Keeping Traditions

St. Nicholas has always arrived at our house in early December. It is a simple tradition that requires glitter and chocolate coins. Sometimes there is a tiny something else. 

In 2009 the girls got crafty and made little elf shoes. St. Nicholas brought St. Nicholas mugs.


Over the years, the shoes have gotten bigger, but the tradition has remained pretty much the same.


With Helen off to college and due home this week, I wanted to send off a little Christmas spirit to her dorm room. What better way than via our St. Nicholas tradition? I lined a box with tomten wrapping paper, filled it with fiberfill and glittery stars, and layered in some elf slippers filled with chocolate coins and the required chocolate santa.

 I was happy to find the little pattern the girls had used tucked away in my craft cupboard.

 Helen was thrilled to receive her package.  
St. Nicholas didn't forget to fill Lizzie's slippers here at home.

Keeping traditions is tricky now. Liz wasn't so in to leaving her shoes out (in fact she forgot), but I know that they'll remember this when looking back as adults.  They will have forgotten those shoes by the fire from when they were tiny.  So, Liz rolled her eyes a bit and Helen was delighted in the tradition remaining alive. I imagine Liz will be delighted when she is at the college post office picking up her chocolate coins and I imagine their children will be leaving shoes for St. Nick too. Traditions during the teen years are worth keeping.


A Family Feast

We had the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving this year. It was actually a 3-day event due to snow and travel conditions with some of the family arriving early to beat the snow and staying late for a lingering visit.

Liz drew a welcome picture on the chalkboard.

The festivities began quietly with a puzzle.

My brothers decided to try roasting chestnuts on an open fire.
They were terrible (sorry Tom and Tim).

We had about 10" of snow fall in the night and our bar got a bit frosty.

We had fun setting the table.

Lots of fun times at dinner!

We took a long walk in between the big feast and dessert.

 There are always delicious desserts!
Pecan tart, pumpkin pie, cider cake, chocolate pie.

A family dessert photo.

The girls went with their Aunt Hilary to the yarn shop and they made arm-knitted infinity scarves at the end of the day. It was a quiet, relaxing way to end the festivities.

 It was a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Found on Facebook

 Our college student is so, so happy. She loves her classes. Her professors like her work. She has made friends. She has gotten involved in a bunch of activities.  It is fun to get these photos texted or to discover them on Facebook.

Here she is with friends at the county fair.

She got to come home for a week in October. 
Helen and Liz had so much fun together. 
It was a treat to see them enjoying each other so much.

Here they are heading off to the Homecoming dance.

Here she is rigging lights at the theatre.
She has been Assistant Stage Manager for a play and lighting designer for a dance performance.

She has also had a paying job in the scene shop.

The best? Finding this photo on Facebook, just before Thanksgiving.
"Off to the airport. #Imcominghome!"

And today? Today she is making her first 11-hour drive back across New York to get to school. Happily, one of her old Waldorf classmates happens to go to college nearby so they are sharing the driving.  I can't wait to know she's back safe and sound!


The Great 50 Meet-Ups

I turned 50 this year.  It's an interesting time in my life. I feel like I'm at a threshold, but unsure what I'm stepping toward. Life is in flux--my daughter has left for college, my husband has a wonderful new job with new colleagues and ways of managing his days, and my job(s) are not quite in tune with my needs and interests.   I celebrated my birthday quite simply--a drive to the mountains, followed by dinner and a cake with Nelson and Liz.  

The highlight of turning 50, however, has been re-igniting friendships with my oldest friends. Thanks to Facebook, we found each other and retreated to Lake George for a weekend of visiting.

We spent a day canoeing in some of the roughest water I've ever canoed in.

And, we reenacted some of our teenage shenanigans--Andy and I were carded at age 16 and he promised in my yearbook that we'd try again sometime and not get carded.

We tried again over 30 years later...and Andy was carded.

What fun we had and I still smile when I think back to that magical weekend at Lake George.

At the beginning of November, I traveled to New York City to meet-up with my two best friends from high school. Here we are in Washington, DC on a chorus trip.

Here we are 20 years later in NYC!

It was the first time the three of us had been together in nearly 20 years. We spent the weekend talking, talking, talking. We discovered our friendship had endured and we discovered that 20 years later, we still liked each other! We left the weekend feeling like we had started something new.

Here we are toasting our 50th birthdays!

We plan to meet-up again in April. I had always hoped that when I turned 50, I would go away with some female friends to celebrate this turning point in life.  It actually happened and I look forward to many more such weekends in the coming years.


Courage, dear heart

The Michaelmas Season is here. I've written about Michaelmas many times here. I've celebrated the symbols of courage, strength, and energy that come with this season. I've enjoyed watching the children reenact St. George and the Dragon, pick apples, run races, and enjoy the harvest.

This year, this season of courage came home to all of us in a different way. We lost a husband, grandfather, teacher, friend at our school while he was helping to prepare for this big day.  His wife had just brought her 8th grade class back from their sailing trip and everyone was exuberant preparing for this big festival.

One of the school's teachers reminded me of this quote from C.S. Lews. In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, there is a scene where, when things seem their worst, something flies by Lucy-- a bird in the dark. She smell's Aslan's familiar scent, and the bird whispers in his voice, "Courage, dear heart."

For this Michaelmas season, instead of the image of a dragon being conquered by a courageous knight, I hold the images of ships finding new directions at sea and lions sending great courage.

I hold this in my meditations for myself, our school, and my friends who have lost beloved spouses so very suddenly this year.


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