Monday, December 31, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...readying a shopping list and planning a trip to the grocery store, as our last trip really did last us two weeks, but surely won't stretch three!
...slowly, methodically taking down, organizing, purging, and packing away our Christmas decorations. We never put them all up, and this time around, I'm not wasting storage space on the unused decor items again. To the thrift store with them! Simpler really is better.
...still enjoying our lit Christmas tree, even though it was deader than Elvis before the Christmas weekend. The ornaments are all down, but the lights are still there, and the illuminated ghost of our evergreen against the darkness is still beautiful to me. Maybe it'll make it's way out tomorrow...
...realizing how just how much of our most recent days have been spent in pajamas... especially by the looks of these photos!
...appreciating a 'new' highchair for Henny, this one wooden, smaller, and so much easier to clean, thanks to my parents.
...still chuckling (when the kids aren't looking) at our mischievous boy and his raid of the fruit bowl here by my computer... there are still sticky spots where pear juice spilled while he was eating all four of them.
...loving the simplicity of a new book (or an old favorite, or both), a lit tree, a warm fire, and the gray of early winter.

This Monday marks the close of the Old Year- I can't believe it. Today I hope to find a few moments here and there to spend in respect, appreciation, and celebration of all that we've learned and gained from this completing cycle. Another year approaches, and with it, so much possibility... may we start the week and the New Year with mindfulness of the past, present, and future, and may we all have a safe and bright New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 28, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Holiday Was...

Our Holiday was...

...frantic cleaning, prepping, and making the week leading up to the Solstice.
...a surprisingly peaceful Solstice celebration and kickoff to the long weekend, and a perfectly cooked pork tenderloin, if I do say so myself.

...a warm and muggy drive down to our hometown.
...some last-minute secret making.
...the chance to get out into the long grass and play.
...a Christmas Eve-Eve meal of comfort foods with family.
...a brisk evening stroll through a park of magical sparkling Christmas lights.
...excitement and anticipation, opening stockings early, and the first of a few late bedtimes.
...the first of two very long nights with a sick Bubba wheezing on my chest. and gratitude from thoughtful gifts, some homemades even making the favorites list.

...Christmas Eve service with family and the most well-behaved girl in the land.
...Little Brother sleeping through said service on Mama's shoulder (sleep deprived from coughing all night long, no doubt). with cousins and patient family members, the fastest (latest) bath there ever was, and bed in separate rooms.
...a second night of co-sleeping with a still-sick, congested, worn out Bubba.
...a stormy night and rainy Christmas morning.
...a flurry of gift giving, some beautiful surprises, and so much gratitude.
...a late morning and a hasty retreat back home under heavy gray skies.

...a cold Christmas Day shuffle of loading, unloading, oatmeal and popcorn for lunch, and serious naps for the babies.
...a quiet moment- finally back home- with a cup of fresh coffee, children and hubs sleeping, washing machine washing, fire crackling, family on their way, and the first snow in two years starting to fall.
...greeting family and friends for a big German dinner complete with pork chops, spaetzle, roasted beets and potatoes, fresh homemade applesauce, and a gingerbread cake from an heirloom family recipe accompanied by a glass of hot mulled wine.
...kiddos tucked into bed on time for the first time in three nights., cold winds and the dog sleeping on a cushion by the fireplace. and excitement upon waking to a white wonderland from all the Christmas snow. strudel, coffee, one more round of opening stockings, and rediscovering the new treasures piled here and there. with the family that spent the night, a quick stint with the sled on the shaded hills that retained their snow, and a lunch of re-purposed leftovers and hot chocolate. showers, long naps, and the slow recovery of our little guy following a restful, quiet night.

Our holiday was so much more than I had anticipated- more trying, more full, more peaceful, more satisfying, more appreciated, more balanced, more chilly, and more beautiful than any before... I think it might have something to do with how much more tuned in my kiddos were, this year more than any other. It was especially precious to me to watch that sparkle grow in my four-year-old's eyes as the holiday festivities commenced. The only blemish on the marathon was the terrible cough that settled on Henry Friday night and stuck with him, along with a low but constant fever, all the way through Christmas Eve night. However, he seems to be on the upswing, and aside from how hard it was for him to sleep, he never lost his sweetness or his happy smile.

I sit here this afternoon in warm sunshine, surrounded by piles and artifacts from our holiday travels and projects, savoring the feeling of being so tired but in such a good way. There are no plans, there is no pressure, there is just the four of us, a crackling fire, a bit of ice here and there, and lots of good leftovers.

It's a good place to be.

