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November 2011
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January 2012

December 2011

on a rainy day

Thank you for your well-wishes for my dear Dad. His recovery is moving along steadily, and we hope he'll be out of the hospital by Thursday.

on a rainy day

We've had a handful of rainy days this past week, and that, coupled with some runny noses and persistent coughs, has kept all of us inside and mellow. 

Finn wrote a story the other day, which he dictated to Patrick. As they read it over together, Finn made edits. Love that. Patrick has fond memories of doing this same activity with his mother when he was a wee one.

We tend to use the light tray on dreary days; this time I put a plastic bin on top and let him loose with paint.

on a rainy day

on a rainy day

on a rainy day

The best part was print-making, according to Finn. Just put a piece of paper on top of the paint and smoosh, then lift it up. 

on a rainy day

We also used the light tray and plastic bin to do a float/sink experiment with household objects. Finn filled the bin with water (using a pitcher and going back and forth to the sink) and then we gathered the following in a bowl: crayon, ball of clay, apple, wooden egg, spatula, cookie cutter, plastic whale, clay formed into a boat, an almond, a bean, a pumpkin seed, a measuring cup, and a few other things I'm forgetting. Before Finn placed each item in the water, we formed hypotheses and dicussed the results. He was most impressed that the bean sunk while the pumpkin seed floated.

on a rainy day

I'm most impressed that he is writing stories and forming hypotheses. Wasn't it just two days ago that he was just starting to crawl across rooms? Before long, these boys of mine will be four and six, and my life will be totally different than it is now.

For now, you must excuse me - I have to sweep the floor yet again because something major happened this week (aside from my Dad's surgery). Yes. Lachlan is on the MOVE. And putting everything in his mouth. Lachlan is rather pleased, and I'm pleased for him. I must say, however, that I have just a dash of pity for my broom-weilding self, knowing that he'll only get faster. 

And with the snap of my fingers, the stay-put baby stage is over and a new one has begun! 

a different sort of christmas

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Shortly after I hit "publish" on my last post, I found myself at the hospital. Again. This time, Lachlan was fine. It was my Dad. 

On December 23rd, I was busying my hands (a thing I must do) once again while someone I love dearly was undergoing open-heart surgery. (Insert your expletive of choice here, even if you don't cuss, because man, it has been one of those years!) My Dad, a very healthy man (and former marathon runner), had to have a triple bypass. He's one of those rare people who, despite living a very healthy lifestyle, has a body that over-produces coronary plaque. It's just bad genetic luck, I suppose.

He's doing well, and will be home within the week. We are postponing our bigger holiday feasts and festivities, as two year-olds don't know the difference between December 25th and December 31st, thankfully. If you'd like, please leave my Dad, Gery, a word of encouragement in the comments. I'll make sure he sees them.

Oh my goodness. I don't know about you, but I'm so ready to say goodbye to 2011. May 2012 be calmer, more predicatable, and - above all - free from heart surgery! 

an elf among us

an elf among us

an elf among us

an elf among us

an elf among us

an elf among us

Oh, baby boy. That you are here with us this holiday season is the greatest gift of all.

Wishing all of you a memory-filled Christmas with those you love. May the time you spend together be the gift, whether filled with activity and big-family going-ons, or simply gathered by a fire, reading a book under a blanket. See you back here on Monday, friends. 

P.S. If you're still looking for stocking stuffers, Lachlan's Snow Pixie Cap makes a great last-minute sewing project!

campfire and carols

campfire and carols

campfire and carols

campfire and carols

campfire and carols

campfire and carols

Good friends. A light-sweater kind of December night, when doors could be kept open for the munchkin crowd, busy going between the popcorn bowl on the kitchen table and the rocketship (treehouse) outside by the fire. 

I think we'll have to make this a tradition. We are surrounded by such good people. As everyone walked in the door with a dish to share, I couldn't help but remember the many meals these friends brought to us while we were in the hospital with Lachlan. Nourishing relationships, indeed. Even though any gathering involving more children than adults is, by nature, chaotic - I take great pleasure in thinking of how my relationships with these friends will evolve and deepen over time, and how - not too far in the future - we'll be able to sit down and have the occasional uninterrupted conversation. Sigh. I'm feeling full of gratitude these days.

*** I thought I would have this blog makeover done by today, but here I am still, going through all of my archives. The html furrowed my brow many times over, but that tricky-sticky stuff is over now. I'm just categorizing things, making resource buttons, writing text for my About page. I hope you'll like the final product. 

Instead of running my giveaways before Christmas, I've decided that I'll do a twelve days of Christmas thingy after the big day. I seriously have lots of things to give away! Too much for a single weekend. Fun stuff, new small businesses to show off, and a handful of book reviews. How's that sound? ***

wonky blog


Hi, friends. 

