The Christmas Season is here! Our trees are up (yes, two of them), decorations are in the yard, the holiday village is constructed, and carols are on the radio 24/7! Less than three weeks to go until Christmas Eve… like most people this time of year, we are trying to slow down and enjoy the last bit of 2012 and make sure that we don’t get too wrapped up in the trappings of the holiday.
A few years ago in an effort to carve out more family time during the Christmas season, I started giving the girls countdown presents – small things like gift bows and tags, window clings, tinsel, ornaments, hot chocolate, etc., one each day between December 1 and Christmas Eve. We are doing it again this year, but I added a few games and other activities to the mix. December 1 they opened a pre-cut gingerbread village and spent the evening decorating three little gingerbread houses with gardens – these look great on the kitchen counter! Yesterday, they opened a new card game called Fluxx (this is actually the Oz version of the game). It’s a lot of fun – the rules and object of the game change as the cards are played throughout the game. We spent a couple of hours Sunday afternoon playing together. Today’s present was Christmas-colored Goldfish crackers – pretty sure we’ll be snacking on these after dinner while playing another round of Fluxx!
Speaking of dinner tonight – I put ribs in the slow cooker around lunchtime and baked potatoes in the oven about 30 minutes ago – the house smells incredible, and dinner will be ready soon!
My biggest accomplishment today was getting my passport book issues resolved! For those who haven’t heard, when my purse was stolen in May this year my passport card was in it. I reported that stolen, and the passport agency alerted me that they had invalidated both my passport card and my passport book. That began a six month back and forth with the Washington Passport Agency to figure out if my book was actually valid or not! Through this process, I have learned that there is no direct phone number to the national passport agency (really – in this day and age?!). No, you either have to call the national inquiry number (the people who only have access to active applications) or write a letter and wait for Washington to contact you. Well, today, after months of no answers, I made the trek downtown and talked to Holly who, to my disappointment, explained that someone from Washington would have to call me – she, however, assured me that either she or Washington would call me today! The good (and surprising) news is that a couple of hours later, Washington actually called me and confirmed that my passport is VALID! Whew!! That will make it a lot easier to get on and off of the cruise ship in January!
So, that done, I’m on to the next thing on my To Do list… I’m hoping to get new nails put on tonight – I’ve had them off now for a couple of days and it’s definitely time – and absolutely have to get organized for Wednesday night as it’s my turn to teach again! I’m thinking that if I sit in the living room with the Christmas tree lights blinking while I do it all, I’ll be less stressed… maybe hot chocolate would help too?