franklyStein editors blog

FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband and four children.

Christmas is approaching like a Maglev train this year, and I'm feeling totally unprepared.

It was a nearly a week into December when I finally had a chance to pull out the Advent wreath, and I'm still down a few purple candles. Shopping has been haphazard at best, and I've barely started the decorating.

The gifts I have purchased have been the result of late night shopping online. I've been madly surfing the web trying to find what everyone wants, as well as the perfect gift for those who don't know what they want. Somehow, it's been more exhausting than hours of wandering the mall. The thing is, I like the mall. I like Christmas music, decorations and harried shoppers. I especially like the hunt. But there's something about hunting for gifts hunched over a computer that feels a little Bob Cratchity.

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Thanksgiving weekend was our first sports-free weekend since August so we packed in several months worth of family activities. Read on for a little snapshott glance at our "weekend off."

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After whining last week about how much time my kids take up, I thought this would be a good week to reflect on the many blessings that my kids bring into my life.

Here are a few of the things that have been touching my heart lately.

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As I write this blog, I'm sitting in the orthodontist office while they work on my daughter's braces. The Wi-Fi here is not working, and I have a lot of work to catch up on but there's little that can be done. That's just the life of a working mom of four.

I've been cognizant lately of just how much time my kids actually take up. I'm lucky enough to work just 25 hours a week and only two days at the office. The other days, I try and squeeze my work in around the kids. That means I work at night. I work at the orthodontist. I work in the carpool line. I work while I eat lunch and sometimes while I'm making dinner. Seems like I'm working all the time. But I'm not really.

Because most of the time, I'm doing all the things a parent does but never really thinks about. Like this orthodontist appointment that I thought would take a half hour but is now going on two hours. Then there are the other niggly things that have been eating up my up time lately such as:

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