Saturday, December 31, 2011


I remember one year when I was about 12 or 13 years old I wrote up a list of New Year's resolutions on a piece of decorative paper, rolled it up in a scroll and tied it with a ribbon. Knowing myself, I imagine that list contained resolutions like, "Study even harder; be more organized; clean my room" and, assuredly, "Stop biting my fingernails". Every day, for about a week, I opened up the scroll and regarded the list and steeled myself to better adhere to those resolutions. After a week, maybe ten days, I'd stopped looking at it. A few months later I found it amongst the random crap that had accumulated in piles around my room (so much for cleaning my room, eh?) and, grudgingly, admitted to myself that I just wasn't a resolution sort of person and chucked the list out.

cup game

In my pre-and early teen years, New Year's Eve was a big deal. There was a trio of families - our family with two girls, our friends down the street with two girls and a family in the next neighbourhood with two boys - who  spent a lot of time together. The parents were all friends and the kids - to one extent or another as the years went on - were friends and of an age, too. Every year the parents all went to the same New Year's Eve party, and once about half of the kids had passed about 12 years old, we six kids all spent the evening together in one of the family homes.

It was fun. I remember the year we turned our basement into a giant fort, with walls and blanket-roofs and doors and spent the entire night down there. I remember the year the youngest child, a girl 5 years my junior, got sick and we pulled out the convertible couch and all lay together on it after she'd finished being sick in the powder room. I remember watching old musicals - The Sound of Music was in heavy rotation - and rollerblading around and around the unfinished basement of the boys' home. New Year's Eve, in those years, was a night of possibility and freedom. We were giddy with it.

Belly bump - 36w 5days

As the years passed, though, NYE lost its shine. To me it became just an arbitrary date, a day when, culturally, the expectation was for something momentous and exciting to happen, a night of glamour and fun and parties and kisses at midnight but none of which ever happened for me. December 31 was just another very cold night in Ottawa. Another night when I had nowhere to go and nothing special to do. For the most part I was perfectly happy to stay home on my own or with my family - I'm naturally a homebody - but I felt the pull of filling the cultural expectation of something BIG.

dandelion fluff!

Now, with not only marriage but also two children under my belt, I'm not looking to go out on NYE for a night of big excitement and partying, and I'm certainly not looking to find some stranger to kiss at midnight (though I never actually did, sitcoms and movies had me convinced that I was supposed to want to do so). In the past few years, New Year's Eve has been a bit of a non-starter in our home. This year, however, I find myself feeling very differently about this night.

The fact is that tonight is an entirely arbitrary date. The changing of the year could just as easily happen in March or July or any other day. In the church liturgical year, the changing of the year begins in November at the commencement of Advent. Tonight is no different than any other night.


Investigating the wrapping bag

Except that we choose it to be so. Except that we, in deciding that tomorrow begins a new year, imbue tonight with greater purpose and significance than last night or tomorrow night. Tonight we begin anew.

We don't, of course. We don't begin entirely fresh and new. The laundry that is half-finished will still need to be folded and put away, the bills that are unpaid will still need reckoning, the projects on needles will still await their stitches. We do not leave behind that which is unfinished simply because we have begun a new year. But we can choose to leave behind the things which are completed, the things which have transpired in our past days. We can choose - or at least try - to detach ourselves from what has been, and move forward into what will be with a clear mind and with intention.

Fortune cookie

What is special about tonight is not that I or any other person may choose to start fresh tomorrow morning. No, what is special about tonight is that so many of the people on this blue world of ourselves will do so. There is a common purpose in New Year's Eve. Every person with a Gregorian calendar is, tonight, aware that tomorrow we begin a new year of days.

snow forest

So I am making resolutions this year. I am setting goals. I am claiming a word for myself to mark my year and use as a metre for my growth. I have chosen that tonight is special, arbitrary though that may be. Tonight is the last day of this year. A year of good and ill, a year of stress and joy, a year of death and birth. Like the leaves of the trees in this season, the year has served its purpose, fostering growth and change and newness, and now the year is spent, dry and brittle in its age. Tomorrow this year will fall to earth, be buried in the snow and decay, nourishing the new year as it buds.

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 
― L.M. Montgomery

Sunday, December 25, 2011

a happy Christmas

our beautiful tree

scarlet and her stocking
sisters sharing
a silly gift
interesting bag...

scarlet - first Christmas
"Ah! A guitar!" first jam with Daddy
That you may know today, more strongly than yesterday, that you are loved.
You are deeply, deeply loved

A merry and blessed Christmas to you and yours.

Friday, December 23, 2011

dpp 2011 | askew

dec 23

I was making bias binding at 12am last night.

