decorating the tree

DSC_0015-small DSC_0018-small DSC_0023-small DSC_0024-small DSC_0025-smallSiena’s first ornament.  Now, eleven years old.

DSC_0028-smallLucas’s first ornament, now eight years old.


DSC_0036-smallOur stockings ready to be hung.


Something we all look forward to each year.  Looking back at old photos (I made a scrapbook of past Christmases) I realize how different our trees have been in all these years.  This year, I think the tree was so pretty.


The kids decided to put white lights instead of the multicolored ones we have done before.  And we added my mom’s crocheted ornaments she gave me when they came this fall, all around the tree.  It looks so pretty, I think.


We have mostly handmade ornaments and those that I give to Lucas and Siena and Mark each year, with a special meaning, with something symbolic of the past year.  Something we can remember that year for.





Such a perfect time to have twinkling lights.



Peacock Lane Tour

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This is one of the trips we do each year during Christmas time, to see the lights on this street.  Peacock Lane Lights.



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All the lights are amazing.

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We even saw Star Wars lights with Star Wars snowflakes on the windows, and Yoda in the front yard.

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Some old style lights too.

DSC_0083-small DSC_0088-small DSC_0078-smallAnd this gentleman on his bike all lit up.  We saw him last year… I guess it was two years ago.

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Hope your Christmas was a beautifully lit one!  I think we all need lights…

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…and Peace on Earth.

getting the tree


On a sunny day in early December we headed to the mountains to get our Christmas tree.


What a treat it was.  Really! I do love where we live and we go out a bit, but it doesn’t seem to be enough especially in the winter.  I do love snow, and would love, love, love to live in a place that I knew I’d get snow a couple of months a year.  I’d never drive or go anywhere far, because driving in the snow freaks me out (a lot actually.)  So I’d probably hibernate. Yes, for sure!  But I’d knit, sew, cook, and bake, it would all be perfect and I wouldn’t need to get out.  Well… I’m not sure how I’d get the groceries or any supplies I’d need, but that’s just details, right?  But oh yes… the snow…

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So when we got up that morning and I saw the sun shining, I knew that it would be a beautiful trip.

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And yes, it was!  With temperatures around 26F… but sunny and gorgeous!  Oh… this place of ours, where we live, the landscapes, amazes me every time.  It’s almost like I need to be pinched every time.  It’s a beautiful place.

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And so we searched.

DSC_0183-smallFound rabbit tracks.

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And our tree!

DSC_0192-small DSC_0199-small DSC_0200-smallAnd lots of snow.  What a beautiful and fun day.  We’ll sure remember this one too!


last week…

Last week went by.  I don’t know where or how, but here we are celebrating the holidays.

… had a sick kid, but went away quickly.  Then the rest (three of us!) got sick the same day. Not fun, but hopefully that was it for a while.  Oh… the kids are much tougher than us adults.  It’s taken me waaaay longer to recuperate than them!  Mark suggested it might be the age (difference), but at least we are on this together, right Mark?


… missed few playdates and a party because of mentioned illnesses.

… made some fun projects and some gifts we’ll share later.  With beeswax and sewing of all sorts… all the fun stuff. (Note: not all of these together.)


… are still making gifts, because I still have another day, right? Almost 48 hours to be exact!

… went to see the lights at Peacock Lane.  And again… I wished I had taken a tripod… or maybe I should learn how to take photos at night.  Maybe that’s it! (A better tour in a few days.)


… we hoped for snow, and we got few flakes falling but didn’t stay.  Hopefully soon.

… delivered some treats to someone special.


… celebrated Winter Solstice with friends, with lots of dark beer, chocolate, and red wine and a fire.

… it’s always good to see friends.

… we decided we wanted to do a paper-free Christmas.  At least between us, we will use fabric bags.  I made fabric bags a few years ago that I always use, but the wrapping paper we’ve had for years (few rolls) we are all just used to using it.  So this year I made a whole bunch more Christmas bags (from old tablecloths) of different sizes and different colors, and we are going for it.


… we also decided that even though a few of the presents already had tags (that we’ve also had for years in our Christmas box), we were going to use non-paper tags as much as possible. Or at least use the tags that I kept from years before. (OK. I know. I don’t know  if you are like me, but I keep gift tags hand written as a keepsake of their growing or from those we love.  Not all of them, but some each year.)


So far so good!  And it’s really lots of fun to see Lucas and Siena using the fabric bags like it’s the obvious thing to do.

… saw the sun shine a little bit here and there.

… the kids made cookies with Mark.  We’ll decorate them today.


… thought we should send a New Year’s card maybe.  We will have to start by searching for a good photo of the four of us.  Will do that.  Maybe. Maybe for Valentine’s.

… I felt so grateful (and feel it every year) that Mark can have two weeks off to celebrate and rest at the end of the year.  One of the great perks of being a teacher.

… I felt lucky (I feel it every day) that Mark is this special person he is. Caring of early morning sick kiddos, breakfast making every weekend morning, driving to swimming, making dinners… oh how lucky I am.

… I saw and enjoyed the beautiful lights in our house, in our tree, in the neighborhood.  I do love December. You can feel the happiness, hear it in the singing and music everywhere, the colors, everyone happy, it makes up for the little light we get in our days.  It makes this season a bright one in many other ways.



making : wood working


Lots of us here at home, are working with wood these days.  There’s been lots of trips by Lucas going to the basement (where we have our workbench) and announcing “don’t come down!”  Then coming back up, getting something, and back down again.


Then is Siena’s turn announcing “don’t come down!” and up and down go the days.  Fun to see them making, and I love what they are sharing so far.


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You can’t really tell from this photo but as Mark grabs a beer to go downstairs to carve and help when needed, it is Lucas the one who grabs the computer for the music and a canning jar full of nettle tea (hot or cold) that he leaves on his side of the work bench.  Love it!

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These are some of the things I have been able to see.





Love it all.

:: On Traveling to Beautiful Places ::

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Today, two years ago, we came back home after five months of an amazing adventure we took as a family.  Not everything was pretty or fun or amazing.  But sometimes it was all of these, at the same time.  But most of all, it is unforgettable.


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We talk about our days in India almost every single day.  And we have realized we are forgetting some of the details, and some of the names, and some of the little Hindi we learned. We don’t want to forget.  We want it to be present, because it has shaped our lives in a way we will never really know.  But no matter what, we are here today, with photos, memories, new friends, and many stories that we have been recalling to make sure we are still there, too.

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Every day I’m still looking for God

and I’m still finding him everywhere,

in the dust, in the flowerbeds.

Certainly in the oceans, in the islands that lay in the distance

continents of ice, countries of sand

each with its own set of creatures

and God, by whatever name.

How perfect to be aboard a ship with

maybe a hundred years still in my pocket.

But it’s late, for all of us,

and in the truth the only ship there is

is the ship we are all on

burning the world as we go.

—-Mary Oliver, from her book of poems A Thousand Mornings.

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Photo by Yuvraj
Photo by Yuvraj

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The Christmas Ships



Every year, we go see the Christmas ships the evening the city has the Solstice Bonfire.  But this year, because Siena had a swim meet over both days last weekend, we were not sure if we were going to be able to go to the Solstice Party, so we decided to head down to the river by our house instead.

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I wish I had taken my tripod.

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It was fun.  But I think I enjoy going the other night, with the Solstice Bonfire celebration, down at the other park.

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With this huge fire, warming up everyone around that day.  Reminding us, that yes, at 4:30 pm it’s dark already, and the longest night is upon us.

DSC_0152-smallWe saw some friends.


And the boats go by.  And again, I wished I would have taken the tripod.