So, here we go with the Christmas news post. Sorry it has taken me awhile to get to this--we've been busy!
So after I got sick, I got better. It was one of those 24-ish hour things, which I prefer because you're nasty sick but it's over quickly. None of this dragging on for weeks with a sore throat or a cough. Vomit, fever and chills, DONE. It was gross, but over and done with really fast.
Anyways, Christmas Eve I was still weak and tired, and not sure I could sit through the church service with my family. I was still in bed in my pyjamas a few minutes before they left, but at the last minute I decided to go, because church on Christmas eve is my favourite part of Christmas. I would really hate to miss out on the culmination of advent. I was glad I went, though I missed the first 15 minutes of the service. :)
It was beautiful, with lots of music and pretty christmas lights, and cute kids all dressed up in their finest cuteness.
That evening we had supper with our family, my parents, my brother, and my grandma. The kids opened their Christmas eve gift (invariably pyjamas), which they LOVED, and which I had found at Carter's in Washington at an outlet mall for $8 each! They are fleece one piece pj's with feet, size 5, 7, and 18 months. The pattern is different for each boy. So cute.
After that, we put the kiddos to bed and hung around talking until the very last one of them was asleep (this takes FOREVER on the eve of Christmas, as you can appreciate) and then we stuffed the stockings, ate the plate of cookies, and set out the Santa gifts. So much magic, so much fun.
In the morning we were prepped for a 4:30 wake up call, but everyone slept until 8:00 so we were very pleased! Everyone was enthusiastic--of course, Riley got very caught up in the wrapping paper and the first gift, and didn't want to open any more after that :)))
Matthew's enthusiasm MAKES Christmas, I gotta tell you. He's the scream with glee, fling the wrapping paper in all directions, dance around with joy type of gift opener! It's nice to see him so happy!! And I know that material objects are not what makes people happy but I do think it's neat to see the excitement in his face as he opens a carefully selected gift from us. It was very, very fun. Ayden was equally happy, though he is less exuberent in his expressions of enthusiasm than Matthew in general. I had got him a book called "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" that looked funny, and he started and finished it all in one day. Jeepers, he reminds me of me at that age. All through the different dinners and gatherings, he was in the corner with his nose in a book.
Christmas day was absolutely gorgeous. There is two inches of crusty snow on the ground, and the night before there was a hoarfrost, and it was clear and sunny. There were sparkles of frost flying around the air and in the trees and on each blade of exposed grass, and even on the crusty snow. We went for an afternoon frosty walk, and then helped my mom cook the turkey. Well, Brent and my brother and my dad helped cook the turkey dinner. I napped and looked after the kids (still recovering from the sickness!). The dinner was scandalously delicious. The turkey was 28 lbs ( forwhich my mom accidentally turned the oven OFF in the middle of the day and didn't discover for quite a few hours--near disaster!!), and there were regular and sweet potatoes, carrots, green bean casserole, stuffing, turkey, ham, gravy, cranberry sauce, AND my mom's famous trifle for dessert. TWO KINDS of trifle--fruit and custard, and black forest chocolate with cherries. Ohhhhhh myyyyyyy gooooosh it was totally worth 5 inches of gain around the waist.
Which didn't go unnoticed--my grandpa's wife asked if I was pregnant again.
Watch me puke on your plate.
Boxing day we went on another hike, climbing the hill behind my parents' house and rambling around on various rocks until Ayden fell about 20 feet off a rock face onto another rock. Fortunately he wasn't hurt beyond a scrape and a bad fright, but it was a bad moment to realize one's six year old just dissapeared off the face of a rather large rock outcropping! Meanwhile I turn around and the dog is munching on the skeleton of what looks to have been a coyote. Gross.
We found cougar tracks in the snow and showed them to the boys. So cool!
Then we returned home and got ready for a boxing day dinner at my aunt Barb and uncle John's place--where we met Mrs. Massachusetts, as aforementioned. Dinner and family time were lovely. Further to the Mrs. Massachusetts incident, my mom later told me that I misheard, and that it was not Mrs. M who had researched home birth deaths, but her SON who is in medical school. This made me angry. I have a very difficult time with men stating opinions regarding women's reproductive rights. I know I go too far with this (I remember once my cousin Tonya pointed out that men whose partners get abortions against their wishes are not entirely ethically clean, since those babies are the offspring of the dads as much as the moms, and she is RIGHT, in that a man has no say in that regard and it is tragic, and she is also wrong (IMO) in that it is still the woman's body and she has a right to her bodily integrity...but it is a very good point about the dads having no say and it being wrong), and it is something I am working on in the very initial stages of working on. But part of the problem is that I generally blame much of what has gone awry in obstetrics in the past century on the injection of male physicians into birth. It is a natural and valuable characteristic for men to want to take action and fix things, but this becomes problematic when applied to birth because (a) birth and women's bodies are not broken, and (b) interference in the birth process creates pathological states. First, male physicians wanted to fix the pain of birth, so they introduced anasthesia. Which meant that the expulsive efforts of the uterus were often not effective because the woman was unconscious, so they pulled out some giant salad tongs and started routinely using forceps to deliver babies. The forceps created a large number of lacerations which were difficult to repair and sometimes debilitating so they invented the episiotomy. Some episiotomies and some forceps births and some pain medications caused problems, and so the cesarean was put into popular use. And on, and on, and on. Each solution creates more problems, and instead of backing off the inital interference, they just created more solutions which created more problems. And women suffer. And babies suffer. And women are robbed of the rich cocktail of love hormones and sense if personal accomplishment and pride that rushes in after natural birth and establishes a mothering that is begun with empowerment and confidence.
So. Men. 99% more listening, 99% less talking. Thank you.
But the rest of the dinner at my aunt and uncle's place was very lovely.
I visited with the midwife who caught Riley, and it was very nice. I LOVE her, and she now practices in Vernon and my mom is her backup nurse for home deliveries. Isn't it funny how life works? Around and around, with fewer than six degrees of separation. It was nice to show her how Riley is now, and how the big boys have grown, and to talk about life and kids and school and birth and christmas...
I also visited with my oldest and one of my best friends, Elaine, who lives in Vernon and has a beautiful 1950s style house that she has completely renovated. It is awesome. I'm so jealous! And I love her too, and miss her lots. It was very nice to visit together.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too! We're off home tomorrow. Pray for travelling mercies!
(pix to come)