Where did the time go?

Ready for presents
Since Monday I have started 3 blogs. But I have been so buys I didn't finish any of them. Now they seem dull. Rereading this blog, you may agree since they were all variations on this theme.

It's the time of year when reflection competes with to-do lists. Reflection of yearly events (the anniversary of my brother's death, my late-mother's birthday and the annual presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize, not to mention the actual religious meaning if that is your tradition.  Yet the to-do list and overpacked schedule seem to dominate.

Christmas gifts for my nephews: check. Get and decorate tree: check. Christmas lights? Check, uncheck, check, half-check (we are a strand short for outside, so back to Target I go. Before Target (bought, returned and repurchased online when the same ones went on sale on Cyber Monday) we looked at lights at Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, Wegmans (bought and returned 8 strands) and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Sound familiar???

Would you want to cut this open??
And I've been knitting. I've knit gifts for several people, some of whom read this blog - so I won't elaborate. (Finished some, others things in various stages of "almost done"). Pam - the Courier's knitting blogger helped me earlier this week and I am very, very, very grateful! Kind of her to take time to help me. But I have less than a week to finish the final arm of T's sweater so my mother-in-law, the knitter extraordinaire can help me put it together. In order to complete the sweater I will have to (GASP) cut out a place for the arms (sewing first) and then sew in the arms. I will also have to sew in the band around the neck. I did this once or twice with a lot of help, back before anyone had ever heard of Bill Clinton - (1990? 1991?). So I am more than a little nervous. And since my MIL is an expert knitter I look forward to her help. Still, it seems like open heart surgery on a sweater.

Yesterday I got the tree from Gray's Florist (yes, I know I should have got it at one of the places where the money goes to the schools, but I really like supporting a business that is walking-distance from our house. Plus the people who work there are warm and their flowers are always perfect! Don't let the dull website scare you, they have great stuff.)  It was the first time I ever did this on my own, but at the ninth of December I felt the biological clock of the tree ticking.  C and CW helped to decorate it. We've never done the tree as a "check off" item - it's always been a family event. It is a near-perfect, albeit on the small side, but not putting it up together meant it is missing something. Can you see it? Oh, as I took a picture I realized that it was the star or angel on top! I can't do that: that is an honor for one of the kids... they are at school. Another check-uncheck-check item!

It is one of those very busy pre-Christmas Fridays. Both kids have things after school (N has "Mad Science" and C is cheering for her first Middle School basketball game) and then we will rush off for my husband's office's Holiday Party. My husband, however, has been in bed with a fever for 3 days. Every time he travels his body gets so run down, it seems, that he ends up in bed. Jetlag takes its toll. But it was worth it this time. He was able to tag on 3 days extra to this business trip to spend time with his 93-year-old grandmother. The highlight? He took her to visit her friend. Something so simple - a ride across town and help maneuvering stairs, sitting with them for an hour, etc. - provides such meaning for an elderly relative. I wish we lived closer, I'd make time to take her once a month! What can you give a 93 year old for Christmas: time and a ride for something other than a doctor's appointment.

Anyway, we will try to enjoy his holiday party without him. We have to go... Santa will be there with presents for good children. My kids qualify.

But it is also time for enjoying the spirit of Christmas and we have been doing that too. Last Friday we went to Radio City's Christmas Show. This year we are adding two new events (sort of by accident). It was a serendipitous success story that N, SM and her son TM and I headed to Princeton (so close, yet so far away) to see A Christmas Carol. Dickens at the McCarter was perfect for two 10 year old boys. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future didn't fail to capture their attention and imaginations. The lead was believable. The set and costumes fantastic! A great evening indeed. We even had a great pre-theater meal for an 1/8th of what it would have been in NYC. The Greek soup I had at the diner warmed me up on such a cold night.

I call it serendipity, but really it was a big $200 mistake! I meant to get tickets to A Christmas Story but I bought Carol instead. OOPS. Did you hear me freak out all the way to your house??? $150 mistakes (the difference between 4 tickets to Princeton and 4 tickets to Hillsborough) are not cool a few weeks before Christmas Credit Card Bills are due! But this time it was just as well since Princeton turned into such a nice way to see full scale shows without the stress of Manhattan. We will have to do it again! Santa prevails: we are also going to enjoy watching a boy be told, "you'll shoot your eye out, kid" later this month.

This weekend will be check-out, prepping for check-in at the Inn. My Dad is leaving us after a 4 week stay and my in-laws arrive on Wednesday for about 3 weeks. Laundry, cleaning and clutter-clearing will the next few days' focus. Then Sunday is the annual "cocktail and shopping" day for me, JB and CM. JB and I had a tiff earlier this month. I hope she's over her anger and I'm over mine. Every year we get semi-decked out (after all, we're going to the mall), have a nice meal with appetizers, dinner, desert and drinks and finish our shopping. Always fun. Let's hope this year is too!

So now you see why there have been lots of blogs that have started and not been completed. There is simply too much going on to blog... or edit blogs. Spend a few minutes in front of your tree (if you have one) and enjoy. Don't get stuck in the consumerism. Easier said than done! I promised to try to make the final PTO meeting of the year. It started 20 minutes ago. Better run. Enjoy the blog. Enjoy the day. xo Soccer Mom. Bringing that final arm to knit. I need every minute of it.

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