Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas in pictures...

I couldn't resist sharing some of my favorite pictures from our Christmas season.

Christmas 2013

a snowy day

our son begged for the tree to be in front of the window this year, we loved it!

mailing their letters to Santa
Christmas festivities in Old Town Warrenton...
Christmas tree at the courthouse

decorations in the window of The Scoti

Piccadilly had a beautiful window this year

 Christmas Eve...
opening our Christmas Eve box

Ainsley and 'bunny', Wythe and 'puppy'


Christmas eve
Christmas day...
just what he wanted!

Ainsley picked out a Gone with the Wind tie for Peter! 

I think she likes it!

books, books!

worn out after all the excitement!

'til next time...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Celebrating Winter Solstice with young children

Each year I try to add something as we develop our family's tradition for celebrating winter solstice. 

This year was fun because the kids were able to understand a little bit of what we were doing. 

There are a lot of ideas of ways to celebrate the shortest day of the year.  Some people use the solstice as a time to let go of negative feelings and resentments. Solstice can be a pause, a time to reflect in the midst of the holiday season.  But for many people it is a celebration, a time to rejoice that darkness will begin to recede and the days become longer, 'the passing from darkness into light.'

This year I wanted to host a solstice party but it just wasn't a good time for us to have a party. I'm hoping maybe next year I can host.  There are some great ideas for a solstice party, a combination of Solstice, Yuletide, Wassailing, they all have similar traditions.

Typically we would have a bonfire but this year we didn't. The weather was cooperating but we didn't have a burn pile ready to go. 

The weather was so nice we were able to spend the day outside which is an important part of observing the solstice. To be out in nature, be in tune with the season and the rhythm of the earth. The kids and I took a walk through the woods gathering greenery and holly berries and cutting some herbs from the garden. We then took a log from our woodpile and decorated it as our mini yule log.  We used it as our table centerpiece for dinner that night. 

Speaking of dinner...another tradition is to eat foods that are yellow or round in shape or color, things to represent the sun.  I didn't plan this in advance and had to scramble to come up with something for dinner.  I ended up fixing chicken tenders (golden in color), slices of cheddar cheese, corn, orange slices and saffron rice. It felt a little odd eating a meal that was all one color but it was fun!  The best part of the meal was that my son and husband both ate orange slices.  I was impressed that my son ate them considering the eating issues we have had with him.  What I didn't realize at the time was that it was an even bigger deal that my husband ate them.  I found out later that he hadn't eaten an orange in at least 20 years, maybe 30.  

How did I not know this???

Anyway, they both ate oranges and liked them, so that was a success in itself.  Talk about new beginnings....

Winter Solstice dinner

our "yule log"

We read some kids books that talk about the winter solstice.   Two of my favorites are:

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson

I have more ideas that I wasn't able to add this year, maybe next year we will add more!  I'll close now with a poem that I read to my children. 

"The Shortest Day"
by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came,
and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries
of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away. 
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing, behind us - listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

'til next time...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Like mother, like daughter...

This is one of those times I am glad my mother saved so many things from my childhood.

me in 1978
my daughter in 2013

'til next time...

Friday, January 10, 2014

It is a new year, time for new habits...

It has been a long, long time since I published a post on this blog.

I have many posts started but not finished so there they sit in my draft folder. Judging by my silence you may well believe that I have fallen into a brain coma, one really shouldn't have "thoughts" in the title of their blog and then go months without writing.  I have actually had thoughts, many thoughts. In fact, so many thoughts that I have not been able to organize them enough to sit down and write.  I doubt I will ever "catch up" on this blog, though maybe in a spare moment I may find time to talk about some of the things that have been going on this past year.

As one would expect we have continued to work on projects on our property, I'm sure I will talk about that.

I have thousands of pictures of my kids that I would love to bore you with but that will all depend on the speed of this lousy internet connection.

I may tell you about the hours upon hours I spent trying to sort out the whole issue of homeschooling, preschool vs. kindergarten, methods, curriculum, etc., etc.

I could talk about the houses we almost bought, some being life long projects.

I could talk about our chicken adventures and our decision to take a break from animal husbandry.

I could talk about some of the healing that has happened within my extended family and the friends I grew up with, relationships that are being restored.

One of my resolutions this year was to resume writing on this blog.  I enjoy it, I enjoy having a place to preserve some of the memories of every day life. Like I said before, I can't "catch up" so I won't even try, but I do think I will have an opportunity to revisit many of the topics I mentioned earlier.

'til next time...