Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our 2011

In January I cut off about 54" of hair and Keats began walking by himself!

In February, our garden burst into life and I found out I was pregnant with baby #2!

In March, we sprang outside whenever the rain dissipated and explored.

Keats turned a year old in April!

In May, we decided to move to a wonderful cottage on a coastal farm.

In June, we finally found out that we were having a girl.

We began settling into our new home in July.

And explored the treasures of our small town, like this local goat cheese shop (and farm), in August.

In September, we bought a medium-sized flock of chicks to raise in our yard.

I made a fox costume for Keats for Halloween in October.

And Frida Beatrix joined us in early November!

As usual, December was filled with lots of visiting and laughter!
All in all, our year has been fantastic and full of joy. We are very grateful for the opportunities we've been given this year and for all the love we feel each day. We know how fortunate we are to live where we do and for Birch to have the job security he does. 2011 was a crazy year, again, in the world and though Birch and I are increasingly frustrated with it, I am so grateful that our small patch is chugging along happily and, thankfully, pretty near untouched by the financial crisis. That is a lot compared to so many who have lost so much over the years. We're happy to be where we are and love all that we're discovering.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finding Calm

The winter holidays are crazy for everyone, it seems. To-do's galore and visiting pretty much everyone you know that you possibly can, coordinating family get-togethers and cleaning up, decorating and documenting, wrapping and unwrapping. It's easy to get lost in the whirlwind of activity and even easier to fall down the slippery slope to hyperventilation and daily panic attacks (not good).

So, each day, if I possibly can, I focus in on the calm, quiet moments--those beautiful details that make the crazy worthwhile.

A line of owls looks over us as we eat at the dining room table.

Our Christmas tree--a Sequoia--has a beautiful contrast of colors.

A luxurious, soft throw that keeps us cozy on the couch.

Everything is better with gentle light.

Light wood ornaments dangle from the tree.

Small, globe twinkle lights are perfect for our simple tree.

Wood reindeer (napkin rings) watch over us as we read stories in the living room.

Locally made trees add a soft touch to the windowsill.

The fox from our wedding cake walks across the snowy, winter windowsill.

Frida's hand-crocheted blanket is perfectly warm for cold December nights.

A mirrored star dangles from the ceiling just above the tree reflecting the light.

Colored pencils stand at the ready for moments of inspiration.

Locally made ceramics add a decorative touch to practicality.

A bowl of sweet is just right when days are short and nights long.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our New Little Lady

Frida Beatrix was born on November 3rd and has been an absolute joy. Weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 oz., she's been healthy from the start, though our familial cold at the time of labor has had its effect on her as well. She's doing just fine, though, as long as we keep up with the nasal aspirator and saline drops before bedtime and in the morning.

Meeting Keats for the first time was really special and quite funny, too, as Keats really just wanted to play with the bassinet's wheels. He's has been a very loving and attentive older brother and at times even helpful--handing me a burp cloth or giving Frida her pacifier. Sometimes he's a little too loving and we have to intervene a bit, but we're very happy with how seldom he is angry with Frida and her new place in our family. He loves being an older brother it seems and loves reading I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole (thanks Lopez family!) That book has definitely helped us to explain why Frida gets to breastfeed when Keats doesn't as well as the things Keats gets to do that Frida can't. 

Having two is definitely a challenge and some days my brain feels a bit fried, but it's so worth it. We're very happy to have our new little lady. One thing that's been extremely difficult is taking pictures! Frida didn't like to be put down for the first five weeks (ugh... my arms are tired) so taking her picture was a challenge, especially with the addition of a crazy Keats. Now that she's more inclined to sleep for longer periods by herself, I'll be able to snap away like I did when Keats was her age. These newfound hands-free moments have meant more "alone" play dates with Keats and his toys. The first day Frida slept by herself for *gasp* two hours, Keats recognized my freedom immediately and we read each and every one of his books--some more than once. Having that time with him was really special and it made me realize what a challenge it will be to show both children adequate/equal attention throughout their lives.

Birch is really a dream. He helps so much and so often--he's a spectacular papa. With Frida so little and dependent on me, Birch has been mostly delegated to playing with Keats. They've had some really fun times since Frida was born: going to the beach (the "big water"), playing in the yard and going for long walks, and major tickle fests when it's just too cold and wintry outside.

Getting our family rhythm back/adjusted is definitely a priority and we're coming along. We're closing in on Birch's winter break from work and I couldn't be happier about that. As usual, the holidays are jam-packed with visiting friends and family, but we're planning on having some quality time at home, too. I love seeing all the people that live so far away. I miss them so much throughout the year. The short time together is never enough, but it's all a part of growing up, I guess. We move apart, build new relationships, families grow, priorities change, etc. Birch and I often disappear from the world but we hope our friends and family know how much we love them. For now, we're still getting to know little Frida as well as our new home. As much as we look forward to seeing those people we love so much, we're also looking forward to some quality family time at home.

What will we be doing?

Building a chicken coop, putting more boxes away from the move, putting up another wall of framed photos, decorating for the winter season, chopping down our first "actual" Christmas tree, and drinking lots of hot cider and mead. 

This season is one of my favorites. I hope you are having a wonderful winter and have some truly splendid holidays!

All our love,
Birch, Kristine, Keats, and Frida!