Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Our Week - The One with Quarantine, Week 40 (Fantasy in Lights and Never-ending Bad News)

Goodness, this past week was tough.  We were able to squeeze in plenty of goodness, but there was just so much bad news that came our way.  I won’t be going into great detail about most of it, but just to gloss over – several different people we are close with were directly exposed to Covid and are now quarantining (just in time for Christmas), there were two positive cases in our high school so the high school went virtual all week out of an abundance of caution, one of my close friends and his wife both have Covid and one of them is in the hospital, Covid cases are spiking like crazy in our city (thanks to everyone not being cautious at Thanksgiving), and someone in our church and school family passed away (not from Covid)… but he was so young, and he left a wife and daughter behind. 

There were also a few other things that I’m not going to get into here, but just trust me when I say that last week was heavy.  Whew.  Things are finally looking up (knock on wood), so I’m hoping this week continues to be better.  Let’s get to the recap…

Monday, December 14 (Day 276 of Quarantine)

This was the kids’ last week of school before Christmas break, and they had themed dress-up days each day.  Monday was Christmas Movie Character Day, and Jacob opted for Kevin McCallister from Home Alone, while Olivia was adamant about being Mary from The Star.  So dang sweet.

After I dropped them off, I worked all morning, and just before lunch, I started having the worst abdominal cramps I’ve ever had.  The pain was so bad that I couldn’t stand up, and I immediately felt like I was going to be sick and/or pass out from the pain.  I had to text B, who was, thankfully, downstairs in his office, and he was able to come up and help me get to the bed. 

The pain subsided within 30 minutes, but it was awful while it lasted.  The pain was so unbearable that I actually started thinking maybe it was a kidney stone or something else.  But B Googled “kidney stone pain” since he and I haven’t ever had them (thank GOODNESS) and everything he read said the pain is typically felt under the ribs, which is not where my pain was. 

Y’all, I’ve always had issues with menstrual cramps (TMI, yes), even staying home from school a time or two when I was younger because the pain was so bad, but I’ve never had cramps so bad that the pain nearly made me pass out. 

Once things eased up, B got me downstairs and made some chicken soup for me, and by the time I was done eating, the cramping pain had subsided enough that I was able to get back to my office to do some more work. 

The rest of the day was spent picking up the kids, photographing my New Year’s Eve Dessert Board for Monday’s post, cooking dinner, and watching the live action Grinch Musical that we’d recorded from the previous week.  B and I didn’t love it at all, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.  They strayed so far from the original story line and stretched everything out SO LONG that B and I both lost interest pretty quickly.  Definitely wasn’t our thing.

With regard to Covid, it was a GREAT day in the fight to end the pandemic on Monday, because the first American received the vaccine first thing Monday morning!  The FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use here in the United States late last week, and the vaccines are now being distributed!!!!  First responders, elderly, and other high-risk people will be the first to get them, and then the general population will follow. 

While I’ve been a little nervous about the idea of getting the vaccine, the more I research (from credible sources) I do, the more it eases my nerves.  By the time I’m eligible to get the vaccine (likely March or April according to Dr. Fauci), I’ll be ready for it!

Tuesday, December 15 (Day 277 of Quarantine)

Tuesday morning was ugly Christmas sweater day at school, but we weren’t able to have any delivered in time, so the kids just wore their Christmas graphic tees instead.  After I dropped the kids, I made a couple of stops to return some things, and then I stopped by Fresh Market to grab our chicken for the next few weeks (I buy in bulk and freeze it). 

I spent the rest of my day working in my office on my goals for the new year, and y’all, for once in my life, I have no clue how to even plan for next year.  Nobody knows what the year is even going to look like, so it’s really hard to know what we will and won’t be able to do. 

Tuesday afternoon, I picked the kids up from school and then we headed home to have a quick and super early dinner because we had tickets to Fantasy in Lights, a huge light display in Pine Mountain, GA.  I’ve gone nearly every single year of my life since it opened back in 1992 and it’s one of my most favorite things to do this time of year. 

This year, we opted to drive through in our own vehicle for safety reasons.  We typically ride the trolley, but we obviously didn’t want to have to be in close proximity to others right now, even outdoors.

Our drive through ticket time wasn’t until 7:30, so we decided to walk around and check out all of the sights at the main pavilion.  Santa Claus is there this year, and he’s in a little house with a glass window, so the kids can go sit in front of the window and take pictures with him safely.  However, Santa was just getting ready to take a break as we walked up, so we decided to go see some other sights and then come back. 

