You'll see that Liz loves her new twin baby dolls that she got for Christmas. It took her just a second to decide to name them - Chuck and Bob. I won't even begin to offer an explanation. But she loves Chuck and Bob very much.
It was unusual for us to stay at home this year, but it turned out to be quite relaxing and enjoyable. It was the first time I've had Christmas at my own home in more than 10 years and the first time Brian and I have had Christmas since we married six years ago. It was also Liz's first Christmas at home as well. We were fortunate that my mom, dad and brother and sister-in-law came and spend the day with us. Liz got a number of great gifts, from toy computers to books. But I couldn't resist some shots of "Pretend Dr. Lizzy." If you look at the photos from the bottom you can see how serious she is when she's first meeting with her patient and then she relaxes when she feels the patient is indeed healthy. She's checking out my mom and dad. She's taking blood pressure, checking their heart beat and giving them a full physical.
It's hard to believe, but I think I'm finally out of the "dark ages" - at least in one area. Yes, "Santa" showed that even a knee injury won't slow him down, and got me a digital camera - arriving a few days early so that I'll be a semi-pro by the time Christmas comes.
I'll post a few of the early pictures later this morning, but Liz is on the computer upstairs. Yes, I actually meant to write that sentence. Liz can actually play and maneuver the playhousedisney.com games. She only need help every few minutes.
I survived all of the travel last week to New York and even though we had more than 8 inches of snow, I didn't have any flight delays.
Now, we're settling in for our first Christmas since we've been married at our own home. It's actually my first Christmas at my own home in more than 10 years.
It seems strange not to be traveling all over the Midwest worrying about pending snow storms. But it's also relaxing. Liz and I baked several dozen cookies yesterday and she also helped me make fudge.
I took her to the store yesterday to get a few last minute items, and I thought I should get her a baby doll, since she kept asking for one, and I hadn't bought her one. Surprisingly, she only has about two dolls.
The problem was I couldn't go to the store by myself so I had to fudge a bit and tell her that I was getting the doll for someone else. She was not happy at all. But it was a fairly grown up response.
She didn't scream or throw a tantrum, she kept saying: "Lizzy wants a doll."
And, I kept saying: "Well, Maybe you'll get one from Santa, but this is for someone else."
I felt horrible because she looked really upset almost like she was going to cry. Finally, I said: "Liz, what's wrong."
Her response was very serious: "I'm going to talk to Santa about it."
I tend to write more on the blog because I write for a living and am simply more comfortable with it. And without having a digital camera, I'm left with our cell phone camera. To be honest, I've not been that impressed with it. Several times, I've taken photos and tried to post them on the web, and they look awful. A few times, they've turned out OK.
But as promised, I'm finally getting around to passing on some photos from our Thanksgiving in Michigan - thanks to my nephew Daniel.
From the top, you'll see Liz and I snuggling together. I have no idea why that top looks like something that would fit in quite nicely at a Brady's Thanksgiving in the 1970s. In the second picture, that's more how that shirt actually looks. I swear! The second photo is Brian's aunt Marilyn, me and Brian. If you look to the right, you can see Brian's knee brace. Then, we've got more happy photos of Liz.
Well, it's official. We are staying home for the holidays. It was a tough decision, but because of Brian's knee and well, the fact that we're just completely exhausted, we've decided to stay home.
We've been traveling a lot leading up to the holidays and it seems any day that we need to travel more than 35 miles, that's the day with freezing rain, black ice, etc..
Today, we're heading to Michigan City, which is right about 36 miles from out house. Of course, we're expected to get 5 to 7 inches of snow today, but I don't think we'll be getting that snow until evening. Don't worry. I'm not holding my breath because our luck usually isn't that good.
We're taking Brian's mom to the train so she can head back to Michigan after helping us the last week and a half. I definitely couldn't have done it without her! My mom will also be arriving as the "relief pitcher" from the commuter train (South Shore) about five minutes after Brian's mom leaves.
I'm sure those five minutes without any help will be fairly insane, but we'll do our best. I'm only slightly joking.
We still need help because I'm heading to New York tomorrow for the annual staff meeting.
As the entire country knows, the Northeast is expected to get hammered by a severe snowstorm. Some are calling it a blizzard. Others say it's definitely a Nor'easter.
Doesn't matter what it's called, it will make for horrible travel conditions. I'm fully prepared that my flight will likely be cancelled/delayed but hopefully I can get a new flight that evening or Monday morning.
See what I mean about our luck.
Meanwhile, we're also expected to get snow in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, which means that I'll have to contend with snowy runways in Chicago and New York.
Hopefully, I'll be able to make it back on Tuesday evening without any problems.
Moving on to good news. Brian's rehab of his knee is doing amazingly well. He'll get his stitches out on Monday and he'll be back to work on Monday. He'll be headed to sunny Arizona at the end of the month to cover the Hoosiers in their first bowl game in more than a decade.
I'm pretty sure he'll be blogging about it, and I'll forward that address once I get it.
For those of you who have asked, my dad is also doing better. We're just working hard to get the blood-thinner regulated and realize that's a long chore.
Liz continues to be amazingly active. Since it's been rotten outside, she's done a lot of crafts. I helped Liz and her Mimi Hedger make a Christmas mobile. Quite cute. She's also finger-painted several "gifts" for family.
