Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Princess...
and the rest of us! 

Each boy gets a new train car for his train from Santa every year.  
So the boys couldn't wait to investigate their new train cars.  

Santa brought a bunch of new characters for the Disney Infinity game.  

Stocking time! 
Santa really stuffed their stockings full. 

There's no waiting! 
They can't wait to open their goodies. 
Christmas is one of those times where I can consider Autism a Blessing. 
Chris is so set on routine, that as the oldest, he insists on keeping our regular routines, dressing in matching jammies, opening their stuff together.  He leads.  And as he's aging, he gets the other ones going in the same directions. This Christmas involved less insanity and more enjoyment of each other. 

I Need my Space. 
It's hard to see this shirt, but it's so perfectly Jacob. 
Jacob wants to be an astronaut, and his favorite color is yellow.  
He also gets easily overstimulated. So Perfect. 

I totally picked this one out for Sam. 
You Matter.  Unless you multiply yourself by the Speed of Light. Then You Energy.
Sam is totally destined to be my Science Geek. 

More Yellow things!  
He has been begging for a yellow sled.  
Too bad there wasn't any snow for him to go out and test it out on the little hill in the backyard. 

Sam in a Slytherin Scarf. 
He knew this one was coming. He asked for it.  
And it was HUGE.  I hope he grows into it. ;) 

Christmas Day mornings are Lazy. 
We watch movies, or read books, sometimes at the same time.  
I'm pretty happy about my little history geek. 

Mommy Got a Starbucks Mug!  
And of course had to test it. 
When we were on our Fall Break trip, and drove through 

Mommy's Musicians. 

 Before I'd let them have any screen time, I made them practice. 
It wasn't their best work, but their Away in a Manger is making progress every day. 
Maybe it'll be Awesome by January? 

Breakfast #1.  
Christmas Bacon. 
Eric's aunt Betty makes this amazing bacon during the holidays. Eric has got it all figured out now.  It's brown sugar and a pinch of cayenne, and a few other secret ingredients.  I don't know.  I just know that if he doesn't set it on fire, it's AWESOME!   
It's a happy breakfast.  
Also pictured with honey flakey biscuits.  Chris, in his Spectral Glory, decided that we need to have this breakfast for every holiday, not just Christmas.  He is a boy of routine. 

The Kids at the Kiddie Table. 
Merry Christmas.  
My Dad and Stepmom always put on such an amazing spread. And I love that the kids are old enough and responsible enough that we can let them be together.  No meltdowns. Just Joy. 

Chris sloves the idea of special treats. But he is such a boy of routine, he has to have his standard chocolate cake for dessert when he's at Oma and Opa's.  

The Carnage. 
How the boys get spoiled by their Oma and Opa.  
I love it.  It's just a part of the insanity of the day. I tried to get other pics, but never failed that people were moving.  I thought about posting a vision all the blurriness. 
I wasn't doing much as I'm still recovering from my Walking Pneumonia. I got a nap before we went to Daddy's so that helped give me some energy to get through the wild and crazy day. 
But I'll take it all to see them so happy and full of Joy. 

Charlie got a Sparkle shirt.  Sequins and Unicorns are what is in this year, so Aunt Cathy had to oblige!

Annie is also Sensitive like Chris, so although Sequins were the theme, I went a little more low key with hers and grabbed the sequined mittens.  
Why don't they make these fun goodies for grownups?! 

Lisa loved her presents.  
I got her some Greek Thyme honey from Greece and some Oils. 
She studied abroad back in the day, and fell in love with it while she was there.  But she couldn't get any here. She happened to mention it in passing a few months back, and so she got a very padded package of it. She was very happy about every gift and touched that we remember. 

Oma made me slippers.  My Stepmom used the same pattern that Grandma used to make, and made slippers for everyone.  Mine are beautiful varigated shades of aqua, teal and turquoise. My favorite color is everything between green and blue.  
So after all the crazy of the day, I'm ending my evening watching Christmas movies in my new jammies that Eric got me and slippers by treelight.  And fabulously enough they match! 

