Saturday, January 30, 2010

Around the House

I try to get us up and doing something on the weekend, especially when Hubby's not around trying to relax after a long time on the road.  I have sort of resigned myself that I only really get to sleep in when he's here to entertain the girls.  Otherwise, I might as well just get up and do something.

Today I planned on taking the girls ice skating after a leisurely morning, but they dug in their heels and really didn't want to go.  It helped that they started playing together beautifully, having a great time pretending - when they're getting along really well I have a tendency to let them go and not interrupt a good thing.
After a while they decided they wanted to play checkers.  We have a neat retro wooden checkers and checker board set, but the red checkers are so dark you can't easily tell them from the black checkers. So I figured after they've played their game I'll pull out my acrylic paints from the good old single days when I used to paint crafty things and red up the checkers.  In the cellar next to the paints I found several unfinished nutcracker woods, and brought everything upstairs to work on while I waited for the girls to finish their game.
Sure enough, when she saw me painting a nutcracker, Thing 1 wanted to paint one too.  Turns out I had a box of six mini nutcrackers that look like they might be ornaments or something.

I also had a set of six plaster dogs and cats that Thing 2 was more than happy to paint on.
So at the end of the day, I finished off one nutcracker that I had almost completely finished before I'd packed it away and forgotten about it 11 or more years ago, and then started and finished another.
Thing 1 painted the mug bearing mini nutcracker in front.

The next picture is the plaster dog Thing 1 painted, and close up of the mini nutcracker which she also painted.  These pictures don't do them justice, she did a really nice job.  I'm just too lazy to upload pictures from my real camera, emailing them to myself from the phone saves me a step.  Take my word for it, the detail is great.  She painted the plaster dog as a miniature Kelso.

Thing 2 painted three plaster kitties.
Thing 2's attention to detail isn't quite as intense as Thing 1's, but she enjoyed painting them and was very happy with the result.  Which really was the point of the whole thing.

I just got off the phone with Hubby and found that he won't be coming home on Saturday morning like I thought.  Because of the conference he's at this weekend he won't be able to travel on Sunday (tomorrow) and so he will be flying to Brazil all day Monday and will be there Tuesday through Saturday to put in his five days.  Since it takes 24 hours of travel to get home, he won't come home until Sunday evening.  He was trying to figure out a way to get home in between San Francisco, where he is now, and Brazil, but it's just not looking possible.
He travels all the time, and I guess I don't think about it a lot... but finding he'll be gone all through the weekend made me a lot sadder than I thought it would.  I'm used to him being gone during the week, that's status quo around here.  But I don't like it when he's gone on the weekends, and I REALLY don't like him being gone this long - two or more weeks and weekends in a row...  And then when he's home for 36 hours and goes onto another two week trip, it's even worse.  He said a bunch of people at the conference were asking about his schedule and were commenting that they don't know how he does this much travel.  He was thinking "by not thinking about it, thanks so much for reminding me!"  He's sounding pretty tired of being gone this much too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gettin' outta Dodge

I didn't want to spend another weekend kicking around the house without hubby, so I decided to head 80 miles north to visit my sister and her family. She has horses, she has dogs, we love to go hang out with her.

Thing 1 got to play computer games without me bugging her to knock it off- I was too busy talking to my sister to notice.

 Thing 2 got to go horseback riding.

Kelso got to play with his doggy cousins.

We all relaxed.  It was lovely.

By the way, it should be noted that the dog now outweighs either of the girls.  At almost 6 months he's 50 pounds. 

