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  • Writer's picture Jana

After a Rough Couple of Months we Enjoy a Much-Deserved Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's been four months since I've written a post. It's hard to believe, given there was a time, not so long ago, in 2020, when I wrote daily for at least a six month stretch, without missing a day.

There have been so many missed story opportunities in the past four months that I still mourn and wish I had written about. I am not sure that I ever intended to take even a short break from writing, much less one this extended. Upon reflection, it started with a mild case of writer's fatigue, blog burnout, or whatever you want to call it. From there it morphed into what seemed like nonstop obligations with the kids and school leaving no time nor mental space for any creativity. And if I am being honest, there was a tad bit of complacency sprinkled in the mix as well. Before I knew it, two months had passed and it was late October without a single post being written, despite a constant flood of ideas.

Then, out of nowhere, life spiraled out of control. All of a sudden writing a blog post became a virtual impossibility.

The series of unfortunate events began on a Friday, October 28 at noon . I received a call from school that Miles had a serious gash on his forehead which he had sustained at lunch while playing on the yard. The nurse informed me that although she had gotten the bleeding under control, he would need immediate medial attention and therefore I should rush get to school as soon as possible to pick him up. This play yard accident turned into a nine-hour ordeal with a visit to the urgent care followed by a trip to the emergency room (and stitches), which stretched well into the evening. Once we recovered from that event I naively assumed we were on to greener pastures, forgetting the old adage that bad things come in threes.

A few weeks later, my computer hard drive and backup external hard drive crashed, simultaneously. Although I did not research it, for the sake of this story I am going to estimate the odds of that happening at a billion-to-one. But happen, it did. That event alone, led to a near total emotional collapse on my part, as I desperately tried to get help in recovering my 37,000 photos, countless movies, and every other vital detail of my life living on those drives. After days and days of attempting to resolve the problem remotely, I finally ended up in the Apple Store for what turned out to be a ten-hour torture-filled appointment that began at 10 AM, when they opened, and ended (without much being resolved) at 8PM, when the store closed. When I walked out of the store (my back killing me from sitting on those backless, rock-hard benches for ten hours that Apple supplies its well-paying customers)I felt beleaguered, discouraged and quite frankly, terrified that I would never recover my data. Naively, I thought that was as bad as things were going to get, but once again, I was mistaken.

Exactly five days after my visit to Apple, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I came down with a bad case of the flu (or so I thought), The logical conclusion was that I had I contracted the flu during my miserably long stay at the Apple Store. As the days passed, I grew more and more ill, which was disconcerting, to say the least. On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I decided to repeat my Covid test, assuming it would come back negative, as the prior ones had. Think again. The black T line could not have appeared more quickly nor darkly on the test stick. I have Covid?! How could this be happening to me!

I did not test negative for close to two weeks and felt unwell for closer to three weeks. It was starting to feel like Armageddon was setting in.

As if all this wasn't enough to contend with, all four of my children fell ill over the course a month, during November and December, some getting sick more than once and overlapping with my own three-week long case of Covid. Thankfully, Catherine was the only one to contract Covid from me and her symptoms were mild and dissipated quickly, although she had to remain out of school for the week until she tested negative.

Suffice to it say, I think I deserve a Hall Pass for not writing any posts on my blog. Even so, there were some great stories in all that misery, and many others that had nothing to do with the misery at all, that I would have enjoyed writing about and sharing.

We now find ourselves in 2023, having just celebrated the holidays. We were supposed to travel to New York for Christmas, but had to cancel due my roller coaster recovery from Covid (I still have days that I feel unwell), general holiday stress made worse by the above-mentioned series of unfortunate events, and topped off by the bomb-cyclone storm which hit the East Coast on the exact day we were supposed to travel. Instead we stayed home and had a fairly quiet Christmas and New Years. which turned out to be just fine with the kids.

I was more disappointed than they were about not being able to travel. After all I have been though in the past months, I was looking forward to an escape. However, as long we all stay healthy and this streak of unfortunate events has finally drawn to a close, I am fine with a few quiet weeks at home. There's nothing like a few bad months to adjust your expectations.

We kicked the holidays off with a low-key Christmas Eve breakfast.

We then the running some last minute errands, wrapping some last minute gifts and cooking Christmas Eve dinner. While I overdid it, Fitzy, did not.

Fitzy moved from room-to-room, taking sun baths and sleeping the day away.

The kids did a beautiful job of setting the table and Catherine did an even better job of capturing it in these photos.

Dinner was delicious! The first course was a scrumptious wedge salad served with warm dinner rolls and butter. For the second course we made a perfectly cooked Christmas roast beef served with au jus and creamed horse radish on the side; creamed corn, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding.

For dessert we enjoyed a marionberry pie, a coconut cake, oatmeal cookies and thumbprint cookies. Fitzy enjoyed his festively decorated doggy cookies.

After dinner, I strong-armed the kids into taking their obligatory Christmas portraits.

Then a a few more photos by the tree which look a lot happier than the actual process was of taking them.

Before going to bed, we set out a plate of cookies and milk for Santa. Unfortunately I forgot to buy carrots for the reindeer at the market, but given that it was all ceremonial because sadly, no one believes in Santa anymore, I suppose it didn't matter.

Christmas morning at last! We couldn't light a fire because the day reached a high of 80 degrees, but other than that it was lovely.

All that gift opening left everyone hungry. We made a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, maple bacon, an apple coffee cake and fruit salad.

Thankfully dinner and dessert were leftovers from the evening before so we didn't need to cook again, because quite frankly, I was exhausted!

I took the day after Christmas off to rest up a bit and catch my breath. Then the kids and I embarked on what turned out to be a grand-scale organization/room re-do project (a bit larger than I had originally planned on), involving all of their bedrooms. It took three days last week and a lot of hard work. We went though all of their books, countless bins of toys, and even disassembled and resembled beds as we gave each room an update. It wasn't much fun, but worth it in the end as their rooms function better for them at their respective ages. The twin's room is the only bedroom that still needs some finishing up, but we'll get there and make sure to post some photos when it's all done.

New Year's Eve was mellow. A day at the movies and lunch out, followed by an evening at home with puzzles, board games, and seven layer Mexican dip to nosh on while watching Anderson and Andy ring in the New Year.

A short New Year's Eve video.

We headed to the LA Zoo to spend New Year's Day. I purchased a membership for the year as a Christmas gift for the kids. We dined on burgers and fries afterward at the flagship Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Burbank. It's a little early to tell, but it seems that 2023 is off to a much better start than the way 2022 ended. All I need is to get the mess with my computer sorted out and all will be right with the world. At least for now. I'll keep you posted!

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Jana, OMG! Thank you for this post!!!! I have been so concerned about all of you since your last post in August when the terrible loss of the beloved young man at school know how it is, once a mother, always a mother.....all of God's children are "our" children. What a Blessing it is to know that your precious children are all doing well.......thanks be to God! ❤️

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