Merry Christmas to All and To All a Good Night. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Christmas Eve

The weirdest thing just happened.  I got fired from my previous gig as #1 Elf for Santa.   The presence of #1 son was requested to act as #1 Elf.  WOW.  I was told I could go to bed.  Is it because I've been sick?  Is it because #1 son is now 13 and such a great helper with a better spine and more energy than me?  Probably both.   Still, I have to stay awake a little longer to get my replacement off his flush, so I thought I'd get started with a blog story of our day.  It has been a Wild One! 
Being sick on Christmas Eve is something I'm not used to.  Not having a voice to sing Christmas carols at church also stinks.  I am not making the most of these holidays.  I like to sit back and relax when we're on vacation because I want to, not because I have to.  And lately, my energy level is so low, I have to. 
Still, today, we made a good dent in vacationing and enjoying some festive holiday time together.

 A Snappy Dresser.
So we started the day, fairly typically, with yelling to get dressed, insanity as we try to coordinate Holiday fashions.  Jacob picked out his pants.  Vintage Awesome.  They belonged to Eric, probably Ryan, and or Karl too.  My mother in law saved a bin of awesome old clothes from her boys to give to my boys.  And we're almost through it.  This is one of the last pieces to survive.  And Jacob rocked it today.  He learned to snap, and was dancy pantsy all over the house.  
We voted him, "Best Pants" of the day.

Ryan and Amy hosted Christmas this year.  And it was so nice. 
Maybe it was just that they made it so easy, a buffet of appetizers, and kids playing happily with eachother for a while before we even opened presents. 
I got to catch up with my girls and love on my nephews. 

The boys were content wherever there was a screen.  
At least they were getting along. 

For a brief moment, they were all quiet, while presents were distributed.  
Then suddenly, the flurry began, and they all opened with a vengance. 

Then it got crazy. 
I practiced panoramic shots of all of it, which surprisingly turned out well. Amazing considering how everyone was moving while I was shooting.  

Bryce loved his Pikachu. 
If you ask Cole, he will tell you that Bryce is 2, and doesn't talk that's why he does First Steps. 
Yep.  Since 2 of our 3 did that, we completely understand.  But Bryce is beginning to really communicate.  Sure, it's not always in English.  But he made his thoughts known when he opened his present from us.  And it made my day, he hit the box and said Pika!  The sweetboy has like 5 words in English and Pika was one of them.  <3  I guess we chose wisely. 

It was a very Harry Potter day for Chris.  
He got new legos, and a Snitch.  

Sam raked in the Harry Potters too.  
He got a Snitch like his brother, and some classic HP books homemade by Aunt Erica. 
I saw the "Monster Book of Monsters" from a distance and thought Mom had gotten it at Universal. 
Instead, Erica MADE it!   And apparently, Bryce LOVED it, especially when she would take the box and have it growl at her.  Later, he walked by it, and growled at it, and giggled.  It was fantastic. 
I hope I remember how enchanting Bryce was today for a long time.  He's really growing into such a neat character.  And he plays well with his cousins.  The kids all got along so well today. 

I couldn't last the entirety of the festivities.  At one point, I was talking to my sister in law, and I started to swirl and drift into the couch, I knew I needed to nap and cough.  Big coughs.  I coughed all the way home, and crashed for a 2 hour nap on the couch.  

All the cousins in one place, getting along. 
Meanwhile, Eric and Mom helped coordinate this photo for me. 

After my nap, I went and grabbed the boys.  
We got home just enough to do their Kumon homework, then they were ready for dinner. 

Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra.

We've started a new tradition, inadvertantly.  
A couple years ago, we partied with the fam most of the day, and didn't have dinner, until we discovered we were hungry on the way home from Church.  Surprise!  The Chinese Buffet was open. 
Last year, we went on purpose.  This year too. 
My friend was telling me that it's become a tradition for Jewish families to go out for Chinese at Christmas, because it's what's open.  I just keep thinking of that Christmas Story scene where they end up at the Chinese restaurant.   By the time we get to Christmas, we don't feel like cooking much.  
This works.  
After my big nap, an egg roll tasted great to me.  I haven't felt like eating deep fried anything in days. 

They had a selfie station at the church for us. 
The boys cooperated pretty decently for us. 
Jake's pants and Chris's shoes make me smile. 

We even had a friend (a tall friend) take a picture take a picture of all of us together. 
I never get myself photographed at these things, I'm always behind the camera.  

When we got home, Eric put the trains together, and the boys and I got cooking on some of the holiday traditions.  Like watching Charlie Brown!

Three sweetboys watch Charlie Brown. 

"Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest." 
My Mom got us all matching Charlie Brown Jammies last year. 
I love them. I'm even wearing snoopy Jamberry wraps on my nails right now since I knew they'd match.   I'll be bummed when they outgrow them.  I plan on wearing mine for a long time! 

Reading the Polar Express together. 
This one moment of sweetness was so good, I quickly grabbed my phone and snapped without really looking, as we were all reading, taking turns on different sides of the pages, really making a shared work of it.  And it was so nice.   
It's this kind of cuddling, quality time, and togetherness that I really love about Christmas Break.

This year, Eric set up the trains upstairs.  
And he got them working just before bed for the boys. 

We sat in the light of trains and tree just watching them go around and around. 
This is one of their favorite Christmas Eve traditions.  
They can't wait to see what new train cars and goodies Santa will bring tomorrow! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#19 Out of 20

We crossed another one off our Date List.  
Saturday morning. 
The Church borrowed all the boys so they could practice for the Christmas Pageant. 
In return for giving them our kids, we get to go shopping for a couple hours, and have lunch. 
Best deal ever! 

First we went to Target, and stopped at the Starbucks there, and finished up some shopping for the boys.  I got a Medicine ball, which I must confess has really been help opening my chest and throat. It's half steamed lemonade and half two teas, Defense with Pineapple and Jade Citrus Mint.  And honey.  It's not the sweetest beverage they offer, the combo of peppermint and citrus can overwhelm. But it does the trick. 

I felt good enough to have a date lunch with my hun. 

For lunch, we went to Thai Lanna. 
It's a great Thai place on the west side, but since word has gotten out it's good, it's usually crowded when we go by.  They don't staff for crowds, so we hadn't been in a while. 
But it was dead quiet at 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Luckily for us. 
So we got some crab rangoon, which was so yummy.  And tried the last Thai curry puff in the place. And of course, my chicken on a stick.  Aka chicken satay.  
I wish I knew how to make that cucumber sauce they serve.  It's like sugar and vinegar and tiny bits of cucumber and red pepper.  I love it, I could drink it! 

I got this. Eric got his usual Pad Thai so Thai Hot flavored it makes him cry. He likes it that way. 
Mine was Thom Yum soup with Pad Thai, was it Thom Thai, or Pad Yum, Thom Pad?  I don't remember. 

Whatever you call it, it was magical soup with noodles. 
That stuff clears my chest out too.  And my sinuses. 
Thom yum is magical, and I liked having it with noodles. 

We love getting out for Thai food, but it's not very often. 
I really crave oriental food in winter. I don't know why. 
And the soup whenever I'm sick helps. So I guess it all works out. 
And we crossed another date off our list. <3

1 more to go....

Saturday, December 15, 2018

1, 2, 3, Yum!

They were eating their advent chocolates like some folks drink shots.  
1,2,3, Yum!  
And on Yum, they were all pounding back their chocolates. 
We'd gotten behind.  It's hard for me to want to sugar them up, right before bed.  So this time, they ate their dinner, and were all begging for dessert, so I let them eat their chocolates.  5 days worth.  
Oy, we'd gotten behind.  Still, it's not Christmas yet, so we're still on schedule. 

They make me smile. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wonky Pneumonia

So, let's start off by saying I had no idea I was sick.  I had an annoying cough.   I'd been cutting back on milk for the last couple days, because I had some drainage, and milk was aggrevating it.  But towards the late half of this week, my slightly annoying cough, was growing to more than mildly annoying.  I was coughing so hard in the mornings that I peed!  I thought only old people did that.  I've heard once you have a bunch of kids that happens.  But I had 3 c-sections, my bladder should be fine.  Except apparently, when I cough that hard.  Then Thursday afternoon, I was coughing telling Eric a story and laughing had set me off.  I told him it was beginning to hurt my head when I coughed.  A lot.  Like I might "Blust a burd vessel." I mean of course, if I had aneurysm, that blood vessel would burst.  But that's not how it came out.  OK, ok, maybe I am feeling little more run down than I thought.  I went for a nap.  Then I got up, coughed some more, peed some more, so I called and made an appointment with my doctor.
I didn't think I'd need to keep it for myself. Honestly, Jacob coughed once so hard at breakfast, I thought he'd need it.   But nah, he was fine after one good go.   And he wanted to go to school.

