Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Christmas Wish...

I've been keeping a secret... this year I asked Santa to bring me something for Christmas.  And guess what?  I must have been an extra good girl this year, because he brought me what I asked for.  The present that I asked for did not come in an extra large box.  It did not require any wrapping paper or ribbon.  In fact, it's quite likely that no one else knew that I received my wish but me (unless possibly if you've attended Christmas or seen my Christmas day photos for the past 2 years).  What you may ask was this seriously awesome gift that I was lucky enough to receive? 

2 HEALTHY, happy little 3 year olds! 

2 years ago, Miss Summer was sporadically vomitting and had a high fever and then the next night an extremely low temperature and we wound up in the ER with her.  Which amounted to just be teething apparently.

Last year, Summer had ear infections and what we thought we sinus infections that would not go away despite weeks of antibiotics from the first week in December through the end of February when she had tubes put in her ears and her adenoids removed.  And not to be outdone, Cole spiked a 104 fever 2 days after Christmas during a huge snow storm and didn't eat for almost a WEEK (this kid is usually an eating machine) and wound up having pneumonia (he would have pneumonia 2 more times before winter was over)!  Last winter's illnesses seriously took their toll on me.  Each year since the kids have been born, I have been making a photo book of that year as a gift for our families (and to ensure that I have an album summarizing the year).  In making this year's book, it caught me a little off guard to realize how swollen Summer's face was all of last winter from her constantly being so sick. 

Can you see those fevers last Christmas?

When the pattern of illnesses started again in September & early October, I was seriously crushed.  I had been promised by everyone from the daycare director to my pediatrician that the first winter in daycare would be the worst and that this year would be better.  In the beginning of November, we visited an allergy/asthma specialist (recap here) and I couldn't be happier with the results so far.  We have settled into our medication routine each night before bed.  Summer has taken to her nose sprays like a champ and Cole does his daily nebulizer treatment at school.  We just had a follow up with the doctor and he was happy with the results as well.  I'm hoping down the road to find out what they are in fact allergic to, but for now I'm happy with the fact that both kids were HAPPY on Christmas morning.  And that they were neither white as a ghost or feverishly red in all of my pictures.  They were playful and full of energy and able to make it through all of our planned festivities without any major meltdowns.

An added benefit to this wish that I wasn't expecting, Summer is a beaming, happy, lovably different person.  Not that she wasn't ever happy before, but there is a notable difference in her since starting all of the medications and her actually being able to breath out of her nose and not have what must have been so much pain and pressure in her face.  Her teachers have even commented on how much nicer she is being to her friends.  When I look back at all those swollen faced pictures of last year, I can't imagine the amount of pain she must have been in.  No wonder she had such a short fuse and was constantly snapping at those around her.  Not to say it never happens now, but much less!

Thank you Santa and Dr. Toci for bringing me my Christmas wish!
My Christmas Wish come TRUE!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Holly Jolly Christmas Eve...

What a fabulous month we have had.  The kids have been excited about everything Christmas related.  They get excited to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, candy canes, etc! This is the first year that they have been so interested in all the details of Christmas.  They've been singing Christmas songs and telling me for 2 weeks that we need to buy carrots for the reindeer and to leave out cookies & milk for Santa. 

Christmas eve began early... since it was a Saturday and we had the whole day off we decided to head over to Jim's parents' to exchange gifts to try not to overwhelm the kids on Christmas day.  Well Cole decided that he would start off the day by sleeping in until almost 8:30 (the time we planned to arrived at Jim's parents')!  I can't even tell you the last time that he has slept that late!  While we waited for him to wake up, Summer helped me put the finishing touches on the french toast casserole... she was so proud of herself.  She then decided that she wanted to get changed instead of wearing her pajamas to Mom-mom's.  I took out pants and a Christmasy top, but she decided that she wanted to wear a "fancy" dress!  And that is what she wore...
Don't you love the ensemble?!
We finally made our way to Mom-mom's when Cole got out of bed.  Under her tree were a pile of presents from Mom-mom, Pop-pop & Aunt Chele.  The kids unwrapped all of their gifts... Cole then wanted to open everything to play, while Summer decided she'd rather open Mommy & Daddy's presents.  While we ate breakfast, Summer served us all tea with her new Tinkerbell china tea set and Cole chased his talking and moving Chuck the Truck around the house. 
Princess Aurora dress
Cole loved his zoo
We told the kids that when we got home that they could exchange the gifts that they got each other.  They were so excited about this that they started ripping into the packages before Jim and I finished unloading the car!  

Cole got a Chuck truck ramp &
Summer got a Cinderella doll
After a nap... we started getting ready to go to Mom-mom's annual Christmas eve dinner.  Summer said to me "I wear my Princess Aurora dress to Mom-mom's Mommy?"  And in the spirit of Christmas, I just couldn't say no to this request.  She was just so excited to wear it. 
Cole, Aunt Chele & Princess Aurora Summer
We had a great time enjoying both of our families' traditions.  First at my mother-in-law's traditional Christmas eve party and then at 7:30, the kids were still fairing pretty well so we decided to all venture over to my aunt's.  We have not all made it to my aunt's in 3 years so I was extremely happy that we made it together as a family.  Christmas eve was always a HUGE night of traditions in my family.  One such tradition is that we all received new Christmas PJs to wear to bed on Christmas eve.  (I have since adapted this to actually break out the pjs early to do our Christmas card pictures).   

