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I’m Still Alive, I Swear

Hi friends! I’m still alive, I promise. This has been the biggest whirwind of a month. I did not mean to disappear for the last couple of weeks. I don’t have a lot of time right now but I wanted to pop in and give a quick update. As most of you know, we have been working hard to get our house ready for sale. Our goal was to be ready to put the house on the market in May so we could move after the school year ended. Well, the state of our current housing market necessitated us moving up our timeline. Houses are literally selling in days in our neighborhood with bidding wars and multiple offers. So we spent the last month working like dogs to finish up any last minute projects. I think I’ve slept 5 hours since March haha! But we did it. Every project was finished and we called our realtor. Our house was on the market within 5 days of calling her. And the offers began rolling in, even before we had showings. I’m happy to tell you that our house is officially under contract. We had multiple good offers and accepted an all cash offer over asking price. They requested a quick closing so we’ve been scrambling to find and secure our rental house and all the hoops that requires us to jump through. 

We’ve had so much going on other than our house stuff too. Tyler went to prom. Maliah has a boyfriend. The little kids spent the weekend at their grandparents….I’ll do a real catch up life lately post soon when my head is finally above water again. I can’t wait to share the professional pictures that we had done of our house for the MLS listing! 

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Chronicles Of A Flu Stricken Family

So I completely disappeared from this blog last week. There was a good reason. Our entire family, with the exception of Tyler, was stricken down with the dreaded flu. If you follow me on Instagram then you saw me chronicle parts of the week. Here’s a glimpse into the week of a family struck down by Influenza.

Day One:

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That’s patient zero up there. Saturday evening Mason started feeling crummy. 3 hours later he had a fever of 103 and was miserable. So first thing Sunday morning we were at Target Minute Clinic for a flu test and exam. He was positive for Influenza A. I took the prescription for Tamiflu and the doctor’s not very optimistic “good luck” and we went home. I called around to all 34 pharmacies nearest me until I found one with Tamiflu in stock. $50 later we had the last 2 bottles of medicine that was so awful it made Mason gag and cry every time he had to take it. 

Day Two:

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Monday morning came in like a wrecking ball. All 3 younger kids had fevers hovering between 103-104 all day long. They were sad, miserable, and impossible to please. I spent the day catering to a hoard of tiny dictators who insisted on sharing their germs with me. I almost lost a finger trying to sneak a Kit-Kat out of their Halloween candy but flu germs? Those they’re willing to share. Matt came home early Monday afternoon with the dreaded Man Flu. And Tyler refused to set foot in our house until all the flu germs were gone. He packed a bag for the week and took off for a friend’s house. Lucky. 

Day 3:

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All that lovely sharing of flu germs worked and I woke up with a high fever and a general feeling of death. Matt stayed home from work- his first sick day in 12 years! Dang Asian immune system. The entire day consisted of lying on the couch and occasionally tossing medicine at sick kids. I don’t remember anything else. 

Day 4:

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That picture pretty much sums it up. A gazillion dollars spent at the pharmacy just to keep us alive. Day four brought with it fun tummy troubles for the kids which led to more moaning and whining. After I made the trip up the stairs for the millionth time to take a kid a fresh water bottle while Matt moaned on the couch, I started to wonder just how long I’d have to hold that pillow over his face……luckily for him the stairs sucked out all my strength. 

Day 5:

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Day 5 brought total misery for Zoey. Her cough turned into wheezing and severe congestion, her ears started hurting, and the dreaded white patches appeared in the back of her throat. We did some spoonfuls of honey and peppermint essential oil in the diffuser to help with her coughing. Then we did a detox bath with more oils. It definitely did help! I got her into the doctors that afternoon and sure enough- strep throat and a double ear infection. Go big or go home, Zoey!

Day 6:

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Day 6 saw some improvements finally. Mason was fever free for the entire day. Maliah was also fever free. She declined to have any pictures taken of her while battling the flu. I don’t understand her reluctance. Ha. Once Zoey got a few doses of her antibiotics in her, she felt much better. 

Day 7:

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We finally left the house. Finally. Everyone was fever free and starting to go crazy in the house. So we headed out to Target. We needed some stuff- like Lysol and food. The kids were so excited to re-enter the land of the living again. 

