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Guess whose kids went back to school today?

With these two handfuls starting a new school year, my youngest child in preschool three days a week (too shy for the group photo above), and some long overdue Christmas housecleaning duties now complete (keep reading), I am once again able to devote some time, energy, and/or wit to the yuleblog.

My last full entry here was back in February. Since that time, I have:

  • Started a new job
  • Helped my wife with her new career change
  • Continued my stay-at-home dad duties
  • Went on several extended family vacations while we could afford it
  • Help my wife's family when my mother-in-law experienced a stroke (she's 90% recovered thankfully)
  • Helped my son Alex celebrate his first Communion and all the brouhaha that goes with it
  • Helped my two oldest kids with their basketball / cheerleading / baseball / T-ball schedules
  • Helped build & paint several theater sets for a local theater
  • Created sound designs for several plays at the aforementioned local theater
  • Shuttle kids back & forth to their practices, games, and various zoo camps all summer
  • Travelled twice to Wrigley Field to watch my beloved Chicago Cubs

Normally, any free time I have inbetween all the daily routines of my life are spent here at the yuleblog. However, I had neglected my personal Christmas music collection far too long. So I spent my free time this summer:

  • Burning nearly 150 downloaded Christmas albums to CD dating back to 2006 (thanks to the King and everyone at FaLaLaLaLa, Ernie (not Bert), and the entire sharity network of love!)
  • Clearing my hard drive of nearly 2000 Christmas MP3s dating back to 2005 (34 discs total - wow!)
  • Cataloguing all the above mentioned discs into my master Christmas spreadsheet
  • Notating all the CDs I haven't reviewed here at the yuleblog (yet)
  • Organizing my Christmas albums and other Christmas material into one area of my basement for easy access
  • Starting to transfer a box of 50+ albums for the 2008 holiday sharity season (35 down, 15 to go)
  • Researching several libraries in two states for several upcoming yuleblog entries in 2008
  • Helping Mitchell Kezin by contributing some Christmas material for his "Jingle Bell Rocks" documentary
  • Compiling new material for my own 2008 Christmas comp for family & friends

Typing all that out, I wonder how I survived it all...

It's a strange feeling knowing that there is NOTHING on the "to-do" Christmas list. I spent the greater part of last week looking back at all of these accomplishments - both family & Christmas related - and reviewing all of my checklists thinking I had forgotten something. Alas, the cupboard is bare and I have time to type.

My first order of business will be answering the dozens of comments left for me here at the yuleblog in my absence. I will be answering those over the next day or two. After that, I can pickup where I left off in February reviewing Christmas CDs I received as gifts last December... yeah, it's been that long! Sad, really.

This house is quiet. Too quiet...