Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I slept in every day the last four days, yet I am bone-weary tired. I didn’t do Black Friday — never have, actually — but definitely got a lot of Christmas “errands” done:

1.) We put up our tree yesterday.

2.) We decorated the living room, including “snow” on our coffee table with Nativity scene.

3.) I bought most gifts throughout the year, so I wrapped them or packaged them for shipping.

4.) We went shopping for the mom I picked from our church’s giving tree this year. I wrapped up those presents.

5.) I went food shopping and cooked.

6.) And managed to sneak in and see a holiday movie with the family: Rise of the Guardians. We watched the 3D version and it was stunning. The plot was cute, too.

Today I am taking the kids out of school early so that we can get our holiday photo taken. I hate taking the kids out of school for this, but the weather has been iffy here so it’s already been rescheduled once. Plus, this is the main gift for many family members, including grandparents, aunts and uncles. Let the Christmas countdown begin…

Where are you in the hustle and bustle this holiday season? Do you plan to travel?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

75 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. With the exception of the tree, wrapping, cards, cooking, and cleaning I’m all set for the holidays!

    Oh, wait…

    Seriously though, this morning I have bigger fish to fry. DH and I are preparing for round 2 in the Middle School Math Wars. The latest? They’re chasing us to sign the consent to have him participate in the Math Team (because there’s a meet this week), but we still can’t get a meeting to talk about his frustration with his class placement AND I heard from a friend who works there that the principal told the team that H’s disability wasn’t a real “thing,” so they should let her handle us.

    Meanwhile, DH found
    this
    last night and, like everything on this site, it totally nails what we’re seeing. It makes my stomach hurt, worrying about my boy.

    We had such a lovely week- we played and talked and snuggled and it was completely low stress and fun. More vacation please?

    • Does that site have any helpful suggestions or is it all just a big ole pile of negative like the link you posted? I’d stay away from the negatives and look for or brainstorm positive reactions to deal with the negatives that you know of [don't borrow trouble, as my grandma used to say]. Someone on here talks about how everyone has their ‘thing’ and this is H’s ‘thing’ but that doesn’t mean he is doomed, it’s just something he has to learn how to deal with.

      xoxo, it’s been a tough few weeks around here too, and the holidays were nice and relaxing. Sometimes I wish we could stay in that cocoon all the time.

      • There’s lots of useful stuff there, but that particular piece was what I was greeted with this morning when I checked my e-mail. I’ve sense had coffee (much, much coffee) and a bit of a perspective check via a good friend and it’s all good.

        But those folks at the middle school have no idea what kind of crazy I’m about to rain down on their heads.

        • Oh my. I can’t believe that the principal said that. I wish I could bring a real bag of doorknobs for you, but I’m definitely there in spirit. That’s just ridiculous.

        • My non-dyspraxic child has had some of the same issues, specifically with respect to forgetting things. And he’s a year older (but middle school starts in 7th grade here).

          I hear you on the stomach ache from worrying though. I have been there often this fall.

      • Hi Mom of Twins… Just re-reading and noticed you’ve had a tough few weeks. I’m sorry to hear that and hope the nice and relaxing parts of the holidays spills forward into the foreseeable future! Hugs.

    • Grrrr. I should not have clicked on that link. Of course I’ve always known that DS11′s appalling lack of manual dexterity is a couple of standard deviations below the mean. At age 3 he was routinely handing things to his one year old brother to open or assemble; dude won’t wear pants with zippers because even he won’t ask a buddy to help with that one. So yes I’m aware that an OT would be a good idea. But there is absolutely no way he can handle another diagnosis or therapist, he is at his emotional limit and completely maxed out. So I’ll have to let his social skills and love of sports cover for the rest of the items on that list. :(

      • Sorry. It sort of caught me by surprise in the same way. Just a few hours later, though, I’m remembering that kiddos are remarkably resilient and that H (and, I’m sure, your DS11) are going to come up with coping mechanisms so long as we have their backs. And we do. I think that right there is the biggest therapeutic support I can offer my boy.

