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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Confession: we have not sent out a Christmas picture/letter. I have some guilt about it, but mostly I try to shove the guilt away. I push it down to the guilt about not getting to the dentist enough or that time when I decided to rebel as a child and the worst thing that I came up with was sticking a piece of gum in a library book. Actually no, the gum incident’s guilt is a lot stronger; that’s pretty bad. I LOVE the library. I love books. I love reading. Why would I do that?!!! Anyway, the no-Martin Christmas picture/letter guilt is still there but I’m trying to ignore it. It’s not that we don’t plan on sending one…eventually…we just decided after our big Christmas party to a.) sit back and enjoy the holidays and b.) care for our very sick children (who, thankfully, are now all better) and c.) we didn’t take a good family picture, so we’ll need to either take one or just find a good one from the last few months. We’ll do it. Eventually.

I could work on the Christmas picture/letter now, but the keyword there is COULD. And I am SO not going to. I have the house completely and thoroughly to myself. I don’t remember the last time that I got to be home alone. I came up with the marvelous and ingenious idea that after I got back from my run, Mike should go to the gym and that he should take the boys with him to play in the Kids’ Club. This is a marvelous and ingenious idea and a win-win situation for everyone involved. Mike needs to go the gym because, well, it’s good for him, and he hasn’t been in quite a while (probably three weeks, maybe even a month). The boys now love the Kids’ Club, have been asking to go, and haven’t been in a long while due to sickness and then Christmas. And it is SO a win-win situation for me because I get to be home…by myself! Sure, I could spend the time doing the dishes in the sink or the laundry that’s piled up, but why? I could even start taking Christmas stuff down or clean this post-Holidays messy house. But why, pray-tell, would I do that?! I’m sipping coffee and spending time on my laptop – planning for music class, researching hotels for our trip to San Fran in August (for Mo’s wedding), catching up on News (, reading emails, oh, and currently writing this. I might even sit on the couch and read in a bit. I don’t remember the last time that I did that. What’s a little bit sad is how easily Matthew picked up on my excitement for this morning. I got the boys all ready to go – they were practically in coats waiting for Mike. “Are you ready yet, Honey? The boys are ready and rarin’ to go! Yea Kids’ Club! Yea Gym! Are you ready? Mike?” I kept calling. I practically shoved them out the door. As they headed down the stairs Matthew called, “Have fun being home by yourself, Mommy!” Ahhh, I will. I am.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas has come and gone and therefore I am thoroughly and totally devastated. The post-Christmas season is just so lame. But what’s most lame is the fact that Santa doesn’t come for another 362 days now or something.

Santa treated the Martin family very well. He brought me some very nice coffee, the movie Hairspray, mascara that I was in need of, and gift cards delight for post-holiday retail therapy. Santa loves me. Matthew was thrilled with his small, monster truck John Deeres and his Lego City fire truck pickup truck. Zach got a little steering wheel toy that makes all sorts of loud, obnoxious educational, genius-inducing noises. Matthew got a fantastic John Deere blanket from Nana and Uncle Harry, a fireman Mr. Potato Head from Aunt Jamie and Uncle Dan and an amazing construction crane Lego from my parental units…just to name a few highlights. Zachary’s favorite part of the day was “opo! Opo!” – opening presents. But perhaps most magically magical of all was that it snowed! On Christmas Day. In Seattle! It snowed! Not enough to stick but definite flurries for most of the day. That’s as White Christmas as it gets here, and I’ll take it!

Friday, December 21, 2007

READER DISCRETION ADVISED: Do not read the following on a full stomach, an empty stomach and/or a particularly squeamish, squirmy, or churny stomach.

The Martin boys (the younger ones) were feeling much improved yesterday. We were even able to leave the house for an outing that did not include the doctor! (Hooray for Staples and Target.) The boys even bickered over toys and more than once (MANY times more than once), Matthew screamed and cried because Zach had knocked over his Lego “crane truck.” (Meanwhile Zach ran away with a big grin on his face). Yes, they were definitely feeling a bit better.

After the boys had finished dinner we let them down to play so that we could finish our meal in relative peace. Matthew and Zach started chasing each other around the loop – dining room, kitchen, living room. They were having a ball and laughing. And then t the same time they both started coughing, and coughing. And then t the same time Mike and I both started saying, “OK, OK. Settle down. You boys aren’t ready for that much running around.” And then at the same time they both started vomiting.

