Thursday, January 6, 2011

a wild ride, a deep inhale....and a long exhale

Happy New Year bloggy land.
I love that my girl notices the little things (photo taken in snowless NW Washington over Christmas).
I have been away, well, not away, but away from my blog over the last few weeks.

At the stroke of midnight last Friday on New Year's Eve I kissed my husband, closed my eyes and took a deeeeeeeeeeep inhale.  Taking in the last little bits of 2010 in reflection.  It was a special year.  In looking back at the photos and videos of the year I realize there were a lot of firsts for us in 2010.  Astrid's first ice fishing adventure, first backpacking trip, first "real" hike walking on her own two feet this Spring, first time she really really noticed the wildflowers I love to see in the mountains every year...Those are just to name a few.  Of course, they were firsts for us as well.

I took a loooooong exhale.  Good bye 2010.  Hello 2011.  There are good things around the corner ~ I can feel it.  New things.  More than any Christmas present, a new year always seems like the very best gift.  All new and shiny and untouched.  Full of surprises and promise.

Like I said, we've been busy, and I, of course, have been photographing.  Just to warn you there are about four million photos to follow.

It's so good to be back!!

We decked our halls, er, our piano!

Astrid's (and Skag's) 30 Month photograph.  * Notice the cookie she is trying to keep from Skag.

Skag, trying to sneak a snack.


My birthday has always been synonymous with Christmas and the big ball of excitment and love which is the Christmas season.  I am a Christmas baby and was born a week before Christmas (on the 18th).  On my birthday each year I am usually in the throngs of craziness, trying to get final things made and shipped out, Christmas cards signed and addressed, etc.  This year I even threw in making a dollhouse with a friend on top of everything else I try to accomplish (I know!). I try each year to get things done earlier, but, look, it just isn't me.  I like deadlines.

This year, though, I did do something different.  I put everyone on my Christmas list aside and everything on my 'to do' list aside ~ for ME!  I did my first ever BIRTHDAY RIDE!  Riding my age!  Inspired years ago by a woman named Shirley Braxton, I started my own tradition this year!  I ran into 82 year old Shirley at the Post office last Spring.  I reminded her that I had ridden with her and several others on her 70th birthday ride, and I asked her if she was still doing it each year.  She said that she was!  She changed the rules a bit.  Now, instead of taking one day to accomplish it, she spreads it out over a few days, and she does it in the middle of Summer instead of the Spring on her actual birthday.

Riding 37 miles, is not a challenge.  I've ridden hundreds at a time in the past during races and self imposed adventures.  It is a very small feat if you look strictly at the mileage.  The part that made it interesting and made me feel so ALIVE was the weather.  Leading up to December 18th we'd been getting so much snow in the valley and down the Bitterroot that I was worried that the route would not be doable without studs and that I would have to ride on the roads and contend with traffic.  I was a little nervous, but when the day came, and I had someone to ride along with me (thanks, Greg!!!!), the conditions couldn't have been better.

When we started out the temp was 8 degrees in Lolo (at first I thought it was incorrect but in talking with friends later, they confirmed that the frosty fog layer didn't lift until later that morning in Lolo).  We wore our down coats, with feet and hands stuffed with handwarmer packets.  Within minutes our camelbaks froze up.

Our friend Monica and her chunky wristed little cutie pie Ruby met us in Stevensville!  Thank you so much for the support, Monica!

Greg Hood - my companion on my innaugural Birthday Ride!

A tad frrrrrrrrosty, eh!

Bare ground for most of the ride. When reached the started softly snowing...  Nature's applause.
My bike computer reaching 37 miles... and a little more.

Why?!!!!        I say:  Why NOT?  Because I CAN, and because I AM A.L.I.V.E.

My other wish for my birthday was to drive around to look at the Christmas lights in town.  I remember doing this so much as a kid, and I wanted to go!  So, we did.  At one place we got out and even got to see Santa!!

I knitted some gifts for a couple very special ladies in my life.  Both patterns are free online.  The Twirly Skirt from Barefoot Knits, and the Burberry inspired cowl by Julianne Smith.  Thanks for the cowl idea, Summer!

A certain little elf helped me in the kitchen.

Rolling 'em out...and our first "test" cookie (on the right).

Don't even think about it Mama!  These sprinkles are all MINE!

I didn't notice Hippie until now, but it looks like he ate one too many cookies in the process, as Astrid continues to suck down the sprinkles!

Taking it all in over the holidays.  I'm sure she is watching little Astrid (let me rephrase that, 'watching Astrid's COOKIE').

The beautiful people we spent Christmas day with!
Our neices and nephews.

Kylie and Jake

Evan and Kaitlin.


The Fab Five.

I made LOIS the owlet on the way over to Washington (this is pre-felting).  I plan on writing out a pattern for her.  She's my newest puppet.  My other little puppet (right) is wearing the Milo Sweater (I incorporated it into a dress with a frill) by Tikki.  Sharon, thank you for fielding my knitting call during the holiday!)

Milo dress - cable detail.

We went to Grandma Diane's bowling league to meet some of her friends.  Check out Grandma's form!  Astrid is probably reaching for candy in her pockets.  In keeping her busy for the time we were at the alley, we loaded up on our many trips to the candy and toy quarter machines along the back wall.

These ladies made my day.  Thelma (right) is almost totally blind, so her friend Jo (left) accompanies her on the lane when it is her turn.  Jo helps line her up.  Thelma has the highest bowling average on the team.  Beautiful souls.  In fact the whole lot of 'em were wonderful.
Jo lining up her own ball.
I think Diane said this woman is 92.  I am duely amazed.

Astrid got a chance to ride her new Strider without snow on the ground.  This pedalless bike is so cool.  It is designed to help a child learn balance before using pedals.  It will replace any need for training wheels.

Astrid's dollhouse.  A progress shot.  Ready for paint.

I am so excited about this little house that Santa will no longer get the credit for bringing.  We will unveil it as soon as it is complete sometime this month!

Well, that about sums it up from my corner.  I'm looking forward to writing more frequently now that I'm settled back into life after the holidays!

Happy New Year!  Hope it is starting out to be a great year for you!

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