Nutmeg

I've always wanted a bunny. Always, always. When I was little, I wore my bunny suit for Halloween after Halloween. I signed my name "Marilyn Bunny." I drew bunnies all over my notebooks and binders at school. I thought I WAS a bunny. As an adult, I have learned to stifle this obsessive bunny-loving. Sort of. But I still love them so much!

Once when I was about 10 or 12, my friends got together to buy me a bunny for my birthday. They got permission from my mom. Then the permission was retracted. Tears were shed, mine and theirs. We blamed my mom (though it was probably my dad's doing?) for shattering all my bunny dreams. She told me I could get a bunny when I grew up and had my own house, but when I grew up and had my own house, I suddenly understood. It seemed like a lot of hard work to have a bunny. I thought I would probably just always have to love them from afar.

Then, on Christmas, I unwrapped this:
"Perfect size for your rabbit," it says. Which is odd, as I don't have a rabbit.

Make that didn't have a rabbit.

Sam, bless him, knew the deepest desire of my heart. He did the research and the information-gathering and the shopping around, all the things that were too daunting for me to have ever undertaken them. And the next day, we set out to get my bunny. We had several appointments to look at bunnies and choose the right one.
I knew him as soon as I met him. He is the little brown one on the end, snuggled up with his furry black brothers. They're just 7 weeks old. He hopped out of his box and I picked him up. Does it sound silly to say I loved him immediately?

I still don't know how to take care of a bunny---I am trying to learn all I can. Sam keeps having to talk me down from the "what-if-we-can't-make-him-happy??" ledge. Sam promises we will make sure every bunny need of his little bunny nature is attended to. I worry because there are so many, so many of us, and I don't want to traumatize the poor thing. But I have taken a cue from Seb's first-grade teacher and told the children that we all have to be extra quiet and sweet to each other, so as not to scare the bunny. We'll see if that works.

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Candlelight, angel-light, firelight, starglow*

Tree-shaped stars!
December raced by so fast this year that many of our traditions had to be sort of incidental---things happening on the way to other things, or sandwiched in between other things. Luckily I get great satisfaction from efficiency, so combining trips feels like a benefit rather than a drawback. :) I was particularly happy that one of the boys' choir performances in Salt Lake fell on the last (relatively) warm day before the dark winter descended, so after the performance, we enjoyed the downtown lights in (relative) comfort.
Cute little choirboys

City Creek (we love this fountain)

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Three Velvet Bugs

Having three little girls is a delight I never imagined I'd have, and they constantly surprise and amaze me. They are such funny, smart little people! Of course I have them match whenever I can (they still like it, for now)! While wearing this dress, Junie told her grandma, "I'm a velvet bug." I suppose that makes them all velvet bugs!
I love Junie's expression
Not sure what the wide-mouth is all about
Daisy thinks Marigold is her own little baby
Sweet hugs
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Matching

For awhile now I've been compiling pictures of Daisy holding things that match. It's a particular pleasure to her when she finds such things (she especially likes if there's a big one and a little one, but two-just-the-same is also nice) and she always reacts with an excitement that is quite delightful to behold. Even when she could hardly talk, she would say, "Mommy! I match it!" every time she encountered something that (even slightly) resembled something else. Then she'd run to get the counterpart of whatever-it-was---because, obviously, something that matches is no use unless you actually put the things next to each other.
She got the little penguin for Easter, then bought the big penguin with her birthday money from grandma (other candidates for this money were "a rainbow dress" and "a beehive").
Little phonebook, big phonebook
Matching books (she will even remember book designs across library trips, and if we've already returned the "matching" book when she discovers the one that goes with it, it's a sad day)
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Small things

I've been crocheting like a madwoman the last few months. I love to have something relatively mindless to work on while I'm doing something else! And these are especially fun because they are small and come together quickly. I made these little Star Wars people into Christmas ornaments and gave them away. It was quite hard to part with them, especially Yoda (whom Junie calls "Yota"). I got the adorable patterns on Etsy. I have the jawa too, but I haven't made him yet.

I made a nativity set too, which was really fun. I love the kings holding their ball-y gifts! My friend Rachael said she couldn't even conceive of what a crocheted nativity set would look like. Now you know!

The kids love playing with them, especially Daisy, who also has the failed Princess Leia and the strange-looking thumb-Baby that I made. She loves them, poor misshapen things that they are.

I'm learning a lot by making these, too, and getting better as I go. It's interesting how whenever you start doing a lot of something, you realize how much you still have to learn about it. I'm so grateful for online tutorials! They help fill the void left by my dear departed grandmother, who died before she could teach me to crochet. Of course, my mother taught me to knit when I was young and I've pretty much forgotten that, so I suppose even a live grandmother would be no guarantee of proficiency . . . :) I would like to re-learn knitting someday, but it seems so complicated . . . TWO needles??!

I'm not sure about Mary's mouth. I might take it out and do it with a lighter pink. All the mouths have given me no end of trouble! It's hard to hide the ends and to get the placement right.

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Half a year is better than none

Bright, wide-eyed little baby Goldie! She can't be awake for five minutes without someone picking her up and hugging her. We can hardly believe it's been six months since she joined us---but then, we can also hardly believe there ever wasn't a little Goldielocks to cuddle and love. We made a cake for her half-birthday (Angel Food for our little angel, not that she got any of it) and the other kids insisted that we should dim the lights, sing, blow out a candle, the whole works. They love, love, love their Marigoldie and she loves them too!
 