Mike got to them first, realizing there wasn’t time to get down the hall to the Puke Bucket in Matthew’s room, he grabbed the next best thing – dumped the remaining toys out of a plastic toy box and stuck that under Matthew’s face. Matthew shook his head and started to protest. He would not puke into the Lego box, he would only puke into the Pu— oh whatever. I just need to puke. I had jumped up to hold the impromptu Puke Receptacle under Matthew, while Mike (and I) realized that Zach was about to lose it. Mike stuck his hand under Zach’s mouth and started running him down the hall towards the bathroom. Blecgh! Zach threw up by the top of the stairs where his vomit hit the floor and splashed all the way – even splattering the lower level of carpeted stairs. Mike got to the bathroom and realized that the door was closed. Crap! He couldn’t open it because one hand was full of Zachary and the other was full of Vomir de Zachary. So, I yelled for him to take Zach to the kitchen sink where Zach immediately got sick all over the sink-full of dirty dishes.

I’m not quite sure at what point in all of this I realized what I was doing. Yes, I was holding the Puke Bucket – Receptacle and generally cheering Matthew on offering all sorts of support and Motherly concern. However, I was also eating a cookie. Just the day before we had received the INFAMOUS box from Mike’s sister Jamie and husband Dan. Every year at Christmas I loath-slash-love when that box arrives. It’s full of our wrapped Christmas presents and also a box brimming full of Jamie’s Christmas Cookies. They make thousands of cookies every year (literally, thousands), adding a new kind nearly every baking season too. I counted 16 different varieties this year. Mike and I are very systematic about the cookies. We eat them slowly (well, try to) and enjoy discussing each kind, rating them, deciding which is our favorite each year, etc. Now, Matthew has become a part of our Christmas cookie consumption fun. He had just finished one before the running and then the coughing and then the vomiting commenced, and I had been in mid-bite when we got to the vomiting part of the evening. Apparently through all the drama I hadn’t thought to put the cookie down and even in the midst of it – holding a puke bucket, comforting Matthew, instructing Mike – I still managed to eat a delicious cookie. Now that, my friends, is multitasking.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Doctor Benda reassured me that I was not being a totally and completely paranoid Mommy. (Although I did mumble that she was the fourth doctor we’d seen in a week). Basically, Zach came down with the same Bronchitis virus that Matthew had, however, Zach’s version went deeper into the lungs where it manifested in the form of “Reactive Airway Disease” – the symptoms are basically the same as Asthma (and treated similarly). So, Dr. Benda did give Zach one more dose of steroids to get his airways open sooner (as he was still breathing rapidly and wheezing a bit at our appointment). She also gave me a clearer plan on when/how often/how many/how long to use the inhaler. I did feel like my concerns were validated and the visit worthwhile; even if it did mean that Zachary had to get more nasty medicine. Dr. Benda said that if I hadn’t brought him in, his fever probably would have come back eventually and we would have had to get the steroids. It was good to get them sooner rather than later. The poor child has still been miserable. At least he’s feverless, but he spent all day yesterday just lying around, sucking his thumb, holding Blankie and wanting to be held. I, of course, am now showing cold-like symptoms (I still won’t outright admit that I’m sick), so a day of rest was fine with me…thought that’s all we’ve done for about TEN DAYS now! I just pray that all this sickness will have dissipated by Christmas next week.

In other news, I dropped my cell phone into a bowl of chili. Well, a mostly empty, dirty-in-the-sink, bowl of chili, but still. I was in the process of calling Rachel when the phone slipped from my shoulder into said-bowl. I could see that it was still ringing and calling her. “Ahhh!” I screamed. Rachel? Rachel! You’re in the chili! Hold tight. I’ll get you out. I’m coming in! Unfortunately, my phone was sufficiently chilified and did not work for the rest of the evening. Just like my laptop Kara after her coffee bath, my [nameless] cell phone apparently needed to make me feel guilty and concerned for a bit before working again. Yesterday morning it worked again and I managed to speak with Mike’s stepmom, Oma Annalice. I couldn’t hear her all that well and thought that perhaps the bean residue was causing interference. At least the phone still functions. Maybe 2008 can be the year of not soaking appliances in random food/beverages.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday! The last few days have been a blur of fevers, medicine, puke buckets and doctors. We ended up taking both boys to the Urgent Care Clinic on Saturday. They both had high fevers through the day. Zach was so miserable – he was practically comatose. All he could do was lie around and even when he was awake he couldn’t open his eyes all the way. It was scary. Matthew complained that his ears hurt and we saw Zach tugging on his ear. We figured that at the least they had ear infections and we needed to get them in to see the doctor.

