A Christmas Blog: A Year in the Life Of the Underwood Family

I used to write the Rodriguez family Christmas letter and thought I’d do the same for the Underwoods, but updated for the digital age, of course. It’s been a crazy year – sometimes awesome, sometimes terrible, but always an adventure. And so, in lieu of a Christmas letter, I present to you: A Christmas blog and our year in a nutshell.

January: Casey and I took a spontaneous trip to Colorado knowing the next few months would be wretched since he’d just been diagnosed with lung cancer. When we got home, we spent most of the month waiting – in doctor’s offices, for scans, for results, for good news. When we finally had enough of waiting, we left the hospital that diagnosed him and went directly to the best: MD Anderson. Zoey started crawling and got her first serious viral illness: Hand Foot Mouth.

February: Cancer, chemo, radiation. Casey felt well enough to take me on a Valentine’s date to the drive-in theater and we made everyone jealous as we ate our popcorn and watched the movie cuddled up on the giant beanbag in the bed of the truck. Zoey started standing and saying “yay” – probably to applaud the fact that she was standing.

March: Cancer, chemo, radiation. I turned 28 and Casey baked me a cake. From scratch. I also got my groove back started writing regularly for a website called Curisome. Zoey found her reflection in the mirror and fell in love. #narcissus

April: Cancer, chemo, radiation. Casey turned 28 and kept kicking cancer’s ass. We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with the worst father-in-law on the planet who drank all of my champagne (because he’s a jerk) and a lovely friend who drank none (because she was pregnant). Scary Mommy paid me for a piece I wrote and I officially became a published author. Zoey started climbing and thus began her reign of terror.

May: Chemo and radiation treatments completed. I celebrated my first Mother’s Day with Casey, Zoey, and my mother-in-law by drinking mimosas and conducting business as usual because apparently, Mother’s Day doesn’t mean you get a day off from being mom. Weird. Zoey started walking and discovered that everything belonged to her.

June: School ended for the summer and we decided to do a “quick” kitchen cabinet remodel. It took too long so we left it unfinished and began our road trip to Indiana. Zoey turned one, smashed cake all over the place, and conquered the Yanks. #onederful

July: We made it home just in time for Casey to wind up in the hospital with Pneumonia. We threw Zoey a birthday party at home and had a bounce house and a superhero themed cake. She ignored one and smashed the other.

August: Casey bought a golf cart. We made a spontaneous road trip to Austin to meet up with Aunt Mels where Zoey slept through watched her first musical. Casey went back to work. Madi got a job with me and we went to work too. Zoey stayed with a friend and baked cakes all day.

September: Zoey started throwing tantrums. So, September was obviously super eventful.

October: Zoey started school and learned a million things in three days, like how to sign “more” and “all done.” We went to our first Come and Take It festival and Casey got another lesson on how amazing Texas is. Casey’s parents came to visit. We got great news about cancer – none in his lung! Then, we got terrible news about cancer – brain tumor. We celebrated Halloween by dressing up as characters from Monsters, Inc. and handing out candy to strangers kids. Zoey learned to play guitar and drank a few sips of her first cherry limeade.

November: Casey had radiation on his brain. He also started knitting. I’m not saying the two are connected but I’m not saying they aren’t. He had two biopsies but it felt like a thousand and we waited on news again. We celebrated Thanksgiving and tried to be thankful because we have the best friends and family. And each other. We discovered Zoey is a genius who likes to read articles about Quantum Physics.

December: The biopsy results came back positive for cancer in Casey’s lungs so he started chemo again. My bestie visited. Casey’s cousin visited. We all decorated and prepped for Christmas. Zoey had her first Christmas program where she did not sing Jingle Bell Rock or shake her jingle bell. She was probably boycotting because she wasn’t on the left and she’s always on the left. #meangirls

Next week Casey will (hopefully) be feeling much better. We’ll spend Christmas with both sides of our families when the Underwoods come for Pigmas at the Rodriguez’s’. And Zoey will impress everyone with her vast vocabulary and spot-on animal sounds.


So many people have visited and helped us this year but if I’d added everyone in and included all of the things they did, I’d have written a blog so long no one would want to read it. So, thank you, all of you, for everything you did to make our year brighter, easier, and better. We love you all.

Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and all the other holiday greetings you wish to hear!

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