Thursday, January 8, 2015

balance and peace

^Post-Christmas Elk Refuge sleigh ride (see below). ^ 

I wrote this a few days ago, and hadn't found the time and space to complete it and tack on some photos.  The last few months have been a whirl of new experiences, new interests, less time, and re-prioritizing.  Right now, I have a tasty cup of Aero-press coffee at my side, my man has the day off and both kids are sick--although you wouldn't know it based on energy levels (I'm attributing that to the Thieves oil I put on their feet last night).  

Even though I turned 39 less than two months ago, I can feel the weight of what this year, 2015, brings: my 40th year on this planet.  And with that comes a strong urge to get my shit together.  To find the balance of health, wealth, organization, creativity, vitality and life, and to do it with my monkeys at my side.
  ^Mid December: Mom and daughter Nutcracker date.  I don't know what's up with the basket.^
^Local dancers plus the very same ballet company I grew up with: the Eugene Ballet Company came to our little corner of Wyoming!  I was SO happy to have *this* as my kids' first Nutcracker experience.^

::  ::  ::

I've been noticing what little evidence is left that we once had babies in our home.  Crib, changing table, potty's all gone.  Cloth diapers have been relegated to the rag pile (too scrappy to pass on).  What little remains of babyhood is all boxed up in the attic, waiting to be passed on in 30 years to some future grandkid, or made into a memory quilt.  We have a 3 year old and a 5 year old now.  Two ferociously strong personalities circle our home.

Yesterday both kids were crawling under the Christmas tree, wagging their tails high in the air.  Bare, little feet stuck out--those soft, pink, padded toes.  I wanted to lock that moment in my brain, to remember this, always.

I have been tucking notes away on Hazel for the last year and a half.  All her little quirks, come and gone and on to the next.  (I have a long overdue letter to Hazel coming very, very soon.)

2014 was the first year I didn't have a kid sharing my bed.  Looking back, so much of my focus was trying to get my own projects done; to do some things for ME after four years of dedicating my life to these small humans.  I did that, but in my wake I left behind a frantic, disorganized mess.
I have dedicated 2015 to swinging the pendulum back to center.  When I stumbled into 2015, clutching a steaming cup of coffee, friends strewn about the house, we asked each other our resolutions and this was mine: This year, I want to find balance and peace.  There are lots of fineries and nuances wrapped into those two words, but for now, that will do.

::  ::  ::

^A few days after the Nutcracker, our own little dancer took the stage.^
^How much actual dancing she did is debatable, but her favorite part: "Being on stage!" and the cookies afterwards.^  

I like my holidays to be of the slow, dough-kneeding variety.  This year, we were far from it.  It was hectic, busy, too fast, not enough.  (As of today, I still have a stack of "New Year's" holiday cards to mail.)  It was December 15th by the time I got our advent calendar on the wall.  I read somewhere that you should take all your holiday traditions and activities and drop them.  ALL of them.  Then, slowly add the ones that have the most meaning for your family and skip the rest.  To some degree we did that (we had to), but I could do some more cutting and pasting.

We have been so lucky in that family has come to us for Christmas since we've lived in this house.  This year was no exception with my in-laws here for Christmas followed immediately by my husband's brother's family and out-of-town friends for New Year's.  For you: a shotgun photo montage of our holiday:      

:: We adopted a dog from the shelter.  She is 4 1/2 and was found running along the highway with badly infected puncture wounds in her rear end.  Turns out, the other dog in her home was attacking her; the owners relinquished her to the shelter.  They patched her up and we took her home.  Her name is Ladybug (original name was Lady).  She is a super sweetheart; she doesn't bat an eye at the kids' crazy antics.  She is mellow in the house, but is tightly wound with energy the second she gets outside.  She is loyal to us, but will bolt if off-leash.  We have some obedience training to do, but she is a little lover.
:: Christmas Eve: setting out carrots and lettuce for the reindeer and cookies for Santa (they were a little protective about Santa's goodies).

:: Christmas morning with Nana.
:: Elk Refuge sleigh ride with Nana and Papaw.
:: Sometimes I struggle to figure out what Juniper really loves.  It's a question that doesn't have a simple, one-word answer like "skiing" or "trucks" or "dolls" or "biking".  But since she has been old enough to do it, she's been putting on shows.  It used to be "pet shows" with stuffties, but has progressed to shows with smaller characters like matchbox cars and Playmobil.  Animals, still, are the center of the show with humans, occasionally, having a supporting roll (usually as a "butcher").  Here: she was tickled pink to have a captive audience.  
Playmobil show--holy heck she loves Playmobil; this animal-fairy set was a Christmas gift from Hazel:
The performance.  I told Juniper she is a playwright and director.  
Another show:
:: As for Hazel, she could have received nothing for Christmas but a bag of those egg-shaped lip balms.  She loves on them constantly, until they're gone.  A typical scene around these parts: Juniper putting on a show, Hazel applying lip balm:

:: Minus 2 degrees on the sled hill, Hazel and my man.
With my husband's brother, his wife and the cousins too.    
:: New Year's Eve.  Sushi, hard cider, campfire, sparklers, fireworks, friends and family.  Love!
^Our good friend T and Aunt D watching fireworks.^
^Hazel burned her mittens while I was taking this photo.  Oh, the sacrifices of getting a good shot.^  
That's all folks!  I'll see you here again, hopefully before another 2 months pass us by....


  1. What a beautiful New Year's Celebration you had. Here's to peace and balance for all of us!

  2. My new year's resolution is to create. I'm not exactly sure what yet, but I've been wanting to get into some real photography for a while now. Do you have a suggestions for a good beginners camera? Something that will allow me more control and creativity (not to mention better photos) than my point and shoot? Thanks.

    1. I'd go for whatever DSLR you can afford. Costco usually has an affordable Canon or Nikon kit. Otherwise, don't hesitate to buy used from a reputable camera dealer. I am hoping to upgrade to a full frame DSLR this year, and I will have to buy used. Keep in mind kit lenses usually suck. But once you start learning more manual features, using depth-of-field, etc., you'll know what kind of lens you want to upgrade to. Right now I have an Olympus mirrorless (micro four thirds) camera. Unlike a DSLR it doesn't use a big clunky mirror, so it's quite small (looks like an old school 35mm camera), yet still has interchangeable lenses and all the manual controls. But, they are not necessarily any cheaper than an entry model DSLR, so.... Good luck! Feel free to ask more questions, I love getting geeky about photography.

  3. Great pictures - totally worth burnt mittens :)

  4. Yay I've missed you and your lovely family! I can also totally relate its been crazy here too I need some balance too. Your newest family member is adorable too. Happy new year xx


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