Christmas is Settlement Season

I have never been so slammed in December.  Last week I pulled an all nighter – basically worked 36 hours straight, with an hour or two break here and there to give the kids dinner, sleep for an hour, take a shower.  I’m digging out . . . it won’t be this way forever . . . but it’s a real pain in the neck that this is happening in December.  Now I did take the morning following my work marathon to sleep in, wrap some presents, and all around regain my composure, before arriving at the office at 11:30 to bill a full 8 hour day.  That break did help, and I’m throwing elbows to make room for that kind of self care during this busy season/holiday season, so I don’t die of a heart attack.  Still, I’m going to have to work this coming weekend and the next, in order to meet all of these deadlines that have randomly fallen all together.  It really chaps my hide when folks purposefully set deadlines around the holidays to try to encourage settlement.  I’m not in control of settlement, but I suffer the consequences of imposing crushing work around a season you’d rather be slowing down – and multiply it by numerous cases, and you have the Reluctant Grownup, reluctantly billing every day of a month that also requires her to generate (and participate in) Holiday Cheer.  Nevertheless, it is what it is.  This job pays the bills and then some, so we make it work.  Also, I have a full week vacation coming up the first week of January, and at this rate I can take that and still be ahead on billables for the year.  This firm is pretty good about leaving you alone on your vacation, so I just have to stagger through the next few weeks and then I can relax and breathe.  [In Disney.  With three small children.  Five if you count the nieces too.  SOUNDS RELAXING, NO?] [I genuinely am excited.  I love Disney.]

Meantime, it’s Saturday and we are motoring through some chores.  The Prof is making Christmas cookies, and we’ll have friends over to decorate them later.  My firm Christmas party is tonight – at one of the old guard restaurants in the French Quarter.  My genius self kept the laundry going through my all nighter (if I’m up and here, might as well), and as a result we have very little laundry to do.  It’s a small thing but I’ll take it!  I’m also checking in on Christmas gifts – we are in pretty good shape, most of them bought and mailed, and just need a few more.  Because I love and rely upon these, I thought I’d give a list here of stocking stuffers I’ve bought for the boys this year.  Enjoying the Small Things always does a great stocking stuffer roundup and gift guide too – check her out!

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty – I got all different colors and kinds for my three sons and two older nieces.  Secretly I cannot wait to play with this stuff.

Instax mini film – as their main gift, we bought the older boys two small Polaroid-ish cameras to snap pictures in Disney World.  I’m sticking some film in their stockings.

Photo albums – I got some cheap, floppy photo albums for them to put their Disney pix in, not these but similar

Shrinky dink minis – each boy got a different kind (dinosaurs, vehicles, mermaids maybe?)  I think they’ll love making them – I did as a kid.

Blue and green nail polish – Craig is in a phase where he loves to wear nail polish, like me.  His daycare teacher used to paint all the kids’ toenails with blue polish, and he is addicted to it.  I am totally fine if he wears red, purple, pink, sparkles (which is what I have in my personal stash), but I also wanted to get him some more neutral colors.  These are going in his stocking.

Big League Chew.  The kids love this.  It’s kinda weird to be, like, emulating chewing tobacco, but whatever.

Fun bandaids – we go through bandaids like it’s our job, so I always get some for their stockings every year.  This year I got Candyland, Crayon, and My Little Pony (Liam is a definite Brony right now, and Jack loves it too although he is embarrassed to say it and begs me “please don’t tell the boys at school.”  [insert predictable rant])

Toothbrushes and toothpaste, plus candy, because we like irony.

Mickey t shirts – I got us each a shirt to wear in Disney, and I’m going to roll them up and stick them in the toe of the stocking.

Magazines – I always dash to Barnes and Noble and grab a relevant magazine to tuck in the top of each stocking.

So, there’s our list!  Stocking stuffers are my fave – in years past I’ve done geodes, Sun Art (it was cheaper when I did it!), fun erasers, ink and stamp kits, cookie cutters, marbles to go in their marble run, pirate gold, sparkly rock collections, gum, bandaids, etc.  So fun to collect these little treats.

Now, for the week’s meals.  I have to hop onto a conference call in a half hour, so I’ve gotta wind this up, but I’m excited about what we’re having for dinner this week because it’s FINALLY COLD down here and while I’m not sure how long it will last, it’s always more fun for me to cook in the cold.

Baby it’s cold outside.  Hope you’re staying cozy and warm with the ones you love.


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