moments from the week

Zion on Lijah playing on various roofs

playing on roofs

Moments from the past week.

Rascal on the couch

he's nice to sit with

smores with friends

Harvey, Zion, and Julen looking cool sitting on a wall at night

out on the town


a longer leash

Lately I've been noticing that most people around here walk their dogs on a pretty short leash. Not crazy short—just like the typical six feet. We have one of those: it's black and thick and strong, because Rascal had some pulling power in his younger days! But we haven't used it for a long time. Instead, when he has to be on a leash at all we go with the 15-foot retractable model. Watching folks striding along the sidewalk with their golden retrievers heeling beautifully made me think, for a moment, that I wish I could walk like that with Rascal... but by the next moment I had changed my mind. Because that's not really what either of us are like.

Rascal doesn't run as much in his old age as he once did, but he still likes to stretch out every once and a while—certainly, for most of his life it was running rather than walking that gave him all his exercise. A walk, for him, is all about exploring the smells and tastes of the neighborhood. For my part, while I'm happy to walk briskly when I can, I'm not particular as to the direction—and I'm rarely in any real hurry. So it suits us both to let him come and go within that 15-foot radius. He can range ahead or behind, or go sniffing in woods or lawns, without me having to think about it too much. I figure the model is kind of like my parenting. He's coming along in the same general direction that I'm going, but I'm not going to worry to much about making him stay right next to me for show or anything. It seems to work for us.


first snow

Most times the first snowfall of the year is exciting just for being first, but it doesn't amount to much on its own. Not so this year. After a warm summery beginning to fall we were only just getting used to cold weather, so a legitimately snowy day today was kind of a shock. Exciting though! Mostly for the kids—some of the adults I talked with yesterday evening weren't looking forward to the forecast accumulation—but even some grown-ups got caught up in the spirit. Our street saw a pretty vigorous kids-vs-parents snowball fight for a little while this afternoon; especially nice since the parents forced to team up aren't always on the best terms otherwise.

The only bad part about the snow is, as always, the yard wasn't ready for it. It's not very likely that this snow will stick around til spring, but it's possible—and as it started to fall I was very aware that in that case a lot of things would be lost and/or ruined. It's always bad—I'm not a particularly organized gardener (or anything)—but it's even worse this year because of my current construction project. I'm putting up a playhouse for the kids, and it's kind of a significant endeavor. I spent the first part of the morning racing to finish framing and sheathing the roof, to keep at least some of the snow from the interior (there's still mostly no walls, so it won't be bone dry—but roofs do help). Then I had to put away the remaining lumber, so it wouldn't be buried forever under its tarp. By that time the tools I'd left lying around were beneath at least an inch of snow... I hope I found them all.

All in all, though, I count the snow as a total positive. We had a super fun day, and we're looking forward to more snowy fun tomorrow. Zion was very disappointed when he heard the forecast calls for sunshine; I told him the winter would bring lots more snow. Just maybe after the playhouse has walls.


moments from the week

Lijah on the couch drawing, tucked into a blanket

cozy drawing

A couple moments from the past week.

the boys playing with blocks and stuffed animals

it's not all plastic toys and video games...

playing in the snow in front of the house

first snow neighborhood snowball fight


moments from the week

the snowy yard, looking towards the in-progress playhouse


Moments from the past week (moments are all I have time for!!).

Harvey being a tree at Chip-In

our best tree

the boys at the top of a sledding hill

hitting the slopes

Harvey and Zion playing by the riverbank

making icebergs

Lijah wearing a pikachu costume drawing

pikachu at work


welcome yule

After years of failing to get organized, we finally managed to celebrate the solstice in proper style today. Not that we have any connection to traditional observations... but we're sure that to do the thing properly you need greenery and fire.

the boys posing behind our

solstice bonfire

We started out by making some wreaths using the evergreens in our yard. We ended up with two, one I made myself to try out the theory, and one that Harvey helped me on.

Harvey standing by the wreath-making tables

wreath factory

Don't let Harvey's outfit fool you—it was actually pretty cold out this afternoon! Our hands were numb with the mitten-less fine work required. Maybe I should have set up inside; but since I'd never done this before I wanted to be close to the supply of greenery so we could cut as needed. We used mostly hemlock, with some holly and andromeda for decoration, and held together with wire and ribbon. I'm pretty pleased with how they came out!

our second wreath, with Lijah's feet for scale

the finished product

After studying candles pretty intensively on Monday the boys were pretty blasé about lighting our wreath, and we didn't know any songs to sing... but it was still pretty cheery looking on a winter afternoon (and it had plenty of room on our new giant kitchen table!).

the boys making unethusiastic faces with our lit solstice wreath

lit up

Then we went back outside to light the "bonfire" with one of the candles. We had to go out just after dark, so we couldn't make it too big, and we weren't able to wait til sunset like I would have liked. But we had all the time we needed to sit around the blaze, listen to the firework sounds from fresh hemlock boughs burning, and hope the sun would come back this year. A good solstice... now on to Christmas!


moments from the week

our christmas tree lit up

quiet and still

Lots of bad camera photos from the past week.

Zion wearing Hanukah presents: knight armor and batman mask

Hanukah costumes

the lit up menorah on a full lunch table

eighth lunch of Hanukah

Zion on the roof of the in-progress playhouse

roof work

Harvey doing homework by candlelight

candlelit homework

Zion lying on the ground on the black ice

black ice

Zion and Lijah making gingerbread

gingerbread bakers

the boys standing around a smoky fire

where there's smoke there will be fire

the boys playing Carcasonne

board gaming

ice on the the spirea plant

ice storm


almost Christmas

another picture of the christmas tree

all is calm

I'm already celebrating with a new camera.

moments from the week

Harvey and Nisia on the snow tube

Christmas sledding cousins

Moments from the week, courtesy of the new camera.

the front of our house in the snow

the weather Christmas morning

Zion building legos

we made it to the presents!

Harvey aiming his bow

winter hunter

Zion making a snow angel


Leah in her headphones working at the big kitchen table

Mama's new happy place

Harvey and Zion posing on the sledding hill as the sun sets

yay winter