Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family time

I had a great time last weekend in Florida, celebrating my dad's 80th birthday.
The banner on the wall said
"Growing Old is  Compulsory,
Growing Up is Optional."

I loved being there with all my sisters and my mom. 
Barefoot Beach, where the seashells are plentiful and beautiful!

Lots of talking and hanging out together!

Happy Birthday, Dear Old Dad!
Edwin A Carter, my dad.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

post holiday post

Putting away Christmas, emptying rooms. I'm not ready to end the suspension of schedules and responsibilities. (That's a perk of working for a school district that takes a full month off for the Christmas holiday!) I'd leave the Christmas tree up for another week, except that Ralph just sent me an email reminder that the curbside tree pick-up is tomorrow. (That was true when I started writing this post, three days ago!)

Once the tree is down, and the floor is covered with dried pine needles, and boxes have been hauled from the closet under the stairs, then the rest must follow. Sorting, wrapping, packing away, and remembering the good times we had with everyone in the house this Christmas.

P.S. Isn't this table runner beautiful? I WON it!
From the Connecting Threads blog. Isn't that cool?!

This ornament, a little mouse asleep in a walnut shell cradle, was made by our friend, Jenny, when we were newlyweds.  Poppy loved it, and hung it down low, where she could see it, instead of its usual place near the top of the tree. (Small ornaments on top, large ornaments on the bottom, colors and styles and motifs evenly distributed.) It's remarkable how a child refreshes the perspective at Christmas, from the decorative to the meaningful.

Here's Ralph doing my least favorite chore of the season,
unscrewing the posts that hold the tree in place. Thank you, Honey

This year we made it to the bonfire in Solvang/Santa Ynez. What a bonfire! Area residents are invited to bring their Christmas trees, and the pile is huge! Even as we were leaving, people were still bringing trees. And in the background the organizers played music; Light My Fire, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Hot-Hot-Hot... so cute. John gets so embarrassed when his mom bops to the music. And when his mom uses words like "bops." (Just doing my job!)

Then we went to Anderson's for Split Pea soup. Yummy! Ralph and John were good sports about getting their pictures taken, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here I am!

This blogging stuff is harder than it looks. Especially around Christmas; I was so busy, too busy to stop, take a picture, and describe what I was doing or how I felt about it. Plus, I was working on presents, and I didn't want to post pictures before the giftees received them!
Star in Star for Molly

Star in Star for Emma

Dog for Mackenzie.
Made from a pair of Bill's Nordic ski socks.

Then, I had the BEST Christmas EVER!
There came a point when anything that wasn't finished didn't have to be finished. When the focus was on being ready for my kids to come home for Christmas, and that's all. The Tree got decorated, the lights hung on the house, cookie dough in the freezer. Ready.

What an honor that everyone came and stayed! There was lots of game-playing, and movie-watching, and hiking, and tide pooling, and visits to various parks, and cookie decorating, and lots of talking and laughing!

There was plenty of great food, but food wasn't the focus as much as being together, and working together. Though I didn't work at all! I cooked twice, and I cleaned once. The rest was all done by my great family! Homemade pizza, the most awesome macaroni and cheese, delicious tempeh and veggies, salads; healthy, wholesome goodness.

Honestly, the more I hear about other families, the more I like mine.

Joseph said, "I like this grown-up Christmas," and I know what he's talking about. The grown-up perspective that wasn't about presents or expectations, plus the magic of Poppy's Christmas experience made it all fun.

I wrapped several of my Christmas books, and every day Poppy unwrapped one or two, and we read them to her. After learning about the Nativity story, Poppy rearranged creches to honor the most important figure.
The adult kids enjoyed an evening out while Ralph and I took Poppy, with the required popcorn, hot chocolate, and Christmas cookies, to see lights on houses. And she loved Christmas presents, from the boring pajamas and slippers to the Light Brite and pink scooter!

On Christmas Day, the household doubled in size with the addition of many uncles and aunts and cousins. I loved every minute of it. Ralph never got to play croquet, thanks to the weather, but there was ping pong, Spades, Scrabble, and plenty of conversation to go with all the good food!

I still want to show you a couple other things I made for Christmas.

A dress for Bethany's favorite childhood doll, Becky. Remember the Strawberry Shortcake dress I made for Poppy? Bethany totally saw the resemblance, and loved it. Poppy isn't really old enough to love Becky yet, so Becky will continue to live here in uninterrupted sleep until Poppy is ready to treasure her.

You either think this is creepy, or cute. It's me, huggable, with a plateful of cookies and an armful of books. Got the idea from Angry Chicken. Bethany said Poppy had fallen asleep a few times holding a broken Christmas ornament photo of me. This will be cozier.
Have I gotten you caught up, now? I'm still trying to keep up, here!
Happy New Year! I hope I'll give you lots to see here this year!