I am home with four kids - two girls, two boys - ages 14, 6, 5 and 3 (and when I started this blog, just a little over two years ago, I had an infant, a 2yr old, 3yr old and 12yr old - feels like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't ;-). Until about four or five years ago, I worked in marketing. I have been and done many things - dancer, magazine "multi-tasker", advertising copywriter, gymnastics coach, resort town waitress, grad student, etc. Now my areas of expertise are different and diverse. I am savvy, efficient, patient and earthy (like it or not). I am a better cook, an Ok herb gardener, an impressive artist to my kids, an active and prolific photographer, a childrens' clothing stylist (in my head), a manager of all things "household" and a news enthusiast (from politics to celebrity). I am more cynical though less of a worrier / hypochondriac than I used to be. I am increasingly proud of what I do with kids, family and home, but I do still present myself as a "freelance writer".
So ... I wrapped and wrapped last night - ran out of paper - had to leave a number of gifts under a big comforter in my room lest someone for whom they are intended see them. It looks like a dead body - or.... really... several dead bodies. BUT the gifts that I did get wrapped look beautiful (nothing special - just sparkly Crate and Barrel paper and ribbon).... and ... we wrapped our porch up in greenery, and I think it looks sweet and retro with our big, funky house lights. I happened upon an extra Barnes and Noble card (guess I bought my Mom two - oh well), AND... big score... an extra Williams Sonoma mulling spices (which are only $10 and so tasty in cider).
I'm a little stressed this week. An old back / hip injury that I've had since I was about (and I'm not kidding) 17 years old is acting up - has not been this bad since my late 20s, and it usually reacts when my body is tensed - I have a filling that hurts, though it is on the side of my mouth on which I grind my jaw when I'm stressed - and I kinda can't sleep. Still - today, I awoke today renewed (after much introspection at 4 in the morning), but then the toilet overflowed, and my five year old ran into the wall face first in response to the fact that we do not have apple juice, we have orange juice. I hope this doesn't set the precedent for the rest of the day.
I DO love hearing my boys get excited about the Advent calender, counting down the days to Christmas. I love the covert gift-wrapping (and even the Christmas Day menu planning as we watch Top Chef), and the fact that Olivia has her super cool teen gift exchange tonight. I do not like the fact that I have to rearrange my downstairs for Santa gifts and a large number of people on Christmas Day. I do not like all the spending. I mean, I do like shopping, but I feel obscene, crazed - the way I've been flashing that debit card all over the place (our online financial summary sent an alert this morning - "exceeded budget on gas and fuel" - what? just fuel and gas? how 'bout ridiculous kitchen utensils, sweaters and designer crap? - which... we all know is actually fabulous, to buy AND receive - I love my designer crap and all the fun kitchen toys, etc. - I am always a very grateful recipient of anything at Christmas - love seeing the thoughtfulness in gifts and love returning the gestures :-) - in truth, the retail side of it actually does kinda thrill me - just like when I was a kid :-). I dislike the daily fighting between the kids, a little bored because the adults have work to do, and the snow isn't deep enough to be fun. And... while I'm glad that I did get to do some shopping outings with Olivia, and did get to go out to dinner with hubby, I have not had time to enjoy the magic of the season with Lil or snuggle more with the boys on the couch or even bake more (and hubby IS going to the Steelers game tonight, so... maybe another family movie night like we did last night, which will be truly lovely).
So.... today - yes, there are errands to run, but... I want to bake and cook, filling the house with all sorts of nice smells - I want to deliver our neighborhood Christmas gifts, and... I want to rest a bit - keep wrapping, preparing for family, enjoying my kids, looking forward to Christmas carols and a beautiful ceremony at our familiar little church on Christmas Eve, family joy and fun Christmas morning....
I am anticipating craziness over the next few days, so... my Christmas greeting to you comes today (and some of you will be receiving New Year's cards soon.... yeah - did not get to cards in a timely manner - and, AB, the scene will look familiar to you - though your card WAS better :-). Stay safe and cheerful, everyone - Happy, happy Christmas!!!