Happy Holidays from The Blacks!
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Anne!
Our 2023 schedule has been overbooked! It seems like there are millions of things to do, but not enough time. You will understand once we get down to business.
My husband, Peter, who will soon be formerly known as Congressman Black, is running for President of the United States. His schedule has been beyond overbooked the past year. He flies halfway across the country to a campaign rally, then as soon as that's over, he flies to the other side of the country for another campaign rally, not to mention flying from JFK to Washington Dulles for his duties as a congressman. On the upside, his campaign is going amazingly well, and he's able to keep up with his demanding schedule. I do worry about him. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he eating properly? I guess those sacrifices will be worth it, especially if he wins. I should say when he wins because I've yet to see him fail at anything. Maybe then, he'll have time to sit down and eat or sleep for more than a few hours, but I'm assuming the presidency is an even more demanding job than congress. I don't know. I just wish I could somehow find more time to add to his schedule. I miss him, the boys and Sophie Allison miss him.
I "retired" from being a supermodel. Honestly, I don't know how that works. I'm not referred to as the woman formerly known as a supermodel, I'm still called Supermodel Gabrielle Black. Despite being retired, I'm as busy as ever. I returned to the Law Firm of Rinquist, Rupert, and Wallace, and started handling cases again. For those who don't know, I'm an entertainment lawyer. I defend most of the celebs in and out of Hollywood, well known or not. I work on a case by case basis, and I'm rarely in town. I don't think I've seen the inside of a court room in New York because the majority of my cases take place anywhere but here. I take that back. I've handled two cases in New York in the last eleven years, but that's it.
Our oldest son, Logan is currently in the hospital due to injuries sustained from an explosion on Black Friday. Police and firefighters arrived on the scene and found fragments of an explosive device. They were obtained from the scene as evidence. Police have determined that the bomb was on the passenger side of the vehicle, which explains why Logan sustained most of the injuries. Peter hit the unlock button on the remote for his Porsche Cayenne, which police assume detonated of the bomb. He and Logan were getting into the vehicle when the explosion took place. Police have no leads so far, but they are continuing to investigate further into the incident.
Logan lost a lot of blood. The hospital held an emergency blood drive because he has type O negative blood. Family, friends, and total strangers with type O negative donated blood, ultimately saving our son's life. We almost lost him, and thinking about how close we came to losing him, it makes me panic. He had to undergo total reconstructive surgery of his face. He sustained burns on his arms and legs, cuts on his arms, legs, and face from shards of glass being propelled at him from the blast. The passenger side door flew off and hit him in the face and chest, which caused three fractured ribs. His jaw is wired shut and he's on a liquid diet right now. He can't talk very well, he writes what he needs to say on a dry erase board, or he communicates through sign language, which Peter and I haven't quite mastered. He's supposed to get one set of wires cut hopefully the week of Christmas, which will free up some of his ability to move his lips and speak more coherently for lack of a better word. Currently, Peter, Phoenix, and I are taking turns staying with Logan at Wallace Memorial Hospital.
Peter was also injured, sustaining first degree burns on his right arm and leg, cuts from shards of glass projected in the explosion, and a fractured rib, the same rib he's fractured twice before. He was banged up and bruised, and spent three days in the hospital. Peter later had to undergo rhinoplasty. His nose was broken in the blast and had healed improperly. The surgeon had to re-break it, set it, and then put the cast on, which left him with two black eyes and some nasal swelling. He is miserable and cranky and says that rhinoplasty was much worse than the tonsilectomy he had to undergo when he was 24. (It took him six months to fully recover from that.) He's just at two weeks post surgery. He's eating diphenhydramine like candy, trying to get some relief from the pain and sinus pressure that's resulted from nasal congestion, which is common after undergoing rhinoplasty. The worst part is that he can't touch or blow his nose. He had to reschedule some campaign rallies, speeches, and social events where he would schmooze for votes, but the good news is that this forces him to slow down for a bit.
