Ok, ok. I'll do a Christmas write-up.
Our Tree: We don't have a "theme tree". I have colorful, warm, cozy lights that remind me of my childhood and the magic that was Christmas. None of my ornaments match and I love it. They all have a memory or were a creation of my children. Sometimes I look at other trees and think maybe mine looks a little messy, but that's how I like it. A messy, colorful, warm tree. It's magic.
And, to make you all faint, I'm throwing in a picture. That there is the tree. And when I was taking pics, Brynja's cute antique-ish Radio Flyer rocking horse happened to be in front of the tree. Kinda fitting. (And this is me messing with my new camera off of auto-mode, but I don't have a tripod so flashless pics are tricky as of yet)
Christmas Eve was a mellow thing this year. I usually find myself shopping for a few last minute things that day, as well as trying to make cookies or treats of some kind for neighbors and friends. I managed to get all my shopping done beforehand and I thought, perhaps, I'd be baking or something that day, but I decided I wouldn't do it until I had cooked the chicken noodle soup (homemade noodle kind... takes forever) that we were planning on having for dinner.
I got the food done and had no time to make anything for neighbors and that was completely ok with me. (sorry friends and neighbors! next year...)
The morning of Christmas Eve, I had the choir practicing the Christmas program that was scheduled for the next morning (Christmas) at 10:30 a.m. The practice when FANTASTIC and I felt, for the most part, completely ready for the program. And it was good. Good, I tell you! Tears were shed during the practice as stories were read and songs were sung. It was fabulous.
So, back to the afternoon... Had dinner ready and went to my mom's house. My mom was feeling not-so-great at the time. She had been in the hospital earlier in the week... Sunday through Wednesday... after dealing with serious pain in her chest. It wasn't a heart attack, but pericarditus that she's been battling ever since her heart attack in September. So, Christmas festivities were kept very low-key, which suited all of us just fine. We ate soup and bread, laughed and talked with my parents and my brother, Taylor, and his girlfriend, Cherryn. We did our version of the Nativity which is pulling out the pretty ceramic pieces that my mom painted years ago and telling about the role each figure played in the story of Christ's birth. It's a nice time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas. Then I read a few Christmas stories and we called it a night. Low key. Perfect.
We got home, did the Christmas pajama thing and sent those excited kids off to bed.
And then Dustin and I started the Santa process. We had a very frustrating time trying to assemble a toy. It took more than an hour and it DIDN'T WORK when it was all put together. We were freaking out. I was so upset. We ended up writing a note to Ella from Santa telling her that his elves must have broken the toy while assembling it and that her parents would get her something else. (The note was really for the benefit of Rohan. Ella inquired as to the true nature of Santa a month or so before Christmas and learned that it is her mom and dad who act in the name of Santa and the Spirit of Christmas.) It was disappointing, to say the least. It was compounded by the fact that I didn't feel very well. I was agitated and SO INCREDIBLY tired. All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but we had things to wrap and stockings to fill.
Aside: My kids and husband had been shuffling the flu between them for the week previous. Brynja was sick, throwing up and feverish, the previous Saturday night and spent all of Sunday completely miserable. Next came Ella and Rohan on Monday and Tuesday. They shared their sick day. Poor Ella threw up over and over and over. I bet she threw up every ten minutes for four hours straight. It was terrible. And then it slowed down to every 30 or so minutes for the next, oh, six or so hours. Rohan had it coming out both ends. Not as much puking as Ella, but he made up for it in other ways. (Think 1 a.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. baths...) And I forgot that Dustin shared this sick day with Ella and Roh as well. Lucky.
Mac waited until Thursday/Friday and he was miserable too, but his manifested a little less severely than the other kids'.
As for me, I told my body that I was healthy. I didn't have time for anything otherwise. I couldn't spare a moment to succumb to the bug that plagued the rest of my family. And I didn't. And I was proud of myself because I really and truly felt like I kept it at bay by sheer force of will.
Pride comes before a fall.
Usually, as we finish up laying out Christmas for the big morning, I go wash all the dishes, clean up any extra stuff in the living room and make sure everything feels good in the room before I go to bed. Not this time. By the time we were wrapping up, I was really feeling weird and I was scared about it. Over and over again, I did my mental exercises to fend off illness. And it got worse. There were dishes in the sink and some clutter on the table, but I decided I didn't care. Not even a little bit. I went to bed at about 1:45 or 2:00 a.m.
