comments: 327













Andy is back at work. The house is so quiet! It's just us girls here. Amelia's sleeping on my lap. I'm watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning. The Bee is looking out the window. Clover's sitting in Andy's spot. Pining. Yesterday was Andy's first day back after being home for over seven weeks. In the morning, I put Amelia down in her crib for what I thought would be just a minute while I got dressed, and she fell asleep. I grabbed the baby monitor and ran down and unloaded the dishwasher. Clover stayed in her room with her while she napped. It's the first time in Clover's entire life that she did not come downstairs with me during the day. I absolutely couldn't believe it. My sweet girl. I finished the kitchen and tidied the house and then went back upstairs. I put my hand on my heart when I saw her, still there, and gave her a behind-the-ears thank-you scratch and a big old kiss right between the eyes, then took her picture. She takes her jobs very seriously. Serious, earnest, dear, good lady.

Thank you for being so generous and lovely in your comments lately. Xoxo. Thank you. You are the nicest people.

I'm thinking about Christmas cookies. We're having a party in a week or so and I need cookies. My (gorgeous) friend Jolie sent me the Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies, which are SUPER GOOD (as are her hilarious videos). So I'll make those. The Swedish Dream cookies also pictured on that plate I got at ScanFair this past weekend, and dayum those are also SO SUPER GOOD. I searched and found a few recipes on-line but I'm not sure which one to use. If you have a good one, let me know. Most call for ammonium bicarbonate (baker's ammonia), so I need to find that. I'll make some regular frosted sugar cookies, and knowing me I'll buy three rolls of Pillsbury. I'll probably make some bar cookies of some sort because those are easy and they make a lot with a little effort. I don't know what else I'm going to make. I am open to suggestions!

I did make a pretty decent curried cod with spinach from this recipe the other night. And a big bowl of Mexican hot cocoa after the child was nestled all snug in her bed. Bliss.

I've been gathering little Christmas presents for Amelia, including the sweet little hand-carved and -painted Dala horse (also from ScanFair). For her actual stocking stuffer I decided to start a silver charm bracelet for her. The one I ordered has twenty-one little links, so I thought we could get her one special charm for every year until she's twenty-one. It's really fun to think about starting entirely new traditions for her. Do you have any special traditions that you do every year? I love stufff like this.

*The mouse is Kathe Kruse; it was a gift so I'm not sure where it's from. And the little fake wood stove is from Plow & Hearth. :)


Lori Knowles says: December 06, 2012 at 02:43 PM

I make Swedish Dream cookies every year - I get the ammonium bicarbonate from my local pharmacist. Ask them and they will get it for you - you have to promise to bring them some cookies, of course!


Every day I compulsively check my Google Reader to see if you've posted. I love the glow, the happiness, the coziness of your photos and home. Amelia is a doll -- is it me or she starting to look like Andy?! Thanks for sharing all of this beauty. It's a pleasure to be part of your crowd of adoring fans.

Oh Alicia! Amelia! These pictures! pure bliss!! Thank you for sharing her with us, I'm so happy for you. I'm so excited with every new post, such beauty.

I love the charm bracelet idea. My girls are 1 and 3 years old. We are carrying on my family tradition of a new ornament every year - on a theme. My oldest gets birds, my youngest gets mushrooms...mostly blown glass so far.

We also put their shoes out for Saint Nicholas, have an advent elf who visits us with surprises every day, and we generally try to squeeze in as much magic as possible. It's terribly fun to be in charge of making it all happen!

Every year I buy an angel ornament for my daughter and a snowman ornament for my son; I'm not even sure they realize this! (We have a lot of ornaments.) Someday, when they have trees of their own, I hope to give them a box of these ornaments that they grew up with, which I hope they will remember with love and happy memories.

OH so sweet.For years I've made my kids new NBC (nite before Christmas) pjs, it started because I didn't want them to wear that awful flame retardant fabric... they open on xmas eve, usually around midnight when we get home from gramma's house. This will probably be the year I stop ... as they're 18 and 21 now.... and of course there has always been the xmas morning photo in the new pjs, in front of the tree.

Lacy Province says: December 06, 2012 at 02:50 PM

Quick cookie trick . . .

Bake up the Pillsbury Sugar Cookies, then when cooled spread different flavored canned icings and top with another sugar cookie. (chocolate, cherry, strawberry, etc.)

I like to make these in a very small size so they go further.

You could also use different cookie doughs i.e. Chocolate cookie with cream cheese in the center.

Our main traditions for Christmas that aren't spending time together on the actual day, and eating a nice meal together are watching movies/specials together (my essentials are: It's a Wonderful Life, the animated Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph, Charlie Brown Christmas), and chocolate advent calendars every year.

These last few years I've tried to make most of the presents we give. This year: ornaments! I'm knee deep in felt and embroidery floss over here!

Enjoy these days everyone!

Also: Clover is amazing. We are seriously considering a corgi friend in the new year. xo!

