Right now there is a whole lot of holiday-ing going on here.  And work… a lot of work too.  I’m trying to find the balance, it’s not easy some days.  Holidays are always busy at a homeless shelter with getting everyone “adopted” for Christmas but add on it’s year end, there are a lot of changes coming to the tax codes, year end appeals have to go out, we’ve had several pop-up events and now we’re in an online contest for $50K… it makes it even busier.  Last week was six days in the office for a total of 54 hours.  Not to mention all the answering emails after I got home and finishing up writing projects, proofing things, etc.  I love my job and that makes it easier but I also have Robert to think of.  Jim and I do a pretty good job of divide and conquer to make sure he doesn’t miss out on anything.  He actually gets to do a heck of a lot more than most kids his age.  I am lucky that Jim has been in town all month.  He’s in town again next week and then gone for a week which is taking some juggling and planning to make sure everything goes smoothly.  I try to keep Saturday for family time so that we can be guaranteed a full day.  If I need to go to the office over the weekend I try to go after church on Sunday.

One thing about having a job you know is crazy in December, you get a lot of things done earlier at home in anticipation of not having time later.

The tree is up, 95% of the presents are bought, everything that we have so far is wrapped and ready to go.

TreeTree Gifts

To get all this done has taken a ton of teamwork with Jim and a good amount of help from the internet.  What did my parents do without Amazon???  So nice to be able to log on for a few minutes, click a few buttons and poof.. a package magically appears two days later.

We did take a Friday night a few weeks ago to head to Oak Park Mall for three hours of power shopping.  We had our game plan and took turns entertaining Robert while the other shopped.  While Robert and I were waiting for Jim in Macy’s I spotted a red Ninjago hoodie.  I knew immediately Robert would love it.  It was on sale and I had an extra 25% off so I decided to go ahead and let him get it.  The rest of the night this cute little Ninjago was spotted all over the mall.


We’ve managed to visit the Fairy Princess, a Kansas City tradition.
Fairy Princess Crop

And were at Crown Center in time to see Santa’s arrival.


We’ve made our first batch of Christmas cookies and candy.

Cookie Mixing

Cookie Making
cookie rolling
Cookie Sprinkles

We’ve taken a few Saturday nights and piled into the back of the car with a blanket and hot chocolate and headed out to see Christmas lights.
Lights 1
Plaza Lights 1
Plaza Lights

We’ve adopted three children through the church and one family through my job and are trying to teach Robert it is better to give than to receive.  He seems to be getting it.  One night he played Santa for his stuffed animals.  He is also very proud of the gifts he purchased for Jim and I and loves to point them out under the tree.  Surprisingly, he’s left all the presents for him alone.
Bear Santa

We took a Saturday afternoon to go see Grandma because she wanted to take Robert to her favorite bakery for some ice cream.  It’s so great to see her doing so well after she was so sick at this time last year.  I honestly thought last Christmas was going to be the last one we had together.  Her original tumors have all shrunk and show no signs of cancer activity.  We did have a new, smaller tumor come up earlier this year but they really think the intense radiation took care of them.  It will be April before she will be non-radioactive so we can check but her doctor’s were happy at her last check up.  She has even volunteered to keep Robert for a few days next week while Jim is out of town so if I get stuck at work I’m not worried about being able to get to the preschool to pick him up.

Mom and Robert

We’ve managed to get in a few naps here and there….
… the dog is not allowed on the couch but I just couldn’t make her move.  She and Robert are quite the dynamic duo.
But in the midst of all the craziness comes a day like last Friday.  I had already put in 40 hours… include 12.5 on Thursday when I peeled myself out of bed Friday morning.  Jim was headed to Wichita three hours away to give a lecture at a trade show.  I was going to have another 12+ hour day so we were having to make sure we had someone to watch Robert (Miss Judy to the rescue!)  It was just hectic and the whole morning had felt rushed.

I had to go to the office and set up the audio/visual stuff for the board meeting and then get to the TV studio.  The local live am show has a Friday segment called “Art Attack” where an artist has approximately 52 minutes to take a blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece.  The art is then donated to a local non-profit.  My organization was chosen because we had an event that night and would be able to silent auction the piece at the event.  I hate being on TV.  I always think I look and sound dorky.  I’m great behind the scenes.  I’m good at sending out press releases and booking appearances.  Unfortunately, I was the only one available Friday.  So off to the TV station I went.  When I came in I noticed a lot of people talking to one of the guys in the lobby.  After listening for a few minutes I figured out it was local rapper Tech N9ne.  My nephew LOVES Tech N9ne.  I quickly asked for a picture before I had to be taken back into the studio.


I texted my nephew to let him know about my encounter.  He was excited and asked if I could get an autograph.  I told him I hadn’t had a chance and he understood.  Turns out, the artist with Tech N9ne knew the painter I was there to watch and when they came back to say hello I took a chance and asked for an autograph.  Of course, the only thing I had was a business card and a ball point pen.  I found Tech N9ne to be incredibly gracious and a really nice person.  Texted my nephew back about the autograph and he was thrilled.Tech Autograph

So, I had an hour in a pretty much deserted studio to sit and watch John Bukaty take a large red canvas and create  masterpiece.  It was exactly what I needed Friday morning.  It was so peaceful and such an honor to watch someone with so much talent just create.  I am always in awe of creative people since creative talent completely passed me over.

Bukaty painting

At the end of the show.. this is what he had painted.

Bukaty with painting

I took it to the event that night and couldn’t bear to let it go.  So I was the highest bidder.  Usually I would discuss a big purchase like this before hand with Jim but there wasn’t time.  Luckily when I got home he loved it as much as I did.  It’s large but I think we found the perfect wall for it.

Bukaty on wall


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