Pedicures

Pink and green toenails.

We celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving while Hudi and Mollie were visiting. They gifted me with a pedicure. I’ve never had one before. On Black Friday we hit the mall, and Chris and Hudi walked around while Mollie and I sat in massage chairs and had our feet soaked, exfoliated and prettied up.

Pink and green toenails.

My favorite part? I got to hang out and talk with Mollie while we were getting spoiled.

When we initially walked in we were asked to choose nail-polish colors. After we each got one, Mollie pointed out we had gotten Christmas colors ๐Ÿ™‚ How perfect.

I chose red because I’m sloppy at doing my own toenails and would never pick such a pretty, vibrant color that would show all the flaws of my application. So it was a super treat to add the color to my toenails.

I feel festive and loved and pampered whenever I look down. Thanks, Hudi and Mollie! Awesome gift!

A Festival of Trees – Thankful for Community

Dinos in the Museum Christmas tree
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!

Generally we have a house rule that the Christmas season doesn’t kick off until after Santa waves at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but this year, Chris and broke the rules. We’re going wild now that the kids are grown and out of the house ๐Ÿ˜‰ Friday night (yes, almost an entire week before Thanksgiving) found us heading to the Berkshire Museum for a fundraiser highlighting a Festival of Trees.

Persuading me to go was not difficult. ๐Ÿ™‚

As a newbie to the area, it was really cool seeing all the different business represented. And seeing community members themselves coming to support the museum.

Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” 
Ribbon Candy on the Cookies
Ribbon candy on the cookies
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
There's just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture.
There’s just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture. 
Funky tree toppers
Funky tree toppers
A “tree” made by musicians. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
My favorite room - the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers :)
My favorite room – the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers ๐Ÿ™‚
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There's nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There’s nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
So many creative trees!
So many creative trees!
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.

The video above this paragraph gives a bit of the feel of the museum. Love how the art is surrounded by so many different trees. If you listen closely, you can hear the high school choir singing “Silent Night” in the background.

The video below is of a tree depicting “Stairway to Heaven.” It was created by our friend Mark and his team. I think they did a fabulous job.

Christmas Traditions

24209137_1413034562098078_169668152_oWe have no kids home for Christmas this year. Not a one. It’s the first year that has happened to us, but it’s okay. We had warning, and celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead (Santa owed me some favors so we had official approval on the switch). That way, we were able to embrace some of our family traditions, and we celebrated with Mom and 4/6 of our kids.

When the boys were young, they would sometimes get a box of Popsicle sticks as a gift. Armed with glue guns, those sticks turned into many hours of wondrous creativity (some of it a bit dangerous, I have come to learn — apparently one son made a shield so strong that he encouraged his brother to come at him with a knife so he could ward it off (ACK!!!!! Thank goodness for the angels that guard my boys! And I’m also super thankful the shield did its job. Whew!) )

This year I was feeling a bit nostalgic (Zeb kindly (and rightly) pointed that out to everyone when they opened their gifts and looked up with puzzled eyes). Knowing they were traveling soon, I chose our Popsicle stick alternate. The one we used for car entertainment when the kids were little (in retrospect, one of our more brilliant parenting moves). We gifted them with pipe cleaners. You can make a million things with them, and they are easy to travel with. No glue required. Also, I now realize they are a lot safer since they cannot be turned into bona fide shields.

A few days after they all returned to their lives away from us, Mollie sent us the picture of her pipe cleaner creation. I loved it enough to want to share it with you all. Isn’t she creative?

Soon I’m off to our candle-light Christmas service then will snuggle in for movies and junk food with Mom and Chris as I watch the incoming snowstorm from the coziness of our house. How perfect for a second Christmas.

We hope you all have a truly blessed holiday season.

Chipmunks in my Tree

chipmunksDay 27/30 – Today I’m thankful for Alvin, Simon and Theodore’s presence in our Christmas tree. I’m a huge Chipmunks fan, and my parents gave them to us as a gift a few years ago. It was Zeb’s idea to add them to our tree, and it’s become a yearly tradition. Makes me smile every time I see them.

  • For November (the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US), I’m trying to blog about something for which I’m thankful for each day of the month.

Love to All – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

This holiday season has given me a mind shift and mental reboot, which I hope will lead to my being a better contributor to the human race. After a wonderful day of snowboarding with my family (yesterday), I now sit here and write in front of a lit tree, with a fire on the TV in front of me (I pretend it’s real), “For Unto Us a Child is Born” from the Messiah on my Pandora, our dog, Star, at my feet and a son by my side. Dinner is in the crock pot, smelling fabulous, and church is in two hrs. Pure Bliss.

Our world has shifted radically this year, and I’m starting to come to terms with it, I think. There are steps I’m making to implement changes that reflect the shift. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of those with you over the next few weeks. For now, though, I’d like to leave you with the warmest of thoughts and two of my all-time favorite holiday songs. From Pentatonix and Straight No Chaser:

May you all be blessed in this upcoming year.