Posts filed in: December 2014

Love and Joy

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I do like how, after all that bustle and speed, the end of the year sort of rolls into the station slowly, somehow. The day after tomorrow is Christmas, and I'm already anticipating the quiet hush that will follow, when the streets are empty, and there's not much to expect from anything or anyone. Ooooh, sweet joy of nothing to do. The days are short but feel so long and languid. I'm so ambivilent about solstice: the return of the light . . . but already? I'm not ready. Maybe it's a Pacific Northwestern thing. Look how green our winterwoods glow! Stay longer, dusky days. Bring me quilts and pillows and pets and picture books. The sky is dark, dull, lavender with rain. Inside, our candles light our mornings, noons, and nights and the time — this lovely, luminous December-time — has been filled with the magic of our tiny girl, learning how to say Christmas tree. Snowflake. My lights. My Christmas tree. Hi, Christmas tree! Waving. On Sunday night as she was bouncing around the place well past bedtime I said to her, "Are you excited?" And she said, "YES."

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all peace, and good health, and much happiness, and send lots of love from us here. Thank you for the gift of your encouragement, reassurances, and kindnesses, the thousands of kindnesses you show here all the year, every year. My cup overflows. May love and joy come to you, and your every wish come true. I wish you peace, from all of us.

With love always,
Alicia, Andy, Mimi, Clover Meadow, and The Bee

Good Cheer

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This season, it goes too fast. I want to draw out every day and wrap these moments around me like a spiral of sparkling lights. Christmas in Dairyville, walks to our neighborhood bakery, and having latkes with our neighbor, Amelia's official bubbe. I want to stay and chat but I need to rush off to a toddler holiday pageant. Have a wonderful weekend, be well, and enjoy all of it. Every little thing. Xoxo

***A few answers to recent questions: Our star lights in the window in the previous post are from Ikea; the chocolate-ginger-molasses cookie recipe I used is here (I thought they needed more sugar); the sugar cookie recipe is here (it's a great recipe); I got all of the sprinkles from Whole Foods. Mimi's nightgown pattern is vintage, McCall's 3798 from 1973. My dishes are all various patterns of Denby; the cups and saucers in the previous post are the Sherwood pattern. The snowflake mobile is many years old, from Pottery Barn Kids. Yes, Mimi's sweater is the recently completed Bloomsbury Kids. And no, she's not getting that pony for Christmas :( [cue crying from Mommy — wah!].

Winter Lights

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I just love December. It's really nice.

Winter Ways

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December days. The weather is dim, wet, the sky very low and filled with purple. Afternoons out, nights in, mornings dark with candlelit showers. Early Sunday morning I found myself driving out to Powell Butte where I sat in the morning-bright, cold-blowing wind and looked at the mountain. The sun rose, glowing white behind the thin layer of clouds. I had hot coffee, and one of those jacket-hoods with fake fur, a zipper that went up to my nose, and drawstrings, which I tightened. It was glorious.

Deep breath, in and out. The tree is trimmed, the lights are up, the parties are scheduled, the gifts have been shipped. There are cards to write and cookies to bake, but those are the things I look forward to. I'm still knitting the pink sideways coat. That thing is taking forever, and honestly, I'm not trying too hard to finish it. Andy's crocheting a great big whale, which is super rad. For the past few months, we've been putting together things for a tiny play kitchen for Mimi for Christmas. I'm quite sure I've already spent many more hours with it and and enjoyed it as much as she ever will (so. much. fun.) but I can hardly wait to play with it with her. The flannel sheets are on the bed, and I fall asleep before I can even open my book. I got a few chores done, and I feel like things are trickling now, and that's how I like it. That's how I like winter here. Slow, dark, and simple, molasses in a chocolate-ginger cookie. Because our girl's on a tolting run, most of the time. A beautiful whirlwind I counter-balance with hot tea and lots of sitting with my feet up at the end of the day.

I'm in search of a candlelight Christmas concert. Would you know of any pretty ones?

***I just read this post of Heather's — it's so lovely. She has such an honest, beautiful way with words, and motherhood, and everything.