Hubby got back Sunday afternoon, we left a little late, his plane landed early, and we raced south from my sister's to meet him at the airport.  It was so nice to see him!
The bad part is he leaves tomorrow morning for another week and a half stretch.  Galldarnit!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Building our stamina

These pictures are from walking home yesterday.  Thing 2 was busy on the very real fake cell phone my cousin gave her.   She carries it in a phone pocket on her backpack and takes a lot of calls walking home from school.
Thing 1 only wears her coat when it's around 31 degrees or below.  Above that she hardly ever wears it except as a cape swinging from her head.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back to School

Thing 2 seemed pretty much better by last Friday, but I hired a sitter and let her skip church on Sunday just to be sure.  She had an extra day to recover with the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.  She was so excited to go back to school, and couldn't wait to get up and get dressed on Tuesday.  We were combing hair and finding shoes when Thing 1 told me she was too tired to go to school.  Since she woke up at 6:15 to play on the computer, I suspected her exhaustion was not sickness related...  I told her she needed to go to school.
I even drove them to school because I didn't want to wear out Thing 2's newly recovered stamina.  After I saw them to their classes I went down to the office to double check that they have my cell phone number in case she got tired and needed me to come get her, I had a bunch of errands to do.  The secretary assured me that usually the kids only make it for half days for the first couple of days back from mono, if not the whole first week.
I came back home and figured I'd start off by taking the dog the for as long a walk as he could stand, at least 45 minutes, maybe an hour, and wear him down to a sleeping nub.  I got three blocks from my house and got a call on my cell phone.  It was the school.
Thing 1 was too tired and needed to come home.
I asked what was wrong, what felt bad?  She was tired.
I asked "How are your feet?"    "They're tired."
I asked "How are your elbows?"  She said "...  They're .... tired."
Hmmmph.  There go all my errands.
I turned around and took the dog home.  When I got to the school we talked about how this would be a resting day, not a computer playing or TV watching day.
I took her home and put her in bed and figured I'd peddle on the exercise bicycle, that way at least I'd get some exercise, even if the dog didn't.
Half an hour later Thing 1 came out of her bedroom stretching and saying she felt so much better, now that she slept a couple of hours.  A couple of hours?   Try half an hour!
I gave her my digital travel alarm clock and told her she couldn't get out of bed for another hour and a half, and told her what time that would be.
45 minutes later I peeked in on her and saw her laying in bed with her eyes wide open.  When she heard me they slammed shut.
I understand her being jealous that her little sister got to spend two weeks not in school, sleeping but yes, playing games on the computer.
Being healthy has its drawbacks.  I let Thing 1 get up and have her day too, since she couldn't muster up one symptom at all.  I let her play on the computer, though I did make her do her homework later when Thing 2 came home and did hers.
Thing 2, on the other hand, had a marvelous day!  She was queen of the may, as everyone was happy to see her and made a big fuss.  She confided later that three boys in her class have crushes on her.  She was very glad to be back.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Early Morning

Saturdays are my days to sleep in.  No school, no church, and hubby is back in town and misses the girls and apparently enjoys getting up with them to watch cartoons and doze on the couch while they climb all over him.  I do not understand this, but I am very grateful for it.

I stupidly stayed up late last night, thinking I'd just sleep in this morning.  Even though Hubby is out of the country, surely the girls will be able to entertain themselves a little in the morning?
No such luck.  Thing 1 woke up at 6:30 and she went downstairs and let the dog out, then back in, and she hugged him and treated him, and he started barking.  So I came down and told him to Hush, which is starting to work sometimes, and settled him down on his bed next to where Thing 1 was playing Club Penguin on the computer and went back upstairs to bed.  But a few minutes after I tucked myself in he started barking again.  No one seems to know why, except that he's not getting enough walkies during the day, but what the heck?

So I went back downstairs and carried him upstairs and put him in the kennel, which is still in our room despite him not sleeping upstairs anymore. (I've just been lazy about taking it out to the garage.) He's getting heavy, or maybe since I haven't done this for a week I'm suddenly out of shape, but I think he's crossed the 50 pound mark.  It was almost 7:00.  I put him in the kennel, he laid right down, I climbed back in bed.

