Glimpses from Christmas by Christina Rosalie

Blossoms In Winter Nativity




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It was a quiet holiday, filled with many moments of sheer delight with just the four of us this year. T and I both took two weeks off, and it's afforded a certain kind of leisure. Making dark chocolate dipped orangettes, gingerbread from scratch, white bean soup, pork chops, cranberry sauce, pop-overs. Setting up the nativity passed down from my grandmother. Playing carols in French on Rdio. Hiking up above the city, zig-zagging on trails under ferns and mossy trees. And then on Christmas, waking early to make a fire and pry our eyes open long enough to sip coffee and watch the boys discover the things they've been wanting there beneath the tree. New bikes and legos. So many legos. And afterwards a nap for T and I as the boys played, and then dinner by candlelight, and later, singing all together, around a candle-lit tree.

What summer looks like around here by Christina Rosalie

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Lots of shirtless boys. Reading fiction. Sipping tea in the morning, still in bed and writing notes for my new book, still a shamble in my head. The arrival of the nanny who's made our summer mornings so much easier. Paper-mache on remnants on the back porch. Picnics on the front steps in the breeze. Time bookended between the beginning and the ending of each work day. Compression + expansion. Deep focus and then a slow unwind as the golden evening light finds us.
How has your summer been, friends? What are some highlights? Some things you're doing to revel in these golden days?

To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing by Christina Rosalie

“It makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing…. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time of being alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”— Tom Stoppard (from Arcadia)

It's taken me a while to write because every street, every ritual, every instance of who I am, and who we are as a family has been made new with this move. We arrived one month ago, chasing the sun across this wide country, and settled gradually into a wee bungalow with an arched doorway that's just up the street from the original Stumptown .




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First impressions:
There are flowers everywhere. Bamboo grows like a weed, but I like it so. Whenever I go running, I find new paths and neighborhoods past enormous, ancient trees, bigger than any I've ever seen except for the Sequoias growing up. I run uphill, up an old volcano cone until I have a view of the city from above. On one side, Mount Hood lifts above the blue like a dream. On the other, bridges, so many of them, and a skyline I'm falling in love with.
It's taken days, many of them, for my internal sense of direction to kick in strongly. I've oriented now, and there are more days than not (finally) that I can find my way around without help from my iPhone. Thankfully, someone thought to plan most of the city in a grid, with numbered streets running one way and named streets the other.
Our little home is the littlest yet, but I love it harder every day. The angled archway going into the breakfast nook. The gorgeous morning light in the bedroom, and the evening light that floods the living room when we come home. Upstairs, the boys have the "master bedroom": a long rectangular room that was once the attic, refinished with lovely cabinets for all their things, and plenty of space to play. It's made so much sense for them to be up there, where they can sprawl out and leave legos and shells and dress-up things about. And in turn, our bedroom downstairs is dreamy. I've always wanted a room just like this--with windows across two walls, and white floaty curtains that lift and flutter in the breeze.
In the backyard the boys spend a great deal of time in the hammock strung between a plum tree and apple tree. They tilt each other out and scream; they have tickle fights; they drag up quilts and snacks; the read books; they argue. They've both adjusted to their new school and routine with grace and resilience, but there are still there moments when so much change adds up. When things feel scary and big to them. When they fall apart. When they ball their fists. When they cry.
Bean, especially is growing into himself in new ways, and new moods and wonderments overtake him. Sometimes he is the sweetest, and other times morose. His long legs, coltish as ever, his eyes flashing with a new defiant light. Sprout, full of eagerness, tender-hearted, hot-headed. Last night, when things didn't go his way, he stomped his feet and wailed, "I wish the world hadn't been made this way at all." Oh, to be small.
We live near the ocean now. Near food trucks and book stores and swanky restaurants and cafes. My creative mind is drinking it up, like someone thirsty after a long drought. How I love to be at the edges of things watching; or at the center, unnoticed, curious, smitten with beauty. I love the thousand faces I pass every day. The bikes, the blooming roses, the bumble bees, the baristas. I love the jumping rope that happens every morning, rain or shine outdoors at the boy's school. I love the tiny studio T built for me, with just enough space for creating, floors made for spilling paint, and walls for thumb tacks.

