Merry Christmas! My wish is that you and yours had a wonderful time together, and there was peace and love and joy, even if only for one day.
On the 24th, Christmas eve day, we had an offensive smell alert. You know those plug ins that you get from Bath and Body Works? Well, I like them, but Ryan doesn’t. So, if I plug one in while he’s gone, I have to unplug it before he comes home, or he’ll be coughing and acting like he just might experience “death by smell”. But those little things are filled with scented oil, and if by chance they tip over while they are sitting there not plugged in, they spill out and soak anything nearby with their overly potent scent. I realized this was going to be a problem, and tried to clean it up. I removed the plug-in and put it in my office. I threw away the cards that had soaked up some scented oil. I threw away the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser that had also absorbed the smell. I took the calendar out to the garage (I’m not quite done with that, but I can remove it for a day). I cleaned the counter. It still smelled. Sure enough, Ryan smells it and is coughing and gets an immediate headache. It doesn’t help that he says he felt sick all night (not from this smell, but he’s sick just the same). I clean the counter again. So it smells like bleach and flowery smell together. Yuck. After opening the windows, spraying Nutra-air and cleaning the counter again, I put out a bowl of white vinegar.
For Christmas Eve, we invite Ryan’s parents and my parents over for dinner and games. I had the house mostly ready and was working on dinner. Eventually, the scent was gone. I was making fruit stuffed pork roast, sweet potatos, wild rice. We also had yummy salad and rolls. Except for the fact that the roast was not done when everything else was done and I had to cut it and then cook it a little longer, the dinner was very good. Except for Ryan, who didn’t eat anything (still feeling sick and having some intestinal issues, if you know what I mean), the other grown ups liked it. The kids–they just eat rolls, mostly, not trying anything “fancy” that I attempt to make.
We played games, had hot chocolate, read the nativity story and the kids did the puppet show with the Nativity puppets. Ryan had gone up to bed, but we still managed to have fun. By the time the grandparents all left, it was bed time for the kids. As I was trying to wrangle the kids into bed, Cole decided it was a good time to wrap Megan’s Christmas present. Arg. Then Jenna came to me and asked me if I could help her wrap some presents.
“How many presents?” I tried to keep from getting totally irritated, even though I was dead dog tired and knew that my night was far from over.
“Ones for Megan, Cole and Natalie,” she said innocently.
I’m holding back the words I want to say, since it’s Christmas eve and I’ve spent the evening trying to make magical memories with my family. Be calm. “Ok, if you get the presents ready and meet me downstairs, I’ll help you wrap them after I read John a story,” I say.
“Ok,” she says, “What are they?”
“What?” I ask.
“I don’t have the presents yet.”
I lose it just a tiny bit there, asking her why in the world she would wait until bedtime on Christmas eve to let me know she needed presents, but bit my tongue, and asked her again to wait for me, and we’d find something.
A few minutes later, I scrounged around in the gift closet and found an acceptable present for her sister. I told her to go wrap that, while I looked for more things she could give to the others. Amazingly, we found presents for all three. Not spectacular presents by any means (socks, a book, and a pair of pants), but she wrapped them and got them under the tree. Cole also finished with his wrapping, and we eventually got everyone “nestled all snug in their beds.”
-Sigh- I realized that Ryan wasn’t going to be much help with the rest of the Christmas preparations, and I went downstairs to try to organize things. Good thing I didn’t get everything out, yet, since John was down in a few minutes to ask me something, and I got to escort him back to his bed.
In opening boxes, I realized I only had 4 nerf guns, instead of the 7 that I had ordered. Since there are 5 kids, there’s really no way to split 4 guns without conflict, so the nerf guns stayed in the box. I’ll deal with that later, I grumbled to myself.
