Hello 2018!

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art --

Happy New Year! I must confess, I am not the biggest fan of New Years. I usually find it is a melancholy day for me, saying goodbye to a year. It just makes me sad. But this year, I feel inspired. I feel inspired by all those quotes that say we have 365 days to make new experiences, 365 new chances. That we have a blank book upon which to write. To live our wild and to voyage our soul.

Neil Gaiman always writes the coolest New Year’s wishes. This is an older one, but it’s¬† my favorite. I think it sums up perfectly, every year, what I hope for.

I don’t like to think of these as resolutions, but more like changes in my life that I would like. I would like more time with husband, the two of us. We very rarely go out and are usually home hanging with the boyo. Which we love, but we need to make time for us as a couple as well. This is the hardest change to make, as it is dependent on grandmas and their time, and I don’t like to ask too often, although I know they love the kiddo.

I also want to create more this year. I want to write more, go back to the stories I had started and never finished, write the ones in my head. I want to bake more, cook more. Learn how to embroider. My husband got me the coolest embroidery kit for Christmas, designed for beginners. I am so excited to try it out, but I am a total weirdo about Christmas gifts. I like to hoard them all together in one spot, and look at them, like some sort of dragon. So, soon, I will pick it up and work on it.

I want to learn Swedish this year. I have always loved learning new languages – in high school I took four years of Latin and a year of French, and in college I took Russian. I taught myself some Gaelic one year, through internet lessons. I don’t remember much of any of them, but then, I don’t use them either. I probably won’t use Swedish either, but I am currently fascinated by these Nordic countries and their culture and lifestyle, so..Swedish it is. Maybe one day I will move there, and it will be handy to know the language. ūüôā

I want to get outside more – I love being outside but we have some barriers to overcome to the outdoors. This year I plan to figure out how to accommodate my son’s needs to get him into nature more – firstly by figuring out how to use a back toddler carrier. Any suggestions? He has cerebral palsy with very limited mobility so he can’t help me, so when it is the two of us, I need to think about how to do it. I would front carry but he is getting so long, and I am so short! Lol.

Finally, I want more plants in my life. I think they just make a house more cozy, more magical. More something. I told my cousin this and she said that in Sims your room score goes up when you add art and plants. Lol. We have lots of art, but I need more plants. I am also currently addicted to throw rugs, which I have scattered all over the place right now. It’s been nice to have islands of warm and soft to retreat to, with our negative cold temps!

What about you? Any hopes and dreams for this year that you are willing to share?

 

Snow Day!

This is our season.

There is something so refreshing, so vitalizing about being out in the snow, in the cold. Feeling the sun on your face, the crunch underfoot the only sound you can hear. The crisp air, that seems so much fresher and cleaner in the winter.

We are bigtime fans of winter and snow, can you tell?

We used to winter hike all the time, even more than we did in the summer, honestly. But when Wyatt was born, we didn’t venture out as much. He was so small, born early and weighing a whopping 2 lbs 13 oz, he is still a little guy. But tough like crazy. He also has cerebral palsy, and while we are working on walking, he is not there yet. We are determined not to let this stand in his way, and want him to enjoy the winter as much as we do.

So today we bundled him up to the gills, popped him into a sled, and set off. And boy, did he have a blast! Big smiles on his face, mine, and his fathers. This time, laughter ringing through the mostly silent woods. We didn’t take a long walk, but long enough. Next time I will bring a scarf for his face, and we can go a little further.

The Norwegians have a word – friluftsliv, which means “free air living”. As different from hygge as you can get, which is about being cozy inside, friluftsliv is about living in the great outdoors, embracing the elements and nature year round.

This year, I want to embrace both concepts. Incorporate both into our lives. We don’t need to be exclusive. Some days call for cozy afternoons, snuggled up reading in the warm house, thick socks warming your toes, listening to a crackling fire, sipping a drink that warms your insides and soul. Other days, you need to move, explore the outdoors, to connect with nature and life and fresh air.

I just checked out a book from the library, There is No Such Thing as Bad Weather, which is part of the Norwegian expression, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. We did well on the walk for today, and now, we are enjoying some cozy time inside.

Friluftsliv meets hygge, the perfect blend.

