Saturday, December 31, 2005

Surviving December

What a month. I'm sad that the year is over, but it'll be nice to have all this behind me, too.

Starting on the 18th, we were expecting 6 of my relatives to come stay with us through the Christmas holiday. This I was actually looking forward to. I don't get to see my family that often, and I actually like spending time with them. But it did mean that the week before was going to be pretty busy getting everything ready for that many visitors - cleaning, shopping, wrapping gifts, laundry, getting Xmas cards out, decorating the tree, etc. And Brett was going to be gone for two days of that week on a business trip to MN. So I was going to have to take care of the two boys by myself - plus get all this additional stuff done those two days. Pretty stressful in its own right.

Then, on Dec 9th, just as this stressful week was about to begin, I went to the gym early in the morning. I wanted to get there and back home before the predicted snowstorm started in earnest. There was barely a dusting of snow on the ground when I went out. And as I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could turn into the gym parking lot, I got rearended. Some guy in a big old van didn't see me until too late and couldn't stop in time. I'm very grateful the kids weren't with me, and in fact I didn't even have a single sore muscle. Pretty amazing given the condition of the car - the whole driver's side on the back was completely crumpled, the back window shattered, and (we think) the entire frame of the car was slightly twisted. I give Honda a lot of credit - that car crumpled all around the passenger compartment, but made sure I stayed safe.

So, the police came and the tow truck (the other guy could drive away!). When Brett met me at the auto body shop, the two of us talked to the owner. The consensus was that the car would probably be totalled. Brett was heartbroken! He loved driving that car and it had absolutely nothing wrong with it. Sigh. But either way, here was something else we had to deal with in the next week in addition to everything else. All the insurance claims and paperwork, plus the possibility of buying a new car fairly quickly.

Then Elliot got sick, but at least that was just a minor cold. Then Jonah got it in the form of a nasty croup. When Brett came back from MN on Thursday, he kept asking if Jonah needed to go to the pediatrician since his cough and breathing sounded so raspy. I figured it was just croup and he'd get over it. Finally, on Friday (2 days before our company came) I said I'd call the ped b/c Jonah's wasn't really feeling any better after four days of being sick (even though I really didn't think he needed to be seen). The nurse asked me to bring him in just to check out his breathing and make sure it wasn't anything serious. Turns out the croup had caused an inflammation in his lungs and he needed a few days of steroids to help him breathe more reliably. OK - big dose of Mommy Guilt for being willing to ignore his symptoms.

So now it's the end of a stressful week - Brett's been in MN, both kids have been sick (so I haven't been sleeping much at all), we're trying to go car shopping, and we're dickering with the insurance companies over paying for a rental car and how much our Accord was worth (it was, in fact, totalled). I haven't been able to accomplish nearly as much as I wanted. And to top it off, Brett came home from his trip with a cold, too.

Thankfully, Brett stayed home that Friday. Primarily so he could go buy a new car. We ended up with a 2006 Honda Accord (4 door this time instead of the fun 2 door that got smooshed). I was a little sad that I didn't get to test drive it before purchasing it, but there was no way that would be practical with the two little ones. And we didn't want to prolong the process by waiting for me to get out there (the dealership is 30 mins away) and drive it. So I got over that pretty quickly - after all, I trusted that I'd like an Accord again. But now I also had to spend time on Friday (before the close of business) moving money around from different accounts so we'd be able to pay for the car as soon as it was ready.

We managed to get enough done that weekend that the house was somewhat presentable by the time everyone arrived on Sunday. The kids were feeling better. The house was stocked with food.

The week before Christmas was not without its challenges. Elliot was wired through the roof with excitement over having his older cousins around to play with. They got quite sick of him at times! But they were both very good with both Elliot - and Allison (8) displayed a level of patience with him quite astonishing for a girl her age. And both Allison and Samantha (5) were enthralled with Jonah. As were their parents! LOL! It was the first time my sister and her family had been able to meet Jonah. We did activities together, played in the snow, and took a trip to see the holiday lights at Edaville Railroad. And we did a lot of just hanging out together. Which was really nice.

The challenges? Elliot had a hard time controlling his behavior since he was just so excited all the time. Plus he was still coming off his cold so he got tired more easily than usual. Jonah was still recovering from his croup and getting completely overstimulated. It was this week that we finally ended up letting him cry himself to sleep some nights. He was so overstimulated that he had a hard time letting go at the end of the day, even though he was completely exhausted. And Jonah's such a social person that if someone goes into his room, he just gets riled up and even more stimulated instead of calming down and relaxing. So many of the evenings we were also dealing with a tired, crying baby and upset, frustrated parents.

A couple days after Christmas, eveyone left. My sister and her family went down to NYC to visit other relatives, and will be back tomorrow for a couple days before flying home to AZ. I'm glad we get a chance to spend some more time with them before they go. I will say that it's been nice to have a few days this week to get the boys back on routines. Jonah's been sleeping much better (though he still will cry for 10 mins before falling asleep at night) though I think he's getting another cold. Elliot's enjoying the quiet time to play with all his new Christmas toys, though I think he's getting bored. It'll be good to get him back into preschool next week. Unfortunately, both Brett and I have been incredibly sick this week. (Isn't there a law written somewhere that says both parents aren't allowed to get sick at the same time? Hmph. Well, there should be.) I spend Thurs and Fri this week barely functional with a nasty sore throat, congestion, aches, and low grade fever. Now I'm entering the coughing phase of the cold (which Brett has been in for several days now) but at least I'm feeling better. I had to cancel a couple of get togethers with friends this week because of our illnesses, and I was really looking forward to touching base with everyone again.

I'm hoping January is a regular boring month. While I've really enjoyed spending all this time with my family, I'm done with the holidays for a while.