Sure enough, Thing 2 started calling me from across the hall in the kids' room.  I hollered back that she could come in and talk to me as easily as I could come talk to her... after several minutes of hollered conversation she did come in and talk to me, and eventually crawled into bed with me, where she proceeded to talk and wiggle and cuddle and wiggle and pet me and wiggle until about 7:45.  I finally told her she should get up.  She whimpered it was too dark.  I told her it is nearly light, she can be brave and go downstairs.  I pretended to go back to sleep.  Finally she got up.  I think I dozed for maybe three minutes and the dog started whimpering and making noise, I told him to hush but he ignored me.  Then I heard something and sat up only to find that Thing 2 hadn't gone downstairs, she'd been sitting there outside Kelso's kennel staring at  him.  So of course he was awake.  I groaned, she started crying, screaming "I'm sorry I'm sorry" so I pulled her into bed with me and tickled her and talked to her for a while about it's not any darker than the inside of your mouth than it is in the hall, there's nothing in there but legos and chairs and books and teeth and tongue and nothing to be afraid of.
This was from another day, but you get the idea.
She's way too cute to be mad at.

By now it's nearly eight thirty, and I was half ready to give in and get up.  I mean, really, it's time to get up.  It was light. But I was so tired.  I laid across the bed.  The dog was quiet in his kennel.  Thing 2 went into the hall and I could hear her calling to Thing 1 to come to the bottom of the stairs.  Making eye contact with her sister gave her the strength she needed to descend the perilous stairs and she was able to go down, I heard the door at the bottom of the stairs shut.  I thought there's probably no chance I could go back to sleep, I'm too awake now.  Sigh.

Next thing I know Thing 1 was leaning her head into my side.  "I'm hungry."  It was 8:50.  It had taken me 2 hours and 20 minutes to sleep an extra 10 minutes this morning.

I miss Hubby.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


When things hadn't gotten better with Thing 2 over the weekend, in fact they seemed to be getting worse, we went to see the pediatrician on Monday.  After an exam in which he found very little wrong besides fever, swollen glands, and strangely her eyelids and inside nasal passages are puffy and swollen, he said we should have another round of blood work and do some more tests.
Thing 2 kind of missed that part of the conversation.  I didn't feel right springing it on her, but in retrospect that might have been better than warning her, because she immediately started crying, and worked herself up into a fit by the time we walked down to the lab.  The very nice nurses tried to reason with her, and calm  her down, but it was like watching someone wind a spring up tighter and tighter, nothing helped.  She just got more and more frantic.  She was sitting on my lap, and screaming and crying "No, Mommy, No!"  It was breaking my heart, I started tearing up. Finally they called in a third person, an older gentleman who tried to help distract her, and finally ended up just helping hold her down.  I was thinking they were going to stop and reason with her, but when I could see they were going in, and they all seemed resolved to forge ahead I put my hand over her eyes and turned her head and whispered in her ear and in went the needle.
Thankfully she held still, though she kept crying and pleading and breaking my heart.  Later she confessed to Thing 1 that when they were counting "1, 2, 3" she thought it was to put in the needle, and it turns out they were pulling it out and she was quite surprised when they said "It's over!  You're done!"
They said it would take a day for the results of some of the tests, and longer for the results of others.  I didn't expect to hear from them until after 5:00 yesterday, when the office starts  shutting down and they start to have time for that sort of thing, but the doctor called at 3:30 and told me that Thing 2 has mono.  She is six years old, mind you.
I was kind of stunned, and didn't ask all those good questions that mommies want to know, I didn't even know kids this age could GET mono.  All I could stammer out was how would she have gotten mono? and he told me that isn't even worth worrying about, it could have come from anywhere.  My next question was how long will it take to get over it?  His answer was "As long as it takes."

Web searches have been somewhat helpful, I just found one dealing more with the pediatric side.  Is different from, but a branch of the Epstein-Barr Virus, and they are calling it EBV in this description which says:

Is it contagious?
EBV is contagious. The virus lives in the saliva, and can live for several hours outside the body. Kissing gets the notoriety as a means of infection, but sharing eating utensils, foods, drinks, and toys (in day care) are significant ways to transmit mono.

Live EBV is in the saliva for 6 months or more immediately after mono. But EBV remains in the body for the rest of the life. It reappears in the saliva periodically throughout life. On any given day, about 1 in 4 people who once had mono will have EBV in their saliva.
How long does it last?
The virus usually multiplies silently in the body for 30 to 50 days after infection. Once the fever appears, it often lasts for a week or two. If there are no complications, the major symptoms usually last for 2 to 4 weeks, and then gradually resolve. Some continue to have fatigue for months or even years after the infection.

