Nothing like a Christmas post in mid-January! Here's a recap of our 2016 Christmas season.
In liturgical churches, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This past year, we incorporated its observance into our home life by using Slow + Sacred Advent by Jennifer Naraki. Also, that's a snake tattoo on Sinclair's arm.
Planting seeds to honor Jesus as the Seed.
Orange Cake in recognition that in times past, oranges were a rare seasonal luxury and part and parcel to the holiday season.
Happy new year folks! Hard to believe we are already here. My favorite thing about this time is the feeling of newness and possibilities. To that end, here's my list of resolutions for 2017:
➳ Invest in myself.
Exercise regularly with weekly spin class and weekly yoga class. Do yoga at home, and my MuTu exercises. Stop biting my nails for good. Grow out my bangs.
➳ Be still and know.
This year brings some changes for me personally and some big possibilities for us a a family (some blog posts coming on all this later). My goal is to maintain an open heart and mind to what God brings into our home this year and to not worry, but rest in the knowledge that he knows the plans he has for us.
➳ Combat hate and fear with love and welcome.
With fear and hatred taking over our political system this year, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to show love and welcome and a place of security to all those around me, especially to those the Trump presidency threatens.
➳ Be more intentional about embracing and celebrating the seasons.
Particularly with the kids and as a family. Make special recipes and crafts that speak to each season. Enjoy the seasonal changes outdoors. Attempt to enjoy the summer heat and sun by going to the beach more. Attempt to enjoy the beach.
➳ Start to implement a four season garden.
My in-laws gave me Four Seasons Harvest by Eliot Coleman, and it has been so eye-opening and inspiring. With some simple practices and techniques, we can cultivate a garden that is harvestable year-round, even here in New England. It's going to be such a learning experience.
➳ Be more intentional.
In my spiritual life, in parenting, in the hospitality I show to others, and in self-improvement.
➳ Bake bread far more often.
Regular sandwich bread, sweet breads, dinner rolls, etc. I also want to build a solar oven that we can bake bread in the summers without using the oven and heating up the house.
➳ Make homemade.
Everything. Bread obviously, but also things like special liqueurs, flavored salts and sugars to use as hostess gifts, lotions, soaps, etc. We've started to use Young Living essential oils in our lives, and it has opened up so many options.
Now if only the new year also brought more time in each day to get all this done!
This is what a four-and-a-half year old looks like!
Our sweet Luther boy turned 4.5 years old recently. It was a Saturday, so we took a family walk in the coming twilight and spotted Venus and Mars in the dim sky. We've been doing a lot of family discussions and readings on the solar system, so the timing was apropo. When we returned home, we had mac and cheese, as requested (bonus is that it was leftover m&c from a church function a few days earlier, so no cooking for me). And course, the traditional 1/2 cupcake; this time with chocolate cake and blue almond icing with a metric ton of sprinkles.
Luther boy, you are the light of our lives. We adore you beyond measure. Happy half birthday, my love!
The newest shop offerings from the past two weeks or so. My favorite of the bunch is the large brown pitcher. I am such a sucker for pottery and that glaze on it, combined with its heft, is just pure joy.
How are you doing? This has been a tough week for me and for the nation; the news and my Facebook feed are plenty proof of that. My soul still hurts, and I'm coming to realize that it probably will for a long time. Trying to figure out ways to make a positive difference in this new political landscape and how to show love and understanding to all. If you've got any ideas, do please share.
On a lighter note, this weekend I'm hanging out with friends, and we're going to make a bunch of essential oil DIY crafts and drink wine. Later, the whole family will join two said friends and their families for dinner. We've got church on Sunday, and I need to finish prepping the garden for the coming winter. I stole an idea from the colonist gardens at Plimoth Plantation and built up two raised bed from a bunch of branches Piercen cut down last week. I'm quite proud of them.
Have a wonderful weekend my dears. Let's be loving towards one and all. It keeps coming back to that, doesn't it?
We've had a busy past two weeks. My little sister came to visit, and we had a great time with her. She's fun and goofy, and the kids just adore her. We took her to the pool, Plimoth Plantation, Mt Auburn Cemetery, and she helped us set up and host our Halloween party. After she left to go home to Memphis, we had a couple of sad days but are buoyed by the knowledge that we'll see her soon at Christmas.
Speaking of Halloween, our first annual (hopefully) party went swimmingly. We had a cowgirl, Superman, a monkey, a ladybug, a piglet, an astronaut, an alien, a voodoo doll, a witch doctor, Rapunzel, a Viking, Helena Bonham Carter, and a prisonerd (get it? it took me a few minutes). We trick-or-treated around the neighborhood (one guy ran out of candy and started handing out dollar bills), then had dinner, dessert, and drinks.
Sinclair promptly got sick with some virus the day after the party and spent the next two days running a fever and vomiting everything she ate or drank. Good times.
She was back in good form though for Guy Fawkes day as we made our traditional (to us) paper hats and ate shepherd's pie and homemade toffee.
And yesterday Piercen and I got to vote for what would have been the first female president of the United States. More importantly, we got to vote for love winning over hate, inclusion over exclusion, equality over misogyny, hope over fear. Unfortunately, our candidate did not win. This is something that we will all have to grapple with over the coming days, weeks, and many years, both as individuals, as a nation, and as a world. However, I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God who has plans for this country, not to harm it, but to prosper it. I put my faith in him, for he is the very definition of love and with him, all good things are possible.
Luther begged for, and got, a covered wagon rental for the walk to the lighthouse.
Playing in the North Sea Mud.
Visiting their greatgrandfather's brother and sister-in-law in Böklund.
Chased by Oma.
Visiting family friends in Tolk.
Taking the back route home.
A morning spent on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
Along the main street of Schleswig.
With Oma, stopping traffic. As usual.
You guys, we had such a good time in Germany last month! We started out by flying into Copenhagen (it's cheaper to fly there than into Hamburg) and staying the night there. We met up with my cousin Doug who's working as an architect, and he took us to the Nyhavn, the 17th century canal street where the fishermen used to live. It's filled with charming restaurants all along the waterfront, and during dinner we met a delightful local woman who ended up showing us her house and telling us all about the wonders of Copenhagen. Next time, I'd like to spend more time exploring that cool city.
The next day we drove down to Germany and to Tolk where Piercen's family lives. Northern Germany is mainly farmland, and to us, Tolk is a tiny, tiny town. There's the gas station (which P's aunt and uncle own), a bank, a bakery, a butcher shop, and a dress shop. That's pretty much it. It's beautiful and charming.
Piercen's brother and his new wife were visiting as well for the first few days of our trip, and it was lovely to spend time with them. We visited the North and Baltic Seas, putzed around Schleswig (the closest "big" city), saw lots of family and family friends, and ate. A lot. The Germans take their afternoon coffee and cake very seriously. Or at least P's Oma does.