Friday, December 26, 2014

52/52

And here we are - at the very last image for this year. Thinking about what had made this year special- the very first thing that came to mind is seeing the relationship between my little ones emerge and grow and turn into something to behold. Last year at this time Reed was barely year and a half- and Siena was more like a mom to him. Over the last year these two had become so close- spending almost all of their days together. Their newest games involve playing mom or dad to one another- and they alternate playing the parent and the baby- usually this involves an inordinate number of falling asleep and waking up. They also love building forts, pretty much anywhere and at any time. In fact (as I had mentioned) we had given them a gift this holiday season with the hope of moving their fort making somewhere other than on top of us:) They also love building forts in the woods on our walks. They love crazy stuff like running in circles and pretty much any pretend play that involves something 'cary, whether it be a mo-mo (monster) or a guy playing guitar (skeleton that scared them this halloween playing guitar in a haunted house- I know, right?) or just your ordinary 'cary stuff (today it was a bird that was going to carry Reed away, drop him in the lake - we were walking next to a lake- and "Reed be all gone"). Each one of these games gets played at least a few times a day! What helps is the amazing patience that Siena has for her toddler brother and the overwhelming affection he shows her (well he really shows it to anyone who'll take it, but she is often the one closest to him when cuddling mood strikes- which is every 5 to 10 minutes:) So it is only fitting that these two (from last two days) end my year.

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.
As always joining in with Jodi over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 25, 2014

And then there was Christmas...

It was a small affair for us, but still great fun. From the spectacular (if I may say so) butternut squash soup with smoked paprika roasted chickpeas and kale crema, to freshly made vegan cinnamon buns (wonderful recipe here), and a tofurky feast.



No snow- instead the sun was bright and warm, prompting a trip to the park with the new pushcart kids got from us. Reed seemed certain that the cart was for him rather than his babies.






In the spirit of not buying too much I also extended a playmat I made them a year ago, adding a few features like a path and a vegetable garden.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Gifts


Holidays are meant to be a time to slow down and notice the world and people around us, and I truly dislike to what extent it becomes about shopping and busy malls and honking horns. I know all of those might carry a charm to them, but I truly believe that is only because they are so close in time to other, more meaningful experiences (like being with one’s family). This is why we try every year (albeit not terribly successfully) to not buy many things for the kids and instead to give them experiences or build or make something for them and each other. Last year we had built the kids a play stand

This year we had made over our guest room into a playroom- the guest room is right off the living room and so it is a perfect location for kids to play. Up until recently this was our homeschool room, but we had for a number of reasons found ourselves doing most of our homeschooling at the kitchen table and so it was high time to change that room around. The kids loved it- we had not done much- added some pillows, moved things around, got some little warm carpets. We had only added a little workshop for Reed (which was his one bought present- Siena got a comic book making kit) and I had sewn a little set of curtains for the playstand so that they could do a puppet theater. This coincided perfectly with the fact that our next door neighbor (who is a play therapist) bought the kids a bunch of amazing puppets! The kids loved it and so do we- I have been reading my new books on their soft bed and kids have been spending so much more time in that room, instead of demolishing the living room, so truly it was a present for us all- wink!









51/52 - Celebrating Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.
As always joining in with Jodi over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com
 A bit of a belated post since we were busy celebrating the Winter Solstice. As I had mentioned in a prior post we had tried stepping away from traditions that we do not see as our own and instead embrace others which spoke more to us and of us. Winter Solstice was perfect- with all the magic and all the interesting science, the interesting stories and the fact that it grounds many customs in many other traditions and religions, it was an obvious choice for us. It also nicely fit with some of our other traditions- like the Winter Lantern Walk. In anticipation of the Winter Solstice we had a countdown/advent calendar with scrolls with various activities inside each one (and a chocolate since many of the activities might not have been as exciting for a 2 year old as they were for a 6 year old).  We lit candles both the night before and the morning off- since the little ones woke up before 6 it was still dark and in many ways a perfect way to start Winter Solstice. We told stories both made up and learned about how the stars got to be in the sky and why Mother Nature has the Winter Solstice every year. We opened presents (more on that in the next post) and ate Santa pancakes. Both the night before the Winter Solstice and the day of Siena had a ballet recital, which made the whole experience even more special. The kids got to watch a movie- a huge treat in our household, while the adults cuddled up and read- we had both gotten so many awesome books- including some awesome vegan cookbooks for me. The day was slow and quiet and magical- it coincided with the end of all grading and work for Shea and I, and I have been feeling last few days like I am actually seeing my family and I feel so awake and alive- this is how life ought to be. I caught myself the other day banging around the house hoping Reed would wake up from his nap since I was missing him- on a usual work day his naps are precious time and the wake-up is dreaded. We are also looking forward to Christmas, we will be opening presents from our more Christian family members and friends and we’ll be having a large meal. Being together is so wonderful!












Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter (sort of) Walk

Mother nature decided to give us a few more days to soak up the sun before the long cold winter comes. We took full advantage of it…trying to treasure the time outside, knowing we'll be daydreaming about it all not too long from now. 













Saturday, December 13, 2014

50/52 - Winter Lantern Walk

As it has become tradition- we went on a Winter Lantern Walk with some of our friends. The kids started getting excited about it days and weeks in advance- they all made their lanterns using the style of  painting we had learned in our Waldorf classes- dipping the watercolor paper in water first and then letting the colors swirl all around. Harvest Preserve was once again a perfect magical spot for the whole experience- they had even built a little pirate playhouse for the kids at the top of the hill. We went for a lantern walk- the lights alone in the dusking forest couldn't help but feel magic. We finished with some hot chocolate in the the pond house, while daddy told the story we always tell on Winter Solstice- the story about how the evergreens kept their needles. Every year I also try to make the kids a little gift- last year they were still small enough that they believed that forest fairies had jumped into my bag as we were walking- I'd like to think they would have believed that (or something like it) this year as well, but I was not about to push my luck…so they all received a little felted snowman. Last year's winter lantern walk here. As always joining in with Jodi over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com.





video

Saturday, December 6, 2014

49/52

I cannot believe there are only 3 weeks left in this year. Preparations for winter holidays are well on their way. We will mostly be celebrating the winter solstice this year (that's when Santa will come as well), but we will also open some presents from our more Christian family members on Christmas. We are trying to find and incorporate traditions this holiday season that capture the magic and that we specially value as a family, but that are honest with respect to our roots and histories. We are lucky to be surrounded with people celebrating Hannukah, Diwali, Solstice and New Years this holiday season so the kids are not inundated with a single view of what the season is about. There has been lots of preparations and we are doing a holiday activity everyday in our "countdown/advent" calendar. Some days, like yesterday, it was a donation to Oxfam, other days it is a little craft, like making watercolor lanterns for our upcoming winter lantern walk or making clove-spiked oranges and yet other days we go to an event or a show- tonight it is the Nutcracker…there are many more shows to come given that Siena has a very talented set of friends, who dance, play cello and do ballet (this includes two of her own holiday concerts).

This is the kids putting up the holiday decorations, and more love…












Saturday, November 29, 2014

48/52 Thanksgiving edition

In a span of a few days we went from frolicking on the beach and jumping into the waves to building a snowman.



As always joining in with Jodi, over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com





 













Saturday, November 22, 2014

47/52


A portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.
Joining in with Jodi over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com
Like their daddy! We got this guitar for Siena awhile back in the hopes that learning to play it would become a part of our homeschool routine. But her interest in it comes and goes- and some days it is more of a toy than an instrument, other days...the whole family gets a turn. Sitting and watching Siena and Reed take turns playing backup for their dad on this cold, snowy day reminded me about the few little things I like about winter- cozying it up at home with my peeps:)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

43/52, 44/52, 45/52 and 46/52

I know, I know! I was so good and each week on time and right at the end this happens....but life happened too! We had a few eventful weeks, from boring work stuff that got in the way to fun stuff, like our 10 year anniversary and my folks visiting for several weeks. These weeks were filled with a Halloween party (we traditionally host one every year), celebration of our anniversary, many many hikes and outings with Siena and Reed's baka and deda. We were desperately trying to get out as much before winter came- and winter is here now with all its might, so I am so glad we did.

So here it is- superbly late: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014. As always joining in with Jodi over at practisingsimplicity.blogspot.com

43/52: First there was an early Halloween party. Lot os gory food, stuffing the straw man, apple bobbing, three legged races and other fun...




44/52: after baka and deda arrived there were all sorts of hikes and of course actual Halloween (Reed no longer wanted to be spiderman, so we switched his costume to Bob the Builder- kids nowadays I swear!) I also helped host the Halloween party in Siena's school. 



45/52 and then came more hikes- Lake McBride. 



46/52 And more beautiful hikes (Harvest Preserve)- this was the very last nice day of the year that it was in the upper 60s (18C) and since then it has been bitterly cold and today we got SNOW- lots and lots of snow (not pictured- I am boycotting snow!)






There was also a little 10 year anniversary - with the love of my life. I could not be more in love!



There was also so much more fun that was had: