Posts filed in: Books

Snow Day

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Snow! And ice! And freezing temperatures! Everywhere! Do you have them too? I've been quite elated (except for that part where the weather cancelled our plans to go out of town of a day or two — wah) by the cold and am enjoying every minute of it. I love it. We've only really had one day of snow and many days of cold, but they say there might be more snow on the way today.

What do you think of my hawk picture??? Weirdest thing: Meems and I were setting out for a long walk on Sunday afternoon. About a block away from the house I saw the light shining through those seed pod things and wanted to take a picture of them. I debated going back for my camera; I almost didn't. We went back, got it, took a snap of the pods, and we continued on our way. It was strangely quiet. Amelia was asleep in the stroller. It was sunny and very cold, and for some reason (I guess no one wanted to go out in it) I could hardly hear any traffic (usually it's quite loud) and we hadn't seen a single car. I thought about what our neighborhood was like when it was just woods. I used to think this about my neighborhood at home, too; when you look at those giant oak trees, you feel like you can see settlers. The sun shone low in the sky behind bare branches. We walked another few blocks when suddenly there was the most awful and startling noise: bird violence, and in the air. I'd never heard the sound before, but I knew what it was somehow. I thought I'd seen a swoop and a flash some ways up the road but I couldn't be sure. We turned the corner and there, in the middle of the street — a Cooper's hawk, straddling a bluejay, the pair of them all giant wings and eyes. I stopped in my tracks, and an oncoming car rolled quietly toward us all, and stopped a few feet from the birds. We were all frozen, when suddenly the jay sprang back to life and made a break for it. He darted, low and sharp, toward the houses, stunned to be flying. The hawk casually hopped into a tree and looked around: Oh well. He cleaned something off his chest. I dove for my camera, tucked into that (maddening) net basket under the stroller and started snapping pictures as fast as I could. He was about twenty or thirty feet from me, not more. I snapped and snapped, amazed that he sat. Snap snap snap. I could see a very bundled couple walking their dog coming toward me. Snapsnapsnap. I tried to wave them off, knowing they would flush him, but they didn't understand my waves and points. He sat in the tree until they got right up to it, oblivious to him, and then he flapped off. They noticed the camera and said something polite like, "Oh, how nice, a crow" and I was apoplectic with frustration, excitement, and delight, sputtering, "It was a HAWK!!!" Oh! I showed them the photos on my camera's little LCD screen. Wow! Cool! We each told our only hawk stories from the neighborhood — it's so rare to see one! They watched one divebombing at the park a few years ago; I saw one other in our front yard tree one afternoon, and thought I was hallucinating. It made my day.

City peeps. We need to get out more, don't we!!! :)

*The dancing photos are from ScanFair, and yes, I'm still fiddling with CHAI. I can't stop.
**Her peasant dress and blouse are from Alice à Paris, and her booties are from Misha and Puff.

The Crock Pot is Hot

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It's been nice and cold and dark and a little rainy and a little windy and just . . . Novembery. Mama is tiiiiiiiired. What is with the time change, seriously. Why does one little hour of difference make such a difference? Baby Mimi wakes at 3:00 a.m. Or 4:00 a.m. Or, blissfully, 5:00 a.m. (which is the old 6:00 a.m.). Ugh. It's too early even for birds. There's nothing up besides us at 4:00 a.m. She's the most chipper (and adorable, it must be said) person I've ever seen in my life at 4:00 a.m., I will give her that!

Thank you for the crock pot — slow cooker — suggestions! Very cool! We made Jennifer's Split Pea Soup that day and it was amazing. It actually needed longer than I had given it, so we saved it for the next day and made some Dutch oven bread and yeah, that was a seriously good dinner for a cold November night. Thank you, Jennifer! I printed out a bunch of other recipes that you suggested and will work my way through them. I also noticed that several people recommended America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution, so I got that. A lot of people seem to like this book, and most of the criticisms I read — you need to do a lot of prep before putting stuff in the cooker, the meals cook in four to six hours, which isn't long enough if you are at work all day — aren't problems for me at all. I have much, much more time and energy in the morning to shop for and prepare stuff. I actually really like cooking at that time of day, and since I'm home all day I can time it so that it's ready at dinnertime. We eat by five and are thick into the baby-bedtime routine by six. And honestly, at around four I just want to know what's for dinner, not be trying to make it. I don't always feel like this, but in the fall I definitely do.

So yesterday we thumbed through the new book and decided to try the Swedish meatballs. True to America's Test Kitchen style, the book is super informative and they give you lots of explanations for why a recipe asks you to do this or that. (I've watched the show for years and gotten the magazines, and I love this approach, though sometimes the dishes that I have made from them don't actually wind up being my favorites.) I think these came out really well, though I would not add the sour cream in the last step — the result was a sauce that seemed too heavy and almost cloying and too-sweet; but I should've known that was going to happen, because I don't really like the taste of sour cream in most sauces. I think I would stick with heavy cream thinned with broth or water to finish it off. That's just me. Served over buttered noodles with a green salad topped with roasted roots, yum. Good. Two dinners in a row!Next I'm going to try some chicken.

Thank you for your sweet words about the new animals! I'm really excited about them and have a lot of new ideas. Unfortunately no, neither patterns nor kits for anything new will be available before Christmas. But they will be available eventually. We are making some pretty awesome changes to our production process around here. I met with a business consultant a few weeks ago and it has been kind of life-changing for me. One result of that meeting is that I will be outsourcing all of the fabric cutting for future kits to a local sewing production factory called Spooltown. I've needed this for a while, and I am so excited about it I can't even tell you. This place is so cool, and I am thrilled that we have an amazing local resource like this. I was so excited at my first meeting with them that I couldn't stop talking. Their sewing and production space is gorgeous; I will take some pictures of it when we start the cutting for the new stuff (which won't be for a while, though). Anyway, I have lots of new ideas in the works, and now there will be more time for me to design. I will fill you in as things progress!

Wild and Wooly

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Hello, dear friends. How are you? It's a lovely fall morning here in Portland, Oregon. I'm drinking an apple cider. We've already been up to the store for more flour and more sugar, more apples, and some teensy little pumpkins. The packages for the day have already been picked up. My trusty helper girls are taking a very well-deserved day away from here. And Mimi and I are going to go to the party store later to pick out some balloons. It's a good October Tuesday.

* T H A N K   Y O U * to everyone who purchased an ornament kit, or supplies, or a pattern, or anything at all from us over the last week and weekend. I am truly astonished, and my heart's in my throat with gratitude at the response. Thank you. Almost every single one of order is already out the door (except for a few that had size #12 needles or fabric markers in them; we are waiting for another shipment of those that was supposed to be here yesterday, but it apparently got mistakenly sent to San Francisco instead — go figure — so it's on its way back [it originated in Portland, by the way]). But we expect that everything will be on its way out of here tomorrow or Thursday, depending on when that package arrives. It's been seriously intense here! In addition to Greta, I had Shila and Lauren (and of course Andy, and my mom) helping out, and if we could've bottled the energy flying around this place it would've probably blown the lid off the bottle. Lots of people, lots of work, lots of stress, lots of laughs, lots of everything. I love these girls. They are so special to me, and I could not do any of this without them. I owe every single person who helped me this week an enormous thank you. Being a working mama is no joke, man. Neither is being a working papa. I am exhausted! Thank goodness for take-out dinner, helpers, grandmas, mechanics who drop your car off at your house after they fix it (that was awesome), neighbors who have cans of tomatoes when you need them, groceries within walking distance, and playgrounds around the corner. Yeah!

I'm so sorry that not everyone who wanted a kit got one. That is the worst part for me, and I truly apologize that there is only so many that we can make. More of the new kits sold out in one day this year than we sold during the entire season last year, so it's just so hard to know how it will go. The PDF patterns for each ornament collection are available for immediate download if you missed out on the kits. And all of the older kits are all still available. If we wind up with any Night Before Christmas kits left over after everything has shipped I will definitely let you know.