About 1 in 20 children with mono also have strep throat at the same time. Mono should be suspected if proven strep throat does not improve quickly with antibiotics.

Who gets it?
EBV infects more than 95 percent of the people around the world. The average age of infection varies from place to place (in Africa, most are infected by age 3 to 6). In most developed nations, the average age is 10 or above. But EBV infection can occur at any age.

How is it treated?
Rest, fluids, and medicines to relieve symptoms are the mainstay of treatment.
Alan Greene MD FAAP

 So now you know as much as I do about mono in children. 

Thing 1 has been a little jealous that Thing 2 gets to stay home from school, though watching her cry that she misses her friends, and the fact that she collapse into a nap the afternoon has been sort of a compensation.
The dog has been going crazy.  He barks a lot, and when I send him outside, he barks out there and I'm worried my neighbors are going to start hating me or complaining or both.  He's just got too much extra energy that I normally burn off with a long walk each morning.
I put hubby on a plane to India this morning.  He'll be back the 25th.  Sigh.  It's going to be a long couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The longest fever in the world

Thing 2's fever continues to hover between 100 and 102.  I called the Dr's nurse on Thursday, she said the Doc wanted us to go get the labwork done to see what is going on.  It was 2:30, which meant I'd have to take both girls, but I didn't want to wait ANOTHER day to get the results. So after we picked Thing 1 up from school we all trooped up to the children's hospital and Thing 2 had some blood drawn. I deliberately hadn't said too much to her about it as I knew she'd be upset.  I just told her we had to go to the Children's Hospital to have a test. She didn't question it.  As she sat in the chair talking amicably with the guy who was preparing to draw the blood, it occurred to me that perhaps we should warn her what's going on.  She was visibly alarmed.  She was tense through the initial prep, she started to whimper when he put the needle in  her, and by the time he was done she had escalated to full throated sobbing. She later reported that what had freaked her out was watching her blood "go away through the straw."  Would they be giving her blood back later?  Because she wanted it back.
Later out of the blue she said she was adding "needles" to her "Things I Hate" list.

There was an ice santa with ice reindeer in front of the hospital before we went in.  They were mostly melted, but still festive looking.

By 3:00 yesterday (Friday) I called the doctor to find out the results.  They hadn't got to them yet.  By 5:00 when I called back, the office was closed and the incoming phone dumped me to voicemail.  I started to buzz angrily...  I texted everyone who was concerned about my trials, bemoaning the fact that her fever is still above 100 and I don't know why...  At 6:00 the doctor's nurse called to report the findings, apparently the front office closes but the doctors and nurses are still there.

Turns out there isn't anything particularly wrong, just a virus (endure it), a fever (treat it if it gets too high), and the positive strep test from last week (dose it).  Don't expose any other kids to her until the fever has been below 100.5 for 24 hours.  Apologies to my brother's kids who got a good dose of her last Sunday.


I was cleaning off the kitchen table, and found some old homework sent home before the Christmas holidays in the girl's backpacks.  Thing 2 is at that delightful stage of writing phonetically, and she is rather cavalier about things like spaces between the words and breaks at the edge of the page, which makes her essays kind of a bizarre code you must decipher.  She occasionally inserts a hyphen to acknowledge the end of one word and beginning of another.  Here are two short essays she wrote for Christmas:

My favritecoo
kie is a snik
rdoodl. We-ba
ke itwithsin
k that is ha
w we bake it.

And a treatise on her favorite candy:

My favritecan
dy isa ramboe ca
ndy kaing.I yoush
ly brake it inhaf
e peas. it isn
ot minty tha
t watma
kcsit good.

She wrote a whole story - her version of Jan Brett's The Mitten.

If you can get through this...