Tabi Metcalfe, Surrey, England says: December 06, 2012 at 02:52 PM

She's beautiful, and Clover is obviously very much in love with her too. I love seeing the photos of her that you post, and my 2 girls ( who are 12 & 10) love them too.They both adore babies so I've told them your story and how wonderful & joyful it is that you and Andy have been blesed with such a beautiful baby girl. Now they know, they both regularly come to ask me to check your blog for new photos and updates. On the subject of Christmas traditions, here's one for Amelia when she's a little older. I cut some branches from the garden & put them in a vase or florist's bucket, although this year I decided to splash out on a little fake tree that looks as though it's bare twigs are covered in snow. It goes up in the playroom on the night of November 30th and underneath I place a basket with 24 wrapped Christmas tree decorations in it. (and this year, I got up at 6 in the morning to switch the tree lights on because they still get up early at the weekends & I SO wanted them to come downstairs and see that soft fairylight glow in the darkness of the morning) Each year I add a few new ornaments so they never know which ones they'll get to hang on the tree. They take it in turns each day to either unwrap an ornament or open a window on the Advent calendar, and so slowly over the days, the bare branches of the Advent tree gradually fill up with beautiful sparkling Chrismas prettiness!

Our biggest family tradition is our Christmas Eve: I make pizza and we all get a brand new pair of pajamas. After the children are in bed, Will (my husband) and I open our gifts from each other, put out the presents, and listen to the Orson Welles radio play of A Christmas Carol.

Beautiful photos as always, I love the one with Amelia asleep in that beautiful Lacey top... So sweet.

last year - was it last? - i wrote to you that, as difficult as things were, it was a beginning. i have worried about writing that ever since, because in retrospect it might have seemed as if i couldn't possibly know what i was talking about. amelia is that beginning. and she is blossoming, every moment of every day, growing in front of your very eyes. clover is a wise, old soul who deserved that sweet little baby every bit as much as you and andy. i'm just so damned happy for you and andy and clover and amelia, so so happy! sending waves of love from across the country, from walter (he sends a special furry nod to clover) and from me. we love you all. hug andy for me. xo.xo.xo.xo nina b

Forgot to say that our family has had cheese fondue on Christmas Eve for a "bobillion" [love that!] years. Five years ago our daughter married a guy whose family ALSO has had fondue on Christmas Eve for a bobillion years! How weird is that?

Such loveliness.
I am so glad you aren't one of those
bloggers who shudders at the notion of
becoming *a mommy blogger,* apologetically
refraining from including their new addition.
I understand the privacy issues, but I think it's sad
when people dismiss the interest and genuine beauty of
life as a family. And dear, dear Clover... what a gem.
For our daughter, I started collecting silver charms, too.
The charms are from places we've traveled to, and I imagine giving it to her by her 12th birthday... and I guess I have to be prepared for the possibility that she may lose the bracelet by her 13th birthday? Sigh. Traditions, and life lessons, they do go hand in hand!

Thank you for sharing your creative and loving of our family traditions we started when the kids were born, each Christmas they would receive an ornament.

How beautiful. Thank you for sharing these little vignettes of your world! I made Lemony Slice and Bakes from this week and they are fab - a nice complement to everything else on the cookie plate this time of year, and citrus-y seasonal. And slice-and-bake: Love it! I keep calling them Lemony Snickets because that's easier to remember. Read the comments - I added the lemon extract and as much lemon zest as I could off of two lemons. I used a royal icing drizzle on top so it would harden.

Love the charm bracelet idea!

I find myself looking forward to each new blog post and love all your pictures! Traditions... we always have chocolate money in our stockings... each night at the dinner-table we tell our good and bad things of the day... and quite often a puppet show after washing the dishes! xx

I am bawling! Dogs are so amazing! Your Clover is a very special dog. And boy is she lucky to be a part of your amazing home. So, so, SO happy for you guys, and thanks you SO very much for sharing your journey with all of us. Your blog is such a dose of hope and beauty in a very troubled world. Thank you. Also Alicia, I really hope you have considered writing a book. You are so eloquent, wise, and funny Hope its in your future! Wishing you and your sweet family a very merry Christmas. Thank you for being a ray of Hope for all of 2012!

it's hard not to LOVE your blog right now - such overwhelming goodness!!

We do lots of things every year: see the Nutcracker ballet, go to an English-style "panto" (there may be one in Portland, they are so. fun.), take a walk in the woods and leave seed for the birds on Solstice, see Zoo Lights, get a picture with Santa (I keep these in a special photo book and *adore* them), attend the municipal parade and tree lighting, open a Christmas book early, get a new ornament for each child. We have so many traditions! You will have so much fun building your own. Enjoy :)

What is that book you were browsing through?

Stuffed dates..Mom used to make them every Christmas (along with spritz, krumkake, fudge and bar cookies). As I remember, you slit the date, stuff a buttercream type filling in it and top with half a shelled walnut.
Please give Clover a kiss-such a good girl!

new pyjamas for everyone on Christmas Eve. And we keep a red and white spotted cloth on the dining table for the whole month of December x

The charm bracelet, oh my. That is going to be special. We have that little stove too, Merry, The Wonder Beagle sits just where Miss Clover sits. Miss Clover reminds me of Nanny in Peter Pan sitting there watching the babe! Enjoy Gilmore Girls. My daughter and I were hooked, we played it incessantly for a few years!

I was going to ask where that mouse was from, and we love Kathe Kruse! DD has a few of her toys. I love that row of dresses hanging, so sweet. My, she has a lovely little home. We are in the midst of coming up with traditions for our family. Last year we didn't give each other presents because our baby was our gift, and I would like to continue that tradition:) (But, we will give our baby a gift-- she's getting a lovely made-in-Maine kitchen and accessories!) Instead I like to give to different charities, like Northwest Children's Outreach, or like at Market of Choice today, they have the giving tree for Clackamas Women's Services.

Oh, those chocolate cookies - yes! I have also made them and told everyone about them; I'll have to check out the variation in your friend's recipe.

Lovely dog.

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About Alicia Paulson


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




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.