|hanging the little christmas walnut mouse from my childhood on the tree, with the sweet little mouse advent calendar from my childhood in the background|
|I so love that little walnut mouse..... so I am working on felting some buddies for her|
|and then since all the wool was out, we each made a barn owl|
|making swags for friends|
|her advent calendar that I made several years ago, and her own little swag on her bedroom door|
|I just want to sit on the couch and look at the tree|
|made photo cards this year for the first time ever, and she and I are working on getting them out|
|hot cocoa enjoyed out on the trail on a chilly, festive day|
|best of friends|
It is beginning to feel quite like Christmastime around here. We got our tree last weekend after the annual town parade. Her paper pocket advent calendar is up (I love this little calendar- each day I slip in a little note with something written on it for us to do that day- buy groceries for the food pantry, visit a friend, make swags and wreaths, drink hot cocoa, etc., and each day she tells me something she is grateful for and I write it on the back of the note and pin it to the calendar so we can keep track of where we are, and she can be reminded of all the many things she is grateful for), along with the advent/solstice spiral, and now (after finding it in a bin at my dad's place) the little cloth pocket advent calendar that we had when I was a child- I loved moving the mouse each day, and now she does, too. To be sure, there is no lack of countdown opportunities in our household.
Sometimes I think getting the opportunity to relive and re-experience the holidays through the eyes of a child is one of the best parts of parenting. I suppose it isn't just holidays, of course- it's a shift in perspective regarding so many things, all the time. A slowing down. A looking deeper. A sense of wonder and a willingness to be caught off guard. I try to keep my eyes and heart open to these shifts, and to let the slower pace seep into my bones. There are plenty of times when I am aware that I am hurrying things along, hurrying her along, and not allowing that shift to take place, not allowing myself to just be and to recalibrate. I don't know why I ever resist it- the slowness, the deliberateness, the introspection...... these are the things, after all, that feed me most. Especially this time of year.
I used to not be a big fan of winter. All that grey and cold and dark and slush.
Now, though. I love seeing the lines of the mountains and the bones of the trees. I want to bundle up and walk in the forest and feel the leaves and the frozen ground crunching under my feet. All that grey is a soothing, misty shawl that I want to wrap myself up in. I am grounded by this time of quiet, dark reflection. I sit by the fire, by the sparkly tree. I sip warm drinks and think and think and think. I love all the time there is for sitting and thinking and snuggling. I feel like a little old lady, or a cat seeking warmth and soft things to curl up on.
We made swags, we planted narcissi bulbs, we felted little creatures.
We sit by the fire and read. We light candles and listen to holiday music. My favorites these days are the Indie Christmas and Celtic Holidays stations on Pandora.
Today was a great day. We met our dearest friends at a nearby trailhead and took a short hike through the woods to a tree, a little hemlock, that is adorned with decorations year-round. It is called "Gary's tree", though I'm not sure why. Claire asked today who Gary was. She asked if maybe he had died and this tree was for him. I am not sure, but I want to find out. Surely a little digging will lead to an answer. So we met our friends and walked through the forest to this tree. We sat by it and had hot cocoa and popcorn, and the girls decorated the tree with things they brought and we read a Christmas book and it was awesome. A instant and dearly-loved holiday tradition was born today, I am quite sure.