Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Vacation

Hubs had a few days off at Christmas and we went over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house. It was really nice to see a bunch of our family, eat amazing food, and watch the kids open presents.

Watching the kids is the best part of presents at Christmas. The excitement and joy and chaos and mess of it all is awesome. Little Man got an acoustic guitar and has been serenading everything with a heartbeat. He's not a bad singer and he comes up with some great lyrics. I love him.

We had gourmet apps, crab legs, stuffed mushrooms, honey baked ham, cheesecake, rice pudding with raspberries, cookies galore and -drum roll, please- tres leche cake. My brother sent it up from Chicago as my Christmas gift. What a brother.

You may remember me talking about this cake before. This is the cake I would give a kidney for. This time I remembered to take a picture before we ate the whole thing.

Unfortunately, round two of the stomach flu hit on Christmas day. Hubs had it first and the worst, but we all got it to a certain extent over the past week. It wasn't the best Christmas we've ever had, but it wasn't the worst either; that was last year. At least it was a bit of a distraction for us.

We've been taking it easy for the most part this week. Hubs went straight from the flu to a bad cold and lost his voice and had to miss some work. Little Man and I have been avoiding him as much as possible, which is not fun. December has been a little rough in the illness department for us. Hopefully we'll get it all out of our system before the baby arrives!

Other than cleaning, sanitizing and washing laundry, we haven't done much else over our Christmas break. I got two delicious cookbooks for Christmas and have been reading a ton of great recipes and getting some great ideas for meals. When we are all finally well and eating again, my oven and range will be working overtime! Can't wait.

The highlight of the week was taking Little Man to a ski hill for ski jump lessons. It was his first time on skis and he did pretty well. He wiped out a few times and got some snow burn across one eye, but overall he had a great time and wants to go skiing again. It makes me miss the mountains big time.

We are looking forward to a shiny, bright, and healthy new year. We will be celebrating with movies and popcorn on the couch and Little Man will probably be the only one who makes it to midnight. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Whoever sent Old Man Winter my way, thank you!

It just started snowing and it looks beautiful outside. I'm incredibly grateful for our white Christmas.

Our halls are decked, the stockings are hung by the TV with care, and the cookies are baked.

Baby Jesus keeps strange company in our house.

This is the first year Jameson has been "up there" for what I can only assume is the best birthday celebration ever. I'm excited for him. I wonder what kind of cake Jesus likes?

I wish you a Merry Christmas. May Christ fill your hearts and homes on His birthday.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Infirmary

Crossing my fingers did not work. I got sick Tuesday night, Little Man got sick again Wednesday, and the plague caught up with Hubs Thursday. It was a *fun* week. Thursday night after we put Little Man to bed, Hubs and I were curled up on opposite ends of the couch under mounds of blankets and I felt just like the old, sick grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Little Man and Hubs both rebounded quickly; by Friday night they were both eating real food and feeling pretty good, but it lingered for me. I was almost in tears with the aches and stomach pains Friday night. Either I'm a complete wuss or pregnancy just made it a lot harder to deal with. Thankfully, I woke up Saturday morning a new person, able to eat and actually move around. After three days of nothing but gatorade, jello and dry toast, it was a relief to be done with it all.

Hubs has always prescribed to the "Go big or go home" method of getting over stomach bugs. I usually laugh and think that for a doc-in-training he can really be obtuse, but he swears by it. Two years ago, after a particularly harsh stomach bug, he had pizza for his first meal. It didn't go well. This time, however, I was so sick of the BRAT diet, I kinda of dove right in with coffee and Christmas cookies. It was awesome. Little Man and I made Molasses Spice Crinkles- my favorite cookie. Oh they are so good.

Now that the plague has left our house and I've Lysoled and bleached every surface, we are in full blast Christmas mode. The tree is up and decorated, the Christmas music is on the stereo, the tree has presents under it, the stockings are on the mantle and the cookies are being baked every few days. I think today I'm going to try a new recipe for cranberry orange cookies. Now we just need snow! We've got cold and ice, but no snow. If you have seen Old Man Winter by you, please send him my way.

