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!

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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.

 

Weekend Review: Belated Christmas with Dad and Dean

Since Dad and Dean were in Hawaii for Christmas (and they forgot to buy us tickets to go with them … wink wink) they came to visit us last weekend for a belated Christmas family-time of sorts. We didn’t really do Christmas-y things, though we did still have our Christmas decorations up. We spent some good time exploring the art galleries and studios in the River Arts District and some others downtown on Saturday, followed by dinner at The Walk. Then on Sunday we had a lovely brunch at Sunny Point Cafe (Oatmeal Brûlée with cream and fresh fruit – drool) and a terrific adventure at the Biltmore Estate. All in all, it was a glorious weekend! Thanks for coming to visit guys!!!

Insert photo of Dad, Dean, Scott, and me smiling jubilantly! }

Tandem Bicycle at the Screen Door

Scott found a chair he likes.

Where's Waldo ... er ... Dad!?

Oatmeal Brûlée

Holidays in Retrospect

And now that the holidays are “officially” over, I’m finally getting around to looking back at the holiday break. It was the most time I’ve had off consecutively over the holidays in forever, and I pretty much wallowed in it. That being said, it was also an utter whirlwind. We were involved in a wedding the weekend before Christmas (luckily it was also in Chapel Hill, so we didn’t have any extra traveling to do), we had a Christmas bon fire party, then there was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Scott flew north on Christmas Day in the evening to be with his family for a week, then I spent the following week dog sitting for the best dog ever for our friends who got married, party hopped on New Years Eve, and headed back to the mountains on New Years Day. Yep, a whirlwind. And now, for some photos.

The lovely bride and handsome groom getting ready for an epic bike ride to the courthouse to get married!!! It was about 40 and windy that day. Brrrrr!

Nick and Kathy on the way to get hitched!

Lovely Kathy and me at the party after aforementioned bike ride. (Scott and I opted out of the bike ride, but went to the courthouse!)

Oh, Kathy! You're glowing in this picture.

Went to a concert at the Haw River Ballroom – Ananta and I were matching!

Matching boots!

Kitty’s favorite spot under the Christmas Tree!

Kitty under the Christmas Tree

A Christmas Eve Party (that’s actually before Christmas Eve now) with a wonderful bon fire! Good company, singing Christmas songs, hearing the Hanukkah story, lighting the Menorah, hearing the Christmas story. Such a great tradition!

Christmas Eve Bon Fire!

We went out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve! The restaurant was packed – not surprising – and it was delicious!

Family dinner out for Chinese on Christmas Eve!

The lovely Christmas Tree on Christmas morning!!!

Mmm Christmas Morning!

Mom and I made flan for Christmas dessert! We were both surprised at how easy it was – and we feel very lucky because from talking to folks it is not always so easy!

Making a Christmas Flan!

My sweetheart and me on Christmas! It was such a blessing to be together for part of Christmas this year.

Scott and me, Christmas 2012

Sweet Cricket! We got to spend a week together while her humans were out of town and it was so fun!!!

Sweet Cricket!

New Year’s Eve with Ananta!

Ananta and me on New Year's Eve!

And another bon fire for New Year’s Eve! Christmas Trees burn so quickly!

New Year's Eve Bon Fire!

So there you have it – a recap of my holidays. It was a great couple of weeks, that’s for sure! Spent time with some wonderful people – family and friends – and enjoyed the time off! So grateful.

A Recap.

It.

Has been a loooooong time since I wrote a proper post.

I’m not even really sure what a “proper post” is at this point. So I am not going to dwell on it, and instead I plan to update and move on from here. The end of the year is a crazy busy time for my family. The last month-ish has been an absolute blur. Like when cars goes by in movies in fast forward and all you see is a blur of the headlights. That kind of blur. Kind of smudgy and very colorful. School has been awesome! I still love my job. I suppose this is a good time to start reflecting on the first half of the year! I have learned so much, been challenged in more ways than I knew possible, learned new ways of speaking, learned lyrics to songs that I am almost positive were made up on a whim to work with small children, been sat on, sneezed on, coughed on, and farted on, comforted many tearful tots, taught many lessons, reminded countless children to make lots of bubbles when washing hands, read a zillion stories, cried many tears about the loss of the children and teachers in Connecticut, and my heart is so full of love I hardly know what to do with myself. Being surrounded by young children all week every week is pretty much the best thing. As far as I am concerned. It is certainly not for everyone, but it is definitely for me! I am very much looking forward to having two weeks off to reflect, relax, and rejuvenate, but I will miss all the hugs and love I get every day at school!

Being a teacher brings to the forefront of my mind the tragedy in Connecticut. I am heartbroken and it makes me feel very sad every time I think about the families of everyone who was killed who are going on with life at what is supposed to be such a joyous time of year. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.

For Sandy Hook

Here are some photos of my life lately! In all the craziness that is the end of the year!

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards ready to go!

Biltmore Gatehouse at sunset.

Gussied up for the last day of school!

Christmas at the Biltmore!

And now I sit here, post yoga, with a glass of wine. It is finally sinking in that it is Christmas break! Tomorrow promises to be a very busy day, as do the next several days, but it also promises to be super fun!!! I will try to keep this more posted!

12.12.12

It has been so long since I last posted!!! My life has been so busy! So full of fun things! There have been several work-related holiday events, and even more to come this week, as well general end-of-year craziness. I have lots I want to blog about, so I plan to try very hard to write a real blog post soon. But for now, I will leave you with this photo of the entrance to the Biltmore, all gussied up for Christmas! Just pretend the red traffic lights aren’t in the middle of it.

P.S. In honor of 12.12.12 we had our kids do the funky chicken dance at 12:12 (right in the middle of their lunch time) and then clap 12 times. It was pretty stinkin’ cute. I love my job!

Red lights before Biltmore

Deck the Halls

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! We decorated our apartment this weekend! We put up our tiny two-foot Christmas tree and LOADED it with lights and ornaments. We listened to Christmas music and made Christmas cookies! It felt wonderful, but it’s taking its sweet time to actually feel like Christmas! It was almost 70 degrees today. Oy. But we are loving our wee Christmas tree!

Christmas Tree 2012

Cookies!

Remnants of Christmas

Note: After posting that last post about my camera being on the fritz it decided to work momentarily and I decided to take advantage of that and snap a quick photofortoday. I have successfully turned it off and intend to leave it that way, at least until tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2011: Today is Epiphany. It means a lot of things, but one thing for sure is that it means Christmas is now over and that I should take down my tiny Christmas tree and put away the Christmas cards. BUT I CAN’T! I have to wait until Scott gets home because there are still a couple of presents under the tree for him and it’s just not okay to put away the Christmas tree when there are still presents! So it shall stay and I vow to love it for the next week until Scott gets home. Then we can put it in storage until next year. And the Christmas cards can be put into my letter box for me to look back on should I so desire.