So ends the week of misery. Everyone went back to school today and Matt went back to work. Tyler finally came home last night. I spent the entire day washing and sanitizing bedrooms and bedding. Every square inch of this house has been disinfected and cleaned. I’m not taking any chances!

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The Reality Of The Perfect Christmas

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I remember the holidays when I was a little kid. We watched Christmas movies on our only TV when they came on one of the 6 channels we got because my dad refused to pay for cable- but only if dad wasn’t already watching something. My mom made us hot cocoa from the packets- sans marshmallows because the ones with marshmallows were a dollar more. We went to one family Christmas party on Christmas Eve after church and all the other holiday parties were adult only. On Christmas morning we woke up to our unwrapped presents separated into piles for each of us (thanks Santa). We had a couple of hours to enjoy them before being forced into our frilly Christmas dresses and beginning what my sister and I now refer to as the Holiday Parade of Homes through 4-5 relatives homes where we would be shuffled off to play with cousins or dogs while our parents enjoyed wine (mom) and scotch on the rocks (dad) with the adults. See back then Christmas was not all about how to create the perfect, magical Christmas for the kids.

Fast forward to the current day.

Pinterest is clogged with 10,546 creative ideas for Elf on the Shelf to delight your kids, 999 extravagant holiday recipes to make at home with your kids, 6500 new family traditions to start immediately so as to not spoil childhood for your kids, 498 ways to make your gift wrapping stand out, and 1.4 million holiday crafts to do with your little cherubs. Christmas has become a whole thing dedicated to creating the perfectly staged Instagram and Facebook posts to show friends, family, and complete strangers that you are a family (and mom) to be envied.

No more. I’m saying no to the pressure to frantically manufacture Christmas magic, to send the perfect holiday cards, to all the things that everyone says you must do to create the perfect Christmas season for your kids. I’m saying no to pushing and forcing and making my family participate in all the activities that society today deems necessary for a picture perfect Christmas. I’m saying no to using Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook as guidelines for what I should be doing this holiday season. I’m saying no.

Instead, we will focus on what matters most to us. We will drink hot cocoa from a packet- with marshmallows because we’re not savages. We will lounge in our comfy fleece pajamas in front of a fire watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We will make Christmas cookies from refrigerated dough and enjoy every bite. We will decline most holiday party invitations in favor of quiet family nights at home. We will blast our favorite Christmas songs and sing along. There will be no perfect Christmas cards, no outrageous elf antics, no 4 hours spent waiting to spend 20 minutes driving through Christmas town to see lights, no 5 course holiday meals, no matching family pajamas, no expertly decorated Christmas trees or mantles, no Clark Griswold-esque outdoor light displays.

I’m not sending any Christmas cards this year. I can no longer justify spending hundreds of dollars on cards that just get tossed out in a couple of weeks. Our elf, Jingles, likes to find creative places to hide every night but she very thoughtfully does not create mischievous messes for me to clean up. The kids don’t have any desire to drive through the Christmas town to see the lights anymore. We’re going to be dining on Cinnamon Roll Bake and a delicious egg breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. I don’t think there is any possible way to force Tyler to participate in matching Christmas pajamas- he’s pretty stubborn. One of our Christmas trees is lopsided because a foot is cracked and the other Christmas tree is half lit because I can’t find the burnt out bulb. We bought one of those Star Shower laser light things to project Christmas lights onto our house this year instead of hanging real lights.

And you know what? That’s ok. Christmas isn’t about perfection. I’m happy with how we are celebrating Christmas. My family is happy. I can scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, enjoy those perfectly decorated houses, and smile because they really are beautiful. But I don’t feel envious or cheated or less than. I feel grateful. We have everything we need. And that’s what matters. 

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Christmas: Then and Now

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Nothing hits home the fact that I have big kids like the changes in how we celebrate Christmas. Long gone are the days when the kids wanted to take pictures with Santa. I miss those days….

Then: The kids couldn’t wait to decorate the trees the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Now: We haven’t even put up our trees yet because the kids all had plans the weekend after Thanksgiving. We might get them up this weekend. But the kids aren’t bothered. 

