Instead of sticking around for the rest of church, though, we made a last-minute jaunt up to Denver to visit Joe's grandma, Eva Jacobs. Months ago I ordered a photographic ABC book, each letter represented by a photo of our kids or our family, and months ago we had intended to deliver it to her; unfortunately, months slipped by while we failed to visit and so the Sunday before Christmas we decided we HAD TO make it up there. So we did! Brought the book (she loved it), had delicious homemade chicken noodle soup (her absolute specialty) and fried potatoes (her second specialty), and she made the kids delicious goody bags filled with candy and clementines (maybe I lied, goody bags are her specialty!). We usually stay the night but wanted to get back home to press forward on some major kitchen renovations, so we stayed until 7:30 and headed home.
(Side note: The kids were really wonderful on the trip! 3 of them napped on the way up, and they all fell asleep on the way home. I know, it's only a two hour drive, ANY kid should be able to handle that, but I really hate traveling with kids! Probably for 2 primary reasons: we do not travel at night, so they typically do not sleep, and we do not have a DVD player in the car, so they are not distracted while they are not sleeping. It contrasts so starkly with driving up to Denver after Thanksgiving break to drop off Karl at the airport. Joe and I left the kids home sleeping and watched by Kari, so it was just the two of us on the way home, talking and drinking soda, and the time flew! Nobody whined or needed to pee or was bugging their sibling... so compare that to driving with kids? I hate driving with kids.)
But I digress. We got home at 9:30, tucked all our sleepyheads in bed, and went to sleep, but woke up at 2:30 in the morning to Ethan throwing up. SO GLAD we didn't spend the night! The next day Joe felt under the weather (thankfully did not have work that day), and that night Eli threw up. The next morning Joe was still feeling iffy but went to work, and I felt sliiiiightly under the weather so I rushed to make sure everything was set for Christmas and I bought lots of Ginger Ale and saltine crackers for my sick-os. On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I was SO glad I'd bought those sick supplied because I felt really wretched! Joe had gone to work sick, yet again; in spite of my insistence that nobody wants a pale-green co-worker, he insisted that he was in charge of some building alarm systems for the Christmas shut-down. It's the only day of the entire year that the Target Distribution Center is shut down, so it's a big deal, and it was HIS big deal, so no sick days allowed... or something. Anyway, we finally woke up this morning on Christmas feeling DECENT. Not all the way better, but pretty fine, which was a huge improvement! Eli and Ethan seem all recovered as well, and Patrick and Caroline didn't get sick, so our Christmas miracle was everyone feeling DECENT. It's the small miracles that mean the most!
Our other small miracle was the silver lining that being sick gave to us: being forced to stay home and relax. As I mentioned, we're in the throws of another kitchen update so I had plans to run to Lowe's for paint samples and tile, we needed to drop old cabinets by the Re-Store, I was going to get out my steam cleaner and attack that floor again...
Joe moved the door! used to be to the right of the stove, now it to the left of the fridge. The old location will be covered with new cabinets and countertop to nearly double our kitchen space. SOOOO exciting!
Also, last year I noticed that out Christmas stockings, while cute, are very narrow and their knitted design leaves a lot of thread draped through the innards, so it's very nearly impossible to stick anything in the stockings! So I had big plans to run to Hobby Lobby for some felt, make up cute stocking I saw on Pinterest, stay up late working on those and probably be too tired for the kids in the morning... Also, we wanted to make treats for the neighbors, so I had lots of baking I wanted to do, but didn't want to include kids because there is a 100% chance that they will sneeze into the batter... ALSO I needed pictures printed at a 1-hour kiosk so I could send out holiday cards to all those we love and miss... Basically, I had a lot of things "to do" and not so many things built around the kids. ENTER THE STOMACH FLU. When that hit, I knew we weren't going anywhere. Crafts were put on hold, cards were given up for dead, baking was a no-go (even if done by myself, it's from a sick household), and we were staying put (except for my run for Ginger Ale and crackers). The only way to make staying put tolerable is to make it fun, so each day chopped firewood (the kids loved that) and built a fire,
we read books, I played kid board games, we popped popcorn and watched Christmas movies (and I watched with them! I never do that!), we played toys and play-doh and we colored and built forts... and it was AWESOME. Being forced to slow down threatened to make me resentful of the adult things I was missing, and even more-so GUILTY about the things I thought I should be doing, but it really made me appreciate the childish things I WOULD have missed if we had been well. I am not saying I'm GLAD we were sick over Christmas break, but it always has a way of putting your real blessings, of health and family, into perspective. Nobody will remember that they didn't get a hand-mailed Christmas card from us (though they may remember the poem...), but I think my kids will remember warm and cozy times from this Christmas, even if it involved some being sick.
Now, this is my Official Christmas Post, so I took some Official Christmas Pictures on my camera, but our SD card reader walked off the computer desk (Eeeee-thaaaaan....) so you only get the few from our iPad today.
Caroline painting ponies from an art kit from the Gus grandparents. She was so focused!
Ethan enjoying new jammies. His favorite show is Bubble Guppies, so we bought him a BG bus, right behind him.
The boys showing some more Gus grandparent gifts - books! Books galore! The gift of reading lasts a lifetime, thanks to all who gave us books at any point this year! We love our miniature library.
Whenever I find that SD card reader I'll post the few other photos I took...