Christmas ’13

Hearth this year is a little random Oh well #christmas #stars #Yule #home #holiday

Our Christmas was so nice this year. We eased into it. I had some downtime and the kids and I were able to prepare the house, little by little.

#stars #Yule #christmas #crafts #homemade #holiday #waldorf #wood

We spent some time stamping our own wrapping paper, making star ornaments for gifts, and making decorations for our home, like this evergreen garland that we hung above our front door and decorated with ornaments and a bow.

yule garland

We had our traditional sushi dinner with Ian’s father and his lovely girlfriend, Miriam (whom we call Mimi). Always a high point of our Christmas season—a moment of relaxation juxtaposed with great antici—-pation.This year we got to hear a little more about their recent trip to Peru, when they visited Machu Picchu and climbed to—I forget exactly—umpteen thousand feet above sea level.

Our boys woke bright and early on Christmas morning, just as they always do.


Stockings and presents from Santa came first. Santa brought Asher this cool soccer ball in his favorite color!


And he brought Lucas a calligraphy set, with three pens, and several different ink colors and a book to learn how to make fancy letters. (Waldorf sixth graders study the Middle Ages, you know.) Santa also brought a family present, one for the four of us to enjoy together: Castle Ravenloft, a Dungeons & Dragons board game!


And some Magic the Gathering cards came in each stocking. These are a huge hit around here lately.

Then an amazing and touching thing happened: The boys allowed me to open my present first, and it turned out to be a scavenger hunt that they put together with Ian. I had to find notes and pieces of my present all over the house. Each note had a clue where to go next. Canvases in sizes I’ve never used before (two big ones!) and a beautiful HUGE paintbrush. It was delightful and such a surprise!


The rest of our morning at home was about exchanging sweet gifts. Asher gave me a beautiful rose quartz crystal, wrapped in a rainbow silk—both his own precious belongings. He gave daddy a fairy jewel. Lucas was pleased with his gift to Ian: a copy of Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman. He sure knows his dad!


One of my gifts to Lucas was a collection of prints showing Lord of the Rings actors and Tolkien quotations. I hope he likes them. (We still haven’t put them up yet.)

Such abundance! Books, modeling clay, LEGO Chima (Asher’s favorite!), new running shoes for active boys, sketch books and art supplies. Daddy and I both got some workout gear. I guess some families do just one or two gifts each. We do a bunch of smallish gifts that support each other’s dreams and hobbies. I like it. But this year was a departure from normal: The boys opened a big box containing Mickey Mouse ears and travel brochures. We are all going to Disneyland in February!!!



It took a little while for this information to sink in …


(Many, many thanks to my uncle Mike and aunt Julie for procuring the hats and brochures from the Magic Kingdom itself. They helped to make the deferred trip seem real.)


I love moments like this one: Ian relaxing in his favorite chair, with his fluffy dog, a new book, new slippers on his feet, and a cup of joe.

On Christmas day, we also visited family at Ian’s parents’ home and my parents’ home. We were grateful to see grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles at both. More gifts, good food, and silliness were the orders of the day. Can’t beat it! Asher received a toy bow with nerf-tipped arrows that fly far and don’t hurt anything when they hit; it’s one of his favorites. Grandma VoVo gave the boys such a clever thing: a money-saving jar with a counter and a bunch of coins. She wrote Disneyland on it so they can save up for our trip next month. Lucas received what I think is one of the hottest toys of the season: a rainbow loom for making rubber band bracelets. Grandma Sydney sewed them each new pajamas and knitted them hats. Such lucky, lucky boys. Truly, we are all so very blessed in every way.

#christmas #games #home #boys #brothers #holiday

The days that follow Christmas are always some of our favorite days of the whole year. We are together at home, snuggly warm and content. We have lots of wonderful new diversions. We can play together. Slowly we clean up after the holiday party at our home; slowly we eat up delicious leftovers. The boys pored over many, many new Magic cards from Uncle Tate.

Santa brought Asher a soccer ball--in his favorite color! #santa #christmas #holiday

It has been unseasonably warm here for the last two months, as you can probably see in this photo. We played soccer with Asher’s new ball at the school field at the end of our street—in shirt sleeves and shorts!


The new ball drew a crowd of neighborhood boys. 🙂

Santa brought us a D&D board game and we played last night!

And we played our new family D&D game. Thanks Santa!


There’s much more to say about the two weeks of Christmas vacation, I’m sure. But I’ve sat on this post for too long already. So I’ll sign off with this gorgeous winter sunset and say simply, we are happy and so blessed. I hope your winter holidays were equally magical.

Zoo Day

Sacramento zoo

Yesterday we spent a little time at the Sacramento Zoo. We haven’t been in a while and I think the last few times the kids were there, they were with either just Ian or with their grandparents. It was a lovely hot day and we were grateful for all the beautiful shade. The zoo really is nice now—much more beautiful and comfortable for the animals than it used to be 30+ years ago when I was a child.

My monkeys and some chimps


The giraffe enclosure and viewing platform is really top-notch.


Improbable zebras

What can I say? I love the zebras.

I enjoyed the hornbills and the white handed gibbons. The snow leopard looked uncomfortably hot. I was sad to learn that the daddy tiger Castro has cancer and is undergoing treatment. The baby tiger that was born at the zoo earlier this year still has not made his debut to the public.

