Friday, December 27, 2013


It was the best of times...

There are many things and moments I loved about Christmas this year. We have all LOVED having Frederick here with us. He is so perfect and kissable and brings out the tenderness in everyone. Even though it was crazy to have him come when he did, even though I would have loved to have Chris feel more recovered and able to help out more than he was... Frederick has come to us safely and in good health. Seriously the best Christmas present ever.  Also my recovery has been really smooth and much faster (so far) than my last recovery after Gwen....I keep trying to tell myself I could be feeling much worse. A major blessing. 

It was so wonderful to have my mom here and keep the house in order and provide comfort and familiar Christmas baking (fruit bread and spiced nuts!). Her perspective and encouragement lifted me up many times. She is an angel. 

It was so grounding to all be home together for Christmas. Just our little family together, at home. A great reminder for what is most important. 

We were also the recipients of wonderful Christmas presents. Santa was good to my kids this year and the happiness of many new toys to distract busy playful energetic children was greatly needed by these tired and worn out parents. Anyone know who dropped this teepee off on our front porch Christmas Eve?! It's awesome. was [also] the worst of times. 

Can it really be a 'worst' Christmas if you have your immediately family surrounding you?  No it can't. But... I can't think of a harder Christmas I've experienced. Even 2 years ago when Chris was in the middle of his 12 chemo treatments and had to go in for another round 2 days after wasn't this trying. I think our extended family visiting at the time help spread the cheer and kept things jolly. 

One of the hardest things has been our older children's behavior. I think the 7 weeks of separation, a tired pregnant then an even more tired postpartum mom and an even MORE tired post-stem-cell-transplant dad has all caught up with the kids. They are testing their boundaries and I've never cried more in my life. Ask my mom. I was a pathetic mess her last night or two. But Chris and I got organized and had a good FHE on Christmas Adam to redraw all the boundaries for the kids in terms of the privaledges and expectations of being an Archibald...and decided together which behaviors we'll label "junk behaviors" and just ignore. Things have been much better since then. 

The other thing hard about this Christmas  was Chris felt sick again.  He started feeling gross Christmas Eve afternoon and barely made it through the evening traditions with the kids (although I'm very very grateful he did!) he was asleep before the kids were with a low grade temperature. My dreams of getting ready for Christmas morning together then doing a puzzle or watching a Christmas movie together were dashed. I was up until 1:00am but thanks to a prayer, Fredericks company and the movie White Christmas I wasn't too upset about it. A clean house on Christmas night (on any night really bit especially that night) does wonders for my soul. Besides Chris will probably feel better in the morning...

He didn't. His temperature stayed just below the 'danger zone' of 100.4 but he was really feeling hot and headachy. Christmas Day he got up with us in the morning and we shared many sweet moments watching our children be so enchanted.  

He kindly tucked me and Frederick in in the couch for a mid morning nap after all had been unwrapped and he had energy to help the kids assemble some of their new toys. So great. But by 4:00 he had hit his wall and fell asleep on the couch for the night. 

The kids survived on tic tacs and fishies but I knew they needed something better so I made PB and J sandwiches for Christmas Dinner...on croissants so it felt special.  Then I cleaned the house and put the kids to bed an hour late. Then Chris woke up and dragged himself to bed and we were asleep by 10. 

Not exactly the Christmas of our dreams. We provided no meaningful service, ate no amazing meal, saw no extended family or friends, spent no time entertaining ourselves.  We just survived the day, tried to make it fun for the kids and find joy in the simple pleasure of being at home together. We've literally felt and expressed to each other at the end of our days, "whew..we made it...just barely...but we made it through another day"  I know the Lord has blessed us with added strength to make it through each day...just barely. Some nights we feel as if we're crawling across the finish line and some mornings I can get feeling pretty sad that I have to start the race alllll over again. 

But back to Christmas... The kids and I had a nice family prayer that night, they were quiet AND still (for once!) and I felt the true spirit of Christmas as I thanked God for our blessings and for the gift of His Son and expressed gratitude for Christ's life, example and sacrifice. 


Jess said...

Brittney we are so glad you have a beautiful healthy baby and that you were all together for Christmas! We also know that 4 kids at home can be an adjustment especially a newborn, not to mention Chris in recovery. We love you all so much and hope that things get better from here!!

merilee said...

Your sweet baby is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your Christmas experience. It sounds hard but also that you felt loved and blessed. I think of you so often! Prayers are sent your way for days that don't feel so exhausting! Loves to all of you.

Vhari said...

You all amaze me! I'm so sorry that life is so rough and unpredictable. I think and pray for you guys constantly. I hope that Chris starts feeling better very soon and that you can all get back to a normal healthy life. I hope some huge miracles are right around the corner. Love you guys!