Prior to the explosion, Logan was often the master of the manor while Peter and I were out of town for work. (I retired in order to be closer to home, which in this case means in the same country as my children, but nowhere nearby.) Logan has been such a big help to us by looking after his brother and sister, and taking care of them. I always felt bad about leaving him, but he's not alone. The butler, maid, and other staff of the manor are there to do the cooking and cleaning. Logan is a responsible young man, and he's greatly helped us out.
Our middle child, Phoenix, is doing really well this year. He's excelling in school. He's got a girlfriend named Kappi. They were friends prior to dating. Phoenix has been doing fair to good as far as his health is concerned. He was in the hospital in January after having three tonic-clonic seizures within a three hour period. Dr. Sheffield was concerned about the possibility of convulsive status epilepticus occurring. Phoenix was admitted to the hospital for observation. After a few days of trying to invoke a seizure in order to try to see what area of the brain is causing him to seize and if it's a neurological issue or a chemical issue, no seizure occurred, so he was released from the hospital.
Since Phoenix was born ten weeks early, his premature birth has been linked to the majority of his health issues, which consists of fatigue, chemical imbalances, and seizures. He has several different types of seizures, primary generalized seizures, and partial seizures. He has seizures from both categories, and we never know which type of seizure he's going to have. He has a combination of absence seizures, atonic "drop" seizures (person remains conscious), tonic-clonic seizures, simple partial seizures, and complex partial seizures. The absence seizures are hard to pinpoint, but the tonic-clonic seizures start out with a shriek or scream because air is being forced past his vocal chords. Phoenix has had seizures since he was two days old, so Peter and I have dealt with this for a long time. That still doesn't make it any easier to witness. Poor guy has been through so much, but he never complains. He's a great kid. He doesn't deserve to go through things like this.
Our daughter, Sophie Allison, is out of the loop, so to speak. She knows that Logan is in the hospital, and she has made him several get well cards and crafts, but Peter and I don't think she could handle seeing her big brother in his current state. She's eight years old. She should be doing eight year old things, so she's getting spoiled by Peter's parents. Peter's twin sister, Kate, is going to take her for a few days as well. Ryker and Leah took Sophie Allison during Thanksgiving break. She had an awesome time playing with their children, Hannah, Katie, Maddy, and Gregory. She hasn't asked too many questions yet. I have taken her and Phoenix to brunch every Sunday since Logan's been hospitalized. Peter and I feel that it's important that Phoenix gets away from the hospital. He's visits there all too often for his own health issues. And Sophie still needs interaction with her family. Last Sunday, she thanked me for letting her visit with her grandparents, her Aunt Kate, and her friends. She's such a sweetheart!
Peter's parents, Philip and Kim Black are doing well. Philip loves being a grandfather. He's been very involved in Logan, Phoenix, and Sophie Allison's lives. Kim is a famous clothing designer. She released her new clothing line, Cocktails and Caviar, which consists of classic black dresses with a modern twist, perfect for evenings out among friends or work colleagues.
Peter's twin sister, Kate Black-Wallace, and her husband, Spencer Wallace, are expecting their first child! The baby is due in August. They find out the gender next month. Kate and Spencer are still practicing law at the Rinquist, Rupert, and Wallace Law Firm.
We traveled so much this year. We went to Maldives, London, Rome, Venice, Paris, Milan, and the list goes on, so it was nice to be home January through April. It was great having down time to spend together as a family. We got to be real parents! We helped Logan, Phoenix, and Sophie Allison with their homework, sat down to dinner together as a family, and had a family game night. I loved my few months as a typical wife and mother. It was so rewarding. Then it was back to work for me. And of course, Peter's been busy with his presidential campaign.
Peter and his twin sister, Kate, celebrated their birthdays in March.
Sophie Allison turned eight on April 5th! She wanted to have a tea party, so I invited Daisy, Leah, Tallullah, and their daughters, and we went to a fancy tea room and had a tea party with the little finger sandwiches and petit fours.
