Keeping Warm

comments: 39




Good morning, dear friends! Hello! I'm alone in my office today, drinking my tea and tidying all the mess I've made here in the past few weeks. I'm seriously happy to say that the last of the pre-orders were dropped off at the post office yesterday and your kits are on their ways to you. Thank you again, so, so much, for your sweet orders and patience while we've put these together. As soon as I catch my breath I will put the PDFs up on my web site, probably by the end of the week!

Our furnace has been broken for the past few weeks. The furnace dude has been here probably five times so far. On to Phase II (expensive repairs). It hasn't been very cold here, luckily. The thermostat reads around 65 on most afternoons, which is a bit colder than I keep it, generally, but not too bad. I kinda like it now. We bought a few tiny fake (electric) wood stoves. I put one in the fireplace (which we never use to burn wood) and one in my office. Mimi already had one in her room. They really work great. I'm kind of used to having these little pockets of warmth around the house now. I only keep the heaters running when we are actually in the rooms, but if I get up to go to the bathroom or go to the kitchen or whatever, the hallways and the bathrooms and the stairwell greet me with a whoosh of cold air. It's kind of like hot sauna to cold-water pool, in a vague way. I'm wearing sweaters around the house, which I've never done. I pretend I'm Finnish. Once the furnace gets fixed, I honestly doubt we'll keep the heat any higher than 66 or so. We used to keep it at 70, but I'm guessing that will be too hot for us now. Beds are deliciously cozy. Mimi has probably seven quilts and sleeps with her fan blowing on her every night. Even in the middle of winter and covered in flannel and duvets she wants her fan blowing. I burrow down under the covers, drinking coffee in the dark, twinkle lights on a dimmer switch, watching the windows turn gray. It's a glorious time of day.

I'm missing my girl terribly today. She's at school and I'm . . . caught up. Funny how it hits you out of the blue as soon as you do get a few minutes to yourself, which, when you're in the thick of it is all you ever want. Quiet. Clean. But as soon as I do ever get a few minutes to myself, I feel so very at loose ends, missing the endless questions, the chatter, the Mama look!/Mama watch!/Mama look!, the piles of tiny pieces of cut-up paper, the hundreds of thousands of drawings left on every surface, the banana peels left on the desk, the shoes left anywhere and everywhere, the love notes written on sticky notes, their sticky strips grimy with crumbs and crud. It's baffling but happens every single time. Oh lord how I love her. Last night she chose to forego our nightly lullaby, which is a book about animals going to bed that I have sung out loud (to a tune we made up) every night for the past four years. Last night instead, without ceremony, she chose to read to me while sitting on her bed in her nightgown and robe, a Little Golden Book about a duckling. I forget which Little Golden Book about which duckling (there are a few). She's reading so well and it's like a dream. It is my dream. I had a flashback while she was reading, her hair falling onto the pages, to when I hung snowflakes from her ceiling, and time folded up right there, for a moment, and I caught myself hiding a sob. She was a baby and now she is a girl, sitting cross-legged, reading books, drawing dollhouses, writing notes. Every night before we move to her room, we sit in the big bed in our big nightgowns with our tiny reading light and she reads to me and I read to her. Teeth brushed, feet up, curled together, done for the day. She leans into my arm, perfect fit. We read and read. One more book. Warm and heavy. Linger here. Just . . . this.


Marie Bailey says: November 19, 2019 at 11:37 AM

Each new stage is wonderful but you do miss the previous wonders. Enjoy every moment. Marie

Katie Marie says: November 19, 2019 at 11:48 AM

Oh, lovely. Time moves so quickly. She will have wonderful memories of her childhood.

We also keep the heat really low. Our one indulgence is using an electric blanket to pre-heat the bed. (It's never on once we go to bed.) It's delicious. The pets now sneak away to enjoy the warmth as soon as they hear the click of the controller. :)

Oh your words brought tears to my eyes... you write it so well, what a joy it is to have the chance to live by them... sweet little toes and huge hearts. it's so happy to be a mama!

Oh those sweet memories of your children's childhood. They do tend to produce mistiness in the eyeballs. But! I assure you that the coming stages of big kid, pre-teen, teen and young adulthood are also wonderful!!!

Holly McLean says: November 19, 2019 at 01:51 PM

It sounds like you’re making it very cozy. Such a nice description of you curling up in bed with the twinkle lights and especially of you and your daughter reading together.

Ah! So sweet. My girl is o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with the alphabet (she's 2) and will be an early reader I think. I am really trying to let the cuddles stretch out, stay in bed with her when she falls asleep for a few more minutes, and soak it all up. She's getting into a one more book before bed! phase and I'm trying to be pretty permissive with that, too...for now.

I would almost literally never turn my heater on because I like bundling up inside the house, but my husband overrules me on that frequently.

