Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lost and Found

Last Tuesday was parent observation day at L's dance studio, so I followed her into her acro class, where she proved that she is indeed a rubber band who has no bones. The contortions that kid can do are just very, very wrong. We then went over to ballet where she informed me that her ballet shoes were missing.

Those are her one pair of dance shoes that actually *fit*.

Her class did a little dance to part of The Nutcracker Suite and L performed beautifully. In her jazz shoes. L has a knack for the graceful movements of ballet, but a hard time paying attention in the quiet, slow-moving class.

We checked at home for the lost ballet shoes and panicked because the studio was closing for the Christmas break and had notified all the parents that the contents of the Lost & Found box would be donated to Goodwill at the break. So today we finally got a chance to go over to the studio to look for her shoes before they closed everything. The shoes had her name in them, so chances were good they'd been turned in.

The lady at the desk hadn't seen the shoes.

The shoes weren't in the classroom.

We dug through the huge pile in the Lost & Found and we made a few interesting finds. One pair of L's tennis shoes I hadn't realized she lost. One pair of black velour pants that I had bought to go with her dance team uniform that I also hadn't realized she lost. Darn kid. There were all kinds of really neat and expensive things in that box, but no ballet shoes.

As we were preparing to leave in defeat, L checked her folder where they put ads and notices and someone had filed her ballet shoes there for her.

Thank goodness.

For Christmas, that child is getting new jazz and tap shoes, a bigger dance bag, and individual bags for each pair of shoes with her name clearly marked, so that maybe she can do a better job of keeping up with her things. And from now on, I'll be checking that Lost & Found box periodically. Just in case.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Anything but peaceful

Silent night.


Do less.

We need to make Christmas simple, quiet, less hectic.

That's what everyone keeps saying. Get back to what Christmas was really like. But this morning, as we talked about the Christmas story in Sunday School and church, I came to a realization.

That whole birth of Jesus thing? The total exact opposite of quiet and peaceful. They were running around like chickens with their heads cut off the whole time. Think about it.

Angels visiting, crisis pregnancy, scandal, talk of divorce. Adultery was punished by *stoning* and everything pointed to Mary committing adultery. Mary traveled over 100 miles and spent 3 months with her cousin in Jerusalem, then back again. Then a long journey back through Jerusalem to Bethlehem when she was 9 months pregnant (at 9 months pregnant, just turning over in bed is a miraculous feat; I can't even imagine that journey). A frantic search for a place to have a baby. The screams and crying and hustle and bustle of labor, delivery, and a new baby. A choir of angels creating a racket. A bunch of smelly shepherds and bleating sheep tromping through town looking for a child lying in a manger of all places. Then they had to find long-term housing and a caravan of kings parading through town, no doubt causing quite a stir in the streets of little Bethlehem. Another angel and a wild escape to Egypt.

I'm thinking Joseph and Mary would have been glad for just a little taste of the peace and simplicity people are talking about these days.

Bartering is alive and well

She had a pair of black fuzzy boots that didn't fit anyone in her family and a desire for some delicious baked goodie.

I had a desire for black fuzzy boots, the right-sized feet, and an ability to bake.

So we worked out a deal. One pair of black fuzzy croc boots in exchange for one dark chocolate coffee layer cake.

Oh yeah.

So I spent yesterday chopping *5* boxes (that's 2 and half *pounds*) of baking chocolate into teensy-tiny shavings and baking 2 of those dark chocolate coffee layer cakes. One for my friend and one for my husband who loves that cake, but never gets it. It's not a hard recipe, it's just time-consuming with ALL. THE. CHOPPING. I tried to use my food processor, but it just heated up, melted the chocolate, and jammed. Fun times.

I made the layers in the morning, then L had a Christmas party for her dance team, then our church had a candlelight service, so it was late before I made the frosting, which had to cool for 2 hours before it was thick enough to use. But at midnight last night I had 2 beautiful cakes sitting on my counter. And after church, we drove north to my friend's house where we completed our deal. Her family has an amazing cake and I have the perfect black fuzzy boots.

I think I got the best end of that deal. Happy birthday/Merry Christmas to me! Thanks, Barbara!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Officially done with the Christmas rush

Everyone knows that December is crazy. Holiday parties with work, friends, school, random acquaintances, etc. Shopping for gifts for co-workers, friends, teachers, random acquaintances. Shopping for just the right outfits for all those parties. A hair appointment to look your best. Concerts and family outings to look at lights and make memories. Travel for family gatherings. And on and on.

So you know what everyone does? They schedule everything *early*. So now the beginning part of December is packed with an impossible number of events and about the 15th or so, it all dies down.

This past weekend was the worst culprit of this new "let's do everything *early*!" trend. I had something that had to be done every minute from Thursday morning on.

Thursday -
Get the girls school organized and started, then pile everyone in the car for a holiday brunch, where the girls did schoolwork and I chatted with the ladies from my Bible study.

Come home and spend the rest of the day organizing and cleaning for Friday.

Baby sit a friend's daughter, who then spent the night.

Friday -
Finish cleaning.

Host a Bible study for 6 ladies, including snack, drinks, and a craft.

Pack for a lock-in.

Go to see the new Narnia movie with friends, then back to the church for the lock-in.

Help chaperone the lock-in, where my 6-year-old stayed up until after 2am, and the older kids didn't climb in their sleeping bags until 5:30am.

Saturday -
Rout sleepy kids out to help get ready for our church's Happy Birthday, Jesus party.

Run the party.

Clean up after the party, then go home and collapse into bed for a few hours.

Sunday -
Report early for work at the Panthers game (I help in a concession stand as a fundraiser for L's dance team)

Spend the day standing at a cash register asking people what they want on their nachos.

Leave and buy a pair of pants so I don't have to keep smelling like beer. (My register was next to a beer tap that kept overflowing.)

Go to a friend's choir concert. She did an awesome job.

Last week, I waffled between a) feeling super stressed about my weekend schedule and b) knowing that it would all work out just fine. My new motto is "I can't do everything and I refuse to try". And you know what? I kept everything simple, my planning to a minimum, and the kids all had a blast anyway. I and my family survived the craziness and we are officially on the other side. The side where I can relax and take my leisurely time wrapping up my Christmas shopping. The side where my schedule is mostly blank. The side where I can hide under the blankets in this record-setting cold. The side where if you call me and want to hang out, I can!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

If you're hosting a Bible Study...

If you're hosting a Bible study, you have to spend the day before going.

1. Going to your own Bible study.

2. Going to lunch with great friends for one last time before the Christmas crazies start.

3. Going to the craft store with your friends.

4. Going back to the craft store because you need a couple more pieces of 1/2 off greenery to finish your Christmas decorating.

5. Going home and putting up the outside lights, letting the girls get all creative, because you really need to get the boxes out of the middle of your floor.

6. Going back inside and putting out the rest of the Christmas decorations.

7. Going to put the back seat back in the van to clear a space in your garage.

8. Going to put all the empty Christmas boxes in the garage.

9. Going back and cleaning the living room.

10. Going to dinner because the house is still in chaos.

11. Going to the scrapbook store and Target for stuff for the craft you're planning for the Bible study.

12. Going back home and cleaning the dining room.

13. Going to clean the kitchen.

14. Going to clean the craft room so you can find the supplies you already had for the craft.

15. Going to write a blog post, because you really need a break from all the going.

16. Going to make an example of your craft. You know, just to make sure it works like you think it will.

Good thing I'm not actually teaching this study.