Meanwhile, my appointment was set for 12:30.  I sent Jacob off to school with his brothers.  And then I met my Dad for a cup of coffee.   This was particularly interesting as he was coughing a little, kind of like me.  He apologized (just like I have been) for his "mildly annoying cough".  He'd been diagnosed with bronchitis two days prior.  But he said, he was on antibiotics and fine.
Come to think of it...
Uh oh.
I sound a little like that too.  I wondered if I might have bronchitis.  Maybe I should keep that appointment.   Maybe I should get Jacob checked....  I felt fine.  I thought to myself.  No biggie.  My Dad ordered a drink, a Chai Latte.  Funny, I never knew he drank those.  I got a Medicine Ball from Starbucks.  Since I realized I'm feeling funny, I've been disinclined to have super milk and sugary coffee.  I didn't want any of that.   The Medicine Ball was what I needed.   And it was good to talk to my dad.  So I thought as I left, I'll keep that appointment, but maybe first pop by the school and check on Jacob.  Maybe he'll need to come with me.   You know, actually, maybe we both should kidnap Jacob for lunch.  I haven't spent enough quality time with him lately.  I take the big boys to therapy and out for lunch dates all the time.  But I don't take Jacob.  Poor kid, I thought.  He gets the fuzzy end, being the littlest.  I got to feeling quite bad for him.
Eric was on board with kidnapping Jacob with me, just to take him out and give him a little Quality Time.  He was working from home.  He's been working a gig lately, where he works from home.    It's just we can't predict when that will be. We never know when it's going to happen, so we can't plan anything. Anyway, he got all set up and we went to the school.
Eric dropped me off by the entrance, and waited.  We didn't think it would take long to grab Jacob.  It did though, we caught him just as he was entering the cafeteria.  When they brought him to the office, I said "Guess what?!  We're kidnapping you for lunch!  It's a rainy day, you'll have recess with us.  Don't you want to go out for macaroni and cheese or pancakes?"  I  must've overwhelmed him with my joy, because he was mellow, and quiet.  By the time we got to the car, he started to cry.
"I'm gonna miss Choice Time." What?!  He didn't want to miss Choice Time. I don't know what that is, is it instead of outdoor recess, is it part of class. We told him we'd bring him back after lunch and recess.  Instead, he burst into tears.  Not just tears, giant growing snowballs of tears slowly rolling down his face.  There were little words. (Note he hasn't been talking about his feelings much either, but we're working on it.)  It was pitiful.  He told me he wanted to stay and do Choice Time.  He wanted to have lunch with his friends.  I thought, Oh, OK, you tell me a problem, this is one we can fix.  OK, we can do that.  Eric said, I'll go park the car.  I turn back around and take Jacob sobbing back into school.  I explain to the gals, that he didn't want to leave.  So the second he's back, I look around, and he has left me, and run for the cafeteria.  He didn't even want us to stay.  Shocked I turned and left.  I kind of felt like crying.  I couldn't believe he didn't want to have lunch with us, that he'd rather eat at school.   That's the first time I've ever had a kid do that.  He really wanted to be at school.

So I left.

I left my baby at school, and went to have a lunch date with my hubby.   It made me kind of sad.  He preferred school to me.  We'd gotten such a good motivation for pancakes thinking about what Jacob would want, we decided to take ourselves to IHOP.

I opted to go for the dairy.  After all, I'm not very sick, just got a little drainage.  
Plus, green grinch cocoa!  
Well, they were out of green whip cream, probably better for my colon after all, so I got white whip with red heart candies and peppermint cocoa.  It was So Good! 

My handsome date.  
Each of us got omelettes with a side of pancakes. 
I was STUFFED!  
My Cinnamon stack of pancakes was Awesome.  
We drowned our left out sorrows in pancakes and omelettes, and it was actually very nice.
So then I went to the doctor.  Turns out she didn't like what she saw.  
She wasn't as vocal about grossness, Dr. Cooper would've said Eww, Gross.  He and I have that repoire.  Dr. Wright not so much.  But when I asked if it was gross and disgusting in my throat, she bobbed her head yes.   And then she diagnosed me. 
With Walking Pneumonia. 
Walking Pneumonia. 
Have you heard of it?  I have.  I had one friend who got it a few years back.  She was "lucky", she never got hospitalized, but she was miserable for weeks.   And she had littles. 
But for me, it's Birthday season, and Christmas!  
I can't be Sick!  
With Walking Pneumonia.  

