christmas, family, fun, gingerbread, hair dye, new orleans, new years, polar express, snow, travel

Christmas 2016 – New Year’s 2017

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve and Day was amazing, in spite of Dad’s accident. On Christmas Eve, the kiddos opened their traditional matching pajama sets from Gymboree, which I managed to snag a picture of before letting Elias sample the cookies and make a chocolatey mess all over himself. Emily came over and we decorated a Wilton’s pre-baked gingerbread mini house party kit (phew, that’s a mouthful!) and I baked chocolate chip cookies for Santa. I found a Santa-Tracker app on my phone, so it was fun showing the kids where Santa was located and when he’d arrive at our house. It was exciting for them as they hurried to bed. James swears he heard sleigh bells, so they hurried to bed before midnight.

Christmas Day was relaxing that morning. Everyone basically got what they wanted, plus some cool extra stuff. Santa only drops off one thing for each kid now (so much easier), so Zac and I buy whatever else. This year the big kids wanted robots. I blame cable TV in Dad’s room for all the commercials. So James only wanted an interactive R2D2 and Leah wanted a Zoomer cat. Santa brought her a Meowzie (Zoomer kitten) and she was disappointed that it didn’t roll, despite having wheels. She’s come to like it, though. And Elias has been glued to his new rocking horse.


We went to Sean’s for New Year’s. We arrived early enough for the kids to play for a little while before having to go to bed. Sean introduced us to his lady-friend, Erica, who Leah just loved to pieces. Erica is into Minecraft on a level similar to James’ so they’re all basically BFFs. Mom had bought tickets for the Polar Express train ride in New Orleans prior to Dad’s accident, so since they couldn’t go, we brought Marie and Francesca. It was such a fun experience. The kids loved it and it was nice going with Zac’s family.

Jessie invited us over to watch fireworks, but it rained all weekend. We hung out and she dolled me up all fancy while Zac picked up a pizza. She even baked some chocolate macarons, O.M.G. They were delicious. The big kids played with Orrin and his super cool Millennium Falcon hovercraft while us grownups enjoyed coffee and conversation. Elias was on such great behavior, we kinda forgot he was around, haha.

It was a great weekend, even in the rain. Karen came to stay with us for a few days to help watch Dad since it’s difficult for me to give him 100% attention when I’ve got kids to worry about.

We had our first snow of the year. I say snow, but it’s really ice. Cold, slippery ice. The kids are loving it, though, even without shoes.
ambulance, christmas, dad, emergency room, er, family, seizure, shock, subdural hematoma


Note: Our Christmas story will be in a separate post.
Christmas morning started off perfectly. Everybody sat downstairs in the sun room, I played holiday music on my phone via Pandora and we passed around and opened gifts with my parents while the cinnamon rolls baked.
After an hour or so, Mom decided to head to bed. She was upstairs in the kitchen, so Zac and I decided to start picking up the wrapping paper scraps and neatening up. Dad grabbed an arm load of goodies and started heading up the stairs. There are only eight steps that lead up to the kitchen. Not like the 18-20 that lead to the bedrooms. I happened to look up at the moment my dad was falling, straight back onto the floor from the 5th step. The thud still haunts me. He landed so hard that the floor shook and he slid a few inches. I don’t remember anything but the way his voice sounded – quiet, rhythmic moans with his breathing. I screamed, “Dad!” and Mom hurried downstairs and was shouting. Dad wouldn’t look at us, wouldn’t respond to our voices. His hand was grasping at the floor while I put a shirt under his head. Then we saw a small area of blood on the carpet. A small trickle of blood was coming from the side of his head somewhere, but I didn’t want to move his head around. He started saying “Yes” over and over, quietly, while trying to sit up. I didn’t see blood from his ears, but he had a deep gash near his left eye. Mom called 911 and we had to keep Dad from sitting up. He kept trying to push himself up to sit, but kept dropping back down. He managed to roll over onto his other side, so I sat and talked to him. Mom hurried to get dressed and the paramedics arrived. They asked him questions about what happened, but Dad had no memory of the morning or of falling. He didn’t know what month is was, what day, or even which holiday. He kept asking, “What’s all the commotion about?” and was just so lost and confused. The ambulance took him away with Mom.
Emily came over not long after they left and I told her what happened. She had passed the ambulance on our street, but didn’t expect it to be carrying Dad. Zac cleaned up the blood for me. We wasted time while waiting for updates. When Dad landed, he hit his left side, then his head. I think his glasses cut his face, unless it was the impact. He developed a subdural hematoma, which can absorb on its own, but not in every case. He also had a seizure and suffered a mild concussion. He threw up in the ambulance, which isn’t a good sign. The doctors transferred him from one hospital to another and hooked him up to monitors and machines in the ICU. Emily and I packed a bag for Mom and decided to exchange gifts and hang around until Mom needed us to go to her.
When Emily and I arrived at the hospital, only one at a time were allowed back, so I went first and of course burst into tears when I saw him just laying there. It reminded me of his heart attack when I was little. He thought it was silly, but told me he felt fine, just tired. Luckily, a room became available, so he was able to move to a private space with a more comfortable bed. Mom and Emily were able to visit along with me once Dad was settled. I hugged him and told him not to go yet. He spent the first night in his own room and did great. Tonight he’s being moved to a recovery room. Hopefully he can come home soon. From what I know, his heart rate lowered too much when he was climbing the stairs, which lead to him blacking out. I don’t remember him trying to catch himself, he just went backward. I can’t get the image out of my head… it was like a slow motion movie and I was frozen. Poor James and Leah saw him fall. Leah freaked out and started screaming, James was in shock, and Elias started crying. It was just a horrible experience all around.
christmas, family portrait, santa