The weather here has been classic fall, with probably one of the most beautiful weekends this past weekend that I have ever seen. It was sunny and crunchy and cool. At the end of each day, we took long walks up to get coffee, or go to the park, or get burritos, or spaghetti. I got to read some of my new Kinfolk cookbook, which came in the mail and is so, so, so pretty and makes me want to get my pantry in order (I haven't had time yet — bah!). Amelia wore a lot of things made out of yarn, I noticed. It's kind of awesome that she is now fitting into a lot of things I made so long ago, like her Springtime in Hollis sweater (which I honestly think is pretty much the perfect pattern) and her blue Mina dress (I didn't get a good picture of the skirt, but I was pretty psyched because that thing fit perfectly). Her adorable scarf and boots (not that I can keep ANYTHING on her feet, seriously) I got on sale last winter from Misha * Puff. Her Sunshine Day blanket is everpresent in our stroller three-quarters of the year. I finished that border on the Latte Baby Coat and one sleeve. My hands hurt so bad after I finished the border. I love the way it looks but agh, that was tricky to pull off for me. I used size 11 needles, too. But it is super cute and I am anxious to finish the other sleeve over the next few nights and get it lined with flannel. I've never lined a knitted thing before, I don't think. Any advice?

Yesterday afternoon I got to take the most delicious nap with Amelia on the sofa bed in the living room after we got home from the park. The window was open to the cool air and the sunlight was golden. The girls were working in the back of the house and Andy was out, so it was just us two, snuggled under the quilt together, Clover at our feet. It had been several days since we'd gotten to do that and oh, oh. Pure bliss for me. Pure bliss. When she wakes and her hair is all crazy and she is still warm and shy and sleepy and confused and [I'm right here, baby] buries her face in my neck, oh. Girl. Thank you.

This and That

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Thank you so much for all of your kind words about the new ornament collection. Thank you, thank you! I'm very excited that you like them. I will put them on sale tomorrow morning, Thursday, October 3. Just come here to the blog and I'll have all of the photos and links and information right here.

I've been tucked in the office for the past few days, really digging into this project that, up until now, Greta has spearheaded. It feels really good to be back in the office with the girls (we have backup this week, too!), listening to Pandora, soaking up the occasional sunshine coming in through the skylights, getting soaked by the almost-constant rain when we take the recycling out, getting frequent visits from Amelia as her dad or her grandma bring her in to say hello, eating breakfast at my desk, singing every word to "Wagon Wheel," Andy pulling late nights listening to old Willie Nelson concerts assembling Ice Skating Afternoon kits and texting me (upstairs in bed knitting) frequently about how much fun he was having (not kidding — hilarious), and also texting me a long list of ways we could improve the ergonomic correctness and general efficiency of our system. Ha! Kinda reminded me of the old days, when he and I did everything ourselves. I don't think things have changed that much, really. We just do different things now, and we have Amelia here, who makes everything wonderful. I had to re-photograph all of the kit photos for each collection yesterday, and spent a little bit of time with each ornament, remembering how each of them came about over the years. I really love them. They have been a pretty big part of our lives these past six years, actually.

Over the weekend, it seriously poured. Wind, rain, wind, rain. We had a great, sopping-wet time despite it at the flock and fiber festival with Amelia's birthgrandparents. Ten minutes after we got back home the power went out because of the storm, and was out most of Saturday afternoon, until early evening. It was kind of nice not to be able to work, especially because Andy was home, too. I took a long candlelit bath, and Meems came in with me at the end. The girl loves water and I love playing in the water with her. I got to sit on the sofa-bed and read Vanity Fair (the magazine, not the book) while she napped beside me. When the power came back on on Sunday, Andy went to work and Amelia and I cooked. Butternut squash macaroni and cheese (I kinda made it up), black bean soup, no-knead bread. Our friend Sarah came for lunch on Monday. I bought a reproduction of a painting by Edward Hicks called David Leedom Farm, 1849. I love it. It's over my dresser. At night I've been working on the little sweater coat I've started for Amelia. I'm planning to line it with flannel. The pantry is installed and finished and I literally haven't had any time to stock it. Big preparations are underway for Amelia's birthday party. I really just can't believe it's been a year. Sweetest love, a whole year.

