Holiday Time

Am I ignoring Christmas with my title?  Nope, I just am referring to ALL the holidays that are in this season.  Some I celebrate, some I don’t, realistically there are SO MANY Christmas traditions that one could go crazy tieing them all in and that isn’t even touching other faiths.  The school does a good job filling in details about traditions in many faiths and cultures and it really does make we wish I could do them all.

I  love a cool tradition.  I wish I had a maid (don’t we all) not because I dislike cleaning but because I really really like doing crafty creative decorating things and too much time is sucked up with normal cleaning.  This makes me pick and choose what we are doing because life doesn’t slow down to accommodate, still have jujitsu and girl scouts and chorus and school board and PTO etc.

This year things are complicated a little (more) because new house means that none of our previous decorating go-to work.  First, everything we have from before looks laughably small because the scale of our rooms is totally different in this house.  Second, we have very few places to put things, for example, we don’t have a shelf in the living room yet much less a mantle to hang stockings with care.  I also had a minor panic attack when 9 more BOXES were imported into the house, but, I told myself they are simply Christmas stuff and I can’t hold my box angst against Christmas.

We are a tad behind on things but I think I’ve covered it well.  The kids wanted the Santa beard countdown and I finally got it done this Monday.  To cover the late start I put it in an envelope from the ‘north pole’ in our mailbox and had a note that the first beard must have gone to the old address…  They totally understood and happily went on to decorate the Santa and hat and we have been trimming the beard daily since.

img_8946

Very festive hat this year

Two things we actually are nailing this year is our annual Hannukah dinner, and, we added in Advent.  I had already decided to do advent and even had candles when my mom suggested that we do the candle lighting together via facetime.  Sometimes moms and daughters are just on the same page and for the past two Sundays, we have lit the candles ‘together’ 1400 miles apart.  For the last few years, we have invited our friend who celebrates Hannukah to come share it with us.  I actually told him the dates this year (it was early) and the day that worked best happened to be Sunday so he joined us in lighting the advent wreath.  Then we had a very nice dinner with friends and the deadline of this dinner party really helped move the Christmas decor along.  We actually trimmed the tree with them too, it was a classic evening.

One tradition that I’ve been semi-avoiding is the Elf on a Shelf but I ended up right in the soup of arranging Christmas creatures because I fell in love with the Swedish Tomte and made a set of 5 with the kids.  Well, one thing led to another and they have been found posed a time or two.  I wonder if there is an award for holiday tradition combining because I am totally winning this year.

Like most parents, this feels like an overwhelming time of year-  and for us, it comes at the end of an overwhelming year.  The decision to stay in MN for Christmas does simplify many things but it is still a hard choice.  I’m trying not to overcompensate because the point of not traveling was to lessen stress.  I feel super lucky that the kids have nothing crazy on their lists, except for the incredibly crazy things that they know are long shots so won’t be sad they won’t happen like iPads or Horses.  They are enjoying the traditions, the magic of tomte is infectious because every time I move they love it.  In looking at pictures to add to this post, even though my list is still long (like I’ve done next to no gift shopping) we have done some fun stuff;

img_8916

breakfast with santa 

img_8871

Importing the new decoration addition for a year, a toddler-sized bear.

img_8885

Great sale on paint projects mean we have 3 and they love them!

img_8874

img_8850

Tree lighting in town, it was super cold but worth it.

img_8942

we searched out this cool light display last night.  Our new street actually does a great job, I love seeing lights on our dark dark days.

Not too bad and we have 2 weeks to go.  One last thing for those interested in the curtain campaign, I’m finally finished with bedrooms and started on downstairs.  I’m pretty proud of this one – since the picture I’ve added the sheers but I like how they look.

img_8925

I knew that I had to get it done pre tree or there was no hope this year.  I made it by 2 hours…

As I said, the list is forever long so I need to do both laundry folding and Christmas card assembly today so time to get off the computer.  I hope your holiday season is going well!

A happy note while paying bills

As Vacation Mom likes to tease me, I’m very habit based on certain things.  I do laundry on Monday, I pay bills on the first Wednesday of the month.  Deviations are absolutely possible but I don’t like them much.  Today, a Tuesday, I had to tackle the bills because tomorrow I start a 2-day meeting extravaganza for school board stuff.

Bills don’t usually make people happy, neither do Mondays, I think I’m a little odd on the subject because I don’t mind either too much.  I absolutely recognize that the reason I’m ok with them both is that I’m super lucky and also have worked hard to be in a good place because Mondays (as I believe I’ve said before) are like MY day to get organized and the potential of the week is ahead of me and nothing has yet fallen behind.

I like paying bills primarily because I *can* pay them without worry due to budget mindfulness and good job and planning.  I also like double checking things to make sure there are no errors, it is annoying sometimes but so satisfying to work out the problems.  This totally paid off today when a billing lead at the town called me because a tangle we worked out 2 weeks ago didn’t execute and because I had been working with her nicely over the past 10 years (it is a funky old system) she called me instead of just processing.  The final reason I like bills is that I like to do the stats behind them.  How has my electric bill been doing?  How about gas?  (This new house has them split) What is the spending trend on the credit card? Today I decided after 3 months in this new house I could compare its energy use to our energy use over the same period last year in the old house.  Best results ever; they are nearly identical costs!  That truly means that

#1 Good news; given the price of energy increasing we are doing better this year with energy use to have the price be the same

#2 Better News; Our new house is not quite double the size and that isn’t costing us more energy!  We planned in so many things that should be energy savings but I was waiting to see if it proved out in dollars and cents.

