Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Solstice!!

Here's a quickie post cause we are too busy celebrating the Sun King.

OK, I'll be honest, we are still hanging around in our pj's and birthday suits, dishes are dirty in the sink, and this momma is tired from a cranky girl hollering in my ear all night. I suppose it's our own brand of celebrating.
Anyway, in place of my usual insightful and heartfelt posts (as if!) I will leave you with a poem.

Have a wonderful Winter Solstice.

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing. To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees; They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us- Listen!!
All the echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now.
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

she's two

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. I remember when I was a child and the magic that surrounded my birthday was so vivid and alive I could see it hanging in the air as light, sparkly wisps around my room. My mom has always been big on traditions and holidays. Even to this day she still will remember my half-birthday, and even to this day her remembering feels so precious.

Recently there was discussion on a list I belong to and a friend was talking about traditions and how they eventually take on a life of their own, and it then feels imperative, primal even, to keep them alive year after year. I loved this as it rings so true for me. It just feels plain wrong to not keep special traditions alive. Not that I will drag everyone by their heels kicking and screaming just to check it off my list of yearly traditions, I can be flexible, but by taking an inventory of those traditions that are nearest and dearest and finding a way to fit them into our lives in a meaningful way.

I want my children to look back at holidays and birthdays fondly as a time of family, and love, and magic- so, Soleil's 2nd Birthday was something to celebrate! My little girl takes my breath away with every flash of her dangerously adorable dimples. It has been an honor to watch her grow this year into this happy, self-assured, cuddle-bug personality with spirit and soul coming out of her ears.

a painting I did for her birthday

The birthday altar. A very special tradition.

Since Soleil's birthday falls on Saint Lucia's Day , and her name means Sun, and she is such a light that brings joy and happiness wherever she goes, it seems inspired that we have a Saint Lucia celebration too. Above is Xavier in his star boy hat that he helped to make and that he was very specific about how he wanted it to look. Traditionally the eldest daughter brings in a tray of Lucia Buns, gingersnaps, and hot chocolate to her parents in the morning accompanied by an attendant and a star boy. We modified this a little after last year's hot chocolate spilled all over the bed and opted to just bring Soleil her presents and saved the food for the kitchen.

It was delicious by the way.
And so as her birthday came to a close Chris and I shared a sigh of contentment. Seeing our baby turn two is bittersweet for us, but we wanted the day to be pure sweet for her.

It felt full and comfortable.

Happy Birthday Soleil.

You are the Light of my Heart.

busy, busy merry making

Our tree of whimsy

I am feeling sleep deprived, like a lot. Time is zooming past at light speed and I am running behind, rubbing the sleep away from my eyes and hollering at it to just slow down already. Really, what's the rush? Can't we give ourselves another month?

Not that we haven't had fun. No, we are having quite the time with all the holiday preparations. There is plenty of joy to be had at this time of year.

Like, gingerbread house building,

And snowman constructing.

Let's not forget the holiday picture taking.

Or not.

And there is so much more merry making to be had, all squeezed into the next week!! Like, the shopping, and the Christmas Tea parties, and mama dinners, and Solstice celebrating, and let's not forget the crafting......
Golly, who needs sleep with all of this going on?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

snow day

hooray for hanukkah

A lame picture of some of the food

Happy Hanukkah (I've seen it spelled a gazillion different ways so I'm just going with one and stickin' to it) everyone! This has been our first year celebrating Hanukkah and to help us we invited our friends Julie, Lee, Damek, and Kyan. It was finger lickin' good food! Beet latkas, roasted applesauce, dilled sourcream, a beautiful salad, and homemade focaccia bread. Yum, yum! I would like everyday to be Hanukkah. I would be a happy girl indeed.

cutie pie kiddos dining together

Friday, November 30, 2007


Life has felt pretty peaceful. There is always a slight buzzing around the edges, whether it be the happy, jumpy buzzing or the stressed-out and overwhelmed buzzing-it is a constant, but the center feels warm, rich, and calm.

So, Chris and I became a cliche last night. Yep, we bought a minivan. We have been having quite the automobile dramas lately and our $700 Craigslist bargain officially kicked the bucket yesterday on the freeway. This is after only 3 weeks of owning it. Oh, and in the 3 week time span we (or rather Chris) had 2 near death occurrences while driving it. When we bought the clunker I was so giddy with excitement thinking I outsmarted all the suckers that went out and bought these multi-thousand dollar cars when I got a perfectly fabulous car for only $700. So what if the lights in the dash didn't work and you couldn't see how fast you were going at night. Who needs heat in the middle of winter when you have blankets to throw over your lap?
Let everyone stare while waiting at the light because your car is idling so loudly it sounds like you'll be headed for the moon in mere seconds. Xavier would say, the car is sneezing, and we would all laugh. Much better than being laughed at.

