Flashback Friday: A Holy Terror

Last week, we talked about the adorable newborn (well, less than 3 month old) at Christmas! Today we are going to talk about the Christmas season with a toddler! Yay!

First of all, as I mentioned yesterday, we had our Christmas tree delivered by a company I found online. It was very pricey, but I pretty much had no formal budget and spared no expense last Christmas; we had just paid off the final hospital bills and we were feeling free! (It will not be the same this year – we really need something in between the two extremes of 2015, where I counted every dime, and 2016.)

That in mind, setting up the tree was a breeze; the tree sat on the porch until Baby Girl took a nap, and then her father and I scrambled to put it up before she woke up. If I remember correctly, we even put most of the decorations up during her nap, but we did let her help with her ornaments; she has the one from my mother for her 2015 ornament and a pink, glittery rubber duckie ornament for 2016 – she was obsessed with duckies last year.

The problem came with trying to keep the curious toddler away from the tree after it was up. She was really curious about this new thing in her living room! I couldn’t really blame her for that, but it sure was frustrating. After some scolding, I went online and found a bright idea: wrap some empty boxes and put them around the tree to keep the child away!

I even weighed down the boxes with decorations from my mantle and bookcases, which gave me room to put up more decorations away from her reach!

I do not know how she is going to react to the tree this year, but I am probably going to do the same thing again. I’ve already saved a few boxes of different sizes, and I’ll be using rolls of cheap paper I picked up last year after Christmas.


Time To … Thursday: Time to Get a Christmas Tree

I know, I know, most of you probably got a Christmas tree a week ago. Maybe even the day after Thanksgiving. Or put up a fake tree on November 1. I know.

I feel like I have been running behind since school came back in session in August. I don’t know what it is about this semester, but I have been playing catch up.

Tomorrow, though, is my last day of work until January! So I can finally, maybe, breathe a little bit.

Last year, we had a tree delivered by a company I found on Groupon (more on that tomorrow!) In years past, we borrowed a truck from friends to get a tree at one of the many many home improvement stores. This year… I am hoping to pick out a  tree at one of the two places nearby that deliver trees. If we can’t get one from either of them, I’ll be screwed.

But, I think the joy of this will outpace the concern and hassle; Baby Girl is old enough to help us pick out the tree (though she certainly doesn’t understand the holiday yet.)

With any luck, I’ll be writing for Together Tuesday about how the Christmas tree shopping goes – the snow in the forecast for Saturday seems to have disappeared, so we should be able to do it then.

Working Wednesday: Communication & Mistakes

I have spent a great deal of time on this page talking about communication, mainly within the family or relationship unit. However, on today’s Working Wednesday, I want to talk a little bit about communicating with your coworkers and dealing with mistakes.

How good are you at communicating with your coworkers?

I am sure every single one of us is able to be civil and polite with our coworkers, which is, of course, an important step toward good communication. That being said, I am sure we all also get busy, forgetful, or just plain overwhelmed at times and things fall through the cracks. When this happens, we need to take a step back, remind ourselves that we are all just humans and thus fallible creatures (no matter how well-organized we may be, or how supported by technology we may be.) We will make mistakes, and it is important to help each other through these mistakes, rather than throw blame.

That being said, it is also important to review what you have done and make sure you are catching your own mistakes whenever possible.

I had an example of both of these in one project this week. Neither was a huge deal, because I had specifically requested extra review before the finished project (a newsletter) was released, but it is what inspired me to make this post. You see, the newsletter is the first of its kind to be produced by my committee, and for some reason I thought it would be fun to be the “production editor,” instead of writing for it.

Honestly, it was kind of fun, don’t let me lie to you. I’d like to even make one for my other committee, someday (maybe). But I digress – back to the two mistakes in this newsletter. The first, was that the newsletter had the wrong title. To which, you may ask, “How the %$&&$ did you do that?” The answer is miscommunication. The editor of the newsletter referred to it by the wrong name, and I thought that meant he had changed it. But, the review process caught it, and we were able to fix it before it was disseminated.

The second mistake was totally my faul; I was playing with the layout and overlaid a text box on top of some important information, which was then hidden. I had stared at the thing so long (and the line was so short) that I completely glossed over it. But, the review process also caught that one!

Rather than get mad at me for the mistakes, the reviewer just pointed them out, and I fixed them (though I did clarify the title one more time just to cover my own butt). And now there is a bright and shiny newsletter to send to everyone!

Together Tuesday: Doing it All and Then Some

Hi everyone.

I owe you all an apology.

I’m sorry, I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I should – or the way I should. Projects in November ate my face all the way into the month of December, and I ran out of my pre-loaded posts.

And then work ate my face some more. (More on that tomorrow, I promise!)

Today, though, I am here to talk to you about doing it all and having some together time with you family, to boot. The answer (at least to me) is pretty simple: get them involved.

My daughter is only two, so there isn’t much she can do, but so far I have: taken her Christmas shopping with me (just not for her gifts, obviously), had her in the kitchen while I baked, and started new traditions that I hope she will cherish.

My husband is a bit of a Grinch. Well, he isn’t mean about it; he just isn’t into Christmas. But I’ve even got him involved, by letting him participate in the things he likes (eating the food and decorating the tree, mainly) and taking care of the rest. (Yes, that even means buying gifts for his family…)

I have found so far that if I just ask for company while I’m doing something, he’s often willing to oblige – which is how I get through more tedious tasks, like present-wrapping.

Use your families strengths, and their preferences, to your advantage – it’ll help you get through the holiday season, and get some bonding time, to boot!


Motivation Monday

Running late on posting today, for a variety of reasons – including that the holiday season fast approaches!

So, in that spirit, I will leave you with the following for your motivation (if you’re like me, you’re going to need it) :

Our many different cultures notwithstanding, there’s something about the holidays that makes the planet communal. Even nations that do not celebrate Christmas can’t help but be caught up in the collective spirit of their neighbors, as twinkling lights dot the landscape and carols fill the air. It’s an inspiring time of the year. – Marlo Thomas

Self-Care Saturday: Turn off Work

This is a short but friendly reminder that there are in fact times that you are off the clock. For certain professions, that time might not exist in massive quantities… but it should exist. My mother is a nurse and even she manages some her-time.

I am by nature a work-a-holic, but last night, I decided this weekend, I was not checking email or working on proposals or anything this weekend. Friday was unexpectedly stressful at work, and at home, we were under a boil water advisory, which was challenging. So I had to let something go, at least for 48 hours or so…

And lucky me, I can rejoice in the knowledge that I only have 5 more days until my winter vacation.

Flashback Friday: Decorating with a Newborn

Baby Girl was two months old on Thanksgiving, 2015. She turned three months old on Boxing Day. So, she was tiny for that first Christmas. And therefore, adorable.

She also did not have the ability to get anywhere near the Christmas tree without one of us holding her, so we did not have to child-proof the tree!

Instead, we were able to thoroughly enjoy decorating, with her “directing” the decorating from the comfort and safety of her bassinet, which we positioned near the tree so she could watch us. We even got a great picture of it.

The other thing we did that Christmas, was start a tradition of buying her an ornament every year. My mom was the one who bought the first one, but we continued it last year and will continue it this year!

In fact, we’ll probably get her new ornament on date night this week!