I fell asleep for about 15 minutes and then bolted out of bed. I was well and truly sick. I had it like Rohan, coming from two directions. I was so cold. I would go in and lay on the hardwood floor in front of the heater in between my special times in the bathroom. I had this little tiny fleece blanket that I would try to squeeze my body under as I laid by the heater.
I know I fell asleep several times and was continually awakened by my body trying to expunge the virus I had previously eluded. It was the most intense illness I've ever had.
All my kids were sick for a minimum of 24 hours. I started throwing up at about 2 a.m. on Christmas morning. Here's where I was freaking out. You recall that I direct the choir in my church? And you recall that we do a big Christmas program every year? And this year happened to be on Christmas Day? I was totally clueless what I should do. I was most likely going to be sick until at least the next morning at 2 a.m. Should I call my bishop in the morning and tell him I wouldn't be there? Me, the director of seven of the nine songs and the soloist singing the eighth? What would they do? Could Sandy lead them all? Should they just sing congregational hymns? Would they cancel the whole thing?
Amid puking and other things, I had these thoughts floating around. I couldn't believe that I chose THIS time to get sick. Seriously? But when I say the thoughts were floating around, that's really how I felt. This illness was so intense and I was so tired that I was fairly delirious. I might have even passed out at one point. I don't really know what happened except that I remembered sitting on the porcelain throne and then the next thing I remembered was pushing myself off the floor because I needed to sit there again. And throw up. At the same time. Lucky me, I had a bowl and lucky me, I had the toilet paper holder to hold up the weight of my upper body because I couldn't hold myself up. But I don't know how I got on the floor in the first place. So I either passed out, or fell asleep and laid myself down with my pants still down.
It was violent. It was delirium. It was horrible. And it was short.
I had, without much recollection of getting there, laid back in front of the heater on the hard floor and fallen asleep. I'm guessing I left the bathroom for the last time at about 4:30. I woke up to the sound of my kids coming through the kitchen to wake us up. I exploded off the floor (don't know where the energy for that came from) telling them that it was too early and they needed to go back to sleep. My kids informed me that it was 6:30 and I replied that it was still too early. They had to wait until 7:00. They grumbled until I told them I'd been throwing up all night. Then they felt bad and acquiesced.
I went and laid in my bed next to Dustin. He told me how sorry he was that I was sick. As I lay there in my bed, I did a "body check", so to speak. An evaluation of what was going on. I discovered that I didn't feel like I needed to use the toilet. Good news. And in checking on my stomach, I discovered that I felt.... HUNGRY. Hungry? I was shocked. Who feels hungry when they've been throwing up? Only people who are on the mend. I allowed myself to hope and I ate a saltine cracker.
Dustin had gone downstairs to hang out with the kids for the half hour they were required to wait. I slept a little bit and then we all got ready to go see what "Santa" brought. I just sat on a chair through the festivities and tried not to move my tender stomach.
As time went on, I felt a little better and a little better. At about 9:15 I went and showered and got myself ready for church. I was shaky and weak, hollow feeling and tender-stomached, but I managed to get ready and go.
As I led the music and the program progressed, I seemed to get more strength even though I was exerting more energy and had only had a few crackers and some water. Things went very well. My solo was kinda disappointing, but considering how I felt, I was happy I was able to do it at all. So I took the mediocre assessment and decided instead that it was pretty great.
And then it was over.
And that was my Christmas miracle. The Reader's Digest Version of the flu. Two hours instead of 24-36.
I was so grateful for that gift, and I just took it easy the rest of the day.
Here are more pictures so you can faint again. (don't worry, I didn't take any selfies of me barfing or similarly engaged...)
On my bed, waiting so sweetly.
The magic moment of walking into Christmas.
Mac got a nice digital camera. (The shark was the toy that didn't work. MEGA disappointing)
Dustin and Rohan... opening something. (proof of Dustin's presence.)
And me... trying to enjoy myself on two hours of sleep and shaky, hollow, sick-recovery-ness.
Ella made this pillow for Mac (with help from me). She was so excited!
Rohan opening a gift I made for him... and I'm kinda proud of it, so....
Here it is. It's a suitcase that I got from a thrift store and made a dinosaur habitat inside.
It has a volcano and a cave and "water" (painted). And then, when he's done playing with it, he closes it up and it's just a suitcase! :-) It's cool.
And Ella after opening her art stuff that I spoke of a few days ago. She was SO excited.
Brynja was so cute. She loved this doggie that Rohan gave her. She snuggled it for a long time.
In spite of the wild flu-ride, it was a great, low-key Christmas.