  2. Well, dh moved all our stuff to the rental house this weekend, but I’m going to stay with my mom till Ds’s bus stop gets switched. I’m still in recovery/milk making mode so I don’t want to get wrapped up in setting up the new house just yet. Took the kids to 2 birthday parties plus church this weekend and that was kind of overdoing it. We will definitely be at the new house this weekend so we can set the tree up there with the kids.

    This Christmas we will be traveling to my parents’ house (in my hometown). Just want to avoid dh’s family’s many overcrowded gatherings and having to pass the baby around with all those nasty winter germs out there. Looking forward to going “home” for Christmas tho. We haven’t done it since ds was an infant and there are so many lovely Christmas things to do there.

    Shopping is basically done since October. Working on Christmas cards/birth announcements now. Speaking of, are we doing a card exchange this year? Now that I have an address I’d love to see all your families on my wall :)

  3. Outdoor lights are up, Christmas card collage made and ordered, shutterfly gifts for the girl, Kelly, and our friends T&V are made and ordered, presents for our ‘friends who are family’ secured, yankee swap gifts secured, all presents for the girl secured. next weekend Liza and I will put up holiday decorations in the house and probably get the tree the weekend after. Then Liza and I will shop for Kelly over the next few weeks. Since I made and ordered and paid for the cards Kelly is going to handle stamps and mailing. yay!

    had some lovely times with each other as a couple over the weekend, took a great road trip saturday then went to see Lincoln Sat night which might be one of the best movies I”ve ever seen. I’m still grappling with it..to say it’s a ‘great film’ seems pat to me.. it was really powerful. had a lovely 2nd thanksgiving with friends at their house yesterday and just crashed last night. now i”m ready for my girl to come HOME today!

    We joined a new gym very close to us that will open in January — got a great special for all three of us as a family deal.. this will either be awesome or hilarious or both… but hopefull it will help me be not fat. I try and try and try to be ok with who I am.. with how hard it is to lose weight, with the fact that I”ve just STALLED in a big way.. and hopefully a new fitness regime will help… I just hate my look so much.. I feel old and bloated and tired looking… so hoping this will recharge things.

  4. I have done exactly NOTHING to get ready for Christmas. No lists made, no tree, no holiday card photo taken, no decorations…..I wasn’t feeling behind since Thanksgiving was early this year but now I kind of am after hearing what everyone else is doing.

    C’mon, slackers, chime in! Help me feel better!

    • honestly the only reason I’m so far ahead is b/c I work at a theater and December is a blur of holiday performances and events I have to be at on nights and weekends.. it was either do it now or don’t do it at all.. normally i’d be right where you are!

    • I consider doing anything at all about Christmas before Thanksgiving – including acknowledging that such a holiday exists and must be dealt with – to be highly inappropriate. Every early gift acts as a Pavlovian reward to the merchants who begin playing Christmas carols in October, and just encourages them to start in September next year. We’re not slackers, we’re commandos in the resistance. I might begrudge a pass to anyone who can present a good excuse, like Katie. But I told my boys that if I so much as heard them mention Christmas before Thanksgiving was over, Santa would bypass our house.

      Of course Thanksgiving is now over. This morning my boys told me they left me a catalog with items they wish for circled. My brothers and I spent the month before Christmas dreaming over the Sears catalog. Turns out my boys are doing their wishing off the Edmunds Scientific catalog. #soblessed

      • Whatever. Up here in the tundra, I like to put my outside lights up on the first warm day after Halloween. It’s not as much fun doing it in the snow even if it is more seasonable. And I light them on Thanksgiving night because I really enjoy them and stretch that aspect of the season out as long as I can as it’s the darkest part of the year.

