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".
And, I mean my morning routine, whether or not I eat lunch or dinner, if I am stressed at all traveling Christmas Eve with little ones AND hosting Christmas Day dinner, if I get ANY of my Christmas / Santa errands done, if I need help with the piles of laundry, dishes or messy, messy "winter break" house (and, it is slowly coming back to me why we decided that hubby should no longer work from home even one day a week.... I mean - have you EVER tried to keep a teen, a kindergartner, a preschooler, and a just turned three year old completely quiet and well-behaved in a "Christmas house" while your creative director hubby handles important call after call and tries to "think straight" with all the "commotion"? Good times).....
Deep breath. I think it's time to create another list (the one on the door this morning was horribly incomplete - BUT still had eight immediate need items on it - like take van to car repair, pick up old UGGs from shoe repair, pick up photos, create grocery list, do "dry run" of pumpkin curry soup recipe for Christmas Day, etc.). Of course, hubby is my partner in all this - my teen has been pulling more than her weight babysitting, etc. And, above all, we are looking forward to seeing my Mom and brothers on Christmas Eve - plus, I actually like to entertain so want to make the house look warm and inviting on Christmas Day - full of warm food, candlelight, friendly faces.
I know I'm not alone in all this. I ran into friends last night, also out doing last-minute shopping (and it is that last minute kind of stuff - return a camera for a DS, pickup some "prince-ness" stocking stuffers, try to find something hubby will use and like...) at Target. Saw my friend's hubby, wide-eyed and crazed in line at an electronics counter while I carried a pile of little girl sparkly gifts to check-out. He flagged me down and showed the appropriate level of awe when I responded that, "Yes, I am, in fact, on my own tonight." But.... it was nice to feel some camaraderie in all this.
Today - it is strange stuff ... a package that needs to be sent to one family member who is distant and mean and never RSVPs invitations, so... if she and her equally hostile hubby don't want to come to Christmas Day, we CANNOT leave the kids out of the gift-giving, so... need to get their stuff out asap. And.... I need to create some family gift bags for Christmas Eve... though, in the past, our homemade cookies, hot choc and wine REALLY upset one family one year (they felt the homemade cookies and fudge were a slight - guess they wanted something from the mall), and... another time, they felt their older kids were left out (????) YET do not get us or our kids ANYTHING, so.... very awkward there. What to buy someone like THAT?
In the midst of all this, I'm going to meet a friend and fellow blogger for lunch, which will be a nice break in all this. Also, hubby and I may make another stocking stuffer / coffee run tomorrow sometime before our oldest has her friend gift exchange and party (Ooooo - which reminds me - need to bake some cookies for that - a rather pleasant task, actually :-). I think a skating outing for the boys will have to wait until the week between Christmas and New Year's - but... they had their movie night last night - Enzo a play date, Milo a super special Christmas errand with me :-). And, Lil - poor Lil, is still recovering from her recent illnesses, nursing a cough, having some rough nights, so... she is happy to be inside, by the fire, eating cookies and drawing with markers (BIG treat for her). Plus ... we all have Christmas light tour with cousins the day after Christmas AND a ski trip just after the first of the year (not to mention hubby's b-day, Olivia's b-day, and Milo's gymnastics party.... sheesh)...
I think I need to stop analyzing and just enjoy the season. So... wishing all of you some friends, family and fun this week!