Warmth

A month in review:

1. I am going on a trip to Paris over my Spring Break with my Grandma! I have been taking a French class for the last couple of months and it has been amazing. I am so excited!!!

Paris!

2. Our sweet Lily passed away after 14 years of unconditional love and is now resting in peace. She was such a beautiful princess and is so missed, but she is in a better place. I imagine that she has found the biggest stick in heaven and is playing keep away in the greenest sunniest grassy meadow. Rest in peace, sweet Lily. I love you!

Sweet Lily

3. These tulips helped bring hints of spring into our home. It feels like sunshine in a jar!

Tulips!

4. And we have some coming up outside the door, along with some hyacinths!

Planties!

5. Planning a wedding with this handsome man has been the best adventure of my life! I can hardly wait to be married to him.

My handsome fiancé

6. Also, these two cuties drove down from Michigan to visit us and the ever so talented Leigh took our engagement photos! Hooray! It was so wonderful having you two visit. Can’t wait to see you again soon!

These cuties

7. Things are starting to bloom ’round these parts! It makes me giddy every time I see them. Ahh spring! How I’ve missed you.

Crocuses!

8. Also, ice cream is the bees’ knees. Especially on warm, sunny days.

Chocolate on chocolate

9. Most especially ice cream eaten with this handsome fella.

Handsome fiancé

10. And spring warmth means Wedge weather! ‘Nuff said.

Wedge weather

My life juggling has gone to a new level – full-time job, planning a wedding, yoga, French class, Spanish class, trip to Paris, trip to Spain, and all of those other sundry life delights. Somehow it all feels just perfect. This year is full of so many blessings. And I am so happy!

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Flowers for February

Sometimes I just feel like flowers are so perfect! It is totally reasonable to pick up a bouquet at Trader Joe’s. And it is amazing what it does for my mood and spirit. I love flowers! And it’s already February! So that’s what I’m celebrating today. Flower and February!

Flowers for February

Peace

Started this year baking cookies and sipping bubbly, at home with my sweetheart enjoying the peace and quiet. The infrequent boom of fireworks barely audible in the distance. There was no big countdown, mostly because we missed it amidst the oven timers and the cork hitting the ceiling mere moments before midnight. Suddenly it was tomorrow and the New Year and there we were, standing in the kitchen with glasses of bubbly, wishing each other Happy New Year and it was peaceful and perfect.

As we yawned and stretched this morning, letting the sunshine bring us into wakefulness, there was a cozy blanket of calm and peace that seemed to envelope our corner of the universe. This year promises to be exciting and challenging, joyous and full of new things. I hope that the sense of peace and calm we felt today carries through this year and that in times of stress and commotion we can be reminded to snuggle up under its cozy blanket.

This sweet goat was snoozing away in the feed bucket amidst all the children and chickens running around on the farm at the Biltmore today.

Snoozing Goat

Carry this peace and calm, tuck it in your heart for always.

Reflections on 2013

What a year this has been!

Belated Christmas with Dad and Dean in January. My mom got a job teaching in Kuwait. Scott graduated from Warren Wilson. We went on a road trip to New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. I taught summer camps. Spent a lot of time on I-40 between Asheville and Carrboro. Helped my mom sort through her house and get it ready to sell. Started my second year of teaching preschool with the best teachers and kids. My mom moved to Kuwait. Went to three weddings. Spent the first Christmas of my life very far away from all of my family (except Scott). And GOT ENGAGED!!!

I could go through and be all sappy and post a bazillion pictures, but I really just wanted to think about what a crazy wonderful year this has been. And I am already thinking about all the craziness that the New Year will be! BRING IT ON 2014!!!

We’re starting a new tradition of making Peanut Butter Blossoms on New Year’s Eve and drinking bubbly! Here we go!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

In Which it is 60 Degrees on Winter Solstice

So it’s not so cold outside right now … but I’m enjoying winter break! And reminding myself that it usually gets colder in January ’round these parts. Also, I love saying, “’round these parts.”

I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with this here blog. And every time I post I think, “Here we go! I can do this! I’ll definitely post again soon.” And then a month goes by. This past month has absolutely FLOWN by. I mean it. It’s been crazy! My Dad and Parker and Dean came up at various times around Thanksgiving, which was wonderful, and then it’s as though the weeks since then have passed by at warp speed. I’m pretty sure I’ve only blinked once and it’s already Christmas! In all honesty, I moved on to Christmas mid-November, so it’s been a long time coming. But suddenly it IS Christmas and it doesn’t quite feel like it yet. I have great faith that it will start to feel like it in the next couple of days, but today, on this balmy Winter Solstice, I’m here to say that it does not feel like winter.

Advent Calendar

Wreath

Handknit Edamame Ornament

I made this knit edamame ornament for my Secret Santa!

Decorations

Tiny Succulents!

Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church

Christmas Cards!