Cousins in the Christmas PJs
Once we got home, we set out carrots, cookies & milk for Santa and his reindeer.  Said goodbye to our elf, Pepper Minstix who has been watching our behavior since just before Thanksgiving.  Then we took a quick trip outside to sprinkle the reindeer food that the kids brought home from school on the lawn so the reindeer would find our house.  Once upstairs and all of our bedtime medicine and brushing teeth routine was completed, Jimmy read Twas the Night Before Christmas to the kids.  A pretty jam packed day.... but truly wondeful! 

The loves of my life!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
This past Sunday was my SJMOMS (South Jersey Mothers of Multiples) club's Holiday Breakfast.  It's an awesome affair in a hotel ballroom with over 200 people in attendance.  This year Mother Goose was there to tell stories to the kids, there was a magician that performed a magic show and did balloon art, a professional photographer, crafts, good bags, breakfast and if you saw the title of this post.... the man in the red suit himself! 
This is our 3rd year attending and we take my parents & Jim's parents to join in the fun.  (Last year I even ran the entire event).  The kids had a ton of fun and so did the grandparents.  And I really love watching the interactions between them.  It really is such a nice gift to spend this time together as a family. 

Me, Summer, Jim & Cole

With Jim's Parents (Mom-mom & Pop-pop)

With my Dad (Grandpa)

Enter Santa...
Previous encounters with Santa have not gone so well.  In fact, I believe I had to be in a few of the pictures to keep my little ones in the shot.  This year we've been talking about him and practicing what to say to him (this worked in gearing up for our Disney trip, so I keep using this method).  We've been talking about Santa for probably at least a month.  Our elf Pepper Minstix arrived shortly before Thanksgiving and brought us a few new Christmas videos and a behavior chart.  The chart has a block for each day until Christmas and Summer and Cole both are working to earn a sticker per day from when Pepper arrived until when Santa comes to show how hard we are working.  So far they are doing great and we have only lost a total of 3 stickers.  The week leading up the event, we started practicing what we should say to Santa.  We would practice telling that we were trying to be really good and that Summer was working really hard on being nice to her friends at school and was doing pretty well, but could probably try a little bit harder.  And then we would practice a few items from each of their Christmas lists.  We had made Christmas lists with pictures of the items that they were asking for cut and pasted onto one sheet, which they really seem to like.  I also told them that when it was there turn, they could sit on Santa's lap but that they didn't have to.  They could choose to stand next to him and look at Mommy so I could take a nice picture.

We were first up this  year to see Santa and they were so excited.  Cole decided that he would sit on his lap and Summer decided to stand next to him.  We made sure to tell him how hard we were trying to be good.  And I asked Santa to tell Summer how important it was to be extra nice to our friends... and she told him she would be.  Cole asked Santa for more choo choos, a truck that talks, cars and the Toy Story landfill.  Summer asked for a Leappad and clothes & shoes for her babydoll.  I think Santa can handle that if they keep earning all of their stickers for good behavior.  Especially after donating all their stuffed animals to kids in need like such little grown ups. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Missing her at Christmas time...

Christmas was always the hap-happiest time of the year in our house growing up.  Each year after Thanksgiving we would begin digging out the boxes and boxes and boxes of decorations.  The Dicken's Village adorned the windows with plumes of cottony "snow".  The tree was trimmed with bubble lights and tons of ornaments.  Right near the top of the tree where the star was went my Dad's Christmas monkey ornament.   While the inside of the house was transformed into a winter wonderland, the outside drew many to slow down their cars as they drove down the street.  We had a huge Christmas tree (my parents' first tree in our house) in our front yard that my dad would decorate with huge colored bulbs.  He also strung matching bulbs along the house.  The piece de resistance was a plastic light up Santa's sleigh with 5 reindeer that my dad would string from the tree to the house so it looked like they were running onto our house!  Christmas music was played religiously as the preparations were made.  My favorite part of the season was dragging out the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook.  My sisters and I would parooze the pages as we selected the types of cookies that we would bake that year.  We would bake and bake and bake the month away.   A big portion of this season revolved around my mother and how much she enjoyed the season.  The shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, etc.  Once the magic of Santa was gone, Mom and I spent more time together during the holidays.  I took over a lot of the cookie baking.  I would shop with her for my sisters and stay up at night and help her wrap. I never knew that 13 years ago was the last Christmas season that she would be here with us. 
Since she's been gone, Christmas has been a lot different.  Some years are rougher than others (the fertility treatment years were the worst).  New traditions have been started.  New people have come into my life.  I do not bury my head in the sand and wait for Christmas to be over.  I listen to the radio and sometimes cry when her favorite songs come on, but mostly sing along happily.  Christmas is still the happiest time of my year and it brings me the most memories of the things that she and I used to do together.  As the kids get older, I hope to do the things with them that I did with her.