Matthew has double ear infections and Bronchitis. Zachary has one ear infection and was having difficulty breathing. His poor little tummy and ribs are constantly working hard and he just can’t seem to get a deep breath. On Saturday, the doctor had us give him an inhaler and told us that if his fever wasn’t down and he wasn’t drastically better on Sunday morning, then we’d need to bring him in right away. Thankfully, Zach woke up feverless and was actually playing a little bit. He’d have a burst of energy, rip around and then collapse in exhaustion. He was definitely a heck of a lot better though.

We brought the kiddos to stay with my dad and brother Chris while Mike, my mom and I went Christmas Caroling at a nursing home in Seattle with some friends from Engaged Encounter. Yeah, try getting through O Holy Night, knowing your kids are sick at home and there’s a little old lady holding your hand, looking at you with tears in her eyes. Right after that heapy-weepy moment, we started walking down the hall but stopped when the door to a room opened; the family was literally gathered around the person in the bed – as in saying goodbye. We’re singing Silent Night and I’m trying to not even look in the room. Yeah, just a little emotional. I felt terrible about abandoning the boys (all the while knowing they were fine and in perfectly capable hands), but it was great to get to go Caroling.

By the time we got the boys home, however, Zachary did not seem quite so fine. His temperature was back up to 101 and he was breathing pretty hard. We called the nurse and she had us count how many breaths he took in a minute. 44. She informed us, “Well, OK. He should be fine through the night, but if it gets up to 50-60 a minute and he looks anxious, then you’ll need to get him to Emergency at Children’s Hospital.” Very reassuring (actually, not really). Monday morning, Zach’s temperature was back down but he was still breathing pretty quickly. I took him back to the doctor (a different one at our office). The nurse counted his breaths and came up with 52. Right, so that was in that “get him to the hospital” range. But all they did (maybe it’s all they could do) was give him an extra couple of pumps of the inhaler. They also gave him a dose of steroids to bring down the potential fever and help with the whole breathing situation. The steroids have made him miserable – no fever miserableness now, just a different kind – he’s really irritable, shaky and jittery.

I left the doctor feeling frustrated. I still don’t understand what exactly the problem is because all we’ve done is treat the symptoms (which I know is important, but still…). I feel like I’ve gotten mixed messages. The nurse says if he gets that high, he needs to go to the hospital. So, he is that high at the doctor’s office and they ask if we have a history of Asthma in the family. Does that mean he has Asthma (or they’re just checking)? They tell me to give him more pumps of the inhaler, and if that doesn’t seem to work then bring him back for more steroids because it’s obviously not working. But, I’m confused. What is the problem?! Why are we going to keep pumping the same miserable drug into him if it didn’t work the first time? The doc told me that once I think the inhaler is working we can start tapering off, but, “Oh,” she says, “you probably won’t know if it’s working or ready to be tapered down…” Huh?!

In conclusion, I’m listening to my Mommy-Gut (or maybe just being a paranoid Mom), and I’m bringing him back in today to see our actual pediatrician, Dr. Benda who we know and love. I just want a doctor – one that we really trust and who knows us – to explain what is going on and what exactly the plan is and how long we’ll likely stick with this plan. I don’t even mind if all I get is, “well, we don’t actually know what is going on, why he’s having difficulty breathing or what the plan is.” As long as I get some more communication and that they aren’t just jumping to temporarily treat the symptom without knowing what the problem is.

When I called yesterday to schedule to see Dr. Benda today and had to explain to the Appointment desk chica why I wanted to be seen AGAIN, after going through my shpeal, she says, “Oh. So, you’re not hearing the answers that you want?” Yeah, OK, so maybe she does think that I’m one of THOSE or maybe I AM one of THOSE paranoid parental units. But I’d like some answers and not just what sounds like a temporary fix. Am I just being defensive or does this make sense?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Our poor, little miserable and suffering offspring. Man! We just can’t seem to catch a break from the bugs this Fall/Winter. Matthew has had a fever off and on for five days now – he’s finally on the mend and sleeping through the night again; thank goodness. He gets a pretty nasty cough when he first lies down, but our Mr. Pukey Pants (who always throws up when he’s sick – even if it is just a cold) refuses to lose the fight. If you even go near to grabbing the Puke Bucket (that sits next to Matthew’s bed when he’s sick), he flips out. Mid-hack, he’ll gasp, “No…Puke…Bucket…I’m….not…going….to…puke.” Gag. Gag. So far, he’s won the battle. Zachary, on the other hand, has not.