        • I usually put mine up on Tgiving day for the same reason – do it before the snow falls! and also it gives me something to do on Thanksgiving while I’m alone.. Liza plugs them in when she gets home from school and it’s so nice to drive home and see the house aglow…

    • No nothin’ here either. And we are going to be gone Christmas week, so it’s got to get done early or we won’t get to enjoy it! We do have a fake tree though; bought it a couple years ago. It’s not even Advent yet, so we are OK. We are! It’s fine! Plus you can get your kids to help!
      My super-stressed-out friend who lost her house in SI had only yesterday to do her shopping, so she says, and she had a little meltdown on the phone with me b/c she couldn’t find the video game my kid wanted (b/c it doesn’t exist for the Wii). I am still trying to reassure her that given the circumstances she doesn’t need to get anyone anything, and I’ll be happy to beat up anyone who gives her crap about it.. .

    • My hand is up. Although, I don’t think it’s slacking to not have anything ready for Christmas this far in advance. I’m struggling with working full time this year because I’ll have to shop when everyone else is shopping rather than on weekdays like the last 13 years. If I want to avoid crowds and do it online then I’ve got to jump on it so there’s time for things to arrive…I’m going back into denial. It’s better that way.

    • Christmas? It’s not here yet. I refuse to acknowledge its existence until December. And usually not until the kids are out of school for the summer (December 14 this year). So feel better. I’ve done nothing at all.

      Mind you, I also refuse to do Christmas cards and do Solstice cards in July instead. This time of year is just too full.

    • The only reason I have anything done, is that we do an early St Nicholas this year, not next Wednesday, but this Friday, because I leave for a week in the US Sat AM. No other holiday-type stiff done whatsoever! Can I join you on the slacker bench? I bet we’ll have a fun crowd :-)

      Glad to see you here. Hope things calm down and get a bit easier.

  5. Elisa! you’re making me tired by this list! and also feeling like i have gotten nothing done (except a flan i had a fight with? lol-see my post)
    i am kidding, i am happy you got a lot done! more power to ya girl!
    as for me, i got nothing done, and i am going away in less than three weeks. oh wait… i did manage to do some damage at gap.com yesterday.
    in other news, i am attending a conference today on French/American perspectives on food, eating for pleasure and health, and food habits for children. should be interesting!

    • I have to include a shout out to my girl, Erika. For the longest time, I wondered how she managed to consistently give such thoughtful gifts over the holiday and on time, and she let me know that she shopped throughout the year. If she saw something she knew someone would like, she snagged it.

      It’s changed my life! LOL! This past summer, I was in Amish Country in Pennsylvania, and picked up hand-crafted gifts there. After the Giants won the World Series, I happened to come across a store with all Giants items — including in the bargain bins. I picked up a bunch of stuff there. Thank you, Erika! :)

      LDLG, I have to check out your blog. The conference you are going to sounds interesting — and delicious!

    • Laura – I have an American Girl doll idea , I want to run it by Liza first.. if she goes for it, I may have a way for you to score some major swag for M and for liza to earn a little scratch toward her Washington trip (like $20 MAX)… I”ll message you if she goes for it!

        • Ok Liza’s on board… she has a TON of AG clothes and even a dolls bed .. .she is going to go through her stuff and put aside what she wants for her little sister and then maybe we could offer the whole lot of clothes for a small lump sum not to exceed $20 that she could then put toward the $200 she’s trying to save to contribute to her warshington trip?

            • well let’s see what she’s got and we’ll go from there… I don’t think the bed is officiall an AG bed — she does have one official one but she may want to save that for her little sister… we’ll go through stuff this weekend and see what we can come up with!

    • OMG! I went shopping at ThinkGeek and American Girl like two weeks ago. I just checked out the deals at American Girl — $4 for doll clothes?! Whoa! I am going to have to talk about this with DH. He already thinks Eli is one spoiled girl with American Girl stuff…but what great deals. :-/

    • American Girl was lame unless they update it during the day. That 50% was on a very selected list of items. Here I was thinking that their Cyber Monday was going to be a big deal but it was a glorified version of their clearance section.

