Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Our Christmas started last night. Actually, for me it started yesterday afternoon, when I saw the first snowflakes fall, while I was visiting my friend Claudia to drop off her Christmas gift. The forecast was for rain and yet, by the time our guests arrived around 4pm, the grass and roofs were white.

We had my dad, Rick's dad (who's staying here from last Sunday until Saturday), my brother, sister in law and their 2 children (2 and 6) and our friends Christine and Chuck and their daughter over for a Christmas Eve buffet. Rick's dad made Polish pirozhki's (sp?) and Rick made homemade meatballs. We also had seafood, different cheeses, fruits and vegetables. My diet has definitely been shot! Especially with the cognac Rick's dad is sharing with us, yum!

The kids were adorable. Athena, my two year old niece, was into everything, especially our ice skating scene in the living room. Kai played with her a lot, despite his ear pain (more later about that!). Sandy, my 6 year old nephew, Mallory, my friend's 8 yo and Saskia played and did crafts. All the kids got to open Christmas pj's and wear them around the house. Rick and I got Christmas pj's too and Rick's dad ski socks, which he is wearing now (he never wears pajama's). Katja went to church with her friend, unfortunately, I had no chance to join them.

After the guests left, Kai's earaches, which he had been complaining about since the morning already, got much worse and he was crying with pain. I placed a call to the doctor, but when the doctor on call called back, she couldn't offer any more suggestions than what I had already done (warm oil in the ear, Motrin, Tylenol and Sudafed). Kai was just miserable, crying in pain, not able to lie down or sit up. I felt so powerless, not able to alleviate is pain at all!

We had him sit with us, as we got the Santa gifts out and the stockings ready (thankfully, he doesn't believe in Santa anymore, just in the spirit of giving). But at 12:30, we were all very tired and had to go to bed. Kai could not sleep and cried till 3:30, Rick and I did not know what to do to get him comfortable enough to sleep. Around that time though, both his eardrums must have burst. Clear, but bloody, discharge came from both. It did alleviate the pain a bit though and he fell asleep, as did we, exhausted.

Unfortunately, he woke up again at 7:30 and commented on the white world outside. This woke Saskia up and we had the hardest time to keep sleeping till 8:30, by which time it was raining outside and we were bummed. By the time we got downstairs though, it had changed to snow again and looked gorgeous.

We had coffee (after opening our stocking gifts laced with Amaretto ;)) and Christmas stollen with clotted cream and started unwrapping gifts. Because our tradition is to unwrap the gifts one person at a time, so the giver gets full enjoyment of the reaction, it took more than 2 hours to unwrap them all. Kai, meanwhile, was feeling terrible and I called the doctor, who promised to come to his office to see Kai as it sounded bad to him.

So, after everything was unwrapped and everyone (more than) happy (highlights: Kai - a microscope, Katja - a gold necklace with her birthstone Aquamarine and Saskia - Barbie Talking Townhouse, for me it was a beautiful opal/tanzanite ring Rick got me (and heartstrings: Katja got me a silver ring and Saskia a beautiful box with a heart she had made from the iron together beads.), Rick took him to the doctor. Our diagnosis of 2 ruptured eardrums was correct and the doctor was really amazed according to Rick, as it is unusual to rupture both eardrums. He now has antibiotics and numbing eardrops. He threw up when he got home and saw literally green. But then he took a bath and Rick gave him Motrin and suddenly he was eating, drinking and playing. I can't say how happy I was to see that, after the completely sick boy we had last night!

I took pictures of the snow and the sunset and the Christmas decorations tonight with my new camera filters and tonight we just had leftovers. And we've just been talking about stuff. Kai is now starting to enjoy his Christmas, he's playing with toy after toy!

One really dark spot though is my friend Claudia's life right now. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Her husband has left her and her two daughters and is playing totally hardball. But the worst things is that her parents are completely taking his side and today it came to a head and her dad tried to remove her from his house by physical force and when that didn't work, he had her arrested. She called me in total distress and I worry about her. She is a wonderful mother and a very strong woman at that (you'd have to be for going through what she has!), but this is all very much to handle for one person! I'm trying to be a good friend but I fear I can't be of much support.

Tomorrow we're going to my dad's and will exchange gifts with my siblings and their families and have Christmas dinner. At least it looks like Kai will be much better!!

Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a great day!

Monday, December 23, 2002

Here we are sitting in a very cozy room with Dad in law here, the first of the relatives to arrive for the holidays.

On Saturday we had a great party here with lots of friends and their kids. About thirty people came. Unfortunately, Rick had invited 20 people from his office and about 6 said they could not make it and one came, the rest just didn't show! I really dislike that, when you clearly ask for an RSVP so you can decide how much food to make and people just don't show.

Thankfully, we had just enough food, as I decided not to defrost everything at once, like Rick wanted me to. It was truly a great evening and I felt so blessed with all my friends!

Yesterday, Rick and I went grocery shopping for our Christmas Eve buffet, we'll have my dad, my brother and family, Rick's dad and Christine, Chuck and Mallory over. So a nice big group again.
In the afternoon, Katja had her first tutoring session for math and I went for my workout in the meantime. Then we went to get some last Christmas presents, I'm finally done, had to buy for over 20 people!

In the evening, after dinner, the church across the street had a living Nativity pageant. Very nice! They have a donkey, a calf, sheep and goats. A man narrates the story of the birth of Jezus and adults and kids re-enact it. The baby "Jezus" was very cute, sleeping in his mom's arms with a pacifier in his mouth :).

Today we're all going for a workout, Dad in law included and Katja too!! Then it's wrapping time and I'd like to get my peppermint bark made, as well as the gingerbread house.