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All Fired Up for Christmas


Some of the best Christmas traditions are the ones that just happen by accident.

Painting ornaments is probably one of our most favorite things to do for the holidays and it began many years ago by accident. I’ve posted the details several times here over the years so these are the $.97 ornaments that started it all.

IMG_9129We were newlyweds, and struggling financially after the 9/11 twin towers attack just 9 days after our wedding. Stephen was working at the airport and had invested heavily in a plane so he could finish his flight training. The plan was a good one. He had part ownership with 2 other partners and after they finished their training hours, flipping a plane was supposed to be easy. Until 9/11/01.


After that attack, the airline industry suffered greatly and he lost everything. He found work opening a Lenny’s Sub Shop 70 miles away. We barely saw each other for the first year of our marriage. But that was okay. We had dated several years and neither one of us were afraid of hard work and sticking to a lifetime commitment to each other. We had 2 sets of parents that were ready to help support us if we needed it. However, we are both stubborn and we set out determined to make it work.

With a hand-me-down 3ft. Christmas tree, there was little money for “first year” ornaments. I saw these in Walmart and bought them. We painted these in our tiny apartment, not knowing what 2002 would bring.

Fast forward a few years and here we are in Tuscaloosa.


We both found jobs that paid much more than what we could find in Memphis. Our heads were spinning at how fast life changed, for the better. We quickly found a beautiful little starter home in a new construction subdivision and looked forward to a first Christmas in a new home.

And we still painted wooden ornaments from Walmart.

IMG_9124Then, a local pottery place, All Fired Up, opened in Tuscaloosa.  In 2009, we tried our luck at painting some pottery ornaments.

Each year, we pick a night for painting and date night. It is one tradition that neither one of us want to skip.

IMG_9126Some years, we chose to commemorate a special event. This one is for our very first Iron Bowl tickets. We painted these early in November before the game. It was great way to remember a game that we won Smile 

The 2016 RV one is for the year we lived in the camper while he built our house. The 2017 I painted a few days after we moved in. It might be one of my favorite ones.

He likes the ones that are already designed and just need painting. This one is his best!


This year, we noticed time getting away from us. Here it is, early December and we have a huge party to host at our house this week and a very busy work schedule for both of us. Tonight, we needed to do this.


With almost 10 years of All Fired Up, our tradition has become less about the ornament and more about the time together. This is a very hectic time for me. Teaching Kindergarten during the holiday season is both exciting and exhausting. For him, he’s working outside in the weather, covering overtime for sick co-workers,  and then working on some house projects.

This year, we are planning for 40 people to come to our house in 2 days. That alone has us both in a state of urgency to get things done.

IMG_9100We need this time. It’s quiet. We are both concentrating and talking. We are catching up on each other and enjoying the peaceful couple of hours we spend at All Fired Up. It’s a way to reset ourselves and prevent that tunnel vision that can creep in a marriage during high stress times.


This year, we should get our completed ornaments back before December 25th. But even if we don’t, we’ve already had a fantastic night together. Thank you All Fired Up for taking such a big part in one of the best holiday traditions for us.