***To those that have asked about the book with the lamby pattern, it is I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale. I'll tell you more about my lamb after I give it to Miss Mimilove.

An Excerpt

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 I couldn't sleep last night. Irony! Because I'm super tired! Damn you, Irony. Who invented you, anyway.

Anyway, around 3 a.m. I finished the book I've been reading for a couple of weeks: Bilgewater by Jane Gardam (suggested by Lily [thank you Lily!]). (I also got to read in the bathtub on Sunday afternoon, which was seeeeeriously awesome — thank you for that, honey.) Sort of a coming-of-age novel, published in 1976, it was slow and weird but readable and random, and wonderful for that — kind of like a Shakespeare comedy, I thought, actually? — and just perfect for what I felt like reading right now. Marigold Daisy Green lives with her father, the housemaster of a boys' school in Yorkshire. Here's how Thursdays are there:

    Thursdays were always the evenings when these conversations with Paula took place and had done so "from long since" as our Mrs. Things say, because Thursdays were the evenings when father received visitors.
    He had done this since before the way, even before he was married, and the visitors had always been the same: one or two, never more than three Old Masters. Uncle Pen and Puffy Coleman were inevitables and the third was often an amalgam of cobwebs and dust called Old Price. Every term-time Thursday at about seven-thirty these people came roaming around like elderly, homing snails. They unwind garments in the hall when it is not cold, drop walking sticks — Uncle HB has a shooting stick — into the hall-stand and trail dismally into the study. Paula [the house matron, and Marigold's frequent companion] takes them ccoffee and glasses and father slowly unlocks the shelf-cupboard in the bottom of his desk and brings out a bottle of wine which he never opens until well after they have all arrived and would probably never open at all if he were not kept very firmly at it by Uncle HB who often brings a personal hip-flask, too, though I don't think father has ever noticed. . . . If Old Price drank more than two sips he'd go up in a little wisp of smoke. . . .
    Sometimes, when I was little I was allowed to sit with them for a bit — well, not so much allowed. I just did. They did not seem to notice and I learned much. When I was four or five I would sit for ages under the desk playing with a heap of old shoes . . .
    As I grew older I became too large to fit under the desk and . . . I abandoned the Thursday receptions for Paula's sick bay readings and learned there much more interesting, universal, and philosophic things.
    I have read novels now full of intelligent conversations. In novels there is often a set-piece thrown in called The University or College Conversation. This can take place between students or long afterwards, in the evenings of the students' days. there are a great many pauses in it and as the pipesmoke rises and the firelight flickers on the rows of mellow old volumes, wisdom and gentle nostalgia hang in the air. The nature of God, the reality of solid objects, the non-existence of Time are touched upon, tossed gently to and fro. Not so with father's lot. Up with Paula, the floor above — and Paula has had no education at all — we talk on and on about:
    sin
    death
    love
    harmony
    ethics
particularly ethics, e.g. when Posy Robinson comes in all tearful for his mama and we have only two eggs and two rashers and two spoons of cocoa, our four feet on the fender and a lovely play coming on the wireless after the news.
    But downstairs! Here is a sample of the chat on one of the Learned Thursdays:
    "Cold night."
    "Rather better."
    "Pretty cold. Got your coal yet?"
    "No. Got your oil?"
    "No!"
    "Time this House had oil. No more expensive."
    "Smells."
    "Not at all. No shovelling, what's more."
    "Your house has a Man."
    "Man! Idle oik. If we got oil we could get rid of him."
    "Get rid of Gunning? Get rid of Gunning?"
    "'Bout time. Been here since the zeppelins."
    Uneasy pause while it is considered whether Old Price has been here since the zeppelins.
    "I once saw the zeppelins," says Puffy Coleman kindly. "I was just a boy. There was a burst of flame out over the sea — off Scarborough — and then we saw a lot of little flames dropping into the water. . . . That was a terrible war.'
    "Terrible."
    "What was terrible?"
    "That war."
    "Which war?"
    "Well — the Last War. The — zeppelin war."
    "I can remember," says a very feeble voice in hte corner if it is a warm evening — he comes on chosen evenings. Old Price, like Masefield's blackbird — "I can remember the zeps. All the boys ran out along the cliff tops cheering. In their pyjamas."
    "Ah, " says Puffy Coleman, lowering his teeth.
    "Ah, says Uncle Pen HB. then, "It wasn't that war."
    "Yes it was. What d'you think it was? The Napoleonic War?"
    "Scarborough was bombarded in the Napoleonic War," whispers Old Price.
    "Now then Price, you weren't in the Napoleonic War," says Pen.
    "No. No. I only said — uff, uff, uff — "
    Father gazes at the uplifted wine. The Primavera watches through her wicked eyes.
    "D'you think Price was in the Napoleonic War, William?"
    "What's that?"
    "Uff, uff, uff — "
    "Ha, ha, ha, ha," says father, bewildered, looking round sweetly, kindly at one and all, not at all sure, for he is a good bit younger than the others, what might or might not be so.
    They reflect.
    Oh it's wild stuff.

