Kendell thinks this is weird of me, but every December 29th, I say, "______ years ago we had red burritos for dinner," only I fill in the blank with how many years old Jakey will be the next day. I guess I remember that meal so well because it was my only labor when I actually went into labor all on my own (instead of being induced), and one of the things I noticed in the middle of the night when I was walking up and down the length of my house, from the hall closet on one end to the kitchen door on the other, was that I'd forgotten to put the leftovers in the fridge.
This year, the blank is filled by the number nine. Jake was born almost three weeks early, and I was completely unprepared for it, as I'd had a busy semester at college and then getting ready for Christmas, and I thought I'd have until at least January 12. I never, ever expected to have a December baby. And every December 29th, when I think about him being born, I am sad for him that his birthday falls so close to Christmas. Because every year, no matter how deep I dig, I am out of energy for planning more stuff and shopping more. Tomorrow, instead of making dinner to eat with both sets of grandparents, we'll be ordering pizza and making a big green salad and something yummy and slushy to drink. I felt bad about this plan until Jake told me, in his characteristically sweet way, that he is really, really excited about seeing the Grandparents eat pizza because he doesn't think he's ever seen them eat it.
So, he's good with a quieter and easier celebration. Which is OK on so many levels, as the celebrations I hold on each of my children's birthdays are also quiet---the personal ones. Like making sure to stop and mark the exact time they were each born, or making sure to find a few quiet minutes to page through the baby scrapbook. Remembering the individual just-born moments that made each one of them unique. And really making myself stop and realize just how much they've grown, what a miracle each one of them are. The days my children entered the world are the most precious ones of my life. The party and the balloons, the cake and the gifts---those things are for the child who was born. But it will always remain important for me to celebrate the day my children were born in my own quiet ways.
(And now, for a paragraph that is completely unrelated and probably, in the larger scope of things, unnecessary: It seems that everyone in the blogosphere has blogged about their Christmas. But honestly---even though I've already written in my journal about the day---I can't bring myself to blog about it. I love Christmas---but this deep into December, with all the planning and the anxiety and the music and decorations and snacks and gifts and parties and and and past, as well as with January looming so close? I'm emotionally worn out! So here's the skeleton version of our holidays:
- Jake sick Christmas Eve day and Christmas Eve night (because we cannot have a holiday without at least one child barfing)
- Haley and Nathan singing in the church choir
- No one liked my Christmas eve dinner but me---I made cranberry pot roast a la Heather, but apparently meat should never have any hint of sweetness. Unless you're me. Of course, I had a grand total of three bites before needing to clean up yet another stomach-flu mess. Glad I tried.
- Kaleb was out COLD way before I was organized enough for the traditional Christmas Eve Pajama Experience. Meaning: no Christmas Eve Pajama Experience With All Four Kiddos Photo. Sigh---are you sensing a trend here? Foreshadowing!
- Kendell helped me put out the gifts from Santa. He's usually asleep when I do this, so having him there was different.
- Christmas Morning: Kaleb up at 5:freaking:30 in the morning. Luckily, he took a bottle and dozed for a bit. Haley up at 7:00 and graciously watched Polar Express with Kaleb while Kendell and I slept/snoozed/woke-up-with-frantic-thoughts-of-possibly-forgetting-something. Jake up at 8:15. Nathan dragged out of bed at 8:45.
- Christmas gifts wonderful! Everyone surprised! Only one Disappointed Child (Nathan, who was just blue for no reason I could figure out)! I managed one unusual gift for Kendell! (aka the man who is impossible to surprise.) He surprised me! (New waffle iron.) Everyone happy!
- New breakfast casserole a big hit. Big Hit, Sorensen-style, meaning: all children except the requisite one loved it. Will share later, as this "one paragraph" is getting too long. Kendell especially loved it. Two servings. Or was that three?
- What's this? Kendell not feeling well? Kendell feeling shaky and nauseous and feverish and chilled? Special. No, dear, it wasn't the eggs. It wasn't the sausage. It wasn't the hash browns. It wasn't even the cheese. It is called rotovirus.
- Children play, Kaleb naps, sick hubbie snores and tosses and moans. I: make salad, wrap gift to in-laws (a gorgeous picture of Christ), pick up house, organize toys, organize space in front of tree, pile up boxes and bags. Put all necessary stuff in van, pack diaper bag, get everyone dressed and brushed (both hair and tooth) and ready.
- We head off for brief stop at Kendell's sister's house, where we spend 15 minutes giving his parents their previously-immaculately-wrapped-until-Kaleb-got-ahold-of-it gift, and then drive to my mom's. Despite fever, chills, nausea, and constant threat of needing to barf out the window, hubby insists on driving. Testosterone is weird. He drops us off and makes the best decision he can: continues on to his parents' empty house and spends Christmas huddled on the couch underneath blankets.
- Meanwhile: Christmas at my mom's. Ham, cheese potatoes, that salad I made which is another delicious recipe I thought, way too much fudge-caramel-divinity-clamdip (although not all in one bite), gifts for kids, talking with sisters and Mom, great pics of Kaleb with Dad, some laughs. Weird without Kendell there.
- Drive home, tuck still-sick hubbie in bed, tuck kids in bed after asking the traditional "what was your favorite part?" question, tuck baby in bed. Collapse in bed.
See, I told you: I'm emotionally all worn out and only good for sarcasm. Will have to share the pleasant and moving experiences later. I will say this: Kendell is STILL sick. I had it a little bit, as did Nathan, but I am beginning to think Kaleb will never stop throwing up. On that lovely note...here's a photo from Christmas morning: