Monday, December 31, 2018

It was a Merry Christmas

The first three weeks of December were a bit rough, as we battled one sick bug after another. First was the tummy bug, then came some sort of virus that brought high fevers, and then we finished it up with nasty colds that included severe coughing. In between all that, we managed to go on a Christmas tree hunt, make it through the children's musical at church, Rylee's ballet recital, their school Christmas program, their birthday party, Christmas, and this last weekend spent up in Washington with the in-laws to go sledding. What a CRAZY month! The only thing we had to miss was Watch Week for Rylee's ballet class (where the parents actually get to watch them practice during class, as normally they are closed classes) and a few karate classes for Ayden.

We thought we'd made it through our stomach virus by the time the day came to go find our Christmas tree. The kids had even gone back to school the day before, as they'd been symptom free for two days at that point. It's a good thing we went on our Christmas tree hunt in the morning, because by that afternoon, Ayden had a raging case of diarrhea.

Ayden found our perfect tree! Haha!

Enjoying her hot chocolate

They couldn't wait to come home and "unfern" the tree!
*Unfern = cut the strings off and unbundle it

The bottom of the tree was very ornament heavy :) 

Thankfully, Ayden was feeling better the next day and made it to their Christmas musical. The kids had been practicing for well over a month for this play, and we were afraid he was going to have to miss it! Which also would have meant that one of us would have had to miss it too, and watching Rylee, while we stayed home with him! All worked out though, and the kids did great. Ayden was an excited but distracted donkey in the play, and Rylee was a very lively and animated little performer! Even Auntie J (Sis) and three of their cousins came to watch!

Ayden waved to us several times throughout the performance. He was so excited to have us all there watching!

Classic! One picking his nose and the other with a finger in her ear! LOL

Three days later was Rylee's Nutcracker performance. She had started coming down with a cold the day before, but it was mostly just a runny nose. No big deal. She was the cutest little ballerina mouse I've ever seen. She was also beyond excited that she got to wear makeup!

Cuteness overload!!!

She's such a feisty little thing!

The next day, Rylee came down with a fever that spiked at 105° during the night and I ended up taking her to the doctor. No strep, lungs sounded good, ears looked good; probably just a virus that we needed to ride out. Of course Ayden then got the fever too, although his didn't quite reach as high. Thankfully the fevers ended up being short-lived and passed quickly, which was a good thing, because then they had their school Christmas program!

In the midst of all the activities, we had a family movie night and introduced them to their first big kid movie, Home Alone. Usually, if they don't see a cartoon character, we hear "this is a grown up movie! I want to watch a KID movie!" The overall consensus was that our first family movie night was a raging success! They loved it! I could have done without some of the language/name calling at times (for Ayden and Rylee's sake). Rylee hid her eyes a few times when she thought it was a little scary, but then was laughing a few seconds later.

Mac & Cheese brought them new Christmas pj's for family movie night.

That Home Alone face!

Next came Ayden and Rylee's 5th birthday, which deserves a post all by itself. For now, let's just say that I can't believe my babies are FIVE!!

Ready for their party!

After their birthday party, we had our first Christmas celebration with the in-laws since his brother and his family was in town. I didn't end up taking any pictures that night.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family, which included Sis and her family, my brother and his family, and my mom. We used to spend Christmas Eve with all the extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins... but since my Grandpa passed away and the family has expanded with all the cousins getting married, we sadly don't get together anymore. It was important to Sis and I that we started our own tradition of us siblings still getting together on Christmas Eve with all our kiddos, so that is what we've done the last three years, alternating who's house it is at.


While dinner was being made, I kept all the kids entertained with a dance party in the living room.

All the cousins! P (3), N (7), S (8), Rylee (5), Ayden (5), E (13), U (8)

We had Christmas morning at home, with Tony's parents joining us. Then we had a much needed day of down time for the kids to play with their new toys. We'd been on the go so much since their birthday party, that they hadn't even had a chance to play with any of their new toys, and it was killing them!

