Flu Bug Don’t Bother Me!

We have been struck down without mercy by the dreaded influenza.. I started not feeling the greatest Saturday but attributed it to a little too much Christmas fun. We had 4 late nights in a row and were a little Christmased out, although we do love to see family.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ben and I woke up with pounding headaches and chills from the stirrings of fevers. Fast forward through a miserable blinding blur of high fevers, body-wracking chills, pounding headaches, nasty coughs, sore throats, nausea, horrible body aches, etc and you have our history of the past 4 days. I was literally in tears Sunday afternoon, unable to stop or even wipe away the tears raining down my face I felt so incredibly bad.

Imagine my hoarse groans when Zakkai presented himself to me first thing Monday morning with flushed cheeks saying he didn’t feel well. Ugh. He escalated up to fevers over 104 yesterday and vomited a few times but miraculously (to us) is 90% better today. So unfair.

Ben and I have been flat laid-out. The kiddos have been so incredibly good while we have been ill, playing with their Legos and new Christmas toys, which is helpful since I have no voice left to scold them with and neither of us has the energy to deal with any bad behavior. They are starting to get a little cagey but we are still sick and contagious so we are house-bound for now. Watching movies a lot the past 2 days. Surviving on soup and crackers brought by our dear mothers. Praying that each day we will feel a little better and thankful that we have survived so far.

I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

Merry Christmas!

We are very tired over here from all the Christmas festivities and poor Ben had to go off to work today. Hi ho, hi ho….

Eliana was still quite sick early Christmas Eve morning and I thought for sure we were going to be staying here at home the next couple of days. I got back in bed after getting up with her for the 2nd time at 2am and her fever was 102.5. I prayed and told God how sad I was that we would have to miss Christmas and amazingly when she woke up at 8, her fever had broken and she said, “I feel better, Mommy!” Hallelujah!

We did go to Christmas Eve services that night, although in hindsight it was a little too soon for Eliana to be out. She was an absolute mess after we got home. She ate a few bites of dinner, refused a cookie and went to bed.

I begged for a family photo while we were dressed in our nice clothes and they were gracious to me! Here I was testing out the settings. I love the boys faces!

Merry Christmas!!

 Christmas morning~our very first morning in our own home for Christmas!!! I forbade the boys from opening stockings before 7am because I was still remembering last year when they were up at 1am giggling over their treasures….This year, at 7am and 3 seconds, we heard them get up and open their stockings! Eliana slept in a little, which was good so we were all there when she opened hers.

Daddy getting a Christmas hug from Zakkai:) Z is wearing one of his new pairs of pj pants I made! I let them open those on Christmas Even so they have something cozy to wear!

Then we went downstairs and did 2 of the 3 last readings for our Jesse Tree. There was a lot of reading for Christmas Day! We did the last section in Luke 2 at my mom’s with everyone. After our Jesse tree, we opened presents! The boys each got a Lego set and a big set of Roald Dahl books and Eliana got a Nutcracker book and a big coloring book and wooden paper doll set. Her Lego set isn’t out in the stores yet so she is waiting patiently. Can you guess which set it is??

Then the kiddos got one big Lego set as an extra gift, thanks to a sweet person we know! Love, love their faces!

They were so surprised!! haha:)

Ben was reading through a little art book I got him on Van Gogh, his newest favorite painter! He is concentrating hard:)

Then we went to my mom’s house where we had a yummy brunch! Cinnamon rolls, eggs, fruit salad, sausage, candied pecans and hot apple cider! mmm… Then we finished our Jesse Tree reading and passed out presents! Zakkai opening up a book:)

Boo, my mom’s kitty got a present, too. He was sitting in the middle of the wrapping, hoping to play! The pug in the background is named Peanut and she belongs to my stepdad’s brother.

Cheese! She had THE runniest nose all day, thanks to whatever sickness she had. We just tried to keep her from getting too close to people. Her nose was so sore by the end of the night!

Evy’s very favorite present was an Elsa doll from her daddy! The same doll that Eliana got for her birthday from Grandma.

Samuel, having a great time!

Ben and my Grandpa:)

 My Grandma, my stepdad peeking out and his brother, Robb. Don’t forget Winston doggy looking so regal from the couch!

My mom worked her fingers to the bone to make robes for all 10 of her grandchildren this Christmas! They all LOVED them. She made them big enough to last for a few years, which I am sure she is relieved about! All the pockets have some special embroidery on them like Elsa on Eliana’s, a fancy Z on Zakkai’s, a princess crown on Evy’s, etc. Love this picture!

We hung around for a little while and then went back home for Christmas naps. (Love how on Christmas day, you can put the word “Christmas” in front of any other word and make it sound exciting. Do you want some Christmas cider? How about a little Christmas nap? Oh, here’s a Christmas chore for you to do! Don’t forget my Christmas hug!)

