The Semester That Was

The end of the fall semester brought with it an odd mix of things.  On the academic front, I find myself alternating between checking the parent portal to monitor the oldest two’s progress through final exams and signing on to my university’s site to determine if professors have posted final grades for my own coursework.  At this point, the shape of the girls’ semester grades looks pretty clear, though a few teachers opted to wait until  the work day after New Year’s before completing their grading.  Even with that, I don’t think there’s much to worry about over the holidays, though DD2 experienced a rockier transition to high school than I would have liked.  I’m hoping the amount of effort she had to put in to pulling her grades up at the end of the semester taught her a few things about what it will take to make the kinds of grades she wants (and is fully capable of) in the future.

My hope, now that the semester is over, is that we can all take a deep breath and enjoy the holiday and each other for the next two weeks.  I took a big step toward getting into the holiday mindset by taking the day off from work yesterday.  With all the schools I work with on the holiday party autopilot mode and a remarkably clear calendar that seemed to shout, “Go out and do something more fun!” I decided to seize the opportunity to take care of Christmas preparations with the kids all still in school.

I do, however, have one hard and fast rule regarding the holiday season.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s I do not enter the prime shopping corridor of the city.  I used to make fun of my mother’s hatred for big box stores and other crowded shopping venues.  I will not comment on the fact that I have now obviously become my mother, at least to a degree.  I can handle the big box stores, but I hate the hassle of shopping in a crowded mall—the parking, the waiting in lines.

The solution?  Head to the older part of town.  The mall there may possess less flash, but the stores often surprise shoppers with better selection.  I managed to return Soccer Boy’s duplicate Christmas pajamas, find an additional present I needed for DD1, buy stocking stuffers, and grab some lunch all in the scope of an hour and a half. Even better, I realized I could take care of two other items on by to-do list right across the street–visiting the book store to purchase a last-minute addition to Adventure Guy’s gift and making a grocery store run for all the supplies I’d need for baking, gift-making, and feeding the family our traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas morning meals.

Driving home, I felt a sense of accomplishment and an excitement about the coming weeks I hadn’t mustered much so far this year.  We made a simple supper of chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; DD2 wrapped several gifts for me, and I finished addressing my holiday cards.

Today, I plan to make cranberry chutney to give to friends at work, and I may just fit in some cookie baking and candy making as well. I have a party to attend tonight.  And, by the end of the weekend, we might even have a Christmas tree. 

I think this holiday thing is going to come together after all!

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