Spider and fly

Here is Spider Lucas attacking Asher Fly.

Zoo day with my fellas

The boys enjoyed the reptile house. Asher was delighted to see tree frogs and snakes with skin his favorite color—chartreuse!

We were all kind of enchanted by the burrowing owl, who had a mouse that he was snacking on and then hiding, then snacking on some more.

Frog on toadstool

My wee froggy on a toadstool.

Kissing cousins

I have some ambivalent feelings about zoos, in general. I think that personal encounters with wild creatures and nature is the only thing that can make a person really care about conservation and environmental protection. At 11, Lucas is now able to see some of the injustices in the world, take them in and form opinions, and react. It’s good to give him experiences like this, instead of me just telling him that people destroy ecosystems and wildlife.

We renewed our zoo membership. I hope to take the kids a few more times this year. Maybe we can meet friends there this summer for a day of hanging out. I am working hard on my list of things to do this summer, as school lets out this coming Friday!

Family Advenure Day

We’re ten weeks into summer vacation now. The boys are enjoying themselves immensely. They drift through the days, adventuring, squabbling, eating, and swimming. They spend one day a week with my mother and one day a week with Ian’s mother. Sometimes they’re with me, sometimes they’re visiting friends. Or friends come to play here. They’ve come to accept summertime chores as something they can’t get out of. Most of the arguments about chores have died away, as we’ve been pretty good about keeping the bar high. We’ve raised our expectations of them and mostly they’re rolling with it. There are plenty of interpersonal arguments to fill the space. Lucas and Asher are presently best friends and worst enemies. Somewhere there is a happy balance between planned activities and unstructured rambling time. We find it and lose it and find it again, week by week.

So, they’re having a great time. I’m really ready for school to start. Two more weeks to go. What is it about August? The heat, the drying up of my garden, the looooong summer. It’s not my favorite month. I seem to always have junk to confront. And yet, there’s plenty of deliciousness to celebrate.


On Sunday of last week we took an impromptu drive up the hill. The four of us packed the dog and some snacks, and let the car take us somewhere new. We were without a plan and it was a great feeling. We stopped by a little town call Dutch Flat to see what there was to see. It’s a gorgeous little place—very picturesque. I wanted to get some shots of the homes, both because they are beautiful and quaint and also because I feel they will be great references for future paintings, if I ever get good enough. Which I will!



See what I mean? So simple and beautiful.


This is the main street. It was hot while we walked around and I looked for someplace to spend a little money to support the local economy, like an ice cream parlor or something. Alas, I couldn’t find anything and I’m not sure how this town survives.


This is the hotel. It was lovely from the front and from the back, where we were able to peek over the small fence to see the deck and garden.




Great homes. White picket fences everywhere. Plenty of fruit trees in yards and baskets full of flowers hanging from porches. I’ve rarely seen so many American flags on display.


Anyway, we continued on our way up the hill and ended up at Donner Lake. The temperature was far more pleasant than at home in the valley. We walked a little through the state park and enjoyed a rest at the edge of the lake. I would love to go camping here.


Naturally the boys wanted to swim. It was beautiful and very satisfying to say “yes, of course.” Next time, I’d like to rent a canoe and paddle about for a while.


It was a perfect family adventure day. Just what I needed in August.

Burning Man

We are home. We are safe. We have adventured!
I have been trying to think of what to share about our family trip to Burning Man, but I am struggling to find the right words. For now, I’ll leave one photo.

My Boys and the Man

Family Days

So, Friday again. There’s always such gorgeous POTENTIAL in Fridays, such HOPE, so many dreams and plans. How will we fill our weekend? What weekend joys will fill and fulfill us over the next few days? Around here, we call weekends “Family Days.” I know we have family days every day, for we are never really far from one another. But “Family Days” is the name that means something to my children, and it helps us grown-ups remember that these two days are important, no matter what we end up doing (even if it’s just chores and hanging out). Family Days are special. Daddy is home with us all day. There’s less routine (like little boys waking up even earlier than usual out of excitement) and more resting. A bit more reading. More breathing out.

It’s funny, the expectations I carry. I want my Family Days to be idyllic and restful, peaceful and restorative after a hard/busy week of bouncing to and fro between kid activities and work. I also want Family Days to be packed with exciting projects and fun, tons of friends and laughter, special foods and adventures away from home—all to fill up our hearts, minds, and eyes.

Oh Friday, where will you take us?

Lots of weekends look a lot like work days for me. Today I’m imagining that apart from all that dreamy fun, adventure, social time, and rest we’ll have this weekend, I’ll also get gobs and gobs of freelance work done. Yes, this is where that time machine comes in. I’m awaiting its delivery. Should be any day now. I have my receipt around here somewhere …

On deck for this weekend:
• Getting our hens!
• Finishing coop/chicken run chores (yikes!)
• Getting some straw and feed and chicken sundries
• Tons of editing work for me
• Dinner with friends
• Some swimming, hopefully—it’s damn hot
• Grocery shopping
• Making snacks and popsicles

This morning, my kiddos were READY for Family Days. Asher whined, “It’s NOT a school day. It’s a Family Day! We play together today.” I know how he feels. Although he rallied and adjusted his attitude to going to preschool, he gave me a set of assignments for today: “Spray your plants. Work on your computer. Build with blocks on our zoo. Then when I come home, I’ll say ‘Good job, Mom! You did good work today!’”

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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