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Christmas 2010

December 31, 2010

The short version:

Four sick children!  Plus DH had to work on Christmas Day.

The long version (which actually turned out a lot nicer than the short version would seem to imply):

It started with E.  He’d been coughing on and off, here and there, mostly in the evening, nothing serious or even very sick-sounding until about the Sunday before Christmas when I started to wonder if he was really getting something.  He’d cough rather violently, then nothing for a couple more hours.  But we stayed overnight with Grandma and Poppa after attending their chorale’s Christmas fireside and I hardly got any sleep that night thanks to E between coughing, an unfamiliar bed, and who knows what else.

Monday morning we woke up to much snow, but thankfully missed the worst of it and got home safely, after a stop at a museum exhibit.  Grandma’s house got 20 more inches of snow that night and into Tuesday.  We got rain.  It was depressing.  And C said he didn’t feel well.

Tuesday, E sounded much more horrible like he was trying to cough up a lung and C also looked terrible.  So they slept while A and D helped me make 12 dozen sour cream sugar cookies for scouts because DH volunteered us to be in charge of pack meeting.  A needed to help plan an activity (lucky me, they chose the week of Christmas) but it turned out well.  We baked all the cookies and with three helpers (and copious amounts of hand washing) it went pretty smoothly.   We bought frosting and sprinkles to take to scouts so all the scouts could decorate a plate of cookies to give away to someone.  We also remembered to take plates, plastic bags to put them in, knives to spread frosting with, and Christmas shapes to cut out for cards.  The best part of it all (since I had to stay home with C and E) was hearing A say that planning pack meeting sure takes a lot of work!  We had to remind him that Sister R. does that kind of work every single week.  I think he has a new found appreciation for his leaders!

We had several dozen cookies left over, so had plenty to give away to all the boys’ friends in our ward, and enough left over to eat.  The boys really appreciated that as sometimes I give away too much of what I bake.  Or so they tell me.

Wednesday morning A woke up and said he wasn’t feeling so well and started coughing along with E who was hacking rather more violently.   Add to that a husband who neglected to mention that he had signed up for overtime shifts Wednesday night (when I had a rehearsal with a choir), Thursday night, and Friday afternoon, not to mention regular shift on Christmas Day (and yes we’re very glad he has a job and know that certain professions must work 24/7 but still) and Thursday I had a slight meltdown amidst more baking and trying to finish a present for my parents.  “Slight” might be an understatement.  There were tears…quite a few of them.

The plan for Christmas was to go out to my grandparents’ house with my Mom and Dad to take dinner since my grandpa has been in the hospital recently and probably wouldn’t feel up to driving anywhere.  Plus it would give us something to do for several hours until DH would be home from work and we could open presents together.  My parents said they would have a present for each of the boys out there so they’d have something to open in the afternoon.

Friday morning I called my parents to tell them we wouldn’t be coming as we didn’t want to get Grandpa, or anyone else, sick.  But I would still make apple pies, frog-eye salad, and bread for my part of Christmas dinner and they would give us some ham, turkey, and potatoes to eat when DH got home Christmas night.  The rest of Christmas Eve went quite well although D went back to bed after breakfast and slept most of the day although he didn’t feel hot or anything and said he felt just fine whenever he did get up for a few minutes.  We listened to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols Christmas Eve service live from King’s College, Cambridge, had several friends drop by with presents and treats, and then that night I played for the 7 p.m. and the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve services for the Methodist Church downtown.  My friend that plays violin is the secretary for that church and I’ve played string quartets with her several other years.  This year, it was just violin, cello, and organ.

If you want my opinion, 11 p.m. is just a little on the late side to be playing in church.  It took me a few days to recover.  And I struggled with whether I should have even agreed to play or not.  It turned out very nice, but the alternative was a peaceful Christmas Eve evening home with my own family.  In fact DH didn’t get home until after I had to go so I had to leave A in charge for 10 minutes or so.  I was able to come home between the services and so got to see DH, but I still felt conflicted about being gone.  We don’t have any big Christmas Eve traditions though, and I’m always grateful to be able to contribute to others’ with my talents.


Christmas Eve after I did the stockings at about 1 a.m.

So, on to Christmas Day:  The boys actually slept in a bit (unlike last year) and came in for me about 8:30 after they’d looked in their stockings and E was getting hungry and fussy.  They are free to open their stockings before we get up, although when we don’t do Santa, I’m beginning to wonder why we even do stockings.   My parents called to wish us Merry Christmas and I said we’d drive our food out to Grandma’s house and I would at least go in and say hello.   We put in the bread to bake, fed E some cereal, and then DH managed to get a break, drove home, and said we could open presents for the next 20 minutes, which turned into a crazy free-for-all.  The boys dove into the tree.  Wrapping paper went flying.  All presents were opened in record time…except for E’s.  Although E was surprised we were actually letting him finally get to the tree, he was completely uninterested in his presents, and I think C ended up unwrapping all of them.

DH ran back to work and D went running into the kitchen to throw up in the garbage can.  So we called Grandma and Poppa back to say that on second thought we didn’t want to drive anywhere and they’d better stop here to pick up our food.  D went back to bed and we realized that we still hadn’t had breakfast at this point so finally made crepes around 10:30 from a recipe Mom brought me from Andre, a French-Canadian guide they met on their New England/Canada cruise a few years ago.  They were yummy.  I think I just found our new Christmas breakfast tradition.

Mom and Dad dropped by about noon to pick up our food and then came back at 4:00 just after DH came home and had pie with us while we ate our dinner.  The boys played all afternoon with their new things and were finally motivated to finish A’s new birthday puzzle that’s been on the table for weeks so they could start The Global Puzzle Grandma and Poppa gave us.

It turned into a really nice day after all.


  • All the puzzles–we got a Civil War puzzle and a London Tower (from Eric Dowdle)
  • Booklights so they can read in bed after E goes to sleep, something they’ve missed out on since he moved into their bedroom
  • Basketball hoop so they have something to do outside besides just dig in the dirt until we move somewhere with a yard.  They’re in no danger of becoming obese couch potatoes, but we seriously need more outdoor activity around here.
  • This picture from my parents–4 boys, very apropos
  • A collage of mothers and grandmothers–my mom has been very busy collecting photos of the boys’ mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmothers.  Definitely the “wow” present of the year!
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    January 2, 2011 11:44 pm

    Our children also had a cold during the holidays.

    Today my oldest was supposed to have his first day in primary but, although he was feeling better, he still had some cough so we all stayed home.

    Holidays are always so hectic, my bread machine stopped working when I mostly needed it, and didn’t have the time to make things from scratch, so you can imagine my frustration.

    The bread machine decided to work fine today, after the holidays.
    But overall, Christmas was good and the kids loved it.

  2. Tamaran permalink
    January 3, 2011 12:46 pm

    Sounds busy. Funny how quickly time fills up. We need to talk about not doing santa. I have been wondering if/how to go about doing that. I would like to pick your brain 🙂

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