We sort of celebrated our wedding anniversary on April 10th. All three kids had been sick with bronchitis. Sophie Allison brought it home, then Phoenix and Logan caught it simultaneously. So I had my hands full with three sick kids. Thankfully, my friend, Leah is a pediatrician, and she makes house calls. Logan and Sophie Allison were on the mend within a few days. Phoenix doesn't always bounce back immediately, and he needed extra time for recovery. We finally got him on the mend. Peter had made reservations a month in advance to our favorite restaurant. He had an amazing night planned for the two of us. Then the children gave us an unwanted anniversary present. You guessed it! (I assume that fourteenth wedding anniversary is illness.) Instead of an amazing night out, we spent a miserable night in, which consisted of laying in bed and trying to watch television while doped up on meds and in a fevered state of consciousness. Logan and Phoenix were nice enough to spend the night of our anniversary taking care of us, with Sophie assisting. After Peter and I recovered, we simply got too busy to really celebrate our anniversary, but I did get roses and a diamond tennis bracelet. I got Peter those gold cufflinks he had been eyeing.
On July 21st, Phoenix turned fifteen. Unfortunately, his birthday started with a tonic-clonic seizure. The postictal phase was worse than the seizure itself and he ended up spending the day in bed. We rescheduled his party for the following week, and he ended up having a great day!
September 4th was Logan's sixteenth birthday. He only wanted to go camping. Peter is so not the outdoorsy type. He only tolerates fishing for so long, so he arranged for Paul to take Logan, and his friends, Declan, and Zane, camping. The camping trip took place during the long weekend that Labor Day offered. The guys had a great time. Phoenix was apprehensive about going on the trip and since some of his meds have to be given intravenously, he figured it best to stay home. Peter decided to take Phoenix out for some father/son time. They spent the weekend together while Sophie and I did some last minute back to school shopping.
I turned 29 AGAIN on October 1st. (I've been twenty-nine for a long time!) For my birthday, Peter sent me to a spa getaway with the girls. Daisy was unable to come due to illness. Leah couldn't get time off from work, so it ended up just being me and Tallullah, and she was a good sport about it. Tallullah is a bit of a tomboy, but she really enjoyed herself. Tallullah is an active type of person like I am, so we took advantage of the fitness center every morning, went swimming during the afternoon, and had a walk around the grounds after dinner each evening. Tallullah even went shopping with me. I am a professional shopper. (One time, I spent eight hours shopping on Rodeo Drive!) That's not Tallullah's thing, but again, she was a good sport about it. She even purchased some girly clothes, including a gorgeous cocktail dress and some clever pin striped suits that looked amazing on her.
Thanksgiving just wasn't the same this year for obvious reasons. Sophie Allison went to dinner at Leah and Ryker's house, while Peter and I spent the day at Wallace Memorial Hospital visiting Logan and his girlfriend, Jerrica.
The Christmas season hasn't been the same so far. The staff began decorating. They finished the dining room (as seen above) and the den (below).
The sun room is also finished.
Everything looks wonderful, but there are so many things missing, like Sophie Allison running through the manor, anticipation and excitement for Christmas Day in the atmosphere; Sophie helping the staff decorate cookies and other goodies; Peter and Logan bringing in firewood, the cold radiating off of their coats; Phoenix lounging on the couch, watching "It's A Wonderful Life," every single time it comes on. I hope that Logan can be home for Christmas.
I decided to put Sophie's tree up in her room so she will see it when she comes home. I think Sophie's tree is my favorite (pictured above).
I hope I haven't forgotten anything. If you can't tell, I'm a bit stressed and it appears that I went all over the place. I've also been taking care of Phoenix while composing this letter. He's not feeling well today. I think he's just tired and feeling the stress that Peter and I are feeling. I can't wait for my boys to start feeling better all around.
I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas Season, and a Happy New Year!
Joyeux Noel a tous et a toutes une bonne nuit!
Congressman Peter Black, Gabrielle Olivia, Philip Logan, Phoenix Ryan, and Sophie Allison