whirlwind holiday

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The past week has been a delightful blur of travel and celebrations and new experiences.

A few highlights, with photos: After a quiet Christmas day at home, we hopped on a plane to North Carolina to visit my aunt and uncle for a few days. Suzie & Nick are always such gracious hosts.

The kids went bowling for the first time (LOVED it), Bronwynn helped my aunt Suzie in the kitchen, Miles chased their three cats around the house...until we realized he's allergic to cats (oops). B took a little spill and ended up at Urgent Care (she's fine, thankfully). Kris helped my uncle taste test various vintages of wine and whiskey. We explored the trails around their home, ate amazing food, celebrated my birthday (with the yummiest red velvet cake, by Suzie and B), and just relaxed and had a good time catching up.

We flew home in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with our neighbors, and I woke up early on the 1st to run a 5K. And then we all collapsed in bed for the rest of the day. It felt nice that our busy holiday week was punctuated by rest and togetherness.

 After nearly 5 hours of happy flying, she was DONE.

 I love how small Miles looks in the great big world.







 Assembly line

 11 p.m. on NYE

We returned to help our neighbors harvest a bounty of citrus.


Happy New Year!

santa's spread

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The kids felt it was essential that Santa get some fruit and veggies to balance out the cookies. There's food and water for the reindeer too.

B is taste testing the cookies.

the tree hunt

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Every year in the desert, grocery store parking lots transform into makeshift forests. Farmers from up north lay down a blanket of pine needles and mulch to cover the concrete, stand the Christmas trees in uneven rows. It kind of weirds me out, in the same way the fake pumpkin patches do. But, the kids LOVE it. And therefore, we love it.


White lights twinkle in swaths overhead. The smell of fresh-cut evergreen envelops us, and for a moment, it's winter. It's Christmastime. The past couple of years, we've lucked out with actual winter-like weather on the day we go tree shopping. The tree lot workers light a fire in a metal barrel and warm their hands. The air is damp and cold. Bliss.


We let the kids choose the tree. Miles got a little lost, and had to go potty. He'd had enough of the tree hunt.



B went around in circles several times and kept returning to the same tree. It was calling her, so we took it home.

worms

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When I say my kids love animals, I mean all animals. They don't discriminate. There was the Pet Moth of 2011, which was, in fact, the first of many pet moths. There's Wilbur, the pet spider who lives on our front porch. Caterpillars. Crickets. ...They even claim the coyotes who roam the hills near our house (thankfully they've never actually approached any coyotes).

Today: Worms.


A rare desert storm meant puddles and dozens of worms washed onto the sidewalks. The kids collected a few on the way to school this morning.


Their preschool teacher is awesome. She isn't fazed at all by worms ...or moths, or lizards or any other creature that tags along to school. She celebrates them just as much as the kids do. The sense of wonder and excitement is contagious. A worm at school is an opportunity to learn something new. 

So, when I picked the kids up, the worms were still in tow. And they now had names. And B started spewing facts about how worms benefit the soil and plants. 

I won't even get into how much I love that my girl isn't afraid of worms. 

This was our afternoon. Worms. The worms ate lunch with us. They were given sips of hot cocoa. We sang to the worms. We gave them fresh dirt. The simplicity of it -- the joy of these silly little creatures and my two precious, innocent children -- warmed my soul and helped shore up my belief that the good in this world still outweighs the evil.




the week, in iPhone photos

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