Monday, November 26, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So, Thanksgiving is fabulous, but I sort of feel like I skipped it this year.  We did have a lovely day spent with friends and the turkey feast was amazing and I was very thankful, but I didn't really feel like I made much of a big deal with the prep and stuff.  In fact, I have felt a little bit like I'm running through my life so fast lately (lately?) that I am missing everything in my effort to get on to the next thing!

I resolve not to do that during the Christmas season, which, of course, started the day after Thanksgiving.

I won't lie, this Thanksgiving break has been WON. DER. FUL.  I have been allowed to sleep in, I only had to teach one make-up lesson, I lazed around until I was good and tired of lazing around, and I still accomplished lots of stuff.  It feels so good to have the time to just be still sometimes.  I want to somehow enjoy the next month just like I have enjoyed the past week, while still going back to work and the busy busy crazy crazy frenzy.

So, while I'm still figuring out how to do that, here are some pictures of the beginning of this most wonderful time...

Black Friday!  Every year, I complain that nobody is willing to go with me, but this year I had people to be insane with.  (It did help that stores are opening at decent hours on Thanksgiving Day, but Trisha and I still went in the morning, too!)

black friday
Just call me the Queen of Black Friday.
We had a lot of fun.  I have seriously never done Black Friday with anyone besides my mom, so when I'm not with her during the Thanksgiving holiday (which is, unfortunately, most of the time) I have just gone alone.  And I really don't mind going alone, but it was much more fun with friends. Thanks, friends!

While shopping is fun, and I got a lot done, my favorite part of Black Friday is turning on the Christmas tunes and decorating the house.  We tackle the tree first, (after a pumpkin pie breakfast and a turkey sandwich lunch) and for the past couple years, the girls have taken over putting it together while I wrap up all of my loot to put under it when it is finished.  I love how much they love doing this--I've taught them well.  But then again, it is the most wonderful time of the year, who doesn't love putting up the Christmas tree?

IMG_5687 Tree decorating 2012 web
Pretend like you don't see the five loads of unfolded laundry on my bed, ok?
IMG_5688 Tree decorating 2012 web

The Christmas tree alone pretty much takes all day (have you checked out my Christmas Tree tutorial from last year?), but I love it.  I also love how Sophia seems to always be wearing some kooky outfit on the day after Thanksgiving.  What's up with that?

Chloe says I have to put up this picture that she took of all the gifts waiting for the decorated tree.  No, I did not get all of them this weekend, but mostly. 


And, aside from a few more gifts for the Maestro and stocking stuffers, I am finito with the Christmas shopping.  So if you see me whipping out my credit card for a big gift DO NOT LET ME DO IT.  We don't need more stuff and the Epic Vacation was our main Christmas gift this year anyway.

By bedtime, we had the tree all prettified. 

IMG_5694 Christmas Tree 2012 web
The rest of the living room/dining room was looking pretty awful, but that was for Saturday.

On Saturday, after a lovely lazy morning, I dug into the decorations.  Puccini isn't quite sure what to think of what is going on, but I did catch her with my credit card trying to buy more!

Puccini and credit card

Silly puppy!  We already have more than I know what to do with.  I think we need to have a talk with the Maestro about leaving credit cards lying around, even if he was buying me Christmas gifts.  And I think we also need to have a chat with Pucci about napping on the table.

The girls helped me decorate a little, but mostly they were glued to electronics.  Sigh.

IMG_5693 electronics web

I think Puccini was either jealous she doesn't have her own iDevice, or just jealous that the iDevices were being played with and not her.  Darn that Steve Jobs anyway.

The weather is certainly cooperating with the whole most wonderful time of the year theme.  On Thanksgiving Day it was a balmy 50 degrees and beautiful.  All the snow from a couple weeks ago had completely gone. The guys all played football and I didn't even wear a coat.  I don't think anyone did!  But on Friday morning, when I got up at 5:30, there was already a ton of snow, and it hasn't stopped.

weather

And it doesn't show  signs of stopping!  (But I brought some corn for popping...) Winter has officially arrived.

And Puccini loves the snow.  I am glad of this because she is willing to go outside to go potty.  I am not so glad of this because I have to clean up snow inside the house ten times a day, even after toweling her off since the snow gets matted so completely into her fur.

