Rich had scheduled a vacation day for the Friday after we went to see the Goo Goo Dolls in Worcester. Because he was home and I didn't have to worry about rushing back to pick up the girls from school, I went Christmas shopping with Grammy. I was so proud of myself for knocking items off of Christmas wish lists and it was only the beginning of December. I thought I had weeks left in which to shop. In reality, it was December 8th.
When I was working, I had to pay close attention to dates. Tax payments and filings were due on the 15th of every month, and in some cases, on the last day and/or first day of the month. Sometimes the 20th too. I always knew the date and how many days until the 15th and the end of the month. It took several days to process checks and wire payments so we had to ensure we were giving ourselves enough time, otherwise we'd end up making payments late.
Now, I feel like I hardly ever know the date. When the second full week of December hit, I was hyper-focused on the girls' dance performance later that week. All three of the dance companies at their studio were performing for a women's club at a church. I was so afraid I was going to forget about it, which was ridiculous considering we are at the studio every day. They also needed to wear red lipstick, which I had to go buy because I hardly ever wear lipstick and when I do, it's usually neutral. This was a search mission for the perfect red because 1. they are 10 years old and 2. they are fair skinned so I didn't want the lipstick to look overpowering. (If you ever find yourself needing red lips without going overboard, this is the lip gloss I purchased. It was perfect.)
Because I was so wrapped up in other things and not actually looking at a calendar, I thought I had two weeks before Christmas. I actually only had one. Needless to say, that last week before Christmas was a scramble. And then just when I thought I was done, I wasn't. I need to plan better for next year. (I say this every year.) Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who needs to be in a store unless I know exactly what I'm shopping for. It's also difficult for Anna to create wish lists which makes shopping extremely difficult, especially when we went to keep gifts equal.
Rich and I have been learning more about sensory issues that go along with hydrocephalus. Organization on many different levels is included in that. If Anna knows exactly what she wants, that's easy. Thinking of items she may want but are not forefront in her mind is difficult. I'm learning that it can be strenuous for her to sort through items. Let's use a trip to the library as an example. Most people can browse through shelves of books and pick some to read based upon several factors. Maybe you've already read a book by that author and you liked it, or a friend recommended that book, or you simply think the title, book cover or summary look interesting. For some people, they see books upon books and it's too much information at once. It's overwhelming and they struggle to organize it all.
Face masking. This was as we were getting ready for the Christmas party for Rich's side of the family. The only photo I took that day. The girls had so much fun with their cousins. I think the highlight was getting to hold their 4 month old cousin, who was the most chill baby ever.
I have to say that I was so proud of the girls this year because they purchased presents for each other using their own money and in some cases, their own gift cards. They didn't ask me or Rich for any funds. When we talk about the holiday, they speak more about giving than receiving.
One of the girls had requested an outing to see Santa and I couldn't deny that. Our plan was to head to Bass Pro Shops first thing Saturday morning, the day before Christmas Eve day. We were hoping people would be out running last minute errands and not focused on visiting Santa. We woke up Saturday morning to find everything covered in ice. I checked my phone and discovered that we were being advised not to travel. Due to the icy road conditions, portions of the highway had to be shut down for sanding. We waited a bit for the roads to be treated and arrived at Bass Pro at 10:15. Our time slot to visit Santa was 11:30. You can start the line a half hour before your time so we had 45 minutes to waste before we could line up.
Christmas Eve cookie decorating before church.
We ended up with a white Christmas after all. I told the girls they couldn't come wake us up until 7:00 Christmas morning. And they did. It was raining at the time but then the rain/snow line turned and the snow came down. This was the only photo I took on Christmas Day.
We host my family on Christmas Day for dinner. In total, 8 adults and 9 kids. Last year, I switched up the menu and went with Italian food. It was okay and no one complained but I wasn't really happy with it. I had thought of doing a big breakfast buffet for dinner but the girls freaked out when I mentioned that. This year, we went back to a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings.
A few months ago, Rich and I had discussed a staycation for this vacation week. We wanted to stay close to home but do something, just one night away. Rich suggested Sturbridge because we've yet to bring the girls to Sturbridge Village. He booked a hotel with an indoor pool and we were all set to go. Well, the weather had other plans. It has been unseasonably cold here, as it has been across other parts of the country. Because of this
we opted to skip Sturbridge Village and the kids swam before we checked out and headed home. It probably would have been okay but the wind was really what made the cold feel unbearable.
When we arrived in Sturbridge, we checked out the Publick House, which is a historic inn. Very New England. We were going to eat dinner there and wanted to see if they have a kids' menu (they do, just not online) but none of us were very hungry for dinner after eating a big lunch. These types of places aren't new to me or Rich but if you're visiting the area and looking for classic New England, this is where you go.
Ending with a winter sunset photo.
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