OK, fine.  Give me Drugs.  I openly admitted I was "drug seeking".  I know there's a negative connotation with that, but I didn't care.  I am not going to be sick at Christmas. I have 3 Sweetboys to Spoil! I'm not cancelling birthday parties for my own sickness.  

She put my on a Z pack, azithromycin.  I came home for drugs and nap, after I had some difficulty at the drug store,  Turns out after much brouhaha, I was in the insurance company as a male.  And at the drug store as a female.  Eric got it worked out for me, and picked me up my drugs.   I took a booster double dose of the Z pack with dinner.   We took the kids out, to the Kumon Center for Reading Night. You'd think Eric and I would have gone on a date.  Nope. My energy was gone, and now I knew why.  But once I got back in the car to go get said yahoos, I got an idea. 
As my friend Marta says, "Make Every Trip Count."  
So while we were out and about, we took the scenic route home, and stopped in town to see some Christmas Lights.  We drove through a friend's neighborhood.  

We stopped at the Town Hall Light Show. 
I was glad to see a proper show with the boys. 

We found the lights at Arbuckle.  
Lucky for us, it's kind of pain to get to, so there wasn't a crowd.  
So we got the kids out real quick for a photo op.  
That was fun.  
And when I got home, I was pooped.  I read up on Walking Pneumonia.  It's not like the pneumonia that people die of.  It's obnoxious and rude, and interferes with people's holiday social schedules, but I'm not going to the hospital.  Drugs should help.  It's a milder form.  Still obnoxious though. And I'm already tired of springing leaks every time I cough. I'm just gonna feel kind of gross for a while. 
If you hear my coughing up a lung or running to the bathroom while coughing, don't worry.  
I'm OK. 
I just have Wonky Pneumonia. 

These two oils: Peppermint and RC have brought me 8 tons of Supportive Relief tonight. 
And on that note, I have babbled enough and need to take my pneumotic self to bed. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Key and Yeses Yee

My nieces Kaylee (14) and Alexis (17) performed in the Holiday Orchestra concert last night.  Unfortunately, Eric was toast, had a massive head and leg ache.  And 2 of the 3 boys were crazy.  I won't tell you which, because it kept changing, so much that we knew not to bring them to the concert.  So I went to Represent.  I talked to my niece on my way in, but she was so out of it, she didn't even look at me, it was almost like she didn't know me.  I think her mind must have been getting in the Zone. I was so excited for her.  I always loved concerts, but would get nervous at the crowds.
I sat alone in the concert last night, just thinking, I knew them when they were little.  Now here she is, a Senior, 1st Chair of her school's highest Symphony Orchestra.  She's up front and serious, and she has Mad Skillz with a cello.  And it made me sad.  Being her aunt changed my life.  In the time it took my body to make one child, I was gifted with two amazing nieces.  I remember Alexis calling herself  'Yeses Yee Merman'.  And Chris called Kaylee, Teeyee, or Tee, or Key.  And last night, for the first and only time, they both performed on the same stage at school.  This was because the Orchestras invited the 7/8 Symphonic Wind Ensemble to perform.

So Kaylee got to play on the first song of the night.  
Kaylee does Percusion with the Avon Middle Symphonic Wind Ensemble. 

Trust me she's back there. 
Unfortunately, her director completely blocks the view. 
He does move back and forth and we can see her blonde head for a moment. 
And we can hear.  That giant bass drum is hard to miss once the music picks up.
Well done Kaylee! 

Alexis backed up one of the younger orchestras. 
Alexis is in the Avon Symphony Orchestra, but in her "spare time" she helps out the other kids. 

Doesn't she just play Beautifully! 
She really has a Gift.
I hope she carries it on through college. 

She's First Chair this year.  

They snuck their first piece up on me, sorry for the late start. 
It's the Avon take on the Trans Siberian Orchestra version of Carol of the Bells.  
And it was Powerful. 
I could've stood up, applauded and gone home right then. 
Game, set, match.

But there was more. 

Action shot. <3
She really has amazing form. 

Guess who paid a visit to this concert?!  
We had some very good boys and girls at this concert! 

This smile on Lexi's face as Santa and the Director interacted with a young guest touched me. 

So after introducing Santa, he got to visit with lots of little kids as the Orchestra played on. 
I saw my nephew Jeremiah in line with Kaylee, but didn't catch them.  
It really was a Wonderful concert.  

A Grand Finale.