Friday, December 23, 2005

I Can Exhale Now...

As I mentioned in my previous post, no matter how well I think I've prepared, something (or several somethings) always come up! The Cub Scout trip to the nursing home went well. We had a relatively small turnout (11 scouts) so we recruited their parents to sing too. The residents seemed to enjoy it and I think the kids did, too. I know mine did.

The party for my RCIA group at church went well. I had stopped by the church office earlier in the day on an unrelated matter and ran into the priest who leads our group. I asked him if we were all set for plates, napkins, etc. and he had this 'oops' look on his face. He said he was going to ask the secretary about it. Now having been a secretary in a past life, I know the last think she'd want to hear, is "Can you scrounge up 2 doz. plates, napkins, cups, and some tablecloths - and can you make it a Christmas theme while your at it? And oh yeah, we need them tonight."

But the priest is new to our parish, so I'll cut him some slack (seriously, he's great). I ended up volunteering to go to the party store to buy the necessities. Now, I suppose there's an unwritten rule where if you volunteer,you forfeit your right to whine...BUT this is *my* blog, so here it goes:

I learned that you cannot go into Party City on Dec. 20 and expect to find two dozen coordinating Christmas anything. Fortunately, there were still solid red and solid green items so I could supplement. And never mind the fact that no one at our party would really feel slighted that he got the solid green plate while someone else got the poinsettia plate. The good news is that my spinach dip seemed to go over well (I'm culinarily challenged.)

My 3rd grader's party at school went well Wednesday. I baked 2 dozen plain cupcakes for the kids to decorate as reindeer - they came out cute: chocolate icing, broken large pretzel twists for antlers, a small Reese's peanutbutter cup for the muzzle, holiday M&Ms for eyes (green) and nose (red of course). The red M&M goes on the upside down Reese's, held in place with a tiny dab of icing. After all was said and done and cleaned, stress finally got to me and I ate the remaining icing straight from the can. So much for my diet.

So - for now anyway - I can relax and enjoy the last day and a half leading to Christmas. Until I 'volunteer' for something else! Happy Holidays, all!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How Did I Get So Busy?

I know it's inevitable this time of year, but we decorated the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the cards were addressed weeks ago (and are in the mail), and I finished my shopping in November (mostly online). I planned it that way so I can spend the week or two before Christmas really focusing on what the season means to me.

Turns out I'm not as well organized as I thought. Now I'm fulfilling my co-room mom duties - the party at school is next Wed. Dec. 21st. Somehow I sort of forgot to add it to my list. Anyway, I'm in charge of our cupcake decorating activity. Of course, I have to complicate things by spending a couple of hours on the internet searching for the cutest reindeer face cupcake. I still haven't narrowed it down from the three pictures I downloaded, but I need to do so soon so I can shop.

In addition, I volunteered to bring veggies and spinach dip to the party next Tuesday for a church ministry that I belong to. A small contribution, I know, but I'm "culinarily challenged."

To top it off, our cub scout pack will be Christmas caroling at a local nursing home so I have to make a compilation CD, download lyrics and print song sheets. It's harder than it seems - there are a lot of great Christmas songs out there, but trying to find a basic version that the kids can keep up with is a challenge. I'm not sure the 8 year olds can hold a note as long as Mariah Carey, know what I mean? Finding a traditional instrumental CD has proven near impossible. There won't be much time to practice, so we want to keep it simple.

Then the scouts are going to hand out handmade Christmas cards to the 120 residents. Some dens have already made cards but since we're expecting a small turnout of scouts, my kids, my neighbor and I will have to make, oh about sixty, to supplement.

'Tis the season...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Back from Vacation...

I just returned yesterday afternoon from visiting my mom in Washington, DC (northern VA, technically). I had been there since late Tuesday night. I try to visit her twice a year, usually in March and September. My most recent trip, scheduled for Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, was postponed due to Hurricane Katrina.

My flight to DC was at night. It was surreal to see the city of New Orleans. There were still big patches of darkness. In other areas you could see street lights lining the highways but you didn't see any moving lights (cars). The flight back, during the day, was equally weird. You really get a sense of the destruction when you see an aerial view of all the blue tarps on the rooftops.

The visit itself was nice. We do what we usually do: dine out and shop - a lot! Even though I'm an adult - or so I've been told - we do slip back into mother/daughter mode. Case in point: the woman likes to pay for everything. I feel a little funny about people spending a lot of money on my account, but there really isn't any arguing with her. (And I do end up with a lot of cool stuff that I'd otherwise pass over because I'm too stingy with my money.)

I also managed to squeeze in a lunch with some friends (former coworkers). It's nice that they make time to see me when I visit twice a year.

Mom has cable TV, which I don't at home, so I'd stay up way too late watching things like "Forensic Files". The earliest I went to sleep on my trip was 2:15 a.m., 3:30 a.m. was typical. We'd usually get up around 8:00 a.m. I never seem to have that kind of energy at home...I wonder why? My theory: kids just suck the life right out of you! I'm kidding.

It was a nice trip, but it's good to be home. I missed the boys terribly (incl. Dear Hubby). As a nice surprise, they had the entire house cleaned before I returned. Laundry done, beds made, dishes cleaned, floors vacuumed and mopped and (insert drum roll here) the bathroom cleaned! Maybe I ought to go away more often. ;-)