Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Break

Sigh. It's snowing outside my window, the view framed poetically by three broken Target dollar spot nutcrackers, all nose-less, and the wispy curls of steam from the dryer vent purging vapor into the frosty air. Is there a more glorious sound than a napping house full of sleeping (or crying, but only very faintly and all the way from the back bedroom) children and a washer/dryer cycling? I think the soundtrack of Heaven may involve the churning of the washer and the hypnotic whir of a full running dishwasher.


We've had a rough go of it the past week. I mentioned it on the blog's Facebook page, but Evie raised an eyebrow at her one-year well baby checkup for failing to grow a single centimeter between months 10-12. So, back to Children's Hospital we were sent, this time for bloodwork targeting her IGF and IGF-1 levels, which has something to do with growth hormone reuptake and blah blah blah. We're waiting to get her labs back today. If those numbers are low, the next step is a growth hormone stimulation test, which involves a 12 hour visit to the lab with blood draws every 2 hours and oh, I really can't think about it right now because also ... EVERYBODY HAS THE FLU.

Well, all the small people do. And it's my fault because we never do flu shots. Oh, but they don't work this year anyway? So I guess you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Evie the incredible spent Saturday evening with me in the ER because she spiked a 105 fever. That, coupled with the blood she'd given the morning before, made us worry about dehydration. But $75 worth of fancy hospital-grade pedialyte and Motrin later, we were very happily sent home, where we've been pushing fluids and squirting Tylenol and streaming an almost continuous playlist of Netflix Christmas classics ever since.

Oh gosh, also, I had a root canal last a week and a temporary crown put in while they ordered the real one (fancy? From India?) and, uh, it kind of fell out and I am officially, as of yesterday, a 32-year-old toothless hag.

But Daddy is done working.

And last night, Uncle Kenny helped me wrap every single Christmas present while we listened to my embarrassing 90's channel on Pandora and ate a whole bag of tortilla chips.

And 3 nights ago, at the height of Joey's fiery feverish fit, while I lay beside him in his bed stroking his damp hair, he rolled over and whispered into my ear with hot little breath, "I love you're a good mommy."

And that, folks, is why it's all okay. Even though this may be the crappiest lead up to Christmas in recent family history, I'm so glad we're all together. I'm so glad I can sit here tap tapping in front of the bay window in our kitchen, snow falling over my shoulder and disgusting remnants from last night's spaghetti sauce crusted to the floor beneath my boots.

Later on this afternoon, please God let them continue sleeping, because I'm going to slip away for a little alone time at the dentist. Again. And maybe I can ask for a gold upgrade or something fancier to match my Christmas finery? Do they do molar grills?

I just wanted to stop in here though and say hey, are you having the magical catalogue-ready end of Advent you envisioned? Are you in a frenzy of from-scratch baking and wine sipping and quiet evenings by the fire, catching up with beloved siblings and far-flung friends?


If you're not, and if maybe someone is puking on you currently and you're doing the math right now and realizing that at this rate, you will probably commence vomiting at 3am on Christmas Eve, according to your carefully calculated reckoning via Web MD...well, that's okay.

It is, isn't it? So many families would be happy to have nothing more serious than Influenza A and a nasty bed-wetting epidemic on their hands. And so many more would be happy just to be part of a family, period. To be woken up at night by little needy needlings, and to be snotted on and talked back to.

So I'm calling this a successful foray into Christmas week. Even though nothing has been baked and the only thing I've actually managed to "cook" in the past 72 hours is giant pot of chicken tortilla soup simmering away on the stove. Because nothing says yuletide like fresh cilantro, in my heart.

I hope your Christmas is 98.6 degrees on the nose, but if it's not, I hope you can find the peace and the unassuming joy of a holiday in the trenches of family life.

A few good clicks to go out on: Simcha's list of cheap and idiot-proof Christmas fun.

This ultimate example of Christmas as a state of being.

This song. Can't stop, won't stop.

This sweater my dad will be receiving for his dumb little dog from his newest son in law (unbeknownst to the poor guy in question. Special family tradition...)

Oh, yeah, and before I forget ... I wrote a chapter for a book. And it's out now! Click over to snag yourself a copy of Catholic and Married. But don't read it for my chapter, read it for Hallie and Dan's.

Until next week, a Merry Christmas and a long, unbroken string of silent nights freed from fevers and diaper blow outs, from our house to yours.


  1. Oh, how I needed this!!! So very, very much. Thank you, and you can bet I'll be dedicating my decade of the family rosary to you and your family tonight! God bless you.

  2. Thank you for restoring my perspective in the midst of totally unnecessary stress! Also, praying for your family!

  3. Love this! And I thought we were having a rough few days ;)

    The link to Catholic and Married brings me to the Pentatonix video...

  4. Thanks Jenny. I've cried just a few times today because I'm certain that Ignatius hates me for cleaning up his diahhrea nonstop. I needed a little perspective.

  5. Sending prayers for a peaceful Christmas! You deserve it!

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  7. I am so sorry to hear that things have been so tough at you're house!! Though I so enjoyed your writing about it and can relate to so much of what you described. I would never wish such tough times on anyone but there is something comforting in knowing that other moms are experiencing the craziness of motherhood. Those words though, 'I love you mommy, you are a good mommy.' Those are pure gold to be treasured. Sending prayers your way.

  8. Oh my goodness, Jenny! I pray for a very healthy new year for you guys! . . . My girls were puking for the past three days, so I feel your pain. They're getting better now thank God.

  9. No cookies here either. Too busy this year with all the other stuff on my list (namely, work). But work is done for the week, presents are all wrapped, family is here and we're celebrating tonight with Mass and the traditional Christmas taco bar...! Merry Christmas to you and to all your people - praying the flu is gone quickly.

  10. Just reading this now... feeling your pain... we're on day 12 of the flu here (on kid #3 - one kid and 2 adults to go yet).


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