Thursday, December 31, 2020

Christmas Break Week Two

The art of finding pleasure in mating lids with storage vessels may be called adulting. Perhaps. It could also be confused with "get a life." But we ordered a Rubbermaid set of interchangeable lids with matching containers and the result was reorganized cabinets. All God's people rejoiced. Well, the grownups in our house did anyway. But along the same lines of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, this led to a complete overhaul of all the cabinets in the kitchen. And the next thing I knew, a closet was tackled rather aggressively as well. Where my mind is cluttered, the hidden spaces in my home are not. This is a coping mechanism called "oh crap! Mom is doing it again! Hide your stuff!" Or something like that.....

Erin and I sat down with her gynecologist this week and came away with additional testing and appointments. We anticipate a hysterectomy within the coming months. We are at peace with the decision, just ready to close this particular chapter in her life. 

A daughter wrestled with a large upheaval in her life and another is planning some time on a beach this weekend. Motherhood: the insanity of balancing all the emotional roller coasters while remaining somewhat hopeful. 

Piper has made herself right at home, frightening the other animals in our zoo. Praise God. I worried, it seems, for nothing. 

Kate and Ty are ringing in the new year with Aunt Theresa and grandparents again. They love the rowdy celebration; a stark contrast to the quiet of their parent's early bedtime and simple dinner. The new year arrives whether you watch the ball drop or not, we have learned. 

2020 is a wrap. Overall, we faired well. Greg has been happier in the job he landed in March than either of his last two positions. He appreciated being "essential" and able to work throughout all of quarantine. Ty thrived with virtual learning and loves his teacher. Makenna and I were both paid while off in the spring and still have the jobs we love. Erin found love and a fantastic new position within the University. Both Erin and Makenna overcame challenging classes with scores they are proud to claim. Of course we were discouraged by the pandemic and the insanity of decisions made, but chose to appreciate slowing down and the family time it provided. All years offer difficulties and joys and 2020 pushed that line but our perspective remains rooted in the promise "God's got this".

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas Break Week One


After church on Sunday, I took a long nap. It took a lot for me to emerge from my bed in time to check out the Christmas star that evening. The clear skies and family time were necessary to soothe my exhausted heart. Sleeping away a hard day, a satisfying change of pace from weeks of sleeping so very little. This winter break had almost nothing planned so I could catch up on my thoughts and rest; processing time has been lacking in my full speed ahead schedule lately. But of course, that was the plan.....

On Monday, Kate consulted with a pediatric neurologist for on-going concerns surrounding her post concussive syndrome. Whereas we knew we wouldn't have any immediate answers, we also didn't anticipate learning we were months away from further diagnostic testing beyond the MRI and upcoming lab work. Neuro-psych evaluations require months in waiting. So we will wait. We took advantage of the sunny afternoon out together with some last minute shopping and lunch. We both needed the day out together. 

While we were out, Ty spent the day with his best buddy, Kendra. They never stopped moving and ended the nine hour playdate begging for a sleepover we declined to honor. Her mother and I treasure their friendship. 

However, Monday afternoon Erin received her latest pap results and was immediately referred to the Brown Cancer Center. We are reeling. The procedure six months ago was expected to eradicate the cells and all surrounding tissue contained negative margins. Erin is angry and I am devestated. The appointment left us with more questions than answers and higher level of frustration than either of us experienced prior. She will be seeing three more physicians in the coming weeks.

Thursday morning, Austin called to tell us Rudolph was leading Santa's sleigh to his house and he was going to make cookies for him. We adore that little boy and his giant vocabulary. 

He called Friday morning to perform a drum solo for us and we learned he woke his exhausted parents at one in the morning exclaiming, "Santa was here!"

The girls requested pet Christmas photos. Of course they did. 

Thursday evening, Greg, Kate and I attended our candlelight service while my parents stayed behind with Erin who remains more nervous about Covid. Makenna and Ty chose to spend the time with grandparents as well. When we returned, charcuterie boards were displayed and an explanation was given for a partially broken lamp. "We only broke one thing so can we have dessert now?", Erin age 25. And so the evening was spent talking over appetizers and dessert. This grown up Christmas Eve a bit different from the years spent spreading reindeer food, making Santa's plate, reading The Night Before Christmas and making a mess with ash from the fireplace to signify Santa's arrival down the chimney. Both seasons are perfect in their own way.

Erin was finishing the last of the crab legs at the other end of the table and Layla, was getting as close as we would allow to make sure Erin knew she was quite interested in exploring this strange food. Other than Layla, no one had complaints about Christmas Eve dinner.

Mom brought hot chocolate bombs to replace our traditional Christmas Eve tea party. They were a huge success, even if they were too big to fit inside our mugs. 

Ty could not believe how cold it got overnight and lamented our decision to forbid the air track in the living room so Grandpa bowled on the wii with him.

Christmas Eve service told the nativity story in it's original language, which ended up being a beautiful way to absorb the emotions of those involved. In the remainder of our worship, Prince of Peace was repeated and precisely the reminder my soul needed. He is the Prince of Peace despite the chaos of my world. Immanuel. God with us.

In the quiet of Christmas morning, Oliver wanted me to know he is still a gift. He is humble like that.

Ada Jane is the only animal I bought a gift for this year. When I saw this tiny bottle of cat wine, I knew the options for entertainment were endless. Rumor has it she may have her wine in her mom's wine rack.

So the girls each selected an expensive pair of shoes for Christmas. Given their ages, very few things are surprises for them on Christmas morning. I tried holding off on this particular gift so everyone would be delighted to learn I am finally caving. We are going to be a Hamster family after more than a year and a half of begging. Ty was speechless. The girls squealed and celebrated. Several conversations have taken place with Oliver. "Hamsters are friends. Not food."

Early in November, I ordered Ty a TV for his room. I had requested discreet packaging and for updated tracking information. The TV not only arrived a day earlier than anticipated but was also in an obvious box. Ty was the one who discovered it at the door and was jumping up and down excited. I lied. Suddenly my mom in a state of total confusion sent my Dad's Christmas to my house. I had Ty help me wrap it before Dad arrived for Thanksgiving to keep him from seeing his gift. So on Christmas morning, Ty opened the wall mounting bracket and was told the TV was actually his. He was truly surprised and oh so excited. 

Kate celebrating the additon of a hamster to our zoo.

In the aftermath, my parents headed to home to later celebrate with my sister and her family while our house grew fairly quiet. Christmas Day naps are highly recommended. 
When we decided Erin needed a soft blanket on the end of her bed, I took Ty along to help select one. He literally spent ten minutes petting and hugging the options before declaring this the winner. Her Christmas day nap confirmed he chose well.

In what is likely the only time in twenty years, our Christmas decor survived all of Christmas Day. I elected a nap and to stay warm in the single digit real feel temperatures as opposed to packing items away in the attic. It all disappeared Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to Santa, family movie night will have some new flavors.

December 26, 9am: Ty emerged and announced he was dressed, had brushed his teeth, used deodorant and put product in his hair. He knew the pet store opened at that time and he was ready to get his hamster.

He stood and watched the different breeds for awhile before firmly deciding on the most active little girl who kept checking out his finger. Meet Piper. She made herself immediately at home by climbing her cage and jumping out of hands. He is delighted. 

While at the pet store he wandered over to see the tarantula. Lord help me. If the hamster escapes, I wish her well. If a tarantula escapes, the house has to be burned down. 

I like her. And so far, she likes all of us. Welcome to the zoo, Piper.