I keep not blogging because it doesn't seem worth doing when I only have five free minutes at a time. But if I stick to that strategy I won't blog again until January.
It has been a crazy couple of weeks! No matter how much we try to simplify Christmas every year, there is always so much to get done. Last week was the kids' last week in preschool before the holiday break so I scheduled like a Type A person and crammed as much as I could into those three mornings -- I didn't want to waste a minute. The nights were full, too, with the kids' Christmas program, our book club's Christmas party and both magazines' monthly final proofing.
This week I'm not getting as much checked off my to-do lists but I'm having a great time with the kids. [Quit here on Wednesday, am picking up again today.] The weather continues to be unseasonably pleasant and we have gone to a different park almost every day. Claire is a little monkey and Evan desparately wishes he could keep up. Yesterday I took the kids shopping so Claire could pick out a present for Matt and Evan. (Evan is "giving" her a three-pack of princess shoes; one of her beloved purple "heels" shattered when an adult accidentally stepped on it.) She chose a little monster truck for Evan.
She really wanted to give Matt an airplane placemat like the one Dad made for her, but it's one of a kind (a large laminated Delta ad that he amazingly had saved from an elementary school field trip to the airport, I believe). Then she decided a flower was just the thing for Matt -- a blue one.
So I took her to Michael's, figuring she could choose from the rows and rows of artificial flowers. She was meandering, pointing at first one flower then another, then we turned a corner and BAM -- the biggest fake bright-blue flower I've ever seen. The stem must be four feet tall and the petal part's as big as a dinner plate. It was the one she had to have. Naturally, it was not $1 like all the normal-size flowers; it was $15.
I got in line and told to the cashier that I had left my 50 percent off coupon at home because I was expecting to spend about $1. I pointed to Claire, proudly holding this shockingly blue flower that was taller than she is, and explained this was her Christmas gift to her dad. The cashier graciously agreed to give me the discount even without my coupon. Thank goodness for kind strangers. (They pop up everywhere when you have two toddlers in tow, by the way.)
This morning Mom and Dad kept the kids for a few hours while Matt and I made great progress picking out house stuff: tile, plumbing fixtures, exterior and most interior paint colors, and some lighting fixtures. The paint is the only part that stresses me out. So many choices! And it's impossible (for me) to look at a paint swatch and know what it will look like on a wall. The one thing I know is I want more color in this house. I am sick of having five shades of beige. If I pick the wrong colors ... we can always go back to beige in the next house.
I'm going to stop here. Christmas starts in an hour for us -- with Ron and co. tonight, then Mimi's tomorrow, then Terry and Dan's Saturday, then Granny and Granddaddy's Sunday. Merry Christmas!
P.S. Amanda's Angel Tree project is finished and was a HUGE success. Read all about it here, and thank you again to everyone who helped! And a great big shout-out to Amanda, who spent untold hours in the past month or so coordinating a million details, shopping, driving all over the county (and beyond) for pick-ups and deliveries, wrapping countless presents, and doing everything else that had to be done to make sure every person on that tree -- 147 of them! -- will have something to unwrap and make them smile on Christmas morning. She shrugs it off like it was no big deal, but IT WAS A BIG DEAL. You are incredible, Amanda!