Santa came!

(Im)patiently waiting to open all their gifts!

The kids and I spent this last weekend up in Washington, with Tony's family. Tony stayed home because he needed to work. On Saturday, we headed up the mountain to find snow. This turned into a bigger adventure than we all planned on! Right after we arrived at our sledding destination, FIL and I got out of the pickup, intending to get Ayden and Rylee out of their car seats. I managed to put my hand on the lock button as I was getting out, and locked the kids in the truck, with the keys still in the ignition. Smacks head. Ayden freaked out as soon as he realized what had happened. Rylee stayed mostly calm. It's an extended cab truck, so it's big, and of course they couldn't reach the locks on their doors. We tried and tried and tried to get them to unbuckle their harness, but they got more and more frustrated because they couldn't quite get it. I'd been trying to teach them to unbuckle themselves recently, but they hadn't gotten it down yet! After about 40 minutes of them being locked in, everyone trying to keep Ayden calm while encouraging both of them to unbuckle their seats, having them take their shoes off to try opening the door with their feet, several other people (strangers) joining us in our quest of getting them out, BIL was finally able to pry a door open enough to use a long rod (shared from one of the strangers) to press the unlock button. At the same exact moment, Ayden was finally able to release the chest clip on his harness strap! Hallelujah, they were free. We had no cell service where we were at, so SIL had driven down the mountain (in another car) to call for help. Thankfully they didn't charge us when they showed up a half hour later, only to find out we didn't need their help anymore. We went on to enjoy a fun afternoon of sledding, despite there being barely any snow! The kids had fun and we made lots of memories that day.

We may have struggled through the holiday season this year, but we survived and made lots of memories along the way. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but I never truly understood how magical it could be. It makes me weepy thinking about the fact that we almost didn't get to experience what it's like to share this season and make these memories with children of our own. There is nothing in the world that compares to seeing their joy in all the little ways we celebrate Christmas throughout the month. It. Is. Magical.

We ended the month, and the year, with even more excitement! Shortly after putting the kids to bed tonight, Ayden came out to show us that he had a VERY loose tooth. We had known it was loose, but had no idea it was THAT loose! After about 10 minutes of gushing over his loose, barely hanging on tooth, I ushered Ayden and Rylee back to bed (of course she had to come out and see what all the excitement was about). A few minutes later, Ayden was back out to proudly show off the tooth he managed to get pulled out. He asked if he could go show it to Rylee, and of course we let him because losing a tooth (his second) is a very big deal! They are both excited for the Tooth Fairy to come tonight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Right Now: December Edition

Reading: I'm stilllllll working on my book from the library, Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm not giving the book the endorsement it deserves, since I've been working on reading it for 3 months now. It is definitely a great story. I just get distracted by the million other things I have on my plate. I have till the 26th of this month to finish it! I can't renew it anymore after then.

Watching: This is Us is done until after the holidays. I'm not sure if New Amsterdam is also on a break. And I've been watching A Million Little Things. I've been enjoying Million Little Things, but I was disappointed with the previews for this week. "I had sex with Ashley because I love you." Ugh. Gag. Their storyline is my favorite in the show, but major eye roll and loss of respect at that. 

Listening: Currently listening to the rain hit the window and the washing machine going through the spin cycle. On a more enjoyable note, we've been listening and singing a lot of Christmas tunes lately.

Drinking: Water, although not enough, which seems to be a recurring theme. Also been drinking Cascade Ice sparkling Water in Lemonade and Wild Berry flavor.

Eating: Ironically, the EXACT same thing as last month when I wrote November's Right Now post! I just ate a Zone Perfect bar and am making Broccoli Cheddar Soup for dinner!

Wearing: Black capri leggings and a royal blue t-shirt. Very simple, comfortable, and easy. Maybe not the most attractive.

Loving: The kid's excitement for our Elf on the Shelf, Mac & Cheese. I love the excitement, but not so much the early wake ups every day since our elf arrived! Ayden has woken up before 6:00 am every day. I - Am - So - Tired. Worth it to see how happy they are every day to check the advent calendar to see what Mac & Cheese might have brought them, and then be so tickled when they find his new hiding spot every day.

