Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Ramblings - 5 Days Until Christmas

Well, for us anyway. We open everything on Christmas Eve so we have 5 days to be ready. For some reason, this year has been nerve wracking! It's always a busy time of year, but this year has felt especially NUTS.

As of yesterday, though, we finished just about ALL shopping (except one or two little things we haven't been able to find). Isn't it always the stuff you're sure won't be that difficult??

Every year, I dream of being done in October with shopping, wrapping, etc. As you can tell by the date, we didn't even come close.

Sleep is taking a place lower on the priority list as Mark and I stay up late working on projects, wrapping gifts, and racing to get packages in the mail so that they're there in time for Christmas.

Everything that has to go to CA, AZ, UT, MA, etc. went out today and all of it should arrive by Christmas (PHEW!). We figure we better take advantage of the post office while they still exist. We helped them out by giving them a hefty sum to mail everything.

Seriously. Our total shipping costs are about what Mark and I budget to spend on each other! Crazy. We're starting to think that buying everything online and paying to have them wrap it might actually be more economical. Or at least the same.

The thing is, for a girl who doesn't like shopping, I really LIKE thinking about what someone might like and going out and getting it and wrapping it and making it special.

We have done much of our shopping online, so between that and the presents that have been coming to us from other states, I am LOVING the sound of the doorbell and knocks on the door to let us know that we have packages.

Packages are FUN. I just love them! When we hear the mailman clink our mailbox shut, we all race for the window/door to see what has arrived. Scout FREAKS out every time (she does NOT like the mailman). That part I don't love, as I'm always nervous she's going to be too loud for the patients in the clinic. But we do know when the mail arrives. :P

And then we have the fun job of trying to figure out if I can look at the box (or in the box) and/or if Mark can look at the box (or in the box) since we've both bought for each other and the kids online -- most of it has to be wrapped, but some is arriving wrapped. Plus there have been lots of Foley packages arriving from California. Mark's parents have given us the heads up about how the boxes should be arriving and my brother has as well. So far, no ruined surprises, so we're doing pretty well!!

The Elf on the Shelf has been a fun tradition to start this year. Every morning, the kids race to find Percy to see where he's hiding (and we do, too!). Also, every so often, we hear them whispering things to Percy, too. It's awesome (and remember, those of you commenting, they read this blog!). Ahem.

The other day, while out running errands and shopping, we ran into friends and all decided to go out for ice cream together. We went to Friendly's and Mark and I split a Gingerbread Ice Cream Sundae with sweet cream and caramel and whipped cream. SO YUMMY.

There are only a couple of presents under the tree so far, but as soon as the packages get here, we'll have more to wrap and put under there. I love the excitement of guessing what's inside!

A friend of mine and I went out to lunch this weekend. She is super sweet and very grandmotherly. She had 2 gift bags for our kids as a little Christmas surprise. We don't usually open Christmas gifts early, but what the heck! When I got home, we told the kids to go ahead and they were THRILLED to find cute, soft, Christmas-themed stuffed animals inside. They have been carrying them everywhere with big smiles on their faces. It's the thoughtful, little things. They mean a lot.

We've been making cookies, too. Oh, and all kinds of new cocoa recipes! The melted ice cream cocoa? SO GOOD. I love this time of year!

Every day, we open a drawer of our advent calendar. The kids love it, but I think the dog loves it even more. She gets a treat every time. When we pulled it out this year, she got excited and it was clear she remembered, from this past Christmas, how this works. When we say, "Let's open a drawer," she hops excitedly, awaiting her treat. It's so cute.

The kids are SO pumped. The energy level in our house is always super high for the whole month of December. Every night, they say that they hope Christmas gets here soon (as I smile and try not to think of how much more there is to do).

But I don't mind it. It is totally worth it. I'm looking forward to our big Christmas meal (our wheels are already turning about what we'll make this year), Santa's arrival (he fills our stockings -- can hardly wait to see what he brings!), and opening presents.

And I love the week between Christmas and New Year's -- it tends to be one of the most relaxing weeks of the year (on par with going to the beach!). We get to sleep in (mostly -- there's still work, etc.) and hang out in our jammies and play with our new things. I'm not quite as relaxed as usual this year, since my mom is having surgery 2 days after Christmas, but it should be fine. In fact, she'll feel so much better afterward, so that's good.

