So this pretty much sums up the month of December…. frenzied, funny and a lot of fun!  And I can’t believe it’s over!  We started preparing the weekend of Thanksgiving and haven’t stopped until yesterday.  It has been a whirlwind but a season filled with lots of singing, present making, cookie making, cooking, story telling, snuggling, and remembering my childhood.  Every year I get that warm fuzzy feeling, but for some reason this year seemed like I was really warmed to the soul.  Maybe it’s because Ryder is even more aware and into it and he loves singing with me and making cookies and reading all my favorite Christmas stories and seasonal books.  And Saige is older now and we have our newest addition, Milo – but whatever it was – my heart seemed to melt a little more each day.  And I tried hard to take those mental snapshots as to not forget a moment. 

Usually every year we head back to Chicago sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year we didn’t get that chance.  And part of our tradition in Chicago is to eat lunch under the ginormous tree at Macy’s and see Santa and look at all the windows decorated on Michigan Ave (mind you, it’s usually in the teens and below zero with the windchill).  But that adds to the whole experience. 

So this year we headed to San Fran to start our own tradition.  We took Ryder ice skating at Union Square and went to see Santa and look in the windows at Macy’s.  Now, this was supposed to be the “coldest” day – the meteorologists had us thinking people were going to be dying in the streets because of the cold.  Well I was a bit excited because now it would be even MORE like being in Chicago.  Well as you can see by the picture- it was beautiful.  A little nip in the air but sunny and perfect (people from the Midwest or the East Coast would have been in shorts and tshirts!)  We went to Macy’s, after skating, to see Santa (1 1/2 hour wait!) now I know what my parents went through all those years.  Well we didn’t stay- someone told us about another Santa at the shopping plaza a couple blocks away.  So Ryder was stoked to see Santa- Saige, not so much.

 

 My jams and jellies that I worked on during the summer were wrapped up and given away to friends around town.  We made some homemade Kahlua to give out too.  And I had a couple custom orders for shirts.  Somehow it was suddenly the week of Christmas – what happend. 

The excitement was mounting in our house and then the grandparents arrived the day before Christmas Eve- which got the kids even more wound up!    We all had a wonderful time.  I just love sitting around all day in jammies, playing with their new treasures, reading new stories that will soon become favorites, snuggling, eating cookies and drinking my warm coffee (it should be tea- but I’ve recently went back on caffine- Saige is only nursing once or twice a day so I don’t feel so bad).  And then the next couple days were spent going to the park and running into friends – boy do I love a small town.

So here we are on New Year’s Eve…. looking back on the year and looking forward to what’s to come.  We have  had a great year, we’ve watched our baby turn into a little girl, our little boy become a big independent boy, we’ve welcomed a new family member to our household, we’ve welcomed some new babies into our extended family, we’ve expanded our family of friends, so many blessings – too many to list.  There have also been some sadness (may the circle be unbroken).  I look forward to the new year and the new adventures we will be embarking on and what will be around the next corner.

I have many ideas for this blog in the New Year.  I am resolving to attend to it more, but also to not let it consume me.  I would like to get more information out to families re: cloth diapering, baby wearing, raising kids green, crafting with kids, and more.  I will be doing giveaways and continue giving you the blow by blows on The Adventures in The Calhoun’s Life.  So stay tuned…..

Peace to you and your family in The New Year!

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, mind and soul have been freed to fulfil themselves. Nelson Mandela

Yesterday I went to a “celebration of life” for my friends’ daughter that passed away.  Her twins were diagnosed with mitochondrial disease at a very young age and are now 18.  One of the girls just passed.  First I would like to say that there should be a rule in the universe that you should never have to bury a child!  With that said…. What an inspiration my friend and daughters are.  First of all, my friend to have the strength to stand up and speak is just amazing.  Second, there was a slide show and home movies playing and in every single picture of these girls they had the most beautiful, huge smile on their faces.  So innocent, so happy, so inspirational.  We can all learn something from them.  They may not appear to be like a “normal” 18 year old (which can be a good thing) but I can tell you this, they are happier than most 18 year olds I’ve encountered (or even than I was- ever hear of teenage angst).  To love life for what it is, to find joy in the simple pleasures is truly a blessing. 

 

It’s so easy to wallow in self pity and feel sorry for ourselves for just about anything – it’s much harder to pull ourselves up and make that conscious effort to hold our head’s up, take a deep breathe and smile and just be happy that today is another day.  Why is that?  If someone is always happy people are always saying “oh, they must be bottling up their feelings”, “they’re putting on a façade”.  Why do we think someone can’t just be happy?  I find it sad and bizarre. 

 

Our society is so busy climbing that perpetual ladder of acquiring bigger and better that we lose sight of what’s truly important – each other- being happy with our family , with our friends and with life.  You can have all the “things” in the world but without happiness you don’t have much.  What good are all of those “things” if you are unhappy?

 

The image of their smile is burned into my brain and I hope I never forget that image. 

 

Live a simple, uncluttered existence and be happy.  Life is too short.

 

Thanks for the lesson Katelin and Kelsey.

I’m back… it feels like forever since I last wrote.  We just got back from Chicago, it was my dad’s 75th birthday.  We are originally from Illinois, me from the Chicago area and Doug from central Illinois.  I just love going back.  There’s something about family- especially now with having kids.  It’s so important for them to know their relatives.  I grew up with my entire family living within a 30 mile radius (most within 15 miles).  I think we saw my grandparents every weekend.  I love being in California but there is a big part of me that misses Chicago and the family. 

I think Ryder must talk about his cousins at least once a day, and this is not only after we come back from seeing them, it’s all the time.  His cousin Casey is 5 and Zoe is 20 months. 

 

 

It’s the best to see them all together.  Kids are great- it’s like no time has gone by, they pick up right where they left off.  The same goes for one of my best friends kids.  Ryder adores them.  As soon as he sees them he’s so stoked and they just run off like they’ve been doing this day in and day out.  I think that’s the same way it is with my best girlfriends. 

It’s always bittersweet when we leave, part of me is ready to get back to my own house, day to day activities, etc. but then part of me doesn’t want to leave the comforts of my parents house and the energy of being around family that envelopes me like an old warm favorite blanket. 

So, cherish that bond that is family and good friends.

ryder running at the farm

Yeah! The clouds have parted and the sun is finally shining!  For those of you who don’t live in Northern California- let’s just say the last month has been pretty wet.  So on Sunday the rain finally let up and we just had to get out and dry out.  So we headed to the developmental center farm.  Might sound weird –  it’s this funky little farm at the developmental center- they use the animals to help with the patients (therapy, etc.) and it’s open to the public. 

 the animalsgiant pig

They have goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, mules, etc. and Ryder loves to go there and check out all the animals.  Doug and I actually like to go there too.

dad and ryder playing chickenchickens crossing the road

Dad and Ryder had fun playing “chicken” and the actual chickens followed suit.

pedro and harley

They have 4 parrots, one named Pedro, that we all love to talk to.  Ryder loves to visit Pedro the Parrot- we talk about him often at home.  I think it’s really cool for Ryder to hear this bird talk back to him (Doug and I crack up over the parrot talking too).  It was a great family day and for anyone who lives around here- you should definitely check out the farm and say hi to Pedro!

Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

Albert Einstein