The boys ran upstairs to finish putting together their new Lego sets, I made some food for the afternoon, Ben relaxed and Eliana took a much needed nap. Then we were off to the 2nd Christmas party of the day with the whole family!

It was so nice! We were a smaller group this year, only about 21 of us this year. My aunt and uncle went fancy this year with beautiful decorations and even a long row of tables set up with china dishes and real silverware!! It was really lovely and fun for all of us to sit and talk to each other. We all loved it!

We ended with our fun gift in the middle game and got home way too late, about 9pm. Our kiddos were exhausted!! We are hanging low today, letting them play and relax before Christmas with Grandma (B’s mom) tonight!

Happy Christmas marathon!
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Sicky.

We’ve got a Christmas sickie over here:(  Just like Samuel’s illness last week where he was fine in the morning and sick by lunchtime, Eliana was fine going to bed last night and woke up around 2:45 this morning crying. I went in and she was trying to tell me something that didn’t really make sense and when I bent to kiss her forehead, realized she was burning up! She fell back asleep after I gave her Tylenol but was back up to 102 just after waking up this morning.

She was off and on all day, depending on whether the medicine was wearing off or not. She perked up later in the morning and even painted a picture with her brothers but shortly after I noticed she was really bothered by noises, etc and I went to sit with her on the couch and she fell asleep in my arms.

So sweet. She woke up halfway through her nap crying and saying her head hurt and her temp had risen to over 103 so I was able to give her something and she went back to sleep for another hour. Up down, up down all day! She is sleeping now and I am praying that she wakes up better because how sad would it be to have to miss  the Christmas Eve service tomorrow night and all the family Christmas festivities??

I still remember the Christmas when I was little and I had the stomach flu and was upstairs deathly ill (at least that is how you feel when you have a stomach virus!!) while everyone was having a great time downstairs. I ended up in the ER getting iv fluids…..ah, what lovely Christmas memories!

Here’s to hoping and praying that this Christmas will be healthy and joyous!! (For us and you!!)

Homemade Love!

 One really nice thing about watching your pennies is that it forces you to be creative! We weren’t able to get gifts for our nieces and nephews this year, which makes me really sad (although, yes, I know that’s not what Christmas is about! I still love to give them a gift!) Even though my sisters assured me that their children would be fine with nothing, I had to send a little something. So I made ornaments! I’m so happy with how they turned out.

These are glass ornaments for my nephews. They love sports so I did sports balls. A basket ball, baseball and bowling ball. I am pretty sure none of them bowl but it was the only other round ball I could think of!

These are the backs. My mom had the glass ornaments and I had all the paints and supplies so it didn’t cost me anything but labor and love:) I realized I had to spray the paint with something to protect it from chipping and learned that you can substitute hairspray in a pinch! Luckily, I had some around. Worked great!

I hand painted angel ornaments for my nieces. I found the ornaments at Joann’s.

I like how they turned out! Sweet. I made some ornaments for my family, too. I’ll have to take pictures!

I also finished the kids’ pajama pants finally! We decided a couple years ago to make Christmas simple and for our kids we do a pair of homemade pajama pants, a book and a toy. The boys actually really needed pajama pants so I was able to get a deal on fabric and made them two! Samuel’s are the red and camouflage, Z’s are the monsters and planets and E, of course, gets the pink penguins! Something fun to open on Christmas Eve;)

Eliana dressed herself like a peppermint the other day. I kept calling her my little candy cane! This was taken while we were waiting for the bus. When the bus came, only Zakkai got off and he burst into tears and said, “Samuel missed the bus!” I called the school and they said he was sitting right there in the office and they had another bus come back to pick him up and bring him home. He was a little sad and it took them awhile to shake it off. I told them each that if your brother isn’t on the bus, be sure to go tell the bus driver so she can wait! Thankfully, the school was so nice about getting him home.

Today my mom and niece came over and we made Christmas cookies! We both had some dough already made for the kids to cut out with cookie cutters.

They had lots of fun adding sprinkles (lots of sprinkles!) to the colored icing:)

This little munchkin decorated two cookies….and ate two cookies!

Last night I went to my friend’s birthday get together. She invited her 4 closest friends to have dinner and come to a painting party at her house. It was really fun and this is my painting!! I absolutely love it:) 4 of us did the reindeer painting and the other did a Christmas tree painting. We just looked at a picture and painted on the layers and added our own little touches. I would love to do this again!

My kiddos adored the painting upon first sight this morning and they all want to do one, too:) Maybe a fun activity for Christmas break! We are also doing a Christmas puzzle, drinking hot spiced cider and wrapping up our Jesse tree for Advent.

