Seven Takes On My Christmas This Year:
1. Apparently I contracted "walking pneumonia" during our family's bought with the stomach flu. After going to the doctor, I took a Z-pack of antibiotics which lasted through Christmas. I started feeling a lot better by the time we got to Christmas, but the cough is still lingering so much so that I have pulled some muscles in my core from all the coughing. This has been a lot of fun I tell you. At least I am hanging out in St. Louis with very few responsibilities and not managing the home and children while M works all day.
2. If you want to know how to extend a 8.5 hours drive to 11 hours, let me tell you. First, make sure you need air in your cars tires and fill them as you are leaving town. Stop a two gas stations with unavailable air pumps before finding one which will pump your tires. Second, bring a three year old who is still feeling off from the stomach flu along and make sure she vomits four times along the way. If you are lucky like us it will be in a disposable coffee cup (that you bought full of coffee at the second gas station you stopped at for air) instead of all over the back seat. Third, make sure you bring a newborn who likes to nurse on both sides at a leisurely pace, ensuring that all of your stops take at least 30 minutes. Fourth, have the same newborn have an explosive outfit-soiling back poop just as you are about to get back on the road. Fifth, stop for dinner.
3. My parents bought a two bedroom ranch when I was one year old. My two older sisters and I shared the second bedroom until my brother was three (he shared with my parents) when we moved to a basement bedroom that my dad made wonderfully nice for us girls. We always talked about adding on to the house to make more space, and I believe my parents once had an intention of moving to a larger house. They never did. So this Christmas, we decided it would be fun to have 8 adults and 6 little girls share three bedrooms (plus a semi-finished second basement room) and one bathroom for three days and two nights. It was fun. We all made it to 9 am Christmas Mass EARLY, had a delicious brunch, and managed to open all our presents by 2pm so that the kids could get a little bit of napping.
4. I think we must be a strange family that does not open presents until late in the morning. My dad has always played music for Mass on Christmas morning, so we always had to wait for him to finish clean-up and come home before we opened our presents. As a kid it made Christmas morning take forever as we watched and waited for him to come back home. I am glad we always waited until we had time, because the time we had for presents ended up being nice and leisurely. This was again the case this Christmas.
5. Christmas this year really felt like Christmas to me. Maybe it was because we were in my childhood home with all the siblings together, plus our children and spouses. Another thing that made it nice was that I had seen everyone but my sister and her family just a few weeks earlier because of F's birth and baptism. It is nice how seeing people more often makes you feel more in touch and closer to them even if you don't live in the same town as them.
6. While we have been here we have had the traditional: Amighetti's special sandwiches, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Cecil Whittaker's Pizza, and toasted ravioli. Yum!
7. We still get to have Christmas in Michigan with the in-laws. Hopefully by next week I will be healthy and without any pulled muscles. I am supposed to do Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred during M's J-term break to encourage my extra baby weight to go away...