Monday, December 31, 2012

'Tis the Season

At the beginning of December the snow finally started to stick & boy was it exciting!   I just love Katie's face here as she watched Lily sweep the snow off the railing.
The next morning the girls woke up anxious to see the snow
We all got dressed to go out and play, though Katie and I were both still suffering a cough.
Kate loves the snow so much, she is definitely a little snow bunny
 Below you can see Lily clobber Izzie with a snowball in our first ever snowball fight.  The girls LOVED it.  I was a little worried that we might have some hurt feelings with throwing snow at each other, but there was no whining at all, only giggling!
 Lily just threw a snowball at me!

 Here is Lily, ever the good big sister, handing Katie a snowball to throw
 Dad shoveled the steps off for us while we played on the deck.
 Then we went out to the yard and he shoveled the deck
 Once his shoveling duties were done, he came to join in the fun!
 Here he is tagging Izzie while she's down.  We don't pull any punches 'round here!  :)

All Izzie ever wants to do is eat snow.
Have you seen the movie "Date Night"?  In the movie Tina Fey loathes that her husband never closes drawers.  For me it's that my kids never tuck their totes back into the cubbies, so they stick out at varying intervals.  Here is an example of what happens when a rushing mommy is carrying her sick not quite 2 year old and doesn't see the bottom tote is under her feet.  Normally I would catch myself, like I have the million other times a tote has caused a stumble, but I took the fall to protect Kate and it was ugly.  She was fine and swear words didn't come out of my mouth, so that was about the best outcome I could've hoped for.  That night when I was getting dressed for bed I noticed this beauty starting to develop.  It actually got uglier, but I never thought to take another picture.
 We enjoyed the snow as much as possible as I finally started to feel better.

 Then, the night before Kate's 2nd birthday I got hit with the flu.  Hard.  I knew that it had to be the flu by the really high fever and the pain.  I went into urgent care and they swabbed me for influenza A, and wrote me prescriptions for a cough suppressant, an inhaler, and Tamiflu.  I was supposed to speak at our Christmas Relief Society Dinner, and I had to back out last minute which was really sad.  Also, it was Kate's birthday and I could barely get out of bed.  Matt baked a cake while I was at urgent care, so I felt obligated to decorate it (even though he insisted I didn't need to).  Matt gave me a 1 hour time limit since I felt like death and he knows that I am a perfectionist.  I exceeded it a bit, and my freehand work is a little shotty, I was hoping to add the bobo brothers from the tree etc, but it was fine.  I was exhausted after sitting and doing this much & Kate saw it and squealed "Diego!!" with delight, so my mission was accomplished!  I was out of bed just long enough to watch her open her 4 presents and blow out the candles.  She had a great time and loved her birthday and I am so glad, because I was so incredibly sick.  Too sick to feel guilty about not doing much.  Matt was able to come home around 4 pm the first few days I had the flu, and that was a LIFESAVER.  I was honestly hoping to die.  Let's just say that I will NEVER delay getting my flu shot again!!

When I pulled out my cake stuff I realized that all our candles had melted together into a big blob in the move.  So, I grabbed so tea light candles and stuck them on the cake.  Luckily she was only turning 2.
The girls got Kate a ball for her birthday, when we set all the wrapped gifts on the table Katie pointed at it and said, "ball!" declaring that was the one she wanted to open first.  Maybe I should've put it in a box before wrapping it...
Mom & Dad gave her a baby doll
Here she is with her traditional card from her Great-Grandma with a new crisp 2 dollar bill in it.
She got overalls from my mom as a hopeful solution to our nudist problem

