Sunday, December 29, 2013

Twisted Christmas--Part 2…..and Then the Hamster Died.

….so….where did we leave off? Oh yea, our house was now under quarantine and it was Christmas. Oy vey with a cherry on top. Jon was brought home…..LOCKED into Mei Mei's room and told not to exit the door (ever, ever again or he would fear for his life!!) He was too sick to care, really. I mean seriously….who gets the Chicken Pox AS AN ADULT on CHRISTMAS?? Our family….that's who….and please note from my last post that this was Not. His. Fault. Jon would've never chosen this (and boy we wouldn't either!) The Doc stayed up late into the night Poxmas….I mean Christmas Eve and did the math.  You are contagious 1-2 days before you actually break out….then there is a 10 day to 2 week incubation period before the next infected person breaks out….then they are contagious 1-2 days before they show signs and then for 7-10 days after. Was Wubba exposed at the same time to the curse….would he begin to break out on Christmas Day? What was the time frame from exposure to break out? What about the others? Our entire family had been loving on this little baby that hopefully wasn't now a living, breathing pox machine. Two of the Princess Collection have never had the Pox. Nature Girl was actually hospitalized with it at 4 months old…..before we had her. (Ok, put that picture in your head of our 4 month old daughter hospitalized with NO ONE there with her. Yep, that was our girl. Break my heart please. We adopted her when she was 8 months old and she is permanently attached to us fo-evah!) Julie had already had it so she was deemed bathroom fumigator of all things pox related and taker of food and beverage to Pox patient. Pox man was/is not allowed out of his room….even for a drop of water. (Tough love it is, I say!) She was swabbed down upon departure from room while we figured out how to handle Christmas Day.
     Here's where it gets really hard and sad. Family….is critical to adopted kids. They CRAVE being needed and being around those they belong to. These three little people had been looking forward to Christmas for months…..and now we had to make some really hard decisions. The girls had been exposed to Chicken Pox….which didn't really mean anything yet. The question was 'would this baby break out in the next 24 hours?'. If he did….we were in big trouble. If he didn't, we could keep Jon far, far away in Poxlamabad eating Poxsicles and Poxcorn….until he was no longer a threat. Only time would tell but we couldn't in good faith have all our family over for Christmas. The Doc's father was recently diagnosed with recurring cancer….another sister-in-law is pregnant…..and we have a son with a chronic disease that leaves him immune suppressed. We had to call off Christmas….kind of.
     Christmas Day came. We weren't sure if we would wake to a Poxified baby or not. We didn't. That beautiful boy woke up healthy and clear as could be (and still is). Woot! Saints be praised!  It's a completely different kind of Christmas when you watch your daughter and new grandson 'face-timing' opening presents with Jon….even though he was just a few feet away locked behind a germ barring door. You can either laugh or cry…..and this family has learned to roll with the punches and laugh. You gotta because otherwise you live your life in tears. We would so much rather live our lives in laughter. Choose joy people! You will find that true joy comes realizing the little moments are really the important ones.
     We had a fabulous morning then decided to take the 'safe' people over to Jason and Mel's so we would at least see them and give these girls the greatest gift they have ever received ….family.  We had a 20+ lb. turkey and an equally large ham that had never been cooked. We had all the fixings to go with that had never been made just sitting in the fridge because our big day had been canceled and plans were unclear. There wasn't time to make any of it.  So for Christmas Dinner we did what any family stuck in our situation would do…..we ordered takeout from the Jewish Deli around the corner. They were the only ones open. It was food. It was a memory. It was perfect. The kids had a blast….for Twisted Christmas.
     ……..until the hamster died. Nature Girls famous one-eyed hamster hadn't been doing well. They only live a couple of years anyway….and considering this one had already lived out her bonus lives (yes, this is the one that got sucked up in the vacuum cleaner a year ago….only to bounce back the picture of health….minus one eye…heh). We could tell she was declining and it would soon be her time. We had been preparing NG for a while that Snowball was probably going to go frolic in hamster heaven soon and she needed to prepare herself. How do you prepare your child for death of the most beloved rodent on the planet? Especially after Christmas had been completely twisted? You pray. And when your sobbing daughter brings you her hamster in her hands that is now clearly 'departed' ….you cry with her.. ….And do a hamster funeral…... And stay up late into the night because she can't sleep…..and you cry with her again. Because it's Christmas, and her heart is broken.
     Then, you reevaluate what's important. What's important is for Pox-boy (Jon) to get better….even though it's going to take a while. Adult CP is summed up the best in one word…HORRIBLE. As of this writing he's still sequestered in Mei Mei's room….but starting to eat some and hoping this ordeal will soon be a memory not to be repeated. While the rest of the family is popping Poxmas jokes right and left…..the rest of us have laid aside our ideals of what Christmas Vacation should look like to do what has to be done…..and what should be done ….in order to best serve those around us. We have had a blast. We are closer than ever. We are glad this ordeal happened on our turf where meds could easily be had, and many hands are ready to help when needed, and our daughter could feel the loving arms of her people supporting her as she tirelessly takes care of her new family.  The little girls are SURROUNDED….by family. We have consciously made sure their emotional tanks are full….and stable. This Christmas certainly had many detours but how you respond is what glorifies our God and King. I think Twisted Christmas may just go down in the history books as the best one yet…..(and we got new hamsters!!) What gifts were hits and what were misses? Scroll down to peek…..We do the 'Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something to read" method when selecting gifts for the girls. It's an awesome system which they have yet to complain about.

