Holiday greetings, brought to you smothered in Lysol.

27 Dec

Merry Christmas! (Even if you don’t celebrate it. And if you don’t – happy holidays!)

This year, our holiday season has been interesting. We didn’t get to have Thanksgiving celebrations with any of our family because Tom was sick, so we just sat around the apartment soaking in the silence, me nursing him back to health. We had good intentions of having “make up” Thanksgivings, but that didn’t work out.

Fortunately, Tom’s break from school and our break from the mission allowed us to travel to Louisiana for an early Christmas celebration with my in-laws and all of their spouses and kids. That’s a true rarity, considering Tom comes from a family with 5 other siblings and several childhood friends who may as well have been family. Also, Tom’s oldest brother is still in the army, and he and his wife and boy now live in New York, so that makes it hard to get everyone together. Otherwise, Tom’s next oldest brother lives near us, and the rest of the siblings’ families live near their parents. We got to see all the kids and watch them open presents, which is one of the best parts of traveling all that way! I gave the older boys superhero fort kits with matching capes and wrist bands and glow in the dark swords. I was barraged by imaginary lightning bolts and chasing after flung, glowing sword “blades” all night, and it was totally worth it. I gave our oldest niece a kind of boredom basket of little activities to do anytime her incredibly active, easily distracted and undeniably creative mind needs something new. There was a “learn to crochet” kit (her grandmother, my MIL, crochets,) some nail polish and “diamonds,” or rhinestones, glow in the dark jewelry making kits, and other fun trinkets. Our youngest nephew received a play mat I sewed using a town/road theme printed fabric and some recycled felt and grosgrain ribbon to tie it together and carry it when it’s rolled up, and added some age-appropriate Tonka trucks with “Cars” type faces. Our youngest niece was going to get a really cute Minnie Mouse dress up skirt and ears from an Etsy seller, since I was trying to go with a handmade/creative theme, but I didn’t receive it and haven’t gotten a reply from the seller regarding either of the messages I’ve sent her. So, we grabbed a replacement gift at Walgreens on our way out of town: a Mickey and friends CD player and a Mickey Mouse cookie. Luckily, I had also snagged a Mickey and Minnie puzzle from the dollar store a few weeks earlier. The rest of the family received homemade desserts and handmade lip balms and realistic food soaps (one of which my father in law bit into, much to the glee of his biological children.) Here are some photos I snapped with my new camera – the hubby did especially great this year with gift giving!

Then came the dreaded stomach bug. First, one of the nephews was sick. Specifically, he was sick in the kitchen because there wasn’t enough time to make it from the living room to the bathroom. That was our first clue that this was going to be a bad one, and it was probably going to make the rounds to all of us, so we’d better enjoy our healthy fun time while it lasted. Within 48 hours, just in time for us to drive back home, Tom caught the vicious thing. He was well enough (or well enough drugged) to make it home without becoming violently ill, but I drove all but one of the 7 or so hours it took us to make our way back home. He could hardly stay awake or sit up straight, and all he could snack on was Saltines – I couldn’t make the guy drive. So, I mentally prepared myself for a Fibro flare on top of a flare from driving a long distance, and for a stomach bug followed by another flare on a flare from using muscles I forget I have when the virus tried to emergency eject from my system. We got a text sometime around our (my) lunch break from my mother in law saying that our youngest niece was also sick, so I highly doubted I’d manage to dodge it.

We made it home safely in time to eat a little dinner (in Tom’s case, a few more crackers and part of an apple,) and for him to head straight to bed, while I stayed up (meaning I didn’t go to sleep at 8:30 p.m.) just long enough to begin experiencing the symptoms of the digestive-destroying invader. I’ll spare you the details, but I believe I lost any weight I put on eating decadent holiday foods, and I definitely experienced a Fibro flare in the way of regular in timing, but random in location, stabbing pains in my back, glutes, legs, and feet. So, after the worst of the virus’s symptoms subsided, I was still stuck on the couch for most of the next couple of days, which including Christmas eve and Christmas day. Fortunately, Tom was feeling much better by the time I was feeling like death, so he took great care of me, and kept me company as I took unavoidable naps in between cheesy old episodes of “Charmed.” (It’s a mindless show that I barely need to watch in order to follow, and is therefore a wonderful way to distract you from your troubles while not keeping you awake for fear of missing any key or even remotely realistic plot points or witty dialogue.)

Thankfully, I’m finally feeling well today, and we’re going to spend our belated Christmas celebration with my mom tomorrow, and hopefully see my dad and his side of the family before the new year. Sadly, my mother in law and the brother in law who lives near us also became ill the day after we came home, and I read several Facebook updates from friends about the yucky bug, too, so this thing knows no bounds. Not even state lines, folks. Hand sanitizer is your friend – feel free to get up close and personal as often as you like with it!

Anyway, at least I was able to spend lots of time with my husband in a quiet building, and have a few more quiet days to go.

Oh, and did I mentioned we had a white Christmas here in our part of Texas? Here’s the view from our living room:

004

I hope you have had a very merry, sick-free holiday! Enjoy any time you have with your friends and family, and stay out of trouble. Well, the bad kind of trouble, at least.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

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