And... I am still finding the tempo of life here. When writing happens; when work does; and also running, and painting, and kissing and friends and dinner too. One of the things I've missed the most, that this blog has always been for me, is a daily record. A few moments pause. A handful of moments of intentional observation. Sometimes the most effective way of reclaiming creative habits is to start with exactly where you are, and with the smallest actions, which build to their own momentum and greatness in time.

I've been thinking a lot about what that might look like, and I've settled on this simple routine for June: 5 photos + 5 minutes. 5 photos documenting moments throughout the day, and a 5 minute writing exercise: simply recording the immediate, the present, the now.

I'd love for you to join, if you'd like! (I'll be posting more about this little challenge. Keep an eye out.)

A Year In Pictures by Christina Rosalie

A look back at what 2013 looked like for me in pictures.
I'm so glad Elizabeth inspired me to take time for this reflection. Looking back for a few iconic photos from each month made me remember so many forgotten moments; so many bright glimmers and funny circumstances and laughter and adventures.











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Upon Arrival: A Slow Arrival by Christina Rosalie

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It takes me longer than I anticipate to arrive. For the first two weeks, I have move-related amnesia. I can't find anything, even my body in space. One night, I believe I've broken my elbow after a coffee table falls on it. I fold in against myself like origami and cry. I have no idea about anything. If it's broken, or if it isn't, and so I spend hours in ER with T at my side while a dear friend sits on my couch in my unpacked house. Outside it pours. We get the verdict that it's just badly bruised, and I come home dejected, exhausted, embarrassed. My friend acts like it's completely no problem. He's good like that, even though the cat threw up in our absence. I owe him for certain.
A week later I slit my wrist trying to catch a falling glass picture frame. The cut makes a perfect red line. Gapes just enough to make me quaver. It happens ten minutes before we need to leave to bring Sprout to his first day of school, and so I apply pressure and wrap my wrist in a dozen bandaids and just go, carrying it vertically, like a fragile totem. I kiss his rosy cheeks, watch his hesitation and the decision to follow after his teacher to feed the chickens, and then I go. I call my doctor, then head to urgent care. Hours later I have three stitches. After the first day I wear the zebra bandaids Sprout offers me. I try to slow down.
Still, I walk into door frames. Trip over shoes in the entryway. Everything is a perpetual, “Where did you put the...?” conversation. Everything displaced, misplaced. There are socks along with mail. A hammer in the silverware drawer. We take two trips to Ikea, the first to get bunkbeds that aren't in stock, the second too, to get the beds. We come back with other things, naturally. Lights we want to return the minute we've brought them in the door. A cabinet to house the audio equipment that in the last house had been wired into in-wall speakers. We drive up and back passing miles of genetically modified corn that rustles with perfect stalks in flat fields as the sun arcs across the sky. We become impatient experts at assembling flat pack furniture.
And then we're here. Here in the best little neighborhood that is so close to everything. One night we go to the lake after dinner for ice cream cones, and are back in time for bed. Other nights we walk Clover, the boys riding out ahead on their bikes, making a game of stopping (and sometimes not stopping) where I tell them to. The sun slants long and golden and low across the pavement, and makes our cheeks light up.
Somehow we make it through T's birthday (my love, my hero, my co pilot) and the first week of school, and finally the house feels functional. Every room has it's utility and gradual grace. Many still need paint or pictures or hooks or nooks to be created. But it's close now, and we all feel like we're here now instead of in limbo with our minds tracking back to the familiar habit of the floor plan we left behind.
Also, out of nowhere, amidst all the turbulence of moving, the title for my next book arrives like a gift. Like a thin silver lasso cast out among a stampede of thoughts that occur as I do other mindless tasks (turns out building flat pack furniture is good for something). And it makes me giddy to have it now, this whisper, this inkling of what the book will be, tucked into the pocket of my heart even as I celebrate the 1-year anniversary of my first book. Whoosh. There went the year.
Now we eat on the back picnic table in the last light of evening. We light candles after dark. Apples are sweetening in the orchards and the air is crisp. And slowly, slowly I am arriving. Here. In this new life.