He is SO miserable our little Zachy. He had a temperature of 102 this afternoon. All the sick kidlet can do is lie around and moan and cry and ask for “Beebee” – Blankie. We have had some tough nights this week with both boys sick. I can’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday night now (they’re all smooshing together in my fatigued brain into one LONG, BAD night), but Mike and I were BOTH up with BOTH boys LOTS of times. At one point, I thought that we should at least be high-fiving each other as we passed in the halls. It was like tag-team sleeping, snot-wiping, rocking, and soothing ALL night long. It definitely made the Top Five Worst Nights. Neither of us could remember in the morning how many times we’d been up. We just knew it was a lot and that it was probably more than the other parental unit. (In the sleep-deprived state you get to this very negative place where you start to each think that your sleep is WAY more important than the other’s. It becomes a test to see who has the most endurance. Whoever can lie there the longest pretending to not hear the whining from the other room wins. They win the right to stay in bed but not be able to go back to sleep due to guilt – both parental and spousal).

So, tonight, Zachary is the epitome of misery. He has a fever and a serious snot situation. He also has a nasty cough that not too long ago turned ugly – into the Puke Bucket. Zachary, I’d like you to meet Puke Bucket. Puke Bucket, this is Zachary. Zach, hopefully you will not get to know Puke Bucket as well as your older brother Matthew has. Matthew and P.B. go WAY back. Anyway, Zach’s puke-bucketing was minimal, we wiped him up and he went back to sleep with only a slight aroma of Eau de Vomir remaining. (An aside: Why is it that even saying something as nasty as Stink of Vomit, [or technically “vomit water”] in French, sounds all flowy and pretty?)

My husband, my hubby, my Mikey – ahh, bless him – the man does NOT handle the illness of our children well. Obviously no one likes to see their child sick and suffering. Just having kids with fevers this week has made me so thankful for their health. It’s also made me say a lot more prayers for the children spending this Christmas – and much of their lives – in the hospital and for their parents too. I just can’t imagine…Well, anyway, one night earlier this week – the night of Matthew’s mega-huge swollen lip (which is much improved, I might add) – Mike proved that he really, REALLY does not handle the sick kid thing well. Matthew had a fever and the nasty lip thing going on and was in bed. I found Mike with his head on Matthew’s chest.

“What are you doing?” I ask him.

“His heart is racing,” Mike replies in a very worried voice.

“Honey, he’s a kid – their hearts beat faster,” I reply.

“Yeah, but it’s really pounding, I – ” Mike is cut off by Matthew whining, “Daddy, get your head off me.”

I left the medical examination to call the nurse to inquire about the bizarre lip and to do the dishes – I would leave the bedside vigil to Mike. The next time I walked into the room, Mike is checking Matthew’s pulse.

“I don’t know what his heart rate usually is, but this just seems really fast,” Dr. Daddy informs me.

“OK, right. Well, when you’re done checking his blood pressure next or before you start drawing blood to run some tests, maybe you could do something productive like take off his extra thick pajama top to help cool him down…” I think but actually say, “Right. Could you take off his extra pajama shirt please?”

So, it’s currently 10:30pm, I’m exhausted and ready to go to bed. I have had to stop typing about five times to rush in to Zach as he started coughing. What are the chances that we’ll sleep well tonight? Yeah, slim. Outlook not so good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Illness has once again reared its ugly head in our home. It’s Matthew – poor kiddo. “I think for Christmas,” he informed me earlier today, “Santa will bring me new Lego City Legos, new John Deeres and fire trucks, and new Kleenex. Santa’s going to bring me lots and lots of new Kleenex.”

