Just How

comments: 16

























Oh, such a birthday girl. My darlingest darling turned eleven a few weeks ago. I just . . . how. How. I've been very emotional about it, enhanced by the most heartbreaking and just . . . crushing, crushing . . . state of the world and the Middle East, as I know every one of us are. Last night I cried on the bed while Amelia ate a bowl of cherry tomatoes. It only lasted a few minutes, and in truth she's almost never seen me cry (I usually keep my cries pretty private) but, suddenly, as I sat down and bent over to take my shoes off on my nice warm bed in my nice warm room, with my warm, sturdy child eating tomatoes next to me, I just couldn't keep the tears in. I know I was crying for a lot of things, and then they all turned into just me missing my mother-in-law at that moment, in these post-birthday days, and thinking of all of our past family parties, and how much my mother-in-law loved celebrating Amelia's birthday, and loved celebrating Amelia herself, and how much I miss those old days, those parties, our people, my plans and the things I did. Amelia asked me what the weirdest noise I could make was, so we tried making weird noises that made us laugh, and we skipped reading to just snuggle on the bed while she worked on her cross stitch (she's doing Pink Bird) with my arm around her, and we just laid there and hung out talking for much longer than usual. My darling baby. I am feeling tender and grateful and too soft to get through all there is to process some days. I pray for every mother and their children tonight. The hurting world.

Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch she first went to with her preschool class to get some pumpkins and also stopped at Edgefield so that I could take a photo of Amelia and Andy holding the finished quilt that he made for Amelia from all of the quilt squares that you all sent and let me tell you, the quilt is absolutely fantastic. I will write another post with a photo of the whole thing in all its lovely glory, but you can see a few sneak peeks of it in the photos above. It is a truly beautiful quilt, and so special, and I thank you all so much for making it with them. All of your notes and your sweet stationery and your decorated envelopes and the fabrics you chose and the stories behind them, and . . . guys. Thank you. I'm moved to tears again. I'll save the tears and more words about this for the quilt post (coming next).

On her birthday, Amelia very impulsively decided she wanted to get her ears pierced, so that was kind of the special event of the day. That morning, while I was brushing her hair to get it up into its bun (which I am still terrible at doing but getting better at) I just casually said, "Hey, when are you going to get your ears pierced?" which made her cry suddenly, and she said, "I'm not going to I don't know I want to go do it todayyyyyyy [crying]." And yes, suddenly it was a plan, though a fearful one. She was really scared. Me [on way to ballet]: "You don't have to get your ears pierced today, or any day. Take the morning to think about it. Think about it at ballet." Her: "No, I want to! I'm going to! I do want to!" And that was that. She wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch, then to the candy store at the mall, and then we stopped at a mall kiosk for the piercing, and she did it, still crying, all by herself because Andy and I had to stand on the other side of the counter from where she was. I was really proud of her because she was quite scared. And I think she was very proud of herself.  And now she has tiny little cubic zirconia studs that she must spray with an antiseptic spray morning and night, and she must not touch her ears. That part is a bit tricky but so far they look absolutely perfect and it's been almost two weeks, so just over four to go. Proud of her. Eleven.

Amelia had a really fun birthday party the day after her actual birthday where she and her friends made cute crafts at a crafting place and laughed and played and ate cupcakes together, and sometimes I wish I could work with kids like teachers do and get to be around them when they're all together all day. I actually just like being kind of a fly on the wall and observing them, and listening to all of the crazy things they say, and laughing at the ridiculous things they think are funny, and marveling at their creativity and kindness to each other. It turned out to be a very excellent birthday weekend after all.


Happy birthday, my sweetest girl. I love you beyond every star.


Asking about the weirdest noise you can make is such a sweet and great way to try to get someone out of the doldrums!

Happy 11th birthday to sweet Amelia. It goes too fast, far too fast. Mine are 24 and 26 and I just can't believe it some days. I wish for you that the next 11 years do not go as fast as the first 11. <3

Happy Birthday, Amelia!
I distinctly remember being jealous of everyone with fall birthdays. The leaves were always pretty and there were so many fun things to do! I was born in March, so it often snowed/rained on my birthday! lol

Happy Birthday~
Happy moments and memories, and hopes.
Keep gathering all of the pieces of color and warmth, laughter, courage, and beauty you can.
These moments are holding us together.