Front Porch Sittin’

Lately, we have put done our cell phones, turned off the television, and headed outside to the front porch to sit a while, and enjoy the evening with a cold drink or two. Wyatt joins us with his sippy cup of milk, while I sip my own drink of chilled white wine, a summer thing of mine. Billy usually has a craft beer, and we just kick it on the porch for a spell.

These evenings are so peaceful. No phones ringing or dinging,¬†just the three of us chatting away. Occasionally we give a wave to a neighbor, exchange a¬†hello,¬†a word or two, but mostly¬†our little family¬†catches up on the day, just as the day is putting itself to bed.¬†Sometimes, we¬†just enjoy the sounds of the world around us, the small, thriving community that is all around us but¬†haven’t noticed in our daily hustle.

Up and down the block, birds are chirping, tweeting, heading home to their nests, beaks full of insects and other goodies for their growing families. In the big elm across the street, a family of starlings has made their home, deep inside a hollow. Down the street in the maple, you can find a nest full of robins, and across the street from the robins, a couple of nuthatches. Somewhere nearby live the neighborhood Downy woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, cardinals, who always pop by for a visit. I hear the raucous call of a blue jay usually once a day, not to mention all the little brown birds, the black capped chickadees, and finches that twitter and tussle and flit about.

We have our own little bird family, another little group of robins, five in total – momma, dad, and three young babies. Or, rather, they used to be babies. Mom and Dad Robin moved into our maple, building their nest right almost at eye level, in the crook of the tree. We watched the babies, while mom and dad watched us. The babies grew up so fast, and recently flew the nest. We saw the last of these fledglings, standing on the edge of the nest, preparing for first flight. A day or two later, we saw a fledgling hanging out in our apple tree, on the lowest possible branch.

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Used to the all the evening chatter as the birds gossip about their day, we were sitting on the porch when the conversation around us ceased, followed by the loud shriek of a hawk. This new youngling landed right in our neighbor’s tree, on the hunt for something or other. We hope the reason is not related to the sudden presence of this little guy who tried to visit.

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Don’t you just love that little face?? I hope this little guy was adventuring for fun and not because mom became dinner. Cute as he is, he wanted up on our porch and I didn’t want him to visit that close. So we gently shoo’d him a bit, and he took temporary refuge under our apple tree. Hopefully he wandered back home, because he was gone when I checked on him an hour or so later..

It is amazing what you can see right from your own front porch, if you just let yourself sit and just be, for a while. Take away the distractions, get back to a slower, simpler way of living – there is a whole other world living there in front of us. Everywhere you look, there is life. What have you seen lately? How do you unwind?

Getting our craft on

We have been so busy, you guys know how summer is. Lots of social activities, time spent outside, hanging with friends and family, festivals, the list goes on and on. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of our latest adventures, including the night I just spent with my family – mom, aunt, SIL, cousin, extra moms..

The other night we all converged on my cousin’s house for snacks, drinks, conversation, and creativity. I thought it would be really nice to just get together, hang out, chatter, and work on whatever project we felt like doing.

The dining room table was clear when we entered the room- within minutes it was covered in the detritus of our creative endeavors, bits and bobs, yarn, felt, paper, even an easel. Slowly, bags of chips, wine bottles, wine glasses, and pop cups made their appearance. It was a beautiful mess, in my opinion, one born of fun and imagination.

We all had our own¬†thing going – my mom and my SIL’s mom were crocheting. Chrissy, my SIL, was going to knit but spent the evening creating a giant ball with a whole in the middle. My cousin’s wife worked on an elaborate paint by number painting. Did you know they made them? I didn’t, but now I want to try one! My aunt and my cousin’s MIL worked on origami with the kids who were in attendance, while I labored over my felt pig. I of course forgot pins, so I had to stop halfway through the night. Typical me lol. I still had fun talking with everyone, and chilling, and it did give me the idea to bring coloring pages and colored pencils with me next time, in case anyone else needs an emergency project. There was so much laughter, crazy storytelling, a little bit of gossip. It was a great night, so much fun that we decided to make it a regular thing, and have one every month! I will probably still be working on my farm animals; if I finish, I am going to attempt embroidery. I feel I have so many different crafty type things I want to do, and never the time to do them. This is a fun way to make that time, and reminds me of how throughout history, women gathered to do this very thing, with quilting bees, sewing circles, and the like. I love the idea that our nights mimic women’s history, as we come together, share tales, and let our imaginations run free for a while.