Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the christmas post

the past few days have flown by. typical of the holiday season, we have been traveling, experiencing some wonderful christmas traditions, and preparing for our (now in progress) vacation.

on sunday afternoon, we headed out to raleigh immediately after church for a raleigh ringers concert. the raleigh ringers handbell choir is made up of volunteers who audition for spots in this amazing group. they take on some of the most difficult pieces imaginable, and they actually have many pieces commissioned for them. their annual holiday and spring concerts are held in raleigh each year, and this was actually the first time i had seen them live. click here to see a video from their website of the transiberian orchestra's "christmas eve sarajevo."

highlights of the show--they played three vince guaraldi pieces from "a charlie brown christmas," debuted their latest rock song (journey's "don't stop believing") and played "flight of the bumblebee" complete with yellow and black striped gloves. amazing! as someone who played bells for six years (and whenever needed when i was at home) i was in awe of the musicality and skill of this group.

we met mom, grandma, alan and rachel there, and alan's thinking about going to the annual auditions just to see what the process is like. he played in the handbell choir at ecu as well, and now that they're closer to raleigh (only about 20 minutes away from the concert site) he figured it would be interesting to see what the requirements are.

a quick picture outside of meymandi concert hall. (i was cold.)
and a blurry snapshot of raleigh all lit up for christmas. we had quite a time trying to find our way around downtown raleigh. the steelers were playing a 1 pm game, so we wanted to find a spot to eat and watch the game before the 3 pm concert (justin was given permission to keep his cell phone up during the concert for updates on the game--i actually felt bad that we were taking him away from such an important game, but it ended up being better that he wasn't watching it anyways.)

we arrived in raleigh around 1:30 or so and spent about 30 minutes going the wrong way and turning around as we tried to make our way to woody's, a sports bar and restaurant that i had found on a previous trip to the city market area. we ate there when my bridesmaids and i painted pottery at "amazing glaze" as a "getting to know you" event. justin wrote down the directions the night before, so we figured it would be pretty easy to find. but a few one way streets and street-name changes, and we got lost and were heading out of downtown. we managed to make it back to the city and finally found it 30 minutes later. at the same time, we were listening to the game on the radio and the steelers were fumbling the ball and in general, not playing very well. the combination of being lost and listening to a crappy game did not make a happy justin. however, we got inside and were able to watch the game (and eat! i was starving) and all was right in the world again. the service was incredibly fast, the food was perfect, and we were out of there and on our way to the concert by 2:45.

after the concert, we headed back to clayton to eat dinner and see alan and rachel's new place. we had some delicious barbeque at mccall's and came on back to get ready for the abbreviated--but busy--work week. justin and i both worked monday and tuesday, with full days to make up for taking the rest of the week off. my team at work did a great job of trying to see all of our clients in the two days, making two or three visits each during the day! i also was able to take care of all of the shopping and wrapping so that last night, we could just enjoy the evening and watch a couple of holiday specials ("rudolph" and "mickey's christmas carol" last night--we did the grinch and frosty earlier this month.)

so it'll probably be a couple of days until i post again. we're going to the candlelight service at church tonight and having family over for dessert and games. we'll enjoy my sister-in-law's christmas breakfast tomorrow morning, and then head on to fayetteville for a couple of days with my family. we'll also head over to dad's on saturday to watch the UNC/WVU bowl game--i think justin will be outnumbered there!

we leave you with these "oh so cute" pictures of pepper in her latest holiday outfit. what can i say--i could not resist the glitter and maribou trim. we wish you a very merry christmas from our household to yours!

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