We have our final (please please please) itinerary.
15 DEC: Brussels, Belgium
18 DEC: NoVA
11 JAN: Wisconsin (split between Madison, Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells)
18 JAN: Beijing
22 JAN: Kuala Lumpur
But in the meantime... it's the preChristmas madness going on. Of course, packing. Packing never ends. And with packing comes the "do every scrap of laundry" mantra that will kick into overdrive after the weekend. I hate hate hate leaving dirty clothes in hampers for weeks. Ew.
And then the house cleaning, which will be broken down into sections and days for next week as well, leaving the den for absolute last. The kitchen and dining area are easy, I don't do then. The kids' rooms, well, I'll close my eyes and shut the doors. Our bedroom will look 95% better once the suitcases are closed up for the last time. The play room... living room... cat room... all those places that don't get used (by adults) as regularly are the ones I can do early in the week.
But there's fun stuff too. Of course, Saint Nicholas Day is Thursday. The stockings have been hung since Saturday, I keep thinking I should draw a fireplace to put under them. The Christmas tree attained lights and decorations last night. I know when we return to the States for a tour we'll be in the market for a nice, new, prelit tree (if we don't break down and buy a live one the first year), because at this point with 4 kids and nearly 12 years of decorations just from the oldest... well, none of my ornaments even made it on the tree this year. We're down to 3 strings of white lights and one string of blue which suits me just fine especially since they're all 200v. I love the look of blue and white, but for some unknown reason 1/2 of one string of white lights blinks. Even the kids think that's a little obnoxious, either they all should blink or none. That's what you get from lights bought in Manila though.
So, Thursday in Saint Nicholas Day, which means Wednesday and Thursday will be baking days for us. Wednesday for the gingerbread loaves for all the teachers, the younger kids will also hand out candy canes to their classmates (thanks for sending them, mom!). Thursday will be cookie baking, gingersnaps and those awesome cookies with almond slivers in them that I've forgotten their name. I was thinking of speculaas too, but you can only bake so much at one time with 2 cookie sheets. I'm thinking I need more if we decide to do this baking thing more often. Anyway, if they turn out well we'll pass them around to our neighbors as well. Sharing is good, right?
Thursday night is the Elementary school winter concert. Last year's was quite "interesting" though of course I thought my kids did fantabulous. I'll be dragging Ian again this year. He's been working on this ploy of being sick, even to the point of taking a day off work last week and another yesterday. Yesterday's was an ear infection... yeah, in a 34 year old man! He's gone so far as to see the doc and get an antibiotic for it. Some people will do anything not to listen to 300 elementary kids sing and play the recorder. Of course, he was saying earlier that the band concert last week and even more the boys' "choir" from church on Sunday could make one's ears bleed... maybe there was something to that.
Friday Katherine attends the Middle School Snow Ball in the evening. 'Nough said.
Saturday looks like we'll be cramming in last minute shopping (the kids are shopping... really) between tennis and piano before 11:30 and the Madras Kids show at 1:30. Then again, looking at those times means probably not. Maybe we'll try to do it after, but going to Spencers Plaza on a Saturday afternoon sounds like a bad idea. Then there's the birthday party most likely in the late afternoon/early evening. The more I look at it, the more I'm thinking the kids are out of luck on this.
Sunday is church, hopefully they'll finally have gotten up the Advent candles at least. Followed by the Consulate Holiday party at the CGs residence. That was a lot of fun last year, it's open to families so the kids tear around decorating cookies, making crafts and stuffing themselves silly with sweets. Good times, good times.
Next week we'll face the class parties and final prep for the house (enough food for the cats? check. Enough litter? Um... and who is going to clean the 4 fish bowls we have? need to turn off, unplug and put away everything), but for now, just let me get through this week.