Monday, December 31, 2012

Soon 2012 Will Be Behind Us

I love these liminal days between Christmas and New Years, especially when they are quiet and peaceful like they have been for us this year. The twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas and go until Epiphany on January 6, and these days do feel like feast days, like holidays, even like holy days of rest and family and celebration, in many respects. I've been thinking about the year ahead of us and what might come, and the year that we are leaving.
  • This winter has already given us more snow than we had all last year. The skiiers and snowboarders are so happy! Maybe I'll try the snow sports again in 2013?


  • I saw one movie in a movie theater this year. Maybe in 2013 I will go all crazy and try for two!
  • I re-joined the world of paid work after four years away and I am VERY happy. I like thinking about astronomy and education again, and it is very nice to be paid for thinking such thoughts.
  • Robert and I celebrated our 10th anniversary; we have been married a decade.
  • I read about 15 books, give or take, which is not very many by my lifetime standards. Grace, on the other hand, read probably 50 books, from just the summer when she really started reading independently until the end of the year. (Hers are SO MUCH EASIER than mine, though-- really, I swear.)
Old books
  • I have had moments of fairly intense grief at the state of the world; there was the election and the stomach-turning "discourse" surrounding it, there was the shooting at Sandy Hook (which happened pretty near where we lived in Connecticut, to children who were in the same grade as Grace, and which just knocked me over with its horror), and that was just in the last two months of the year, in my own country.
  • This past growing season was amazing here in Utah; there was so much abundance at the farmers markets and our CSA and even just friends' yards. One set of friends have an apricot tree that was just ridiculous this past year; I lost count of how much jam I made and even did liqueur.
The first stage of apricot liqueur
  • I played piano at church, I drove Grace to ballet, I helped run my local MOPS chapter, I went to my once-a-month Friday-night book club, I went to yoga and Pilates, I went running, I half-heartedly tried to eat healthfully.
  • I did not leave the state of Utah once, although we did explore some lovely parts of our state through the summer and fall. Maybe I will venture further afield in 2013.
  • Lewis turned 1, Violet turned 4, Grace turned 6, I turned 34, and Rob turned 36.
  • We replaced some windows, had some painting done, and moved around where all the children sleep. I always have grand house plans and it felt so great to put some of them into action this year. Maybe we'll finally xeriscape this coming year?
Goodbye, 100-year-old windows

Hello, yellow
  • Violet started preschool, Grace finished kindergarten, Grace started 1st grade, then Violet left preschool in not-ideal circumstances. We are about to start the preschool adventure again with Violet in January at a new place; I'm full of uncertainty and hope about it.
That's probably a pretty sensible way to approach the entire new year, isn't it? 2013 does not make us any promises but I turn the page to a new year with hope for the days ahead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace; 
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord,
Oh, praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!

All of us together on Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Four Years of Violet

Yesterday was Violet's birthday and now she is four years old. When she woke up yesterday, we wished her a happy birthday and told her she was four now but she didn't believe us; it took a good number of minutes before she wrapped her mind around the fact that this long-awaited day had finally arrived, that she could stop explaining that she was still three, that her day of presents and cupcakes and celebration was upon us.

We had such a fun day. We opened her presents in the morning, then had a bunch of friends over in the late afternoon for a joint Robert-Violet birthday party (as he turned 36 on Friday) with snacks and cocktails and cake. This might well be the last year that we'll do a joint party like that, and I am so, so thankful for the people we live life with here who came to celebrate these two people that I love so much. I just love throwing parties; I love having a house full of laughing, loud people and kids running around pulling out all the toys and good food and drinks and so forth.

Violet is 4!

It has been a hard year for Violet, and for us as we work through how to help her and how to be her family. I did not see this coming a year ago at her third birthday, although in hindsight, who she is now is just who she has always been. There are aspects of life that are such a struggle for her, and so on Monday we finally had our first appointment with a therapist-type person to do some evaluations, to see if we can figure out where to go from here and what to do to ease her struggles. And oh, how I want to ease those struggles... Just plain because I love her but also because she is amazing and beautiful and wonderful and I so intensely want to untangle that amazingness from her struggles so she can flourish as she walks through life. Violet is so creative and bright and focused, so full of imagination and intelligence and a crazy long attention span and radiance.

My favorite 36-year-old with my favorite 4-year-old

Happy birthday, beautiful. May this new year of your life see you thrive and blossom, see you full of joy and peace.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Today is the first day of Advent. Last night we got our tree up, the 10th tree that Rob and I have decorated together. Violet was nearly apoplectic with excitement about the "jewels" we hung on it and Grace tried to hang every ornament at her own eye level. Lewis tried to grab every ornament off within his toddler reach.

This is the 10th Christmas tree Rob and I have decorated together

My observing of Advent has changed a lot in the last several years, and I am so thankful for the people and churches and organizations that have helped me to make changes and in the process to find peace and joy and meaning in this season of the year. I first saw a video for Advent Conspiracy when I was hugely pregnant with Violet in 2008. I literally sobbed, partly because I was a hormonal crazy person, of course, but also because I was hungry and thirsty for a different way to observe Christmas and Advent. The narrative our dominant culture gives us about how to observe Christmas is not sustainable or healthy or good for us as holistic human beings or OK.

There is a better way to celebrate this season. There are better gifts to give, and a better place in the world to make for all of us.

The light has come and is coming.
The darkness cannot overcome it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

15 Months

Lewis is 15 months old today and he is such a toddler now; the baby in him shrinks every day and is replaced with more and more little boy.

Playing in the leaves

He has graduated from just being a walker to climber extraordinaire. If the chairs are not pushed all the way in to the dining table, he will climb to the top of it in no time at all. He also can climb to the top of our upright piano, and is getting quite steady on the stairs as well. He loves to empty drawers and the house is often littered with the contents of kitchen drawers, the book basket, the toy bins.


He calls me "mama" now, and he will hold pretty much anything up his ear and say, "A-yo? A-yo?" An actual phone, a block, the cherry pitter, just his hand. He is starting to copy our intonations when we say certain things, not quite ready to say the actual words yet but still learning to connect with us.

Rolling along

This has been a month of big transition for Lewis as we have moved the girls upstairs to their new bedroom with bunk beds and have moved Lewis into the room downstairs that the girls have been sharing since we moved into this house. (Yes, I admit it; Lewis slept in our room for over a year.) With a tiny baby, I always sleep better with the baby in the same room as me, and I like not having to really get up and go anywhere for night wakings. With Lewis, we went hard-core hippie and just accepted that he was going to be in our room for a good long while, not even decorating a nursery. Somewhere around the one-year mark, some hormonal switch in my brain flips and then I WANT THE BABY IN ANOTHER ROOM. It happened with both of my girls (who had nurseries, but didn't really spend much time in there for their first years) and it happened again with Lewis. In the past few months, I have been SO SO READY for him to move out into his own nighttime space and the week of Thanksgiving we made the big move! It has gone really smoothly and he has been doing very well transitioning to being in his own room at night. I know it will be a while before he is there the whole night through, but even just sleeping on my own for the first chunk of the night has been great for me.

Sweet angel baby

I feel like my sleep has vastly improved since we moved Lewis to his own room and I am happy about it, but an era in his life has ended and he will never be that little baby who sleeps in our room again. Realizing how fleeting Lewis' present self is makes me want to soak up who he is right now and imprint on my memory forever his cheeks, his lips, his funny shrieks, his toddler waddle, his chubby hands. I don't want to miss any of who he is and who he is becoming.

Sweet cheeks