The biggest hit of the night was the stroller we got to be from Nana.  It remains a big hit.  The nice thing about not being able to buy many gifts is that they appreciate them all a little more!
The next week (the week before Christmas) we survived our first Blizzard!  It was fun to get so much snow.  It was AWFUL to have to go out and shovel said snow while on the tail end of having the flu.  I really wanted to take a picture of the snow shoveling process for all my AZ peeps, but I just felt so crummy that the thought of going in and getting the camera to document it was too much.  It was a game of 'guess where the sidewalk is', because the whole yard was covered in a foot of snow out to the street.  We have a LOT of sidewalk so it usually takes a couple of hours to do (depending on the depth and consistency of the snow) and it is hard work!  The few days leading up to Christmas were kinda brutal between sickness, and all the snow, plus our car battery died, so I had to pack the girls into the Escape (which is a contortionist act) to take Katie to the doctor while running a high fever myself, then buy a new battery and bring it home.  I waited a few days hoping to get better before giving in and actually installing it, beacuase I could put it off no longer when I knew that we all needed to go to church.
 The Sunday before Christmas was a rough one.  Isabel and Kate had developed a tummy bug and were up all night throwing up. (and mommy and daddy were up washing sheets, giving baths, and tending sick kiddos)  Isabel only threw up a couple of times, but I lost count with Kate.  She couldn't even keep down water.  Unfortunately we HAD to go to sacrament meeting.  Matt and I were singing a duet as part of the program.  I was just getting over the flu and still had quite a cough.  The staying up all night did us both in and I was losing my voice.  The number was pretty mediocre, and that stinks being that it was the first time we've sung here in Rochester, it would've been nice to feel like our voices were full strength.  Honestly in the end, we were just glad it was over, we made it through.  We didn't even stay for the rest of sacrament meeting we just left, glad to get our kids home before they threw up on anything.
 Poor Kate.  She really didn't feel well, but I wanted a pic of them in their Sunday Christmas best, even if we were only at church for 40 minutes.  The nice thing about having girls almost exactly 2 years apart is that they grown into hand-me-downs at exactly the right time.  Its so fun to see outfits that you loved come out again.
The next day was Christmas Eve!!  It lightly snowed through the afternoon on Christmas Eve and it was SO fun to do our Christmas activities while watching big fat flakes gently blow around outside.  This Christmas just seemed special to us.  Maybe its because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the ONLY 2 days that week that no one in our house was vomiting.  That was a gift!  But more than that, we felt blessed to have all of our little family together.  The tragic shootings in Connecticut were so heartbreaking, I think that most families were counting their blessings this Christmas.  Also this is the first Christmas since Lily was born that Matt had both Christmas Eve and Day off from work!  It was AMAZING to have him around for all the Christmas activities! 
Here are the girls helping make cookies for Santa

Now its time to decorate!

During the day we also watched "White Christmas" and "The Polar Express"
We decorated a gingerbread house

Tried to catch a family shot with the camera timer
 My girls and I!
I just loved this candid we caught of Izzie
That night we skyped with our AZ families!  We took part in the Nativity with our Earl family, they held a picture of our family up with the picture of the star, and we watched it all from skype.  We also skyped with my family, though Charlie was the only one who went to my mom's, so we just chatted with them.  It was great to get to visit with family.  We really missed all the holiday get togethers this year.  We of course did our traditional Jesus Stocking, opened our new jammies and then we had some hot chocolate with candy canes before bed.
And the girls were sure to leave some cookies out for Santa!
Santa enjoyed the cookies, but I think next year we won't let them put out quite so many
 Santa rewarded them by filling their stockings!
 We had some VERY excited girls the next morning!
 Matt and I didn't get each other gifts this year.  In fact we bought a giant coloring book for each of the girls and got them each a new pair of jammies and we got one sledding disk, that was all we did.  Santa filled every one's stockings and I had to splurge on this for Matt.  We shared a stocking this year and it was mostly filled with practical items, but I couldn't resist getting this for Matt, and getting some chocolates for the both of us.
The girls were SO excited to get their stockings down and see what goodies Santa had brought them!

I want to say thank you to all our wonderful family members who sent us presents to go under our tree, you made our Christmas magical!  It's tough living on loans and knowing that you have to really pick and choose what you do for your kids.  We had siblings and parents and grandparents unexpectedly send gifts for our girls and nothing touched my heart more this Christmas.  So really, truly, THANKS!!
 My mom sent me a heating pad, I have been wanting one for YEARS and now that we are in such cold temps it was the perfect gift for me!
 Uncle Charlie sent the girls "Brave", we watched it with him over Thanksgiving and they loved it.  They were so excited to get it!  Autnie Andrea also sent them a movie.  We watched them both Christmas day!
The last gift we opened was from GG.  It was one of those books that you can record yourself reading out loud.  The recording was of my mom and GG reading.  The girls all put down their toys without being asked and listened to it twice all the way through, and I cried like a baby the whole time.  I will cherish forever having this recording of my mom and my sweet grandma doing all the whinny the pooh voices.  It was the perfect gift.

 The girls spent the afternoon coloring in their awesome dollar store giant coloring books
I kept with our Christmas tradition and made Aebleskivers for breakfast
That night Matt made homemade bread bowls for dinner.  His first ever attempt and they were so yummy!
If we had only known then that the stomach bug was NOT dead in our house and that the rest of us would spent the next few days falling victim to it one by one, we would've enjoyed our Christmas treats a LOT more, and a lot more quickly!  As it is the week that we thought we would spend playing in the snow, breaking in our new sled, and hopefully getting a babysitter for this first time since we moved (so that we could see Les Miserables) was instead spent cleaning up vomit, putting movies on for the kids, sleeping on the bathroom floor, and just trying to make it through the day.  Honestly I am starting to fear a mental breakdown if we don't get a solid 2 weeks in here sometime soon during which no one is sick.  This Minnesota cold and flu season is doing its best to defeat me, and I am stuggling to keep my spirits up.  Neither of us has thrown up for almost 24 hours now so hopefully we'll be able to ring in the New Year feeling healthier.  That's our prayer for 2013 that it will be healthy and that we will find joy in each day!