Yes, things are seriously warming up around here. I don’t just mean this crazy, windy, Chinook Cowboy Cactuswe’re having with a 48 degree* melt-off… Seriously ALL the snow is now gone! I also mean warming up for the holidays. …Oh, and warming up with fevers, too. We have so many things going on.

I’d share more about the Chinook weather but it really isn’t that bazaar. It happens nearly every year and almost always around Christmas. It’s really just a warm wind coming in from the ocean, but when it was -5 last week and +48 this week it certainly stands out. Not to mention seeing your neighbors shed or gazebo go flying across your yard. There’s also the part where you go to sleep with above average snow fall and wake up to basically none. And I mean NONE. So that’s the weather, but Health and Wellness, what’s up with you?

Nathan Crashed out on the Couch

Nathan Crashed out on the Couch

Well, little Mr Nathan has a bit of a bug.  Everyone knows that if Nathan is found sleeping on the couch he is obviously sick; symptoms or not. He had had a mild fever and then complained of ear pain so, since we were going to the hospital for a final decision about his elbow anyway, I decided to have the pediatrician check him out as well.

Ever so often (sometimes more than that) we end up on the hospital campus with several stops to make for various medical details. Recently we invited a little daycare friend to join us for his quarterly clinic check-up. (Yes, I have the only daycare you’ve probably ever heard of with official field trip forms allowing children to go to the hospital ‘routinely.’)  I conveniently scheduled a physical therapy session for his elbow the same day. One less trip to the hospital, right? Well, when all was said and done we where there from 10am to 3:30, visited the parking garage, the T tower, the A tower, the cafeteria, the blood lab, and all the way back to the T tower and garage again. But this seems to be standard for our life. Especially this summer with Nathan’s broken arm and physical therapy needs. So of-course now, with this last visit, it was very much the same. Parking garage on the west side with a T tower appointment, a quick snack, then walk all the way to the east end for an appointment on the 5th floor of the A tower. I could tell that the ibuprofen was wearing off by the time we began this first trek. By the time we reached the pediatrician he was hot and exhausted. I have NEVER seen Nathan fall asleep on the doctor’s table… until today. Poor little guy was not going to make it all the way back over to where we parked and I certainly wasn’t going to carry him so I decided to call for a wheelchair. I would push him.

We waited our turn for the next wheel chair as an elderly man was being made ready for pick-up at the curb.  It was a very odd feeling to ‘take’ a wheel chair from a man in very obvious need, and give it to my otherwise healthy son who basically has a ‘cold’. Given, the man was finished with it and Nathan really was in need, but it was still an odd experience.

Now I don’t know if everyone knows but all CF patients, sick or not, are strongly expected to wear a mask while anywhere inside the hospital campus. This is for their protection as many of the “big bad bugs” can live in the air for many hours, and the hospital is, after all, where people who are sick with said “big bad bugs” hang-out. Nathan is really dutiful about this, and never complains. He even covers his mouth with his hands if we realize for even a second that we’ve forgotten to put it back on. Now I mentioned that it was odd to feel like I was taking the wheelchair from others who might be in more need than myself. It’s an odd feeling just to push a ‘healthy’ prime kid around in a wheel chair; like it’s a mockery or something. But with his sad slouched over demeanor and that face mask it made it look like I was pushing a chemotherapeutic child through the hospital.  At-least with the mask my kid looked sick. Which he was! But I also can’t help thinking about all the others at the hospital who’s children really, really, really are sick. [insert emotions here]

In the end we got double ‘good-enough’ news. His cold’s not too severe, it seems to be viral, and isn’t CF related, so those are all good things, but it is definitely hanging around for a few days. Also, we are not going to do surgery on Nathan’s elbow. We did, however, find out that Nathan has grown MRSA in a second throat culture, meaning that we will be ‘participating’ *groan* in a 30 day protocol procedure to try and get rid of it. It’s complicated and going to be a huge hassle that I quite honestly don’t want to do, (questioning whether it will even be successful or not)…. but I am dutifully *fake grin* going to give it my/our all. After all, it really is for the better.

As a side note: Europe has been using similar methods to eradicate MRSA, and their population in general has less than 10% carriers, compared to the US’s nearly 25%. Many people carry MRSA, as it is a particular strain of Staph which many of us carry and don’t have problems with other than little out breaks in ones nose or such when run down. It’s a lot like carrying herpies <— the kind that gives you cold sores or fever blisters, but it otherwise not an issue. MRSA in a systemic infection is a totally different deal, and that is not at all what we are talking about with Nathan, however we want to be sure that we never do. Thus the trying to get rid of it. Thus the *grin and bare it.*
Jess, back to you.

Exciting news on the Christmas front! I am officially done with Christmas shopping for our immediate family. (We’ll draw names for the larger family gift exchange at thanksgiving, and we always do something for the folks, but that will fall onto Andrew’s routine of Christmas Eve shopping.) I start ‘shopping’ for Christmas starting in October. That isn’t because I buy a ton of gifts. Au contraire mon ami, I start using those wonderful little $10 gift cards that Kohl’s sends in the mail to buy toys on-sale and spend $1-2 out of pocket. Stocking Stuffers. This is also the time of year that I start making anything that will be home made, and deciding what would be good gifts so I can look for them on sale before the holidays. I like to put my selections on our Amazon Wish List

Sock Day Play! Playing in a huge bag of socks.