Sunday Drive

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Over the river and through the woods we go to get our tree. Breakfast high on the cliff above the river, and a short drive further to the little farm. We don't chop our trees down ourselves. We just buy one of the ones that are already cut at the farm for $10 then go on the hayride around the field, twice. The hayride's the thing. Amelia squinting at the sun, pointing at the trees, wobbling on the bales, calling, "Wheeeee! Wheeeeeeeeee!" as we bump and rumble through the field. It smells good out there, fresh and green and cold. It's very cold. We drive a bit further on to see the sheep (which say, "Baaaaaaaaaaaaa! Baaaaaaa!" She does an uncanny impression). The late-afternoon sun is flaring through the moss-covered trees, which always makes me cry. The impossibly huge, impossibly white moutain gleams behind us. We wiggle back through the woods, nothing else to do. We turn up the music, take detours over hills and dales, feel old and new. My love runs into Starbucks and brings back hot chocolates. It's Sunday, and I'm Sunday driving, with a little tree in the back of the car and a little girl singing in her baby voice to herself in the back seat. I'd go around twice, if I could.

Let it begin, let it begin: The Christmas season is here. I found Milla's post (and its comments) very poignant. I think I was meant to be Finnish. I'm channeling Finnish Christmas. It's funny how Christmas makes you want things — things that have nothing to do with money. Our yard is dark with mud and muck. Bee the cat is sleeping in Amelia's sled, the one that's layered in buffalo-check polarfleece and hiding in the office until we go to the snow. My friend tells me about the ice-skating party she was invited to. There were kids, dogs, cocoa, and a bonfire. I howled with envy. Do you want to build a snowman? Yes, I do!

I cultivate a collection of candles. I make too many runs up to Pip's for cinnamon mini-doughnuts and their (quite awesome) chai (Heart of Gold) in the pouring rain. Amelia stands on her changing table in her pajamas and we look at the bright winter moon out her nursery window. The window is cold, condensation drifting like frost. "Bubbles," she says of the drops of water, and pulls her tiny finger along the glass. Goodnight tree. Goodnight stars. Goodnight moon. In the big bed, I listen to her snore softly beside me. I pull her hair out of her mouth, tuck her under the quilts, snuggle close. I say my prayers: Let me give. It's all here. Go slow, winter. Go slow.

 

Season of Thanks

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Gee whiz, hello, you! How are you? I've been here, there, and everywhere, and all of it was just lovely. I so wanted to be organized enough to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving on time, but the days seemed to evaporate; I sincerely hope your holiday weekend was like ours was, filled with good food and quiet joys and loved ones and all of the precious beauties that belong to this season and this season alone. This morning it was ice-cold, silver-gray, and the air was filled with woodsmoke. I stopped to get a hot chai and a cinnamon bun to munch in the car on my way to jury duty. When my name wasn't called and it was clear I and almost everyone else was dismissed, my heart leaped like a toy on a tight spring, and I drove back through the frosty morning feeling free and full of delight and gratitude, again. The rare gift of a free day at the end of a long weekend of gifts. I am so grateful for my blessings. I try to count them and I get choked up, and cannot speak. A world of wonders, daily. My heart is full.

Leaves crunch, wind swirls, birds huddle. Our big baby girl is talking, talking, suddenly opinionated, thrillingly swift, picking up words and letters and numbers so fast and so suddenly, all spoken in her sweet, lisping, earnest, excited trill. It's almost constant, this bird-like chatter, and oh, it is wonderful. Her eyes shine as she realizes she is understood, sees that she can participate in the conversation. She talks about things I don't even notice, and as I listen hard and try to understand her (because it's still quite tangled and laced with sounds I attempt to parse) so many times it turns out that she is talking about something I was totally oblivious of: The moon in the daytime sky! A leaf that fits just like a hat! Three trees that look like daddy, mommy, and baby! So many things I didn't see until she told me to look. I had no idea it would be this exciting and charming and funny and delightful and really, just utterly incredible, watching someone learn to talk. It's like magic, for all of us, effervescent and full of bubbles popping, glittering the freezing air.

Peace be with you, and joy, this blessed season. And magic. And great love. Xoxoxoxo.

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

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.