Home Sweet Home?

 Well, Good Ole Indianer failed us once again yesterday and closed most of it’s highways, namely the ones that we use to travel home, so we had to delay our trip home again. We were hesitant to travel because of the crazy cold temperatures anyways so we were glad for a very clear sign about whether or not to go.

This morning the travel news was only slightly better and we were feeling pretty frustrated because we really had to get home. We spent a lot of time early this morning mapping out a new, alternate route to get home, avoiding all of the closed highways. Instead of 6 hours to get home, it took us about 8 1/2. Needless to say, we were ALL on the cagey, cranky side by the last hour or two!!

I know I have mentioned once or ten times how much I dislike Indiana. Here is just a simple example of one of the many reasons I can think of that this state should be inhabitable. Isn’t that ugly? This would be Gary, Indiana, birthplace of Michael Jackson. It stinks (literally) and it is FILLED with factories. It is hideous.

But we were pretty ticked with Indiana today because they seriously dropped the ball with their road plowing. There was a clear difference between Ohio roads and Indy roads. We saw SO many cars off the road, stuck in ditches or almost perpendicular in huge snow banks!

We are incredibly thankful for a safe, if long trip home:)

When we arrived home, we found a huge, unshoveled heap of snow outside. In order to even unpack our car and get inside, Ben and the boys had to do a quick shovel job. Not sure where the landlords have been this past week since all the snow?? There is definitely a lot for the kiddos to play in once the temps rise!

One nice thing about our departure delay was that the boys’ school was canceled anyways the past two days so we didn’t have to worry about that. We got home at dinnertime and we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed at jumping right back into our busy day tomorrow but we are all tucked in bed early so hopefully we’ll be ready to go!

We left my grandpa (who had to make a trip to the ER himself yesterday) looking much better and are praying for health to be restored quickly to everyone! That stomach flu was nothing to mess with. It seemed to strike in the wee hours of the morning and there was nothing we could do to stop it. No amount of cloroxing, hand-washing or quarantining helped us avoid it!

Only Ben, Zakkai and my stepdad were left standing when all was said and done. (E had her own before we left for Ohio.) Every 5 minutes we would look at the healthy (lucky) ones and say, “How are you feeling? Okay? How’s your stomach?” We were all panicking at the slightest twinge or pain in our stomachs!

Hopefully that was it for the winter. One can hope! Samuel is having a hard time recovering from the stomach bug. He even threw up again Sunday night and still doesn’t have much of an appetite. Hopefully he will get back to normal soon.

All in all, it was a very strange Christmas break for many reasons, as I am sure most of our OH family would agree. But even though we were quarantined most of the time and didn’t get to see anyone or even say goodbye to pretty much everyone (so sorry to my mom, Ben’s mom, Derek, my brother in law…), we are really really thankful that we were able to be there to help my Grandma and to watch my Grandpa be reunited with her on New Year’s Day.

We were also able to see and be re-reminded of how family works together to help each other. People were jumping in left and right to help with meals, cleaning, caring for sick ones, even when barely recovered themselves. And we can always find something to laugh about later from those chaotic moments:)

 I am very thankful for my family! Goodnight from snowy COLD Chicago!

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The Black Plague

Well, haven’t we had a time of it the past couple of days! I spent Friday running around washing laundry and packing everything up for our early morning departure for snowy Chicago, only to have our plans sadly waylaid.

At 1:45 Saturday morning, I was woken up by the simulatenous noise of the basement bathroom door shutting and Grandpa clomping around in his walker upstairs. I immediately felt that something wasn’t right and went in the downstairs bathroom to find Samuel hanging over the toilet, as pale as a ghost. I went upstairs to use the bathroom, only to have all hell break loose a moment later with my poor Grandma in the same state as Samuel. My Grandpa and I were both saying, “Oh no, oh no!” because we knew, from other family member’s experiences this week, that this stomach flu is like no other and sends just about everyone to the ER with dehydration.

I spent the next 2 1/2 hours half-dozing on the couch in the basement, waiting for the next stirrings or calling of my name from Samuel or my Grandma. I couldn’t reach my mom, stepdad or aunt on the phone to help but finally I got worried enough around 4:15am that I found the phone number of my step uncle and roused them from a sleep with a “Mayday” call for help! My aunt, thankfully a nurse, drove over to check on Gma and found her so weak and sick.

To make matters worse, I had not been feeling right in my stomach for a couple of days and felt worse and worse but succumbed myself to the stomach flu within an hour or two of my aunt’s arrival. My mom woke up around 8:30am and saw the messages and realized we were like a sinking ship, going down one by one over here and raced over to help and she was only 24 hours out of the hospital herself!!