Now, upon arrival, as I begin new rituals, blocking time into my calendar for new projects, and mapping new runs,I find myself circling back to the things that ground me: poetry, morning pages, baking bread, making soup.
I'm curious:

What grounds you as you move towards this new season? What makes home home to you?

Glimpses: The making a new *home* by Christina Rosalie

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There are many words that will come, but for now, here are a few glimpses as we unpack boxes and think about the way our habits and lives will shift here.
The tree fogs sing loudly here at night, and it is quiet, save for the occasional cars. In the morning the sounds of traffic rise with the sun. During the day there are parrots somewhere in the neighborhood. They remind me of my childhood: where my neighbors had parrots of all kinds up on the hill above our house. I love their exotic calling during the day.
There are trees here, wider than my arms can hold, and a creek where Bean already caught a crawfish longer than my palm. He's fearless and slight of hand, that boy of mine. Both of them, such natives in nature. Sure footed and confident in the woods where they go now to explore.
They've also got a shed attached to the house off the back deck that they call their 'clubhouse.' It's the perfect home for their workbench--stocked with hammers and nails and small saws and bits of wood, and for all of Bean's "inventions" and collections: snake skins, pebbles, circuit boards, locks.
The house is small. Humbly small. It's good for us, and it requires an adjustment (we have a lot of stuff it seems!) We'll likely be storing some things, to keep the space open and easy. There is good light in the living room though, with windows perfect for basking beside, especially come winter when the sun is scarce.
We brought the boys back to the old house to say goodbye, but all they really wanted was to be here, playing with their bikes on the sidewalk and then running to the ice cream truck when it came by--such a novelty still, for these country boys of mine.
More glimpses to come. We're still knee-deep in boxes... and I've got some health issues going on that are slowing me down (a positive Lyme test being one of them. Ugh.)

Toward the closeness of friends { Just One Paragraph 24/30 } by Christina Rosalie





We pack all day, and then a few dear friends come, bearing dessert to sit around the bonfire with wine while the kids run wild in the woods. The moon climbs up over the peak of the roof against a violet sky. Then the crickets come, and the katydids, thrumming. Woodsmoke, laughter. A good final fire to mark the end of hundreds, all of us gathered on the uneven ground on dinner table chairs, dodging the wood spoke. After a while the kids light sparklers and twirl across the lawn, and when everyone there is only contentment. To be here, and to be moving toward the closeness of friends.

Nearly beginning {More than Just One Paragraph 24/30} by Christina Rosalie

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There is mist when we wake up. We lie in bed, close, breathing, watching the soft world through the wooden slats of the blinds. Three days left.
I think about the ways we cannot know. The ways before and after are utterly discrete, the barrier between them absolute. It was the same, waiting for the arrival of my sons. Or waking up the day after college. Or the moment after I said "Yes." It is always this way.
We move with measured intention or whirling chaos towards the unknown, and then we are there at the brink. We can't know, and yet we leap. Wings made of faith, of certainty, of calculable odds, of foolishness, of hope, of daring.
I walk out into the meadow with bare feet, just to feel the dew. To pay homage to the way the grass has always been there, lush, tangled, season after season to harbor field mice and Queen Anne's lace and milkweed and monarchs. I go, because for so long this field has claimed me, and claims me still. Not just this field really, but all fields. The wild, my home.
We'll see where new begins; what shape beginning makes.


The moon drops one or two feathers into the field. The dark wheat listens. Be still. Now. There they are, the moon's young, trying Their wings. Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone Wholly, into the air. I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe Or move. I listen. The wheat leans back toward its own darkness, And I lean toward mine.

