December 1st, traditions and time

if you thought i was an obnoxiously upbeat person (for the most part) a year or so ago, you wouldn't believe me now. seeing the world through the eyes of my amazingly spunky and curious little girl has made my outlook even brighter. for reals. not to say i don't get grumpy, moody (thanks pregnancy hormones) impatient, lazy, etc...etc....etc. but for the most part i consider myself an extremely happy person. i think i have the happy gene and i definitely think my daughter inherited it too.

but i also attribute happiness to some concrete practices and circumstances in life in the real world. the most important of these is coming from a happy, close family. basically, my family members (mom, dad, sister and three brothers, as well as the significant others who have so graciously joined us along the way) being my best friends: people i can share my fullest truest self with forever and ever, who know me grumpy and who know me elated, and who i can talk to about the silliest to the most elevated of subjects, with whom i have had millions of adventures, and continuously plan a million more.

another important factor for happiness is tradition. i'm sure it's obvious i'm not talking about big, institutionalized tradition like fancy church weddings or going to law school because your father did. i'm just talking about little joyful things that have happened all your life in patterns, with your family or friends, that you count on and that bring you a warm sense of nostalgia. the moments in life that bring a sense of home and belonging. every year after thanksgiving, i know that when i first hear elvis sing "if every day was like christmas" i will be transported back to being 12 years old and listening to cassette tapes of old fashioned christmas songs as i fell asleep at night full of the quiet breathing life of my family home.  there are countless little things like this during the holidays that remind me to be grateful for the life i have. it doesn't bother me to be sappy or dorky about this.

so i am trying to build this sense of wellness and love with my children. i think while they are very young this will be well fostered by a close attention to tradition, and of course this is so pertinent and fun and easy during the holidays. 

it all starts with the placerville christmas parade. this year it fell on the bright and sparkling day of december first.

i have one very observant little sixteen-month old here. she can pick out a snowman, small or big, from a mile away. she shouts it out with the most pure glee and it sounds like this : MIUOH MIAHNNN!

she also waves at everyone unreservedly and doesn't even care if they're throwing candy or not. although she caught onto that pretty quickly ;)

one tradition that never fails to make me happy and nostalgic is the marching band, immediately giving me chills and making my heart thump grandly in my chest, bringing a wave of overwhelming triumph and joy over me. 

 have i ever mentioned that i was in marching band all four years of high school? i was a terrible flute player so i changed to percussion junior and senior year and was much more fulfilled. i marched with the big bass drum strapped to my chest, or backward with cymbals in front of the snare drummer, and at christmastime even shaking the sleighbells!

a look at her little lederhosen, borrowed from cousin utah:

the parade goes on forever, hours and hours. lucy was glued and attentive to each detail, the dancers, the floats with gaudy plastic blow-up santas, the horses, the sleighs, the bicycle brigade, the boy scouts. but naptime was nigh so we cut our visit short. we didn't really need to stay to the end to see "santa" this year anyway as it doesn't quite pertain yet. and we had a plenty big dose of christmas spirit!

just a little bit later that afternoon we went to choose and cut our christmas tree at a lovely little farm off the beaten path called Indian Rock Tree Farm. it was getting cold so we didn't wander too far but we had the owner's grandson walk with us and share stories of growing up on the land and show us where the actual Indian grinding holes are located near a beautiful stream. 

there were lovely trees abounding (and lots of new ones growing) but it seems i forgot to photograph our actual pick! we chose a lovely fat little douglas fir (because that's the only kind we can afford) and they even gave us a discount since they knew we were on a tight budget. super nice people and i'm sure little lucy riding hood charmed them some too :)

she took warming herself by the barrel fire very very seriously.

for december first i have decided that each year i'll give my children a pair of christmassy pajamas and let them watch a new christmas movie, and when they're old enough, have homemade hot cocoa and popcorn. darin gave lucy her bath and dressed her in her newly (thrifted) red and white striped jammies and then i left them to watch Charlie Brown Christmas while i went to pick up Emmy and we went on a very special errand of our own:

a visit to our friend Amanda and her brand new baby girl, Stevie-Lynn! we have long awaited this little bundle, and amanda is the first of our group of girlfriends to deliver. which means i'm next! eeeepppp!

what better way to welcome in the holidays than snuggling with a brand new little spirit? this little angel was an absolute doll and her mama just glowing. a new mama who had kind of a harrowing birth but pulled through with incredible strength and grace!

holding that sweet sweet newborn got my heart racing with excitement to meet my own new little girl. less than a month away now! there is much to do, much to prepare, and of course, much to enjoy during this exciting december!

speaking of traditions, have you all heard john denver's album Rocky Mountain Christmas? i've been loving it this year. i also enjoy not-so-traditional christmas music and recently got these two new albums: Holidays Rule and Midwinter Graces. Lucy insists on various versions of "Frosty the Snowman" every time i go toward the Cd player or record player, and also by yours truly at bedtime. it seems her other christmas favorite is Dolly Parton's "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." 

Hope you are all having the merriest holiday season so far. i know it's so early, but i am seriously enjoying every moment this year! any traditions, ideas, or perfect holiday songs you care to share with me?


Jessica said…
Happy December!! What a wonderful way to begin this magical time of year :) p.s. I LOVE John Denver's Rocky Mountain was always playing during this Christmas season when I was growing up!
Milla said…
Oh Lucy Lu! What a little Elfling! You know Heather, I know I say it all the time, but you're my hero. Your enthusiasm, grace and positivity are infectious. And while they make me wish I was more like you naturally, instead of a negative nancypants, your spirit also makes me aspire to be more happy and loving and positive! You are a great inspiration to a lot of us dearest! I love you so.
dolly anna said…
i think this is a beautiful post. i love your musings on rituals and traditions for your little family because i often find myself thinking about the same things.
we celebrate the seasons and the cycles and the life that comes with it, and now we celebrate the light within the cold and dark of winter.
it's how we mark the passage of the turning wheels.
i'm still wondering what my lil family can create as far as seasonal rituals/traditions go.
but i know it's the simple things that stick, like the same yummy recipe christmas morning sort of thing. as i get older i crave ritual.

i think lu in that leiderhosen (sp?) is too much wonderfulness, the photos at the tree farm are just stunning.
and seeing em hold that brand new life, you can see the growing glimmer of motherhood in her eyes.

winter blessings to you on this snowy day! what a celebration!
Teeny said…
I love that you are fostering tradition; I remember especially at Christmas all of the little things our family did that I looked forward to each year. Heather the image of you playing the flute terribly but merrily in the school band...and then heartily in the percussion section; makes me smile so widely. You are joy girl! xo
anne said…
when i'm in a negative mood (which is quite often) i think of you heather. like milla said, you are an inspiration! i believe if i practice happiness enough i can improve in this area. thank you for being such an authentic source of inspiration!

lucy in that red coat is just too sweet!
AVY said…
If you haven't listened to Fairytale of New York you probably should.


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