Every year on Christmas Eve we go to a 4:00 PM service at our church in South Minneapolis. What I will remember about this year will of course be managing those wily boys of mine for over an hour. Oooof. Goodness. I keep saying I need to start working out again, but at times like these I think I more than likely get enough of a workout just in daily life, being MOM.
Anyway, normally we bring Gus to the nursery after the “Children’s Message”, which is sort of a little sermon for the kids during which the little ones all run up to the front of the sanctuary and sit on the step in a group listening to Pastor Mark break something down for them. It’s ADORABLE. Well, so since it was Christmas Eve and I wasn't even sure if there was a teenager on staff down in the nursery, we kept Gus for the rest of the service, which meant we definitely had our hands full with both him and Louie.
I find it totally hilarious when Gus tries to remember to whisper, but then all of a sudden forgets and yells out something like, “Oh! Those mommies are singing songs!” when the choir begins to sing.
Of course, at some point he announced (rather loudly) that he had to go pee, so I walked him to the restroom. On our way back upstairs, he all of a sudden stopped in his tracks and chirped, “Huh! Oh! I hear sleigh bells! I hear reindeer! It’s Santa, he’s up on the roof, let’s go see him!”
I told him that was probably just everyone else upstairs singing songs, but he wasn't convinced, so I promised that after church was over we would go outside and look up on the roof and see if we could see something.
But I couldn't help but giggle. Ha! Of course, we’re in church, and Gus is talking about Santa. Figures.
I’ll also remember this Christmas Eve as the year that we were able to keep Louie happy (enough) until 10 PM when we finally left his great grandma’s house, a good 3 hours past his bedtime. That feat involved a little 20 minute foray of playing in the basement bathroom, which is… yeah, so random. He LOOOOOOVED it, immediately went from cranky and closing in on meltdown to gleeful squealing when we took off his little sweater outfit and moccasins and let him roam around on the cold white tile. As he was standing up to look into the big tub and clapping his hands and laughing hysterically, I was tempted to give him a bath. He would have been in heaven in there. It’s just amazing how a little change in scenery does such wonders at this age.
He wanted in there soooo bad. Baths are Louie's favorite these days, turning the faucet on insights a stampede into the bathroom at home.
Two trouble-making three year-olds in the bathtub.
Being in grandma's bathroom makes ALL the children happy!
Later that evening at home Dan and I were definitely exhausted and dragging our asses at 11:30 after finally getting the kids to bed. We somewhat begrudgingly shuffled around the living and dining room as we got the Santa presents all set up and the stockings stuffed. Dan took one for the team and took a couple big bites out of the unwashed, unpeeled, dirty carrot Gus and I had left out for Santa’s reindeer, and after a night full of overindulgence he choked down a few bites of Santa’s cookies. AND THEN he took a big swig from the glass of soy milk that had been sitting out for over an hour and I gagged a little as it was happening. I had suggested we just pour a little out in the sink but he felt the need to suck it up for some reason. All in the name of authenticity? Who knows.
Before the nibbling of dirty vegetables and drinking of warm gross milk.
Impressively, in our exhaustion we also realized that night that we had better do something with the elf so Dan skirted him away in his dresser drawer and we both specifically noted that we NEED TO NOT FORGET ABOUT THAT DAMN ELF when we take down the Christmas tree next weekend and make sure to pack him away in the attic with the rest of the Christmas stuff.
Of course days after de-Christmasing the house, Dan came to me and whispered that THAT DAMN ELF was still in his dresser.
Oh, and I've gone on and on about Christmas Eve, but I forgot about one of the first things we did that day… bring Gus to the Minute Clinic. Ugh. Oh and it was just the beginning of the wretchedness that would overtake our household for the majority of the week
We are so hesitant to take the kids to the doctor for things like little colds, it has to get pretty bad for me to make that leap because every time we go it seems to be either absolutely nothing (an expensive nothing where I get to listen to sound medical advice that revolves around administering Tylenol or putting a humidifier in the room or rubbing Vicks on the child’s chest… thank you for that Doctor!), or we end up making things worse on ourselves by getting some antibiotic that causes a reaction or later contributes to thrush. It’s just… well, I’m not a fan.
But by Christmas Eve morning he had pretty much lost his voice, and his breathing had started to sound labored, which really freaked us out. It was starting to seem so much worse than a simple virus, and the next day was Christmas so we didn't want to back ourselves into a corner.
So this nurse practitioner at the CVS Minute Clinic prescribed an antibiotic and diagnosed Gus with a sinus infection, something I've since learned children under 5 don’t get because their sinus cavities aren't really even developed yet. Nice. THAT is what we get for going to a Minute Clinic. (By the way, and this is ironic, Dan and Gus spent TWO HOURS waiting to see that misinformed nurse practitioner. MINUTE clinic, huh?! ARGH!)
Shit sort of hit the fan as far as the boys and their virus on Christmas day (did I mention Louie had it too), but we didn't really realize it was as bad as it was until Gus was crying for me to hold him all evening at my parents’ house, complaining of aches and pains in his back. Louie didn't seem to be suffering from much other than being overtired and a pretty drippy nose, but he was also losing it come evening, to the point of hysterics if I wasn't within eye-sight.