The day as it was {More than Just One Paragraph 23/30} by Christina Rosalie

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I didn't write last night because I came home and completely crashed: chills, swollen glands, headache. T wondered, "What about Lyme?" and so today I went and got blood drawn. I have nearly all the symptoms. But who knows? It could be anything, everything, my body on a collision course with the reality of moving, which we are in just four short days.
Bean came into bed this morning, his hair a shock of alarming curls, his grin sleepy and sweet. "How are you feeling, Mama?" he asked, spooning perfectly into my arms. And then he lay with me and we dozed and talked about things and imagined what the future will hold. He seemed to get it, my little aquarian kindred. That this is big, what we're about to do. "It's our last weekend here," he said softly, nestling in.
Then came Sprout who has the heartiest of laughs. His dimples cause an uproar of delight in my heart. He bounces instead of snuggles. His sturdy little body burrowing for a second before he springs back up, and kisses my cheeks and nose and forehead and then dives off the bed to go play with matchbox cars.

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T leaves for work. It's my day with the boys. Bean and I linger in bed, imagining where we'll explore downtown, what colors we'll paint their room, how we'll have friends nearby. Then, slowly we get up and while I'm untangling my hair and finding jeans he goes downstairs in underpants and a sweatshirt and starts making french toast. He's got the first round frying by the time I head downstairs, and is perched on the stool by the espresso machine, teaching Sprout the steps. He pulls a perfect shot. "Iced or hot, Mama?" he asks.
We eat mounds of french toast and it's perfect: eggy, with just a hint of vanilla and cream. Then, after unloading and loading the dishwasher and packing all the cookbooks that seem to have mounded themselves on the kitchen table, we head to the car with a lab slip for blood work.
Sprout watches the practitioner closely as she cinches my arm and draws blood. Unlike Bean who wants to know how everything works, Sprout wants to know if I'm okay. If it hurts. If I flinch. (I don't, just for him.)
They took such good care of me all day.

Home is wherever I'm with you by Christina Rosalie

Home I don't know where to begin because things have already begun. Summer. The fire flies blinking. We're always in the beginning, the middle, the ending of something; our lives made up of this simultaneous stuff. Life, happening.
It happened fast and slow this time, and perhaps this, too, is the way things always happen. We'd been thinking for a while. Talking together, circling the idea. Talking with friends. Imagining ourselves somewhere other than this house, this place that has become home to us, that has made us the family that we are.
Because the thing is, when we moved here eight years ago I worked down the street at the local elementary school, and T worked from home. Bean was a rambunctious, curious, wee 18 month old. Life was radically different than it is now--with an 8 year old and a 4 year old and work that brings us both into Burlington almost every day.

Really, it's because of the driving. The fact that we are always driving. That we spend more time in the car than anything else. Including here at home, among the wild fields of tall grass. And it's that truth that finally, gradually hit us.
But also, we've gradually become a part of a community of creative, fun, incredible people who all live and work near Burlington, and we never ever see them on the weekends. There are no dinner parties. No after work drinks. No meeting friends after the kids are in bed. No casual play dates. It's never worth the hour spent in transit.

The truth is we've outgrown this long dirt road, in a way neither of us imagined we might. We're on the cusp of new things now. New directions, projects, adventures, discoveries.
The boys are all legs their hair long with summer; their elbows scraped. They walk down Church street ahead of us. They ride bikes without training wheels. They want to learn to skate board. They want access to a pool, to the lake, to friends, to the library, and all the things that come with living in a neighborhood instead of on a homestead.
And T and I? We want things. Some are clear: less driving. More time. And some still unnamed. Still undecided. We'll rent for a year, if not more. Let our compass needle spin for a bit, until we find the right place.
Less driving. More time. It's a simple equation really. With proximity to downtown every day will yield 180 minutes a day of untapped time. Imagine what could be done in that time!
Still, when we decided, it didn't feel like we'd really decided. It felt like fiction. Like something we'd agreed to in a story. It seemed like the decision would take forever to be real. We expected a long summer of house showings. We expected having to met out the very thin reserves of patience we barely have. We expected haggling. We expected waiting things out. Instead it happened in a weekend. The right buyers. The people who will love this place harder and more and better than we have, if that's possible. We're so happy the found us.
In a weekend.