Ha! I thought that last line was funny. I like how she writes. Mimi and I went right down to Powell's and bought all of her other books that they had. Then I finished this one and I really liked it (luckily, since I did that backwards a bit). Hopefully I'll like the others, too. And now I have to go because it took me about five hours to type this thing (but it was actually kind of fun to type — I like typing) and I'm starving!!!

*These are not our chickens, and this is a local community garden, not mine. Just photos from our walks.

**And yes, it does sort of remind me of I Capture the Castle. And also The Country Life by Rachel Cusk.

Catching Up

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Ahhhh. Feeling much better, thank you! Much better. I finally feel like doing something other than whining and drinking Sprite for dinner. Actually, what sounded good was just a Big-Gulp sized cup of Airborne with ice. Bah.

And — glory! — the cabinets are done. Yesterday. Today I'm playing catch-up. Paying bills. Changing sheets. Finishing painting the stairwell? Vacuuming. Getting some drawer-divider things so I can start putting stuff in the new drawers and cabinets. I'm looking forward to all of it. Spring cleaning's coming early this year.

Alas, not in the back yard. It's kind of a wreck. Stuff is sprouting through the gunk — we planted stuff — bulbs — I don't remember what. Allium, I hope!

Amelia turned sixteen-weeks-old over the weekend. It seems utterly impossible that that much time has passed already. She is so big and luscious and beautiful and funny and sweet and wonderful. She is so easy-going and laid-back; I still just cannot believe anyone on earth is just like this. My mellow yellow. She is such a cool person. Her infancy has been nothing short of complete delight. And it's going, as everyone said, so fast. But every new day is so much better than the one before. Our three days a week alone together are long — when Andy's at work (yes, he's an R.N.), morning starts at about 5 a.m. and the day doesn't end for me until her bedtime, around 8 p.m. Andy gets home around 8:30. She naps a little during the day, but she sleeps through the entire night, no problem. I think I'm finding a good rhythm during the days, though. Starting to get the hang. We've been managing really well lately, especially now that the weather is getting a bit nicer and we can easily walk up to the grocery store and stuff like that (and now that construction is over and we can actually leave the house). Not that I'm not exhausted at the end of the day. I am! But it's a good, honest, awesome kind of exhaustion. The days just feel so good to me now. Her happiness (and ours) is so straightforward, and filled with joy and sweetness and ease that I am encouraged, and so grateful, and nothing seems too hard then.