We really were fine shining a flashlight on the dash at night, bundling up extra-warm sans heat, and pretending it wasn't our car making all the racket at the light. We weren't so fine, however, when we had have it towed from the side of the freeway to our house where it now sits sad and lonely in the driveway.

Enter the super stylin', 7 passenger carryin' minivan (complete with a tape deck!!!) I suppose I'm a sucker and a cliche, but the heat never felt so good....

Anyone need a car???

If so, you better bring a tow truck.

first snow

I'm a few days late in posting this, but I had to post the magic that the first snow of the season brings.
How absolutely thrilling......

Monday, November 26, 2007

gratitude is for always

our family tree
This season of gratitude and Thanksgiving has been oh, so poignant for me this year. This fall I've been carrying with me a heart swelling with joy and thankfulness for the wonder that is my life and experience. I have noticed that it is much easier to draw on these feelings of happiness in times of doubt and need, that it doesn't take as much time to dig down deep into my soul, wrangle the happy feelings, and pull them to the surface.

The meal

My in laws came up to the big city to celebrate the holiday with us. They too are vegans so planning and cooking for the big meal gave much more satisfaction than in Thanksgivings past. I guess I had never realized it before, but celebrating a meal the centers around a dead animal was rather dismal. Only being able to eat and enjoy the side dishes to the turkey, well....sucked. This year being able to imagine and put into place an entire meal that we could all take part in and relish with delight was very delicious indeed.

The table

I have been astonished at the realization that we are soon entering the winter season and all the celebrations that winter contains, and wonder where the time goes. The quickly passing time is a reminder to me that in every moment, every tick of the clock, there is always something to be thankful for.

The Thankful Tree

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Nothing better than getting together with dear, old friends and chatting it up.

Forever friends Amy and Sindee came over tonight to catch up since it has been way too long.
It was exactly what I needed.
What struck me the most when talking was how different and diverse our individual lives are but the ups and downs, the roller coaster ride of life is the same.
I love the validation and acknowledgment of, yeah, I hear you. Just keep holding on.
I love that there is no judgement, only encouragement and support.
I love that I have friends that have seen me in so many places during the course of my life and no matter the situation, they have never turned their backs.

You both mean so much to me and I will always have a place in my heart with your name on it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

intricate magic

I just recently finished reading Bill Carter's memoir, Fools Rush In, and I have been lost in thought ever since.

His is a story of a man that while coming to terms with a soul crushing hole in his heart, he is able to inspire and bring light to thousands. His personal tragedy, mixed with guts, teetering on the edge of insanity, and sheer determination; is the salvation for many.

One of many, many thoughts that resonated with me in this book:

I have never believed in the idea of coincidence: something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way. It is the word chance that bothers me and I wonder if it is a word invented for those who who just don't want to see the intricate magic that happens in our lives, every day.

I wrote a previous post about how I am frustrated that with every feeling I have there is one that readily pops up to contradict it. Excited about my future and what it holds, yet terrified to make my next steps. Grateful yet angry. Shiny and happy yet terribly depressed. I have been stuck to the idea that I must be completely clear on how I am now to feel. That there should be an expiration date on my grief and once that date passes I should be ready to move on with a big dopey smile on my face. There was no way that I would be able to create the life I want and still feel sadness about my life in the past. I had to choose one feeling to feel when thinking over my situation and that is how I would end that story. Period.

Why am I being so damn strict with myself? Why can't I be feeling all these contradictions at once? Can't I just love myself crazy streak and all?

I am starting to see that all truly great people must embrace their own crazy sides in order to reach greatness. One will never be remarkable without being crazy enough to leap without knowing where they'll land, love so entirely it hurts, make mistakes time and time again, follow their heart and passions even when it seems absolutely nuts to do so.

While I do have my weepy, blue days from time to time. The ones where I hide in my cave of covers all day, I always come out of these spells feeling renewed and fresh. I spring from my cave full of ideas and a new sense of myself. I have allowed myself to feel sad and make those necessary, sometimes painful, mind trips. My soul gives a sigh of relief and I am ready to start anew on my path.