They have a Nativity lights show on the lake, so we watched that, and by the time that was over, it was almost time to get in line for Santa.  Santa’s house was indoors, but they were taking temps at the doors and requiring masks and social distancing, so we felt like it was safe enough to try.  Unfortunately, a lot of people had already lined up, though, so we weren’t sure what to do as we didn’t want to be inside for too long with too many people. 

We decided to get in line and see how it went, but immediately, some guy got in line behind us, and he completely ignored the “six feet apart” signs on the ground, and he stood literally inches behind Brian, practically breathing down our necks.  He then proceeded to take off his mask, and then rip the mask off of the face of his son and then he smirked at me like a total jerk… he was very obviously trying to upset us/make us mad.  We did absolutely nothing to provoke him prior to that, so he was obviously just one of those people who takes pleasure in being nasty to others for no reason. 

We inched forward a little to create some distance between ourselves and him, but he moved right up on us again immediately.  We couldn’t move any closer to the people in front of us as we were trying to follow the social distancing guidelines, so we ultimately decided to just leave.  Thankfully, the kids weren’t too disappointed because they didn’t want to wait in the long line anyway.

We headed back to our car and got lined up to drive through, and the place was packed.  We ended up having to wait about 30 minutes in a queue before we could go through, and then the next hour was spent driving through. 

There was a new scene added this year, and it is, hands down, my favorite scene in the whole place now!  They had a MASSIVE field completely covered in lights that were connected to a MASSIVE Christmas tree full of lights.  The lights were programmed to dance to the Christmas songs they’d chosen, and it was just magical.  I could have stayed there and watched it all night! 

We made the long drive home afterward, and by the time we got home it was after 10 o’clock.  Both kids fell asleep in the car, bless them, so we got them in the bed as quickly as possible, and then B and I went to bed shortly thereafter.  Aside from the Santa line incident, it was such a wonderful evening!    

Wednesday, December 16 (Day 278 of Quarantine)

Wednesday, the kids were supposed to wear Advent wreath colors (green, pink, and purple), so Olivia wore a light pink dress that was perfect.  Jacob had a Kelly green polo that would have been perfect, but he HATES a polo and begged me to wear his St. Patrick’s Day shamrock tee instead.  Lol.  I thought about telling him no, but why does it even matter?  I ended up letting him rock the shamrock tee… for Advent.  I mean, we are Catholic and Catholics do observe St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday, though, so good enough for me.  Lol.

Wednesday was a work all day kind of day, and then I picked the kids up from school at 3.  Olivia had dance that afternoon, so I sat in the car and cleaned out my inbox while she was there.

We had breakfast for dinner, and then I spent the rest of the evening prepping for Christmas/school stuff for the rest of the week.  After the kids went to bed, I collapsed on the couch… I was spent after dealing with a headache and bad news all day.  Wednesday was one of the worst days of the week, so my anxiety was high, and it was just an exhausting day.  

Thursday, December 17 (Day 279 of Quarantine)

Thursday was Christmas PJ Day at school – one of the kids’ favorite days of the entire school year – so Jacob wore his new Grinch jammies that my parents had given him, and Olivia opted for her new pink Christmas PJs that Cheek, our elf, had brought from the North Pole earlier in the season.  It was FREEZING all day, so it was the perfect day for those cozy, fleece jammies!

That morning, B and I dropped the kids at school together, and then we went to vote in the runoff election here in Georgia.  As you all know, the race for the senate was just too close here in Georgia, so we’ve all been enduring the political ads these last few weeks long after everyone else’s stopped.  I’d love to never ever hear another political ad for as long as I live!  Lol.

On the way out, I noticed a cute little courtyard filled with lights, so B and I took a little detour to snap a few pictures.  Then, since we were downtown, we stopped by my favorite local coffee shop to grab a scone and coffee to go.  We hadn’t been there in about a year, so it was long overdue.  Afterward, we ran a few more errands – the post office, Target to return something, and then Krispy Kreme to pick up donuts for Jacob’s class Christmas party – and then it was back home to enjoy our scone (me) and cinnamon roll (B). 

I spent the rest of the day working in my office, and then B picked up the kids from school because I had a Zoom appointment with my therapist.  That appointment couldn’t have come at a better time since we’d had such a heavy week, and it was really good being able to unload on someone.  I do not know how therapists do their jobs for a living… I feel like I would be so sad all the time from listening to other people’s problems.  I’m an empath, though, and I struggle to separate the feelings of others from my own feelings, so I’m sure that’s why it would be no good for me.