We got through a horrible dinner during which I snapped at my mom, who was the only person trying to help us yet I can’t seem to help myself from being a complete pill to her when I’m stressed out. All I wanted was to go home, but I knew my mom didn't want us to leave, it’s Christmas and it’s her family and we wanted to be there IN THEORY, but for real. NO. I just wanted to go home and put my sad sick children to bed and sit down for the first time in three hours.
So we attempted to soldier on, in the name of Christmas. Plan B. Dan shoved food down his throat and I tried to keep the children happy while he ran home to get some children’s Tylenol. When he got back we got medicine in Gus and turned on a movie in my parents’ room so he could snuggle and be comfortable away from the noise of the rest of the party. Then I got Louie down for the night (or so I thought) in the next room and finally went downstairs to try to talk with people and enjoy Christmas with my extended family a little.
And then not twenty minutes later I hear Louie start having a coughing fit, and then it sounds like he’s gagging and then I run up there and check for puke in the crib, pick him up and try to soothe him, and he starts gagging again as he’s coughing and ends up puking all over me.
Poor baby. I pat his back, try to sooth him, and he just keeps coughing it up, more and more phlegm-y vomit. When it was all over, the poor boy is just spent, lying on my chest whimpering, and we’re both covered in puke.
I looked at Dan and almost started crying.
“Let’s go home.”
So that was Christmas day. Not great, but memorable.
I won’t leave things here, cause that is just a major buzz kill. Instead… a bajillion iPhone photos!
This baby is obsessed with that keyboard in his brothers room. Pounds on it like a maniac while dancing and bopping. It's hilarious..
The holidays wear him out.
Brunch at my parents with my brothers and their families on the Saturday before Christmas. We got to spend a whole day together again, loving this tradition.
We are growing. Added Eric this year, and next year will be Ben and Michelle's little one (due in March!). I think my parents even have stockings for the grand-dogs, which is somewhat ridiculous.
My mom was border-line out-of-control this year with the presents.
Gus spilled orange juice all over himself during brunch. Thus... the back-up pants from the diaper bag come out.
Pretty sure these two made out better than anyone, my mom was intent on buying them every kitchen appliance and utensil she could find at Costco for a good deal.
These two little rubber balls from his and Gus's stockings were definitely Louie's FAVORITE gifts this year.
The only pictures of me are always selfies. That hair is getting cut and colored TOMORROW! It's about damn time. It's been.... well since I was on maternity leave with Louie. Those roots and ends are not pretty.
My mom found this dollhouse and a huge box of furniture and accessories on Craigslist for $65. AMAZING deal. So far Gus only plays with it if I play with him, he's just so all about cars and trucks and things that move. But we're working on it. I love it at least! ;)
Louie was obsessed with the Christmas tree, he spent so much time sitting at it, or standing even, taking ornaments off, trying to put them back on, batting at it like a cat. It was very cute, and thankfully he never attempted anything too crazy, mostly just tinkered and looked at it in awe.
We opened presents as a little family together on Christmas Eve morning, when we realized we had no idea when we were going to do that. We need to come up with a plan and call it tradition and stick to it. We forget a little bit about fitting in our own family time amidst all the craziness of the holiday.
A shot of the skyline on Christmas Eve, on the way home from church.
I loved Louie's little elfin outfit on Christmas Eve.
Nom! He ate his weight in great grandma's scalloped corn. Something other than Cheerios or waffles! A Christmas MIRACLE!
They are cute. And I took about 20 pictures of them trying to get at least ONE in which they were both standing still and looking somewhat in my direction. It probably says a lot that this was the best one. Ugh.
Louie with his younger cousin Matthew. 20 seconds later Louie swiped at Matthews face and made him cry. :(
Dan's grandma has an amazing playroom in her basement.
Abby's Christmas dress is the bomb. A poofy full skirt is the makings of a good Christmas dress.
Pianos are his favorite.
The Christmas jammies come out.
I love my new iPhone so much, my old EVO would have never gotten such a beautiful shot of this girl.
All 7 grandchildren (or great-grandchildren).
Attempting a matching jammies picture in front of the tree on Christmas Eve at 10:30 PM was not the smartest idea I've ever had.
Gus and I miserable (him sick, me exhausted from taking care of sick children) on Christmas at my parents' house.
We had Christmas with just Dan's immediate family at his parents' house the Saturday AFTER Christmas, and these two crazy fools were at it again. There are very few photos because by this time Dan and I had both caught the boys colds, so I was walking around like a zombie all night. My 12 year old sister-in-law came over and thanked me for the gift and I couldn't even hide the fact that I had NO IDEA what I gave her. I was a mess, though thankfully we were both mostly through it in time for Louie's birthday on Monday. And that will hopefully be in another post...
Kids being kids, hyping out over new toys.
And these ones aren't really from Christmas, but the last few weeks all sort of jumble together in my mushy brain now. So much time at home, so much time in pajamas, so much time laying on the floor in sick agony as these boys jumped on the furniture and acted like caged wild beasts.
I can appreciate it all in hindsight, and isn't that why we take pictures?