Thursday, December 25, 2014

Our Christmas, the lows and the highs

Our Christmas was one of highs and lows.

A high was that our parish priest asked us if we would like to put the baby Jesus in the manger at mass. That was a high point. I decided to pick Anna to carry the baby Jesus since she is one of the younger children. Henry is still at that age where he can be unpredictable. He can either do a really good job about something or a really bad job, depending on his mood. Anyway, we all presented the baby Jesus before the congregation as a family, and then knelt down to say a Hail Mary (the priest asked that we do this). Probably the quickest Hail Mary I ever said, because I felt so self-conscious.

The low point was the rest of the Mass. We were seated way in the back on loud folding chairs and Max kept coughing throughout the Mass, annoying the people in front of us. (They kept giving those backward glances that people do.) I didn't really know what to do about it because Dennis had gone down to the basement with Henry and I was left with the rest of the kids to take care of. Then, just when I thought about sending Max downstairs to sit with Dennis and Henry, Dennis surprised me by coming up to me and asking me for the car keys. I gave it to him without asking the reason. I knew that Henry must be really giving him a hard time to have to take him to the car.

It turned out that Dennis's eye was really causing him a lot of pain and he went home to get his eye patch and some pain meds. And yes, Henry was being a stinker as well--crying so much and so loud that he was even annoying the parents who had to go downstairs with their kids.

So in the meantime, Max kept coughing and coughing, all over the people in front of us, including an elderly woman who had to sit right in front of us. I finally got the bright idea to have Max switch places with Lucy, and have Max sit at the other end. In the meantime, Luke accidentally elbowed the elderly woman during Consecration. That poor woman had a lot to deal with. I felt bad for her.

The high point was at the end of Mass (yes, I hate to say that, but it was) when Dennis came back to get us and we came home to have our roast beef dinner. I don't know if that is really the traditional meal for Christmas Eve, but that's what we had it worked for us.  Later, we had the kids exchange their gifts to each other (we did Secret Santa) and a small gift from us.

The kids especially had fun with the Secret Santa thing and it's good for them to do, to find the joy in giving, rather than the getting.

Luke was Henry's Secret Santa
Max was Lucy's Secret Santa
I forgot to add another high point of the day--our family picture. Personally, I don't really like doing them because I hate being in pictures but also because it's so stressful trying to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time--and smiling too. But Dennis's grandma requested it and since we were in our Christmas clothes, we figured it was a good time.

After many, many, pictures, this was the best of the worst:

Notice Anna's sad little face? Well, this is after we found out that she was secretly making faces every time the camera would take a picture. We got mad at her and this is the best she would give us. Just one big teary eyed face. So that is our Christmas picture for the year.
Anyway, after we sent the kids to bed, I wrapped presents while me and Dennis watched It's a Wonderful Life. That was another high moment, because I love that movie.
The next day of course it was Christmas and the kids opened their presents. Another happy moment, as we watched the kids tear open their presents.


We were in our pajamas until 11:00. The kids played with their toys all day long. I even got to take a nap. That was another high point.

Then it was 3:00 and we had to get ready to go to Grandma's for Christmas dinner. Everyone was going to be there, including little cousins to play with and we were all looking forward to it. But then Max came upstairs saying he was sick.

This happens every single year. Either Thanksgiving or Christmas, someone is always sick, threatening my chance to see family I don't get to see very often and risking me staying home and missing out on it all.

I denied it at first, telling Max he was fine, because the truth is, he tries to get out of these family dinners a lot by pretending he's sick. But I couldn't ignore it because his cheeks were flushed, he felt hot, plus he was sitting by the fireplace shivering. So I finally took his temperature. 102. Darnit.

That was definitely a low point.

Dennis opted to stay home since it was my family that I would miss seeing. That was very nice of him and I took him up on his offer. He didn't seem to mind missing out at all though I promised to bring him home some Christmas ham.

So I piled up the kids to go to Grandma's and Dennis and Max stayed home to watch Elf.

But at Grandma's, I noticed that same familiar flush look on Henry's cheeks that Max had on his face. I felt his head and he felt very warm. He was also acting cranky and just wanted to be held. I asked my mom for a thermometer and sure enough, he had a temperature of 101. Double darnit.

I promised everyone we would go home as soon as the kids ate their dinner and got their presents from Grandma and we had given ours to her. I kept Henry with me the whole time to try not to spread his germs any further. We sort of huddled in a corner. Not fun.

Then Lucy came up to me looking teary-eyed, complaining of stomach cramps. What could I do? I tried to hurry things along with the kids eating and asked my mom if we could give her her present and go. Lucy was sitting in her own little corner, away from the other little girls as they played. She said she didn't want to get them sick.

My mom seemed torn. She hated to see us go so soon but at the same time, her "mom vibe" was kicking in and she was giving me "the look" that I needed to get my sick kids home. She didn't like seeing them sick anymore than I did. So we quickly exchanged our gifts and left.

Oh shoot, that reminds me, I left the meat my brother and SIL gave us in the car. Well, at least it's cold out.

So we went home after staying for only an hour. It was both a low and a high. It was a bummer that the kids were sick again, but we gave it a try and at least were able to visit a little. I am thankful for that.

When we got home, Henry cheered up, though he was still sick. He was just happy to be home again. Lucy was sick in the bathroom and Max was still sick though seemed a little better than when I left him.

Except for the part when I asked him if he wanted a piece of "birthday cake" for Jesus's birthday and he forced him to say, "Yes!" then promptly threw up at the very sight of cake. Thank goodness he was standing next to the garbage can.

The highlight of the day.

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