Number 10.) On Christmas Eve Sophie made a snack for Santa. Chocolate chip cookies with pink and purple sprinkles and a glass of milk.
After carefully laying her offering out on the hearth, she squatted down to inspect the fireplace and anxiously announced, "Mama, there's no HOLE for Santa to COME DOWN!" We had a little impromptu discussion about Santa's "magic dust" - which, as everyone knows, opens the firebox and allows for a smooth ride into the living room, and Sophie unclenched. She relaxed her furrowed little eyebrows and breathed a sigh of relief. Then she ran to her room to get a toy for Santa, since "when he's eating his cookies, he probably wants something to play with". Between the excitement of the upcoming day and the late night sugar rush, Sophie found herself in a not-at-all-sleepy state. Poor little thing, she just couldn't wind down. I know this because at 2:00, when I finally went to bed, she could be heard still singing "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" in her room.
Pure cuteness, I say.
Number 9.) My computer has been on the fritz for the past week or so. Whenever I use just the mouse to browse the internet, no problem. But when I've tried to use the keyboard (despite having a full battery), it only allows me three-fifteen seconds of typing before it turns itself totally off. Type five words. Shut down. Type two words. Shut down. Type thirty words. Shut down. It's been totally random and NOT at all conducive to posting on the blog. Or to remaining semi-sane.
Last night after the vein in my forehead popped out like a fat caterpillar, I excused myself to the bathroom to release a minor potty word into the bath mat. When I returned, I put the computer away and had visions of having to send the stupid (brand new) thing back to Dell for repair. I went to bed kind of huffy. Then this morning in a HARK! moment, it occurred to me that the problem might have something to do with the snazzy new magnet bracelet that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas (which, p.s., I've worn incessantly for the past week or so). I decided to take it off to see what happened, and PRESTO CHANGO!, my laptop was instantly back to its normal functioning.
Man, for a technological nitwit, I'm a genius.
Number 8.) Despite my parents' dinosaur internet connection, we were able to talk with Walt and Annie on Skype the day after Christmas. (Thanks, Steve and Kathy, for letting us invade your house!). Eight adults and three children under the age of four all huddled around a webcam. All talking at once. All talking as if Walt and Annie were severely hearing impaired. HI! WHAT? I SAID HI! I GOT A PIRATE SHIP FOR CHRISTMAS...AND PRINCESS WALKIE-TALKIES! I GOT A LIGHTNING MCQUEEN CAR! HEY, STOP TOUCHING ME, SOL! LOOK! CAN WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE, MAMA! IS NORA ON THE STAIRS? YOU JUST STEPPED ON ME!WHAT DID YOU SAY, ANNIE? TALK TO US IN GERMAN. (Giggle.) WHAT?? OOO! SHOW US YOUR FUNNY HAIR AGAIN, WALT. (More giggles.)
Oh, with Zach periodically breaking into spontaneous dance. Very entertaining. And not at all chaotic. Especially when you factor in a gumball machine and a bowl full of pennies right next to the computer.
Sorry, Uncle Walt and Auntie Annie, the excitement of seeing you guys diminished slightly for the Wee Ones when that bad boy was discovered. BRIGHTLY COLORED SUGAR BALLS! PENNIES!! I'm telling you, those three were quivery with excitement as they tried to process the fabulousness of their good fortune.
Number 7.) In the spirit of Christmas tradition, Typhoid Kristy made an appearance while we were home for the holiday. (Probably, at least in part, due to the almost hundred degree temperature change from MN to AR. Seriously, -14 in Minnesota. 79 degrees in Mena on December 26th. Niiiiice.) Actually, Zach started the fun by doing his yearly Christmas barf at Lisa's parents' house before they came to Mena, and then feeling "off" from a stomach standpoint for the next several days. Then, the day after Christmas I came down with fever and chills and Hamburger Throat. Followed by lots 'o snot and coughing. And an ear that felt like it was jam-packed full of pudding. Good stuff! A few days later Sophie came down with the same crud. We're currently both on nasty tasting antibiotics that make us want to yak. ...And, how many more days is it 'til Spring? It's only one week into January and I'm already more than ready to say adios to Winter.
Number 6.) ~Let's pause briefly for a bragger moment, shall we?~
I would like to show off what I received this year for Christmas from my mom:
Yeah, doggies! Feel to release your jealousy, I don't blame you. You can go peruse your Bible for a couple of verses on coveting, if you need to. Seriously, peeps, have you ever seen a more gorgeous piece of pottery?