  6. Elisa, it sounds to me that with the exception of your Christmas cards, all your holiday work is done! Way to go!

    As for me: gift shopping is about 85% done. Christmas cards are ordered and will be here any day. Outside of the house is decorated. Our holiday social calendar is booked. And… that’s about it!

    I am grateful that because of the early Thanksgiving, the holiday season is a little longer and won’t feel too rushed this year. We don’t usually buy our tree until closer to mid-December because we like a natural tree and keep it up until Three Kings Day on Jan. 6th. If we buy it sooner than that the tree ends up extra crispy and dry by the time we take it down.

    Of course both Maya and Alex are SUPER psyched about Christmas this year and are bugging me to decorate inside. So maybe I will put the Christmas village up this week, as well as our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. For some reason my kids are HUGE Peanuts freaks. We have already watched “It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown” several times and have three outdoor Peanuts Xmas decorations. It’s very cute. Never thought my kids would be so retro :-)

  7. It’s mental health day. Ssssh, don’t tell my students. I don’t teach today and I planned to be at the office working on a writing project, but then I started getting emails from students wanting to meet (and today is not my office hours). Sorry, I’m not available today. If you send me a draft or question I can try to take a quick look. Trying to have some boundaries and not be available to them 24/7, though that’s hard. Not.going.in. Meanwhile, my house is a wreck and I’m still in PJs, trying to dig out after the last few busy weeks and then coming home from thanksgiving and unloading the car into the living room. I’ve gotten a lot done, but am now going to scramble to get a few more things put away before leaving in about an hour to pick up Lucy. Where has the day gone?

  8. I have bought one present. I think DH has bought one. We took a family picture this weekend, but cards have not been picked out yet. No tree, no lights, because it’s still November and not even advent yet. :p

    I’m very happy there is an extra week between thanksgiving and Christmas.

  9. I have done two bits of eff-all thus far. I’ve been battling a nasty something or other for the past two weeks, and the day after my Thanksgiving, it totally reared up and flattened me. Went to the doctor yesterday and she thinks it’s bacterial tonsillitis, so I have ABX going at the moment. Starting to feel better.

    Beginning to think that running my own magazine, editing another magazine, training for a triathlon and running the show for major festive events may be a little too much.

    I always do this to myself – once a year, around a major event, I overwork, get run-down and catch something absolutely disgusting. Last year, around Jess’s birthday, I caught slap-cheek measles and didn’t kick it for two weeks. I mostly recovered when we were in Perth. You’d think that I’d learn to prioritize and cut slack somewhere, but nuh-huh.

    So this week, nothing’s going to happen. I’m just trying to recover.

  10. I did a little bit of shopping today for the kids, and a little for myself. The new jacket I bought for DD 2 weeks ago was 40% off today, so I bought another one, which I will then return with the previous receipt. $40 back in the bank for that!

    All of the little gifts for the kids are done (books & $5 DVDs from B&N’s sale today) I think. I just need to get DD’s “big” gift from Santa. I’ve been looking for a Karaoke machine/ipod dock and am having a really hard time finding what I want.

  11. The cards are here (we did them early and did combined Christmas cards/birth announcements) and I mostly have the address spreadsheet updated to do a mail merge. I have voiced my intention to take Stormy to see Santa and to bring the holiday decorations into the house, and I ordered Stormy a stocking (on Etsy) with his name on it. My mom bought him Christmas PJs and a Christmas outfit, so that’s set. And it’s Expat’s year for tree-decorating, meaning it doesn’t happen until Christmas Eve (in my year, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, although November 23 would be too early even for me!). And I’ve started singing Christmas carols.

    So basically, I’ve done bleep-all except form intentions, but hey, that’s a start, right? Just need to actually take Stormy for photos and bring in boxes from the garage, and also we need to include Stormy in our family tradition of each getting a new ornament every year–then when he grows up, he’ll have a starter set of his own ornaments. I’m keeping my eye out for things that are jingle-bell-based but baby-friendly, because he’s into jingle bells at the moment. I am such a holiday geek.

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