Thursday, December 9, 2010

the holiday season has grown and changed as we have

I love it when it all comes together. Two weeks ago I was near panic every time I thought of this week. Every year around the holidays we all have that one week that is pure craziness. This was mine.

Monday: normally a work from home day for me I had to spend the day at one of the communities in my portfolio. This meant getting up earlier than usual to assure that I was dressed and appropriate for other humans to see me out there in the world. It also meant that those five minutes here and there that I grab when working from home to do necessary things like empty the dishwasher and throw another load of laundry in the washer weren't going to happen.  This is not that big of a deal but this week I needed every free minute I could get.

Tuesday: raced home from the community I was working in to pick up Matthew early from daycare so that we could be home before the babysitter arrived. Brad and I had planned to attend a holiday gathering at a friend's home before I realized early in the day that the event was actually a "girl's night". Thank God I figured it out. Brad would have been somewhat out of place amid the white wine and girl talk!

Wednesday: Matthew's Christmas play at Purple Door. This year he is out of the toddler room and in one of the pre-school classes so he stayed on stage the whole time. He was so cute up there swaying hips to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"! He is so not a baby anymore and it still catches me off guard to see him experiencing a life of his own. When I picked him up from day care yesterday we stayed at the church and ate dinner, along with many of the other families. My little social butterfly flitted around every table in the cafe area, accepting ham and crackers from one friend, giving a hug to another. He knew everyone, including the other parents. Watching him I can imagine that this is what it would be like if he were to ever run for office- shaking hands and kissing babies. He was high fiving other Dads and sharing inside jokes with the other 3 year olds. And the sweet little girl in the cute party dress? He kept finding his way to her, getting lots of hugs. So cute.

Tonight I will be meeting a friend at the gym. And I will not cancel! Tomorrow my husband has determined that it is my office party day. Since I office out of my home usually the party is just me and the cat but this year brad has decided that spouses are coming and the party has been moved off site.

Saturday we are having Brad's family over for the annual pre Christmas dinner, which, in our case, will be lunch. Years ago Brad's sister decided that it would be fun to get the siblings together, minus kids, for a fun dinner/evening before Christmas day. We rotate it every year through the three kids, and this year is our turn. Ever since we moved two and a half hours away our dinner morphed into lunch to make the drive easier. And, now that there are seven kids between the three of us, with two more on the way, occasionally a child or two joins the fun. This year our little guy will be in attendance, soaking up the attention of all his aunts and uncles.

Saturday night we are hosting our annual holiday open house. We started this tradition back in Cleveland, or may be Akron even. The first few years it was a small dinner party and when we moved to Columbus the party moved with us. Somehow without me noticing the small dinner party slipped into a larger open house. This year I think we have more kids planning to attend than adults. Our party has grown and changed as we have, going from young couples to young families. Before the family lunch and the holiday open house though is Matthew's Chinese language class, which Brad will be taking him to as I will be at home watching over our lunch- prime rib. My first attempt at my husband's favorite meal did not go well. It was years ago, in our tiny kitchen in Cleveland. It did not go well. My second attempt was a few weeks ago and according to my husband it was awesome. He talked me into making it for his family, which excites and terrifies me at the same time. It is amazing how one sentence from your significant other: "You are a really good cook.", can make you want to try anything. I know Brad thinks I am a good cook, and to his credit he is very easy to please, but there is something about hearing those words that has had me on cloud nine for days. Sigh...

Sunday we plan to visit Santa. After we sleep in and clean up from the day before.

So two weeks ago I was beginning to be a tad anxious about this week's schedule, especially considering all that needs to be done before Saturday's two parties. But I only allowed myself to panic for a few minutes. Then I sat down, made my Christmas season lists, broke down the tasks into smaller steps and assigned them each to a day of the week, and had a glass of wine. I love this time of year!

My Can't Live Without Holiday Helpers:

List Planit - this cool website offers lists for nearly every occasion that can be either printed or downloaded. I like the fact that many of the downloaded lists can be changed to meet specific needs.

My Green Room notebook - because it is not wire bound it fits nicely into both my purse and my briefcase, meaning it is always handy. Plus it is made from recycled paper, which, as you know, I think is way cool.

RetailMeNot - this site offers promotional codes from a wide variety of companies. I have not paid retail for anything so far this season! There are differing opinions about this site so you will have to decide for yourself- on the one hand it is hard to tell if these rebates are sanctioned by the stores. On the other hand, stores are getting business they otherwise might not get.

Starbucks - Starbucks is currently in the midst of their "12 Days of Sharing" promotion, meaning lots of buy one get one free type of offers. Every day brings a new offer, making it easy to stock up on coffee and gifts.

Service Master Carpet Cleaners - awesome clean carpets. 'nuff said.

 And finally, facebook. Keeping up with my friend's holiday plans, photos of adorable kids with Santa, train rides, snowy days, fundraisers... I love this portal into my friend's lives, making me feel connected to a much larger family. My evening stroll through everyones' day is something I look forward to each night. And no matter how busy or stressed I am feeling, there is always someone there with a funny remark or a much crazier life to make me feel better!

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