These early days of 2013, all of the senses are alive and noticing…
*last year’s calendar turned into quite the opportunity for imaginative story-making
*the sky do miraculous things — one morning, opaque fog; the next, only pinks
*my pile of “to-finish” sewing projects heaping up again
*someone doing the timely dance of doll-play that warms (and settles) this mama’s heart for what’s to come so very soon
*houses, airplanes, cars, and whole cities being built, torn down, and built again with what’s around the house, and whoever feels like lending a hand
*the fresh empty pages of a January calendar that beckon one of my very favorite things: plans
*still, in my heart, the laughter and pounding feet of young cousins playing together. There is so, so much for me to discover as a mama, and lo and behold, last week’s visit with family illuminated an important insight: the very best age for a babysitter for my rambunctious toddler is seven.
*sweet piano duets. my two boys and their four hands find a way to make each other sound interesting, cheerful, and altogether surprisingly good
*the soulful expression of Michael Kiwanuka on my stereo morning, noon, and night. My sweetie stocked my stocking with some much-needed new music.
*old favorite books read over and over and over and over and over again
*rain, fairly consistent rain, pelting softly on my lucky plants and trees, and lulling me to sleep as she lands on the rooftop. sometimes, for a moment, there is a brief respite because it’s snow…and then some sunshine
*pine. wet pine. drying pine. pine in the sunshine.
*the last of our dear neighbor’s dried japanese pears — their sweetness filling our noses and our bellies. This alone, another reason to look forward to next year’s batch
*the lingering smells of Christmas — cinnamon, clove, cookies baking, peppermint — still alive and well in our dwindling but ever-present cookie jar
*citrus of every kind, gracing our table and our breakfast and lunch plates. ’tis the season, for both the sweet, orange winter treats that offer a boon of color to our meals, and also the extra boost of vitamin C to ward off colds
*a pot of my mother’s beef chili recipe currently cooking away slowly on the stove. If you can’t have mom’s cooking, in the deepest chill of winter, you can come close with her handwritten secrets
*soups, stews, and more soups — ’tis the season, too, for getting creative with both the season’s winter squashes and my immersion blender
*winter root vegetables finding their way onto the table in surprisingly beautiful ways, like Peter Berley’s Barley and Beet Risotto with Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese
*lots of hearty fare coming out of our beloved slow cooker. Just the words “slow cooker” conjure up the month of January for me.
*sweet, crunchy Millionaire’s Shortbread for a New Year’s party. What better day than New Year’s to eat something with “millionaire” in the title. A girl can dream….
*temperatures drifting towards the mid-20s which, for around these parts, means we deserve some snow. Snow that sticks. We are donning layer after woolen and flannel layer and enjoying the thousands of fun things to do indoors
*with these low temperatures and bygone holidays, justified in my “good enough” reasons to stop for a brief mid-day snooze with my little one.
*gratitude for warm water and the magical healing, soothing, sedating nature of a nice hot bath
*big elbows and hefty kicks in my midsection — large enough to see and to share with visiting hands
*tenderness towards all who come and go from this house, warming it with their big smiles and gracious gifts. Perhaps a house feels most like a home this time of year
*anticipation for a fresh start, a thousand yummy projects, and so many people to love and know in 2013