It is a good feeling to have the bills for the month more or less settled, recorded in my spreadsheet, and analyzed nicely.  A pleasant byproduct is my desk gets an extra tidy on bills day to make sure I didn’t lose a random bill from a dentist etc.  I can jump into my busy week from a place of strength; laundry is done and bills are paid and bonus – I even know what I’m cooking for dinner.

 

 

Guess What?

I love my blog enough to pay $13 whole dollars for an upgraded membership.  I realized some of the reasons I was not blogging was because I was nearly out of space and pictures really do make the story.  So, after the 3million and third targeted add with discounts and ‘last chance’ notes from WordPress I did it.  I have no idea what all will change but I have more space and that is what I was looking for.

What about the daily post?  Well, that didn’t work out this year.  I’m as disappointed as you are (btw I’m assuming nobody was all that disappointed).  When last we talked I was suffering from a truly annoying mouth issue that actually persisted for a full 7 days and now I have the creepy crud of congestion.  These are not conditions conducive to happy chatting online.  Beyond those minor annoiances, the week was really great and super full.

Thanksgiving felt like the end of a marathon.  One that started so long ago when we first decided to put the house on the market and then escalated when we were prepping, then selling and building then moving and homeless, then traveling, then moving in and figuring out where things go and a truly giant list of things to do.  No sooner were we in the house the kids were to school and the election tasks started, Halloween, and a rather full social calendar of weekend events culminating last week with the first big house party and 8 out of town guests and then Thanksgiving with more guests.  No wonder I feel tired and out of planning energy!  Sunday I sat there and realized that I have nothing major on the immediate horizon.

Does that mean I am doing nothing?  No way, just nothing like building a house or moving.  I have a vague hope that I’ll be catching up on the active to-do list to the point where I can get back to a normal week that includes meal planning and working out and generally not just chasing the ball down hill constantly.

So how was your thanksgiving?

here are some pictures because I have space now

img_8828

family game time!

img_8835

possibly not the best group pic ever but oh so true to life.  ps we are missing one child completely somehow

 

Party beta test complete

I now completely failed blog every day in November but oh well, no cookie for me.  I think I spent my time well with prep for 8 house guests, none of whom I’m related to, for the weekend. Then I spent all my time with them or sleeping and writing just got bumped for the weekend.  I’ll still try for more this month regardless.

It is the best that my hobby group is full of people who travel so we get the opportunity to hang out all weekend not just at the event.  Since we had 8 extra and I was cleaning anyway, we decided to host the after party as a beta test for future parties.  I think it went well, we had about 35 people and it went until way too late but there was fun had by all and people were very neat and there was virtually no mess the next morning.

Something I ate or drank Saturday didn’t agree with me.  Now I know you are thinking I’m pretending overindulgence in wine is a ‘flu’ but no really, I had something with an ingredient that made my tongue start to swell.  Then all day yesterday it was still swollen and constantly hitting my teeth and by evening I had an ulcer that made it so I could hardly talk and definitely not eat.  It was not fun.  Today I’m compulsively doing all the things to heal it and the swelling is gone so I have hope for a normal day soon.

So now I need to hit the list for today before I go get family round 1. I’m glad to have worked the kinks out of the party flow in the house, now we can do round 2 with family and hopefully sometime soon do an open house for local friends – it has been on my list since before we moved!  I keep waiting until this or that is done but truly, is a house ever ‘done’?

Box free room

This is a constant battle ground but I’m winning today.

And here is the box pile of the past two days.

Proof I’m emptying them regardless of how they seem to regenerate.

The box war

I had at least three things to blog about but my brain is too tired.  I’m tired because I am in a war; the box war.  I am attempting to rid rooms of boxes and I’m doing pretty well, today I finally got Niamh’s room done and the playroom as tidy as a playroom ever gets.  Sometimes I feel I win a battle but when my back is turned they regroup and there are boxes in the room again!  Like they are stalking me…..  The worst part is that they seem to be increasing in number in my room in particular.  Surrounding me while I sleep.  I have done nothing in my room yet so I think the boxes must be feeling safe there, they are settling in, I actually dusted a box the other day.  They must be stopped or else!

My revenge on the boxes is throwing them down the stairs when they are empty.  They take a pretty satisfying tumble but their retaliation is then they lay in wait for me to try and walk down the stairs.

I’m not sure who’s side Lars is on.  On the one hand, he escorts the boxes out of the house on their final trip, the ultimate room clear.   He breaks them down flat and plays judge and jury deciding who is fit to be given to the next mover and who gets recycled.  However, I think he is also the one that is toting in boxes from the garage and putting them in the spots I JUST CLEARED.  Sometimes he puts them in closets or ‘out of the way’ places so I open what I thought was an empty closet and it is a giant stack of boxes.

This is a critical week, I hope to turn the tide on the boxes so I can move on to the next battleground; curtains.  Isn’t my life exciting 😉