What happened next: I was euphoric. Then I wasn't.
I panicked. I cried. I felt a thousand things. Uncertain, grateful, scared, self-doubting, anxious, exhausted, giddy, obsessive. Every rental we looked at was confusing. Yes and no. Pros and cons. Nothing felt like us. The us, of who we've become here. And even though I know that that is not the point. To continue being the same, following the same habits, fumbling for the same light switches, walking down the same hallways, the familiar has a hold I didn't expect on me. And all I wanted was everything to be settled and certain.
I was unprepared for familiarity. For the longing of it. The animal tug of comfort. For the hungry way that habit pulls you back again and again. And feeling myself pulled this way, I felt betrayed. This wasn't what I was supposed to feel. This was not what I've always said I feel, wanderlust running deep and blue in my veins, the one who always has an escape route planned, the one who wanders down unmarked roads for the sake of it, who is called by faraway cities.
It's an unreconciled thing really. Familiarity and wildness. Wanderlust and roots. And it's clear I've not made my peace with either.
Also, kids complicate things. Apartments without yards for these country boys would be the death knell. A place in the Old North End that I would love, tucked between an African market and a honeysuckle hedge, is fraught with obstacles when it comes to their innocent big eyes. Across the street the Labor Ready place where people stand about listlessly for hours, tossing cigarette butts to the curb; radios playing non-stop; an the endless stream of traffic stop and go at the light. To me, it's all material; all story. But to them?
Sprout will hardly remember this place as home. 4 is only the beginning of memory. The beginning of time transferred from short term to long term for safe keeping. For him it's not leaving that will matter, it's where we go that will count. But Bean will remember, sensitive and big-eyed. He's torn about moving. Excited, eager, and then suddenly sad.
Really, home is us, but more than that it is here.
It's the 4 of us, and who we are becoming. Our dreams, caught like fishes in the nets of our imaginations and reeled into the nearness of the present tense. Our lives, like a series of stop-motion films. One day happening and then the next together marked by the countless meals and walks and loads of laundry that make up the weft of our lives.
May 26, 2013
It took mea going alone to the top of a mountain to reconcile everything: the glee, the possibility, the devastation, the exhaustion, the responsibility, the opportunity, the hurdles. It too letting the birds eye view from up there fill my soul. It took lying and listening to the wind. It took list writing, and remembering. And then hiking back down.
Then the next day we found a perfect little place to rent. For now. For this year. Suburban. With a creek. And sidewalks. Kid-friendly biking distance to the farmers market, the library, the park, the lake. A place to transition in. To acclimate. To find ourselves becoming something else. Something new.
So, it's likely things will get a whole lot more adventurous around here, and saying that makes me see how habitual I've become in the way I see and record the moments. How for-granted everything is. The road with it's wild raspberries. The mail boxes. The neighbor's pond. And the house, with our steep stairs and red wood stove and our kitchen island around which life pivots: pancakes, coffee, sandwiches, noodles, toast, markers, legos, experiments, to-go lunches, magazines, love.
This will be a summer drenched in nostalgia and lasts. I'm planning on recording and sharing them here, so we can remember when we've moved on. So we can live each moment twice. Boxes packed and the door flung wide to the wild blue. It's bitter sweet and thrilling, all at once.

Glimpses from the weekend & an app I love by Christina Rosalie

Spy Detective  - Christina Rosalie Big eyed boy - Christina Rosalie

Brothers reading together - Christina Rosalie

A weekend tradition - Christina Rosalie

Happy grins - Christina Rosalie Paper airplane hanger - Christina Rosalie

Designing paper airplanes - Christina Rosalie

Local Donuts - Christina Rosalie

Getting Haircuts - Christina Rosalie

Last week was so turbulent and devastating, by the weekend all I needed was to disconnect and sink deeply into the simple routines of family. Homemade donuts from the tiny local bake shop that only sells on Sundays--come early, or they're gone. Haircuts for the boys and swimming at the YMCA. Making paper airplanes at the table before dinner, and watching them read together in the sunlight after.
I've been trying to take more head shots of Bean and Sprout lately, just to capture the radical growing that's been happening around here. Both of them seem huge to me, especially Bean who is suddenly coy in front of the camera, and maybe a little self conscious.
I've recently started using the beautiful and really thoughtfully designed app Notabli to curate my favorite photos, videos and quotes by my boys. Notabli has incredible privacy settings and terms for use, and its designed for parents--to take note of, and share the lives of their kids with loved ones and close friends. The best part? When the boys are big, they can inherit their Notabli feed, all backed up and ready for download. It's not often I get really excited about an app, but this one is a keeper.

