Holidaze

Holidaze – 5 Reasons to Do Christmas Late

In less than 40 minutes, it will be Christmas Eve.  This year has been slow going on preparation.  First, I couldn’t find one of my Christmas storage tubs – the one with our stockings and some other key decorations.  We didn’t get a tree until two days ago.  The elf keeps forgetting to move (I blamed it on the weather for a couple of nights, but the storm cleared and still there he sat).  The advent calendar is stuck on the number 13 (and I would be in better shape if that were the true date) because we keep forgetting to open the door.  I just finished most of the shopping tonight and most of it isn’t wrapped.  We aren’t going to see family until January 2 (other than the three of us and perhaps my sister and brother-in-law, who aren’t real Christmas-crazy themselves).  I just feel like we should wait to do Christmas until New Year’s.  I think there are good reasons for this delay.  And I’ll share them here with you.  Perhaps we can start a movement…

 

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Cat shows contempt for Christmas

 

  1.  Everything is cheaper after Christmas. Even considering Black Friday, the sales after Christmas and before New Year’s are probably better.  Stores want to clear out the goods and get ready to start stocking Valentine’s Day and Spring things.  So, it can save you money to be slow to celebrate Christmas.
  2. Schools don’t get out early enough.  My DD got out of school on December 22!  That is literally three days before Christmas.  That is not enough time.  And this year, the first day I was on a field trip with them, the second and third day she was home with a cold and the fourth day I went to help with the holiday party.  So, I got nothing done this week.
  3. The traffic.  Holiday traffic is out of control, even in my small town.  I went to the area near the shopping mall today and although the lines in the stores we went to were short, the traffic getting to and from said stores was incredibly annoying.  I can only imagine what it is like in the bigger cities these days.  Egads.  Things tend to slow down a few days after Christmas and before New Year’s.  Most people are home, relaxing and enjoying their holiday goods.  It is a perfect time to shop and travel to family and friends.
  4. Trees are cheaper!  Waiting to get our tree until only five days before Christmas netted us a $20 savings.  The next night (so four days before Christmas), the Orchard Supply Hardware store we went to was giving away 100 trees to get them off the lot!  Christmas trees seem like a kind of wasteful venture anyways.  We spend so much on them and then keep them for a matter of weeks, only to dump them for recycling (and please, do recycle).
  5. It gives Santa another week to deliver presents. Just think how difficult it is for him to get around to all those places in one day.  If some of us agree to celebrate late, he can come when we celebrate and not have to rush to all the places in the same day.  We’re doing it for Santa!
Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday Returns – Now!

It has been a long while since I’ve done a Five Minute Friday and I must admit that I have missed the weekly process.  This week’s prompt is “now”.  Here goes…

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Now.  It is not what I focus on typically.  I am often focused on the future.  What needs to get done.  What will I be able to do.  Sometimes, I am focused on the past.  Why did I do that?  The mistakes that I have made.  The memories of good times.  But, I do not often focus on the now.  Some may call it “being present”.  I figure since so many people write and talk about it, it must be something most people struggle with in their lives.  But, the now is important.  And the now is particularly important at this time of year.  After all, there are only a few days left in this year.  And everyone wants to begin to make resolutions, to start looking forward to the next year, to making changes to correct all those mistakes and disappointments from this year.  Some are looking forward to Christmas.  But, what about this day?

Tonight, my DD and I went to see Polar Express at the mall with some friends of ours.  It was fun.  I barely looked at my phone.  I watched my DD interact with her friends that, at this young age, she can not remember NOT having in her life.  The benches were uncomfortable and the crowd was too loud to hear a lot of movie, but I was focused on that experience.

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That’s it.  Five minutes.  Five thoughtful minutes.  Join us, won’t you?

Uncategorized

Christmas Eve – Stress and Rest

Merry Christmas Eve to all of you out there!  We have had a day that has already gone from stress to rest and it is only 3 p.m. here!  Every day is an adventure around here it seems.

