I really miss blogging. I certainly haven't intended to give it up. There have just been so many other things competing for the same dregs of time in every day.
First, as you know, my computer up and died. In the middle of uninstalling Chrome, in fact, which seems suspicious to me. John has been tinkering with it and is of the opinion that my entire hard drive is basically gone now. That means thousands of pictures, hours of music, dozens of story ideas, all my recipes, and one 3/4 finished novel are gone forever. Luckily the more-finished novels and most of the best pictures were either posted online or emailed, so I can recover them, but the rest is gone. Do me a favor. Right now -- right now -- go find your five most important files and make sure they are backed up. It won't take you 60 seconds to email them to yourself. Better yet, back up your whole hard drive. Don't say you will get to it when you have time. You never will have time.
Then John went out of town for a week in the middle of December. I was going along fine, handling everything okay, until the last night ... when I came down with the stomach flu. I don't know what to tell you about watching two very active kids while trying not to hurl, except that I don't recommend it. It certainly made me wish that my mother lived near me so I could call for reinforcements.
Then we had one week to go before our trip to visit John's family in Wisconsin. Bringing two littles anywhere is like mobilizing an army; we had to-do lists a mile long. So of course Michael decided to get sick. Not the stomach flu -- it seems to have been roseola. At any rate it matches the symptoms: two days of high, fluctuating fever, which breaks on the third day and is followed by spots on the torso. Marko had the same at about the same age. I thought taking care of a sick baby who refused to be put down was hard. Add in a toddler who still has his usual number of needs, and, well, you can imagine.
The day his fever broke was one day before we had to leave, and you'd better believe I was relieved that Marko didn't get sick too! But that didn't leave me a lot of time to make a new mei tai for our trip (my old one was chewed up by the dog; very sad). I got it cut out and ended up sewing it in the car.
Here's how we managed 17 hours of travel (not counting any stops) with two kids. First, we resolved to leave extra time. That's what we did when Marko was a baby -- we did this trip with him twice. But with Michael there's an extra issue -- he hates, hates, hates his carseat. He sleeps in it great, but if it's not time for sleep, he mostly just screams. 17 hours of screaming wasn't appealing for any of us. So we decided to make the longest leg, the 12-hour drive to Chicago, overnight. We left Friday at 6 pm, took turns driving the whole way, and arrived at John's grandparents' around 7 am (6 Central Time). We rested that day at their house, taking turns taking naps, and spent the night at a hotel. In the morning we went to Mass and drove the further five hours to John's family's house.
How did it go? Not as well as hoped, not as bad as feared. For the first part of the night, the kids kept waking each other up. One would wake and cry and wake the other, and the second child's fussing would keep the first from going back to sleep. If we got lucky and they both slept for a bit, they'd wake when we stopped for gas. It didn't help that Michael was still fussy from being sick. But the second half of the night, they slept more soundly. The daytime part wasn't bad at all, though we had to stop and feed Michael, because he napped most of the way. The last half hour he screamed, though. The really hard part was recovering from a whole night of driving. Neither of us slept very well in the passenger seat.
The kids loved being at Grandma's with all their aunts. They have seven on that side, and all but the two in the convent were there. So they had plenty of company -- aunts to play with Marko and aunts to hold Michael during all his naps. It turns out getting held for an hour by someone who doesn't move or make noise is the secret to Michael taking a real nap. Too bad I can't make that part of his regular life.
For Christmas John gave me a netbook, so I should now have an easier time finding an opportunity to blog. It's an Asus Eee PC and I love it. It's so small, I can hold it in one hand and type with the other. I can stick it on my kitchen counter and read recipes off it. Its battery lasts pretty much forever, so I can bring it all over the house. Next step: install Ubuntu. I am so done with Windows.
On our way back, we got to see the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, which was pretty neat. The Foucalt pendulum was my personal favorite ... I love to see science PROVEN before my very eyes. That wore out the kids enough for them to tolerate an afternoon of driving through Indiana. We just kept driving through the night -- both kids slept better than on the way out -- and arrived home at 2:30 a.m. It's probably going to take us a few days to recover from that.
So, that was our Christmas. How was yours? I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year that's full of blessings.