We went to visit Santa. He asked Thing 2 if he's been a good boy this year. Thing 2 responded, "Yes!" And then, "Well, I think so." Convincing. Santa busted up laughing (which is why I heard the story -- I asked the kids why Santa was laughing). Thing 2 says his laugh was regular and not a "Ho Ho Ho!" How strange.

As I sit here and type this, UPS just showed up with 5 more packages (lots of stuff is coming in separate packages for some reason). Scout's going nuts. This is a fun part of having so many family members in other states. Oh, the excitement!

One of my favorite parts of this season is getting plates of homemade cookies. I *love* that. Cookies and donuts are two of my favorite desserts.

Some years, I feel like I'm grasping for ideas, but this year, I'm really excited about my gift for Mark and he says he feels the same about his for me. I have no idea what it is. Again, I'm so excited!

We also, as we do all this, have Thing 2's birthday on our radar, since it's so soon after Christmas. We start thinking about theme ideas and parties and celebrating, etc. We can't wait until after Christmas to pull all that off. We celebrate Christmas and New Year's and then we take down ALL decorations so that his birthday is totally separate from the holidays. We love birthdays around here, so it's more celebrating! :) But yeah, we start doing stuff for it now, along with all the holiday stuff. Busy, busy time of year.

I LOVE how excited the kids are. I love making Christmas special for them and for Mark and I love all that they do to make it special for all of us. I love cutting snowflakes with them, watching Christmas specials together, listening to music, baking, having cocoa, visiting Santa, wrapping presents, attending holiday parties, etc. It's a busy, busy time, but it's a happy time, too.

This week, besides the finishing touching, wrapping, etc. we have to do, we're also squeezing in making and packaging homemade toffee and delivering it to friends and teachers. I love doing that, too!

So, yes, for some reason, this year has been especially busy and we feel like we're squeezing this all in in between a lot of work and home stuff and health stuff and family stuff and vet appointments and our anniversary and flat tires and school and music lessons and multiple car repairs and errands and so so much to do.

But I also recognize how lucky we are -- we have jobs, we have a beautiful home, and we have a happy family. Those things count the most and we are grateful. Presents are just a really, really special bonus. Merry Christmas, everyone! :)

P.S. It's now night time and SEVERAL fire engines just came blaring down our street. It took us a few minutes before we realized what it was. SANTA!! He comes on a Monday night before Christmas every year with lots of lights and loud, Christmas music playing. We ran outside and they threw candy (big deal around here).

Afterward, our curmudgeon of a son said, "I was upstairs in my room working on a game when I heard "Jingle Bell Rock" and then Michael Bublé and then "Jingle Bell Rock" AND Michael Bublé at the same time. And I thought to myself, 'Ugh, people turn their radios up too high these days!'"

So, Merry Christmas and BAH HUMBUG to you!!


The Magic Violinist said...

CHRISTMAS IS SO MUCH FUN!!! :D :D :D I love making presents for people in our home school group, and just people in general. This year, my best friend, Kirsten, my friend Sophia, and I did a "Secret Santa" club. We made presents that said, "To: Whoever Finds This From: Secret Santa." It was so much fun to see our friends find them, open them, and tell us what they found! :D It was also very hard not to laugh when they would say, "I wonder who made these presents?"

I really like the word "curmudgeon." I don't know why. :D

Emily Foley said...

Getting the packages from the Foleys has been SO FUN. I love it!

I bought every single thing online this year. Since I subscribe to Amazon Mom's I get free 2-day shipping so I get a package just about every day. I remembered today that I forgot a coloring book for Zoe so I put it in the cart and I'll get it on Wednesday. AWESOME. NO holiday traffic or lines!

Zelia said...

Christmas this year is kind of blah for me. Reading your blog I actually got excited and even felt the spirit of Christmas. Best time of year for children, and of course for Stacy :).

Jimmy said...

I feel like your son by this time of the year. There is such thing as too much Santa and too much holiday cheer

Jimmy said...
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Boquinha said...

Emily, agreed! And what a great deal! Like Amazon Prime, but cheaper? I love online shopping.

Glad I could help, Mom.

LOL, Jimmy! Bah humbug.