The Sweet

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Oh, the luminous, exquisite loveliness of early March. I tried to capture the riotous beauty of our plum tree day by day as she blossomed, her lacy boughs like garlands against the storm-dark skies. Amelia walks around the house in pink ballet slippers (which I've decided must be the best baby shoes ever, as they're the only thing she's never taken, or wanted taken, off her feet). She carries a model horse in each hand. Back and forth, around the table, to the toys, to the door, to the sofa, to the chair, back and forth. It was the sixteenth anniversary of my accident last week, a day which can alternately feel like it was a thousand years ago and then, occasionally, and only for a few seconds, like it was just yesterday. I remember looking up at the sky out the back windows of the ambulance. I remember the trees as we went up the hill. Amelia stops and kisses the little black horse squarely on its baby-mouth-sized nose and makes her humming-kissing noise, holding it out toward me. I try not to explode with secret joy, a charging froth of pink plum petals shooting straight out of my heart. God, how lucky I am. Thank you, thank you. Thank you, God.

Spring does seem to have truly arrived this week. I spent yesterday morning looking at photos of the gardens of Piet Oudolf and dreaming of new borders for our front yard, inspired by his enchanting meadows. It's time to clean up. Our yard is a swampy disaster. I do rush to the clean up because so much is blooming — it's just buried under piles of dead leaves. My 'Minnow' daffodils and my pink woodland violets. My one little hellebore and a carpet of blue vinca. We walk through the neighborhood and look at everyone's parkways. Things are a mess all over, really, though every once in a while we'll come across someone who has already laid a new carpet of compost and mulch, and I love that earthy, strangely medicinal smell. This is my favorite season, this long, chilly, wistful, anxious, shyly budding month of awakening and hope. At night we keep the bedroom window open and can hear train whistles calling off in the distance, and birds waking and singing at the same time as Amelia. In the big bed she stands and pulls on the shade, falling over and pointing, "Buuurdy?" Eyes bright, inquiring. "Tweet, tweet," I say, pushing her hair out of her face. "He's singing to you."

My to-do list is a million miles long. All I really want to do is build block towers, watch movies, sew hexagons together, and plan perennial borders and future rail vacations to Glacier National Park. But: taxes, patterns, logos, floss winding, bill paying, paperwork, blah. I've really been procrastinating lately. Spring forward. I gotta do that!!!


Seeing your spring buds give me hope. We have had little moisture this fall and winter and the grass is so dry that whole pieces come up as my dogs walk across the lawn. We will be left with a dust bowl here in Nebraska if we don't get some snow or rain soon. My girls and I have longed for a snow day with 8 inches, pajamas and hot cocoa, then snowsuits and more cocoa with homemade cookies!

Precious, precious girl. She gets cuter every day.

She is such a doll in that peach-colored dress. My favorite photo of her so far!

You are such a wonderful writer. I'm so happy for you and that precious squeezable tiny girl!

Oh sigh. You really do write the best stories and take the loveliest pictures of your beautiful daughter.

Thank you for posting the beautiful pictures of your plum tree blooming. It looks like a cherry tree to me. We rode our bikes to the Japanese Friendship Garden here in San Diego this weekend, only to get there at closing time. No seeing the 150 trees in bloom for us. So, reading your post was a great "save!" And...I can feel your gratefulness radiate off the page re: seeing Amelia with her horse. So happy for you.

paused for a long while over daddy/daughter photo near the screen door … it evokes such emotions and is so tender … what a dear family x

Amelia's sweet little face reminds me so much of Eloise Wilkin's illustrations. Our pink tree is starting to bloom also- it's here,it's here, spring is here!

