Friday, December 29, 2006

Presents and Presence

The presents were many this year. Every year everyone says we'll do less this year. Sometimes in the heat of the buying and the making and the cooking and the cards and the baking (and the list goes on), I think shouldn't I be doing more presence and less presents? Shouldn't I be living in the here and now instead of planning a whole month (or more) for one day? I must say I did a bit better on some things this year. I bought a pre-made turkey dinner for our Christmas Eve dinner, made chili and bought some crackers and dips for easy snacks and meals. I let many things go and tried not to feel guilty about it.

We had company and for the most part, I tried to relax and be present for it all. I was able to have a great conversation with my brother that lasted into the wee hours. I was able to make my mom cry (the good kind) again this year by giving her a homemade Buttons calendar. I was able to watch J. make Buttons squeal with laughter by turning her upside-down. I was was able to watch Hubby dance to the Wiggles song "Captain Feathersword". Yes, with Buttons. I was able to watch Buttons find her own way to Christmas and I'll post more on that sometime soon.

In the middle of presence, there were presents and I'll give you some highlights. Hubby bought the three of us fun t-shirts. I enjoy Hubby's humor and these shirts are fun. (Yes, I will post a picture.) My brother had a blast with Button's gifts and that will come in a later post. I finished my knitting just in time and pictured below are my mom and J. peeking from behind their two- needle mittens made with Plymouth Encore from Hip to Knit. They liked them and I was pretty happy with my first attempts at mittens. That darn thumb drove my crazy though. I was happy to hear from my friend P. that even extremely experienced knitters find thumbs to be annoying.

My mom. We look alike, don't we?

J. said this was her favorite way to have a picture taken.

J. (with some design help from Mom) made this amazing stained glass for the opening between our kitchen and dining room. Yeah, we were pretty speechless. Yes, we knew measurements had been taken, we had talked about things we liked, we knew she was good, but holy cow! Fantastic!

This is a hard time of year to stay present and not get caught up in the idea of presents. Yes, I enjoy receiving gifts, luckily I like giving them even more. What I've come to realize over time is that you forget about presents, but you remember the people who are present in your life. Presents can be pricey, but presence is priceless. That's what I'm going to use as my mantra during the craziness of Christmas shopping. I get caught up in it all like a tornado. Maybe I'll start working on knitting gifts for Christmas in January so the mall doesn't draw me in just because I didn't start soon enough. With knitting I have presents and presence.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Top 10

I think Buttons is going to have a great Christmas this year. However, Santa will not be coming to our house. Buttons is FREAKED out by the man, so she decided her grandmother will bring the gifts instead. Smart girl, huh? Well, seeing Buttons enjoy the holidays and spending time with family and friends is the best, but here are a few other things I like...
1. The music.  Just about anything
except the song about the collisions of a grandmother
and one of Santa's helpers. "Mele Kalikimaka" holds
special meaning to me as I remember our first year
living in San Diego we stayed home for Christmas.
To celebrate, we went to Coronado Beach wearing festive
short-sleeved shirts armed with Christmas cookies and a
cd player and we danced on the beach to Bing.

2. The tree. What other time of year can you put a tree
in your house decked with lights and crazy tchotchkes?

3. The cookies. There must be cut-outs and spritz in the house for
Christmas. I enjoy many cookies, but the ones my mom made
every year are the ones crave.

4. The snow. I always love a white Christmas, especially when
the trees are covered with ice.

5. The lights. I grew up with multi-colored lights, but I'm quite
fond of white lights right now. I love seeing the wonderful
things people do with lights in their yards.
(And the wonderfully freaky things, too.)

6. The pajama days. Christmas means spending the
day in your jammies. How fantastically decadent and comfy.
It's the only day of the year I can dothat without feeling
very lazy.

7. The TV specials. A Charlie Brown Christmas, anything Rankin & Bass,
It's a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story are just a few of my favorites.

8. The presents. I really do enjoy watching people open their gifts.
Especially the ones that are really special. We gave all the parents
pictures of Buttons last year and my mom received a picture of me
with Buttons. She cried, I cried. It was a special moment that
was a long time coming.

9. The cards. We are newsletter people. I hope
our letter isn't annoying. We try to make it interesting
and let people know what we're up to currently. I do like
getting those cards too. Sometimes, this is my only contact
with the people who live all over the country.

10. The anticipation. I'm not very good at waiting. Christmas has a big
build-up and you have to wait for it. (Not for much longer though!)

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Friday, December 22, 2006


I haven't done a post about knitting in a while partly because the projects are for Christmas gifts (and partly because I don't think my posts about knitting are particularly interesting). However, I'm almost done and will be posting pictures after the holidays. Button's stocking is done except for the lining and I'm not much of a sewer, so I'm going to ask for a bit of help on it.

