I had planned on writing a longer, more thoughtful Christmas post, wrapping up all of my feelings about this season, this year. But here we are, on the 26th, and I’m scrambling to piece together a few words while Theo takes his afternoon nap.
I can’t wait for Christmas this year! I’m writing this over the Thanksgiving holiday from sunny Arizona, where we are here visiting friends. But as soon as we get home, we’re launching into full Christmas mode. Many of my favorite childhood memories come from Christmases past, and few of them involve presents, except for the Christmas kitten I found meowing under the tree when I was seven. I just have this visceral memory of joy, of music and laughter and the smell of pies baking and the warmth of the wood stove warming the kitchen. Christmas is magic.
A few weeks ago, I taught a cooking class at Ciao Thyme, the first since before I was pregnant. As the room filled and I listened to the laughter and chatter build, I remembered why I love to teach how to make nourishing food delicious and doable, why I love to persuade people they CAN do it, and why I love being a cheerleader for home cooking. Because food is so much more than just food. Food nourishes. Food gathers us around the table and creates an opportunity for openness, for communication, for communion. Food brings families together and food creates lasting memories of love and safety and home. Those were the thoughts running through my mind as class began.
I know everyone has moved on to pumpkins and fall sweaters, but our farmers market this past weekend still held tightly to the last lingering days of summer, with mountains of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and crates of stone fruit belying the shortening days. Deep purple plums will forever remind me of this summer, as we plucked ripe fruit from our neighbor’s tree each day as we walked, Theo ruining more than one shirt with the juice running down his chin and dripping to soak the collar. As he finished the last bite, he would look up and smile, raising his index finger in his sign for just one more.
I’m curled up in the sunroom of our vacation rental that is perched on a low bluff of San Juan Island, gazing at the sun glinting on the water below and the breeze rustling the leaves of the madrona trees growing into the steep rocky bank. While Theo naps in the bedroom, the white noise machine drones through the closed door as I’m trying to find the words to capture the last 18 months.
Before Theo was born, I did zero research on baby clothes. I was too focused on the birth to think much about what came afterwards, other than having the nursery set up. Plus, since I didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, I didn’t want to waste a lot of time researching clothing we may never need.
It may be Spring, but here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is still mostly cool and gray and rainy. To keep us from going crazy, we have to get creative about how to have fun indoors when the wind is whipping and it’s too cold to bundle up for the park (or I’m too tired of bundling up). Here are six indoor activities that Theo loves.
According to my mom, I started reading when I was three years old. She must be right, because I attended Montessori school from age three to five, and most of my memories are being curled up in the reading loft with a pile of books. When I was very little, at bedtime Mom would squeeze into bed with my brother and me and we would read book after book. The Sweet Pickle series was our favorite. As I got older, I would take a flashlight to bed and read under the covers, well past my bedtime. I read every Laura Ingalls Wilder multiple time, the entire Nancy Drew series, and every biography in my elementary school library. By the fourth grade, I graduated to reading through the series of hard cover classics in my parents’ library, starting with Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. You get the picture. Reading was a way to travel to other places and other times, to live in someone else’s shoes. I loved it.
When it comes to husbands, I hit the jackpot. Elie wakes up every morning with a smile on his face and fills our life with his joyfulness. If God loves a cheerful giver, then God surely cherishes my sweet husband, who gives of his time and talents, his love and his resources, to Theo and me, our extended family, our friends, community members, and strangers near and far. I am blessed to walk through life with him by my side.