Stompeez Bunny slippers. Def a hit.

New Cheetah Balance Beam….hit. (This child lives upside down!)

Ever After High Dolls. Hit!

Ginormous Pillow Pet….Hit.

The Smithsonian Encyclopedia of Natural History. Big, big hit.

Blondie's smile? Biggest hit ever!

She got her own sewing machine. Hit, hit, hit, hit….for this artistic, crafty girl.

All diets are off!

Pox Man. Locked away. Can't see his son's first Christmas, had to face time instead. Big, big miss. (oh and for the record, I'm not posting the really crazy bad Pox photos. Gotta give the guy a break and make him look good even if he is locked away in a pink room with cheetah comforters. See the presents to the far right? He had to open them in his room….all alone.)

What a way to spend your first Christmas. Opening your presents while face timing your Dad in the other room. 

New Justice purses. Hit.

Necklace with kids and grandkids names on it. Love!

She got a DSLR camera she wasn't expecting! Woot! Surprise worked!! Thank you Pox-man!

One can never have too many critter habitats……hit.

Something to read….from Mom Jo.

Love this picture of Mei Mei. Oh and I forgot to mention we got her ears pierced as part of Christmas…..except the gun misfired and broke still attached to her ear. It was awful. It was drama. Just add more to Twisted Christmas.

Guess who this is for?? 

They just wanted to be together…..and get presents.

Glow in the dark stomp rockets….hit.

This is a gem mining set she was given. It's approx 11 pm and she's mining away. Hit.

Heartbreak over a hamster…..very, very real.

Pox Pox go away. Do not visit any other person today. Twisted Christmas 2013.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Twisted Christmas-Part 1

