Showing posts from December, 2016

A Different Sort of Christmas

We did something different for Christmas this year. In place of purchasing gifts for our adult children (there were presents for the grands), we booked four nights in a stand-alone chalet at Mount Washington, about 3 hours of driving north.

"Spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with your in-law families," we said. My parents came to spend those days with us, and we had a lovely time. 

So on Boxing Day (Dec 26) we packed two vehicles to the roof and beyond and drove north. On our second evening we feasted on cheese fondue, with crusty bread to dip, along with steamed vegetables and cooked meatballs. It was reminiscent of being in the Swiss Alps. And the snow fell in great, fat, drifting flakes; in hard, swift pellets; in steady crystal twirls. And the snow shone in between the snow. 

"Why does this woman like snow so much?" some readers may ask. 

I grew up where winters lasted far too long. By February I was sick of snow, sick of cold, and just wanted to escape to warm…

The Week Between

Our view this morning. I can hardly stop looking out the window. 

This week between the years is a slow one, filled with family times, quiet celebrations, or louder ones when the littles are involved. Eleven of us are tucked into a cozy chalet in the mountains, playing games, talking, walking in the snow. Some will ski, others will throw snowballs.

I put my order in for snow in August. We've been blessed with it in abundance. Yesterday's arrival was a bit hair raising, but everything made up on sleds to the chalet and we are tucked in with plenty of good food, books, and crafts. 

I can't quite understand those who give a sigh of relief late on Christmas Day and say, "it's over." Advent is the long run up to Christmas and then the festivities begin. Perhaps this is an old-fashioned idea, but it's one I embrace. At home, the tree will wait and we will enjoy its lights, the candles, and the quiet scenes of Christmas until the New Year begins and beyond. This is…

Almost There

There was little making going on this year, but I did finish up two little nightgowns and a pair of pajamas. Several years ago I made one of the bunnies-in-a-bed for Miss A. I've been collecting the Altoids tins and made a few more this year. Miss A has expressed that her bunny would like a friend, so that's one. The other two are for Miss S. For Mr. F I've created a little train station for his mini Thomas and Friends. 

I made each of my colleagues in the modern language department (there are three of us) these cosmetic bags and placed a L'Occitane hand cream in them. A quick and easy gift. 

And now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with love, joy, peace, and hope. Thank you for your many kind comments and visits this year. You inspire me, and I'm so thankful to have made friends through blogging.

Glimpses from the First Day of Winter

There's not much winter happening outside around here. Our beautiful snow has melted and the temperatures feel positively balmy. Relatively speaking. 

How are you doing? Are you almost ready for the big day(s)? The angels on the armoire look ready to burst into "Joy to the World."

Here's a picture, taken in the dark hours of early morning. We're turning now, slowly, imperceptibly, but irrevocably, towards the light. The focus is on the garland, stars and ornament hanging from the chandelier above the dining room table.

Another view, with the focus on the china hutch. There's nothing like taking photos to make one realize that there are a few pieces missing here, probably in the dishwasher. 

Notice the crowded scene on the bottom? I artistically arrange the nativity set to fill the space. But a six-year-old grand thinks that everyone wants to get close to Baby Jesus and she rearranges my set(s) to reflect that. Would that we all crowd around Jesus, not only at Chr…

Going Home for Christmas

What defines home? There's the dictionary definition - where one lives - but there's a more abstract construct as well. Earlier this month my siblings and I, along with our spouses, gathered at my parents' house for an early Christmas dinner.

I've never lived in this house and have made my own home(s) in several places. But coming back to Mom and Dad's place has a sense of coming home, no matter how old I am, nor how established I am in my own life.

"What can I bring to help with the dinner?"

"Oh, nothing. Your father and I have it all under control."

 And so they did. While the snow fell outside, we were warm, enjoying turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, roast vegetables, salad, and trifle for dessert. 

These two. How I love them. How glad I am to go to their house. It's still home. There's a sense of letting go of care and basking in their love. Home is a place of acceptance. Of being known and loved. 

My mother sets a beautiful table.…

Christmas Cards and More

Far fewer Christmas cards arrive in the mail nowadays. I think it's a combination of lack of time, rising postage costs, and the ease of digital communication. However digital we may be, there's still a frisson of delight when a hand-addressed envelope is plucked from the mailbox. 

Amy of Love Made My Home has organized a Christmas card exchange for a couple of years. It's a fun way to connect with another blogger, and to receive a real card in the mail. I was partnered with Kathy of Compassion Knit and received this cute and playful card.

For now the cards stand on the hall table, in front of the Advent Calendar, which, as you can see, is rapidly filling up. The paperwhites are just beginning to open and their lovely sweet scent wafts upwards as I climb the stairs.

These days fill up, as December tends to do. Last week we attended Miss S' preschool concert. She's looking a little tired and wired here, and the gym lighting cast rather harsh shadows on her face and tha…

A Winter's Tale

Once upon a time, in the land of Silvertray, three white houses, each with a red roof, stood in the forest. 

One fat snowflake fell,

then another and another until cold, white snowflakes covered the ground.

The three white houses looked at each other and admired how beautiful they were with their curved windows, their heart cut outs and their shiny red roofs.

"But," said the first white house, "we were made to be lived in, and there's no one here."
"We need someone to turn on our lights. What can we do?" said the second white house.
"Let's advertise," said the third white house.

So the three houses sent an advertisement to, that said:

"Three cozy houses in a forest need someone to live in them. Must like winter."

 Then they waited. Still the cold snow fell until drifts of white completely buried the forest floor.

And the three white houses were lonely. They wondered if anyone would ever come to live in them.

One da…

Winter Wonderland

On a misty, grey Saturday morning, Tim and I crossed the Strait of Georgia for an early Christmas dinner with my parents and siblings. As the crow flies, it's a distance of 133 km, or 82 miles. As the weather goes, it's like moving from one climate to another. Mist and rain soon gave way to fat snowflakes splatting against the windshield. 

We arrived at noon and the snow continued through the afternoon, into the evening and through the night. In the mosaic above two photos show the amount of snow on our SUV, one taken in the afternoon, the other this morning. 10-12 inches of beautiful, white, fluffy snow.

After clearing off the snow, we set out for home. All of these photos were taken as we drove, through the windshield, or out the side window. I'm utterly enthralled by the beauty of snow.

Snowplows and sanding trucks worked through the night to clear the highway. Wreaths of cloud clung round the blue and white mountains with beauty that made me ache with the longing for word…