January 7th, 2008
by Terri Libenson
Itâ€™s been a hectic season. One nice thing: Hanukkah came early this year, so I was able to do most of the family
shopping before the mad rush. The cartoon character fared slightly differently:
Against better judgment, I bought my kids a big-ticket â€œeducationalâ€ toyâ€¦one of those â€œSmart Globesâ€ that you can update with online information. Normally the girls ignore the educational stuff, but I learned a trickâ€¦I didnâ€™t force the toy on them but kept it sitting on our family room table like an odd little centerpiece. After a few days they began gravitating toward it. Once Mollie found the country named after her (â€œMaliâ€â€¦close enough), she was hooked.
Meanwhile, I alsoÂ gave themÂ some much-desired Webkinz.Â While the globe was initially ignored, they were comforted by toys they really wanted. And never underestimate the lure of gift boxesâ€¦
Most of â€œourâ€ family vacation (mine was about a day and a half long) was spent relaxing at home. At one point I became stir-crazy and forced an afternoon of culture onto my husband and kids. I dragged them semi-enthusiastically through the History Museum and then downright comatose through an Impressionism exhibit at the art museum. I think that gave them their fill for the year.
We also joined some other families at an indoor water park during a fun Xmas Day (yes, there actually is something else to do besides eat Chinese food) and spent another day volunteering at our synagogue. We helped make soup packages, artwork for hospice folk, and â€“ I love this â€“ â€œgoody bagsâ€ for dogs and cats in animal shelters. Because Iâ€™m such a pack rat, the day inspired me to sort through the girlsâ€™ vast artwork collection and see about donating some to a kidsâ€™ hospital ward.
Yep, it was a jam-packed December-slash-early-January. Most of the time I was working, but it felt good to sleep in a little and enjoy the freedom of not having to coax the kids onto the bus or get them to do homework. A little relief goes a long way!
As for my New Yearâ€™s resolution (by the way, this was also an unmet resolution for â€™07), Iâ€™m going to do my darnest to start earning myself some time off by working ahead. Believe it or not (if youâ€™re a cartoonist you can believe it), this is an amazing feat. My initial cartoon launch was supposed to be Motherâ€™s Day, 2006. It was pushed up to March, and what was supposed to be nice extra padding of a two-month lead forced me to barely meet my deadlines. Iâ€™ve never quite caught up and have been lucky so far not to have any emergency setbacks (oh yeahâ€¦I just jinxed myself).
Anyway, if I make it a goal of gaining two days each month, it is possible I could earn some substantial emergency/sick (me or kids) /vacation/personal/sanity/need to watch an 8-hour â€œScrubsâ€ marathonâ€¦ time. Iâ€™ll let you know how it goes.
Happy New Year!
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