Things are apt to look quite a bit wonky as I experiment and refine the blog's look. It's time to streamline. Purge. Have bigger pics. Make things more easy to navigate. Unlike some, however, I can't do this in a feverish evening. It's apt to look odd for a few days.

I hope to have the new look complete by this weekend, when I'll be hosting a bunch of holiday giveaways from current sponsors (as well as from my own book shelf!) 

So here it goes. Eek! This makes me nervous!

a glorious mess







Patrick cooks big. Big projects, big mess, big fun. We're talking pasta, bagles, cakes, bread, tortillas - it seems to me that flour is the common ingredient. 

This is oh-so-pleasing to my two year-old, who fancies eating flour. Plain. No sugar needed - he'll just eat the flour by itself. 

The kitchen is humming once again with man-power. (We've always shared the kitchen, although we have different cooking methods and priorities.) I see him laughing, talking calmly, brushing flour off one child's brow while keeping the baby's hands occupied with measuring spoons. And I love him all the more for it.

Update: The pasta making set we have is this one, and the pasta dryer is nothing fancy - just our clothes drying rack

poet's walk









*This is Finn's first photgraph. It was very intentional - he wanted to take a picture of his prized digging stick. I think I'll print it off and frame it for him.*





Although there is frost on the lawn and the wood stove is crackling this morning, most days have been rather warm. Instead of bemoaning the nearly warm breeze (which I hate, being a mountain girl, and Patrick loves, being a Florida boy) the boys and I have taken to the trails, minus the long johns, jackets and hats. 

Wherever we go on our nature walks, we seem to end up at the river - donning rain boots for wading and mud play. This particular day found us at Ayr Mount on the Poet's Walk. We "wrote" poems, smelled the herb garden, and did a lot of digging. 

Hiking with small fries can be honey-dripping-slow, but I notice so much more when I'm with them. 

Happy weekending to you.

the perfect tree

in search of the tree

in search of the tree

in search of the tree

 Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in the mountains. Every year during the holiday season, she looked forward to packing the car with rope, donning her snow boots and gloves, and heading to the Christmas tree farm with her Daddy. 

This year was no exception - as she excitedly ran out the door, her Mommy called after her, "Now don't you get a tree that's too big!" Her mouth was pursed but her eyes were twinkling, and the little girl said to her, "We're going to get the biggest tree we can find!" And she dashed off to the garage after her Dad.

She and her Daddy drove down the curvy roads, twisting and turning. The girl looked at the gray sky with hope - the thought of the big snow storm rolling in tonight made her tummy flutter with butterflies. 

They turned up a dirt road, following the rustic wood signs with red lettering. As the car reached the top of the hill, the girl could see acres and acres of Blue Spruce trees - tall and skinny, among many others. The Blue Spruce was their tree. Mom preferred short and fat trees, but she and her Daddy almost always chose a spruce. The taller, the better.

The old man who owned the farm handed them a saw and they headed down the path, toward the big trees. They passed many a worthy short, fat tree. She remembered her mother's words, playfully cautioning against a big tree. She smiled and walked straight towards a regal, elegant spruce. With perfect proportions it stood, its elegantly spaced limbs poised for dangling ornaments and twinkle lights. This was it. Her Daddy pulled out his measuring tape and saw that it was inches short of their ceiling clearance. He smiled and chuckled, "Your Mom's not going to like this! But we can fit in in the house." The little girl thanked the tree for its beauty and rich, spicy smell, and held its trunk as her Daddy cut it down. 

Up the trail they carried it - it took all of her effort, her being such a small girl and the tree being just the opposite - but together they made it to the car and hoisted it on the roof. Not too many words were said between father and daughter, but good feelings about a task well done filled the cab of the car as they drove back home.

It started snowing, and by the time they got home it was freezing and windy. With much effort, they carried the tree inside and secured it in the tree stand.

An incredulous and smiling mother stood by, saying things like, "Oh, you two!" and "Every year without fail!" She had hot chocolate on the stove, Christmas carols on the stereo, and a fire in the wood stove. The boxes of Christmas decorations were spread across the couch, waiting to be opened. The little girl liked Christmas Tree Day nearly as much as Christmas Day itself. 

I told a similar story to Finn as we went out in search of our tree in the North Carolina Piedmont. It was a special day. The Daddy in that story? My Dad, Finn's Papa. Papa was with us this year as we found our tree. In fact, he likely will be for many, many more Tree Days, now that my parents live nearby. 

I'm still on a quest for the idyllic tree hunt of my youth. Let's just say that real Christmas trees don't really grow where I live. Isn't it funny that these cypress are heavily pruned to make them look like a tree? To me, they still look like bushes. We ended up with an Eastern Red Pine - and my Mom would be proud. It's a rotund tree. But I like it just fine.

No matter how you get your tree, it's always a magical time, at least in the eyes of a child.