Grandpa's Santa Suspenders

Home Grown Sign

Biltmore Estate

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Beautiful Himalayan Salt Lamp that I got as a gift from one of my munchkins!

Tiny Christmas Tree

Life has been full of Christmas songs and munchkins wearing cute Christmas outfits and art projects and chaos. It was a fun month, which is probably why it went by so quickly. At work we had a fun week of Secret Santa culminating in a delicious holiday staff dinner where we all guessed who was giving us our gifts! Always a good time. I was so proud of the edamame ornament that I knit for my Secret Santa and was thrilled by the beautiful gifts I received – one of them was the tiny succulents pictured above. Then it was full steam ahead through the rest of the days before winter break. Our school Holiday Performance was a blast! It’s destined to be adorable and hilarious when tiny munchkins sing songs for their families, and the performance did not disappoint. I’ve used my voice so much that I’m pretty sure I’ve had laryngitis for the past week – which I learned mostly means I’ve thoroughly worn out my voice and will get it back soon. Google says lots of fluids and rest, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Here’s to hoping it comes back very soon! If you know me at all you know that I am not a particularly quiet person, so to have no voice is a challenge. It’s really put a damper on my daily musical repertoire in the car. Nonetheless, winter break has started out just marvelously with Christmas cards being sent out, a very much-needed yoga practice, and some rest and relaxation.

We have a lovely wreath on our front door, which makes me smile every time I pull up. There are decorations on all of the apartments in our little complex, which makes me insanely happy. And our tiny tree is decorated and glows whenever we’re home – we have way more ornaments than space on the tree, but I consider it a personal challenge to fit them all in. I love looking at each one and thinking about all the memories I have of past Christmases.

Christmas is going to be very different this year. Perhaps that’s why it’s not quite feeling like Christmas yet. My brother is on his way to Prague, as I type these very words, to meet up with my Mom for the holiday. I had the opportunity to go but was torn for spending time with Scott and feeling like it would be a very rushed trip for me with a short break. (Mom and I are planning a trip to Spain in June instead!) And my Dad and Dean are in Hawaii for the second year in a row for Christmas. Honestly, it opened things up a bit on our end for Christmas plans, so that’s the silver lining. Biltmore on Christmas morning and New-England-bound on Christmas night!

I am grateful this year for the gift of being with family and for this incredible life! Merry Christmas y’all!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The weather has been up and down lately – mid-60s earlier this week and mid-30s today! Fall has been crazy busy … still.

Samantha came up for a glorious weekend of adventures and indulgence. We ate good food, drank good beer and wine, and had a wonderful leisurely time together. Thanks for coming Samantha! We loved having you here!

Biltmore Winery

Wine Tasting

Christmas Decorations at Biltmore

And now, a few photos from life lately. I got the most terrific package in the mail this week from Leigh! Inside was the loveliest honey pot! And every time I look at it makes me think of Leigh and Winnie the Pooh. Thanks Leigh! Working on a letter soon.

Love from Michigan

Honey Pot from Leigh!

Went for a lovely walk at the Biltmore yesterday afternoon. The air was crisp, the views were beautiful, and it was nice to get outside. For some reason we are much more apt to bundle up and go for a walk this time of year than during the summer. It can definitely get cold, but goodness it feels great to get outside when the air is crisp.

Shadows at Biltmore

Biltmore House

Then we found ourselves at Home Depot where we saw this cheery little fellow nestled in the Christmas Tree display. Pretty cute!

Christmas Flamingo

Finally went to Highland Brewing Company for the first time yesterday too! We both got a pint of Cold Mountain – yum!

Highland Cold Mountain

I’ve been slowly working on this cable-licious cowl – it’s so meditative for me to knit and it’s so satisfying to make something so scrumptious and snuggly. I used a gift certificate and got myself some rather decadent yarn made from baby alpaca fleece (thanks Janet and Karl!!!) and I can’t wait to finish this and wear it all the time. And yet, at the same time, the process of knitting is so methodical and peaceful that I just want to keep working on it until I come up with another project. The trials and tribulations of a knitter.

Cables

In other new, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, but I’ve completely moved on to Christmas already. This is very uncharacteristic of me – usually I am rather militant about not doing Christmas things until after Thanksgiving. Not this year! I decided it was arbitrary to wait and that if it makes me happy then I should just do it. Luckily Scott is on the same page. No, we don’t have our Christmas tree up yet, but we have started whole heartedly listening to Christmas music. It’s indulgent and puts a smile on my face every time. So there’s that.

 

Sometimes I Forget

Sometimes I forget and I need a little reminder.

Life is good.

Those little things from yesterday that had your feathers all ruffled and your virtual panties in a wad?

Great news! That was yesterday.

This is today and today is going to be better. I’m going to move through today like I’m dancing. With intention. Slowly so I see each little thing and have time to stop and smell the proverbial flowers. And I’m going to wear spandex because that feels good.

Latte at the Book Exchange