My Favorite Picture of the Year

comments: 39
































It occurs to me, as I try to resize these many photos, that I need to hurry, hurry, as the wind is absolutely howling outside, and everything is whipping around. I have The Holiday on in my office, and it's in the California part, sunny and warm — but here, oh boy, it's absolutely frigid. And from the looks of the forecast across the country, many of you are feeling a similar Arctic blast. I'm scared we may lose power, as it is supposed to start raining ice later. . . .

All of us have been home sick all week! We don't seem to have Covid but we definitely have something, all of us: fevers, mostly, though mine's been gone for several days, and lingering coughs. Lots of pajamas, lots of blankets, lots of carrying the heating pad around the house, lots of orange juice. Lots of television. Gifts have been wrapped and long-since shipped, groceries have been gotten, cards went out last week. The first half of The Sound of Music has been watched, along with several Hallmark Christmas movies, and many more episodes of Alone (season 6 now). In spite of feeling off-and-on poorly, we're having a lovely, lazy time now. The last few weeks have been just nonstop busy so in every way it feels so good to just be resting. I must say.

But Nutcracker week was so, so special! It kind of does literally feel like a dream. There is just something just so excellent about first times. Everything about it was truly magical. I think I mentioned that photographing the actual performance is prohibited, which is always so sad! But I get it. My friend Claire took the lovely picture of Amelia backstage, waiting to go on (the swish in her dress, oh my stars) and I will treasure having this forever. The rest of the pictures of her in costume are from dress rehearsals at the school, etc. The first time she walked into Lincoln Hall for the dress rehearsal on the actual stage she was bouncing up and down and she said, "This is so exciting! This is the best day ever!" It was really, really fun, watching her be that excited. Someone snuck me into the theater to watch her group onstage in the dress rehearsal (Andy and I of course later saw the actual performances, and even a few she wasn't in, but I was as excited getting into that dress rehearsal as I've been about anything in years — I later got choked up thanking the person who had gotten me in, ohmigosh — I'll never forget it — I don't even know the lady's name). Amelia had been nervous about being on the big stage, but the dress rehearsal on Monday night went well. The next night was a night off, and, she got a bit nervous again about having an audience there the next time. It was almost bedtime and I had just come upstairs. She said she was feeling nervous and I told her to sit quietly and play the music in her head and go through the whole dance in her mind. She sat right down and started to do it. That's what she is doing in this picture. She sat like this for ten straight minutes, occasionally closing her eyes, and sometimes I could see her fingers or her hand moving to music I couldn't hear. I don't even think she noticed one bit when I quietly propped my phone up and quickly snapped a picture. I've literally never seen her sit this quietly for this long (not that long but it's long for her). When she was done she just turned her face to me and gave me the biggest smile. I said, "How did it feel?" And she said, "It felt just like Monday night!" And off she went to bed like no big deal.


I don't know, it was just one of the best moments of my own life, right then, and I can't even believe there's a picture of it. Watching her find her way, right before my eyes. It's so, so good to be part of the world again!!! My big, brave, beautiful girl, finding her way!

I wish you all, from our family to all of yours, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanza, and a blessed Winter Solstice, or whatever you might celebrate at this time of year! I'm so grateful for all of you who have been here with me through my days this year, and these many years. Thank you for your patience and your encouragement and your cheer and your always-kind words and your optimism and generosity. I know these past few years have been very challenging for so many of us for so many different reasons. I am just so glad and lucky that I have all of you to share my days with, and I cherish your attention and kindness to me in the million ways that you show it. Thank you for that, more than I can ever express. I wish you every blessing in the coming days, and a warm and wonderful start to the new year.

Love always,

Alicia, Andy, Amelia, and Agatha Paulson


What a delightful post of your special little girl, the photographs all have such a feel to them. Thank you for being here for us. I never take your content for granted and come here when I want a peaceful cozy feeling for the evening.