     We LOVE Christmas and everything about it! The Doc and I don't do gifts for each other….and haven't in years and years but we do do all kinds of activities leading up to (and sometimes after) that are just as meaningful as a gift. In other words….we celebrate the entire month….and have a blast doing it. The past few years we indirectly began a new tradition of doing something special as a family on the 23rd….to be together as a family with the 3 littles before the crazy of the big day arrives. Two years ago it was Sea World and their nighttime Christmas Shamu Show; last year was Disney with a dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Boma Restaurant. This year's festivities were planned months ago and I for one was so excited! We had never done The Candlelight Processional at Disney's Epcot as a family and decided this was the year. Every year celebrities narrate the Christmas Story straight out of Luke 2 accompanied by choirs and a full orchestra. We picked to go see Steven Curtis Chapman….not because of his music per say but because of what he stands for. We knew he believed and lived out every single word he would speak….and having adopted daughters from China didn't hurt either….smile.
     We spent the day at the Magic Kingdom….getting to see their famous Christmas Parade which didn't disappoint. After heading over to Epcot we dined at the Garden Grille Restaurant in The Land Pavillion. The Garden Grille doesn't look like much from the outside….but it's an actual rotating restaurant that goes in a circle through 'The Land' ride while you are eating. Dinner is brought family style to your table and Mickey, Goofy, Chip and Dale and Pluto stopped by to say Merry Christmas to our Princesses. Then we had reserved seats for the Processional. It went like clockwork until it poured rain during the show. We were able to sneak up under cover sitting on the floor all while getting a superb view of SCC and the orchestra. Too bad things like fire codes and crowd control can ruffle Disney Securities feathers. (Merry Grinchmas to them.) Rain stopped and we returned to our seats….wet, but happy. Every year I'm so glad we do our 'December 23rd Adventure Day' and every year I think it can't get better….but this year topped the cake. Want to know what was the best? Hearing your daughters recite Luke 2 right along with SCC….because they have it already memorized from school. Awesomeness.
     Christmas Eve was upon us in a flash. We attend our church's candlelight service which this year was fantastic. Daughter Julie and Son in law Jon were (and still are) in town (staying with us for 3 weeks) and played/sang all 3 services which meant they were gone most of the day. We were watchers of Wubba -the not quite 5 months old sweetest baby ever…... and this group is not ashamed to say, "what Wubba wants, Wubba gets!" However…'s about now that things started to go a little awry….Hmmmmm…..
      You see….Jon plays electric guitar….like a phenom. He's hands down incredible and was a huge part of the Christmas Eve services. Julie sings and they often sing/play together. (Our church puts a huge emphasis on music and has some amazing musicians….one of the reasons we love it so). Well….Jon hadn't felt well all day….and by the 3rd service was really struggling to hold it together. The Doc was called for…….and in the back halls of the auditorium between sets….discovered Jon had of all things…..Chicken Pox. Yep. Christmas just got a whole lot twisted…..
     Next day….the boy was really, I mean really sick. It went downhill fast. If you've ever know an adult with Chicken Pox, go buy them a giant gift basket full of everything wonderful you've ever had or thought about and rush it to them. Bring them giant bags of crushed ice, and massive amounts of Gatorade…..and hope….that this will all be over soon.  Adult CP is awful. Adult CP is misery. Enough said.
     We had to make decisions….I mean it was Christmas and we had a contagious disease in our house. How do you do Christmas with an extremely sick son in law, a distraught daughter, a 4 month old baby,  and little girls that were excited and wanting family surrounding them? How do you tell the 20 people that were coming over for Christmas "Merry Christmas and here is some Chicken Pox to go with that mistletoe and turkey?"
    Poor Jon. Not his fault. He would have never picked this and we do not blame him one bit for twisting Christmas. His entire vacation now was now going to be spent in Pox rehab….while we attempted to keep this baby and the rest of the entire family away from Pox man. Much to the littles chagrin….we had to cancel our giant party with all the relatives…..and live out Christmas in Quarantine 101 all while making it an adventure.
     Here's a start of how it went down……More of what you do during a Pox invasion is in Part Deux. (You throw a Pox party…..while keeping the Pox-ee sequestered under lock and key in a separate part of the house with orders not to come out….. yep.) So here are some pics BP (Before Pox)…..
Main Street USA at Christmas. Nothing like it anywhere! 

Best place to view the parades? Why the top floor of the train station of course!

A dad moment. Love.

Dinner with Mickey! 

Wubba's first Christmas Eve!

Ready for services!

(Sick) Guitar player extraordinaire who kept playing until he almost passed out. Never missed a note.

I never tire of hearing her …..she's remarkable but also unaware of almost passed out husband right behind her. He hid it well. Really well.

Julie picked out their awesomest Xmas outfits. 

Christmas jammies!

Hmmmmm. What's this?

Tradition! The Doc and his elves secretly decorate one of the girls rooms for Christmas from head to toe…..then there is a GIANT slumber party for the sistahs all night and well into the dawn.

So excited…..and learning that these are the best memories!

Jon, Julie and Wubba. Does Jon look sick? Well…….
Visions of sugarplums…..