We've done some snow angels outside and once I'm back from New York, we can all enjoy the snow...that is until Brian needs to fly to Arizona. Trust me, I can already guess what that forecast will be without looking.
I've always heard people say that they're amazed by the simple things that children become amused by. We spend so many hours and a lot of money, trying to find the perfect toy. When in fact, all kids really need and want is an old toilet paper roll or that cardboard box that's sitting in the laundry room.
Liz always amazes me with her ability to appreciate these types of things. For several months, she's been completely enamored by "my friend soap."
Luckily, nearly any soap will do. As you can imagine, it's fairly easy to lose her soap friend and we're constantly replacing them.
My mother-in-law was wondering where our soap was in the main bathroom upstairs. That's an easy answer. Liz said: "Oh, that's my friend soap."
So, her friend soap is often carried across the house - in her room, upstairs, on the table, and the list goes on and on.
Brian and I decided we could make her day at Christmas and get her an entire "family of soaps" and decorate their faces! Not to mention that it'd be a lot cheaper than other gifts.
Now, if only I can get her to become great friends with the washcloth. Then, she'd have her friend soap and her friend the washcloth, and maybe just maybe my house wouldn't be such a disaster.
Nah, probably wouldn't work, but it doesn't hurt to include a "washcloth friend" at Christmas...just in case.
It's been a whirlwind the last several days mostly trying to help Brian manage the pain. At last count, he's used 130 pounds of ice, and we've got another 50 pounds in the garage ready for action.
We've been helping him heal mostly with ice, a carefully-prepared concoction of painkillers, and favorite comfort foods like apple sauce squares, his mom's homemade veggie stuffing and banana bread.
The surgery was a success and in addition to repairing the ACL, the doctor ended up needing to complete some additional repairs. Brian came through fine, but was groggy for many hours after the 2-hour surgery.
It's difficult for him to feel so rotten especially since he's used to being so healthy. He's also trying to avoid taking prescription painkillers as much as possible, but that also comes at a price. We're trying to manage the pain as much as possible with over-the-counter medicines. We head to the doctor this afternoon for a checkup as well.
Coincidentally, while I've been hauling ice in and out of the house we had a few minor ice storms here. Nothing horrible, but it seems like there's ice or water everywhere.
To add to the already constant flow of water, Our washing machine also leaked on Friday and Brian's mom and I spent time wiping up all of the water that had flooded into the bathroom. The problem is easily fixable.
I got Brian the last season of 24 as an early Christmas gift and anyone whose seen that show, knows watching Jack Bauer save the world, can help distract you from just about anything.
Liz is doing very well and having a blast hanging out with her Mimi Hedger. However, she had one of her world-record-breaking tantrums in the morning on Saturday but pulled through and surprisingly has been a great girl.
We made Christmas chains for the house and she's helped me make banana bread and she and I also played in the snow over the weekend. She and I also went to her friend Dylan's birthday party on Sunday and had a blast there.
I could go on and on about how utterly behind I am for the holidays, but seems useless to write about it because it won't change. We're not sure if we're going to travel for Christmas. This year, might be the first year that we don't journey across the Midwest over Christmas and actually stay put and have Christmas at our house.
To be honest, it seems too exhausting right now to think about loading up the car and traveling through more ice and snow.
Liz and I came home Sunday and I quickly unpacked and spent four hours getting our Christmas decorations up. Most of that time was dealing with the lights and cursing beneath my breath, but smiling brightly around Liz while wearing my Santa hat and jovially making hot chocolate.
In hindsight, it wasn't a very smart idea to add putting out the Christmas decorations to our already packed Sunday after being gone for four days.
But I knew we'd have no other time to get the decorations up, and even though life has been and will continue to be quite chaotic, I want Liz to enjoy the season. So, we're in Christmas mode!
By early today, I realized I was quickly losing my mind from juggling too many tasks. Today, it became crazy completing my duties as a full-time working-mom while also caring for Brian. My mother-in-law had decided to come today and at first I thought that I wouldn't need her help until after his surgery. I couldn't have been more wrong.
I felt tremendous amounts of stress roll off my shoulders when she arrived armed with health food and extra patience. She and Liz have been making crafts and playing various games while I've been working.
Luckily, Dad was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon and the main issues have been regulating his blood thinners. It will be a long task and he's also getting shots twice daily to help regulate the blood thinners. Hopefully, that won't last for long.
He's slowly recuperating but won't be back to work for another week or so. Brian's been able to work from home, which has been a huge help as well. His surgery is scheduled for first thing Thursday morning. The doctor's office called yesterday to warn us he'd be in "extreme pain." Great. Just what we needed to hear.
Not much positive to say after that sentence - except that the Christmas decorations do look quite nice. Even though it may not have been that wise to hurry and get the decorations up, my mother-in-law made my day, when she asked if my tree was one that came with the lights already on it!
Well, it was clear right then - I definitely deserve to wear that Santa hat.
Welcome to our blog. We'll mostly post about our crazy experiences. But we realize our family is unique because our beautiful girl Elizabeth has achondroplasia, and we know other parents and families may want to read about our adventures. If you are new to this blog, you can read "The Medical Side" and "Liz's entrance to the world," to see our how story began.