularity is something Van Wagenen attempts to define, and she does a beautiful job. The last sections add everything up, and all of her trials and errors before just make sense. Van Wagenen made me want to be a better version of myself, and I think that's one of the most powerful things a book can do.

Have you read Popular? What did you think? I really enjoy memoirs, so please suggest any you like!