Wishing all a peaceful ramping down from all the festivities, and a happy winter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To You

Wishing you peace, joy, and light this holiday.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...still feeling tenderhearted from the news that's continuing to make headlines from Friday's terrible loss.
...feeling a touch tired of Christmas music, and listening to a little Beth Orton this morning.
...enjoying some cinnamon brewed with my coffee.
...fretting over a 'croupey' cough that kept Audrey up off-and-on until past midnight last night, and has actually been around since Friday evening. Perhaps there's a doctor appointment in our future... soon.
...planning a grocery shopping trip that will hopefully keep us supplied until the end of the month (I sure don't want to get out again after today if I can help it!).
...making a list for all the baking I want to get done this week, and then editing it down to a more realistic to-do list... then editing it again.
...shaking my head at how fast things change after a little trip down memory lane.
...looking forward to the kickoff of our holiday marathon with a quiet, (hopefully) peaceful Solstice celebration with just the four of us... and a really good dinner.
...loving the enthusiasm for a little week-before-Christmas holiday making with my babies, and the great photos their Daddy managed to take mid-final touches.

In order to further edit the to-do list for the week and remain calm and present with my family, I will be wishing all a merry and bright Last Week, and will be back in this space again for 'This Moment' on Friday. 

Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


There is probably not a single person with a soul that did not go to bed Friday night without a heart heavy for the families of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary. Sorrow was surly my companion throughout  my dreams Friday night, ever present, abstract and looming... sorrow for a broken world, the loss of innocence, and the abrupt change in direction for the futures of so many.

It is, however, a sweet sorrow not easily shaken, respectful in it's purity and sincerity. A sorrow that will linger for a long time, inspiring thoughts and prayers throughout the day for the mourning parents of those lost. A sorrow that at the same time pulls from deep within an overwhelming thankfulness for what is present and good, continuous and constant.

As time wears on and on, sometimes intimately connected to us and at other times so harshly oblivious, may healing and peace find their way to those touched by this tragedy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fuzzy-Warm Feelings

We have less than two weeks until the midwinter celebrations for most people will commence.

Being this close to such a widespread, popular, highly commercialized, bright and shiny deadline can bring some people kinda close to 'the edge,' you know what I mean? Or maybe that's just me... ahem.

Do you find yourself stressed about what you're expected to contribute to the holiday feast? Worried about seeing that certain branch of family? Pinching pennies to finally finish checking off that gift list?

Maybe you need a hand. Maybe you need an aspirin. Maybe you need a hug.

I may not be able to do much, but I can send you a hug of sorts, because if there's one thing we're not short on over here, it's impromptu displays of fuzzy-warm feelings... even if they end up like this...

...and this just about says it all, doesn't it? At least the thought was there, and around this time of year, you you shouldn't be worried about anything more.

Hang in there, and happy almost-holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Every year around this time, something within me that I must have inherited from long ago ancestors stirs, awakens. It's the ancient part of my consciousness that rouses with the darkening days... the part of me that feels anchored to house and home when the fire is alive and well, the food on the table is simple and (at least partially) from home-grown and homemade caches, and the ones I love are gathered around me. The holidays seem to bring out a longing in me- not to seek sales and deals and more, more, more- a longing for simple, for endurance, for preciousness, for meaning in the things around me and the traditions I follow.

I find that maintaining a link to the origins of the things that surround us (as best we can) seems to foster a connectedness from which sprouts a sense of respect, satisfaction, and gratitude. Things as simple as making your own bread and choosing a real evergreen for your holiday tree can go so far in opening eyes (grown-up and child alike) to the process that brings the raw elements of sunlight, fresh air, water, and earth into the home. There are so many beautiful opportunities for someone to feel true appreciation for what they have and where it came from; the feeling of a scarf made from real wool wrapped close to the face, the sound of hardwood popping in the fireplace and the smell of the wood smoke mixed with frosty air, the feel of a wooden toy to a small child's hands, or getting to watch bread rise.

It's easy to trace these things back to their origins- wool from sheep, wood from trees, flour from grain, bread from the work of your hands and the heat of the oven- and to feel the gratitude that comes from being so close to the source of what sustains you.

There are, of course, some things that we may not have the ability or desire to possess in its natural, raw, or homemade state... however, there are opportunities every day to make a choice in favor of something closer to a more unrefined product... especially around the holidays.

In leaning away from the disposable, meaningless, place-holding 'I-have-no-idea-what-is-expected-so-I'll-just-grab-this-thing' mindset, we could decrease quantity, increase quality, and make our holidays more simple and more special... and who doesn't want that?

So, mid-prep in the holiday whirlwind, I find myself (as frequently as possible) asking these three questions: Is it useful? Is it special? Is it going to last? If I can say 'yes' to two out of three, I know I'm on the right track.

Of course, I'm not anywhere close to being able to apply this to every area of my life, and it would be pompous of me to think I was. However, as I think about the life I want to build for my family, I can't escape this philosophy, and I think the fact that I circle back around to it time and time again means there is a truth in it for me, for us. If, in following this path, I can find a way to teach my children that life is more than what you own, how much you spend, how easily it can be disposed of, and how much more you can acquire, I believe they will not just learn but know respect, contentment, and gratitude, and that is a lesson worth seeking.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...the appearance of Christmas here, there, and everywhere. Happy-merry-Monday.

Linking up with Three Squares today.

Saturday, December 8, 2012




It seems like we aren't the only ones confused with the season + weather around here. However, despite it all, we're putting our heads down, turning on the carols, and decking the halls. They say the weather will eventually catch up. Poor honeysuckle.

Happy weekending.