WHEN MEDS DON'T

So, my DD being a heart transplant recipient, has to take medicines every 12 hours to achieve a balance in her immune system that keeps her from rejecting this “foreign” object that has been placed in her body.  We were paying relatively obscene amounts of money up until about six months ago when we switched over to what was supposed to be a three month, mail order prescription service that saves us a ton of money (she used to have to have liquid, compounded, specialty meds, but now can take small dose pills/tabs).  It has definitely saved us hundreds of dollars already, but they also can not seem to get our order straight and the problem is always with the one medication that she absolutely has to have every 12 hours for rejection purposes.  This month was no different.  Sigh…But, it was taken care of – we are now getting shipment at my in-laws on Saturday and we were able to pick up three days of pills this afternoon at a local pharmacy.  But, it always stresses me out (although, it was much worse the first time, but this time was made more stressful knowing stores were closing early and not reopening tomorrow for local distribution).

The rest of the day was relatively restful.  Thankfully, since I was up until about 3 a.m. this morning, cleaning, wrapping, grading and such.  I slept until 7 a.m. when my DD came to get to me to ask to start opening presents.  I put the kabash on that right away, but it was a challenge all day.  Tonight we did the stockings (not sure when this became a Christmas Eve thing in our house, but it is) and she opened two presents, both of which she loved.  So, that was good.

I am still grading, cleaning and wrapping tonight somehow.  I don’t know how that is possible, but it is.  I still have quite a bit of grading to do (basically, I have two classes of four graded, but one of the ungraded is the writing class and I have A LOT to grade in that class).  The house is being left relatively clean (unless tomorrow morning destroys it – between opening presents, packing, etc. it could get destroyed quite easily) when we leave.  Laundry is completely caught up (Ah-mazing).  And most of the gifts are wrapped (a few of my sister’s and brother-in-law’s need to be thrown in bags with some paper and the Santa gifts need to be wrapped tonight in different paper).  So, overall, I’m pretty happy with where we are.

And biggest news of the week – my DD has slept in her own bed in her own room all week long!  This has been a long time coming and I still need to sit in the room until she goes to sleep, but she’s done great.  I’m very excited about that!  We are making progress!

Oh, and I started actually writing in my new Erin Condren planner.  It was hard at first. It looked so pristine and I didn’t want to do anything I hated and “ruin” it.  But, I think I like what I’ve done (a post on that in the New Year perhaps) and I’m excited about being organized in 2016.  So, hopefully it will continue!

That’s it for tonight.  I probably won’t write tomorrow – it being Christmas and all and us driving six hours to get to my in-laws.  So, Merry Christmas.  May the gifts be just what you wanted, may the lights be bright and twinkly and may we all find peace in the new year.

Merry Christmas

 

Myself - My One Word, Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – New year, New Focus

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Christmas is less than a week away!  This is going to be a very low-key Christmas.  My hubby works on Christmas Eve and then we’ll drive down to my in-laws on Christmas Day and it will be just us and them for the evening.  My DD is pretty excited about the gifts, but not much else.  I’ve really tried to get her more into the giving spirit, but not much seems to be working in that area.  I have Christmas cards to write and send out this week (some will arrive late, but oh well), but all my shopping is pretty much done.  A few more gifts to be bought at my hubby’s work this week and some stocking stuffers and I will be finished.  We decided on no adult gifts in my husband’s family this year and instead we are doing a weekend in Monterey, which will be much better than any gift anyways.  But, on to my six words…

 

New year, new focus on me.