Through the lens on a walk today by Christina Rosalie

Empty nest - Christina Rosalie Springtime In Vermont - Christina Rosalie

Reflection - Christina Rosalie

Rings on water - Christina Rosalie

At the pond's edge - Christina Rosalie

Before the green - Springtime in VT - Christina Rosalie

Moss in spring - Christina Rosalie

Dog sipping water  - Christina Rosalie

Moss on log - Christina Rosalie

Spring runoff - Christina Rosalie

Feather - Christina Rosalie

At the surface - Christina Rosalie

Wild crocuses  - Christina Rosalie

Rural VT farmhouse - Christina Rosalie

Rural Vermont - Rosalie

Pussy willow catkins - Christina Rosalie

Pussy willow catkins - Christina Rosalie

T and I went on a walk this morning with the pup, looking for signs of spring here in Northern Vermont where the winter still has been particularly reluctant to leave. We saw an owl take off above the pond with the widest wing span either of us have ever seen, and flickers with their gorgeous, almost-neon red heads and spotted plumage pecking in the newly greening grass.
What does the world look like where you are?

10 things that are awesome: by Christina Rosalie

Hello! Hello!

1. I have an interview up over at the gorgeous 52 Photo Projects site today. If you don't know Bella and all the photographic inspiration she brings to the world, you should. It was such a fun interview to do---particularly the last question.

2. Nothing quite compares with missing my guy while he was gone for the weekend, and then having him back: sweeter, better looking, and funnier than ever. I really have such a crush on him.

3. This blog is awesome. And hilarious. This post shamed me into cleaning out my car. I am so not an adult when it comes to doing so on a regular basis. The contents, just for fun: 3 ceramic cups, 2 to-go cups, 1 pair of shoes (mine), 1 pair of jeans (Sprout's), 1 pair of underwear (yeah, that'd be a good story. But they're Sprout's too), 5 picture books, 2 jackets, countless wrappers and dirty paper towels and napkins.

4. Twitter. It's really awesome. I know some of you have said that you don't have time. But here's a secret: It's better than Facebook. It's news and insights and inspiration and delight all wrapped up and moving at the speed of light. I've been having the best conversations there lately. Join in!

5. I've finally made my peace with the fact that I will not have any Kickstarter rewards for my dear backers until I graduate. It's killing me to admit this, but it feels peaceful and wonderful too, to picture sending out rewards when I start ramping up for my book this spring as I celebrate the end of graduate school. I'm planning some other big super fun things for this space then too... *grin*

6. Modcloth. I had no idea it even existed until I followed a Pinterest meander. And oh, I could buy nearly every dress there. Really. Truly.

7. My dearest friend had her first son on Bean's birthday! It's the coolest thing in the world to have known her since we were ten, and to know her now as a mom. Talking to her about those first weeks of staggering exhaustion and wonder has me reeling: that my baby is a three year old.

8. Speaking of: He is finally, completely potty trained. It was kind of epic, and I didn't really write a lot about it here because I never wanted to jinx anything and it took for effing ever. But now I think we're there. I think somehow without intending, I bought the very last package of diapers I'll ever buy. He's in underwear. We've graduated into a whole new era of big-kidness.

9. A project we just finished was to paint a wall in our house between the living room and the kitchen with chalkboard paint. It seems like a perfect way to celebrate the fact that we've moved into the era of big kids around here. They draw robots and play with magnetic numbers and make people with long legs and big smiles on the wall, and it's a totally rad ever changing work of art to come home to at the end of the day.

10. Instagram. I really, really love the glimpses, the bits of bright beauty, the inspiration, the community, the ridiculous talent of the people I follow. Yes, Instagram makes the ordinary gorgeous, but the people who really rock it, are the ones who can compose a shot just so; who have an eye for light and color, and who surprise you every time with the unexpected way the elements in the image are arranged.

