I say that to prepare myself because it's been a while.
Since last year, even.
I might be saying it to prepare you - I might've forgotten how to write. But I promise to fill in with pictures of our cutie kiddos, so hopefully that'll make up for it.
Except all pictures are taken on camera phones these days, so there's that to apologize for.
Now that we have our expectations in order, let me just record what we've been up to.
For Christmas, we got the flu. And my crock pot quit. It was a less than stellar Christmas, as far as those kinds of things go.
Joshua and I took to the bed feeling a bit under the weather on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we rolled out of bed for absolutely no other reason than our kids expected us to come and celebrate with them.
We watched the children dump their stockings which we had filled the night before with individual cereal boxes, cereal bars, granola bars, apples, Capri Sun (it was some holiday blend, I've wholly forgotten what it was called, but the kids LOVED getting Capri Sun in December!), a little bit of candy, and gummy fruit snacks. We call this First Breakfast (we've Hobbit blood in us). This tradition allows us to not fill the stockings with junky trinkets that'll end up spearing me in the feet as I walk through the house at night AND not stress about breakfast on Christmas morning. It's a win-win situation for everyone!
Plus, the kids think we're absolute rock stars for those individual sized boxes of cereal. The really super-duper unhealthy kinds that are loaded with food coloring and sugar and mercy only knows what else.
We generally keep Christmas as a pretty small affair where it concerns gifts for the kids. This year, however, felt huge! Thomas and Sarah Grace (and even Elizabeth) are outgrowing the board games we've loved for the last few years, so we added no less than eight new games to our home. Plus there were a couple of small gifts for each child.
Lemme tell you, I was thrilled to see my kids faces light up as they opened new Bibles or new clothes or new Legos or another board game, but I was really wishing I could just go back to bed.
Once the gifts were all opened and the trash added to the fire (I do remember the fire because I sat very close to it), we pulled the seven final gifts from under the tree. We had decided to play dirty Santa with bags of candy.
This will be tradition for years to come. Joshua and I were dragging badly, but we thoroughly enjoyed playing with the kids. There was much giggling and mock-squawking as items were taken from current 'owners'. Daniel got overly excited at the idea of stealing from his siblings and me and had us all cracked up!
We begged the kids to allow us to postpone our usual Christmas breakfast until New Year's ( they agreed on the condition that they could each have BOTH of the boxes of cereal that had been stuffed in their stockings. I readily agreed this was perfectly fair.) and then I tugged a sleepy Daniel back to bed with me. He and I slept for three hours. When he woke up, we came downstairs to have lunch with the rest of the family. That was when I discovered my crock pot had died (with the contents of our would-be dinner still sitting cold and uncooked inside it.)
After that, I don't remember much of anything for the next three days.
Here's what I can tell you. We used oils like they were going out of style. (If we were awake, that is.) We kept the diffuser downstairs running On Guard through it so the kids could breathe it in, dropped On Guard in all the humidifiers, and rubbed everyone's feet with On Guard and Oregano. The kids all took On Guard beadlets twice a day (I am SO thankful Daniel didn't insist on chewing them!).
Joshua and I kept a steady stream of decongestant oils on our chest and necks and across our sinus cavities. When my ear infection started, I used Basil on it two or three times a day until the pain subsided (about 2 days). We drank our water laced with Peppermint and Lemon. And we were miserable.
All the children, except for Sarah Grace, took some milder version of what Joshua and I had. I attribute that to the use of the oils BEFORE the sickness set in.
|Sick means using Mommy's MacBook as a personal movie viewing device.|
Another thing I remember about those wretched three days: My children were amazing. They probably watched 12 hours of television a day, but they took care of one another and even brought water to Joshua and I occasionally. They ate breakfast, made lunch, (I don't remember what happened for dinner on Christmas day, but the other days, we ordered delivery food for dinners for the kids) and were quiet and kept each other entertained. They played games and watched television and read books and watched television.
So when I wandered downstairs at some point on Friday and saw an open-faced peanut butter sandwich on the floor? Nope, didn't lose my mind at all. Told somebody to clean it up, trudged through to the kitchen where the sink was overflowing with dirty dishes but the trash had been taken out, found the oils I was after, dosed the kids, and went back to bed. I knew that the fallout was not going to be fun, but I was less concerned with the shape of my house and more amazed at how very capable my kids are.
|The mess after a mere day... I couldn't bring myself to photograph Day 3 carnage.|
I won't lie, it took a solid three days to recover the kitchen and living room from the virtual absence of parents for three days, but I can deal with that.
The last thing I remember is the kindness and generosity of our friends. A neighbor restocked our fruit and bread supply so that the kids could continue their self-sufficiency. A family from church showed up out of the blue and brought us a meal. Those were HUGE blessings to our family!
Apparently, we weren't the only ones to receive the flu for Christmas - we later found out that several of our friends struggled for two or three weeks with it.