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Adventures during the Holidays

December was a full month for me and the family, which was why I completely forgot to post something on the blog that month! But here is a summary:

For the first three weeks of December, Sickness decided to come hang out at my house. First it was a cold and then it was a stomach bug. The kids would get it first and then pass whatever they had along to me and my husband. It was not fun. Thankfully, we were all in much better health by the time the holidays rolled around.

For Christmas, my husband's family came to stay with us, my mother-in-law, my three brothers-in-law, and their significant others. There was a grand total of eleven people at my house, ten of which actually slept under my roof for four days. I cooked Christmas Eve dinner, and did tons of baking with my mother-in-law. I did most of the decorating, although, I saved the real Christmas tree for last so that we could decorate it together as a family. We shared embarrassing memories while Christmas music played in the background. We watched nostalgic Christmas movies and sipped on hot chocolate or coffee (the Fox family LOVES coffee). There were also a lot of heart-to-hearts around the firepit in the backyard. It was overcast for the whole weekend, drizzling occasionally, keeping the temperature perfectly chilly and festive. We went on walks and ate a lot and just hung out. It was relaxing and fun.

For New Years, my side of the family rented an air bnb in Flagstaff which is a two hour drive from where we live in Phoenix. If you can believe it, I started getting sick AGAIN with some version of a head cold as we were packing for our trip. My husband, who now works for a contracting company, was assigned to work on a remodel up in Flagstaff the week following our family reunion so I wasn't just packing for the weekend. I was packing for us all to be away from home for seven days. You never realize how much crap you need to simply survive until you have to pack it all into the back of a truck. It was quite a bit of work and it didn't help that I felt like crap. By some miracle, we managed to get everything into the truck and caravan up the mountain with my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, and their six month old son.

The kids did surprisingly well, considering this was only their second time traveling by car to a destination that was more than thirty minutes away from their house. My son fell in love with the snow almost instantly. He stared, open mouthed, out the window at all the white covering the trees and the mountains. I think baby girl is too young to realize what was going on, but she was very quiet as she took in the scenery. Then we arrived at the giant house in the middle of nowhere, the perfect place for sixteen of us to eat, sleep, and just hang for the weekend. There was a private playground in the backyard and a jacuzzi on the back patio, not to mention a basement full of toys and board games. We did more eating, relaxing, and talking over the weekend.

On Monday morning, my husband, my children, and I said goodbye to my family and explored Flagstaff. My husband's boss had rented a hotel room for him so he would have someplace to sleep while he was working out of town but check in wasn't until 4pm. I was technically on the clock (I work remotely for a caregiving company; I'm in charge of scheduling caregivers for their continuing education courses, and organizing our online filing system) so I needed to find someplace quiet where I could work. We grabbed something to eat, purchased our groceries for the week, and then went in search of the public library.

It was actually a lot of fun. The kids had never been to a library before and this one had a REALLY cool kids section. Not only did they have awesome artwork displayed on the walls but they had giant figurines stationed on the tops of the bookshelves. And they had a play area with toys! My husband supervised the kids while I sat at one of the computer desks with my work laptop in front of me and my work phone beside me. (Isn't it so cool that we can create hotspots with our phones?! Technology is amazing!) Anyway, once I cleaned out my inbox, we went in search of a park. There was still snow on the ground but the sun was warm so I wasn't worried about the kids breathing too much frigid air and getting sick again. They had a blast on the age-appropriate jungle gym (you'd be surprised how many parks don't have a jungle gym with stuff for one to two year olds!).

Then we grabbed pizza at Oreganos and finally headed off to our hotel. Unpacking everything took about 45 minutes. We got the kids ready for bed (my son got the second queen sized bed all to himself while baby girl got the pack-n-play) and then I logged in some more hours at work while my husband played on the Nintendo Switch beside me. It was nice. I felt like we were on a mini vacation, just the four of us. But that night, baby girl woke up and emptied her stomach all over the carpet. It seemed Sickness had decided to pay us another visit. Both of my kids were sick for the next three days. I got it pretty bad for two. Thankfully, my husband remained unaffected by whatever bug we had. The rest of my family wasn't though! Anyone who was at the air bnb got some variation of the same thing. My mom thought it could be Norovirus.

No one had an appetite so most of the food I brought/bought stayed in the mini fridge. Crackers and Pedialyte (or Gatorade in my case) were the only things our stomachs could tolerate. I made two more trips to the store (for water and Lysol and more crackers) and a trip to the local laundromat (all of the kids' pajamas and the blankets I packed to make the pack-n-play more comfortable were splattered with vomit), but for the most part the kids and I stayed at the hotel. I got to take the kids on a thrilling stroller-ride around the plaza where the laundromat was located while we waited for our clothes to be done.

In the end, we survived. Coming home never felt sweeter! I should've taken some time off from work to fully recuperate from our adventures up north but I didn't have any paid time off so I trudged along until the weekend. We've slowly returned to our regular routine. I've jumped right back in to my audio book project, my writing projects, and social media posting. The Death's Curses audio book is so close to being finished; it's all up to my audio editor now to make it sound professional and not like it was recorded in the middle of downtown LA. The final edits for The Andromeda's Crew have been completed and the manuscript has been submitted to my publisher so that they can plug it into their publishing schedule. I've just finished the final edits on Jessa and the Lost Goddess too. Now I begin the arduous task of formatting the manuscript for ebook and paperback.

So far, my family and I have managed to stay healthy. I hope this means our immune systems are on high alert and we won't be getting sick again until next year! How about you guys? How were your holidays? Did you manage to stay healthy throughout?

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