Wans a pon a time
ther was a boy.Itwas
the mitle of thedaywhen
the boys Grandmamadehim
amittens. Sothe boywent-awt
to play in the-snow. ps hewas
wering his mittensto.  Sohe
set off.  On hisway he droppe
d     One of hism ittens.
So...A  sQurelefawnd it!. An
d he went in t o  it and sed
my tose are worme naw!.
Then a rabbit came a long
then hesed canIcomein.
Fine. sed the squrele.
thenahole bunchof
animals askedtocome
in. And a bear. But the
n a poor muascame.
And asked tocomeinand
theysedno! No! No!then
theysed OK. so the-m
uas made himself cu
pndblon the bears n ose.

And the bearsneazd!

Then they all hadto
findaplace to worm

(So, did you get the p.s. toward the beginning, and that the mouse made himself "cumpndbl," more commonly spelled "comfortable" on the bear's nose?  That one I had to have her explain to me.)
I have a couple letters from my nieces at this stage.  It is wonderful to try and figure out what they mean, and embarrassing to try and read it in front of them.

Hubby got home last night in time for dinner.  He leaves tomorrow for a couple days in the midwest somewhere.  He was lamenting that he comes home for 1 day and then between now and the 2nd week of February he's going to have about 36 hours at home.  He leaves Wednesday for 2 weeks in India, followed by a couple other domestic trips...

I finally took the tree down on Wednesday, and by Thursday had all the boxes stashed away into the closet eaves, the plywood door to the eaves wedged back in place, the wheeled closet storage bins pushed into their designated carpet dents.  Then I found two stray ornaments sitting on the dining room table.  Sigh.

The dog has been really restless without our usual long morning walks, as I have been coming back to hover over Thing 2.  He has been barking a lot more, and occasionally goes crazy, grabbing some toy and racing back and forth with it trying to get us to play with him.  He turned 5 months old a couple days ago, and is pushing the "big dog" 50 pound mark.  His house-training is very solid and I have been trusting him on the carpet in the front room now that the tree and its associated temptations are put away.  He really likes it in there and has staked a claim on the rug next to the coffee table.  I just turned around to find him gnawing at the top of a plastic bottle of juice I'd had put outside the pantry door.  He still thinks anything and everything is there for his chewing whims.  Based on his weight and reluctance, I have stopped carrying him up and down our extremely steep stairs each night and morning.  I'd been doing the "Pack Bonding" thing of having him sleep in a kennel in our room, but I figure he hates being carried up and down the stairs more than he likes being with "the pack."  One morning coming down with him in my arms, I slipped on something left on the stairs that I couldn't see over his big hairy self (luckily it was close to the bottom of the stairs and I mostly just came down  hard on my butt and slid a stair or two), and sported a couple of very large purple bruises on my hindquarters for several weeks.  Not to mention the space his kennel takes up in our room.  As his weight keeps going up and up, he earned his big boy status of sleeping on his own downstairs, and everyone seems happier with it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On the 10th day of fever...

Thing 2 has had a fever since December 28th.  I wrote about this in the last post, that she was diagnosed  with Strep on Thursday, New Year's Eve, and we put her on Amoxicillin.  The clinic wasn't open on Saturday, but we took her to the insta-care clinic on Saturday and they confirmed she's dehydrated and I'm an alarmist, that fevers can take 72 hours to come down.  SO THEY SAID.
Then on Sunday evening's medicine dose she gagged on the Amoxicillin - it's awful stuff, and vomitted up her dinner, her motrin, and her antibiotics.  That convinced me we were going back to the doctor the next morning, and finally on Monday we got in to see our real doctor, who actually - get this - listens to me and doesn't make me feel like an idiot.
I know, it's really amazing.
He too was alarmed that her fever hadn't gone down by Saturday, disagreed with the insta care doctor and said yes I should be concerned, and there's obviously something else going on besides strep.  Maybe there's not even strep, as a false positive can happen on a strep test, but testing her again would be a waste of time - if it came back positive it confirms that she does have strep, if it comes back negative it could possibly be a false negative, or it might confirm it was a false positive the first time, or it could mean that the Amoxicillin she took from Thursday to Sunday had done its job.

