Monday, December 24, 2018

A Merry Christmas List

Good Monday morning.

Technically I didn't post a blog last week. I did post the first of what I think will be four Dear Miss Moreau extras. Since then I've posted another. They can be found here & here, or you can click on the tab above labelled Dear Miss Moreau Extras & there's a list with links.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of birthdays & travel & carbs & merriment. 

Here's an enumerated update on us & our march toward Christmas.

(1) Henry's health:

Last I blogged I told you Henry had been diagnosed with the flu over the weekend. He spent his last week of school before Christmas Break at home with me. We had a nice week. By Tuesday he was feeling much better, but I decided I wasn't sending him back to the germs to avoid him picking up something else fun that would taint our Christmas Break.

I did photographically document our week at home. We had to occasionally leave the house to go pick Reagan up at school. This was Monday's pickup; he was still kind of puny.

Some photos of our lounging: 

Car pick-up fun as his health improved over the course of the week:

I'm happy to report that Henry recovered nicely, & the rest of us *fingers crossed* are holding our own. 

(2) A new Zeigler:

During Henry's week of convalescence, my mom helped me out with running Reagan to & from field trips / school. One afternoon after school Reagan convinced her Nana to take her to Books-a-Million, & shortly after their arrival I was texted this photo:

Trey & I have resisted the Elf on the Shelf craze the last year or so. Trey has philosophical issues with the concept of the Elf on the Shelf; he bristles at the idea of encouraging the children to feel comfortable with an elf who spies on them. Whether it's the NSA or Google or Big Brother or an elf on the shelf, Trey wants the children to know no one has the right to spy on them.

I caved this year. Reagan is so completely over the top in love with these tiny elves. I told my mom she could purchase the elf. Reagan left this for the elf the first night she was with us (it's a female elf).

On her second night in our home, Reagan let the elf know she'd been named Peppermint.

I have mixed feelings about Peppermint. Let's just say I transcribe all the notes & letters she writes in response to all the notes & letters Reagan leaves for her, & this cuts into my late night reading / writing time I so cherish. Peppermint is a high maintenance elf; she stresses me out, & I am not going to cry when she is whisked away to spend the next twelve months with Santa.

(3) Birthdays:

Week before last my dad & Reagan celebrated their birthdays . . . both on December 13. I ordered these tiny but festive cupcakes (pictured below) from Smallcakes, a local cupcakery that I frequent too often. They're adorable, & they each pack significantly fewer carbs than a regular cupcake. The tiny cupcakes were a necessity in order for Reagan to enjoy cupcakes with her classmates & then again enjoy cupcakes with her adoring family a few hours later at dinner.

Celebrating with her class: 

And celebrating with the fam, including the birthday boy, Papa:

(4) Endocrinologist visit:

Last Monday we all drove to Jackson to visit the endocrinologist.

Waiting room shenanigans:

It was a bit of a frustrating visit, honestly. The doctor couldn't discuss many specifics with us because the nurse was unable to download information from Reagan's pump. The pump stores tons & tons of info, & typically they download all this information for the doctor. She looks at all of it, & then she & I overanalyze the various charts & graphs produced from the pump info. Without the information there wasn't anything for us to overanalyze. The pump itself is fine; the manufacturer's website was experiencing some issues at the time we were in the office that prevented the download. 

Reagan's A1C was an eight, so that's kind of meh for me. That's up from a 7.3 on our last visit. I think it's a combination of the holidays & all the sweets thrust in her face this time of year plus the fact that she rarely experiences lows now that she's almost always wearing a sensor. Eliminating lows is a good thing, it's a great thing, actually, but it does mean the A1C will tick up some until you also nearly eliminate highs. We don't see extremes much anymore; we don't often see forty or even fifty, & we don't often see four hundred. This is good, it is, but we've got some work to do. 

We left the doctor's office & headed to Cantina Laredo where I took the following pictures as we awaited our Mexican feast. 

I note that Reagan does not need eyeglasses; she talked her Nana into buying her these fashionable glasses from Claire's on one of their trips to the local mall. 


A visit to Barnes & Noble rounded out the trip before we hit the road home.

(5) Pajama Time:

The days following our day trip to Jackson were pretty low key for me & the kids. Trey went to work every day & was out of town one night (I think it was Wednesday . . . but a lot has happened since then so I can't be sure).

The kids & I spent a lot of time in our pajamas watching Christmas movies . . . & I also watched a lot of HGTV. Reagan painted some ornaments she was given for her birthday. I recall popping a lot of popcorn, & I know at least twice we put our coats on over our pajamas & went through the drive-through window at Scott's, a local seafood place, to get some fried catfish because we are fancy, sophisticated people.

A sample of the ornaments Reagan painted:

One night after eating our fried catfish in the car . . . in our pajamas . . . we rode around looking at Christmas lights, the most impressive of which were obviously these.

(6) On the road again:

Our pajama time ended on Friday when we headed to Dallas to fulfill  Reagan's birthday request, a trip to the American Girl store in Dallas . . . complete with a ladies-only lunch at the American Girl Bistro.

Before sharing photos of our lunch, let me sing the praises of the Westin in Dallas, or rather, let me sing the praises of the individuals who recognized how wonderful it would be to build a lovely hotel adjacent to the Galleria in Dallas. I love, love, love to spend a few nights in the Westin around Christmas time. It is the perfect set-up for families with children (& men) who can't hang with their mom (wife) while she shops all day. You don't have to have a big fight about leaving the mall so so-&-so can go rest; you can literally come & go to & from the hotel room all day long. Forgot something in the room? Not a big deal. It's a few steps away. Literally.