Since we hadn’t been able to visit Santa at Fantasy in Lights the evening we were there, we decided to pile in the car after the kids got home, and make the drive back there JUST to see Santa this time.  Before we left the last time, we had asked one of his helpers what time he arrives each day, and she told us 5 PM.  So we made the long drive there and arrived a few minutes early, and… we only had four people in front of us!  Woo hoo! 

We waited for less than 10 minutes for our turn, and they had a big area in front of Santa’s house roped off so the kids could take off their masks and not worry about anyone getting too close to them.  They both told him what they wanted (we could hear him easily through the window), and then they snapped a picture with him.  So grateful for creative people who came up with a plan so that the kids could still experience the Christmas magic without compromising safety!

After our visit with Santa, we let the kids pick out a toy with their own money.  Jacob has been wanting a Minecraft plastic sword, and what do you know, they actually had Christmas light-up ones right there in the gift shop!  Olivia picked out a stuffed llama that walks and wags its tail while singing a Christmas song.  It’s the cutest thing!

We were all done there by 5:30, and then we headed home for a late dinner, showers, and bedtime.   

Friday, December 18 (Day 280 of Quarantine)

Friday, the kids were supposed to wear comfy cozy clothes for their school theme of the day, but Jacob’s class had their Christmas party Friday, and they were having an ugly Christmas sweater contest, so both kids wore theirs since they weren’t able to wear them on Tuesday.  They delivered Wednesday, just in time for me to wash them and have them ready for Friday!  Whew!

After I dropped them at school, I stopped by my old office to drop off some Christmas cards for my old co-workers.  Since I quit my job three years ago, I’ve always gone to lunch with them on the regular, and we have still had our Christmas dinner every year since, but obviously because of Covid, I haven’t seen any of them in forever.  Most of them I hadn’t seen in ten months, right before everything shut down, but some of them I hadn’t seen in nearly a year and a half!  So dang sad. 

They invited me in the building, but I declined because – NO THANK YOU, GERMS – so instead, a few of them came outside in masks to chat for a few minutes.  I did hug each of their necks, because I figured it was safe since we were all masked and outside, and because a hug only lasts for a few seconds.  Other than that, we all stayed 8-10 feet apart the entire time.  After a crappy week, and a super disconnected, crappy year, it was the best gift to be able to see them after all this time. 

After that, I headed home and tied up a bunch of loose ends before it was time to pick up the kids at noon.  They had early dismissal for the holidays, and we’d been counting it down! 

I’m Jacob’s room mom again this year, and I’m normally the one who helps out with his Christmas party, but unfortunately, because of Covid, parents aren’t allowed in the building this year.  That’s a GREAT thing because it’s keeping our babies safe, but the circumstances just stink.  I did end up planning the whole party with the other room mom for fourth grade, from the food to the craft to the ugly sweater contest, and since she is the school librarian, she was able to be there in the classroom to facilitate. 

She kept me updated and sent me some pictures after it was over, and it just made my day to be able to know what was going on even when I couldn’t be there.  Jacob won third place in the ugly sweater contest and he was just so excited!  Olivia had her Christmas party on Thursday, and it was heartbreaking to miss hers, too.  I’ve never missed a single class party for either of them until this stupid Covid year.

At noon, I headed out to grab them from school, and I stopped to admire this gorgeous tree on campus.

On the way home, we stopped by Chick-Fil-A to grab lunch + peppermint milkshakes as a little treat to kick off Christmas Break!  We all ate lunch together when we got home, and then B and Jacob left to go get their hair cut while Olivia and I stayed home and painted with her new paint sticks. 

The boys were home by 3, and then I put on my jammies (nothing screams Christmas Break like pajamas at 3 PM!  Haha.) and did some work and reading while the kids played video games.  B picked up Five Guys for dinner, and we made some Moscow Mules to kick off the weekend. 

The rest of the evening was spent watching Santa Clause 2 by the fire, and then B and I started a new show called The Wilds on Amazon because we’re fresh out of stuff to watch.  Lol.  I had never even heard of it, but the first episode definitely held my attention and I think it’s going to end up being pretty good.  I’ll let y’all know!