In order for me to blaze my trail in life I must do so by balancing all these contradicting feelings. Not dwelling on any one mood, but honoring and appreciating each one. Not just forcing myself to maintain positivity, but having the forward thinking to see that each of these feelings, no matter how dark, are all important steps in my journey.

And I will always be on the look out for the intricate magic......

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hee Haw

Today we had the joy of going on a field trip with friends to a local corn maze. The day included sliding, mazes, hayrides, running through pumpkin fields, and mingling with furry friends. All in all a superb day.

I would also like to mention the incredible group of women that I get to hang out with. They are the most compassionate, unique, interesting, and intellectual women one could be so lucky to know. I do wish that I could see them more often, but feel lucky for every moment.

Please check out all their inspiring blogs listed under larger band of hooligans.

Hope you are finding some Fall Magic of your own.....

the living contradiction

On Tuesday we completed the last step on our road to Bankruptcy. We now wait sixty days to be given our shiny, sparkly, start-all-over-again clean slate.

Or is it?

Is it really a free pass to sigh a well-deserved sigh of relief? Should the weight of past mistakes no longer be felt on my shoulders? Will I now walk toward financial decisions with self-assurance that I will not make the same mistakes again? Do I still feel shame that I made promises that I didn't keep? Do I pretend that people don't look down on me for making the decision to bail out on a burden to heavy to carry? Should I even care in the slightest what others may think?

How do I go forward from here?

The thing is I know- really and truly know that all my hopes and dreams are coming true right now. The incredible person that I want to become in the future is the exact same person that I look at everyday in the mirror. I am already her. She is ready right now to begin creating this beautiful life.

So what am I waiting for? Why do I keep insisting on throwing myself pity parties?

It's hard to have complete faith in myself when I have $10 to my name and have no idea when our next money is coming.

I feel so much gratitude for our food stamps, but hate the idea that without them my family would starve.

I am happy to be ridding myself of things that I shouldn't have gotten in the first place, yet so pained that my couch, my car, and my home are all being taken from me.

I am grateful that we have had the help of family and friends, but resent that that money now takes precedent in the relationship.

How do I stay positive in the face of this pain? How do I think of my life in terms of abundance rather than of lack? How do I just jump with complete faith that I will land on my feet?

I feel like a living contradiction.

Is this new beginning just that?
A clean slate- but only given with the one condition that I truly let go of my past.

Monday, October 22, 2007

something happening here

I loved this video.
Hopefully, you will too.
Then we can stand together amongst those that are aching for change.

neck sweater

My awesome, rockin' hubby just started a personal blog that I want you to check out.

Everyone has something to gain by reading his powerful, exciting words.

Enjoy!! And leave him lots of nice comments :)

silencing the drunk monkey

Here in Hooliganville we like to refer to our ego as our drunk monkey. The seemingly omnipresent voice always igniting fear, shame, and discouragement. The voice that even though it stings to listen to, we choose to obey without question. Unless, of course, we acknowledge that the voice is there, and learn to stop it in its tracks.

The drunk monkey likes anonymity. It likes pretending it's not really sitting on your shoulder whispering lies into your ear. It thrives on our ignorance, our belief that what it's saying is true.

I took a good recognizing look at my DM a year ago, and I've been in combat ever since. The DM doesn't play by any rules and plays for keeps. It just wants you to keep quiet and play along, it doesn't go down without a fight.

When my DM is ruling my mind and heart, my world is very grey. Bleak, unhappy, and sometimes quite angry. But lately, I have had real glimpses of freedom from the drunk monkey and I want to stay in this consciousness. A place that sends tingles up and down my spine because it is so right. This place of hope, beauty, and purpose. A place where kindness and peace run free. A place where I can clearly see what it is to have my soul and heart lead the way.

I love this place, yet it leaves so quickly.

How do I get it to stay?

Chris and I were having a discussion about when one gets to a place of freedom, does that mean the monkey is for once and for all silenced? Or does the monkey rear it's ugly head now and again in a moment of weakness?

I am of the opinion of the latter. I don't think my ego will ever give up for good. The good news is, with practice the drunk monkey gets quieter and quieter until you don't hear it any more. It no longer gets a fair say in everyday decisions, and even when it does get a peep out, you no longer believe what it has to say.

We are biologically capable of changing the pathways of the neurons in our brains. Over time and with conscious awareness we can physically change our brains to seek out our place of peace rather than our place of fear.

