Holidays, Life

Almost ready + 2022 Christmas card!

2 days until Christmas Eve! I’m just about ready.

I actually glanced back through my journal from last year on this day, and I can see I was way behind on wrapping gifts last year, to the point that I apparently spent much of Christmas Eve frantically wrapping stuff. Thankfully, that is not the case this year.

We have this “snow storm” coming in today (which, as often happens, seems like it may fizzle a bit from what was originally predicted). Poor meteorologists. I honestly feel bad for them- they just can’t win. If they predict a huge storm and it totally poops out, everyone complains…. “School shouldn’t have been cancelled! Those guys are always wrong!” If they downplay it and it’s a blizzard, well, then no one is prepared and that’s even worse.

I got a laugh out of this which was circulating on local social media:

At least people are staying light-hearted about it all.

I ended up taking another last-minute vacation day yesterday. So this week has been Monday= OFF, Tuesday= work, Wednesday= OFF. I could get used to this schedule. LOL!

Asher had 5:30 a.m. swim practice yesterday, and with this snow predicted, I knew the grocery stores were going to be INSANE. It’s a double whammy- holiday prep + “beat the snow and get everything you need to hunker down for a couple days” shopping. So I planned to go early, while he was at practice down the street.

Fortunately, 5:30 a.m. was not bad. The only negative was that I had a huge full cart load of stuff, and they apparently have zero clerks working at 6:35 a.m. when I wanted to check out. Only the self-checkouts were open. Which is normally okay, but I had a lot of stuff. And those self-checkouts can sometimes drive you to drink. Mine kept saying, “Please place the item on the belt.” (After I already DID place the item on the belt!!) It’s like the sensor was very touchy or something. I tried to be patient with the nice AI lady who was talking to me, but after a while I lost my cool a little and may have gotten a little sassy with her. Fortunately, she is a computer and didn’t complain. It seemed to take for-ever and I was almost late getting back for Asher, but made it just in the nick of time.

When I got home, I realized I still had the following things to do:

  • unload groceries
  • clean out fridge
  • make more cookies (had dough waiting that I had pre-made)
  • clean up house before my parents arrived later that evening (needed a full straighten, dust, vacuum, bathrooms needed touching up, towels needed washing).
  • finish wrapping a few items

I stood in the kitchen around 8 a.m. after driving the boys to school, unshowered and with groceries everywhere, and I was like…. Um, yeah. I don’t think work is going to happen today. I just have too many things to make happen!!

So I went to my office and changed my status to “Vacation day”. (again)

(If the snowstorm weren’t happening, my parents would have come a day or two later, and I may have had more evening time to get ready, but the weather sort of pushed everything up.)

I’m so very grateful to be able to take a vacation day on a whim like that. Trust me, after over 10 years of being an inpatient nurse, I will never, ever take for granted the ability to just randomly decide to “not work” on any given day. That is something that was literally impossible in my old job. Vacation days had to be scheduled WEEKS in advance, if not months.

Anyway, the little basement Christmas tree is now looking about ready for business:

Sadly, our big tree upstairs doesn’t get a lot of gift action, because we do our celebration in the basement rec room. No real point in carrying gifts upstairs….and then back down again….?

On a random note, I saw this today and thought it was cute:

The Four Stages of Life:

  1. You believe in Santa Claus.
  2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus.
  3. You are Santa Claus.
  4. You look like Santa Claus.

LOL! 🎅🎅

And finally, our 2022 Christmas Card!! I am happy to report I got them out last week already. Some years I end up sending them a wee bit too close to Christmas… haha.

The front: From top left, clockwise: 1) St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome 2) Ireland! 3) on top of the Victor Emmanuel II monument in Rome overlooking the Forum and Colosseum 4) kayaking in Isla Mujeres 5) Ethan in Dublin
The back, from top left clockwise: 1) in Valle de Bravo, Mexico 2) eating pizza in Rome! 3) outside our hotel in Wisconsin Dells on our fall fun getaway 4) Asher in Tepotzlan, Mexico 5) at the Overture Center in Madison before the show Come From Away 6) by the bay down the lane from my sister’s house in Ireland, wearing galoshes in the mud 🙂

I was actually thrilled with the ease and quality of these Amazon cards. Since I store my photos in Amazon photos (free unlimited photo storage for Prime members….), it was just too easy to select and order from there directly.

Okay, back to work. Today is NOT a vacation day for me, though the kids are already on break and my parents are upstairs. Lucky them!

Daily Gratitude:

See above- I am grateful for the ability to take a vacation day at any time, even very last minute.

11 thoughts on “Almost ready + 2022 Christmas card!”

  1. Your Christmas card turned out great!! It’s great that you have so many great pics of your family and don’t need professional photos. I can see why it’s not at all necessary for you. Ivan is clearly a better sport about taking photos than Phil is!! Phil HATES being asked to pose for pictures. But he’ll comply, for the most part, for professional photos. Although when we get them back he often says he thought he was smiling more. But I have learned to pick my battles and not ask him to take photos often. He was somewhat willing on our vacation so we could send pics to the boys but by the last day he was not super thrilled and didn’t smile great. I have lots of great photos of our boys, though, since I am good about taking lots of photos!

    Good call to take yesterday off to get a bit caught up. It is nice that you can do that. I can sort of do that, too, although it’s trickier at this time of year when people have planned vacations. And one of my coworkers has covid so we told him to put his out of office on. The boys are home starting today and we are obviously trapped inside due to the extreme cold. So it’s been a challenging morning. A sales person called me this morning when Will was having a total meltdown but she has a young kid, too, and we are friends so she was very understanding and said to just call me back when things had calmed down. But I think that is how the next 1.5 days are going to be for us… :/ I’m crossing my fingers and toes that Will takes a good nap today. We all need a break!!!


    1. Good luck getting through the WFH homes with the kids home + the freezing cold temperatures!! I’m sure it was tricky because you just took vacation last week for your Mexico trip, so you probably didn’t want to use more time off at the end of the week here now. Which I totally get!


  2. What a great card! I love it all (and it honestly made me extra excited for the trip to Rome we have planned in 2023).

    I hope you have a great time with your parents and just a wonderfully relaxing, festive time as a family!


  3. What a lovely retrospective of your year! And, wow! What a busy year. I didn’t go any further than visiting my mom in Michigan, so maybe I should make a goal for 2023 to actually go visit a new place. You’ve inspired me! (Ha ha. This will probably not happen. I actually don’t like traveling much and just thinking about planning/taking a trip makes me queasy. LOL. But I LOVE that you travel so much and I love when you share those travels with us.)


    1. I think you also went to…. Columbus was it? Or somewhere in Ohio. To see a good friend? So you went a couple places!! There are also so many great places within driving distance of where we are that I’m sure you could even plan a couple more local-ish getaways for 2023 to mix things up a little while still not having to go too far/ plan a lot. 🙂


  4. so much snow expected!!! I’d love to be just at home with fire on, Christmas music on, and bake something yummy. it’s so cozy. 🙂
    your Christmas card also looks great. what a good summary of the year.


    1. Yes, I wish sometimes I had the entire week of Christmas off to just relax by the fireplace. But, I like to save vacation days for other times of the year too. So, I usually don’t take too many days off at Christmas.


  5. Your card looks great! You really went to a lot of places this year. I love looking back on all of the photos from the year; it is such a walk down memory lane. However, it is sometimes hard to pick which ones to use, or maybe that is just me! It is also the kind of project that you think you can just knock out but that takes a bit longer than expected.

    You are so lucky to be able to take a day off just like that. We usually have to plan months or weeks in advance. Obviously sometimes stuff happens and you have to take an unexpected day off, but that is definitely the exception not the norm.


    1. Oh my gosh, I have the WORST time narrowing down photos to pick for the card! It definitely takes me a long time. It’s even worse because I just generally take so many photos all year long, and on vacations it probably enters into “crazy person” territory. So I literally have to sort through hundreds of photos…. haha. I was actually thinking that maybe every month throughout the year I should browse through my photos from that month and add potential christmas card candidates to a special album in my online photo storage app. Then, come December, I could have a narrowed down set of options to choose from. Maybe I’ll give that a try this year!


  6. I love your Christmas card. Such a great assortment of family photos! I am also so happy that you were able to take another random day off before Christmas… it’s a blessing to have paid vacation time and being able to take it whenever you want!


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