Ah, the impulsive decision to get ears pierced. I remember mine so well, but I was a lot older than eleven. Happy Birthday to Amelia. Happy Autumn to you all.

I imagine they're not allowed for ballet, but those little spongy hair donuts to use as bun forms have changed my entire hair game. So easy to use! I got a set with 3 sizes, and not gonna lie, it is a great pleasure to use the giant one to make a wagon wheel on the back of my head.

11-year-old girls are just WONDERFUL

Happy birthday!! Just a quick message to say that I still remember the pain of trying to pull off the backs of those starter earrings. If hers are also impossibly tight, use a little needle nosed pliers to pry open the backs when it's time. I realize this is a super random comment but I just couldn't resist passing this along!!

A very Happy Birthday! May every blessing come your way.

Michaelanne says: October 30, 2023 at 03:15 AM

Happy 11th Birthday Amelia!!! You are so brave and beautiful!! Sending hugs and warm wishes for a happy year ahead...and for peace to find its way into the lives of all of those suffering war in our world.

Laura Nelson says: October 31, 2023 at 01:37 PM

Truly cannot believe she is eleven. She’s grown so tall and pretty. I’m so sorry to hear Andy lost his mum, such a loss is hard to put into words. And esp when your family is small. I flew out there last month to see my nieces and saw quite a difference since 2016. The state of the world is so hard to listen to these days isn’t it. It’s the inhumanity of it. I’m from Maine and we are of course are still reeling from the shooting. And then to top it off and break my heart more , my fav actor Matt Perry died….
I hope you have a great Halloween, hang in there

I had the same feeling as you about wanting to just be around children making things and worked over time to move into that for a career. Now I spend part of the day teaching art to k-8 and part of the day teaching sewing machine and textile arts to 1st-6th. It’s marvelous and I highly recommend it. Congrats to your family on ELEVEN! My daughter will be 11 in March and these part-child part-adult years are so miraculous.

I just decided to see if you had a new post (and maybe look at your archives too:-) And you do! Beautiful words (which made me cry but I don't mind crying) and beautiful photos like always. I love the glimpse of the quilt and can't wait to see more.

I know exactly how you feel about the emotions of watching them grow up. When my third child was turning 13 this year for whatever reason I really struggled. I would just randomly hug her and say “please don’t grow up any more!” Which of course I do not mean at all, except I do. We are so blessed as mothers to have this profound experience of raising children. I have enjoyed watching your adventures with Amelia, having been a Posie reader since way before she was born. She has a beautiful life.

Jean Cogdill says: November 06, 2023 at 10:01 PM

Ohhhh, it's been forever since I've been online reading... happy belated birthday to your sweet girl. Can't believe she is 11 already.You got her a couple of years after our daughter got her daughter and son. So the girls are around 4 years apart and then our grandson (youngest one) is only 4 years older. Time flies because I remember thinking at the time how young all 3 of them were.
And sooo very sorry for your loss of Andy's mother. Sorry, for the past couple of years been back and forth to Eugene, from Utah taking care of my mother. We moved mom into assisted living last year and last month she suffered a heart attack and passed away 2 week later 3 days after her 89th birthday. Such a sweetie. Enjoy every minute with your sweet loved ones... as much as we enjoy these times they go farrrr too fast and are filled way to much with "stuff". Hugs to you all... So sorry I didn't get to contribute a block... but know my heart is in there inside filled with love for you all.

Oh this post made me weepy. My son's birthday is a few days before Amelia's, and I found your blog right around when he was born. Hard to believe it's been 11 years! She is such a bright, beautiful girl.
And you have such a soulful way with words. I know I've said it before, but thank you for sharing your world with us!

Olá sigo você a muito tempo,desde quando Amelia era um bebezinho.Ela está linda,parabéns por esta linda familia.Um abraço.

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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 aliciapaulson.com