Another December weekend is in the books. On Friday, my husband and I got dressed up and went downtown for his office holiday party. I got some compliments on my green mermaid-cut dress, which was nice — getting an actual holiday party dress was on my Holiday Fun List for the year and given that it was like $50 on Amazon when I bought it, I’d call that a win.
(Another “win” for the night: They had a bunch of friendly competitions to win ornaments, and one of them was who had the most frequent flyer miles — on any individual airline, in your account right now. My husband won this. I am not sure this is a competition you wanted to win!)
We left on time as we had to be up early Saturday morning to get the 14-year-old to an all-day robotics competition, starting at 7:30 a.m. Also, the 16-year-old and I had a church choir rehearsal at 9 a.m. We sang through all our concert pieces, and I think he was partially mollified about the early start-time with a Starbucks trip after. Maybe.
The 3-year-old was off with his Saturday sitter so after the rehearsal my husband and I went for a walk together on a nearby trail, and then I attempted to take kids #1, 3, and 4 shopping at a nearby Target for sibling presents, but this Target was deemed too small. So I took them home, regrouped, and took #1 and #3 to a bigger Target out in King of Prussia. We shopped (while my husband took kid #4 to go see the end of kid #2’s robotics tournament) and managed to finish their sibling shopping. Then I took #1 and 3 to Maggiano’s for dinner — kid #3’s request for getting an all-vowel report card. There had been some talk of my husband and kid #2 going to see Napoleon, but everyone was too tired (plus the reviews are bad) and so we all just hung out at home. After I put the 3-year-old down, I played ping pong with the 8-year-old, and then the 14-year-old and 12-year-old and I finished our Lego Alpine Lodge set (see photo, there are more over at Instagram, @lvanderkam).
On Sunday morning, the 16-year-old and I went to sing at church. As he noted, he spent about 7 hours this weekend on church music, plus the voice lesson he had on Friday and now he has a school choir concert this week. It is a lot! I had helpfully taken our larger carol books out of our choir folders since they made them quite heavy. Then we got to rehearsal…and I realized we were singing something out of there in the church service. So, I went home in between rehearsal and church to get the carol books. I was going to pick up my daughter, but she wasn’t awake. However, she did want to go to church youth group, so my husband wound up driving her over after I left to go back. Inefficiencies all around! Fortunately we live 7 minutes away. There was another Starbucks trip after.
In the afternoon I did a quick run on the treadmill and got cleaned up in time to go back to church at 3 (with the 16-year-old) for our choir’s Advent concert at 4. We sang with a brass group, and my son did one of the readings. All went well and we’d booked a sitter for the afternoon so my husband could come too.
On the agenda this week: Much present triaging! I have a giant pile of Amazon boxes in my office that need to be sorted through. Most are presents but some stuff is probably random household items. I need to figure out how many things each person has and whether things need to be evened out. Once I know this, I can begin wrapping. I’m debating whether I can actually put presents under the tree ahead of time this year. With lots of curious small children, I’ve generally not wanted to tempt fate. But they are all getting older…
In the meantime, I have been reading my old December magazines from years past. I mentioned that I was obsessed with a feature called “Camp Christmas” from the Better Homes and Gardens December 2016 issue. So I wound up making that the subject of last week’s sonnet (in my 52 sonnet 2023 writing project):
Some cold December weekend, once a year
I picture them, arriving not by sleigh
but in their pick-up trucks bedecked with gear
for skating, sledding. On this frosty day
the boughs are decked with whipped cream colored snow
and all the roof tops pure, marshmallow white,
a garland on the porch, red-ribboned bow,
a Frasier fir that twinkles, all alight.
Camp Christmas — see the bright wrapped presents’ sheen!
But all this now was seven years ago,
a moment in a fading magazine,
nostalgia for a crew I did not know.
They feel like friends, across deep time and space
one fleeting moment, in this festive place.