Since she's still sick, it's better not to ignore the strep test, but to continue with antibiotics, just give her one that isn't so vile.  What he REALLY wanted to do was satisfy everyone's curiosity and do a test to see if she's got a viral infection, which would involve her snorting up some liquid and after it had sloshed around in her festering sinuses, spew it out and analyze it.  Since it's a pretty expensive test, and the treatment for a viral infection is to do nothing, there's not much point in it.
He said since viral infections usually run several days, and since she should have responded within 24 hours to the antibiotic, she should have been better days ago.  Even if she had both an bacterial and viral infection.  But there's not too much to do, maybe it's just a very nasty viral infection...  He said if she's not better by Thursday to bring her back and we'll do some blood work.  If her fever does come down for 24  hours with no tylenol or motrin, she is considered better.
Yesterday I bought a new thermometer. 
Today is Wednesday, her fever is only 101 this morning, and it didn't spike up to 104 or so during the night - I don't think, anyway. She slept through the night so I don't know if it came up, actually, but we'll watch her today and if it doesn't go up, and keeps coming down, we'll call this one licked.  I'd love her to be able to go to school in the morning.

But there is no question that she is sick.  She hardly eats anything, and it's not like she had a lot of spare weight to loose.  She is visibly thinner...  she lays around, she's crabby as a little green apple and she sleeps all afternoon.  I want my little angel back!

Okay, completely unrelated, but I love a photo in a post.

Here's Kelso, right after he got his cone off and came back from the groomer.  Yes, he is every bit as soft and fluffy as he looks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

The 12 days of Christmas seems ages ago.  But to wrap up the thought I started before I begin a new one, here they are. 
9 ladies dancing was a set of 4 paper dolls, pretty cool and retro-looking

Ten Lords a Leaping is a basket of 10 chocolate frogs

Eleven Pipers piping was a package of 8 musical crackers - apparently each one has a little whistle in it.

12 Drummers drumming was a set of 12 Christmas crackers - we haven't opened them yet,

and a copy of the Robert Sabuda pop-up book of the 12 days of christmas

- which if you don't already own you should stop reading right now, get in your car, and see if you can pick one up at an after Christmas sale.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.
I had started documenting what we were getting on this 12 days of Christmas with the intent of next year doing something similar.  But I've been daunted because I'm just not sure where I'd even begin to get some of this stuff. Not to mention, it's a ton of stuff!  and a pretty significant investment. This is not your typical neighbor gift...  I'm just more and more impressed with who did it for us.

I'm pretty sure I know who it was... but I'm unsure how to proceed.  Do I confront them or not?  I think they need to be thanked.

On the 19th we took the girls to the play of "The Christmas Story."  It was well done, we'd shown the girls the movie, so they were familiar enough with the story to not be baffled by it, and to enjoy it.  It was a good introduction to the theater for them.

We had walked to the theater, and as we were leaving Hubby and Thing 1 got a little ahead of us.  A man and his wife were walking out next to me and Thing 2.  He looks down at her, and says there's lots of snow out there on the field in front of the theater.  She doesn't say anything.
He asks if she likes snow.  She nods.
He asks if she knows that Christmas snow is magic.  She looks at him.
He assures her Christmas snow is different than regular snow.  Would she like him to show her?  

He reaches out to the snow in front if us and picks up a pinch.  He puts it on his flat palm in front of her, and asks her to blow on it.  He covers one open palm with the other, flat, and circles the one above the other.  He asks her to blow on it, between his hands.
He shows her a clear shiny marble on his palm.  She is open mouthed speechless.  He gives her the marble, and with a wave he and his wife walk away.

I'm not sure I even thanked him.  I was so stunned.   It was just so magical... she was so tickled.  She carried the marble around all day.
However, the rest of the day Thing 1 is upset that she doesn't have a magic marble.  So much so I break down and tell them it was a trick, a neat trick, but a trick, and I demonstrate it.  Thing 1 is mollified, but Thing 2 is unconvinced.  Because I keep using her same marble in the demonstrations of the trick she is convinced that the guy used real Christmas snow to magically produce her marble.  I'm just doing a trick.  He did REAL Christmas Magic.  Which is fine, it was Thing 1 I was trying to pacify anyway.

