Our Nightmare Before Christmas

We all have our vacation disasters.

There are times when things just don’t go the way that you had hoped.  Embarking on a looong car trip with four children is a foolish brave thing to do.


It all began around 10pm the night before we left.  I walked into Dan’s room to get something, and I noticed he had a very wet sounding snore.  “Oh no,” I thought.


Around 12 am, Dan woke up crying and barking a little (the croup cough sounds like a seal’s bark).  We gave him some cold & cough medicine, and he went back to sleep.


2am he woke up crying and barking, but at this point he couldn’t stop barking.  He wasn’t getting in any regular breaths between the barks.  It was horrible and scary.  We had never had a child get croup like this.


I have always read and been told that steam helps when a child is having breathing difficulties, so we went to the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the hot shower.


It helped right away, but each time we would turn off the water, and the steam would begin to disappear, the croup would begin to return.  We knew Daniel would have to go the emergency room.


Croup is not something adults have to worry about having.  This is a condition that happens to some small children when they are sick with a virus…..or in Dan’s case strep throat….

For more info on croup, you can click on this link: WebMD croup article (By the way, two years later, Dan was diagnosed with asthma because this still happens every time he gets sick. Was it asthma all along? I don’t know. I can’t tell the difference in the sound of the bark. Either way, when your kid can’t get a breath in between coughs, you gotta rush that baby to the hospital.)


The ER people gave Dan a dose of steroid and sent him home, where he quickly went back to sleep and seemed to be just fine.


Having not slept much, we were a little later leaving than planned.  Here are the highlights of our trip:


-We got one block from our house when our car DVD player quit working.



-detour to Target to buy new one—got lucky–it was on sale!


– left Target to immediately get stuck in a slow moving traffic jam on I-95 South, of course.


-By the time traffic was moving again, it was 1pm, and we were all ready for lunch.  We all went inside to BK, fed the baby, changed his diaper, changed Dan’s pull-up, and then began to realize that Daniel was looking…droopy.  He finally just sat down at the table and started crying.


-We loaded all the kids back into the car, gave Dan some Tylenol, and hit the road.


-2 hours later….Dan starts crying and doesn’t stop.


-I crawled into the back seat and touched him.  Whoa!  The boy was on fire!  By this point, I’m ready to throw in the towel.

“Alan, that’s it.  This boy is really, really sick.  Let’s just turn around and go home.  This is just not working out.”

Alan….thinking a little less emotionally than I was and more logically (another thing I love about Alan–he should so run for President)….said, “I’m going to take him to a hospital.”


–Alan pulled off the interstate and looked around for ‘H’ signs.


–This hospital was in a small town I’d never heard of, and it was wonderful.  Very Southern!

“What’s the matter, Sweetie?”


“Oh, I’m so sorry.  My goodness, you are beautiful.  What a beautiful child”  (referring to Dan)


“He’s gonna get real mad at me when I do this, but we gotta make him feel better.”

(102.5 fever, even after the Tylenol, They swabbed both nostrils to test for flu and his throat, to test for strep throat).


“Do you have other children?  I can tell that you do; it’s real obvious.  You’re so good at this.”


to Dan:  “Your mama sure does love you, you’re lucky to have such a good momma.  You know that?”

…Yes, I was getting the big head.  ; )


My favorite line:

(from the doctor)  “I can’t believe the ER last night did not do a strep test on him.  That is not right.”  The nurse said, “Yeah, they were just doing the bare minimum for this poor baby!”

That’s right, Doc.  Maybe when I get back I will put in a complaint.




They gave him a dose of steroid, ibuprofen, antibiotic, and zofran—because– did I mention right before Alan pulled off the interstate that Daniel threw up all over me?


I bet we smelled really nice.


Naturally, I had a change of clothes for Daniel, but not so much for me.  We bought some Lysol and sprayed down my pants…



Thankfully, that was our last trip complication.  We reached our destination at 4:30am.  We woke up a few hours later and headed to the funeral.


The funeral went really well, and I’m so thankful that we made it.  I saw family I had not seen in years, and that was a blessing.


I got to see Granny one last time, and that was good closure.  This was the good, peaceful kind of funeral.  It was her time, and she was ready.  That makes such a difference.  Funerals are a great reminder of our past, our present, and our future.


We only get one life to live on Earth.  I hope I can live mine as well as Granny did.



A few photos to share of last week’s Santa visit:



 Santa came to the next neighborhood over, in a fire truck.  Pretty cool, huh?
 I asked Dan if he liked meeting Santa.  He replied, “He gave me candy!”  Ah yes, candy, the way to a child’s heart.
 All of our boys are still Santa believers, and they took this very seriously.
 my two little packing helpers…..as you can imagine….I’m now a very slow packer…
 Dan tucked himself into the guest bed down stairs and took a pretend nap.
…..and our weirdest discovery of the week:  Joshua has Raynaud’s Disease:  this finger turned completely white from the cold.
For more info on Raynaud’s:  Mayo Clinic Info
Merry Christmas!!!


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