welcoming baby

Just a quick message that our baby girl was born this afternoon, December 28th, at 4:46PM after an hour and 45 minutes of labor. She entered the world swiftly and gently, into Daddy's loving hands. She's incredibly healthy, nursing strongly, and happy to be loved up by her big brother Zeal who thinks she has the softest skin to ever exist.

Here's my two little loves snuggling up together:

wishing you many merry days!

From our family to yours this holiday season!

May you have plentiful amounts of wonder, love, laughter, and trees to climb in the coming year!

P.S. Baby is keeping us patient. Please check back for updates :)

coming in from the snow: balloon races

We've been so lucky (at least some of us think so) to be playing in the snow the last few days. Yesterday, we took a family walk out in the stuff that ended up lasting seven hours. Of course, there were a few stops for hot chocolate along the way, a duck into the library to warm ourselves a bit, and a good hot Indian lunch to keep us going on the journey. But for the most part, we were outside the majority of the day. Had our share of snowball fights (or flurries, as the case may be, since the snow was not wet enough to make into real snowballs). Zeal especially loved just picking up pieces of ice pack and crashing them down on the sidewalks to test how many times he had to do so in order to get them to shatter into a million tiny pieces. Along the way, we talked one of his favorite subjects: Greek Mythology, and various other tales that happened into our little brains.

Snow aside, though, for if you're looking for a good indoor activity about now, try this: balloon races!

Zeal was REALLY excited to get back indoors and just warm up. He's been enjoying doing air experiments lately, and this one has him thrilled. With a string, a straw, a bit of tape, and a balloon, there is nothing stopping this little rocket man from using all his hot air. Goodness knows he has enough of it! ;)

A Commercial-free Holiday

From the December news from Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood:

The reviews are in: CCFC's Holiday Guide is a smash hit.

"A fabulous holiday guide to help you and your family reclaim the holidays" -- Patricia Mayville-Cox, Green Daily.

"CCFC's practical tips for reducing commercialism in family celebrations this holiday season are particularly welcome." - Peter Rothberg, The Nation.

"A terrific resource," - Super Granny.

Download your free copy today and share it with family and friends. And be sure to check out these tips from CCFC members.

Giving Experiences

Looking for a bit of holiday inspiration? The Savvy Source has created a holiday guide covering all things holiday, including this little piece by me...

Giving Experiences

Steam escapes from the open mouth of the engine's stack as we pull away from the station. Chugga-chugga-puff-puff is all we can hear as my son's nose is pressed against the glass with the force of gale wind. With every ounce of his being given to this moment, it seems nothing could pry him away. We smile and breathe in his joy, thankful for this atypical holiday gift and the other ones like it.

Click here to read the rest of the article and check out The Savvy Source Holiday Guide.

the creative pregnant belly

Wanting to do something to commemorate this belly of mine and the coming babe of ours (but also wanting whatever that was to be something other than just a photo and more practical than a belly cast), I sat while the sculptor worked his magic. Now waiting for it to dry before bisque firing, glazing, and then firing again, we are all looking forward to having a new large bowl that will always be a special memento. (photo by Zeal)

There have been many more projects happening around here in regards to the coming babe, so hopefully I will get a chance to post about a few of them in the coming days before the special arrival.

A few great reads for the holiday season!

Because I just love recommending books...

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

"A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow ``whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl''; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, fieldmouse and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's call once without answer, then again. From out of the darkness ``an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees.'' Schoenherr's watercolor washes depict a New England few readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl, a bird's-eye view of a farmhouse. In harmony with the art, the melodious text brings to life an unusual countryside adventure. Ages 2-6. " ~ Publisher's Weekly

Night Tree by Eve Bunting

"By moonlight in the quiet forest, a young boy and his family decorate their favorite tree with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods. “Sure to become a Christmas favorite, this beautifully illustrated story of a family’s unusual tradition brings to life the true spirit of Christmas.”--American Bookseller

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

This is perhaps the saddest story I have ever read, but both Zeal and I fell in love with the journey. Most appropriate for older children (not preschoolers). Here's the synopsis:

"Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart. . . ."
Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.
And then, one day, he was lost.

"Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle—that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again."

Wild Child by Lynne Plourde and Illustrated by Greg Couch

This is one I know I have recommended before, and I apologize for repeating myself, but you just can't be waking winter without this beautiful book. Here's the synopsis:

"Time for bed," Mother Earth said.

"Not for a while," said her wild child.

"A song, first.
I need a song to play in my head before going to bed."
So Mother Earth gave her child a song....

But then this wild child wants a snack and PJs and a kiss....

Lynn Plourde's text snaps and crackles like the leaves of fall as Mother Earth gently gets her daughter ready for bed. And Greg Couch's extraordinary illustrations take readers from the soft greens of late summer through the fiery oranges of a fall sunset to the peaceful blues of early winter's eve. Wild children and their parents will revel in this scrumptious, loving tribute to the wonders of nature and of family."

And finally, a holiday offer for you... autographed copies of Child of Wonder!
*Free Shipping! * $15 per copy (regular $16.95) * Autographed!*

If you would like to pass on Child of Wonder to a loved one, now's your chance.
Because I am obviously going to be busy near the end of the month (and to ensure Christmas arrival), I will be accepting orders through December 10th.

Please send a check or money order, ship to information, and who you would like the book autographed to, to the following address:
Attn: Child of Wonder orders
Ginger Carlson
PO Box 51274
Eugene, OR 97405

click here to read more about Child of Wonder