This week, we are taking Little Man to see Santa, checking out light displays, and we have Little Man's Christmas concert. It is going to be a good week. Oh, and I've discovered a recipe for Nutella Hot Chocolate! Just heat up a glass of milk and stir in a tablespoon or two (or, ahem, 3) and drink. I've also heard from a good source that a splash of Frangelico makes it a great cocktail. I'll have to wait to try that.

There are a lot of things that aren't easy right now, but we really are trying to live intentionally and we are off to a pretty good start. I hope your Holidays are all merry and bright so far!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa's Special Delivery

I don't think Little Man will ever be the kid with perfect attendance in school. We are having another sick day; this time due to a stomach bug or something. Saturday night and Sunday morning were full of puke and empty of sleep. Always a stellar combo, but at least he is recovering nicely. He is totally loving his diet of gatorade, jello, and toast with apple butter. He smacks his lips and says, "Yes! Sugar!" as if he's a complete addict. I seem to have been spared; whether a result of antibodies or hand washing and lysol, I don't care. I'm just so glad this bug passed over me. Fingers and toes are all crossed as I knock on wood and hope it stays that way.

Last week I had some extra time to kill in town before picking up Little Man for swim lessons and I went to library. I am there a few times a month, usually with a list in hand; but this time I just wandered up and down the rows of books, trying to not get dizzy from reading sideways. I ended up lingering in both the coping and religion sections, picking up books here and there to bring home. I ended up with a stack of books all about coping with the loss of a child, what heaven will be like, and one book written by a hospice nurse about the end of life. I've spent a lot of time thinking about Jameson and our lives last year at this time while reading. I've read many stories about other parents learning(or not) to let go, about young and old hospice patients filled with peace and joy at the end of their lives, about perspective. I'm still processing a lot of it and not able to share much more than that, except to say that I'm glad I'm reading through this stack of books on my coffee table at this time in my life.

It is so strange, trying to reconcile the holidays with this upcoming anniversary. Celebrating thankfulness and the birth of Christ with joy while mourning the death of my son almost one year ago is confusing, painful, weird. I'm somewhat at a loss for words here.

Saturday morning, Little Man and I went shopping to pick out presents for all of his cousins. We were pulling into the Walmart parking lot when he told he he hadn't yet decided what to get Jameson. I responded with silence, trying desperately to not crash the car, start sobbing, or say the wrong thing. I mentioned to him that I'm not quite sure how we'd get a present up to heaven. He asked if Santa couldn't pick it up and bring it there on his way through town? Well, I don't see why not, I replied. So, Santa will not only be dropping off, but picking up a special delivery at our house this year. It is heart breaking, but genius at the same time. He is still thinking about what he wants to get J.

I'm thinking about what J likes, which leads me to wondering who Jameson is. Who is my son? Is he 3, like he was when he died last year? Or does the aging process stay the same, making him 4? Or do we maybe just have one perfect age in heaven and he could be 22 or 35 or 16? Will he still be J with the same irresistible smile and gorgeous red hair? Will we recognize each other in heaven someday? Will I still get to be his mom? I look at his pictures and strain to remember his little quirks. The sound of his laugh, the feel of his soft, creamy skin, the way he fit into me perfectly when sleeping. I have to really work to hear him running down the hallway to jump in bed with us in the early mornings, to picture the way he rode a bike, splashed in the tub, played with his brother. It can be such a struggle to hang on to who he was. To remember. To make him real again. To wonder who he is takes my breath away in an overwhelming, painful, and awesome way. Who is my son???

Patience, I hear in my mind. The answer almost makes me laugh, because the joke is on me. I want so badly to hit the fast forward button and just be there. Just be there and see him and have all the pain and fear and confusion of this world over. Why can't we just skip the mess and get to the happily ever after already? But we can't. So I try to breath deeply and I can't tell if the breath won't fill me full because of my grief or if it is from the baby pushing on my lungs, reminding me of my future here, my life here. Patience, my mind says again. This time it isn't funny at all, but I know that it is true.

The Lord's Prayer comes into my mind and I feel a smile pulling at my corners thinking about how I don't need to worry about getting through this whole life. We get to take this one day at a time. Give us this day our daily bread. Give me what I need to just make it through this day. And tomorrow I need to ask again. And the next day I need to ask again. It can be so overwhelming when the big picture is all I'm trying to see.

Sigh. I just need patience. And maybe a nap.