How 'bout this one? It's such a beautiful shade of robin egg blue, I can barely keep myself from just staring at it. Oooooo.
Put either of these dudes in any room and BAM, instant classiness. Even if all the furniture in the room is a lovely hodge-podge of Early Attic, it's all good. Ahhh. Beautimus.
Number 5.) Russ received these for Christmas...
Very soft. Very comfy. Very, very large. Apparently Adam and Carol are trying to tell Russell something about his girth.
Number 4.) Although, oversized pajama bottoms are in no way comparable to the present that Russ got from my mom in his stocking...
Yep. The antithesis of too-large bottoms. Those are, in fact, boys' underwear. As in: for a boy. A small boy. The ones Russ received were minus the Curious Monkey. But other than that, they looked exactly like these. Even down to the nifty colored band at the top and around the legs.
I almost choked on a snort when Russ leaned over and whispered to me, "Is this a joke, or is your mom making a not-so subtle comment about my manhood?"
Turns out mom was not trying to give Russ boys' underwear for Christmas; she wanted to give him "regular underwear". However, in her haste to get out of Walmart, she just grabbed the first package of underwear that she saw. Good plan, mom! Way to avoid the stress that comes from being around holiday shopping crowds! In the future, though, perhaps it would be a good idea to check the label a smidge more closely before bolting for the door. Or, better still, maybe just steer clear of all underwear related gift items. Especially when it comes to your son-in-law. Tee-hee!
Number 3.) I returned home from visiting the Fam full of Organizational Energy. I put stuff away. I dusted. I reorganized closets. I cleaned wood floors. I gave Soph's room a complete overhaul. I even cooked chili and then cleaned the kitchen top to bottom.
It was one productive day.
Since then my git-er-done! attitude has diminished slightly. I've pretty much been just my normal sluggy self. O-well. It is what it is. (That was for you, Russ.) Hopefully, as I start to feel better, my productivity will be on the rise again.
Number 2.) For those of you wondering where the heck your Christmas card is...
All I can say is, whoops. It's not lost in the mail. And you haven't been crossed off our list of friends. I'm just off my game this year. Way off. Russ finally located my address book - under the chair in our bedroom. (Isn't that where everyone keeps their address book?) So, I can't use that as my excuse anymore. My goal is to get them sent out by next week, definitely before Valentine's Day. But if not, I'll just draw some little hearts on the cards and, surprise!, festively appropriate. Sheesh. Next year I'll do better, I promise.
Speaking of feeling better, here's the doozie of the list. Drumroll, please...
Number 1.) They think, hallelujah!, they have finally figured out what's wrong with me. (Cue the angels singing from heaven.) Remember the ENT at Mayo who thought my body might have "re-programmed" itself to a dizzy state? Well, even though he, admittedly, didn't have a lot of experience in that area, he ended up being on the right track. After meeting with the world expert (yowza!) on dizziness that next morning for four hours, I received a diagnosis: Chronic Dizzy Syndrome.
To boil it down to its basics, it is a state that occurs in the body usually after one of three things: a prolonged, severe, migraine-like headache, a head trauma (like from a car wreck or blow to the head), or a severe emotional stress (like the loss of a child). Dr. Sheppard said he's never had a patient who fit two of the three criteria, as, unfortunately, I do. Basically, what he thinks happened is this: after having that INSANE headache for ten months (with virtually no break, except for a few hours when I was asleep) my body's balance center became distorted and "reset" to a state of disequilibrium - causing nausea, visual disturbances, and a constant sense of motion sickness.
Dr. Sheppard informed me this is not a diagnosis of exclusion, and is, in fact, a diagnosis. THE diagnosis, he believes, despite the ridiculously simple name of the disorder. The treatment of which is: getting the headaches under control (by trying some new, not commonly used meds) and doing a series of daily vestibular exercises, designed specifically to retrain the brain's ability to perceive balance. Apparently the retraining process takes quite a while to be effective. ...But, hey, I can live with it taking some time. I've been dealing with this mess for what feels like forever, and as long as it works...well, I will be mind-numbingly happy. If it works, I will be a new person. A brand-new, absolutely thrilled person.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been in prayer for me this past year. You have no idea what it means to me - your support and encouragement. Please continue to pray, if you would, as I start the treatment program. The exercises I will be doing are designed to desensitize my balance centers, and are similar to the ones they make astronauts do prior to going into space. In other words, all of the vomit and none of the cool interplanetary niftiness. Yee HAW, right? Sign this Space Cowgirl UP! =)
If anybody is still awake at this point, Happy belated New Year!