I took this past week, the one leading up to Christmas, off from work. I usually use my remaining vacation days for the time between Christmas and the new year but I thought I was being smart this year by planning to take off the week leading up to Christmas so I would have time to do whatever needed to be done. The kids are old enough now to voice what they want to do and they like family time - meals together, seeing the lights at La Salette, visiting the Enchanted Village, baking together. I wanted to have time to do and enjoy all of this, and more.
The Christmas party for Rich's side of the family was late Saturday afternoon, the one before Christmas. I spent the morning sewing a twirl skirt as part of a grab gift for an almost four year old who loves princesses and then it was rush, rush to set up for the party in the rented hall. We all had a fun, enjoyable evening with family.
(Me being sneaky and shooting from the hip. Not so bad.)
(Ready for bed.)
I still had quite a bit of shopping left so I spent whatever time I could on Sunday trying to take care of that. I wasn't overly stressed out at that point because I had the entire week off from work. I had scheduled to visit the girls' classrooms both Monday and Tuesday mornings as their teachers were planning holiday crafts and games and I needed to catch up on yearbook photos. (Must meet the quota!) Allie was acting sickly on Sunday but honestly, it seemed like a cold. But then she began complaining of a sore throat (do you see where this is headed?) and she was wheezing enough to use the inhaler that night. So I accepted the fact that I would need to take her to the doctor Monday morning but I was sure I would be able to pop into the school on Wednesday for more photos.
I woke up Monday morning with (what I'm now convinced was) food poisoning (or dirty hands or something else that makes my OCD scream.) I knew right away that it wasn't a run-of-the-mill stomach virus. We later discovered that two others (that we know of) from the family party also fell ill at the same time with the same symptoms. Thankfully, no one else has been sick, which further supports my conclusion of what it was. Rich had to meet a plumber at the rental house that morning so between the two of us, we readied Emily and Anna for school (honestly, it doesn't require that much effort anymore) and I called Grammy. I mean, thank god for Grammy. It really does take a village. She arrived in time to drive Emily and Anna to school. It's funny how they freak out if they think they are going to be two minutes late. I have to remind them that it's seriously not a big deal. By the way, they've never been late so it's not like they are on some tardy list.
Grammy also had to take Allie to the doctor for me. Strep test was negative, but we've had that happen before and a few days later it's positive. Her throat wasn't looking fantastic and her sinuses were inflamed so she was prescribed an antibiotic. So while I normally wouldn't fully support throwing her on an antibiotic, 24 hours later she was back to normal with no additional wheezing. My condition worsened throughout the day so Grammy basically had to take care of everything for me - picking the kids up from school, making dinner and bringing the girls to gymnastics. I had been looking forward to doing these normal everyday mom things myself. :(
I managed to keep down Gatorade and water Monday night and felt so much better Tuesday morning but I was dehydrated and had a splitting headache. I also hadn't eaten anything since Sunday night. The girls were extremely disappointed that I was sick and kept asking if I could go to the school to take pictures. Rich dropped them off at school that morning. I was able to eat a breakfast of crackers and take a shower so I went up to the school for about 20 minutes. My sweeties were so, so happy to see me.
But then I was done for the day and back in bed. My stomach felt better but my body was drained and my head felt like it was hollow and in a vice. The dance schedule for this week had their ballet class and Allie's and Emily's tap class on Tuesday night. I had been looking forward to watching their tap class because I haven't been to one this year and they are practicing a super cute routine for the year-end recital. My headache was so painful and because of the dehydration, I decided to load up on the liquids and well, either I would feel better or it could turn nasty. Grammy had to take them to dance for me. I was feeling better but not well enough to sit at the dance studio for two hours.
Wednesday morning, I was almost back to normal (with zero appetite) but crap, I'd lost two days. Very little was wrapped. I still had gifts to purchase. We were hosting Christmas and hadn't been grocery shopping. The house was a freaking disaster area. And there was a last minute deadline for submission of yearbook photos are you freaking kidding me. Oh, yeah, and let's not forget about work.
I shifted into superhero mode. I walked into the school with the girls when I dropped them off, armed with my camera bag, to see if their teachers would allow me to take some photos. It was pajama day and they were all very welcoming. I returned home, assessed the gift situation for the girls and pulled together a grocery list. I wanted to go out once and finish all the shopping but after gift shopping, I needed to return home for a soup lunch. I was surviving on soup, crackers, toast and ginger ale. I rushed off to the grocery store and gave myself an hour deadline. Done. I ran all the bags inside and plopped down on the couch with the goal of editing all the yearbook photos before I had to leave to pick the girls up from school. My laptop is a granny and it took four minutes to open eight photos in PSE. Seriously? Shut down, reboot. Okay, much better.
There wasn't enough time to edit all the photos, so I thought of an alternative solution and drove up the school with three minutes to spare. When we returned home, I tackled the mound of laundry that had rapidly accumulated. My original before illness plan called for the baking and decorating of gingerbread cookies that afternoon. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. The girls didn't know the schedule so I was able to push it back a day. I attempted to clean but progress was slow. My movements became sluggish. I needed to sit and rest. The truth came out: I am not a superhero. By bedtime, my stomach was angry and I feared the sickness would return.
Rich was home on Thursday and we had told the girls that we would bring them to visit with Santa. Now, we are in the stage of believing in the magic and spirit of Christmas. The girls are inquisitive thinkers - if you know what I mean. I've told them that the spirit of Santa will always be alive in their hearts. In addition to our religious beliefs, we celebrate the magic of Christmas, and a time for giving and joy and visiting with family. I don't know if there's an age cutoff for visiting with Santa but we had one who was a definite yes, one who was neutral and one who wanted nothing to do with it, mainly because he's a questionable old man.
By the time we returned home, it was rush, rush, rush to clean and attempt to bake cookies and do it all before we had to leave for Christmas Eve mass at 3:30. Rich's sister, brother-in-law and mom were coming back to our house after church for a Chinese food dinner, which is a tradition of Rich's family. I spent an hour or so Christmas Eve wrapping presents, which every year I say I'm not going to do but it was unavoidable this year.
(A lot of clouds and some rain here, not the best for full moon viewing.)
Christmas morning was how Christmas mornings should be. I'll have to recap in another post because this one is getting long. I'd had plans for early food preparation, such as cutting veggies, etc. so I could enjoy my family once they arrived. Unfortunately, there wasn't any time for that and I spent hours upon hours in the kitchen. So here's the thing - I don't want to complain but I guess I'm bitter over this whole food poisoning incident. It's been a struggle to balance life and this week just blew it all apart. I hate all this rushing around with never enough time to really enjoy my kids, my family. I feel like I'm always behind and always trying to catch up. I want a change.
So as to not end on a sour note, there are many thankfuls from this week:
- That the girls and Rich didn't get sick.
- That, in terms of food poisoning, my illness was on the minor end of the spectrum.
- That I have a mom who lives close by and can drop everything to help without any notice.
- That the girls have a huge family who loves them (and who were very generous and thoughtful with gift giving.