There are less than three weeks until Christmas. Holy peppermints, Batman. The last of my online orders came today, so I can get the gifts sorted and ready for the tree… the tree we have yet to purchase because the season crept up on us. Is it from being in my 30s? It seems like all the holidays just jump out of nowhere lately.
We purchased a few matchy shirts and had a family portrait with Santa done. I don’t think we’re sending out cards this year, but I dunno. 
aunts, christmas, family, kids, presents, relatives, travel, uncles

Christmas 2015

Happy holidays!

It was truly a Christmas miracle that I woke up, able to breathe through my nose. We had a wet Christmas, not a white one. Such is the south… My littlest sugarplum kept us up late, but one can’t resist smooching such a sweet face.

We kept our Christmas Eve tradition of opening the stockings, but I let the kids open one gift for both of them: the Guess Who? board game. I loved it when I was a kid, but never owned it. Luckily, I spent most weekends at friends’ houses and discovered a love of board games and jigsaw puzzles. I had a terrible time coming up with stocking stuffers, but thanks to Pinterest, I was able to keep it simple. I think the kids had a great Christmas. They even got new bikes from Santa and Pikmin toys like they wanted.
I sneaked up on Santa eating cookies.
The day after Christmas, we went to my Aunt Mavis’ house in Toomsooba. I drove the Buick, my parents squished beside me in the front, while my kids sat in the back. I have vowed to always always always take my own car from now on. Too much side-seat driving while I’m listening to my GPS, too much talking, too much of everything… for over an hour! Absolutely horrible. It was a nice visit with Mom’s side of the family, though. But then I had to drive home with the parents… Ahh! Zac had to work, so he couldn’t come. Emily and Alex also worked.
Back row: Molly Leah C., Josh, Seth holding Axel
Front row: Wes, James holding Elias, Luke, Leah W.
Me, Meredith, Britney, Rodney, Kim, Matt
Mom, Dad, Granny, Aunt Mavis, Uncle John, Aunt Trish, Papaw.
Mom gave me a candle last week. It’s one of those jewelry candles where you melt it down until you get to the jewelry. Meredith used to buy castle-shaped candles that had money in them. I finally got mine down far enough to scoop the foil out and collected a ring worth $30-$40. It’s a topaz on a silver band, so I decided to keep it as topaz is my birthstone.
I’m glad the holidays are over and I can start getting things back together. Come January, my family is going to start eating better and spend more time outside. I’m going to start cooking again and maybe even get myself a part-time job. I’ll also be on a weightloss/fitness journey, so there’s a chance it’ll be in the blog. Yikes!
christmas, chuck e cheese, colds, crochet, family, fever, frozen, gifts, holidays, homemade, homeschool, kids, mermaid tail afghan, mittens, parenting, sick, sinuses

Random December

It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve posted. We’ve all been dealing with head colds. Every year, our family gets sick. Usually, the sickness occurs right around Christmas time because of course. James started it with a sore throat and a cough. Then, Leah spiked a fever of 103 degrees, developed a sore throat and a cough. I caught the cough and sore throat and sinus malfunction. Zac had a sore throat and congestion, then Elias had the yucky nose.

2 cups hot water, 1 Tb lemon juice, 1 Tb honey. Stir & drink.

December has been irritatingly busy. I’ve been crocheting like crazy, pushing past the pain in my hands, and finally finished Francesca’s mermaid afghan. I also made three pairs of mittens for the kids and a pair of finger-less gloves for Emily, I’m taking a break for now, but plan to make socks for myself, as well as gloves, in January. I’m going for themed pieces for the different holidays.

We finally got around to taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Both did so awesome with their lessons before our break (almost two months of completely green stars) and they totally earned a treat. We went mid-day on a Friday so the place was practically vacant. It was delightful. Zac and I helped the kids win tickets and I found a few tokens and tickets that were dropped and forgotten. We had fun.
I’ve been trying to be crafty lately. I revamped one of Leah’s headbands from generic Elsa and Anna to looking more Frozen. She found a snowflake ring on the ground outside Chuck E. Cheese (we washed it) and I hot-glued the picture onto it. I also got a bit hot-glue-happy and made a wreath for Christmas.
We even built a gingerbread house! The first actual one that isn’t made of Graham crackers. It was easy to assemble, but didn’t stay together long.
cat, christmas, crafts, family, gingerbread, holidays, louisiana, pets, thanksgiving, travel