Ayden said, "Mom, look! He's has plungers (little suction cups)  on his feet!" Hahaha

They embraced the 3 good deeds challenge so much better than I thought they would! We emphasized their good deeds to be something nice for others that would make them feel special.

Their good deeds were:

  1. Painted pictures for some neighbors and Aunt D. Unfortunately the neighbors weren't home when we went to deliver them, and we still need to try again. They loved putting the mail to Aunt D in the mailbox all by themselves though.
  2. When we went to the library, they made it a special point to say hi to everyone and tell them to have a great day. When it was time to leave and we were half way to our car, they realized they forgot to tell the librarians to have a great day and insisted on going back inside. Of course I couldn't tell them no! So back inside we went, and they made all the librarians smile. Fist bumps were also exchanged!
  3. They wrote thank you letters to their grandparents for the early birthday presents.

Swinging in Ayden's bedroom

They've also recently discovered the cartoon Tom and Jerry. I am loving and getting a real kick out of listening to their giggles while watching the show. It's impossible not to laugh right along with them when they think it's so funny!

Anticipating: Softball season! I was offered the Head Coaching job and accepted the position last week. I'm looking forward to having something to focus on outside of keeping our house functioning and taking care of my family. Of course that is the single most important job, but it will be so nice to have a small part of the old me back again.

Hoping: That our stomach virus has finally departed our house! We had round two make an appearance on Saturday, but thankfully it was short lived and round two only hit Ayden instead of all of us! Fingers crossed that is actually true. I somehow managed to escape all of it, thank goodness!

Following: Hmmmm... All the info regarding Rylee's Nutcracker performance. It's a pretty big production and there's been a ton of info sent out over the last few weeks. 

Wondering: Who my assistant coaches will be for softball. I have two possibilities, but both of them applied for the Head Coaching position, which I got, so I have no idea if they will have any interest in being volunteer coaches. I'm working on getting at least a small stipend for assistants, but athletic budgets tend to be pretty small at the public school level, so we will see.

Trying: To get more sleep!!!! If only the kids would stop waking up so dang early. Oh, and I guess I could try to get to bed a bit earlier at night as well.

Worrying: About how I'm going to juggle being a mom and coaching softball. I know we will find our new routine eventually, but it's going to be a challenge. Ayden currently goes to karate twice/week, but we are going to have to drop the weekday class, unless MIL will maybe be able to help out with that. I'm not sure her own work schedule will allow for that time commitment for 3 months though. The in-laws are out of town for another week+ so I'm not able to ask about that yet. Also, we'd love for the kids to play t-ball this spring. I have no idea how we will be able to manage that between Tony's work schedule and my coaching schedule. Kind of ironic that as a result of me coaching softball, that my own kids may not be able to play the sport themselves. Time will tell how that all pans out.

Planning: A 5th birthday party! It's going to be at our local fire station. The kids will all get fire hats and badges from the firemen, get a tour of the station, including the locker room, and possibly get rides in a fire truck. We are also making plans for their actual birthday. We are tentatively planning to go to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and to the Oregon ZooLights.

Contemplating: Going to bed. I started this post around 2:00 this afternoon, and I am finally now getting it done! Good night, all!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rocky Start

I love December. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and now it's also the month we celebrate the day we became a family of four! Ayden and Rylee have added so much excitement and joy to the holiday season. I've always thought Christmas was pretty magical, but I had no idea how magical it truly could be! Experiencing everything through their eyes is pretty much the best thing in life.