Seeing the pictures of Amelia is bringing back memories of my own ballet-filled childhood. I have three sons, and generally that's great, but now I'm wishing I had my own little ballerina. What a magical time you must have had!

Delightful post- thank you for your beautiful content throughout the year. Merry Christmas!🎄

Dear Alicia, Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones (Furry four-legged included!) Thank you for inspiring and sharing your gifts with us. I always feel comforted reading your blog and I come here for soothing when I need it! Peace and joy and love to you all xxx

This post is so special and heartwarming. Your daughter in the ballet - such a treasured time in your lives. Wishing you peace and joy for the holidays and the coming new year. xx

Merry Christmas to you, Andy and Amelia! I always feel happy after reading your posts and seeing your pictures so thank you so much.

Thanks for sharing your life and Amerlia's growing up journey with us. I love every single one of your blog posts. Feliz Navidad!

The Happiest of Holidays to you and your family, Alicia! Thank you so much for everything you share in this space. I look forward to every post - they are always a bright spot in my day. This post brought tears to my eyes. What a treasure - Amelia and this moment, both. Wishing 2023 to be a year full of blessings for you!

These are such beautiful photos and moments. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I don't comment often but I read everything you post and it is just such a light in this world! Thanks for sharing so much beauty. Happy Holidays to you! xo

Merry Christmas Paulson family! Thank you for the gift of your lovely blog and your creative inspiration. I am grateful to “know” you.

You have such a beautiful family and a beautiful life. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Thank you so much for sharing. So wonderful! Merry Christmas!

Sending wishes from snowy Canada for a Happy Christmas and many blessings in the new year. I so enjoy your blog, and have for many, many years, even before Amelia. So wonderful to watch her grow up!

Merriest Christmas to you and your family. I’ve loved being a part of your world for years and I thank you. Light always overcomes darkness and the light feels so good, doesn’t it? Happy New Year to all.

sharon ann stewart says: December 23, 2022 at 11:44 AM

The above comments stated my sentiments, exactly! Thank you for a truly wonderful Christmas Story.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and the happiest of New Years.

what absolutely beautiful pictures and so glad it all went well. I always love your photos - when I'm feeling down or stressed out, I open up your blog and just feel so refreshed and so much better. hope you have a wonderful holiday xox

Beautiful post, beautiful daughter and wonderful pictures. Every, single, one. I love to read about you and your family.

melissa glynn says: December 23, 2022 at 08:45 PM

Dearest Alicia!! What a beautiful beautiful post. Thank YOU for sharing your light with us! Merry Everything to you and your family!

Thank you for sharing this Alicia! My heart is warm.

Happy Christmas to all the A Paulsons. Thank you for sharing Amelia's Nutcracker experience. So beautiful and moving. You are a star Amelia! Enjoy the holidays and the beauty and snuggliness of winter from down here in the south of the Pacific on a starting to warm up Christmas Day x

Merry Christmas to you and your family! Your blog is a blessing in my life and I always look forward to reading it.
Happy new year!

What a beautiful post. I've been following along for years and it's always such a treat to see a post from you. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. The picture of Amelia in her dress waiting to go is just perfection. CJ xx

Kristen from MA says: December 25, 2022 at 11:30 AM

How wonderful for Amelia to dance in The Nutcracker. How wonderful for you and Andy!

Happiest of holidays to you, Paulson family. Thank you for sharing moments of your lives with us. (And a sincere thank you for the cat butt picture. I love shots like that!)

Well, I just wanted to stop for a moment and thank YOU for the beautiful life you're sharing! And I mean stop for a moment in the midst of my tearing up. Beautiful words, beautiful photos. An honest life ~ and always there in the midst of such sadness in the world. Your posts and pictures are a blessing. And look at Amelia - growing up! Thank you for sharing and warmest wishes for this season and the New Year!

Merry Christmas to you and your family, from us, all the way over in sunny Melbourne, Australia! Thank you for your blog, photos and stories over the years.

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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