from San Diego

  • Dec 2, 2010
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It’s the late nights playing games where we laugh so hard that the table tips and plastic trains scatter into our laps, it’s five sleepy blonde heads emerging from a tangle of blankets on the blow-up mattress, it’s pie for breakfast: we start with the ‘healthy’ pies– apple, cherry, pumpkin– and soon degenerate to pecan, chocolate mousse and Toll House pies dolloped with with cream and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips. It’s asking four-year-old Will, “What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving?” and his sweet reply: “Gabriel was here.”

It’s the perfect holiday.

Undaunted by the black boot restraining her double sprained ankle, my sister cooked and cleaned, shopped and planned, guided me on rambling walks and taught me her amazing weight lifting routine. In a delightful change from their usual roles, Zoe became the big sister to Mary and Gabriel the big brother to John and Will. Mary followed Zoe like a shadow, seeking her approval on her outfit, her hair, the flower she plucked from the garden.

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walking to the neighbors’ to feed their dog

And Gabriel! Oh Gabe. After a lifetime at the bottom of the five boy totem pole, he absolutely relished the respect and outright adoration of his little cousins. Never one to abuse his power he led his happy entourage from garden to bedroom to a sprawling train set on the family room floor.

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teaching Will the wizard’s duel

Even the work of feeding, bathing and bedding a household of fourteen became part of our celebrations. The washing machine and dryer hummed nearly constantly, dishes were washed and cleared as a matter of course and even the little boys happily carried a bag around the house as they emptied waste baskets. I’m convinced that no one really minds chores– they simply don’t want to feel they are doing all the work alone.

Shortly before our trip, I thumbed through a photo book I created of our Thanksgiving trip last year. It was magical, glorious; I couldn’t help but wonder if I could possibly capture such beautiful images again. Have you ever felt that? Have you watched your garden bloom or sewn a dress or read a book or cradled a newborn and doubted that you would see or create or feel something quite as wonderful again?

And yet, beauty and goodness keep coming, waves of joy crashing upon the shore one after another. No one can escape the pain of life, but if our eyes are open, gratitude will surpass every hurt and heartache.

the water was too cold, but the beach was heavenly

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December 2, 2010
December 6, 2010

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9 Comments

  1. Reply

    Christie

    December 3, 2010

    Is it totally creepy if I tell you how hot your husband is? And I say that in the most pure way. You are one lucky girl, sista.

  2. Reply

    Michelle

    December 3, 2010

    You completely made Erik’s day, Christie. 🙂 But now I’m looking through the post thinking “Wow, that’s a lot of photos of half-dressed men!”

    p.s. he’s even more gorgeous when he’s sweeping the floor.

  3. Reply

    Molly

    December 3, 2010

    I have wondered if I will ever enjoy a book series like I have enjoyed Harry Potter, I don’t think I will since I grew up with Harry beginning when I was 8 years old.

    Your pictures are stunning- I am in awe at your ability to capture moments, smiles, and somehow the love that can only be shared among family.

  4. Reply

    Selwyn

    December 3, 2010

    Hugs, lovely. Read the Segullah board, and between my steaming, I’m sending love straight through the planet to you.

    Followed by books and a pressie tomorrow. Love you! SK

  5. Reply

    Selwyn

    December 3, 2010

    Hugs, lovely. Read the Segullah board, and between my steaming, I’m sending love straight through the planet to you.

    Followed by books and a pressie tomorrow. Love you! SK

  6. Reply

    Linn

    December 3, 2010

    Gorgeousness times a million.

    That last picture, amazing.

    And Will is four? Of course Will is four, he would have to be, but I can’t quite put my mind around it.

    PS. Loved your comment on our blog. 🙂 I shouldn’t have written about it this week, because now I am totally craving sparkling cider. Blast–three more days.

  7. Reply

    Tracy

    December 3, 2010

    I am always thankful for sexy muscle flexing photos.

    Thank you for that.

    You could really do a calendar next year to send to all of your stalker friends for Christmas,like me for instance.

    xoxo,t

  8. Reply

    Tasha

    December 3, 2010

    I love your beautiful pictures, and I love you beautiful people even more.

  9. Reply

    kari

    December 9, 2010

    I’ve stumbled upon your blog through my good friend Tracy in Minnesota, and I have to say that I just keep coming back. Your pictures alone are very obviously stunning…but I have to say that I am probably almost more inspired by your words and outlook on the world and everyday life. Thank you for the gift of that!!
    Kari

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