We survived the flood last week – no floating away, just a lot of fans, heaters and drying out – and we managed to have the family room downstairs put back together before the 7th Annual Martin Christmas Party Extravaganza on Saturday night. It was an enormous, bumpin’ fun time this year – we had 30 people upstairs and five kids downstairs with a babysitter. It was a blast! As always, our friends left wined, dined and spoiled with gift card prizes for the games – this a year a Christmas Crossword, Christmas Pictionary, a violent wrapped gift game (you have to try to open it with big ‘ol gloves and mittens on, etc.), and the annual and much anticipated Martin Christmas Party Bingo. Yes, we bribe our friends at Christmas time to be our friends for the upcoming year. They’re worth it.

So, we were up late Saturday night and attempted to sleep in a bit on Sunday. The boys both took three hour long naps, from which Matthew woke up with a fever and a cough. We spent Sunday night taking turns getting up with both boys. Monday night was the same drill. Then yesterday afternoon, Matthew said his high lip hurt. (“My high lip, Mom, not my low lip. The high one hurts.”) By the end of the evening, Matthew’s “high lip” had swollen up to a huge, nasty situation. We called the nurse line and they recommended giving him Benadryl in case it was an allergic reaction to something. It definitely looked better today – way less swollen – but since he still had it and a bit of a fever, the nurse recommended we go in to see the doctor. She thinks it could be a viral infection, so we’ll just need to wait it out…but in the meantime, no shared drinking cups (Zachary – stop using Matthew’s toothbrush!), and an entire week of missed preschool!

Zachary woke up from nap this afternoon coughing and hacking away. He’s now totally hoarse and speaks with a raspy little smoker’s toddler voice. Here we go again…

Monday, December 03, 2007

Literally overnight, we went from a beautiful Winter Wonderland to a land of yuck, muck and mud. The snow here was completely melted in a matter of hours as the temperatures warmed and the rain started falling early yesterday morning. I’m not one to spend a lot of time chatting about weather – but this is just madness!

This morning we were late departing for preschool, so I was being a Manic Mom trying to get the boys out the door. Once underway, it was just a couple of blocks before the detours began – roads were flooded and closed every which way. We spent 45 minutes slowly inching in descent along a hill that would take us to another hill that we would need to ascend to head back to our house. Matthew sat in the back saying that he was so sad that he couldn’t go to preschool. “This is bad, Mommy. Very, VERY bad,” he informed me.

When we finally reached the bottom of hill #1, we turned right to head up hill #2. The bottom of hill #2 had turned into a lake about five feet deep. There were at least three cars sitting in the water (I couldn’t tell if the drivers were still inside or not), with the water reaching quite high up on their doors. I watched in dismay as Mr. Because I’ve Got a Pickup Truck I Can Handle This Little Puddle proceeded to plow through the flood waters, realized that it was way too deep, turned right into the Denny’s parking lot only to find it deeper than the previous lake and get totally stuck. The water was high enough that he would have gotten water in the truck when he opened up the door. Yeah, best of luck with that. (the tag says Totem Lake of Kirkland but that’s totally wrong. It’s the Denny’s in Renton/Newcastle. We made the news! (Well, not us personally, because we weren’t foolish enough to attempt the water route home).

When we finally made it home we discovered a nasty business happening here: we now have waterfront property. Our backyard is a swamp and oh! By the way, the downstairs carpet pretty much is too. I spent about an hour trying to clear the drain outside the slider. Then I moved furniture and toys away from the door as best I could. Matthew said, “Mom! You missed some toys; they’re going to wash away!” I reassured him that this wasn’t a wait-in-the-attic-for-the-helicopter flood – thank God – that it was just a squishy-carpet kind of flood. I suggested he could be a helper and pick up toys. “No, Mom. I’ll get all floody. That’s your job.”

When Mike got home to help save the day (or at least the carpet), Matthew immediately picked Mike’s lunch up off of the kitchen counter and said, “Daddy, here – let me put that in the fridge for you – to keep it safe from the flood.” We’ve had fans and heaters blowing on the pulled up, wet part of the carpet for most of the afternoon. Good ‘ol Ma and Pa Buckley built an ark to come and visit and help out a bit. (Mike has a big deadline for work tomorrow, so he’s been trying to get stuff done for that, so Dad helped with the carpet fiasco and mom helped with the children fiasco – not that there was a real fiasco with them, just the usual stuff).