Saturday, December 19 (Day 281 of Quarantine)

Saturday morning was a lazy one, with homemade waffles, and cinnamon tea on the couch while watching ESPN College GameDay.  I got in a cardio workout afterward, and then spent the rest of the morning coloring with the kids.  We discovered the joy of free coloring pages on Google this year (seriously, anything you could ever want), and this time we all chose Christmas pictures.    

We had a light lunch, and then we assembled the kids’ gingerbread houses.  Jacob opted for a kit that had a bunch of little tiny houses instead of one big one, so his took some time to put together.  B and the kids played outside for a while after that, and then we all decorated their houses.  

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at home, eating Mexican takeout for dinner, and watching the SEC Championship game that we, unfortunately, weren’t able to be a part of this year.  It was SO CLOSE this year for us, too.  BOOOO.

Another thing to note, Saturday I randomly checked the forecast for the week ahead, and it showed SNOW for Christmas Day!!!!  Y'all.  It rarely snows here... we seriously only get it once every few years, if that.  For it to snow on Christmas Day would just be a Christmas miracle.  The chance has since gone away, but it was fun to dream while it lasted.

Sunday, December 20 (Day 282 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning was the typical church and cinnamon rolls, and then afterward, I sat down with my 2020 planner, my 2021 planner, a bunch of colorful pens, and all of my lists, and I spent the next hour and a half prepping my new planner for the new year and reorganizing my lists.  I do this at the end of every year for the next one, and it always sets me up for success in the new year!

After another light lunch, we all played out in the back yard for a couple of hours.  B and the kids tossed the frisbee around, and I walked laps around our huge back yard to get in a quick 2.6 mile walk. 

B and the kids played video games for the rest of the afternoon while I spent some time in my office, and then we had ranch chicken pasta that had been in the Crockpot all day for dinner.  After dinner it was The Santa Clause 3 with the kids, and then B and I had our annual viewing of Love Actually after they went to bed.  We’ve watched it every single year since 2003 and it never ever gets old.  That dang “to me you are perfect” scene and the airport scene at the end both get me every. single. time.  It’s my favorite movie of all-time. 

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, y’all!!!!

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  1. I'm sorry things were heavy this week. Covid is getting crazy here again too. The boys will be back to virtual after winter break as a precaution because the school assumes most people are going to try and see family over the break. The lights all look so pretty! I love hoe festive the kids have been in their Christmas wear and the gingerbread houses came out so cute! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!

  2. I need to see how far Pine Mountain for us! Those lights look amazing. We are going through Petit Creek Farms here on Christmas eve. We enjoyed it last year and it wasn't too busy.Praying for your family!

    1. Thank you so much! You guys should definitely check it out if you can. It would be worth the drive!

  3. So sorry to hear it was such a stressful/heavy week for you. In pictures it looks like it was pretty great. That drive through light display looks amazing.

    1. Thank you, Joanne. We've definitely learned to take the bad with the good this year, but goodness, I just wish there hadn't been so much bad this close to Christmas.

  4. I am so sorry that this was so hard on you. Olivia and Jacob are too cute! I love their pajamas! The lights display just looks gorgeous! I really wish I could go to Georgia to see it! I live in Alabama, and the cases are just awful. I hope this week is Merry and Bright, and that you all have a Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas to you! Y'all stay safe!

  5. Love how festive the kiddos were for school each day! I'm SO sorry to hear about all the heartache recently, people just still do not get it. I have to keep saying no to things, although I have attended a few smaller lunches/brunches safely. A good friend of ours is still insisting on throwing her kid a birthday party at an indoor highly interactive/touch surface venue as if nothing is wrong with it. I always want to support their family, but have to decline this invite. It's hard, but we need to do what we feel is best for our families. Merry Christmas Eve-Eve, sending all the hugs your way <3

    Green Fashionista

  6. Did you ever find out what was wrong with the stomach pains? Was it just menstral cramps? I am sorry that you have had a lot of bad news lately. I feel like that is definitely been the way it is with us too. Ugh. I love the dress ups that your kids did for school. And how safe their schools are being. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  7. I'm sorry you had a hard week and ouch on the stomach pains! The kids' outfits each day were so cute. I love the lights that are on the ground like you saw in that display. Ugh about the guy creeping up on you in line! That happened to us at the cider mill and the guy was saying how he'd had it and his wife had just gotten out of quarantine. We were virtual the week of Hanukkah - no class parties here. It's all sad to think about!

  8. Sending you prayers and positive thoughts. Hopefully the stress goes away a little bit. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.


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