Only 3 more days!

Little Angel:)

 Happy Friday!

This was during Eliana’s concert last night. Still can’t get over how stinkin’ cute it was!! The little boy in the top left hand corner shouted out every single song. He was SO loud but it was really funny. He is also the teacher’s son:)

Miss Niki helping Eliana Angel off the stage:)

So sweet!

We hung around and talked my mom into taking some family pictures for us. We haven’t taken one since 2012!

This is not bad for an impromptu picture!

Eliana and Miss Niki:)

One more picture of our cutie!

Have a great Friday night!

Eliana’s special day and Lolly.

 We just got back from Eliana’s special preschool concert. Oh my goodness, it was so stinkin’ cute!! I’ll have some videos soon:)

She has been talking about this night for weeks! And practicing, too:) I did her hair in special braids today. C.u.t.e.

She got herself all dressed up and looking so beautiful tonight!!

So excited!

She even had a matching coat! This adorable outfit was given to us by a friend whose daughter has outgrown it. Love it! She was SO cute during the performance. She just kept looking at us and giving us the sweetest smile! She almost didn’t even want to sing, she just wanted to keep looking at us!

At church, we have the most beautiful nativity set I have ever seen. Not sure if you can read the paper but it was made in Italy.

It is set up in the big lobby area and it is so….holy feeling. You immediately feel hushed and contemplative.

I wish I could capture the beauty of the sculptures. It’s really amazing.

Meet Lolly. She joined our family yesterday:) I’ve never been into the whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Have you seen the crazy, er, really excited people on facebook with their elaborate Elf schemes?? That will not be us, thank you very much! I don’t have time for that sort of thing!!

My aunt found this in a good deal and gave it to us and Eliana immediately wanted it and was very happy it was a girl:) I whipped her up a little Christmas skirt because we can’t have naked elves around our house! She will hide in some different spots so the kids can find her in the morning. They already adore that kind of game, especially Eliana and have been playing it with stuffed animals and toys lately. Kind of a fun little thing to do.

Now off to bed with me!

Life-sized Olaf and Reminders.

I had a buddy with me all day today….Samuel! He had to stay home from school because his fever didn’t break until sometime in the night (and the whole 24 hour rule thing…) but he felt pretty good over all today, just minor cold symptoms. It was a typical virus but thankfully, mild! He came with me to drop off E at preschool and run some errands. Boy, can this kid talk!

We had to go return something at Kohl’s and we came across a life-sized Olaf! Samuel wanted a picture with his arm around him to show Eliana and Zakkai:) This Olaf only costs $250!

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I was really affected by something today and it took me by surprise. I was doing a quick scroll through FB (I really don’t like FB overall but I can’t stop checking it everyday! Darn that non-erasable app on my phone!) and I saw that one of Ben’s former professors got tenure today and they had a big celebration at the school, which was well deserved, of course!

But I was surprised by the sudden tears in my eyes and lump in my throat. Half happy for this professor, who has worked so hard for this huge accomplishment and half sad for another reminder of our broken dream. Once upon a time it should have been us.

Sometimes people think or even I think that Ben was the only one left with a broken heart this past year. And it was broken. But it was my heart, too. I put in just as much time and sacrifice as he did over the past 9+ years and we have absolutely nothing to show for it except a dusty doctorate degree that sits propped up on a dresser. It’s a miracle it is even out, as it was shoved into a drawer for most of last year. A painful reminder of brokenness and the ashes of a long-time dream.

Now, that is not to say we don’t have joy now because we do. We have a lot of peace, too, about where we are now. We are in a place of healing and being loved by our Savior in a way we’ve needed for a long time. So, it’s a good place to be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a painful place to be and that’s hard for people to understand. That’s hard for us to understand! How can you have joy and pain at the same time? It’s hard to fathom but we know it when people make comments or ask innocent questions or former schoolmates ask Ben questions about what he is doing currently or why he wasn’t at the big annual conference a few weeks ago and our eyes meet and we know each other’s pain without even having to speak it aloud.

I guess the thing to be thankful for is that even though it didn’t work out like we hoped or thought or wanted, even though we have no idea if it ever will work out, we can trust that God loves us and He is a Redeemer and our time here on earth, our experiences, our suffering doesn’t go to waste. Most of the time faith is trusting even amidst unanswered “why’s” and knowing He loves you and letting that be enough.

So I am choosing to trust even in the moments of unexpected tears and painful reminders and to put my hope in Jesus. He is, after all, the “Reason for the Season” and I am so incredibly thankful for that! And really thankful that our boys, especially, are really starting to understand it on a new level. So many blessings…