Now, wallpaper. People! Do you see how pretty it is? How can it possibly be chosen. Someone said that vintage wallpaper has nasty stuff in it. That stands to reason, but I'd never heard it before, so thank you. I'll probably pass on it. The swatches on the table are vintage. The swatches hanging on the wall are actually new, they just look old. From Fabrics and Papers. The one I like is the last one I thought I'd like. Can you guess? I still have a few more samples coming from other places. I want to wallpaper about fifty things now.

Finished Bernadette! I liked it (though I have to admit, I liked the first half better than the second half)! Next up is Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods. Of course I had to get that one! Thank you again for all of these. I'm really looking forward to them!

Do you see Greta up there with all of that Liberty? I am drooling!!! We have ten different ten-yard lengths here right now. I want to roll around in it. But none of it is for me!!! Liberty torture.

***Forgot to say: Here is my Pinterest board with some more wallpapers (and some of these).

Sick Days

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Blug. I got sick. Coughing, sneezing, headache, eyeball-ache. Been laying low. How Amelia has not gotten this when both Andy and I had it (one after the other) I know not. I've been washing my hands fifty times a day, but still. Poor dear! I think she thinks that coughing is just how people normally talk to each other, so she's imitating it. Typical conversation:

Me: "Hun [sneezing fit], can you bring me the [coughing, hacking coughing, disgusting sounds, throat            clearing, sneeze, sneeze, nose blowing] blanket?"

Amelia: "Goo goo, gah, fake cough, fake cough, goooooo [bright smile]."

Andy: "Sure [sneeze]."

Me: "Wonderful."

Dear lovies.

I seem to be rounding third on the sick. I feel a lot better today. I made the soup that my mom always used to make us when we were sick — the Lipton's chicken-noodle. Always makes you feel better. Maybe we'll make some real stuff this weekend? That sounds really good!

The construction has been delayed by a week [fake crying]. The doors and drawers were all scratched and dinged because they were wrapped for delivery before the paint was fully cured (note use of passive voice in attempt to not assign blame). But, agh. All had to be returned to paint shop for re-sanding/re-painting. We were only a half-day away from being completely finished when this was discovered, too [real crying]. Oh well. Better to do it right.

I'll be happy when it's finished so that I can put everything away. Right now boxes of things that belong in the guest room are still all over the house. We have bunny kit stuff coming in, as well. Naturally, then, I started a new quilt for Amelia!

I decided, with the books, to only read one at a time. First one, recommended by tons of you, Where'd You Go, Bernadette? It's absolutely exactly what I wanted. I'm flying through it! Thank you!

Morning Muffin

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Egads, *THANK YOU* for all of the book suggestions! Thank you thank you. That is seriously exciting. I have read a lot of the ones that you suggested (you know me well!), but there were a ton of them I have never heard of that sound awesome. This is thrilling! Thank you!

Were fighting colds here. Blaaaaaah. I've lost my voice and am speaking in whispercroak. Lots of hot tea, hot and sour take-out soup, more blueberry streusel muffins, a hot bath for me. I'm really enjoying these muffins in the morning, I must say. I think this muffinmaking will be my "thing." Like how some people are good at sports and some people are funny and some people have great hair? I'm going to always have muffins in the house. Yeah.

Construction on the window seat is almost finished. It is gorgeous but I won't deny that it's been a loooooong couple of weeks with people coming and going and saws whirring and things banging and the front door opening and closing and people clomping up and down stairs and the dear, poor puppers patrolling (and barking) throughout the day. Doors and drawers go on and in on Monday and then, hallelujah, some quiet. Yes, please. Ready. Then I can obsess about the pillow for the window seat, and the wallpaper (some more).