This is such a typical look for her---wide eyes, raised eyebrows, an expression of great interest. She smiles the instant you make eye contact, but it's hard to make her laugh---a nearly silent, open-mouthed *erk* is the most we can usually get from her, even with our most hilarious tricks. Not that that stops us from trying!

She most dearly loves to eat her own feet. I love it when babies do that.

We love this girl!
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Abe gives the Gettysburg Address

Abe and I both memorized the Gettysburg Address this summer, and in honor of its 150th Anniversary today, I'm posting this video. I love the Gettysburg Address! The two younger boys know large chunks of it, but they can't get through the whole thing without help.

I think I had memorized this before, at least partially, sometime in the distant past, and of course it's all really familiar to me, but it was surprisingly hard to move from there to actually having it truly memorized. It's that last section---with all its "rather for us" and "for us the living, rather" and "to be dedicated here" and "to be here dedicated"---that really gets me. Abe and I were in gales of laughter as he tried to help me get it. And I finally did, and so did he. I think he does such a great job reciting this; he really gives the sense of the words as well as the words themselves. Which is good, because I feel like my Abraham ought to have a special bond with the words of Abraham Lincoln.

Here he is, wearing his Abe Lincoln beard and Daisy's magician hat from last year---which doesn't quite fit his head---but it adds a nice touch. :)

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Bunny Mama and Bunny Baby

Marigold is the right size for this bunny suit. And she's SO cute in it! You know how I am about bunnies.

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Sunday Leaves

Not this cold and wintry Sunday! No, I speak of two Sundays previous, thirty degrees and forty million snowflakes ago. 

I just . . . don't even know what to say about these facial expressions. We were eating cookies earlier; can you tell?
Happy Goldie!
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More Fall

My kids love their uncles and aunts so much. When my brother was in town Daisy would wake up every day and ask first thing if we were going to see "Phiwip and Ow-ison." I love this picture of her being swung by Philip and Grandma.

I really love this picture too, of Ben and Ky looking like twins.

Fluffy grassy-things, and that great Fall color palette
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Big Cottonwood leaves

We went up the canyon one day so I could take some "school pictures" of everyone. I was afraid we'd missed the best of the leaves, but down lower they were still really lovely. It was one of those changeable Fall days---chilly at first, but then the sun came out and warmed us up, and the light was really beautiful. After an hour or so, the clouds descended and we saw some snow falling as we drove back down!
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Lightning

I just love the aspen trees in this picture, tumbling heedlessly over that cliff like gold lightning racing toward the ground.

This Fall has been the way Fall always is, warm October days packed so tightly between the brittle nights that they start to bulge and burst around the edges; everything dazzling and sudden and fleeting as we try to fit in one more thing before the weather turns. I'm taking pictures faster than I can edit them; convinced every time I go anywhere that this particular tree is the brightest red, this patch of mountain the sharpest yellow; trying to grab and pocket each individual flash of light from the sun as it sets sooner and sooner over the western hills.

I've written about it before, but when does that ever stop me from writing about it again? If finding time to reflect on things was hard ten years ago, it's only gotten harder with each passing season, as my heart has had to unfold itself around ever widening and branching paths with each child I've had. They're so surprising! And changeable! It's like that most-delightfully-named developmental stage, the Mulberry Stage, where a zygote divides until it fills itself nearly to bursting, and then suddenly blossoms into something completely new and differentiated and almost person-like---only I'm having to keep up with all six of them doing it over and over, while I watch helplessly and wish I had more minutes to sit still and ponder what it all means.
My eldest son, this brilliant boy, had another birthday and I wanted to grab him by both shoulders and make him freeze just like this, happy and talkative and insightful; maybe bottle his 11-year-old self and store it up so I can have it again, just a taste, after he's moved beyond bears and magic and Rubik's Cubes. I settled for telling him, sternly, that he better not have any big ideas about growing taller than me, to which he replied, (quite cheekily, I thought) that growing taller than me was the highest, holiest aim of his existence.

What did I ever do to deserve such a boy?

Well, anyway. My brother and his family were here and we got up into the mountains for an afternoon at Sundance, and it was gold and quiet and perfect before everything raced on again.
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More cumulonimbus clouds

Another thing I love about late summer is the thunderstorms. There were lots of cool clouds along with them, usually in the afternoons and evenings. Sometimes it actually rained and other times the clouds just passed by.
I love the way the light comes through the back and around the edges of these. And the purple outline around the inner shapes!
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Shortcuts

Someone, who shall remain nameless, cut her own and her sister's hair. There was great weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (I hadn't known I was so attached to their hair, but seeing it all uneven and shorn just made me fall apart) and then at last the hair genius at the salon (I wanted to hug her) transformed them into these sweet little angels again. Daisy looks like a stylish young lady, and I think little pixie Junie is just darling; the haircut really suits her! So maybe it was all for the best, and anyway I'm no longer crying into my pillow about it. (That only lasted one night, really.)

And here they are playing chess. No, they do not know how to play chess. But has that ever stopped anyone around here?

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