Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cleaning out

Well it wasn't our best trip back to Maryland, but we are home and getting settled. The final 20 minutes were a bit tough. Jack had to go to the bathroom and, as an encouragement to hold out just a little longer, Jon started announcing how many minutes until we reached home. But Jack gets minutes and seconds confused, so we started pointing out familiar landmarks - there's the "home store", there's Target, I see Marmie and Poppa's pizza place!

I don't know where Julia thought we were headed all day but the moment she recognized our street Girlfriend was NOT happy. While the rest of us were fist pumping in the driveway, she looked like this. I had to carry her inside and quickly pull out some Christmas presents to distract her.

And that's when the real work started.  Sometimes I feel like the final week of the year is the most stressful.  It's hard enough to come home after nine days away - the unpacking, the resettling, the laundry.  Not to mention a house void of food.  I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do when I get home from a road trip is head right back out to the grocery store.  But when you add to the mix that it's post-Christmas, and there are gifts that need to find a place to inhabit.  And old items that need cleaned out to make room for the new.  Well, it all just gets a bit overwhelming.

It's always a fun milestone when a baby is big enough for the Johnny Jumper!

Chef Lia, she makes us "soup" every day. (Some great gifts from Marmie and Poppa!)
And it was right in the middle of this whole resettling/creating a mountain of items for the next yard sale thing that another kind of cleaning out began.  The barf.

It started with Jack on New Year's Eve.  He had been complaining about his tummy all day.  And I had been playing it down all day.  And then he threw a fit about dinner.  But that's not unusual.  So I made him eat anyway.  And then a little later, as we're getting ready for bed, he starts walking towards me in his bedroom.  I can see it in his eyes, he's legitimately not feeling well.  And I have just enough time to say "Not on the rug, NOT ON THE RUG!!!" before ... well... all over the rug.
I thought it was just a fluke thing.  Like maybe he really didn't like the Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells (Jon and I thought they were bonkers!).  Because (in typical Jack-style) he appeared to bounce back the next day.  It wasn't until the following day that we discovered more dried vomit in his bed.  Before you think I'm a really bad mom, like really, really bad, just remember he's on the top bunk.  I only go up there when I have to.  So maybe I can be just a little bit of a bad mom?  Gosh, I can't believe I'm starting out 2014 by allowing my child to puke in his bed at night, all alone, and never cleaning it up.  I swear we didn't hear a thing that night! (Then again, there's no longer a monitor in the boys' room thanks to Julia's electrician skills.)

Best snow fall we've had in MD yet! 

Too bad it was over by morning.

But we got a good 20 minutes of playtime!

It was just a few hours after we realized it wasn't a fluke that Julia woke up crying.  I was busy catching up on several weeks worth of ironing (while watching "The Hunger Games").  So Jon went up to check on her... and discovered another mess to be reckoned with.  So he cuddled with her downstairs while I went to work on washing yet another set of sheets.  She starts puking again on Daddy's lap right about the same time I hear Jude winding up in his bed.  And it pretty much went downhill from there.

Jon alternated between Jude and Julia on the couch, emptying basins, going through rolls of paper towels, and switching out blankets and pillows, and I spent the evening doing load after load of laundry.  I went to bed sometime after midnight and Jon volunteered to manage puke patrol.  I found them all sleeping on the couch a little after 3:00am and he finally slipped them back into clean beds made from a mish mash of pillows and blankets from throughout the house.

The following day they were more than exhausted after their ordeal.  Jude just laid around and cried over every little thing.  He can be a bit dramatic under normal circumstances.  But when it was clear he was beyond tired, and he still refused to go to bed, it wasn't surprising to find him like this:

Which looked very much like his baby sister, just a floor above him.  Except she wasn't sick.  Thankfully, she managed to evade "the bug."  But she was suffering some serious neglect.  Good thing those fourth babies are so adaptable.  Hey, if your mom forgets to put you down for a nap, you can just do it yourself.

We thought we were in the clear after that.  We even had Uncle Jared, Aunt Kylee, and Miss Mary over for dinner and football.  After a few rough nights, Jon and I had a hard time staying awake until the end.  Or maybe that's just because we're getting old.  So I was a little surprised when Jon practically jumped out of bed early the next morning.  Should have known it was NOT because he was anxious to make us all breakfast.

