*As an early Christmas splurge, Matt and I bought ourselves a new lens for the camera (although, if we're being honest, the lens was more for me than anyone!). For awhile, my frustration with photography had been steadily growing because I felt like I had maxed out what I could do with the lenses I already had. People kept telling me that it wasn't the lens, it was the photographer (and that equipment doesn't matter nearly as much as people say it does), but let me tell you this---I have noticed a HUGE difference in the quality of my images since buying the new lens, and it's made picture-taking fun again (which it hasn't really felt like fun for several months now). So if you find me taking pictures of all sorts of random things, you know why.
*This is the first year in my short history of being a teacher that we actually get two full weeks off for Christmas break. TWO FULL WEEKS! In years past, they've always tried to cut our vacation down to the bare minimum, which has meant going in to teach on the 23rd and coming back from the holiday on the 2nd. Before this year started though, the school board wised up and asked for input from parents and teachers, and it was decided (by a landslide, mind you) that we all prefer to have longer breaks during the year and a little bit shorter of a summer break overall. I can't wait!
*One of the things we'll be doing over the long vacation is taking a little trip down to Kanab (in Southern Utah) to volunteer at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. My husband's been puppy-hungry for years now, and it's slowly but surely gotten worse as he has semi-recently got hooked on the t.v. show The Dog Whisperer. To hopefully help keep some of his puppy hunger down (or just increase it, whatever), we've decided to spend three and a half days volunteering with the rescue animals at Best Friends.
*(We also decided to take the trip because we knew it would likely be our last hurrah before Baby comes in April, and who knows when the heck we'll find ourselves on vacation again after that.)
*The pregnancy insomnia has reached an all-new low point this week. I was so tired yesterday afternoon that I took my first nap in several weeks, and even though I was literally asleep for less than half an hour, it threw off my entire night of sleep when I tried to go to bed at my usual time later on. After tossing and turning, I finally got up and played Spider Solitaire and ate cereal and read blogs until I was slightly more tired, then I eventually feel asleep around 11:30 (which is a far cry from my usual 9 PM bedtime). Even though I'm exhausted today because of it, I absolutely refuse to take any naps until I'm on break (when it doesn't matter how late I get to bed at night).
*(The insomnia last night was only compounded by the fact that my body decided it was time to bring on the "fake" contractions off and on for several hours. I guess the good news about that was that it gave me a LOT of time to practice the hypnobirthing breathing/relaxation techniques I've been reading up on.)
*On Sunday morning, I got a frazzled phone call from our church congregation's choir director, who proceeded to inform me that our accompanist was stuck in Wyoming in a blizzard, and we were scheduled to perform our big Christmas program that very day in church. Since I was basically one of the few people in the ward left who could play the piano, I ended up taking over all the accompaniment for the day (thank goodness I'd practiced the music several times before!). While the accompanying wasn't a cause to stress me out at all, the fact that Matt and I were singing a duet together that day and had no accompanist WAS cause to stress me out. Luckily, we snagged a lady from one of the other wards who had just finished up playing in her own Christmas program, and she was able to sight read the music and accompany us on the spot. Thank goodness for talented people!
*(In case you were wondering, Matt and I sang a duet of "O Holy Night," with me singing the tenor part actually and him singing the baritone.)
*I am about two-thirds finished with my Christmas shopping at this point and am kind of dreading going out anymore. It seems like I always choose the worst times to go out and choose gifts, which means that a one-hour trip generally turns into a two- or three-hour trip. It just might happen that from next year on out, I will only be doing Christmas shopping online...
*I have a doctor's appointment scheduled tomorrow, the first since our 20-week ultrasound four weeks ago. At the beginning of our pregnancy, it seemed like we'd go FOREVER and EVER before getting to see the doctor. Now, I can hardly believe that it's already time for another one of them things. I can only imagine how I'll feel in a few weeks, when I start meeting with the doctor every two weeks, much less imagine how it will be to go in EVERY WEEK before long. Good thing that reading has finally started to agree with me again...