Friday night, we attended our local tree lighting ceremony that takes place at the College every year. The kids were so excited to go to it! They had a difficult time waiting all day for it. We arrived 20 minutes early, so we could be sure to get a good spot and didn't miss anything. I later really, really wished we hadn't arrived so early! The event was supposed to start at 6:00 with a little parade before the actual tree lighting. The parade was a very sad and pitiful parade that went on forevvvvvverrrrr. They also had a podium set up with a couple commentators, but we couldn't understand a word they said the entire time, despite being directly across the street from them. It was a pretty miserable hour and ten minutes of wrangling the kids by myself (because Tony was still on his way home from work) in a big crowd, in the dark, in the rain. However, the 30 seconds of the actual tree lighting was AMAZING! They turned off all the lights in the buildings and on the street, and there was a countdown, which made it all exciting. And then they lit up the giant Sequoia tree! In the end, the kids were happy and that's all that mattered.

Our Elf on the Shelf made his appearance on Saturday, the first day of December. The kids had been asking if the elf would be back again this year, and even remembered that they had named him Macaroni and Cheese last year! The first year, when they were two years old, his name was Baby Elf. When they were three, he really didn't have a name. Then last year, he got the name that seems to have stuck!

Day 1: So excited to discover Mac & Cheese finally came!

Day 4

The kids are participating in a children's musical this coming weekend and had play practice Saturday morning, followed by Ayden's karate class directly after that. We came home and ate a quick lunch, and then went to a local Santa Train event. While the tree lighting ceremony was pretty lame, the Santa Train was fantastic! We watched Santa and Mrs. Clause arrive on a train, decorated cookies, made Christmas ornaments, wrote and mailed letters to Santa, and got several goodies to take home, including a toy from Santa.

Aaannnnnnd then......

A few hours after being back home and having a little quiet time, Rylee started complaining that her tummy hurt. That is not unusual for her at all because she struggles with constipation. After about an hour of her complaining, I put some essential oils on her belly to hopefully help her feel better. About 5 minutes later, she vomited alllll over herself and the couch. I hadn't expected that at all! Oh my God, the smell. The mess. I had a very hard time keeping it together myself so I could clean it all up, but I survived. I called Tony on his way home from work and asked him to grab some Pedialyte on his way. After being put to bed, she proceeded to vomit 4 more times over the next few hours. When we woke Ayden to take him potty at 10pm, he was crying that he didn't feel very good either. At 12:30am, he vomited in his bed. I assumed he would follow in Rylee's footsteps with several more episodes during the night, but thankfully we made it the rest of the night without anyone getting sick again. The next morning, the kids felt pretty puny and we kept the buckets close by all day, but they ended up not being needed.

It was a low key, lazy day. We watched a lot of tv, played on tablets, played dinosaurs and cars, and colored a bit. I kept them home from school on Monday, just to be on the safe side. We hung a few more Christmas lights outside, and they rode on their bikes and scooters while I did some yard work. They were feeling much better, but then Tony ended up having to come home from work early because he was feeling puny. And then he puked. I will spare you the details of that. I made homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. The kids still didn't have much of an appetite, but they did eat a little bit of soup at least.

Homemade soup!

Tony kept himself isolated in our bedroom. I gave the kids baths and got them into bed for the night, thinking that they would wake up this morning feeling much more rejuvenated. Boy was I wrong! Ayden woke up super cranky, and Rylee woke up not feeling well again and asking for a bucket. I am feeling traumatized by all the vomiting going on around here! She only got sick once this morning, and Ayden thankfully got over his grumpiness and started feeling better, but it was another VERY lazy day at home. Well, lazy for everyone but me that is! I've been busy doing a million puky loads of laundry, cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, and trying to sanitize our house! Tony is still not feeling well and will be staying home from work another day, and of course I won't be sending the kids to school again tomorrow. Ugh!

At least she's cute! Poor thing.

I'm glad we were at least able to start off the month with a few good memories before the sick hit, but I hope this stupid virus makes it's way out the door fast! I keep waiting for it to hit me. With everyone else getting it, I can't imagine being so lucky that it will pass right on by me, but so far so good. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

We HAVE to be healthy by this weekend! The kids have their Children's musical, and Rylee has her ballet recital next week! She had to make it to her class on Saturday and the dress rehearsal on Monday!