Louisiana Trip

Two weeks until Christmas. I don’t feel ready at all. I mean, I’m ready as far as it’s expected and the gifts are waiting to be wrapped, but I’m not ready for this year to be over. When I was a kid, Christmas took a century to arrive from one year to the next. Now, I blink and my babies are no longer babies, Santa is lurking around the corners, and there’s one more gray hair to pull from my eyebrows. Elias is now four months old. He isn’t as fussy as he was last month. Now, he cries when he’s hungry (which is almost always), tired, or needs a diaper change. He laughs, and when he does, I forget that he cries. 
Wednesday was killer-stress. Zac made a to-pack list, James washed laundry, and I packed our bags for the trip. Elias had to get his second round of vaccinations, so he was coping with a fever Wednesday night. I took the kids to church for 6 so they could practice their Christmas songs, then I stayed for choir practice (I miss singing and soprano is getting harder). Zac had to work til 1am and I stayed awake until 4am trying to rock Elias and monitor his fever. I wanted to be up at 8am on Thursday morning so we could get to Sean’s before lunch. However, I fell asleep around 5am in my bed and didn’t wake up until 10am. Oh well. We left the house at 2. After stopping for gas and food, plus dealing with traffic, we made it to Sean’s around 6. 
We went to Slidell on Friday and walked around the very barren mall. Most of the stores closed or went out of business. It’s a shame. Books-A-Million is still there, which is nice since it was my most favorite place to spend my 30-minute lunch break when I worked at Bath & Body Works. I found a few books I want to read (mostly based on the covers) as well as some ideas for the big kids’ Christmas Kindles. I also found Mom a religious coffee tumbler (something she’s been hinting at). After walking from one side to the other, we left the mall and went to visit Mawmaw. She held Elias and he just laughed for her, even chuckling. It was so precious. I learned that my dear husband used to cry just as much as our little baby. Fancy that.
Amber is still alive and well and so sweet. She was outside on the driveway and was purring and chirping at me. I miss her so much and wish we could take her home. Zac and James have horrible allergies and it wouldn’t be fair to them. Mawmaw is taking good care of her, though. 
We headed to Marie’s to visit for a bit. She brought out some giant gingerbread man cookies for the kids to decorate. James was just saying recently how he misses visiting her because she always seems to have crafts to do, though more specifically, edible crafts.

We spent one last night at Sean’s to watch Ant Man and eat banana’s foster. Zac and James came home with horrible allergies. I helped Zac unload the car and he went to nap before working tonight at 7. I won’t see him until 5am tomorrow. The kids and I went to church tonight to practice the Christmas music. Tomorrow, the kids are singing with the choir (I even joined for the cantata). It’s a bit weird… I haven’t really been involved in the church (or any church, for that matter). I’m exhausted and I’ve gotta get these kids in the bed.

bass pro shop, charlie brown, christmas, christmas tree, decorations, dogs, family, great american cookies, holidays, kids, national cookie day, parade, parenting, pictures, santa, seasonal, siblings

Holidays and Parade

This year for pictures with Santa, I felt a little disappointed that we weren’t living in Louisiana. James and Leah sat on the same Santa’s lap for their first Christmas pictures, even though they were three years apart. Zac and I first brought the kids to Bass Pro Shop Friday morning since we got a good deal last year. Santa wouldn’t arrive until later that evening, so we looked at the fish and the assortment of taxidermy and decided to go elsewhere. We headed to the mall and were the only ones in line (for the first time ever). The pictures were hard to choose from, but we settled on the one where all the kids had their eyes open without making a goofy face. I was highly impressed that Elias didn’t cry. Since Saturday was National Cookie Day, we stopped by Great American Cookies in the mall to pick out a few. I sometimes miss that place…

Friday night, we helped decorate a parade float on a trailer for the Pearl Christmas Parade with some people from the church. It was a Charlie Brown Christmas theme. We were to meet up with everyone at the baseball field at 7:20am Saturday morning in order to ride on the trailer to the location where the floats line up. All the kids wore character masks. James and Leah were Charlie and Sally. My poor babies were freezing cold and tired. I had set an alarm for 6am. Elias usually wakes up around 5am to nurse, so while I was feeding him, I dozed back off. I woke up with a start at 7am and I felt like I was in Home Alone in the scene where everyone is rushing around like headless chickens. Luckily, we weren’t the only ones running late and we made it to the line-up on time. I carried Elias in the wrap and walked beside the float for about a mile until my right side started to cramp up. I had to ride the last mile on the trailer. I discovered my handbag fell off the trailer at some point and was run over, so the bottle I had for Elias broke and soaked the inside of my bag. All the diapers were ruined, but at least I thought to put my phone in my pocket. Phew!

It’s been a busy few weeks. We bought a Christmas tree and a train set last week. Mom had some old ornaments in a box, so we didn’t need to get new ones. I’ve always wanted a nice train set for under the tree. There was one in Disney World and another themed for The Polar Express. I would absolutely love a Hogwarts train, but alas, they are expensive/hard to find. I found a really great one at Lowes and it was easy to assemble. I’m totally digging the holidays right now, as much as I hate the plethora of humans everywhere. Toby and Ruby haven’t even tried to drink the tree water.