How precious, how read to and to be read to.

I am charmed by the things on your nightstand, four of which I also have on mine--a lamp, a phone, a lotion bar tin and the HK toy.

Oh! Your posts just get even more beautiful as you go! I hope I treasured my babies (who are young adults now) as much as you do yours! Happy Holidays to you and your family! ❤️

Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful photos and thoughts. I've been following your blog for some time now. You are very talented and one of my favorites! I always look forward to reading you. Thank you.

One way to keep the heat contained where you have the electric heaters is hanging curtains—even thin ones—across the open doorways. Our first house had been built in WWII with zero insulation and was one board thick but curtains across the doorway to the back porch and the bedroom kept the living area and kitchen bearable. This was at 3,000 feet in the Sierra foothills with snow on the ground, considerably colder than most days in Portland.

Of course, we were much younger then…

I know about those moments with your children when you are watching them and they are like in a soft glowing light and you want to keep this memory in your heart forever. They grow up so fast. Wish I had had a blog to keep the memories in. You are keeping wonderful things to remember. And your pictures. Sigh.

Oh, this made me cry! Brought back memories of my boys when they were little...and how fast they grew. And now my "baby" (who is 28) is moving to California next week (we live in IL)...I'm going to be heartbroken! So yes, please savor every sticky, messy, loud moment with your precious little girl. You blink, and they're all grown up.

Whew, you kept your house warm! My heat is set at 68 during the day (63 at night), but I sometimes crank it to 69 if it's especially cold. And you know how cold it can get here in the Chicago area! I sleep with a fan on in our bedroom, too - even in the winter. Mimi is my kind of girl. (Interestingly enough, one of my nicknames is Mimi - my aunt still calls me that.)


Oh, Alicia, I'm sobbing. This is so beautiful. I'm thinking of my 35 and 37 yr old babies, one of which now has a one month old baby of her own. My feelings have been so fragile for the last year, watching the blossoming and now the sweet first grandchild. Your writing always touches my heart, today so so much. Thank you for sharing your heart and touching ours for so many lovely years.

What resonates with me is how tuned in you are and how much you appreciate your little darling.. each day and moment. You are savoring all your days with her. I wish I could do it all over again with my 3 and do some things different and not take job I was offered when they were younger and stay home with them more.
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I stifled a sob reading that too! My baby girl will be 19 next month, she is away at university and i can't quite get my head around it all. My youngest will be 15 next month and has grown into a young man and yes i do miss all those drawings and even Lego strewn across the floor...who'd have thought. Enjoy.

Beautiful. I am so happy for you!

Kelli Kennedy says: November 20, 2019 at 08:03 AM

Well, there's certainly not much better than this. Mine are grown and flown, and I can hardly believe it, as it flew by. And so much of it I can't remember. So, do whatever you can to help yourself to be able to remember these sweet years...journal? voice memo yourself? I don't know, but I know that I feel an ache knowing that we will never be in the magical space of growing up and reading(!)and snuggling together under the same roof. These days are magical. And I am so glad you share them here for us all to enjoy. Thank you.

laurie, magpie ethel says: November 20, 2019 at 07:23 PM

Your last few sentences about that nightly reading ritual. I used to love, love to read younger children's library books to my daughter just because of the silly stories and the wonderful illustrations. We would marvel at the different drawing styles and the funny story lines. We read books intended for the younger set into her middle school years just for that quiet time together. Good memories.

Debbie Rivette says: November 21, 2019 at 07:40 AM

We had a few weeks without our boiler -- it was ancient and ultimately we had to replace it. I now also prefer the house a little cooler -- much to my surprise.

Susan (Tsawwassen, BC) says: November 21, 2019 at 02:09 PM

Please write a novel!! I would be the first of many in line! Much love to you!

My almost-nine-year old seems such a big girl now. Sometimes I feel almost panicky how the years are flying by so fast, and wish I could freeze time. Just the other day while walking her to school I felt a wave of sadness unexpectedly wash over me thinking I have only a few more years before she’ll probably walk to school without me. When the mess or non-stop chatter drives me crazy I remind myself that one day I’ll miss it and I try to really cherish these days. And although I remember her younger years so fondly every new age has been wonderful. She is my joy and dream-come-true.

Also, I used to read a beautiful picture book “Once There Were Giants” by Martin Waddell to my daughter, it’s about time and growing up and always brought a lump to my throat.

My girl is similar to Amelia's age, just a few months younger. The other day she brought her book into the farmer's market and read while walking around with me. Oh, it made my heart so happy. It must be how you feel too.

Oh how I miss those beautiful days and evenings!!!

You exactly captured how I'm feeling about my dear beastling who is almost the same age. How can they be so little then so big so quickly? Misty eyes here too x

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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.