Christmastime

ChristmasHow pleasant it is to be home with the whole family; how quickly it always passes.

ChristmasThis year, I was particularly grateful to have such an extended amount of time with Grace, whom we now get to see only a few times a year, owing to the fact that she lives in Germany.

Christmas times

Christmas timesChristmas times We got to meet sweet baby Covin, our second cousin.

Christmas timesEden was strangely good and cuddly.

Christmas timesCheers for the new year.

Xmas lovers

Oh, Paris! How could I forget Paris?

Apparently, I forgot to do a Paris recap. It is worth doing to me only because of my strong need for consistency in a series. Like comma usage or list styling. The week must be documented.

So, with all of our luggage in tow, we went to Paris for a week before we came home. And it was grand. It lived up to all of my (already extremely high) expectations. The thing I’ve been telling people, when they ask about my impressions of Paris, is that it felt simultaneously a lot dirtier/grittier and a lot more beautiful than London. Perhaps it is not fair to compare cities so directly, but this comparison kept rushing to mind as we strolled along the Seine and stepped in feces. It seems to always be both, in Paris: beauty and excrement.

Photos, commence!

ParisParisParisParisDay one in ParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParisParis selfiesA day trip to the utter madness that is Versailles:

VersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersailles

Whew. What a magical city. Merci beaucoup, Paris; let’s meet again soon.
Last day in Paris

In the Pines (Christmas, Part I)

We had a lovely Christmas holiday with both of our families in North Carolina. Part I!

With Guion’s family

Christmas shepherd is all tuckered out.

Cuddling with his niece Adelaide. #realdog #cockapoo @tracydare
Cuddling with his niece, Adelaide.
Christmas in the Pines
Official sister!
Christmas in the Pines
My common smirk.
Christmas 2013
Multi-dog household.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013
Checking out how hot they are.
Christmas 2013
Drinking from the Christmas tree.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013
A real smile!

Christmas 2013Part II coming shortly…

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a lovely holiday with my family this past weekend. It was nice to escape from the life/work/moving madness and vacation in Davidson for a few days.

I haven’t uploaded any pictures from my good camera yet, because my house is in utter disarray, but I’ll get around to it eventually. In the meantime, here are some Instagrams.

Edit: Grace has a sweet recap of happy moments from Thanksgiving Day, and her photos are, as always, much better than mine.

P knows what Thanksgiving is all about. #napping
Pyrrha does some hard-core napping.
100% bro. #grace #punksister
Grace is slowly turning into a teenage boy.
Shepherd on guard at her grandparents' house. #gsd #thanksgiving
P on guard.
Favorite people. #thanksgiving
Saturday night, post-feast meal: Potato chips, BBQ, and wine.

Hope you all had peaceful breaks!

Over the holiday

The tree

We spent a peaceful holiday week-and-a-half with our respective families in North Carolina; it was difficult to come back home. We do love them so much.

There was dear brother Win:

Win on Christmas morning

And general family merriment at my grandparents’:

Sam on Christmas morning

Present time

Dear Da-Dan

I was able to spend an afternoon with Emily in Asheville before she flew back to Amman, which was a wonderful gift in itself:

Asheville with Emily

Far-flung friends

Plenty of lounging occurred.

Holiday lounging

Box makes a nice bed

Enjoying her cow ear by the fire

And there was the presentation of this year’s Christmas miracle: “Ziggy + Seahorse,” an original by Grace Farson, which we are excited to prominently display in our home.

Ready for the unveiling

Ziggy + Seahorse

An ideal vacation, an ideal way to close 2012 and welcome 2013. Hope you all had equally enjoyable holidays.

Tuesday recap

Here’s some stuff I did over our Christmas break. Now I need to catch up on work… clean the house… nap…

All holiday photos on Flickr. Maybe later I’ll talk to you seriously. And then debut my top 10 (fiction) books of 2011!

Today’s questions

Why is my hair less curly?

What is it about quiet novels about the interior lives of women that resonates so deeply with me? (See: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, which I just started and I love. See also: All Works by Virginia Woolf.)

Is it possible to make quinoa taste like food?

What type of birds were flocked together in that tree, wailing and calling others to them? Were they starlings? I would prefer that they were starlings.

Why does Thanksgiving still feel so far away?

Where can I go where I can interact with more animals?

Are American politics becoming more and more dangerously polarized these days, or is it just me?

What do I have to do to make myself like yoga?

How do you know if it’s the Holy Spirit or your conscience or your latent desires?

When can I get a dog?

All is calm

… with the exception of Aoive, the Pratt’s beautiful and crazy English Springer Spaniel, who is whining because she can’t stick her paws in my face… We are in Southern Pines again for a few days and will be jumping back and forth from here to Durham for a wedding this weekend. Then we’re back in Davidson for our annual New Year’s Day party. It has been a long, perfect, and peaceful holiday break and I wish it could go on forever. Even Reuben has been having a great time.

I’m enjoying the time to sit, read, drink tea and talk with much-missed relatives. The time to reflect has also allowed me to collect my ideas for 2011 goals. The women in my family are all fanatic list-makers and goal-setters; Grace perhaps most of all. So, family women, here’s my preliminary list:

2011 Goals

  • Start running again.
  • Read 50 books. (No more slacking! I was disheartened when I realized I had read 65 books in 2009 and only 44 in 2010–unless I can finish this Italo Calvino by tomorrow!)
  • Attempt to finish Francine Prose’s Books to Be Read Immediately book list.
  • Practice yoga 3 times per week.
  • Volunteer.
  • Thanksgiving Project: Purely inspired by one of my favorite blogs, THXTHXTHX, I am going to write down something I am thankful for every day for the whole year.
  • Drastically reduce my consumption of sugar; give up sugar for Lent.
  • Memorize Scripture.
  • Finish my Women in the Bible study.
  • Write and edit more short stories.
  • Start studying for the GRE; begin investigating flexible grad programs nearby.

Talk to you soon. In the meantime, please enjoy Guion’s face upon opening The Greatest Christmas Present of All Time. Grace, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives.