Life's a Happy Song

Seriously you guys, it is. This last year brought so much change and turmoil to my life. Heart-wrenching, family-breaking-up, crying-every-day-for-months kinda change and turmoil. I didn't see how I would pull my life back together. I worried and fretted and wrung my hands about the future and my finances and my living situation. But I took Winston Churchill's advice and, when I was going through hell, I just kept right on going.

And as the old year slipped into the new, I looked around and saw that I was surrounded by the loveliest friends in the sweetest town with my darling daughter and amazing boyfriend by my side. And I knew I had made made it through, and that this here was my own little slice of heaven. I felt sun bursts of gratitude pouring out of my heart as I celebrated the passing of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.

On New Year's Eve our friends John & Lily hosted a party in their new house. Those of us with kiddos went early in the evening and were home getting them off to bed by 8 o'clock.

Their house is pretty rad, what with the huge living room/kitchen/dining room and this atrium with a giant rock and plants.

And the cozy fireplace and the action figure stairwell shelves.

The kids were their usual goofball selves and had tons of fun.

I was so happy that our roommates Sarah and Ella were there to ring in the new year with us. 2011 brought major life changes to their family too. We are so lucky we had each other, and we are just thrilled with our living situation. I was definitely worried when we first started discussing the possibility of it. Will Mycie & Ella get along okay? Will Sarah & I have stupid roommate fights over dishes and the energy bill? How are we going to merge all of our stuff into one space? Am I taking a step backward in life, living with a roommate again? But these last three months have been wonderful- the girls get along great (and keep each other fully entertained) 97% of the time, Sarah and I communicate beautifully about all the logistics of domesticity, the space came together perfectly, and having each others' emotional support (and babysitting availability!) has been a godsend for both of us.

Adam had the brilliant idea of doing a countdown with all the kids, even though we all planned on taking them home hours before midnight. We all convened at 7:30 and brought the new year in with yells and hugs.

After Mycie fell asleep I went to another party at my friends' Jeff & Anne's house. All the usual suspects were in attendance...

Adie made crazy neon jello shots! Myself, I stuck to beer.

I love this time of year, when folks return home for the holidays and everyone is happy to see each other again. And when John busts out his top hat and sequined peacock jacket.

The highlight of the party for me was seeing Suuzi! She had been back home in Canada for a couple weeks. I didn't get a shot of her, but she took most of these shots for me :-)

You may recognize this bar from Art & Adie's Christmas party post...

I think Laura might have a baby in 2012.

That there on the left is Jeff, master of the house. On the right is my new friend Corey.

And this little darling in the red dress (scored from Becky at the Bizarre) is Anne, mistress of the house.

Adam and I left the party at about 11:30 and headed to the classiest, yummiest place in Nevada City, the New Moon Cafe, for yet more merriment. I ate some of the most delicious duck and potatoes and chocolate cake imaginable, blew some horns, popped some poppers, drank some champagne, and kissed my sweetheart at midnight. I didn't get home until almost 3- by far the latest I've been up in years. Good. Times.

On New Year's Day I took Mycie & Ella to In The Kitchen for Joe & Wendy's annual brunch. It is such a sweet tradition that they've started, cooking a huge meal and offering it up to their friends and family as a blessing for the year to come.

Before the meal began, both of them made beautiful speeches that brought a li'l tear to my eye. Joe talked about how when you cook food for someone, they become your friend. And he reminded us all how lucky we are to live in this little bubble of magic called Nevada City. I have to say that, as both food and friendship are central to any community, Wendy and Joe are a huge part of that magic.

It was crazy warm and sunny again, allowing everyone to enjoy their meals, conversations, and playtime outdoors.

Felix basked in the attention of Ruby, Mycie, Esme, and Ella. Wendy said he's always happy surrounded by older girls :-)

Ella loves rocking the half pigtail look. Ruby loves making this face for photos (see above). Adam loves him a tiny pink sweater.

There was a second moment that brought a tear to my eye, and that was when Brett and Samantha told me they had spent their New Year's Eve getting engaged! She had a new ring on, every bit as darling as this amazing dress. Brett is Adam's best friend, and Samantha is a co-worker (and also very good friend!) of his. I think he feels pretty proud of himself right now for nudging these two toward one another. They are seriously the most wonderful people and darling couple you can imagine, and the universe just became a better place because of their commitment to love one another forever. (Mr. Brett Shady has already done more than his fair share of universe improvement with his amazing music).

With the new year fully celebrated and the old year thoughtfully reflected upon, it was time to get the girls home and get myself in bed for a nap. I can't believe I've lived here for 5 years already, and that my life is so different now that it was when I first arrived. I mean, I didn't know any of these people then! And I didn't know myself nearly as well as I do now either. Change and growth, always. Again, I just feel this bursting sense of gratitude when I look around me.

"Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy."   -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Driving home from Lily's that night, I announced to Mycie, Adam, Sarah, and Ella that this is our theme song for 2012. (We were all utterly charmed by The Muppets movie). And I intend to make it so.

(Oh, and I will post a Giveaway follow-up later today!)

The Winter of My Content

Hey all! I have been taking a serious break from the blogosphere, from both reading my favorite blogs and writing my own posts. Instead I have spent my time pursuing three things which I hoped would stave off my annual winter depression: learning the fiddle, writing every day, and exercising!

And it has worked!!

So I'm happy, healthy, growing my brain in new ways, and ready for a comeback :-)

So here are some photos of my winter so far. Even though the only three readers I probably have left have already seen them all on Facebook.

I've hung out with the fam, romped in the snow, read plenty of good books, and watched in awe as Graham taught himself how to braid, then french braid, then do a herringbone braid in a matter of weeks.

I've spent a lot of time at Mycie's preschool, and captured this awesome moment:

Here she is, conjuring her inner sorceress, in a cape I thrifted for her when she was a wee babe:

These shots are from the Nevada City Winter Bizarre, housed in the historic (and gigantic) Miner's Foundry building:

Check out my rack:

Kim of A Boy Named Coy scored a gorgeous Gunne Sax dress from me, and looked strikingly beautiful in it.

We lucked out getting the spot right next to this lattice, and utilized it to its fullest display potential:

Mycie's darling dress was a gift from Heather of Moonshine Junkyard, who was also vending!

Amanda wore a poncho I bought at Crimson & Clover and gifted her (I have the same one and she always loved it):

Christmas reading:

Christmas dress:

Christmas pose:

My boyfren Zeraphin:

My dear friend Christy (holding sweet little Noah in black and white plaid) hosted a Xmas Eve party for which she bought and cooked a spectacular meal for 30 people and then forced all of us to go caroling (which all us grown-ups enjoyed way more than we had anticipated, and which Mycie absolutely loved). Much fun with good friends!

On New Year's Day Joe and Wendy of In The Kitchen hosted a traditional Southern brunch. Also yum. Also free. Also much fun with good friends.

Also, Spencer wore this jacket, which my lovely friend and model Suuzi (his wife) bought for him off eBay.

I hope you all are feeling as bright and sunny as I am right now, despite the cold and grey, and are pursuing your creative passions with snow tinged zeal and frosty enthusiasm!