Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home for the Holidays... then Home Again

My favorite Christmas gift this year? Having Doug home for the Holidays.

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Not just Christmas and New Year's...but everything in between. Doug took leave from the office December 23rd through January 7th. We had a wonderful time.

It was good to soak him up, every day, every minute - since I can feel Tax Season (boo... hiss...) lurking just around the corner. Before we know it, he'll be working evenings and Saturdays, the girls will be missing their Daddy and I'll be whistling a slightly different tune. Like It's a Hard Knock Life instead of Zippety-Doo-Dah.

So. We had this fabulous Daddy time, Doug returned to work for one week and then WHAMMO! The stomach flu struck!

Man. We'd been doing so well!

It hit our family hard. First Eliza. She vomited all Saturday night.

Sunday we kept everyone home quarantine style.

"No! You can't play with the boys right now! I know you want to give them kisses but not for a few days!"

"Yes, you can have another popsicle. Wait! Ali, Sami! Let's not share licks, okay?"

"But Mom - Look! We're sharing!" They hold their popsicles out for the other one to lick. Then before I can cease the affectionate germ-share, they plop their pops back into their own pie holes.

I'm too late.

Doug comes home from work early Monday afternoon (his stomach is a bit churny) and the puking begins. He and Ali start about the same time. Sami starts after midnight.

This is what the living room looked like around 2AM. I was Florence Nightingale incarnate - running from bed to bed, shoving bowls under chins, rushing girls to the tub to wash them off, loading the laundry again and again, and cleaning up all the nasty aftermath. We went through an entire canister of Clorox wipes and I have no idea how many times I rinsed out sheets or pajamas and jammed the washing machine full of fetid fabric.

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Mis-er-a-ble.

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Not so happy campers.

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Doug had it the worst. He was home for a couple days. Under less fortunate circumstances I must say. But home he was. I think he felt like that old country song, "I'm just a ghost in this house." Well, that's how I felt about him. He was here, but not really here. I exiled him to the basement bedroom so he wouldn't contaminate our bed sheets and I could still feed the boys in our bed. Am I mean? The girls were so sick he had to fend for himself. And even when he was feeling a little better he couldn't touch anything or anyone. Poor fella. (He probably got sick because he did all the clean-up for Eliza! I married a good man.)

Thankfully, the boys and I stayed healthy. Knock on wood.

Everyone is doing much better now. I've clorox-ed most of the house, finished all the contaminated laundry and I think we're past the pestilence.

So here's a look back at all our crazy Christmas joy.

Finally.

Rhetorical Question: Will I ever be a timely blogger? Or just a back-blogger with lots of back-logged ideas. Probably the latter. At least for now.

We began the Holidays with the annual Pine Tree Neighborhood Party. The temps were in the single digits that week so we layered everyone to the max, took the double stroller for fast travel and made our way to the big pine tree in the center of our neighborhood.

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Santa was there! He knew the girls' names AND what they wanted for Christmas! Eliza was pretty stoked about his North Pole intuition.

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I love the way Ali is watching Eliza with Santa.

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Candy Canes, Donuts and a few cups of Hot Chocolate later, we stopped for a quick warm by the bonfire then sprinted home. It was freezing! But we had a great time!

Mr. Peeps continued to surprise us with his sneaky nighttime escapades. One morning we found him in the pantry, resting on the apron nook (with a perfect, not-so-noticeable view into the kitchen). And look-ee-there! He built himself a ladder! Out of skewer sticks and tape! Wow. Now that is one resourceful Elf!

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We went to Eliza's preschool Christmas program. Her favorite number was "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

Here is Eliza with her cute preschool friends. Emma, Caroline and Sarah.

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Ali and Sami picked up most of Eliza's songs over the weeks. The family favorite, however (it wins out every year) remained Jingle Bells. But this year we had three different versions going.

Sami's was the correct version: "Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright."

Ali's was the non-alcoholic version: "Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits dry."

And Eliza's was the Dickens' Christmas Carol version: "Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits rise."

I'm worried I may have passed on my "hear and sing the wrong lyrics" curse to my daughters. Just ask my sisters. I'm notorious for singing the wrong words to hugely popular hits.

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Scot and Maurine stopped by for a visit (while in town) and brought the girls these beautiful Christmas dolls. Thank you Scot and Maurine! The girls were so sad when I boxed them up for next year.

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We had lots of good family time but it was always so crazy trying to take care of our five little ones I never thought to pull the camera out. I did snap this photo Christmas Eve Day of my Dad with Ali and Sami. They both climbed into his lap while we opened presents and were loving all his attention, even the silly teasing. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures while we were with Doug's family. I'll do better next year.

