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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 15 ~ December 16, 2008
~ Harbor Seals and Christmas Decorations

Countdown time is officially on! It's December 15th and with ten days till Christmas, I am sitting down and checking my list, I should say "lists" and am checking them three or four times, not just twice!

We finally managed to get our Christmas tree up and decorated last week. My husband went and picked it out himself at 7 AM last week on the rainiest, windiest day we've had in ages. Hence, the tree that came home isn't exactly what he thought he picked out. I'm afraid the Butlers have their very first Charlie Brown tree! You should hear the kids! Ha ha Nonetheless, it's still a pretty tree and our 2 million decorations has really brought it to life! I've had to accept the fact that this Christmas is going to be quite different than any we've had in a long while. With my new business taking nearly every waking minute of my days, decorating for the holidays is the thing that has unfortunately had to slide a bit. The house is very festive at the moment, however, but I look around and feel a tad guilty at how quickly we "threw it" all together. With 8 kids, however, I'm very grateful and very realistic that life happens to us sometimes, we don't necessarily happen to life! So the show must go on . . . minus my best decorating efforts and the perfect tree!

Save the Bay SealsWe have a new family outing that we've become quite fond of the past few months. We visit a place in our town called Rome Point. It's at the tip of our bay and it is basically a 3-mile nature walk that leads to the mouth of Narragansett Bay. The neat thing is that during the winter, harbor seals migrate here from Canada and stay from November till late April. They are just fascinating to watch and if you time it right, you can see them lying right on the rocky shoreline and get close up pictures.

My kids are absolutely nuts about them! It's been a great way to get everyone out and moving during the colder weeks. We haven't had a real cold spell to speak of, so we'll see how we manage if we get some significant snow or some really frigid weather. Here we are on December 15th with temps in the mid 60's! It doesn't feel like the holidays--that's for sure.

Our last-minute shopping continues. I send my husband off each day with a new list, and I have to give him a huge round of applause. He's coming through with flying colors and is even grabbing things he sees that are not on the list that he thinks the kids might enjoy! This is the man who bought me a blender on one of our first anniversaries! Boy, how things have changed! I truly couldn't have done it this year without him. And, this way, I don't have to hide any bills come January, as he's in on the spending right from the get go! Ha ha (Should've done this years ago!!)

My biggest job presently is figuring out what to give the teachers this year. I have 27 gifts to buy for all our teachers, bus drivers, etc. I try to be creative each year, but this year, my new business is zapping my creativity gene! One idea I had was to create "Teacher Survival Stockings" and fill stockings with things that teachers both need in the classroom and could use for "quick pick me ups" during the day. How does that sound? If I do that, I'd better get busy tomorrow, as that is a full-time job just honoring that part of my gift list. I tell you, though, teachers are so very important, as are our bus drivers. They are like family and never get enough credit for all their hard work and dedication. Remind me of this, please, when I'm stuffing the 23rd stocking and am ready to lose my mind! Ha ha

No matter how busy and crazy this time of year can get, I still love it! The sounds, the smells, the festive lights and music of the season and best of all seeing how excited my kids get around this time of year really makes it all worth while!

I hope all of you are enjoying the season. Each year I promise myself I will stop some evening and just sit in darkness by the tree and just quietly enjoy the Christmas lights. Maybe this will be the year! I hope so!

Stay well-rested and healthy everyone! Can't wait to talk with you next week, when the big day will be moments away!

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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