Needless to say it was bedlam over here. While I was in the throes of misery, my poor grandma had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital, which left everyone in tears! My aunt went with her to the hospital and Ben and my mom held down the fort here with nausea meds, laundry, sprite and gatorade and updates on my grandma. Samuel started perking up about the time I was the sickest and around dinnertime, I was able to drag myself out of the bedroom to lay on the couch with him. Boy, were we a pair! We ate a little broth and watched a cartoon together but it was early bedtime for us!

My mom stayed over part of the night to make sure my grandma didn’t need some help as she was incredibly weak and then my aunt came and spent the rest of the night and early morning.

Today, the three of us have been as weak as can be, pale and have little appetite but we are alive and there are no new cases, thank the Lord! We have all been so worried about my Grandpa getting it, as he is freshly home from the hospital after a rough month of recovery after surgery. Please pray he does not get it and also for Ben and Z and E!

The best laid plans can go awry they say! We went from planning on going home Thursday to being delayed because of snow, all packed up to leave Saturday morning only to be bombarded with the Black Plague and we are hemming and hawing about tomorrow, as the weather was SO bad on our travel route today and the temps will only be about -11 to -15 through Indiana and our home tomorrow. Yikes!

Guess we’ll find out in the morning if we will ever make it back to Chicago….

Signing off from germy Ohio…..

Back Together

We are home again! I had a plan to leave by 10am (OH time) yesterday so I specifically would not hit traffic in Chicago. Amazingly, the kiddos and I were able to pack up and check in on my mom and leave only 20 minutes behind schedule. Not bad!

I knew we were being “prayed” home by several people and I saw very clear evidence that we were protected! One, I almost ran out of gas on the highway and thankfully and exit came just in time. Two, a semi started to swerve into my lane right in front of me but caught himself in time and swerved back. He waved an apology. Three, a huge black SUV almost crashed right into the back of me TWICE but thankfully, caught themselves in time. And I was SO very tired from a busy week and not the greatest sleep but a McDonald’s frappe (first one ever and it was delicious!) and Eliana crying before giving up for a nap helped wake me up.

Anyways, we were so very thankful to arrive home safely and unscathed. I was so exhausted that I crashed on the couch around 6:45pm while B read to the boys. A couple good night’s sleep and I ought to be back to normal!

I absolutely know I made the right decision to go back and help my mom and stepdad. They needed help so badly and it made me so happy to be there, even if it was tiring. My mom dropped everything to care for my family and I last year and I know she would do the same for every one of her children. I am so thankful I could do the same for her! And I got to spend extra time with my grandparents and get filled up by their love, which was special:) It was very hard to leave yesterday.

The boys helped out, too, with Winston, my mom’s dog and some other small chores. They got to earn a few dollars, which made them so happy:) It helped Samuel to be distracted and have something to do, as he suffered so with being away from his Daddy. And on Wednesday B’s mom came to pick them up and whisk them away for a day of fun. Boy, were they happy when they came back with all sorts of special gifts and stories! Grandma sure knows how to make their day:)

Today I started a new babysitting job! I will now be watching an adorable 2 1/2 month old baby boy a few days a week. He did great today and was duly admired by my three munchkins. Samuel could not get enough of him! He kept stopping by to talk to him and get smiles and kept telling me over and over, “He’s so cute, mommy!” Eliana only had a brief period of jealously, when I put Baby C into my moby wrap. She said, “No, mommy, take him out of the mody wap!” And she cried and got so upset with me. But after he fell asleep and I got down on the ground to play with her and offer her lots of cuddles and hugs, she was totally fine. She enjoyed using his bouncy seat and car seat for Baby Anna today:)

Ben took the boys with him for a few hours while he returned a ton of library books and got a few hours of work in. They didn’t want to leave their daddy again!

It’s nice to be back together:)

Back Home!

We made it safe and sound! It felt like a long day of traveling, especially when Little Miss had had enough when it got to her bedtime (since we’re on Ohio time) and alternately cried like her heart was breaking and laughed hysterically at ridiculous things. Can we say “running on fumes?”

At least she got one good nap in and is sleeping soundly in her own bed now!

Thankfully we had perfect weather and little traffic during driving…until we hit Chicago, that is. Of course, we hit home at rush hour. Fun!

So now we’re surrounded with tons of stuff that miraculously all fit into our van and now I have to find a place to put it all:) Hopefully the boys and Missy will be highly entertained with all their fun new toys!

I leave you with a sneak peak of Christmas pics:) Unfortunately, our camera acted up almost the whole time and I got terrible pictures, especially on Christmas Eve, which broke my heart because I really, really wanted good family pictures.

So here are a couple cell phone pics. Whatever would we do without cell phones, right? ha!

Good night!