not feeling the holiday spirit

Depending on how you choose to count "days until" or "nth day of" any of the other count down stuff that's going on, we're now within 12 days of Christmas. For some reason that number and the phrase and everything seems really familiar, although I'm having trouble placing it. This means that if you're planning on ordering gifts for the holidays, it might be time to actually start thinking about getting around to it. And, if you are planning on heading out to your local store to find that hot ticket popular item, you might be surprised to find that it's starting to be slim pickings out there.

We don't watch tons of live TV in our house, and so, except for the car and jewelry commercials that run over and over and over during football games (really, we saw the same Dodge Challenger commercial four times in about six minutes yesterday), we don't see many ads. Without cable, we are also spared from the majority of commercials for kids toys as well. Brooklynn isn't really old enough to grasp the significance of the season and doesn't have a wish list. I expect that this might change by next year. Right now, she's pretty content to look through (and destroy) home furnishing and kitchen catalog that we get in the mail.

For some of you in the country, the past few days have brought some snow to make the dreams of a white Christmas a very good possibility. Not so much here. We're looking at a month without snow, highs still from the 40s to 60s, and just enough freezing temperatures to official make everything look dead and gloomy. Last year at this time, we had 29.5 inches to date. This year, 1.5 inches. I think it lasted for all of about 7 hours total.

This is in no way a request for the white stuff. Rhiannon has heard me often enough voicing my opinion that we should consider moving to a warmer climate that she may be starting to believe I have some personal role in the lack of wintry weather. And I don't mind that the shovels have remained stationary in the garage.

In the next couple weeks we will begin our usual 1500 mile road trip, except now we have someone along who would much rather be running around than sitting still. And she is more than willing to voice her displeasure at being denied the opportunity to do what she wants. Should be a fun time. So, if the lack of snow and harsh conditions mean we get to where we're going just a little quicker and if said conditions remain favorable until we can get back, it would be most appreciated.

Last year, we were delayed in returning by road closures. The first year we lived in our current house, we returned to find two feet of snow covering the driveway between us and garage and spent an hour shoveling just to get in to the house. Two years ago, we set out with the temperature gauge in double digit negative territory and it only got colder the farther north we went.

Perhaps we're due for some smooth sailing. Maybe someone out there knows the travails of traveling with a toddler and doesn't think we need any additional challenges. And it might not be a bad idea for me to take my own advice from the second paragraph of this piece and actually procure some gifts. Brooklynn informs me that it's bad form to show up for the holidays empty handed.

This, coming from a person who hasn't even asked for toys. Thank heavens for small miracles.