What’s with the old stuff?

All is bright.

I have driven a lot of miles in this state. If you take some time to drive our great state, you will experience a diversity of landscapes and lifestyles as varied as it is big.

For me, any drive east or west is not complete without a stop at Thorpe, Washington. I adore the Thorpe fruit stand. It has become a mid-way point of habit for a quick break. What used to be sincerely just fruit and veggies from Washington farmers is now espresso, cheese, wine, candy, snacks and two full floors of antiques! Ah the allure of old stuff to stir my child-like-treasure-hunting side.

Our home is sprinkled with finds from this favorite roadside diversion…jars of homemade apple sauce, peaches frozen at the height of the season, our santa mugs, a decorative pillar, old sap buckets and more. And following today’s trek, some vintage Christmas ornaments.

My daughter, trained well, loves to hunt with me. My son, well, he doesn’t get the allure of old stuff.

So how do you explain why I must have this bag of hand painted, vintage ornaments, despite the fact that some are chipping and fragile? Why do we need little Santa mugs that are older than any of us? What is so cool about that vintage snowman that lights up?

In purely practical terms, frankly, I don’t know. But there is something about that ornament. The colors are different, the memories it represents, the uniqueness, the glitter in perfect patterns. It’s just different from the “seen-one-seen-them-all” version of decorations we have now. And the Santa mugs represent opportunities to share a warm moment with those we love, with my kids, someday my grand kids, with my nieces and nephews. Each one has a place, a use, a purpose. I don’t just collect stuff to set on a shelf and keep it protected, but these treasures are mixed right into the fabric of our life today.

Maybe that’s the real story here. The antiques have stood the test of time, through untold moments of family life and they are woven again into a new family’s story. Maybe the real allure is that somehow, we are all connected and old stuff reminds us.


Christmas Memories from the Youngest in the Crowd

Forget the rain drops on roses, my favorite things about Christmas growing up surround memories of time with our family. I have certain memories etched like old polaroids in my mind and here are my favorites.

I remember my mom trying to get all eight of us coordinated for a Christmas photo she would use on homemade cards. Clever and unique, each one chronicled our life in a family of ten! The one I remember we each held a sign that had part of the greeting phrase on it. I was glad to hold “A” because it was in my name! Hate the haircut, but I was proud of my sign.

My siblings and I would go around our neighborhood in Southern California and sing carols to neighbor homes. I was sure we sounded as good as any singers on the radio!

My Grandmother Mae lived in town in Idaho Falls, she drove my twin and I home after one visit and she sang carols and Christmas songs the entire way home. George and I giggled at how her grandma voice wiggled when she sang and heard verses of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas we had no idea existed.

On Christmas morning, we kids would sneak down stairs and open our stockings and play until a “reasonable” hour and then we woke mom and dad up by singing to them from the bottom of the stairs.

Our last Christmas with all of us together was in Idaho. The house was full, two labs were there, mess everywhere but we were whole and together. As dad always did, he would hand out the gifts one by one and we would watch each be opened and then move on. He had his brown plaid bathrobe on and a Santa hat. Susan was visiting from CA and that was the last time we were with her. I remember thinking her pooka shell necklace was amazing.

And I will never, ever forget my brother Jeff who is no longer with us either. He gave me my first trainer bra for Christmas!! I nearly fainted from the mortification of opening it in front of the whole family, but it was so Jeff!

I love you siblings and mom and dad! Merry Christmas.


Life, Parenting

A few of my favorite things

It’s December! There is something about this time of year that makes me just plain happy. Everything about this season holds a bit of hope, thrill and delight to me. Sure, I’m a grown woman with grown children, but you’re never too old to believe. These are some of my favorite things:

1. I adore my family. They are my favorite company, friends and fans of Elf, sappy Hallmark movies and treats.

2. I am so grateful for my job. I get to represent an amazing organization that takes care of kids. And part of my job is getting to receive blessing after blessing from our community for the kids. It is moving to see the goodness and kindness of others!

3. I love, love Christmas music. Oh Holy Night is my all time fav. I remember as a kid caroling through the neighborhood with my siblings. Not sure if we sounded good, but we were convinced we were making others merry! For the life of me, I still don’t know what “figgy pudding” is. Pretty sure It’s NOT on my favorite list.

4. I love my neighbors! I’m so blessed to have the greatest family behind us. Their little three year old came in and saw our tree. She picked an ornament off the tree and asked, “can I borrow this?”. That kid could have my kidney if she asked. Absolute innocence and joy makes me smile.

What do you like about this time of year?