Here's a picture of Buttons at a recent holiday. You would have thought we gave her some Christmas cheer by the joy she gleaned from a goblet filled with water.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Danielle and Winter Solstice

In the hurry and scurry of the holidays, I received this greeting today from Travels with Danielle. Go read a little about Danielle. I'll wait...

How cool, huh? Danielle is going to make her way to our house sometime next year and I'm excited. I'll make up the guest bed for her so I'm ready when she arrives. I wonder if she's a vegetarian? Oh, the fun we'll have getting to know each other. I sure hope Buttons likes her. Otherwise, she'll be spending an awful lot of time in the guest room and the trunk of the car.

On another note, I'd like to wish you all a happy Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The days around the holidays do seem to be particularly short. Not. Enough. Time. And guess what? I'm sick. Time to slooowwww down. So, I'm missing choir and knitting tonight. And I'm not even going to make cookies. Oh, maybe cookies. I must have cut-outs for Christmas!

I hope to post again before Christmas, but family is coming and my house doesn't magically clean itself yet, although I do have a very sweet husband who does more than his share. I'm off to drink some Gypsy Cold Tea. (Yeah, isn't that a great name for echinacea tea?)

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

2nd Most Difficult Resolution for the New Year

I'm thinking of doing this from Wendy Knits. The bad part? I'm thinking of purchasing yarn for the Wonderful Wallaby pattern my friend Marsha ordered for me before the great stash shrink starts. Would you like to see a finished product? My friend Beth just finished one for her daughter T. (Although, the picture doesn't do it justice.)

This picture is almost all of my stash. Yes, there is quite a bit there. However, I believe probably 3/4 of it came to me free. My neighbor's mother had oodles of acrylic to donate to me shortly after I learned to knit. (Thanks M's mom!) Some of it's quite nice, but acrylic is not my favorite so I think some of this will go to charity this year. I also worked at a yarn store for a while and received a nice discount and free stuff, so that's a decent portion as well. I would also like to chalk up some of the yarn purchases to when I was a very new and inexperienced knitter. Yes, sometimes I need to rationalize and yes, I'm pretty good at it. So, while I'm thinking of doing the "Knit from Your Stash 2007" challenge, I would add two things to the rules/exceptions.

1. It's ok to give a percentage of your stash away to a worthy cause (including a friend who needs a skein to finish a project).

2. You may buy more yarn if you run out of stash. Heh. (I'm not really worried about this for myself, but I'd want it as an option in the contract.)

Are you now wondering about the number one most difficult resolution? I'm also thinking of joining up with Lotta and her gang for this. I'm going to go and enjoy a few more holiday cookies before the great waist shrink.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

What She Said

As you can tell, the Christmas season is among us and I've been scurrying about getting things ready for the big days and I'm having trouble thinking of good posts right now. So, here are some things Buttons is spouting these days.

Sometimes, when we're laughing together, especially if all three of us are there. Buttons will stop everything and tell us:
"Buttons happy."

I get a little frantic when I lose something, especially when it's her stocking (which is all but done and I know you've been hearing that for a while). In the midst of the panic, Buttons comes over to me and pats me on the leg and says:
"Feel better mama." and "It be alright."

We have been playing Christmas music around the house and she enjoys it very much. She especially loves Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Whenever they come on she stops what she's doing and comes and tells us what great song is playing. We were in a large commercial toy store yesterday with Christmas music and she points to the speaker and excitedly states:
"Jingle Bells up dere."

My friend Beth has a wonderful way with children and Buttons adores her. We were all sitting together when Beth asked all the kids "what's your favorite song"? Buttons reply was:
"Edelweiss." (The song Hubby and I have been singing to her every night since those first days with her. Yeah, I was very teary.)

Yeah, I know this post is once again too sweet. Just so you know Buttons is working on her independence as well. When testing it out, she's often heard saying:
"Don't want to ANYMORE."

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Good Times

Our friends had us over for a wonderful meal Sunday night. This feast had been in the works for a while and they made the evening so special. The tree was up, good music was playing, the candles were lit, the wine was a perfect match for the dinner. Our children played together and giggled. We even stayed until 8 pm! I felt very pampered and thankful for all the good friends I have in my life.

I know they say happiness doesn't make for good writing, but you'll have to forgive me on this. I get a bit gushy around Christmas. It's my favorite holiday and I'm having family come to our house for the first time. This has me thinking about what I love best about Christmas and what traditions I want to start. Of course, thinking about it all makes me happy, excited and thankful.

Do you celebrate any holidays in December and if so, what's your favorite tradition?

This picture makes me smile. It's festive and romantic and on closer look, you'll also see a sippy cup in the upper right hand corner.

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