Candid Over Coffee: It’s early

It’s an early morning for our first coffee chat. Our new addition to the family decided to start the day at 5:15AM. That really shouldn’t be so bad since I’m typically up by 5AM when I’m working. However, since little man refuses to go to bed before midnight, I wasn’t particularly appreciative of the early start today. Really, if I am being honest, I have nothing to complain about. Today is his two month birthday, and he typically sleeps through the night. My first two never slept–even still, my oldest routinely gets up at least once a night. It has been awesome having a baby that sleeps so much. I know it can’t possibly last. In fact, it probably will change right about the time that I return to work.

Return to work. That time will be here in the blink of an eye. I’ve already started taking some time to do some lesson and rehearsal planning for when I return to the classroom. This is my first maternity leave that has lasted longer than 8 weeks. I took 8 weeks with my first child due to difficulties at home. What difficulties? While we were still in the hospital after the birth of our son, our best friend went by our house to feed our dogs. When he arrived, he found water running out the back door. A pipe had burst in our upstairs bathroom and had flooded most of the house. We couldn’t even come home to stay with our new baby. Instead, we went to live with my Grandmother that first week -oh how thankful I was to be with her during such a stressful time. When we got the ok from ServePro to come back home, we lived out of the bonus room and guest bathroom for about four weeks. When it was time for the contractors to come in and try to put our house back together (seriously, they had to rebuild walls, ceilings, new floors, everything), we moved in to a hotel room for two weeks. Throughout this craziness, my husband had just started a new job with his company and was having to put in extra hours at the office in addition to managing the problems with our house, insurance claims, and being a new father. It. was. nuts. We moved back home about a week before I returned to work. On my second maternity leave, our house behaved itself and I only took 6 weeks. That was still tough. With this pregnancy, I knew I would take an extended leave. What a difference it has made! Especially since it has been during the holidays.

Holidays. All music teachers have particularly crazy holiday seasons due to extra rehearsals, holiday performances, and more. While I still have my church’s musical program to prepare for and perform in, it has felt very odd to not be working on Christmas music with students. I have actually really missed it. I am hoping my students are loving the holiday music I picked for their winter concert. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to work on it with them, because I happened to love the music I picked out for them. Holiday music is some of the best work we do all year. Who can be in a bad mood when you are singing Christmas music? It certainly simplifies classroom management when everyone is in a good mood and they are enjoying the task at hand.

My little guy is done with his morning nap (which was much too short) and so it’s time for me to refill my Christmas mug with one more cup of coffee and turn my attention back to him. Thanks for reading my random Friday morning train of thoughts. I’m hoping to share more of my scatter-brained self on Fridays, which means a lot of random ramblings, and in between the Friday posts I hope to offer some helpful articles for the classroom and that life you’re supposed to have outside of the classroom.

A Happy Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving looks very different. There are loved ones missing from our tables this year. Some of our traditional meals are being moved to new places since those loved ones are not here to host any longer. There are new worries this year that we didn’t have last year. But there are also new faces. They are tiny new faces, and one of them is that of my six week old son. A year ago, I was not anticipating any of these changes.

And yet, like last year, I am still watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as I prepare my Granny’s macaroni and cheese recipe. Like last year, I am bouncing between numerous Thanksgiving feasts all week because we have such a big family that loves to gather around the table. Like last year, I am thankful. I am thankful for time with family this week. I am thankful that I serve a loving, almighty God. He gives, He takes away, but He always loves us and cares for us.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Is it time yet?

Through the ages, there has been a heated debate that consistently arises this time of year. The question can be a difficult one and it tends to brings out strong opinions. As for me, my thoughts have changed over the years on this hot button topic, and I am ready to say unashamedly that no, it is not too early to start playing Christmas music.

Typically, I am immersed in Christmas music by late October. As a choral director, you had better start that Christmas music in the fall in order to be prepared for a successful December performance. I was really excited over the holiday music I chose for my kids this year, but I’m not there to work on it with them since I’m still on maternity leave. I am rehearsing Christmas music on Wednesday nights with the church choir, but I found myself needing more.

Years ago, I was adamant that Christmas music should not be played before Thanksgiving. I would not pull out my favorite holiday cd’s until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest. Slowly, over the last few years, I’ve found that one month a year isn’t long enough to get my fix of Christmas music, so my start date for listening has oh-so-slowly crept up to November 1st.

And I’m ok with that.

Even as the temperatures are still in the 70’s here in Georgia and none of my Christmas decorations are out, I am still loving having my favorite Christmas albums playing in the car and around the house. My boys are loving it, too. My husband on the other hand — well, he is of the opposing side on this issue, and is not a fan of my playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. However, in this family of five, he is now outnumbered in his opinion and will have to deal with it.

Nothing makes it feel like Christmas for me like Mannheim Steamroller and Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. These guys bring back vivid memories of childhood Christmases like nothing else can. Music can do that — transport you back to another time and place. I also am in love with Avalon’s Joy album. It came out 16 years ago, but it never gets old for me. And when the boys are in the car, I make sure to play The Muppets’ Red and Green album. I mean, I’ve been listening to that one for years, but now I don’t have to feel so silly telling you about it since I’ve got kids.

So while I won’t put my tree up before Thanksgiving (and on that point, I don’t see a change of viewpoint in my future), I will happily play my favorite Christmas music throughout November. Life is too short to put a time restraint on some of the world’s most most beautiful and joyful music.