Tonight, Matthew is nervous that the flood is going to come up the stairs and get him and Green Bear in his bed. The wind is supposed to pick up later too, so if those trees start swaying too much in the back, we might all be slumber partying downstairs in the music room. (The lowest and driest place in the Martin House of Weather Insanity).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sing it with me now: Joy to the world! My laptop works…Mikey fixed it up!! I don’t know what he did (it had something to do with plugging it in, charging it up and sweet talking it – all things that I, too, had tried) but apparently Kara is just very temperamental and will occasionally not start up. When we last attempted to start ‘er up, it was plugged in then but wouldn’t work. Maybe – I know! – just maybe she’s having serious caffeine withdrawals. She enjoyed the taste of coffee and could use a little hit every now and then. I’ll look into it, but all I can say is joy to the world! that my laptop is back and my someday-award-winning-works-of-literary-genius have not been lost forever. I definitely learned my lesson and will, from hence forward, be a saving and syncing up crazy woman.

It is also with great enthusiasm and happiness that I report the first day of December here in Seattle, WA dawned in a splendor of winter wonderland…iness. There was a dusting of snow when we awoke in the morn (for some reason discussing snow makes me get all English-fancy). We hosted our Engaged Encounter friends for a lunch meeting. Around 1:15, Cathi looked out and commented on how dark it was for midday. About five minutes later, we were all amazed to look out the window at a nonstop snow blizzard. It lasted all afternoon. We got about three inches all together. Mike and Matthew were out there in no time building snow peoples in the front yard – a “snow monster” and “snow baby.”

The snow did not deter Larissa and me from our hot night out on the town. We drove into downtown Seattle – all lit up, decked out and snowed on (us and downtown). We had an amazing dinner at Il Fornaio – a fancy-shmancy Italian establishment in Pacific Place. The Antipastas included: smoked salmon with goat cream cheese, bruschetta, fresh tomatoes with basil and cheese, pitted olives, salami and fresh parmesan. The Chianti was a-flowing (and delicious). The appetizers were followed by salad and then a choice of entrée: braised lamb chop, grilled salmon, some beefy-meaty dish (I don’t recall what), and Lobster Ravioli. I went for the ravioli which was rich and deliche – though I probably should have opted for the salmon for a lighter fare and it did look really good. The “main course” (if you ask me) was the dessert – a chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries with a cakey bottom soaked in triple sec and served with an orange crème. Mm-mmmm. Bon appétit, indeed!

After dinner, we hopped in the “party bus” – it was a small shuttle bus, but Larissa insisted on calling it the party bus which did disappoint some of her coworkers as they were hoping it would be a bus with drinks served on-board. (As if the Chianti at dinner just wasn’t enough)! The bus dropped us at the Key Arena with plenty of time before the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show.

The TSO performance is hard to describe. It was VERY cool though the first bit took some getting used to. I have a hard time taking seriously the old rocker-dudes with long hair and/or mullets rocking out on electric guitar to Carol of the Bells. Also there was a quartet of women in skanky black dresses whose job it was to occasionally sing back up but mostly shake their thangs and toss their long hair frequently and passionately. The concert was VERY LOUD and accompanied by SUPER bright lights, fake snow, choreographed lasers, fireworks and colored fire that heated up the entire arena.

The second half of the show was fantastic. The musicians really showed genuine talent. They would highlight one musician – electric violin or piano, even electric guitar – playing a classical piece (par example: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee or a recognizable Mozart melody) and then the music and instruments would build on that theme until it climaxed in a rockin’, hair tossing, booty-shakin, lights flashing frenzy. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was definitely a ROCKin’ orchestra.

On a completely different topic, we were just watching a little cartoon video called The Littlest Angel – it’s Christmas-y and cute. In the story, the Littlest Angel (a four-year-old boy, I might add) that, despite being in Heaven, is sad because he misses home and his mom and dad and puppy dog. In a very touching moment, the Littlest Angel starts sobbing because he misses home so much and he doesn’t have a good gift for baby Jesus, etc., etc. I looked over and saw tears yelling up in Matthew’s eyes. Matthew shakily said, “I don’t like it when the Littlest Angel cries so hard, Mommy. It makes me too sad.” And then tears started splashing down Matthew’s cheeks. Mike and I looked at each other and immediately welled up too. What a sad group! Poor Matthew has inherited our sappy, sympathy-crying tendencies. Oh well, the ladies are always suckers for a sensitive man. I should know! I married one!