I may have descended to a new level of sickness. :)
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

tear it up

We rarely get Christmas cards. I think it's a generational thing: with the exception of two letters, all of my correspondence in the past year has been online. Last night, though, we had a card in the mail from Jon's aunt and uncle. And for some reason, Peanut really, really wanted to rip it to pieces. I have no idea why, since it was pretty out of character. Still, she really wanted to tear it up, but letting her do so seemed disrespectful and wrong and besides, we so rarely get Christmas cards it would be a shame to destroy the one we have.

But we also had about 6 multiple-page flyers and ads. And we were just going to recycle them anyway...

dec 22.1
dec 22.2
dec 22.3
dec 22.4

The mess was impressive, and it greeted me this morning, too. But why not, right? I could use the homeschool-y jargon and tell you we engaged in sensory play - which it was, of course - but mostly I just wanted the girls to have fun, and fun they certainly had.

They're young once. And the mess took all of 3 minutes to clean up, even with Bubby creeping around in the middle of it and Peanut "helping". As they grow and learn I find myself learning to let go and roll with things. The better I am able to do so, the happier we all are, and the most unexpected and blessed moments we have together.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

dpp 2011 | by the chimney with care

dec 21

A handcrafted stocking, completed and waiting to go home to a little boy, E. 100% cotton, manually machine quilted in spirals and waves, with a contrasting applique and trim. I hope E. likes it!

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dpp 2011 | tension

Dec 20::

dec 20

I live at my sewing machine now. If you need me, I'll be winding bobbins with a mouthful of pins.
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dpp 2011 | a girl and her dog

Dec 19::

dec 19

I will protect the blanket.
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

dpp 2011 | conduction

dec 17.3 dec 17.2
dec 17.1
dec 17.4

I sing soprano in our church choir. Our annual Christmas concert is tomorrow afternoon, and this morning we had our rehearsal with the chamber orchestra. I so adore listening to and singing Bach, and I do so love seeing our Director of Music's enthusiasm for Bach, as well. We are very blessed to work with such a passionate artist.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

dpp 2011 | dough

"just like Mommy does"

We made salt dough ornaments today.

I recently read this post and knew that I wanted to do this with Peanut. So yesterday we trundled off, the three of us, through the rain and the wind and the rush hour crowds, to the dollar store. We did some Christmas shopping (yes, at the dollar store because Christmas shopping with a 3yo at a dollar store filled with entirely random stuff is, frankly, hilarious) and got some supplies for salt dough ornaments as well as my funky gift wrapping plan for this year (which you'll probably see in a post in the next day or two). Today we played with dough.
ready to make dough
sleeping through the excitement
it's serious work, painting
"a little bit"
salt dough people
salt dough aftermath
A lovely little memory with my girls.

my darling
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

dpp 2011 | blue christmas

dec 15

It was 10C today. 10! On the fifteenth of December. I'm not holding my breath for a white Christmas this year. Bare can be pretty, too...

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dpp 2011 | sweet

dec 14

Lunch with my sweeties. I'm very blessed to have cool people in my life, either locally or online. A friend of mine from university has an awesome foodie blog that I love and several months ago shared a recipe for baked sweet potato fries that really turn out beautifully. Since sweet potatoes are a nutrient-rich food, they make a great food for early eaters so I've been trying to get Bubby to enjoy them. My first attempt at simple sweet potato wedges didn't go over too well, but these were a hit yesterday. I made some cashew cream for myself for dipping. Yum!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

dpp 2011 | baby-led

dec 13

We are big, big fans of the baby-led weaning approach to infant solids. Rather than feeding pureed foods we offer our babies appropriate finger foods and allow them to self-feed. It's messy, true, but it's wonderful to watch the learning and developing happen. It's also very reassuring to know that they will never eat solids before their body is physically prepared to do so and we'll never inadvertently over-feed or feed them something they dislike.

With Peanut we discovered that she had some sort of sensory issue with food. It took months of work and patience, all while watching her lose more and more weight, but by the time she hit her second birthday she was - finally! - eating solid foods and was starting to transition away from nursing 8 times a day. Bubby, though, is a very enthusiastic eater! Carrots, potatoes, clementines, apples, rice pasta...and all without teeth. One of her big favourites is the potatoes from my Gaeng Garee Gai. You should hear her slurp the curry off the potato!

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dpp 2011 | lights

Dec 11::

dec 11

We like Christmas lights. A lot. Since we put up the tree we have lit the living room almost exclusively with the lights on the tree and those draped around the room. Sunday Jon was putting up even more lights over the kitchen counter and Peanut was helping while Wembley and Bubby supervised.

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