Yes, it's winter and Christmastime is here! Yellow was the color I was crazy for in the fall. Now it seems I'm noticing beautiful shades of red amongst the generally neutral background of this season. It's a burst of life when everything else is lifeless. It's joy! It's festive! Swoon!
Because of my new found color love I made my first cranberry sauce. Hello! It's so amazing and it's sooo easy! A bag of cranberries, an orange, a little shugah and cinnamon boiled down a bit and voila! So yes I'm a bit enchanted with this season, and (as I do every year at this time) I've been going over thoughts and memories from this year. I thought I might update you on the birds in my nest.
Natalie, my sister always says, is a carbon copy of me. I don't think that's so true because she is so very logical, and that is an attribute most definitely from my husband. She is her own unique blend. She is intuitive, a creator, a tender heart. She was on swim team over the summer and took some ice skating lessons last winter, but her real love has not strayed from riding horses. She plays the trumpet in band. She makes the best scrambled eggs I have ever had. I find her in bed every night avoiding bedtime deep in a book or crossword puzzle or sometimes a text conversation. She started middle school this year. When she was a toddler I saw infinite time with her. This new stage has started a clock for me. I feel my time with her is defined and not nearly enough. I wonder if I've taught her enough, and I feel the time pressing against me as there is so much more I want her to know. I love that she is old enough to have real conversations with, and I love her sense of humor.
Ben is our dreamer. In so many ways he is still a mystery to me. He keeps so much of what he is thinking to himself, and then surprises me with a brilliant thought or a sweet comment. He spends a lot of time building Legos, and I think in those times he's in a whimsical world all his own. Sometimes I like to go there with him. He plays baseball and golf. He loves to have Nerf gun fights with the neighbor boys. One day, while he was lying down in a neighbor's yard amid a war, I passed by him in the car and yelled hello. He opened one eye and said, "Mom! I can't talk. I'm supposed to be dead." Ah, of course. He just spent a majority of the evening fighting off ninjas with the leftover cardboard tube from the wrapping paper. Then when it uncoiled he pretended it was nunchucks. I treasure his snuggles, and have spent many nights watching him fall asleep as a few tears slide down my face as I realize he is growing up and will not be a little boy too much longer.
Hallie is our shooting star. She hurls herself at life in a way that's inspiring. She is bright-eyed, sunny, and possibly a bit too friendly to strangers. She is curious about everything and eager to learn. I often find that she has undressed herself from her day clothes, and redressed herself in her ballet outfit and shoes. Similarly, I often find her dancing and twirling around the house and then pointing her toe in a grand gesture. Frequently I find her hiding something, cutting up something, or talking to something imaginary. She has a fondness for ugly toys (like Trumphia the purple, rubber elephant). She has a stubbornness that is annoying and endearing because I love that she already knows how to stand her ground. Her love sometimes takes my breath away.
We've had a very full and very blessed year. We've had time I do not take for granted with family, with old friends, and with new friends. Natalie asked to be baptized this summer after camp, and we celebrated with her on a Saturday in July. Michael's brother, Philip, married Mary on a beautiful day in May. My sister, Alison, married Jason on a beach in September, and I now have two step-nieces (cousins!). My brother, Michael, proposed to his girlfriend, Merissa, so we have another wedding this coming year. We had Sophie come stay with us from Germany for three amazing months, and now have a new friend (yay!) across a very big ocean (boo!). Natalie celebrated our birthdays at Biltmore with Sophie in September, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, magical day. We went to Disney in October, and that was full of memories none of us will soon forget. We went to Destin with Michael's family at the end of July. I took the kids to Hilton Head with my dad and Merissa and my sister came up for a few days too. So, like I said, it's been very full and very blessed! May this new year bring you many blessings as well! Happy Christmas season everyone!