Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Finishing Up

Sorry it's taken me so long to do this.  It's turned into an interesting week and this is the first chance I've had.  When I left off we had finished up Christmas in Buffalo and headed home for some time as a family.  We kept things pretty low key, just venturing out here and there but mostly sticking close to home.  Saturday was a rather warm day (pleasant and in the mid-50s) so I took some time to do some raking and cleaning up of our flower beds that probably should have been done a couple months ago.  We gave Jacob a test run on his bike...
Still a ways to go with the riding.  Pedaling is still a challenge for some reason, but we made a little progress.  Coordinating the pedaling AND the steering is new for him.  He can cradle a lacrosse ball, but bike riding...we shall see!
...and Carter got to reunite with his favorites, the lawn mower and the big wheel.

We also figured out that Jacob's bike helmet was too small for him, but it fits Carter!
Always mow safely!
On Sunday my parents came into town, fresh from their trip to Portland, to do our Christmas together.  I was excited because it was my first big family meal I'd ever done.  Seems crazy, but when you're always the one coming into town to the rest of your family, you don't often get the chance.  But I even got to use my grandma's china and I took care of the whole menu--ham, cheesy potatoes, broccoli-rice casserole (left over from Christmas day), corn, gluten-free biscuits, jello with fruit cocktail, and chocolate pudding pie.  My mom brought some gluten-free peanut butter cup cookies, too, and everything turned out great.  It was a low-stress meal and it was fun to host for a change!  Carter was very excited to eat, as evidenced by this picture below... 
Trying to climb into his seat!
After we ate we dove into opening the presents.  I was excited because I knew I was getting new sheets (ones that are deep enough for our mattress) and a new laundry sorter to replace the PVC one we've had since we got married (that Carter has systematically dismantled once the plastic aged a bit).  We all got some great gifts, though, and the kids were excited.  We also opened gifts from my brother's family.  Jacob got a Team France soccer uniform...

...and Carter got a Bills jersey, which you'll see in a bit.  I'll admit that Jacob was in a bit of a funk during present opening because he wanted toys (despite the fact he had so much amazing stuff in his room already!).  He got some books, clothes, and some stocking stuffers, before finally opening his big gift, yet another Playmobil set that goes with other sets he got.  He was very happy!

Carter got a Big Wheel of his own--a smaller one that he should be able to ride more easily than Jacob's old one.
He's wearing his Bills jersey and is holding a set of Lego-esque silverware that he loved!
I was very excited by my gifts for my parents this year.  I first gave my dad a magnet of his favorite painting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  I saw it when I was there on my birthday and thought it was a nice gift to remind my dad I'm thinking of him, every day when he walks to the fridge!  We also gave them a Keurig as a birthday-anniversary-Christmas gift.  It's something they'd almost never buy for themselves, but I knew they'd both enjoy it...particularly with the reusable K-cup I got them, as well.  They were pretty excited, so that was fun!

Monday the boys went to daycare so I could have a day to get things done.  They were excited to go, so I didn't feel guilty at all.  Craig and I had a lunch date and I headed out to do some shopping, which was moderately successful.  Yesterday I was home with the boys, and while it's tough to drag Jacob away from his Wii...

...we still had a relatively good day, in part because Carter took a marathon nap, which allowed Jacob and me to watch "A Christmas Story" (Jacob's first time) and I cleared out a ton of newspapers that had piled up.  All was well until after bedtime when we heard a weird cough from Carter's room, and sure enough...he had thrown up.  Sigh.  We tag teamed the cleanup (I did laundry and Craig did a bath) and I slept in Carter's room overnight.  We set up a comforter on the floor with some towels and kept a bucket handy.  He probably had about five or six episodes from 10:00pm to 4:00am.  At one point he hadn't had one in over an hour and a half, but then he had one again.  Then we tried a sip of water later on when he started asking for it, but that came back up shortly thereafter.  That was it, though.  He woke up perky and we were cautious with the water, then Gatorade and water, then small cups of Rice Chex...and he kept it all down.  It was hard to get him to rest, in fact!  Fingers crossed that it doesn't come back--to him or any of the rest of us!  Wouldn't be New Year's around here without someone being sick!  I'm glad it passed quickly, but I hated seeing him so sick!  Here's a pic I took yesterday of him once I finished putting together his new wheels...

We kept a low profile for New Year's Eve, of course.  Craig worked half the day and I ran out this afternoon to use some Kohl's coupons that needed to be used and pick up a couple things at Wegmans.  I came out to see some unexpected snow falling--a few inches so far!  Our dinner plans got thwarted multiple times (first by Carter's illness, then by a couple closed restaurants), but we got through and did a quick toast with non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice right before bed.  Once the boys were in bed I signed us both up for new gym memberships (my gym closed suddenly and a new gym nearby had a great deal ending tonight) and wrote this post.  Midnight is just around the corner and I can't wait to fall into bed after last night's very limited sleep.  But New Year's Eve only comes once a year so I will tough it out!

Hard to believe we're wrapping up another year.  I'd say this year was a little better than last year (Jacob's behavior and Celiac diagnosis were major downers despite Carter's birth and our trip to Disney), but we definitely had more low points this year--Craig's Nana and uncle passed away, my dad's surgery, continued challenges with Jacob, general health issues--but last year was so much harder for me overall.  I won't be too sad to see this year go, but I feel like we're at the point in life where there's always apprehension that each coming year could bring more challenges than good things.  Everyone's getting older, parenting gets harder, and it doesn't feel like we have any big, good stuff on the horizon to specifically look forward to.  But as always, I pray that this year will bring amazing things for us.  We have two amazing kids and great families, and I suppose that the fear of losing any of that can overshadow dreams of how things could get even better.  I guess that's the downside of having so many blessings.  You no longer need to dream of bigger and better because you have enough...but it's easy to worry about losing what you do have.  I don't mean for that to sound like a glass-half-empty thing, but I guess it does.  There's just less need to look ahead when right now is so full of good things.  Hard to explain, but trust me--I am well aware of the many, many good things we have and despite our challenges, I know we have it good right now.  Will a new year threaten that?  Or will we peak too soon?  I guess that's my concern at the end of every year.  But I do hope for the best for all of us.  So here's to 2015...may it bring wonderful things for all of us! 

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