I'm finally catching up from Christmas. And the fact that I had the flu in these pictures, a fact I didn't really understand until we were already on the train (and again after New Years! Are you serious?!) is a large reason why.
Regardless, the Heber Creeper's North Pole Express was so fun! None of the girls were big fans of our special visitor named Santa, but the cute elves let Rory dance in the aisles and we were all wildly entertained watching their flirting and general high school age antics, so it was fun for us too!
Jay and Brooke stayed home because the flu hit them first, then it hit Zane and I on the train, then my dad, then Jess, Steve and Clara by Christmas Eve. (Can we all appreciate that by the hand of God the two littlest didn't get it somehow?! We said at least twenty prayers of gratitude-little people don't know how to aim into a puke bucket!) We were basically a pile of fun through the holidays, but it was still fun to be together and hang out in misery on the living room floor with the people we love.
There was something that I thought about so many times though, through the great flu of Christmas. It hit Jess, Steve, and Clara at the same time- hard. So I took over being Clara's mommy for a good part of the day. Jay took Rory, Brooke took Winnie, and I took over for Clara. That poor sweet 4 year old probably threw up a solid 15 times that day. We carried around a puke bucket and did a lot of hot water, soap, and bleach cleaning of everything in sight. But I didn't mind at all- I'd already had the flu so I wasn't scared of cuddling her or washing her clothes or holding her bucket.
And I think it's that way in life. When we've been through something hard- or gross- or scary it just becomes easier to help someone else going through that same thing. We aren't scared of proximity or of standing there with them in the middle of the chaos. There's a silver lining to every trial, and I think most often that's it. I don't believe God sends us trials necessarily, but he's the one that lets us learn from them and find sweet moments (like holding Clara's puke bucket) in their wake.