The penultimate photo of her is utterly enchanting. One to treasure. I love the new header picture as well. Lots of outdoor things to be done here too. I started yesterday as the sun has been shining and spring warmth is here. The tree is beautiful, I love this time of year as well. So nice to see the community garden again, I always look forward to your photos of it. And your dining table area always looks absolutely gorgeous. You have such a talent for photography Alicia, your posts are things of beauty. Hope you all have a good week. CJ xx

I'm wondering what on earth the temperature was when Andy and Amelia played in front of the open door. I am a wussy temperate latitude Australian. :)

How lucky you all are to have found each other. Amelia is growing into such a beauty and I don't mean in only in the literal sense. I am so pleased that 16 years have gone by that you can talk about and look back on. We need more like you. XX

Jennifer Bell says: March 11, 2014 at 12:52 AM

..what a lovely post. It excites me to think spring is really on it's way. Here in Michigan, the snow has just begun to melt and every sign of spring is still asleep...but not for long.
Since I am somewhat new to your blog, the story of your accident is also new to me. I can't tell you how moved I was by your words..."I absolutely do not believe that everything happens for a reason; I never did, and I still don't. I believe that we fashion sense out of the things that happen, and create a kind of meaning in the result." This has always been my sentiment and how wonderful to hear it from someone else.
Happy Spring, Alicia!

Lucy in London says: March 11, 2014 at 02:25 AM

I read the link to your accident all those years ago. So good to be reminded of the strength of life and human spirit.I think that this time of year is so powerful for all of us who have been through tough times but see the new shoots of life as even more precious and life-affirming. Bless you and your lovely family.x

I have only just recently discovered your blog and I just wanted to say how much I love it. Your writing, your photos - so evocative and beautiful. I cried my eyes out reading the story of your adoption that didn't work out. I can see the love you have for your precious babe, and understand why you feel so blessed. Your blog is now on my (very) short list and you remind me to slow down and enjoy every second with my kids, remind me how lucky I am, remind me to see beauty in the everyday. Thank you.

Like a lot of other people, I too look forward to a new post. Hope all is well with you all.

I love the photos where you know what kids will look like when they're grown up. Swap the milk bottle for a water bottle and she's just won the 100m in the Olympics, or those spoons for the next engineering break through she's made!

That picture before the half moon... She is a true natural beauty! Just beautiful!

Oh such pretty blossoms! Ours are just starting and with a blast of sunshine recently it feels like Spring is truly on the way!

Alicia, your writing is amazing! And your little Mimi so adorable, such a cutie-pie. Thank you for being you and sharing your everything.

Amelia's hands in the carriage, for a split second, look like they're holding a little tiny knitting needle....A twig, yes? =)

Yes, yes - spring forward! I have not adjusted to the time change yet and am at odds with what I should be doing versus what I want to be doing. Perhaps it's a spring thing? Energy and renewal and restlessness. I am trying to knock out a list of small projects so I can shift gears to other things. A few are done, doll totes and scarves for birthdays and the like. (Ooh - you'd like the scarves. They're Liberty and remind me of some of the small florals you use in your quilts:

Your plum tree is beautiful. Now I want to go clean up the planting beds here!

How did you like The Little Stranger? I remember you mentioning that a while back. I just finished The Goose Girl - highly recommend it!

My favorite photo is of the obviously oft loved, oft used, oft washed granny baby blanket that you crocheted oh so long ago ; D

Started so pristine and perfect and promising and is now so loved and used. I have blankets like that from each of my kids that are squirreled away to be pulled out for the next generation.

Savor every moment. Procrastinate. <3

I am so grateful for your beautiful posts! Just read your accident - God has gracious ways of providing what we need. Your lovely walks with your beautiful daughter are such a wonderful gift - and you share them all with us! Thank you! Enjoy the lovely weather.

As always, I am enchanted. The headscarf photo 'bout did me in. Thankyouthankyou for sharing your spring, which is still a long way off here in my neighborhood. Beautiful writing today. :)

I love this: a charging froth of pink plum petals shooting straight out of my heart. It's so visceral and visual. Thanks for that!

Those lovely moon photos! How did you do it? YOur lovely daughter in that salmon pink dress, looks so grown up! So sorry for your accident-So grateful you feel so happy now!God bless.

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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.