Sock Day Play! Playing in a huge bag of socks.

and come back to it regularly to see if the price has gone down. Lastly there is Black Friday… or in my case what seems to be a routine visit to Michael’s on Thanksgiving and what I call ‘Sock Day’ the day after. That’s right. I buy a whole years worth of new socks on the day after thanksgiving. I LOVE new socks, but I HATE paying for them! Everyone in our house will get new socks (and probably nothing else) from the Black Friday sales. (And they just might end up in your stockings.)

I think part of my excitement over Christmas is that we don’t do much for many other ‘holidays.’ Andrew and I rarely do anything for our anniversary or birthdays, and, very much like with Christmas, we try to keep birthday gifts to a minimum and spend more time on the enjoying each other and friendship part. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to buy and give gifts, but there are so many other parts to that which I will delve into below:

A couple years ago we, and ironically everyone else, bought Nathan little Monster Truck toys for Christmas. I laughingly dubbed it “The Monster Truck Christmas.” Last year he was really into his baby sea otter stuffed friend so it became “The Baby[doll] Christmas” with gifts of baby doll blankets, a custom snow suit for Baby Sea Otter, strollers, and such. (That’s her name, Baby Sea Otter. Very original, like his mother’s stuffed friend’s names: Pinky, Blacky, and Chocolate) <—- Grandpa Jay, that’s for you. *Wink* As a side note, ‘Baby’ Sea Otter is no longer a baby. She is now 2, according to Nathan.

THIS year is “Science Christmas.” For one, we have every toy a child of any age could want, (boy or girl), and, more importantly, everything in our house is shared. We share with each other and we share with anyone who visits. Any age.<— *Wink* (Because we are all children at heart if you didn’t ‘get’ it) So… moving on…. the items I’ve ordered are things that everyone can enjoy and not very specifically tailored to the interest of anyone individual.** Therefore, how do you label them? I have a wonderful new idea! Each gift will be wrapped and numbered. There are around 5 or 6 and we will simply draw numbers from a hat for who gets to open which gift next! We will all get to celebrate how fun the item will be for each of us to use together and there will be no need for, “It’s mine,” or “It’s hers.” However, working perfectly into this plan, (and part of it) I know that Grandparents and friends of the children will be wanting to buy little girl and little boy specific gifts for the individual children and those will make great and perfect stocking stuffers and the such. I am very excited and I think it is going to go well. Andrew doesn’t even know the gifts I’ve picked out! MOOWAH HA HA HA!

The last part, and why it is orchestrated the way it is, has to do with the fact that we already have that ‘arsenal of toys.’ Christmas is a wonderful time to give gifts to your kids, but it’s not a requirement, nor an excuse to blow ones budget! I stand on that firmly. I’m using this holiday to enrich the lives of the children in our life, and I’m not going to lie that I’m using [the little bit of] grant money we get for the daycare to buy items that will also be a tax write-off. Will my children get ‘gypped’ because of it? No! Absolutely not! Will they be over indulged? No! Will we put ourselves in debt or practice materialistic ways? <—See? No! I don’t think anyone will criticize my idea here, but if anyone did I can stand firmly that I think it will not only be really fun, but really educational, beneficial, and smart financially.

Yes, we poached a tree.

Yes, we poached a tree.

Now that I’m done with my rant, I want to give credit to some people in my life who have inspired my views on these such things by sharing their great ideas and ways:

My dear friends the Barnetts really instill the idea that all the items in a home belong to everyone and are not individually owned. Even the house will probably someday be owned by someone else and we need to treat it with respect for the next person. Above that, everything belongs to God anyway. <—- the biggest part of this whole ‘share everything’ idea.

Next the Wetzlers who practice a common Three-Gift Christmas tradition following the example of the Three Wise Men; Gold=something they just want, frankincense=something for their spiritual growth, and myrrh=something that is good for the health or body. This brings the meaning of Christmas back to Christ and staves off ‘the gimme-gimmees.’

And Intentional Living which I used to listen to regularly before my house became to noisy and full of life to hear the broadcast. Randy Carlson talks about making specific choices in life, often picking one particular thing you plan to change or take charge of, and several years ago I decided I was going to actually plan Christmas and decide what was important about it, what to keep, and what to toss out of our Christmas altogether. For Instance we don’t bother with Santa. In fact I think it would be really funny to tell your children that sitting on Santa’s lap is a time to share what kinds of gifts you’d like to give to your friends and family. The funny thing about it is that because it is a solo event your children will never even know they do it differently!

Lastly of-course my influences come from my family’s way of doing things. I always liked that we took turns opening gifts one round at a time. Through that we were able to acknowledge who the gift came from, admire the wonderful things that were given, and thank each other personally. It was never a free-for all or ‘gimme-gimme,’ and when you had spent time really picking out a special gift, you got to see them open and enjoy it. This also includes the very intentional work of my parents to influence me to be smart with my money and to budget my life properly.

“Anything else, Jess?”

“Nope, I think that covers the news for today. Please join us again next time for what is bound to be another 4000 word rant. From all of us a the Duleys’ Hamster Farm, have a good night and Happy Thanksgiving!”

*48 Degrees is the Alaskan version of a hot boy band.

**It’s driving me crazy that I don’t get to tell you what the items are yet, but Andrew doesn’t even get to know. I like the surprise part of Christmas giving for sure. All anyone knows is that they are all science related activities the whole family can enjoy.

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