Miss Amelia P. takes it all in stride and wakes up every morning with the biggest, brightest, most beautiful smile you can imagine. Always happy. Made of sunshine, this girl. Dearest darling! Lights my world. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Bright Frost

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It's been cold again this week. Between that and remodeling people here it hasn't been easy to get outside but I'm so anxious for a walk in the woods I can't even tell you. I can't wait! Though I am loving the sun we've been having. I showed it to Amelia the other day from the back door and she flinched and scowled at it, thoroughly appalled! Like, "Ack, what is that??!" True Oregonian!!!

I think I mentioned that I was reading The Palace of the Snow Queen. I like it a lot but it is not light reading, really. Do you have any recommendations for easy, fun, fast reading? I think my choices last summer (spy and pretty heavy mystery novels) were a little too dark. I didn't really make it through anything. I'm looking for something — novels, I think, or maybe even travel non-fiction — that is lighter and funnier and just . . . relaxing and fun to read?

***Forgot — here is the Summer Reading Booklist for kids we (you and I) made a few years ago. The link was broken in the original post — sorry about that!

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Mornings, noons, and nights. My girl and I are early risers. Up around 5 a.m. (which is when Andy gets up to go to work), I take my shower by Christmas-tree light, and bring my trusty coffee pot and my fake candle back up to bed on the tray. Then I wait for my lady to wake. When she does, I go in and unwrap her from her swaddle and she smiles at me. Her big huge darling smile. (That's been happening for about a week. Still just can't believe she does that. It's my favorite moment of the day.) She unfolds her tiny arms and reaches up with her fists and down with her tiny toes and stretches everything. She makes her little blustering noises, tiny snorts and snuffles — it's hard to wake up. I say, "Good morning, my dear lady! What are we going to do today?" Then I pick her up and she buries her face in my neck and puts her warm hands on my chest. I kiss her neck where it's warm and soft (well, where isn't it warm and soft) and we linger here, only minutes (before she wiggles and yawps and calls for her breakfast), but for as long as she'll let me. The day begins. These lazy, busy, soft, warm, long, lovely, lovely days at the end of the lovely year with our sweet, funny, silly, snuggly, adorable, adorable, darling girl. I look into her beautiful navy blue eyes and make a wish.

***

Just a minute ago it was "snowing," small almost-flakes that Greta (miracle Posie assistant, who comes three afternoons a week and who has kept everything running like clockwork, running better than when I ran it myself, quite frankly) and I, both of us Midwestern girls, watched from the windows with pure longing. I can see why they call them flurries. Such a pretty and capricious word. The flakes swirled and fell, invisible as they hit the ground. Inside, we are cozy and keeping warm, piled under our various piles of calico, wool, and goosedown. We seem to have so many piles like that here. A pile for every room. We don't do much (well, dear Greta does, but the rest of us don't). Just sit, and snuggle, and drink, and sometimes rock in the rocking chair, maybe make some tea or hot chocolate, maybe watch Downton Abbey, maybe light a firelog or add some wood to one that's already flickering, and then go back to the downy pile. I like to turn all the sounds off and listen to the furnace sometimes. Last night, late last night, I finished The Long Winter. That book was awesome. I can't believe I'd never read it before. The scene where Almanzo and Cap are trying to make it back across the frozen slough with the sixty bushels of wheat and the horses keep falling through the snow? Ouf. The way she described Prince standing in the snow hole with his head down, waiting for Almanzo to help him again almost made me cry. MAN do I love pioneer lit. I still have to tell you about my other books. But I am so lazy.

New Year's Eve. A goodbye to the old year, even as everything here still seems so new. I still haven't really found the words to describe most of how I feel. Part of that is probably just plain old tiredness. I was generally worn out by the holidays when I didn't have a three-month-old baby. Part of it is (still) just plain astonishment. Even when I'm just thinking to myself, hearing my own voice ramble on inside me and not even trying to talk out loud, I'm still just mostly thinking, "I am astonished!" And that feeling looks like a big blue Montana sky.

Part of it is that gratitude just floods me moment to moment, and humbles me speechless. I think in prayers now, and I guess they have a language all their own.

I wish you a very, very happy and fun New Year's Eve, and a really wonderful new year.

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.