“The stockings were hung by the mirror with care” we don’t have a chimney. When they were filled to overflowing, I reminded myself that those stocking really don’t hold as much as I think they do, and made a mental note to buy less next year. I got all the gifts out, even remembering the things I had hidden all over the house. I collapsed into a chair to see the whole town of Bedford Falls pitch in to rescue George Bailey, and hear Zuzu’s famous, “Look, Daddy! Teacher says ‘every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!”
It was only 10:00, which really isn’t that late according to some people’s standards, but I was Just. So. Tired.
I heard someone go into the bathroom upstairs, which is no cause for alarm, but as I walked by the girls’ room, I smelled that unmistakable smell. The smell that reminds me that a holiday isn’t truly complete until someone throws up. It seems that Natalie had been sick, and instead of making it to the bathroom or even containing the mess nicely in her own bed, she leaned over the top bunk and pelted her sister, too. Oh, the Joy!
Do you think I left my sick husband in bed and quietly cleaned it all up by myself? Not a chance. Sick or no sick, I’m exhausted and can’t do this by myself. I roused him from his sleepy sickness and told him I needed help. He, the great guy that he is, got up and helped. I went into the bathroom and helped Natalie get into the shower, while he stripped beds and cleaned up carpet. I found new bedding and helped dry poor Natalie, making sure she had an available bucket should she get sick again. When we finally got her settled, I’m not sure it was “visions of sugar plums” dancing in her head.
In the morning, she seemed good as new, and was ready with the rest of the crew to open presents at promptly 7:00 (the earliest I will let them get up on Christmas). It took Ryan and I a little bit longer to drag our sorry selves out of bed. We opened all the presents in a whirlwind of wrapping paper, and it was fun, as usual. Even though Ryan and I had decided that our gift of tires were what we were giving each other, he gave me a new camera! I had suggested one, and thought it would be a birthday present, but he gave it to me for Christmas anyway. And I only gave him ties. I feel bad. Oh well. My biggest surprise present came from a friend in my ward. I’m actually HER visiting teacher, and on Sunday, she said, “Oh, Paige, I couldn’t resist buying you a present.” And I can see why. I opened the present from her today and was just thrilled! It’s an ornament from Hallmark, called “Ringing in Christmas”. Isn’t it cute?
It’s like a little music box, where you wind a key to hear “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and to see movement of the choir members and director. It’s so cute! I can’t wait to call her and tell her thank you. Or better yet, I’ll write her a nice thank you note. It was a lovely surprise, and such a nice gift.
The kids were thrilled with their big gift, the Wii. They spent all day playing it. We made a bunch of little Mii’s, and played Wii sports all day. We’re going to need to get some more games and some more controllers, that’s for sure. I got them another game, High School Musical Sing a-long, but I unfortunately didn’t get the microphone that goes with it, so we couldn’t play that one today.
The bad thing about today, was that we had to cancel our plans to go see my family. We were going to go to my parents’ house for a family Christmas dinner, but since people were sick, and there had been actual vomiting, there’s no way we could go and expose everyone to our germiness. The kids were sad when we told them we wouldn’t be going, but that gave them all day to play.
So it was a very casual day. Most of us didn’t even get out of our pajamas. I didn’t comb their hair, didn’t do my hair, and I’ve gone the whole day without make-up (eek!). There was much playing, naps, and reading for everyone. We had chicken noodle soup for lunch. We snacked on treats from the neighbors. For dinner (after my nap), I managed to make smoothies, quesedillas and little quiches. Nothing much, compared to the feast we would have had with the family. My lovely son, Cole, said, “You know, mom, if you think about it, this Christmas dinner really sucks.” I had to agree with him, but at least I was feeding them something, right?
So there you have it, folks. Christmas 2007. Not the way I planned it, but it was still a nice day. (And if you made it through this whole post, you really must be a good friend! Thanks for reading! ) We spent it together, and we are happy. Thankfully we were not too sick to enjoy the day. We are blessed beyond measure, and are thankful for all the blessings. What a wonderful season of giving it has been. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!