On Christmas Eve, Mr. Peeps was found perched on the top of our tree, waiting Santa's arrival. Christmas morning he was gone. Home to the North Pole courtesy of Santa's sleigh. But Santa left a note saying we could expect to see him next year. On time. The first day of December.

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Here are the girls Christmas Eve. In their new pajamas.

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And the tree in that quiet moment after Santa has come, all surprises are set in place, and a weary Mom and Dad are ready to hit the sack!

Christmas Morning was pure joy! We had a fabulous time.

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Santa brought the girls "money boxes" (you and I would call them a jewelry box). But according to my girls they were boxes into which you could put all sorts of treasures, including money.

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Santa tried to save a few pennies by staying up late making Ali and Sami's boxes (rather than calling Pottery Barn like he did for Eliza's). Unfortunately Sami threw hers a few days later and the top split. Ali has dropped hers an oodle of times but, surprisingly, it remains functional. This indifferent destruction made Santa wonder if all those overtime hours were worth it.

Probably. For smiles like these.

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Sock monkey jack-in-the-box for Spencer.

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Skwish toy for Gordon.

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And Doug and I gave each other the EXACT same pair of sunglasses. I couldn't figure out why he had this silly grin on his face while he opened his box (first). He was looking so amused. Then he began to laugh while I told him all the cool features. "It comes with four changeable lenses. Depending on the light. It has this cool air vent system for biking. They're super light weight. UV, UVB blah blah blah protection." Then he hands me a box that looks oddly similar. I open it.

"You got the same spiel I did." he says. So what did we do? We went to REI and returned them. Some date night we'll go back and pick out the ones we really want. Classic.

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Santa definitely came. He ate the cookies. His reindeer ate the carrots. And he left our stockings full.

He brought me this darling apron I'd been wanting. Doug got every book on his list. Eliza was excited about her Strawberry Shortcake Berry Cafe. Sami scored a purple bike horn that honks louder than a herd of geese! (She still laughs uncontrollably when honking it). And Ali got her blue dress, blue necklace and blue purse. This girl LOVES BLUE!! More about that later.

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The days following Christmas we took the girls to see Princess and the Frog. Excellent. We all loved it. Great for any age! We thought it was the Best Disney in a long time.

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Doug and I saw The Blind Side. I always love Sandra Bullock but this time 'round, she was phenomenal. Based on an extraordinary true story, this is a must see.

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One day we took the girls sledding and they surprised us with their go-get-em, take-on-the-mega-hill attitude. Every one of them went down the BIG steep hill ALONE! We had some major wipe-outs and some good laughs!

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Then we finished the week by taking the girls out for lunch at Ruth's Diner (a favorite place up Emigration Canyon). Those huge moist biscuits with raspberry jam are heaven.

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Mostly we just enjoyed time together at home.

I'm still waiting for that after-Christmas lull. But it's nearly the end of January and I have a feeling it passed me by. That's life right now. Wild. Busy. Precious.

Hope everyone in your living room is healthy.

Goodbye to a remarkable 2009. Here we go 2010!

5 comments:

  1. Cath- I'm so happy the flu is over at your house. It is right?

    I loved this post, with all the darling traditions and the little Christmas elf. You are truly amazing. I have two kids, and I barely get around to setting up the tree, let alone decorating it.

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  2. Yes Brod - it's over. Feel free to come calling anytime now. And I'll actually let you INSIDE the house! The bread you brought really was the perfect treat!

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  3. Oh! We miss you all so much. Your girls are GORGEOUS. I LOVE their curls. I hope we get enough snow again to take Ella sledding (and I hope we can find a good enough hill nearby).

    Tell me more about this elf thing. I think I like the idea.

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  4. so sorry about the stomach flu! the worst. love mr peeps, i might borrow that tradition next year! also, the pictures of your beautiful girls in their red jammies - precious! and then the picture of all 5 of your gorgeous babies in their red jammies - precious x 5! what adorable children. love your blog. i would love to see you guys. it seems like life is speeding by and we live so close but so far away! argh!

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  5. Erin - Yes! VA needs a big snow again! For more about Mr. Peeps - check out this post.

    http://dcarvys.blogspot.com/2009/11/mr-peeps.html

    And thanks for the lady bug cake recipes. You da best Erin!

    Corinne - this is silly! Let's just get something on the calendar! Can you guys come for Sunday dinner some time? Or are Sundays out?

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