I don't do Yuletide; Actual Christmas has got enough bears for me. Yesterday we managed to take a picture, send it to CVS, and pick up the resulting cards (viva les internets), and I addressed them all. Now I must write thoughtful notes to the people I only talk to once a year at Christmas and mail them (including acquiring stamps). I am waiting on a package to arrive, then need to turn around and mail a package out, I hope tomorrow morning early. I pushed and got mr. flea to deal with his family's gifts on Saturday, so that is done. We attended the neighborhood Christmas party and exchanged small gifts with our neighbors. No more excess gifts cluttering up my kitchen counters.
The major issue is The Big Present for the kids. We have not acquired it/them, nor decided what it/they is/are going to be. And the "last day to buy!" emails I am getting this morning from all the big catalog/online shopping emporiums are not helping my stress levels. And mr. flea took Dillo to Target Sunday to pick out a present for Casper and everything was so picked over they couldn't find what they wanted. So I think we're going to run out to Toys R Us on our lunch hour today, and try to be done. But I'm terrified we won't find anything. The backup is Amazon with rush shipping this evening, if the toy store (and possibly Dick's sporting goods) don't work out. Curse you, evil craigslist piano seller! The down feeling of that is still hindering me in the picking of some other present.
Good things: We figured out how to video chat with mr. flea's sister, and the kids got to do that with their cousins, and it's easy (they are on macs as are we) and we can do it any time. I also tested gmail video chat with my sister, although her bandwidth or processor on the netbook can't really hack it. But we achieved proof of concept so Grandma can chat with the kids on Christmas.
We built amazing train bridges in the kitchen/dining room Sunday morning, and there was cooperation and creativity and fun.
I told the kids a version of the story in The Hobbit at bedtime Friday night, and we started reading it Saturday, and Casper ADORES it and begs for another chapter at odd moments. We're five chapters in, and finished Riddles in the Dark last night (Dillo listens some but does not fully have the attention span or sophistication necessary; he fell asleep during a very tense scene!). Casper was full of really probing and intelligent questions about Gollum and his background and history, and I explained some of the stuff we learn in LOTR, that's not covered in Hobbit. You can keep your Harry Potter - The Hobbit beats it all hollow as far as being a good read imo.
This morning the kids are at the YMCA for the first of three "dynamic days." This is Dillo's first time at the Y and he was not at all happy about the idea. He was scared and was able to tell me he was scared. His main concern seemed to be that he would have to be with the Chiefs and separated from his sister, but the dynamic days are small enough that they keep the ages all together. So after a lot of crying I got him dressed and we arrived, and lovely Miss Jacquie who used to work at his school was greeting everyone, and she was wonderful, and they're going bowling today, and after only about 5 minutes he went off with Casper who was teaching him how to dribble a basketball. So now my only big worry about the day is the possibility of him pooping in his pants, which is unfortunately quite likely, given that he did it several times yesterday. He has a packed change of clothes, so whatever happens, happens. Hopefully not in the swimming pool.