Greetings and Happy New Year, dear family, friends, and fellow virtual villagers!
I resurfaced from our two-plus-weeks of holiday stay-cation almost a week ago, but I’ve been playing simultaneous games of catch-up and leap-frog since then, so this is the first opportunity I’ve had to wish you all a glorious 2015, and share with you some of the highlights from our delicious celebrations just passed. Without further adieu, here’s our holiday in pics:
Heron returned to the river in town. She is a yearly iconic reminder of Natalie’s pregnancy and Echo’s imminent arrival eight years ago. We see her especially on Winter strolls, which we take more of during the holidays…
Part of the holiday season for us now always includes taking Fairy Food to the holiday craft fairs. It’s always a lot of work and a heck of a lot of fun. And never fails to frost the edges on my holiday perspective. Missoula goes wild for local, handcrafted everything. I like that about her. As many of you will remember, we’re holiday hodge-podgers over here. So on the evening of December 16th, we began observing Chanukah. Every year we learn more about the holidays we’ve incorporated into our Yule celebrations; and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share them with our girls, and the chance that each affords us to gather together and have (another) family ritual. Nana and Grandpa George came over for Christmas week since we had the elder girls that week too. So the night after our Solstice celebration (which this year was a candle ceremony instead of a fire), they showed up around midnight; and promptly the next morning at 9am, Nana took the girls for one of their first holiday gifts: a trio of mani-pedis! They all sat together and chatted while getting their digits some serious bling. Nimbus was a little ambivalent about the holidays this year… Though he did still enjoy plopping down in the middle of anything happening in the living room. Natalie had the brilliant plan of getting a new puzzle for family holiday fun this year, and we each spent time leaning over the card table during the week. It was an excellent way to just enjoy being elbow to elbow for a bit. Nana got to do plenty of reading… Bella rocked… The girls pretty much demanded that I set up the traditional Christmas booby trap in the stairwell. It’s ostensibly designed to keep holiday-excited kids from going downstairs before the parents are up, but mostly I think the girls just like the romance of the idea itself, the look of the contraption, and the opportunity to shout out whenever someone trips over it (we leave it up all day just for the laughs…).We open gifts throughout the 12 days of Yule, but tend to go a little bigger on Christmas Day (especially when the grandparents are with us). So that morning, after we all tripped over the booby trap, we all took turns opening various things under the tree.
The girls were all very touched and excited and stoked about the gifts they received and were so cute about expressing their gratitude each time. But the thing that really got to me was how pleased and excited and enthusiastic they were about the gifts they gave. Echo was on pins and needles everyday waiting for the opportunity to give Mom this bee’s wax candle lantern; and then she was begging at every round of gifts for Natalie to open it; and then she stopped everything she was doing to tune in and share the experience. I can’t really take credit for this attribute of my daughters’ — we’ve never addressed this with them, it can only be an accidental outgrowth of other things they’ve learned over the years — but I sure do like it.The morning went deliciously onward. Gifts were opened…
Hugs were shared…And new things tried in various ways…Ocelots posed while treats were baked…Then we went for the traditional Christmas Hike. This year, though, all three girls camped out with Nana at the house. So just Henry, Grandpa George, and these two love birds went out into the snow…It was every kind of Montana Winter beautiful that you can imagine.Water Works Hill with Mount Jumbo and Mount Sentinel in the background (ahead…). The trail we came in on is visible by my left shoulder below.Missoula Valley from Water Works, with the old car frame fence in the foreground.And for the people we ran into, of whom Grandpa George took such a nice photo, here’s that!
Gus looks almost as lovely in the snow as he does in the Autumn leaves. G.G. took this shot upon our return from the hike.Inside, Bella was downloading and enjoying new music she’d gotten…And the other ladies were playing Trouble in a Bubble (Magic, Echo’s new eagle friend, included…).Then a few more presents… Here Echo is getting squeezes from Bella for the “Three Sisters” photo she just opened.Grandpa got to do some reading too!Another day, we made our traditional ginger bread house. A full team sport!
Echo posed in her new Brownie vest with Lily in the new Brownie outfit the girls got for their American Girl dolls.The Ladies headed out…
And then there was this…
And this: http://youtu.be/uAkSNBiHG9w
Then slowly, slowly, we allowed things to go back to “normal” — though a lot less normal feeling than being all together on our own island of love… Shortly after lighting our first couple Kwanzaa candles, Bella and Xi peeled off to celebrate the holidays at their other homes. Nana and Grandpa stayed long enough for us to enjoy Grandpa’s birthday together, and then they headed home, too. We hunkered and hid, pretending that the holidays would just go on and on for the better part of another week. Since then, we’ve been reuniting with our regular routines, while also totally upheaving our entire home in order to relocate to Santa Cruz for the remainder of Winter.And here’s a holiday throw-back from 2010.
From our family to yours — wishing you a blissful New Year and success in all of your and your family’s endeavors!
P.S. Many thanks to Grandpa George for most of the above images! He thought we were all bothered whether he was taking too many or not taking enough photos, so we must give credit where it is absolutely due! 😉