circus, family, fun

The Circus

It’s been such a nice weekend! The weather has been cool-not-cold and nobody has suffered with allergies. I was picking up dinner from Fernando’s earlier in the week and saw a box of many “Free Child’s Ticket” to the Star Family Circus. I grabbed three and marked the calendar. I have only ever been to one other circus in my life, long ago, and can’t remember much of it. I recall it reminded me of Dumbo, complete with the large, red circus tent and performing wild animals. It bothered me watching elephants and tigers being whipped, so I didn’t want to go again. Clowns also bother me. However, the Star Family Circus only uses trained dogs who are treated with bits of hot dog when they perform.

I gave the big kids some cash so they could buy coloring books and cotton candy (Elias thought the cotton candy was a magical experience). In the beginning of the show, they sat up front for a better view. All in all, it was a fun experience for the kids and us as a family.

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.
ducks, family, pond


Emily came over, so we picked up some lunch from Burger King and headed to the park with the kids. It was cooler than we anticipated. I had told the kiddos not to worry about bringing their sweaters as the weather said 70s, but alas, it was in the 60s when we got to the park. Oh, well. I pushed Elias in the baby swing while the big kids ran around chasing each other, but decided to leave as the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping. We headed to Walmart so I could buy some new shoes and socks for Elias. He’s outgrowing everything so fast, it’s ridiculous. Then, we went to the pond to see the ducks for a little while. Zac and I used to bring James and Leah to this same pond often when they were little. Over the years, the water has been slowly becoming more shallow, so the pond was drained, made deeper, and refilled.
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.
family, food, holiday, thanksgiving

Great, full.

A few weeks ago, I swallowed my anxiety and sent out a mass group invitation to family members via Facebook to come to Mom’s for Thanksgiving. As the day drew nearer, more and more family declined the invite. In the end, our only attendees were Karen, Eddie, and Kylie, as well as Aunt Trish, Uncle John, Anna, Christina, and Christina’s husband, John. Honestly, I was relieved to have fewer people to visit. Aunt Trish even made me my own stash of Bourbon balls, which are tucked away safely in my upstairs refrigerator.
Mom planned for she and me to cook together, but once she got started, she took over and I spent my time upstairs with Zac. I think she enjoyed cooking, though. It’s been years since she’s had the kitchen to herself.
My kids were super awesome well-behaved and sweet to Kylie. She’s 14 now, so I know how weird it is to be stuck in the age gap between too-old-for-young-kids, too-young-for-adults grouping. And it was nice visiting with Anna and Christina. We’re going to start planning another family get-together for the new year. Can you believe 2016 is almost over? I mean, I feel like this year went by in a blur.
The Christmas shopping is 99% finished, thanks to online sales. I think we may even go out and get a tree tomorrow!
family, fun, halloween, holiday, trick-or-treating

Halloween 2016

Halloween sneaked up on us this year. Going to the Oaks threw us off and before we knew it, we had one day left to grab a few bags of candy for Trick-or-Treaters and last-minute pumpkins to carve. Part of me is glad the day is over, but the other part wishes it was still hovering. Zac worked overtime hours over the weekend, so we never got a chance to do much prep. He brought the kids to work with him on Sunday, which gave me some much-needed Me time. I was especially thankful to Elias for napping a good three hours straight.
On Halloween, the kids received their treat buckets from the Wicked Witch and we got started on making Octoberfeast. I gotta say, I’m proud of myself for getting everything prepped and ready within the time frame. Once the food was done, we went Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood with Emily and Alex, then came home to relax. My comfortable shoes couldn’t prevent my back pain, but it was a fun night. I don’t have any pictures, but we dressed the same as we did for Ghosts in the Oaks, minus the hair dye.
carnival, city park, fair, family, ghosts in the oaks, halloween, pumpkins, trick-or-treating

Ghosts in the Oaks (last week)

Not far back, I purchased some tickets to Ghosts in the Oaks, a fund-raising event at City Park in New Orleans. It fell on the same weekend as the church’s Trunk-or-Treat shindig, but in my experience with my own past of Trunk-or-Treating, this was a must. Zac got off work early on Friday, so we arrived at Sean’s (and Kyle’s, I guess, since they live together now) before the kids’ bedtimes. Sean’s friend, Lauren, was visiting so we played the Werewolf game a few times before she went home.
I forgot to bring my tea, so I struggled through a cup of coffee Saturday morning. It’s crazy how much I loved coffee until I switched to tea. Now, I can barely drink it without making a face. We hung out with the guys and watched Daddy’s Home. Zac and I live under a big rock in the woods, so we’re unaware of any and all current movies that aren’t animated or child-friendly.
We headed across the lake around 6ish, dressed in our costumes, getting a few strange looks from other drivers. I promised the kids they could color their hair, so Zac picked up some spray dye. Leah picked blue, James picked green, and I brought them outside for a spray-fest.
We made it to the Oaks and were greeted by a witchy cackle and a fog machine. There were carnival rides, so the big kids wanted to get started on riding things before Trick-or-Treating. Leah was more excited to try the “scary” rides than James was. They were both on the Rockin’ Tug, but you can’t see the very apprehensive James hiding in the shadows next to Leah. We picked out some mini pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, then went Trick-or-Treating through a storybook forest. James wasn’t wanting to ride much, but I convinced him that trying new things was a good idea, so he, along with Zac and Leah, went on the Drop Tower (and he LOVED it!), but freaked out on the Music Express and I had to wave an attendant down to help him get off midway. Poor thing. Leah was in tears for what I thought was fear, but she was upset that the ride stopped. We ended with a carousel ride since Elias was too small to do much, and headed back to Sean’s.
We went to Slidell on Sunday to meet up with Ashley, or Ash, and I traded some gifts with her. I hadn’t seen her since 2010 at the kiddos’ birthday party. Jeez. We walked around Michael’s and I found some cute pumpkin things, then we parted ways and went back to Sean’s. We stayed an extra night, instead of coming back to Mississippi Sunday night, we came back early Monday morning. The kids did their lesson, Zac went to work, and I unpacked all our things. Back to the grind.