I have already started with MYSELF focus for My One Word.  I went out and bought some cleaning supplies I have needed for a while and finally got rid of all the nasty cobwebs in my vaulted stairway.  Why, oh why, didn’t I do this long ago?  It was a $4.99 tool (50% off, but even at full price would have been worth it) and it has already made my house look 100X better.  And it makes me feel better.  I also went to Goodwill to look for a few books that my DD wanted and I bought myself five nice sweaters because I only had a few sweaters I liked and I was getting tired of wearing the same thing over and over again when it was cold.  They are nice sweaters that will be great for work.  I got the five sweaters, three books for my DD and a Littlest Pet Shop toy for $38, which is probably half the price that I would have spent on one of the sweaters (because one was actually new with tags from Macy’s).  We then went to Barnes and Noble and bought my niece three things.  Now, I just need to wrap them and my DD’s gifts and get them under the tree so it looks a little more like Christmas.  I also need to get a couple of more things for my sister and my brother-in-law, but I will probably do that at my DH’s work later this week.

I am already getting my calendar together for the new year.  I ordered a new planner to use and I’ve got my wall calendar started.  I’ve decided to take one day a week for ME – no scheduling anything that I don’t love and enjoy.  So, no work meetings, no dentist appointments – just things I really enjoy doing.  I’m going to try to take that day off of grading/prep as well and I may even try to go without my phone for the most part (only answer emergency calls or something and not check email, etc.).

So, even now, this all seems a little petty and selfish to me.  But, I am tired.  And I don’t feel like my family works as a team.  My daughter tried to “make a deal with me” today about not shopping for her when we went out.  As if she were in a position to make a deal with me about not buying her something while we were out.  And obviously, I did end up buying her something at the thrift store.  But, she definitely made some indications that she thought I was going to buy her something at Barnes and Noble and I did not.  We shopped for her cousin and that was it. But, I’m still feeling a bit like a pushover in this instance.  I love my DD and she is a very loving person, but she is definitely leaning towards some entitlement issues and I want her to be a Giver not a Gimme.   But, my modeling that for her (being a giver to her constantly) is definitely not helping the situation.  I need to be a Gimme sometimes in life I guess.  Even though that seems counterintuitive to who I want to be as a person.

I would love to hear some feedback on teaching my DD how to be more of a giver.  I would love to hear some feedback on how to work on making my family work as a team rather than being codependent.

 

Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

Day 42 of Thankfulness – Quiet Evenings

Today was a busy, busy day.  I woke up to a disaster in my living room because I had stripped the couch cushions to wash the covers and they weren’t quite dry when I went to bed last night.  So, I had naked couch cushions strewn around my living room (sounds a little rated R) among the rest of the things we usually have strewn around our living room.  I knew we were planning to get our Christmas tree today, so I had to get stuff picked up, furniture moved to make space for a tree and not go crazy doing it all.  My back is sore, my legs hurt and I’m pretty tired, but we did it!

Christmas Tree 2015

It wasn’t necessarily smooth.  I began to realize, as I moved furniture, just how dirty parts of our house are (anything covered up from view).  Under the couches, the window sills hidden behind furniture, the nooks and crannies.  But, we accomplished quite a bit getting the house tree ready!

Only one string of lights was functional, so I had to run out and get more.  We can’t locate the wire hangars for bulbs and we have quite a few that do not have them (I know I had a whole bag full last year).  I stepped on an ornament and broke it.  The dog kept stealing them to try to chew them up.  And we aren’t done putting them up yet, but it looks quite pretty as is.

Tonight we played Yahtzee (last night we played Uno, I am loving the game playing we are doing as a family).  We had tickets to a basketball game at the University, but with my back hurting and all that we had done today, a quiet night was what I wanted.  I put away some laundry to clear a basket for more.  I also organized my scrapbooking paper in a crate (a new way of organizing it).  The Elf on the Shelf has a small, homemade gift to give my DD tomorrow (I had forgotten that she got small gifts last year until she said something about it yesterday – I told her the elf was probably waiting until we had a tree).  It is a bookmark (we read almost two chapters together tonight before she went to bed), some stickers to make a card for someone else “to spread the cheer” as the elf’s note says, and another little Christmas tag I made for scrapbooking many years ago that could also function as a bookmark.  She will probably not be really excited about it, but it was the best I could do under short notice.  Last year I would have the elf bring her stuff she hadn’t seen since the prior year thinking that she would have forgotten and she would say “oh, look what the elf found in the garage.”  She is a smarty pants.  But, hopefully she will like the pretty bookmark and making a card.

