A family's story

Posts tagged ‘Surviving the Holidays’

Fresh Start

In case anyone out there was wondering, I did not get swallowed up by the Polar Vortex…rest assured, I was mostly loafing around and enjoying time at home with my family. Until Sunday. When they were supposed to be getting ready for school, and instead, we got “the call” from the district that it was too cold to send our children outside, so we were stuck with them for another day…or two.

To recap December:

-Tate’s teacher missed the last 2 weeks of school. She had medical emergencies and what-not. (I’m thinking she’s struggling with fertility/pregnancy, and that kind of breaks my heart.) Anyway, despite the chaos of the end of the year and her absence, he did pretty well. Oh, and he had a nasty cold, poor kid.

-Jake’s resource teacher missed the last 3 weeks of school before break. Thankfully, the substitute was consistent through those weeks, and with his arsenal of tools in his toolbox, he coped pretty well. He was totally “over” school by December 1st. His grades showed this..but we are approaching the end of the 2nd trimester with renewed zest and excitement. (And a new tutor!!)

-On the Thursday prior to break, Jake’s class did a poetry slam. Nothing beats a 4th grade poetry slam, with some musical entertainment by the 4th grade orchestra. Jake enjoyed playing “Jingle Bells” and “Dreidel” for the parents on his viola. He was at the end of the line of his class for reading poetry. First, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Some of those kids are really talented! Secondly, Jake was quite nervous to read his poems. He hated the poetry unit. Hated being an understatement. He abhored it with all his might. Once it was his turn, he sat on the chair and looked like he was either going to bolt or throw up…possibly both. He looked at me. I gave him a nod of encouragement. He looked to his teacher. She gave him a thumbs up and mouthed, “You’ve got this!”. He took a deep breath. He looked up. He took another deep breath. And then he read his poems for the group–with just the right amount of speed. When he was finished, he was BEAMING! His teacher and I were both doing victory dances for him. And we both gave him congratulatory hugs. It was a HUGE accomplishment for him…and he DID IT!

– Cole was very excited about Christmas. His list ended up being about 3 times as long as he is tall. He loves preschool. He was sad that there was a 2-week break.

-Christmas was wonderful. We all enjoyed our gifts, nothing was overly done, and we had to return very little.  Jake loved his Angry Birds Go! set, Tate was over-the-moon about his Doc McStuffins playset, and Cole was entranced with his Legos and Kreo Transformers. Oh! And my dad got the boys a WiiU. They love it. And thankfully, Hubz is patient and played the games with them…because games make me dizzy, nauseated, and frustrated…and that’s before I have to help any of the kids with their characters!

-New Year’s Eve was laid back and quiet. It started to snow by noon…and continued the rest of the day. I had bought crab legs and scallops for Hubz and me. The kids had pizza. We really enjoyed our last day and night of 2013. And, in typical fashion, I couldn’t make it until midnight. I was out by 11:15!

Our first week of 2014 was fairly laid back. Due to weather (continuous snow for 40-some hours), extreme cold, and the like, we were hermits for most of it. We ventured out occasionally, and Hubz and I even had a date night on Saturday prior to the real frigid weather…but during a nice snow-storm that almost derailed our plans. We got to go to dinner at a steakhouse (which is ironic, since I don’t eat red meat), enjoy conversation with other adults (we went with 2 other couples), and then came home to enjoy a few glasses of wine and hang out. It was great!!

Sunday morning I ventured out in the winter wonderland to get our boys. Oh.My.God. It was awful!! They didn’t plow many of the roads, and the mini-van slipped and slid all over the place. I barely broke 35 mph, and my knuckles were white the entire drive there and back. (And it was really hard to drive back with Cole’s constant chatter, Tate’s vocal stims, and Jake’s need for reiterating our schedule for the rest of the day.) Once we were home, I planted myself on the couch, pulled my Packer fleece blanket over my legs, and pretty much refused to move unless absolutely necessary. (Of course, my team fell apart during their playoff game and lost…again. Blargh.)

By 1:00 pm on Sunday, we knew that the boys were not going to school due to the arrival of the Polar Vortex. (You need the deep-voiced movie guy to say it, for full effect.) It was cold. Silly cold. Our “high” on Monday was -12. Wind chill was -35. I was glad that I didn’t have to venture out in the frigid air. I opened the door for Tate’s therapist, and quite literally, the cold air took my breath away. I was hopeful that temps would rebound enough on Tuesday for the boys to go to school. I pulled out all of my tricks…we colored, we read, we played games, I had them pretend to go to the jungle and be animal rescuers (which really ticked of Jake because they weren’t ACTUALLY transported to the jungle…oy! literal thinkers!!!), and we played Legos, Jake practiced viola, we made a fort, and the list goes on…During Tate’s therapy, the phone rang. It was the district number. I went numb…but yes, it was “the call”…no school on Tuesday, either.