The girls got to open their one gift each on Christmas eve, which was of course matching Christmas pajamas.

Our Christmas was wonderful, the kids got everything they could want and more... our typical story of excess, mostly because we have so much fun getting them stuff we'd want.  We have to play with these toys too, you know.  And it's exciting to imagine their joy in opening it.  They usually deliver, being so delighted at everything.  Thing 1 wrote a letter to Santa on Christmas Eve, reminding him of our new puppy, and imploring him to bring the dog a stocking and something to put in it.  Santa complied, and wrote a return letter.  Thing 1 was thrilled.

Thing 2 got her looks-like-her American girl doll

Thing 2 didn't get any one big gift, but lots of other things.  This is the card she made for Hubby to go with the gift she picked out for him.

Hubby got his new coffee machine, a Nespresso that also foams the milk.  It was far from a surprise for him, in fact I had to return the coffee thing I had originally bought him because he found this one, gave me a printout of exactly what he wanted, and so off I went like a good little elf to Sur La Table where they had it in red.

Hubby has spent most of the past couple of days sipping his coffee or playing Mini Ninjas, a Wii game that Santa saw fit to give him.

Hubby is a fabulous gift buyer... my favorite gift this year was a sock monkey hat.  Looks like I'm wearing a big sock monkey on my head.

We had my folks, Hubby's sister and boyfriend, and Hubby's friend and girlfriend for dinner Christmas day.  It's the first time our front room was presentable in less than a week after the force of nature that is Christmas morning has struck.  Hubby excelled in the food department, it was a fabulous meal.

Hubby's friend has a long standing history of using the girls like twirling batons to entertain them and himself for a while. This is the sort of thing that you have to be careful about doing to them yourself or you'll spend several minutes every day refusing to do it.
We spent the next couple of days up with extended family, doing Christmas.  That's Thing 2, Niece 4, Thing 1, and Hubby.
 My big ace in the hole gift was a Sharper Image five day weather forecaster thing that I got on a coupon from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I bought three -  for hubby, for my dad, and for my brother-in-law whose name we had this year.  They were all a bust, my brother-in-law's and father's because it's not Mac compatible, and ours because it COMPLETELY DOESN'T WORK.  I spent most of a day trying to get it to work and it just refuses.  The kicker here is I can't find the receipts for them.

On the way home on Monday, Thing 2 came down with a fever.  She slept most of the day, which is not normal.  I can't remember what her fever was that night, but it was high.  We started the motrin/tylenol dosing routine.  The next day  her fever came down, she took a nap but was pretty normal, but at night her fever would skyrocket again, up to 105 range, but be down by the next day, except for some napping.  Looking back, I of course can see I should have taken her into the doctor, but for one reason or another I kept putting it off, expecting her to get better.   On the phone to my brother on Wednesday, he thought it sounded like swine flu, which he knows all about since it made the rounds at his house.  That scared me enough that I called the doctor and got through to the nurse.  She said if Thing 2 didn't make it through the night, bring her in the next day, New Year's Eve.
She didn't make it.  We have since found out our ear thermometer thing has to be wrong- but I nearly had a  heart attack when it registered 106.9.  It came down really quick, which I assumed meant the thermometer was probably screwy, and the doctor agreed. 
The doctor diagnosed Strep Throat, which was a relief... seeing as how Hubby's getting on a plane on Sunday, it would be bad to have him carrying the flu.  We started her on Amoxycillin, expecting everything to be hunky dory before we could say Bob's your Uncle, but still her fever popped up again last night.  Using the old fashioned mercury thermometer in her armpit and adding a degree, we got 105 at 5:00 am.  Sponging her and dosing her got it down a degree in just half an hour.   The doctor told us in 24 hours she wouldn't be contagious anymore.  Which has already passed, and she still has a fever.  I suppose a trip back to the doctor is probably in order, or the clinic, if they're not open tomorrow.