IMG_5695 Puccini in the snow web

Do you see how the top of her nose is turning a pinkish/brown?  We've done a bit of research on why her black is disappearing and it can be a few things.  It could be caused by plastic food dishes, for one.  Or it could be a virus that causes depigmentation.  Or it could be something called "snow nose" and her black will return when the spring comes.

We changed her bowls to stainless steel in case that's what it is. There's nothing to be done in the case that it's the virus, and it isn't harmful to her if it is, anyway. We'll just have to mourn the loss of her perfectly black gumdrop nose.

IMG_5697 Puccini in the snow web

But, I don't know....something is telling me that it is probably snow nose after all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November at Overstuffed

I guess this year I am dong the anti-NaBloPoMo!  For all of my thoughts about why I want to keep my blog going, I am having a very difficult time with the follow-through.  And here it is November 19!  Thanksgiving is in just 3 days and then I will be caught up in a whirlwind of Christmas.

Wow.

So what have the Overstuffed clan been doing for the past 3 weeks?

Well, we voted.  As I am sure all of you did, too.


And yet, the political posts on Facebook just keep coming.  It makes me more tired than going to the gym at 5:45 in the morning does.  (Ok, so it's more like 6:15, but it still makes me exhausted!)

We had to replace our water main.  Our entire front lawn had to be dug up to put shiny new copper pipes in from the street to the house.

photowatermain

So now that we have no front lawn, guess what our spring home improvement project will be?

A skunk decided to visit our backyard one night after dark.   I let Puccini out and shortly thereafter heard her freaking out and I was sure she was being attacked by a wolf.  Luckily it was just a skunk who did not feel the need to spray the frantic little puppy one foot in front of it.  Joel managed to get her in the house before that need kicked in, anyway.

photoskunk

Can you even see the thing?  I learned something new about skunks that night, too: They can climb fences.  Just lovely.

It snowed quite a bit a week ago.  Enough that the girls had to wear snowpants to school, and violin lessons were cancelled that night due to treacherous road conditions.  And I have been remiss in getting the yard ready for winter.  Good thing it's all melted now, maybe I'll finally take those lanterns (and the grill, and the potted plants, and, and, and) down this week.  Since I'm on "vacation."

photosnowlantern

They are quite pretty in the snow, but I'm afraid once we have our three feet they will be destroyed.

Chloe wrote me one of her sweet notes.  I live for these notes.  They make mothering that particular child totally worth it.

photochloenote

Seriously.  Does that not make you melt into a puddle of cuteness?  And it also makes me want to be that kind of mom all the time, because I have guilt every day that I'm not.

All three of my girls are excelling in school, which thrills me no end.  Parent Teacher Conferences this year were lovely experiences (not that they're ever awful or anything) and it makes me happy to have such wonderful children.  And they are all around wonderful, except when they're not.

I am teaching a huge load at the university and trying to keep my own voice in shape (along with my body, the house, the children, my life...).  I have a couple upcoming engagements that I (should) be working on, but I admit that the music sits on my piano and is ignored for days.  I did perform in a casual recital last weekend, something I've been working on for several months at the assignment of my teacher (from whom I get a voice lesson about twice a year).  I was pleased with the end result--enough so that I will post video here--and you all know I hate doing that. 

Just please ignore my sharpness on the final note. I think I was so relieved to have the high A out of the way (NOT my favorite note to sing) that I forgot there was more. :)

I am happy to have a small respite this week.  I'm THANKFUL to have a small respite.  Today I still got up and went to the gym dark and early--that is another part of our November, 'tis pretty dark and dreary already--and got the girls off to school and then took Puccini walking for another hour with my friend.  But then I went back to bed, and it felt so good.  And then I hung around the house reading a little and puttering.  Which also felt good.  I did actually get my office (mostly) cleaned, too, so I wasn't entirely unproductive.

I think Puccini enjoyed having me in a more relaxed mode.  As I was reading on the couch, she decided to join me and read over my shoulder.

photopuccinireading
T
omorrow, I might paint the upstairs hallway, but I might also sleep all day.  Only time will tell.  And on Wednesday I will make my Thanksgiving pies.  We aren't hosting this year, which I am a little sad about.  I do love getting my house ready and making the perfect table and everything, but at the same time, I appreciate that I don't have to stress myself out.  Just hoping the gluten-free pie crust I'm planning on making works and tastes  yummy.

I think I'll go read some more with Puccini now...hope you're all having a lovely November!

photopuccinireadingme