Holiday Tunes
In other Christmas and seasonal related news, I have been listening to a bit of holiday music of late. I have found I don’t really tire of it down here in the South. Anything to put me in the mindset that the raging heat may be coming to a brief end, from pumpkin lattes to jingle bells, are always welcome. Of course, there are great Christmas songs and terrible ones.

Here are my Top 10 traditional Christmas songs, without a ton of thought put into it, excluding recent pop hits like “Underneath the Tree” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. And I guess that would mean I’d have to exclude that Trans-Siberian Orchestra song too.

  1. Do You Hear What I Hear
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. What Are You Doing New Years Eve
  5. There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays
  6. We Need a Little Christmas
  7. Sleigh Ride
  8. Let It Snow
  9. Silent Night
  10. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

After that they kinda all blend together. There is only one Christmas song I will turn off if I hear it on the radio, though, and that is The Twelve Days of Christmas. Horrible song!

John was the star of the show at school the other day, I heard, thanks to his amazing show & tell item! The theme was winter, and I sent him to school with none other than an authentic snowball, a rarity in Texas. I made a snowball from the dusting of flurries we received in February and put it in a ZipLoc bag in the freezer with a note of “DO NOT DISCARD – IMPORTANT SNOWBALL”. Lo and behold, it was still there 10 months later! I sent it to school in a cooler with ice packs and the children oooh’d and aaah’d as it was passed around the room. Can you imagine that being remotely interesting to kids in South Dakota?

John also wowed me with his reading at bedtime the other day. He had pushed his luck with YouTube videos before bed so I took away his nightly “Alfie Robot” story I make up off the top of my head, and had him read me a book instead. He read the entire Polar Express book straight through without stumbling on a single word! That is not a first-grade-level book. Whatever they’re teaching over at that Four Seasons school seems to be paying off. He’s also to the point where he’s spelling out words so Edie can’t decipher things he’s saying. Pretty sharp, that fella!

New Silicon Valley
Austin already has quite a few tech companies in town, but with Apple opening literally 2 blocks from our house, Tesla opening soon on the south side of town, and now the new that Oracle is moving operations here too, this is all great news for us as homeowners! The houses in our neighborhood have already doubled in value over the past 8-10 years. The price we paid for this house in 2012 is laughable now. You wouldn’t find a home for $207k anywhere near here.

The thought that has been considered lately is doing a mortgage refinancing, taking out cash, and building on to this house. I had always floated staying in this particular house as more preferential to moving further inward to the city for Lauren’s ease of commute (if we ever go back to offices again) if we were to stay in Austin for a while longer. We haven’t looked into the feasibility, like if it’s allowed in the neighborhood or if the deed says we can. And I am pretty sure you have to get signoff from the neighborhood on any new structure. But if it were possible, we could look at adding more rooms on: a full-time office space for me since I work from home pandemic or not; a guest room for grandparents; a play room… we’ll see!

My lit-up office. This is where all the email marketing magic happens.