When we arrived Friday they had cupcakes & hot chocolate in the lobby. Reagan was running a little low, so this all worked out well. There are magical Christmas trees everywhere, the most impressive of which is of course the giant tree that is the centerpiece of the ice skating rink in the Galleria. We said goodbye to our car Friday afternoon as a kind gentleman drove it away to park it, & we didn't see it again until yesterday around lunch time when we were ready to head home.

Another fantastic perk of the Westin is that once I was dressed Saturday morning I left the room alone & headed to the Corner Bakery inside the Galleria. I sat & ate oatmeal & sipped coffee while watching the morning skaters. I note that I don't know this couple pictured below; they are simply part of the relaxing view I was attempting to capture. I knew the day ahead would be a long one filled with a lot of walking & a lot of requests from my children to do various things & go various places, & so I told Trey I needed a few minutes alone . . . with my coffee . . . & they were wonderful minutes. Trey knew I would be the parent on the ice rink with the children later that day, so really I think I more than earned my breakfast alone. 

The day unfolded in a blur after my alone-coffee-time. We met up with my mom & my sister & cousin Maisie & did a little shopping prior to our eleven thirty lunch reservation. 

I highly recommend taking the young girl(s) in your life to eat at the American Girl Bistro at least once. It was a wonderful experience. They have tiny highchairs for the dolls & even bring a tiny glass & a tiny plate for the dolls to use. All of our food was excellent. They are legitimately excited you're there (with your doll), & they really indulge the girls.

After our lunch we had an appointment to have Reagan's doll's ears pierced. Yes, yes

That evening we ate dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe, which is inside the Galleria, of course. I've never eaten anything at Grand Lux that wasn't fantastic. I was very tired Saturday evening, & so I didn't take any pictures of our food. I did snap these of Reagan & her Harry Potter glasses she made from the Wikki Stix they bring kids.

Sunday morning we grabbed a bite to eat at the Corner Bakery, snapped a few more photos, & we were on our way. By "on our way" I mean we left the Westin & headed to a Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Trey hauled home two whole cheesecakes, though he says one will be taken to his parents ' house when we all convene to celebrate Christmas tonight. 

It was a most excellent visit to Dallas. Truly the only downside was that I forgot my deodorant & had to use Trey's, & so I smelled like a man for the weekend. 

On a personal note I've been alternating reading with watching a lot of Chip & Joanna's reruns on HGTV. I love them so much, & I really reconnected with them while I was home with Henry during his illness. Some of you reading might be receiving gifts I ordered from while watching Fixer Upper one day. I initially visited the website because I loved the earrings Joanna was wearing so much I wanted to order myself a pair (I did order myself a pair). I ordered these leather earrings (click here) in brown. I like them very much. They're larger in person than they appear in the photo, but they're so light you've no idea you're wearing them. The odds of me ordering another pair in another color are very high.

Even their packaging is the cutest!

We will spend tonight with Trey's family at his parents' house. Tomorrow morning after we've sufficiently explored what Santa brings us we'll head to my Aunt Donna's house. We'll return home Christmas night to begin the Christmas tradition of doing nothing for a few days. The kids will enjoy their new stuff. I will watch football, read, & briefly contemplate initiating the process of taking down & boxing up all the Christmas decor. I won't take anything down so that, come January 1, I will be in a foul mood both because it is time to begin my diet and because I have to take down all the Christmas decor. 

The Christmas merriment will continue for me Thursday night when the book club convenes for our annual Christmas meeting slash book exchange. It's one of my favorite gatherings this time of year.  

The bookend to our Christmas comes next Sunday when we'll celebrate at my parents' house since my sister & her family will have returned from their Christmas jaunt to Texas. 

This post is growing ever longer both because I am wordy & because I've shared a great many photos. I will now end by simply saying Merry Christmas to you & yours. 

Actually I'll end with this. I live an incredibly blessed life. I don't yet have a suitable Christmas-y picture of the four of us to share with you (fingers crossed we take a decent one in the week to come). If you care to relive Christmases past as they've been catalogued on the blog, I remind you of the handy "Labels" on the right of the screen; click on the Christmas label for a blast from Christmases past. 

In lieu of our faces, I'll leave you with some thoughts inspired by C.S. Lewis. 

The Son of God became a man 
to enable men to become sons of God 
(Mere Christianity) 

It's hard to be a human at times. It brings physical hurt, emotional hurt, & a whole host of pains & pleasures in between. There is joy, but there is also, at times, immense, crippling sorrow. For some, this time of year is dominated by sorrow. When you're experiencing the height of joy, know that Christ did too. When you're wallowing in the dark depths of the valley of sorrow, know that Christ did too. He was a man; he chose to become a man because it was the only path to reconciliation. It was the only way to bridge the widening gap between the Creator & His most prized creation. 

Regardless of the emotions with which you approach this time of year, know that Christ can empathize with you. He felt joy, & He felt loneliness. He shed tears. He no doubt laughed & enjoyed family & friends. The God of the universe came to earth so He could return to the Father & say, This is what it is like

If you're happy & blessed with more friends & family & food than you can handle in the upcoming days, be thankful. Be mindful of those who're not. Be mindful of those who don't enjoy the health you do; be mindful of those who don't enjoy the wealth you do. 

Thanks be to the God of the universe who once dwelt among us for the countless blessings in my life. Merry Christmas, y'all. To quote Longfellow, 

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong, 
and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 
The wrong shall fail, 
The right prevail, 
With peace on earth, good-will to men." 


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