I am particularly enjoying followingL: @carrisajg, @hilaryhess, @petamazey, and timrobisonjr. You can also find me on Instagram here: @christinarosalie.

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Your turn: What are 10 awesome things?

Ready, set, go!

On holiday expectations, collisions, and delight: by Christina Rosalie

There is something about first days of the holiday vacation when we're all together as a family, converging on the kitchen with our apron pocket hearts stuffed full with expectations. We show up aproned and get flour everywhere, and then burst into tears, each of us in turn, when there is too much crowding and impatience, too many elbows around the mixer or fingers in the icing. "Mine!" the boys chorus back and forth like harpies.

It's this bittersweet thing, the way we all show up needing. Wanting. Wishing. We put carols on the stereo, and dance to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, and then we end up arguing about something insignificant, a phrase said slantwise or some careless remark, and each of us far more crushed than necessary by the other's harsh tone.

So few days. Full velocity. From one frame of mind to the next we go: from work to full-on family, rolling out sugar cookie dough while tying up loose ends: the last of deadlines, proposals, promises, details. We check our iPhones, catch each other doing so, and sigh, while dreamy snowflakes fall outside. Just enough snow to make the world magic. White on blue, and in the distance cirrus devour mountain tops. The dog licks our bare toes, the fire makes the house toasty, and still we collide. We kiss, we rub noses, we snap, we argue, we laugh. It is all inevitable: this mess, this frantic loving, this silliness of converging in the time allotted before the holiday. Everyone excited, hopeful: imagining perfect days that unfold like the lyrics of the nostalgic carols we play. And though days never do, still we find delight the minute we let go; the minute we remember to just lean into the chaos.

This is just a little reminder to you today: be gentle with yourselves as you converge with family and try to find the rhythm of your mutual expectations. Rest into the mess of it, into the moments just as they unfold. Know that there is no perfect, save for exactly the way the day unfolds with you in it. Be content in the way things will inevitably unravel. Find ways to shake off the expectations and hold instead to the moments of delight that emerge unexpectedly. The easy sparks of joy that come from the simplest things: warm sun, touch, coffee, quiet.

Wishing you each peace + light + delight this holiday. xo! Christina

some glimpses from the week by Christina Rosalie

Here are a couple Instagram snapshots from the week. Since my semester ended on Fiday, I've been soaking up time with my boys. Doing silly, delightful things like making marshmallows from scratch + lovely salt dough ornaments + playing with catch with the dog + reading stories to the boys.

Tonight night we are having a solstice gathering at our house. Potluck + lots of good friends + a big bonfire. I'm hoping to take a few pictures to share. I'm so looking forward to it, in spite that currently my house looks entirely less than presentable and I have yet to make anything other than said marshmallows (which are entirely questionable) to offer my guests. Sigh. Somehow it will all likely come together.

What are you doing for solstice? {PS: thanks to everyone who supported Bethany! She is a light + an inspiration.}

Field notes: A small collection of beautiful things by Christina Rosalie

The quality of light just here, on the plate where the yolk from the egg has spilled into a small river of gold against white enamel; light falling through the big south facing window before noon, while at the feeder chickadees scatter the sparks of millet hulls onto the grass beneath.

In the woods, the leaves are decomposing, the moss still verdant green, and punky wood good for kicking, or digging at with eager puppy paws. We walk the boundaries now, daily taking inventory of every bit of quartz, each trampled path, each wild raspberry bramble, and listen as the piliated woodpecker makes waves in the air with its drumming.

With their saws buzzing like angry bees, the men arrive from the power company, to fell trees for wires to pass through unhindered when the storms come, and though I’m sad about the spruce they take, leaving only the shorn trunk marked with scars of sticky sap, I’m grateful too, for the light that I turn on.

After dinner, the night is still soft and new and we go out, all five of us now; the dog at my side on a slack lead, picking up scents among the wet leaves while the big colored lights twinkle around the tallest pine and we start singing every carol we know, one after the next our voices lifting into the gathering night.