Then: The only things on their wish lists were the current year’s hottest toys.
Now: Tyler asked for money. Maia asked for clothes. Mason asked for body pillows (ha! He’s a grandpa at heart.). And Zoey asked for an electric blanket. Who are these kids?

Then: We watched every single animated Christmas special that came on television.
Now: We watch the unedited versions of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, and the kids favorite is Elf. 

Then: They couldn’t wait to help me bake Christmas cookies and treats.
Now: They only want to eat them. 

Then: Threats that Santa is watching them ensured a very peaceful December.
Now: They just laugh at me. 

Then: I dreaded the mere thought of entertaining kids for the entire Christmas break.
Now: I am counting the days until the kids are out. No packing lunches, no homework, no early morning wake ups, no carpool…14 days. We have 14 days. 

Then: I had presents hidden all over this house in obscure places to keep them away from prying eyes. Then we spent 3 hours in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve trying to quietly sneak them under the tree…after I remembered where they all were hidden.
Now: I have all presents wrapped and under the tree way in advance of Christmas and I know they won’t be touched.

Then: They all had matching, color coordinated Christmas pajamas and I made them all pose in front of the tree for pictures before they opened gifts.
Now: I guarantee at least one, probably 2, of my kids will wander out without pants. One of said children will be Tyler. There will be no posed pictures. If I’m lucky I’ll get one pictures with all of them in it, looking somewhere near the camera, and not making any weird faces. 

Then: The first kid woke up around 3:3oam and tried to incite a riot of stampeding children down the stairs. We spent 3 hours shuffling kids back to bed before giving up around 6:30am. 
Now: Matt and I are the first ones awake. We enjoy a cup of coffee while we wait for our offspring to emerge from their caves, usually around 9:30am. 

 

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Halloween 2017 Recap

It seems impossible to me that Halloween is already over! This year is just flying by and I’m not prepared! We had a great Halloween this year. It was a fun week of festivities for the kids with spirit week at school, Character Day for the little kids, and they got the day off of school yesterday. That’s like the trifecta of happiness. Ha!

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The lower school does Character Day instead of Halloween which I love. It’s a whole day of fun. They spend a few days prior to Character Day decorating a pumpkin or scarecrow according to a classroom book chosen by the teacher. Zoey’s class did A Bad Case of Stripes and Mason’s class did Three Little Pigs. They loved it and they really love seeing their display out in the front of the school every day! For Character Day they got to dress up according to one of their favorite books and parade around the entire campus getting high fives from the middle and upper school students. Mason chose to be the ninja from Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja and Zoey chose to be Pete from the Pete the Cat series. 

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The upper school students were allowed to dress up within reason according to a specific decade assigned by grade. The juniors were supposed to dress up as young 20’s. Tyler is rocking the Frat Boy Morning After look. Ha! He had a baseball cap that he put on backwards as well. I’m getting a pretty clear picture of what he’s going to look like in a couple of years. I’m scared. 

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A friend who is a teacher at the school got these great pictures of Zoey for me during and after the parade. So cute! She wasn’t able to get one of Mason because he was running along with friends. Of course. I love love love having friends who teach at the school. I get all kinds of pictures that I wouldn’t get otherwise. 

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We had a full crowd come trick or treating with us. Tyler declined to participate, choosing instead to hit several parties with his friends and football teammates. He was cleared by his medical team to go as long as there were no strobe lights, no black lights, and he wasn’t the one driving people around after dark. He was so happy to get back to some semblance of a social life. Maia had one of her best friends come spend the night, Mason’s good friend came with us, and Zoey’s best friend came too. I made Chocolate Chip Sheet Pancakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and bacon on the side for dinner. It was delicious! This is just a small portion of our trick or treating gang! We were about 18 people strong out trolling the neighborhood for candy. 

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It was such a fun night. After everyone who wasn’t spending the night had left we watched Annabelle Creation and The Mummy with the big kids while they ate most of their candy and enjoyed Brownie sundaes and popcorn. Maia and her friend even took a midnight dip in the hot tub. They all collapsed in bed around 2am and didn’t move until around 11am, looking like zombies. Ha! 

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