A Week From Now, It’ll be the Third Day of Advent

The holidays haven’t really started and I’m already looking at my calendar for the next six weeks or so and going “whoa…..”. A few things were my mind earlier today:

1) making sure we have the assorted “equipment” for the holidays. our Christmas boxes are at the very back of our P.O.D and BgK and I have voted not to unpack 12 feet worth of stuff to get to it.

2) making sure we have a day set aside for Jolly Days, Celebration Crossing, see the Nutcracker, drive around the Circle of  Lights, drive up to Reynolds, walk through Zoo Lights and a family trip to see Jingle Rails. Does your family make it to all of the big attractions in your area every year? Do hit the same ones over and over, or pick different ones to try? There are  so many events ,and they are all so much fun…..but doing it all won’t be fun, it will be exhausting a stressful. But how to pick?

3) making my shopping list and checking it twice. This year I’m using an Android App called Gift Pony on my loaner Samsung Fascinate. (Why do I have a loaner phone? Read about how I got the name “Princess Two Phones” over at Persephone) It tracks all the people and all the gifts (and where they are hidden, and what they cost, and if I have it in my possession, etc) and I’m hoping it will help keep the hunting and gathering under control.

4) making the whole thing meaningful for my family.

Enter the little booklet I bought today while at the local Catholic bookstore- Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family read it, and enjoy the season of Advent. While it focuses on a few Catholic specifics, I *think* any religion which observes Advent will find some helpful tips and inspiration.

After reading through this booklet (while dinner was baking, it’s a quick read), I feel better about all of the above. In a later chapter, Basi suggests writing out all of the activities you’re planning for the month and making them part of daily slips on your Advent calendar. I have a plan for an Advent calendar (paper chain), and I think we are going to do some prep work tomorrow while we wait for the Uverse guy to install our order. I’m going to plug each day into a special color on the Google calendar BgK and I share, and with any luck, the priority activities (Jolly Days, Jingle Rails, making ornaments for our real tree, getting gifts to the St. Vincent DePaul Christmas Store, and baking cookies) will all happen at a manageable pace.

Manageable pace ,manageable pace…….I’m taking any and all tips on how to keep it all at a manageable pace…..

Also, MaM asked Santa for a PogoStick for Christmas. Feel free to weigh in on that as well….

Choosing the Right College: How on Earth Did That Happen?

Today while on a walk with a girlfriend, the subject of choosing colleges came up in the conversation. And it was decided between the two of us that wow, that’s a big life decision you’re making at the age of seventeen or so.

I decided early on in the college searching process that I wanted to go to a small college. The idea that Indiana University had the same number of students as the entire population of my hometown was overwhelming to me. I’m sure my parents had a bit of a heart attack as brochures came in for schools that were twice the amount of in-state tuition, but for the most part, they held their tongue.

They drove me all over the midwest — to Beloit College in Wisconsin, to Kalamazoo College in Michigan, to St. Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute. I’m wondering if senior vists are cut down today by the advent of the Internet. Had my mom seen the condition of St. Joseph’s College in Renselessar on the internet, she would have saved the gas money.

My girlfriend laughed when I told her how I chose Marian — I had a stack of applications and I completed Marian’s application first because it didn’t require an essay. I mailed it in first, and had every intention of getting started the essays required for all of the other schools. Then I got busy being yearbook editor and stage manager and you know, being a senior in high school.

And I got accepted into Marian with a great financial aid package before I ever even started writing a rough draft of an essay for any of those other schools.I visited one more time, thought it was good and made the decision to attend. I then got back to being a senior in high school.

As it turned out, I made life long friends, got a solid education, and developed a fondness for the city my family now calls home……..but conversations like today sometimes make me wonder what would have happened if I had even just applied to one more school.

And I wonder if I will be able to give MaM and Junior the wide berth my parents’ did when it came to choosing a school. I mean sure, it was my education, but it was their tuition money. Years later my mom told me she was incredibly relieved that I chose Marian over all the other schools we’d visited — it was Catholic, it was small, it was affordable w/ financial aid, and it was a drivable distance from home. As I type this, I realize maybe once they figured out that I was happy with Marian, they’d just keep their mouths shut and thank their lucky stars.

How did you choose your school? Was it a process? Were your parents very involved? Was the internet involved in your college search at all (it wasn’t in mine)?

So, About Those Glasses

At the very beginning of fall break, I made an appointment to get MaM’s eyes checked. Not because she was having vision problems, but because it occurred to me that she hadn’t been to the eye doctor since she was three.

On the way there, she was so excited about getting glasses she could hardly stand it. I gently told her that maybe she wouldn’t need glasses, but if she really wanted them, we could get her a pair of fashion glasses. Explaining the difference between prescription and fashion glasses to a five year old is not for the weak of heart, FYI.

On the way into the office, I reminded MaM to cooperate and answer honestly to the doctor’s questions (did she even know how or why she would need glasses? I have no idea). She did the diagnostic tests with the tech, even the puff of air (which makes me cringe) with no problem.

MaM warmed up to the doc quickly, and soon she was reading the eye chart.

E!

A C D R F P

Q W T X Y U

“What’s the next line?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t see it.”

*I BIT MY TONGUE*

How could she not see it? The letters were still huge at this point!

As the exam proceeded, there were other points where MaM simply answered, “I can’t see it.”  And I began to wonder — did she really need glasses or did she really want glasses? Could she know at five how to be so convincing that she would end up with a pair of glasses at the end of the day??

As the exam concluded, the doctor said that she needed glasses. My response? “You know, um, she really wanted glasses coming in today.” *wink*wink* (read: Is my kid faking this?)

Her answer? “Based on the diagnostics and what we’ve done, I’ve cross checked several things –she is near-sighted and should wear her glasses all the time at school.” *wink*wink* (read: Lady, your kid didn’t fake this)

So MaM picked out the most perfect pair of pink glasses, and has been wearing them ever since. A kindergartener with glasses! Who would have thought??

I remember getting glasses in second grade. How about you???