Christmas seemed to fly by faster than ever this year. Some of that probably had to do with M. being sick around the big day. She had a stomach bug beginning on the afternoon of the 23rd all the way through to Christmas Eve morning. We spent a big chunk of that night running into her room and holding a bowl in front of her face. She was miserable, but sweet at the same time. Each time she would finish and crumple back into her sheets, she would say, weakly, “I love you mom and dad.” As if it’s not hard enough watching your kid puke over and over, they say something like that which breaks your heart. <!–more–>She spent all of Christmas Eve on the couch, but made a miraculous recovery that night when people came over for dinner.* And she was her same old self most of the day on Christmas. On the 26th, however, she again spent almost the entire day laying on the couch. She’s been kind of off-and-on since then, although she hasn’t thrown up anymore.

We did inform the family that she was sick and gave them the option of either not coming or relocating Christmas Eve dinner. We’re hoping we don’t start hearing about people getting sick this week, although so far so good.
C. conveniently crashed on the couch about 3:00 Christmas Eve afternoon, so with both girls asleep, I got to skip the 4:00 Christmas Eve Mass we had planned on attending. I had mixed feelings about that. As you know, I’m not the biggest fan of church. But I do always enjoy Christmas Eve services.

The girls put together a nifty note for Santa on Christmas Eve. That afternoon, M. had the realization that she had never sat on Santa’s lap at the mall this year. I reminded her that she did send a letter to Santa and that we would leave him a note with his cookies. That seemed to assuage her fears that he might skip her. She also insisted we remove the child lock from the fireplace doors so he could get in. Smart girl. We left three cookies – one from each sister – milk and carrots for his reindeer.

Christmas morning was good. The girls were very excited and got some good presents. We’re sticking with the three gifts per girl because Jesus got three gifts concept, but the girls did add to their total thanks to the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They were very proud to show off their new toys to the family members that came over for dessert on Christmas afternoon.

L. gave us one of the best gifts ever for Christmas: she went six hours without needing us on the night of the 23rd. Of course, we were up with M. constantly that night, but we hope it’s a sign of more nights like that from L.. On the other hand, we were up a combined 15 times on Christmas night. Not sure what was going on with the big sisters, but they were both having bad dreams and crying all night, and L. went back to needing three bottles.

We took our tree and most of our decorations down Sunday, which is about the earliest I’ve ever done so. A combination of a very dry tree and S. working the day shift this week made that the day that made the most sense to take things down. Kind of a bummer, since I like stretching things out until right around New Year’s Day. When the tree comes down, the room suddenly feels empty and cold, where it felt cramped the first couple days the tree was up. It’s not just that the holidays are a wonderful time full of family and coming together and good food and great movies and music. It’s the reminder that fall just ended and spring is a long way away. Man, I hate the midwest this time of year!

All-in-all a good Christmas here in the Brannan house. We enjoyed our visitors and seeing family members we don’t see very often. We made lots of yummy cookies and enjoyed the other tasty desserts people brought to us. It was a lot of fun watching the two big sisters this year. They were both completely into all the shows and lights displays and songs. The one bonus of M. being sick on the 24th was she got to watch all the old school Rankin and Bass holiday specials on ABC Family. It was also fun to discover, together, The Polar Express. Neither S. nor I had ever seen it before. I recorded it right after Thanksgiving and forced the girls to watch it one night. Ten minutes in, M. wanted me to turn it off. By the end, she was asking to watch it again. We watched it all the way through one more time in December, and caught parts of it here-and-there. I think it will be added to the Brannan Holiday DVD collection next year. A wonderful film.

I hope all of you had fantastic holidays and are continuing to enjoy your time with family and friends through the week.