Thursday, December 24, 2015


The holidays can be a rough time for many, myself included.  Balancing two families and their desires can be tricky, but luckily I'm blessed with understanding relatives (for the most part).  I decorated our house (because that makes me happy), but we didn't really have any friends or family over to enjoy it, so here's our happy holiday home:

At some point, we'll upgrade to a taller tree and make this one a kids tree.  However, this is very low on the priorities totem pole.  Perhaps I'll snag one if it's super on sale!

Chloe does love her sparkling lights! She was investigating before I could put on ornaments or get out the tree skirt.

 These are supposed to be ornaments, but I like them so much better clustered in a decorative bowl.

This decorating was intentional.  There's enough space on either side of the glittery candle for one of the cats to comfortably enjoy the safety of the ledge.

Yes, we have two trees.  We may have the same last name at this point next year, but that doesn't mean I have to take his team too!

The heart on the wall is a present from my mom from her Europe trip last summer.  She has a coordinating heart in her home. 

Not only are these pretty (and plastic, so they won't break), but they are a favorite of the cats.  Apparently they're great for rubbing one's face on...I'll take their meows for it!

I love decorating our table.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but there is subtle shimmer in both the table cloth and the napkins.  The ornaments, of course, are glittery.  The lantern is changed seasonally.

We've been blessed with lots of new friends this year.  I love that we'll need more clips to hang cards.  

(And yes, I've already started thinking about our card we'll send out next year.  This year I went with the handwritten option, but I think next year will be something along the lines of "Eat, Drink, and Be Married" and we'll show off our wedding pictures.)

Yes, I did the pinterest hack of putting a paper towel roll inside to take up space so the ornaments would go farther.  Works like a charm!

Close up of our tree with some of my favorite ornaments.  The chalk board ones were on clearance at Joann's for less than a dollar each, so I added the lettering myself.

One of several Christmas quilts from my mom.  Blankets and pillows are some of my favorite things, period.  (Added bonus? I snagged these pillows at Target last year for half-off.  I love sales!)

I packed our stockings for our road trip, but we display our stockings in front of the television.  This C one is for the cats (Chloe & Crookshanks) and I'm super disappointed Target doesn't make a red one with a W to match.  They've got 19/26 letters, W isn't one of them.  Get with it Target!

December has been tough.  Conferences were unexpectedly difficult. I've felt anxious and overwhelmed.  Temperature changes and lack of sunlight haven't been helping my mood.  I'm more tired than normal and have irregular sleep patterns.  From all my reading on depression and SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder), I wouldn't be surprised if that's a large part of why I'm struggling. Our water heater broke and that was an unexpected financial burden.  I had issues with my bank and extra fees that is still being resolved.  Our ice maker stopped working and there were a lot of hurdles to jump through in order to get it fixed.  It's fixed, finally, but it took three days and putting my life in limbo to be home for repairs.  B's been at work and on call, which means a lot more alone time, which isn't always a blessing. I appreciate the sacrifices he's making to make sure we are financially set. 

We've been puppy sitting, so the cats are extra elusive.  I seek them out to give them love and attention, but that attracts the puppies.  Both pups want to sit on my lap at the same time, which is wonderful...except ours is a good fifty pounds heavier than the visiting pup.  Waffles has been extra excited and rambunctious because her friend is here, which is draining. I love her, but she's a little too lively this week.

We also lost a loved one this week.  My mom had to make the difficult, no, heart-breaking decision to put down her beloved dog to end her pain.  The loss of a loved one (because pets are family) makes everything harder.  I'm glad my brother is there and that we will be there tomorrow.  We're focusing on the years of happy memories we had with the food stealing scoundrel, but it's hard. My heart is aching.

I've been burning the candle at both ends for far too long.  I've been keeping things bottled up inside and that's not okay.  I'm struggling and I'm speaking up about it.  It's time to unplug.  It's time to practice some self-care and reconnect with family.  My soul needs some quality time with people, not with screens.  So, for the next week or so, that's what I'll be doing. 

I'm pausing work.  I'll look at lesson plans and prepping for next year on Sunday, Jan 3.  I'll be back with lots of new classroom ideas and finally publish some of the drafts I've been working on.  But until then, I'll be unplugged.

Wishing you and your family a joyous and happy holiday season! See you all (virtually) next year!

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