That is so absolutely amazing...and hopeful.

The more we practice being aware and present, the smaller the drunk monkey becomes. With each small step toward our own personal truth, we become the creators of our lives.

ps-I love the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? and highly recommend all interested in silencing their drunk monkey to watch it. It much better explains the biological processes than I ever could.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I love, love, love this picture and wanted to share the love.
Happy falling leaves days to all.

what we ate

Since delicious food is great and wonderful and leaves everyone doing the happy tummy dance, I thought I would share some of the things that we ate this week that left our tummies jumping for joy.

If anyone is interested in the recipes I would be happy to pass them on.

Oh my, the picture makes my mouth water at the memories.
The Honey Glazed Tofu over Pumpkin Seed Couscous was so fun to make.
Something about cooking with honey, when it gets all bubbly and syrupy, is just
delightful. Especially when you are bathing tofu in the syrup.
Anyway, yum.
This recipe is from this month's issue of Vegetarian Times.

This was Soleil's food photo shoot.
After seeing me taking pictures of dinner she wanted her turn to do the same.

Two Soleil girl thumbs up!!
Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance.
I dare you to try anything from Isa's book and not like it.
It's simply impossible.
I also double-dog dare you to go buy her book right NOW.

The Harvest Vegetable Medley (fun name, huh?) was loaded with vegetables that took me over an hour to cut. I loved using purple fingerling potatoes, they are so pretty and made this dinner very colorful. I made this for Chris and my sorta anniversary and everyone loved it. It is from Vegetarian Times as well.

So when you have a casserole dish full of leftover roasted vegis, what do you do? Make pot pie of course! This has fluffy sage biscuits on top. My own creation.

Pumpkin Waffles with hot apple compote. The waffle recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance, the apples I made up. (Not like sauteing apples in a pan is hard, but I'll take the credit.) Yes, I am on a pumpkin kick right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


It was eight years ago today that Chris and my paths crossed, and we decided to travel together for awhile.

I couldn't have chosen a better partner to make this journey with.

Thank you Chris, for holding my hand eight long years ago and never letting go.

Monday, October 15, 2007

we're back

With only the best intentions, I had put the camera with freshly charged batteries and a swiped clean memory card right next to the stuff we had packed to take to the cabin (how much stuff do you think we took for a less-than-24 hour-trip?) When I went to find the camera during a picture perfect moment, it was no where to be found. All weekend we lamented the left behind camera.

Oh, I wish I had the camera.....

That would have been such a great picture......

It is so beautiful, if only I had brought the camera to capture the beauty....

Fast forward to the end of the trip. We are unpacking all the bags and bags of who knows what. I am wondering how a one day trip could require so much stuff. Xavier is unpacking his new Spiderman rolling suitcase. He had packed it 3 days before the trip with what I was assuming was an odd assortment of toys. He usually can't go anywhere without a backpack full of odds and ends. These bags o' fun are usually forgotten about by the time we leave, and then I end up being the one having to put away all these little unmatched treasures. We never pulled his suitcase out of the car because we both shuttered at the idea of tiny toys all over the cabin that would then need retrieving, and since it didn't have anything he would actually need, like clothing, we let it stay in the car.

So, imagine our surprise when he started pulling out some of his last minute additions to his suitcase. Namely, a glass glass, a can of Rootbeer, and the camera!

It was with us all along. Figures.

You will just have to imagine all the too-cute kiddo moments, or the breathtaking mountain views dancing with vivid yellow leaves of the Aspen trees.

Xavier loved riding the four wheelers, crying when it was time to get leave.
Soleil delighted in the deer sightings, six in all.
Chris liked he chance to play Super Mario 3 on the Nintendo.
I liked the peaceful still of the mountains.

It was good to get a breath of fresh mountain air.
Although we didn't capture it digitally, we all took mental photos.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

we're off.....

We will be out of the office this weekend.
We are headed to the cabin in the woods with high hopes in seeing a moose, bear, chipmunk,
robin, but definitely not a skunk.
Let's hope we all come back un-stinky!

Until next time...............

Friday, October 12, 2007

harvest fun for everyone

We hosted a Harvest Gathering last Sunday and had a marvelous time celebrating the Harvest Season with our friends. We played squash bowling, jumped on the tramp, shared gifts of our Harvest, and made fire.

The food was yummy, the smores were gooey, and the conversations with friends refreshing.

All in all a very memorable evening.