Saturday was the day we planned to finally take down all our Christmas decorations.  They were driving me crazy all week and I was more than ready to move on to New Year's decor a.k.a. nothing.  But Jon couldn't get out of bed.  So the kids and I started on the de-decorating ourselves.  And they were surprisingly helpful.  We played a matching game where we'd pull out one of the Hallmark boxes and they'd have to "match" up the picture on the box with an ornament from the tree.  Genius, right?

I just don't understand how this family spreads germs ...
I kept cleaning and waiting for Jon to show up, eventually we got down to just the tree.  And when he still didn't make an appearance I decided to take care of that myself too.  And so, by the time Jon emerged from the bedroom at 2:30, the house was completely void of any signs of Christmas.  Except for that one random ornament that fell under the couch and wasn't found until the last box was put in storage.  Happens every year!!

Jon spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV from his favorite easy chair.  I thought he was just being dramatic like our second son, but by 4:00 I started to realize that I might be finding out soon just exactly how he felt.  I rushed to finish dinner and gets the kids started before collapsing on the couch.  And then the inevitable happened.  Seriously, morning sickness ain't got nothin' on the stomach flu.  This is some serious gut-spilling.  Jon was still in a daze downstairs and the kids needed some management so I crawled back to the table to offer a little "stay in your seats and eat" encouragement.  Actually, I tried to eat dinner myself.  It was dumb, but my biggest concern was trying to nurse a baby while throwing up.  So I figured I needed to keep trying to consume calories and water.  It definitely did not stay down long enough to be beneficial.  And when I say while nursing I mean that quite literally.  Well, I did put the baby down for the actual act, but she was not happy and wanted to resume eating immediately afterwards.

How about parenting while barfing?  I'm literally on my knees at the toilet, hacking out my everything I have in me, and the kids are right there with me, checking out what's going on.  Jude was telling on Jack, Jack was asking me for a snack, and Julia was dancing around the toilet saying "Barf! Barf!" and making gagging sounds.  Thankfully, this was right about the time Jon started to feel better.

No such thing as alone time.  Trying to relax in the tub while Joci plays by a cruddy toilet and Lia "reads" me "My World" for the gazillionth time.
Because that's how the rest of the evening went.  Looking back, there's a lot to be thankful for.  My kids went to bed at 6:30 that night!  Joci never goes to bed that early.  And she slept all the way through until 4:00am.  Which was the worst of it for me, and despite not even being able to keep water down, she was still able to eat that morning.  That next day was a little bit tougher though.  I mean, I had nothing in my system.  I had to somehow bring myself back to life as well as nurture a 5 month old, and all without much of an appetite.  She was a very frustrated baby on Sunday and literally wanted to nurse all day.  And then she'd get mad when there wasn't any milk.  At one point I started to cry.  And then forced myself to stop because I didn't want to dehydrate myself anymore.

Please disregard that disastrous laundry room.  And the extension cord at my daughter's feet... was for this project.
I spent the rest of the day napping with the baby or laying on the couch.  And I spent the evening watching cooking shows (not the best idea after a stomach flu) and watching my husband refinish the bookshelf.  And now we're back to normal (unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Uncle Jared, who was in the midst of our germs last week).  Sharing is caring ... or not.

My little fashionistas in outfits from Nonnie and Poppie!
We even made it out of the house on Monday.  A trip to Target for Mother's Milk Tea (and to have someone ask me if I ran a home daycare).  And then some time at the Chick-Fil-A playplace to burn some energy before the great freeze-in (and to have someone say that Julia was "lucky" to have three brothers -- they were dressed alike for heaven's sakes!!!).  It was certainly not the way I anticipated  ringing in the new year.  I mean, I haven't even had a chance to think about what I want to accomplish in 2014.  But it certainly helped with the whole cleaning out thing.  And after the events of this past week, I may be one of the few out there that are actually hoping to gain some weight this year!


Sheila said...

Love how you describe "mommy world"! Refreshingly candid! Barf on the top bunk and all!! This is reality.

J9 said...

Haha, thanks Sheila! I think one of my New Year's resolutions will be to visit the top bunk more often!!

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