Tuesday did us all in. We were all tired of each other. No one wanted to play any more. No one wanted to watch TV. No one wanted to be near another member of our family. Hubz was the lucky one. He was able to escape to the office. Lucky man. Tate got to escape downstairs for therapy, so he at least had a break. The rest of us had to tolerate each other for the next few hours. It pretty much broke us all.

When Hubz got home, he noted our harried looks and frazzled interactions with each other. I told him we were all DONE. We put the kids to bed early last night. No one objected, so I think that was a sign…

And this morning, all was right with the world as they headed off to school for the first time in 2014…and I headed over to Target to buy a few items that we decimated during our hibernation…and got a Caramel Flan Latte from Starbucks. Mmmmmm….a good treat to celebrate the first peace of no kids in the house in 2014.



It’s a little dusty over here…

If the blog were a physical object, I’d be dusting off some cobwebs right now. Wow! I have been wrapped up in all things in my life and haven’t made time to get here to write lately. I have a little guilt about that, as this is my “baby”, but really, I can only do so much.

We had a nice Thanksgiving. It was fairly low key, and that was perfect for our family. My sister-in-law did a great job with dinner. Everything was delicious. The boys all tried dinner, and Tate even had 2 helpings of mashed “po-matoes”. He also had turkey and a bite of corn. Jake and Cole ate a little, too, so for our family, that was a huge win. Tate sat at the dinner table with the rest of us, and it was refreshing to not have to sit with him in another room while everyone else ate and enjoyed the company of others. Tate also conversed with his cousins and Grandma and aunt and uncle. Hubz and I were astounded. Like jaw-drop astounded…and oh, so proud. (We all know how much that took for him to be able to do!!)

Once we got home, Tate was in meltdown. But home is his “safe” space, and we all gave him the space he needed. He had a rough night sleep-wise, which is always hard for me, too. But the next morning he woke up smiling and giggling, so that was wonderful.

Hubz made some breakfast and we pored over the ads. The boys demolished any ad with toys in it. It’s so interesting to see the various stages that our kids are in right now. Jake is in that odd not-quite-big-kid-not-quite-little-kid stage where some of the toys are very appealing on the paper or in a commercial..but he knows he would never play with them much. He has changed his list about 10 times…with a stuffed animal walrus being the only main-stay. Tate is finally making lists!!! And we know that his lists MEAN something. This year he wants a Doc Playset (which has already been purchased), and Angry Birds. He also listed his favorite things so we had worms, bugs, and water on his list, too. Cole loves everything. If he sees a toy in an ad, he wants it. If it’s a commercial, he wants THAT. His list is twice as long as he is tall…and growing.  I did not partake of Black Friday shopping. Hubz and I did quite a bit online, and from the comfort of our pj’s in the kitchen. That was quite nice.

On Saturday, Hubz took the kids over to his parents’ house where they played and helped set up Christmas over there..and I was able to run out and do a little shopping without all of the crazy crowds. I finished a good deal of our shopping, and was able to enjoy a few hours by myself, which was much needed. We all got home around the same time, and after setting up our Christmas tree, we went out to Red Robin for an early dinner. Tate orders the same thing every time–grilled cheese, french fries, and lemonade. He also has quite a process for eating his meal. This usually involves him stealing french fries from my plate and adding them to his pile, so that he looks like he has the never-ending fry supply. Luckily we were finishing up as the crowds came in, so we avoided over-stimulation and the like.

Sunday involved much laying around and finishing up odds and ends before everyone was back to the daily grind. We tried to take it easy, but even though we were low key, Tate had a sensory pukefest. *sigh* Once he got showered and into pj’s–at 4 pm–he was back to his cheerful, mischievous self. And he was asking for fruit snacks and lemonade, so I think he was fine. Just wish he didn’t have to lose it before getting back on track.

Jake was out of sorts, too, but once we let him shower and put pj’s on–at 4:30 pm–he was cheery and conversational and the grumpy-teen-like being left our home for a bit.

So we made it through the hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend. Re-entry into school yesterday was a bit rough…but I’m hopeful that as the week goes on, both Jake and Tate ease into their routines. Cole is easy-breezy, as always…if not a bit clingy. I really hope that was just a re-entry issue and not a “getting-sick” issue. Time will tell…and I will try to be better about posting here. Yeesh.

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