Thursday, December 30, 2010

life at the water's edge

It's good to be home. I was distracted all day by the startling beauty of this clear, cold winter's day at the water's edge. At sunset we walked down to the beach to enjoy the last of the light. The tide was out and sea glass was everywhere; Cal collected a handful. Abbott conducted imaginary duels with pieces of driftwood. I sat on the rocks of the beach, taking pictures of the reflected light on the water. At one point a heron flew in front of me. A moment later, Cal exclaimed in surprise and awe, 'a seal! a seal!'; seen on the beach behind me. It scooted toward the water's edge and seemed to be moving easily. We quickly left, as it was obviously agitated by our presence. I wish I knew his story. I hope he wasn't lost or sick or separated from his mother. It was the first time in the three years we've lived here we've seen one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Waking up to snow is always a nice surprise (this was taken from our hotel room in Canada).

After over an hour and a half wait at the border and an apocalyptic hail storm whilst in traffic on I5 we're home.

I'm working out the final details for a gathering we're having on New Year's Day, and debating about whether to dismantle our Christmas tree beforehand, or leave it. When do you tend to put away your holiday decorations? Usually we do it January 2, but I often long to do it before that.

Happy Wednesday. xo

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

at the tournament

A few images from our day. We're at a hockey tournament just outside Vancouver, BC. Cal and Abbott are wearing yellow helmets (are you surprised? - you may recall it's my favorite color); Cal's in blue pants, Abbott in black. Do you have memories of sports tournaments from your childhood? I loved staying in a hotel best of all, when I traveled for volleyball.

I hope you're enjoying your winter break, whatever you're up to.


Monday, December 27, 2010

hi from Canada

This week, we're not in the snowy part of Canada, alas, but there is good hockey to be played, and there are friends to spend time with at the hotel afterwards. I'm a bit cranky with a toothache and worn out after the drive and getting lost a couple of times, but am sure the next couple of days are something to look forward to. Right now, I can't wait to get back to my book, The Imperfectionists. Goodnight, all. xoxo

PS - I am totally in love with this blog, even though I can't read any of the text (Finnish).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

memory making

Thank you so much for your Christmas wishes over the past week! Whether conscious of it or not, these are days of memory making. Mail from one of my aunts:

"Christmas makes me think of Grandma Wolf's home made egg nog and date loaf and playing Chinese checkers with Grandma B and singing while she played the organ and sleeping on the floor with Esta. Life was so simple then. I also remember Jimmie B always shooting off fire works, and to this day I like fire works. All of them are gone but they live on in my heart."

We're leaving in the morning for a hockey tournament in Canada, returning late Wednesday. I may or may not check in here while I'm away. Wishing you joy this last week of the year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

love, Santa

Dear Abbott & Cal,

Thank you for the yummy cookies, and milk! The reindeer loved the carrots and reindeer corn – a great ‘pick-me-up’ towards the end of our travels! I enjoyed reading your questions. To wit: I keep track of the presents by memory – I have an excellent memory.

Yes, I get presents from the elves and Mrs. Claus. I love your reindeer!

I would guess there are 1 billion elves. My sleigh is guided by reindeer and powered by the spirit of Christmas. The elves and I make about 11,000 presents per day!

All my love,

P.S. One of the Nerf guns is for your dad, so he can play with you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We're home! Whistler was a winter wonderland. As we sat in a cafe having lunch together yesterday, looking out at the snow and the passersby it felt like as much as a person could ever want.

Here's a short video of the boys skiing:

Cal & Abbott skiing from Lecia Phinney on Vimeo.

Remember this Santa tracking device? We spend a lot of time on this site every year on Christmas Eve.

I went to the grocery store relatively late in the evening yesterday, and it felt exotic somehow, to be part of a whole different shopping crowd. The produce bins were filled to the brim with pomegranates, brussels sprouts and every kind of good thing for Christmas. I'm looking forward to some easy time at home and in the kitchen over the next couple of days with family.

Happy holidays, very dear reader. xoxo Lecia

(We enjoyed re-visiting the Olympic rings. In case you missed it, a post about our Olympic visit in February.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

in celebration

Right now, I'm thinking about my how much my body aches, after two full days of skiing. And what a satisfying feeling that is. About how sad I'll be to leave behind this stretch of uninterrupted family time. We're going home the 23rd, just in time to finish the wrapping and make a run to the grocery store - list already prepared - in preparation for celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas at home.

Whatever your plans this week, I hope your days are full of light, love and happiness.

with much love,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

where we're at

Around the time of any given holiday, I have a tendency to wish that I had a large extended family nearby, to romanticise that notion. Cousins for my children to play with, pre-established holiday traditions to look forward to, always having a place to go. As a child I spent many Christmases at my grandparents' home, along with a houseful of cousins. We all had our own personalized felt stocking hung on the mantle made by our grandmother, and a handmade doll or stuffed animal or something similar to look forward to on Christmas morning, as part of the general joy and chaos of the day. It can leave me feeling a bit melancholy, living in a city so far from any family, with no traditions other than those we make for ourselves. So we muddle along. Sometimes family visit us, and there are friends who feel like family we spend time with. This week, we're skiing at Whistler with another family. We did the same thing the week before Christmas last year (different location). So I'm happy with this tradition we seem to be building. I hope my children will remember fun times as a family at Christmastime, along with whatever else evolves over the years.

Friday, December 17, 2010

wake, awake

This week has been parties and baking and gift making and giving, mixed in with a grandmother in and out of the hospital, a nephew accepted to the college of his choice early decision, and two failing kitchen appliances. Hectic, messy, full, stressful, joyous, chaotic. Tonight, at our advent vespers as we sang, 'wake, awake, for night is flying.' This is it. Wake up. This holiday season will soon be a memory.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December can be wonderful like that

This is what so many of our December days have looked like. Even those with torrential rain this week have had moments of startling, sparkling sunshine. Almost too much to take in, the surprise of it, this unexpected beauty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

there is always a story

(A few images from my lunch yesterday with Alexi at Sitka & Spruce.)

As a way to elicit a personal story about the holidays and holiday traditions, Abbott's third grade teacher has the kids writing about a favorite holiday food. Later this week, they have the opportunity to bring in that food for a potluck. When I asked Abbott what he wrote about and what he wanted to bring in, he said brownies. I was a bit puzzled, as I've never made brownies at the holidays - Cal hates chocolate. I wonder if the story for Abbott is, he loves chocolate and doesn't get much of it, even at Christmas, and would like to remedy that. I'm planning to make peppermint brownies today. Food can tell so much about us, our families, where we come from - I think it's a wonderful exercise. I'm so looking forward to tomorrow's potluck.