Pictures in the Park pics are below.... As a whole, they weren't as good as usual. We weren't thrilled with the setting and more than anything it was the time of day. It was 1 pm and the sun was up. Cloudy days are so much better for photos than sun. We still got enough good ones for a good Christmas card, but our family photo has Mark & me in the background. The other group shots are horrible--shadows on our faces and the lighting is awful. But it's 20 minute session for $55, and we don't get to see the pics on his camera. So it's not a big deal. The pictures of the kids are what really count, and we got some good ones.
I'm like a lot of people right now--trying to keep my head above water this time of year. I can't help it. I am nowhere close to enjoying myself. We haven't even put up the Christmas tree or any decorations. Haven't had a free weekend yet. This coming weekend we should have time, in between seeing a play on Friday night (neither of the kids is in it but we support their acting studio and their friends even when they aren't in a show) and Sophie is getting together with her friends in the show again on Saturday night.
I have barely done any Christmas shopping, although I did get the kids (and Mark & me) each a Kindle Fire 6 when they were on sale on Thanksgiving day. It's our first tablets (if you don't count iPods or iPhones). Very excited for those. So I have a lot to do on that front. Thankfully we don't buy for grown ups or extended family--it's just my kids I have to buy for.
And we aren't doing a big holiday meal this year with anyone. Not even my mom. I'm not sure if we are doing any holiday anything with anyone other than going to church on Christmas eve. I think my mom is coming down to go to church with us, and we might go to dinner before hand, but that's still up in the air. Since Mark's sister moved out of town, Christmas on his side of the family has been nonexistent. But usually my mom does something. She just decided this year not to. So that simplifies things.
I have the whole week of Christmas off. We have the 24th, 25th, & 26th as paid holidays, and I'm taking 22nd & 23rd as vacation days. I'm very excited and can't wait. I'm working the week after; I'm off on the 31st at 4pm, off on the 1st, working that Saturday from 10-2. The kids are off school for two weeks. They'll either stay by themselves or Mark will be home with them some the week after Christmas.
Sophie had her one year check up with the surgeon on 12/1. Our original date was postponed because we had snow back in November, although on 12/1 I drove through 90 minutes of freezing rain in Illinois. The surgeon said the fusion looks great--it's 90% fused (which is different than what he said 6 months ago... he said it would only be at 60% or something at this point, but I'll take 90%). She basically can do whatever she wants except full bends and twists at the waist and heavy overhead pulling or high impact sports (which she doesn't do anyway). But if she played soccer, she could be playing full games at this point. So all in all she's doing great.
Luke is still playing his ukulele. He's learning to play Yellow Submarine, which is a tough piece. He does better when he's challenged so it's a good one for him; he doesn't practice when he's bored. His acting & voice classes (and all the other acting, dance, and voice classes) are putting on a holiday show the weekend after next. I can't wait to see him perform on stage with his class. He can be stage shy I hope he does well out there.
We have all (knock wood) stayed relatively healthy so far this winter, so as long as we can keep up that streak, I think I can handle this madness.
I had another appointment with my therapist last week. I needed it! She's brilliant. Which is good and bad. I couldn't get another appointment until early February! But that's OK. I usually see her exactly when I need her.