I have a lot to do this coming week.  Christmas gifts for teachers and other school workers and colleagues at work.  Final exams and all the grading needing to be DONE!  Obviously, some elf gifts would be good to have on hand.  And we need to do some holiday activities since we’ve been a little remiss this year in doing anything like seeing lights or Santa or anything Christmassy really.  But, for tonight, I got to have a quiet night with family fun and a beautiful tree.  For that, I am thankful.

 

Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 30

I can’t believe November is done today and in one month 2016 will be over.  So quick…lots to be thankful for though.

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Today I am thankful for seasons.  Right now, we are soaking in Fall colors and wading through fallen leaves around here.  A Winter storm is moving in on Thursday that is supposed to be pretty windy and rainy.  But, it is still Fall.  And although we won’t get any snow here in our city, a short drive up the road about 10 miles will get us to a place that does get it during the Winter months.  We have mild, sometimes wet Springs and hot, hot Summers.  And I love them all.

I lived in So Cal for 10 years after graduating college and the biggest thing I missed was the seasons.  In So Cal, it is pretty much Spring all the time.  The Summer will get hot inland, but then it goes back to Spring.  Sure, there may be a cold day here and there, but most of the time, Christmas is met with 60s or 70s and sunny weather.  It just isn’t a year without some seasonal changes.  I want to change out my clothes, wear different shoes and feel like there is some rhythm to life.

The colors around here are beautiful right now.  Here is a picture from some years ago:

Fall Drive 2007 003

Soon, though, the leaves will be gone – already we have a bare tree in our front yard.  Most of the leaves falling off last night.

I am feeling ready for Christmas with the weather changes.  I am feeling in the rhythm of life.  And I am feeling the loss, but also recognizing that after a dormant Winter those empty spaces will burst forth with new buds, green leaves and a renewal!

Reviews

Make Your Holiday Shopping Pay!

Affiliate links included.  I don’t do a ton of reviews, affiliate links, etc. on my blog because I only want to be “affiliated” with things that I trust and that really are beneficial.  So, I decided to do a little plug for Ebates today and if anyone joins and makes purchases, I will get a “bonus” in my account.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Today is the biggest shopping day of the year (maybe) and I won’t be doing any!  I used to work retail when I was in college and I HATED Black Friday!  And that was before everyone was opening up ON Thanksgiving!  But, I hated that so many people would go out shopping and act like the lines and the chaos were unexpected in some way.  I hated that people would be so rude to each other and to the workers (me) in the name of a deal.  And I hated the long hours that it meant (not just on that day, but the remainder of the holiday season – earlier opening and later closings the whole time).  So, I now do not shop on Black Friday.  I haven’t in years.  But, I still love a good deal!

I started using Ebates a while ago, but I didn’t realize just how many places I could use it until I installed their Chrome extension a while back.  This gives me an alert on the top of my screen whenever I land on a website that offers cash back for purchases.  I now have been cashing out well over $100 each quarter (that is how often Ebates pays out – you have an account where the money builds up and it is then transferred into an account of your choice).

I use it for my regular online purchases (which is usually a pretty small amount), but I have also started using it on my hotels.com bookings and that has me getting pretty good amounts of money when I book hotel rooms.  And for Christmas shopping, I will definitely be using it to save a little extra on every online purchase.  If you aren’t already a member of Ebates and plan on doing online shopping or travel purchases for the holidays, get your membership now!  And be sure to install one of their “buttons” for your browser as there are so many retailers who offer Ebates rebates that you may not think would!  You’ll never miss a rebate that way!