Santa Tracker, because we've got the Peter D. Tracker in high gear. We aren't counting, but according to the Dulles website, his flight is scheduled to land in 6 hours and 32 minutes. While for the most part, the time has been flying, I can't admit that the past few days have had the patience meter at an all time low (sorry, kids) and the stress level a bit higher.
I was even a bit worried that perhaps that might lead to that eternal problem of the days dragging immediately prior to a loved one's arrival. However, I forgot that we had not one, but TWO Christmas parties today and that is in addition to all of the other insanity. We have been so crazy lately, that I even let the girls each beg out of an activity on Sunday. Sometimes I just can't do the work of two parents. Today, however, was not too shabby.
We started off with Nick's Montessori Christmas party. Crafts, a holiday puppet show (apparently last year's recycling puppet show, which I loved, was not seasonal enough), a sing-a-long (yes, the boy sang), more Christmas cookies than you can shake a stick at AND...a visit from the big man himself. Yes, Santa Claus.
Thinking about it....
Combination of "No, way" and the *look* I get for taking a third photo. (Yes, this is my favorite :-)
There has been a lot of introspection at our house this year about Santa, as well as baby Jesus. Are they real? Are they spirits? Even St. Nicholas was not left out of the discussion and while we have not come to a definite conclusion, suffice it to say, Nicholas thinks deeply on these matters...and I find that so heartwarming.
Now, as for Santa...while we normally discuss him, Nicholas has had zero (capital Z) interest visiting with him in the past. We did not push him as we figured that either it would interest him at some point, or we would save a boatload taking *Santa* photos (yes, with someone else's kid) from 40 feet away. Today I asked off hand if he wanted to see him and imagine my shock when he said, "Yes."
Nick decided that he did not want to sit on his lap, simply stand within the vicinity (so I could snap a photo) and close enough so Santa could hand him his treat. He took the vicinity part very seriously and was quite literally an arm's length away from the mythical creature. He took the gift, made no mention of desires and allowed me 3 photos.
Yet there was more to come for the day. Despite the fact that I am a bit, well, exhausted (not sure that is strong enough), we had yet another holiday party. We had once again been invited to the annual Unaccompanied Tour party at the State Department. It is always held in the Ben Franklin room, with sweet treats galore and a visit from the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Nick and Kelsey love to go each year, if for nothing else, to clean out (I mean, peruse) the candy bar and take a glance at the Washington Monument (spectacular views from the balcony).
Like Halloween in December....
He never tires of this view...
We took our time today, sampling the treats (and creating *care packages* for our loved ones overseas/on a plane home), skipping the photo booth (for the time being) and enjoying the brisk weather and amazing views outside. As we came back inside for a warm-up, we were led into the Ben Franklin Room for the show.
I could tell there was a buzz in the air. There was a brief welcome and with little to no ado, the musical act was introduced. Who was it? Oh, just...James Taylor, his wife, and Owen Young, his accompanying cellist. Get out, right?
Yes, this UT Holiday Party quite literally rocked.
Seriously. The kids were maybe 8 feet from him and sat there entranced for the entire mini concert of 5 songs. It was amazing, beautiful and uplifting. I think most of us forgot why were were there for a minute...mostly because at least a few of us were thinking, "Hello, James Taylor
! A private concert with James Taylor!!"
My kids...James Taylor...my kids completely, utterly and totally captivated by James Taylor.
We did not end up getting to hear Secretary Clinton speak, but certainly understandable given the situation. Her thoughts were read by Pat Kennedy, as he spoke following our mini-concert. And after?
Kelsey created mine and surprised me with a delightfully decorated red velvet cupcake.
Well, there was cupcake decorating courtesy of Charm City Cupcakes , a photo booth (the aforementioned that Nick was determined to avoid....), more yummy treats and, duh, friends! My kids and I were thrilled that Jill and her kids were there, I had a chance to visit with my friend, Jen (and meet her gorgeous girls) and met my friend Hannah's husband. Sadly, I have yet to meet Hannah in person, but hopefully we will rectify that situation soon...perhaps with barbeque and a lot of Pancho's?
The photo booth photos...ignore the tired looking lady behind the curtain!
All in all, a supremely good day...one that left me a little tired, but in a good way...because in fewer than 6 hours, I will gladly be turning over the dishwashing, toilet cleaning and general household management to someone who I have a feeling will be very, very happy to *only* do that for the next few weeks.
But really...I'm still stuck on a private concert with James Taylor...a-freaking-mazing! Maybe I'll have a listen to my complimentary cd (and did I mention the iTunes gift card?) while I'm spending the next few weeks in my recliner....