So, this week is the last week before the final countdown to Christmas.
Am I ready? No.
Have I finished shopping? Not hardly.
Do I know what I'm serving for Christmas dinner? Yes, and lunch and Christmas Eve dinner, too. (Though, I don't remember revising the menu over the weekend after several glasses of wine with my mother-in-law.)
So, in this season of hectic frenzy, I've decided to push aside the need for a Martha Stewart-like family celebration and instead focus on what matters most: Being surrounded by the people you love and helping those who need more than you (even if it's a hug and a kind word).
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My friend Stace sends me an email yesterday that her mother has been admitted to the cardiac ICU due to complications related to emphysema and COPD. I instantly have flash backs to the summer I turned 16 and my grandmother was in the hospital, suffering along these same lines. I have known Stace for a few months now, and I am her assistant in coordinating crafts for our MOPS group. Her youngest daughter is a few months younger than Noah, so I instantly volunteered to look after her so Stace can spend more quality time with her mother (instead of chasing a toddler around a hospital room). Her older two children are in elementary school, so she has just Sarah to worry about during the day.
I still haven't even started shopping for Noah. I have no idea what to get this textbook second child. I mean, the kid has everything - because his older brother had everything at that age. I feel bad for Noah lots of times, especially considering that he doesn't even have a pair of jammies that aren't hand-me-downs. Guess I can add PJs to the list! One gift down ...
During a wine-filled evening the other day, apparently I revised my original menu for the Christmas break (with the help of my mother-in-law). Now I'm making creamed spinach. Yum-o! I had wanted to include this on the original menu but had scratched it in favor of creamed onions, a Gannon family tradition. I may have remembered one of us uttering that they got them at Thanksgiving so we could make what we want at Christmas.
I have done no shopping for my in-laws for Christmas. I don't even know where to start! We agreed with Frank that we wouldn't exchange gifts, but I know he picked up something for the boys - and he's flying down to be with us for Christmas. I can't let him go without something under the tree. I did pick up a little something for him back in October at Ole, but I don't feel it's enough. And, honestly, what do I possibly give to my in-laws, who've given us so much?
I have given no real thought to what to get Mitchell's teachers and the front-office ladies. He'll go to school on Wednesday and Friday of this week and that's it until after the new year. I've thought about making some fancy clipboards for his teachers, as they have to carry one with them anytime they leave their classroom. (It should be noted that this is a project I've never attempted! No time like crunch time to try something new!!!) Our class as a whole collected money to purchase gift cards for the teachers, but I feel like I need to give them something more. After all, they give us so much.
Luckily, Paul and I have decided not to buy each other gifts this year. Instead, we bought a Wii as a family gift. He already hooked it up, and we're wasting entirely too much time playing on it! Finally, our game room has a purpose. (It had been my refuge while nursing, but since those days are behind me, it only got used when we had company.)
Oh yeah, tomorrow is usually my grocery shopping day. I may have an extra toddler in the morning, and the cable company is supposed to send someone out to install a high-def package so everything will be ready to roll when our new LCD TV arrives on New Year's Eve. Yippee! (For the new TV, not for the lack of grocery shopping - I stress at the idea of running out of bread or boy cheese or yummy flavored coffee creamer - of which I'm already out!)
I'm beginning to feel like I'm down to the wire but can't seem to make a loop to hang on. And, I just remembered that I have to do some reading for our MOPS group on Friday and create an outline for my Sunday School class, which will resume after the New Year.
And, that reminds me that it's our week to coordinate a craft for MOPS. Stace and I had talked about doing some beaded ornaments, but then with her mother falling ill, she had contacted someone outside our group to come in and lead a craft. It sounds like a really neat project, but I'm eagerly awaiting a phone call or some direction so I can ensure we have something. I guess it's not the end of the world to not have a craft this month.
Let's not even bring up the friend of mine who is facing the decision to have surgery or ride out the tumors in his lungs, the friend who has cancer and is figuring out how to keep things together since he lost his job too, the friend whose daughter is less than a year old and is facing another surgery, the friend who will face the first Christmas without her husband who was unfaithful to their marriage and chose the other woman over their family ... makes all my stresses seem like nothing at all.
I think I'll pour (another!) glass of wine and knit for a few minutes while I wait for Paul to come down from putting Mitchell to bed. I can hear him reading stories right now - and I always wait to start "Chuck" so he can watch it with me.