A Cradle

A Cradle

cradle

It’s just a cradle, crafted of dark wood, wobbling slightly as it rocks. The morning light filters in through the linen curtains and shines through the spindles onto the wood floors — shining on the simple cradle like an ethereal light.

But it isn’t just a cradle. It’s an heirloom, memories. It’s a promise, the future.

My brothers and I were all rocked to sleep in this very cradle. Then it help my nieces and nephews when they were tiny bundles. Now it holds my precious Fiona.

I place her in the cradle at night, pulling it close to my bedside where I can see her and reach her. I watch her through those wooden spindles. I watch her face and all the many expressions. I listen to her grunts and coos and cries. I reach over and gently rock the cradle. I place a hand on my babe, I replace her pacifier.

In the middle of the night, I pull her from the cradle and nurse her before placing her back in the safety of the cradle.

I wonder how many more children will sleep here. More of my own children perhaps, my youngest brother’s as well? What about further into the future? Will Fiona’s first child sleep in it? Will she rock her own daughter to sleep in this same wooden cradle?

It’s the beauty of heirlooms — this cradle isn’t just a cradle, it is memories, it is promises.

Gingerbread houses, take 4

Gingerbread houses, take 4

This is the fourth year Husband and I have made a gingerbread house together (you can see the previous three houses here), and each year we try to have a few friends join us in the endeavor.

I can sum it up best the way our friends said it last night as they were gathering their things to leave: “Well, it’s been…tedious.”

Yep, gingerbread houses are definitely tedious. But they’re also festive and fun (and they provide a pretty good marriage exercise for couples!). I love that when we married two years ago, we decided that as we learned to mesh the traditions we both cherished from childhood, we would also start a few of our own. That’s how gingerbread houses came into the picture, even if they are tedious =).

Making gingerbread houses with friends

Our gingerbread house tradition.

Gingerbread front yard.

Working on gingerbread house details.

Friends joining our tradition.

Detailing the roof.

Letting the house dry and set.

Our lovely little mountain tradition

Our lovely little mountain tradition

Yesterday we celebrated one of my favorite holiday traditions–getting our Christmas tree.

But our tradition is no ordinary trip to the local Home Depot. No, we cut our own tree.

Of course, we live in Virginia Beach, where there aren’t any Christmas tree farms…so, we drove four hours out to the Blue Ridge mountains in western Virginia to hunt down a cut-your-own tree farm. And find one we did =).

Have I ever mentioned my long time dream of someday owning a Christmas tree farm?

Searching for the perfect tree

Ginger looking for a Christmas tree

Pine needles

It took a while to find the perfect tree to grace our home for the next month, but we were successful. (I did learn that it’s slightly difficult to be the dog-wrangler, tree-sawing-helper and photographer all at once–talk about being pulled in different directions!)

Our Christmas tree!

Measuring our tree

Preparing to cut our Christmas tree

Cutting down our Christmas tree

Heading home with our tree!

After our tree we happened across an antique store and happened to mosey our way in and happened to find just the right item to go alongside our Christmas tree (I’ll share soon, I promise!). And then we hit an adorable German restaurant called Edelweiss, and had a yummy meal while listening to live accordion music and sitting next to a warm, wood burning stove (never mind that it was in the 60s outside!). And before long we were heading on home, another four hour drive =).

To top it off, Ginger was a great little traveler–something we doubted she would ever be when as a puppy she would get sick just looking at the car.

I’ve talked a lot here about establishing tradition as newlyweds and how important that is. Now celebrating our third Christmas as a married couple, I’m delighted to feel more at home with our new life and new traditions than ever before. It takes some time to develop just what your life will look like together, and it will continue to take time. But things are coalescing beautifully, and we are finding our own, unique rhythm.

For the love of pumpkins

For the love of pumpkins

I love pumpkins. I truly do. Is there anything more indicative that fall is in full swing than a trip to the pumpkin patch?

Pumpkin

Last year, the cold wind was whipping around and I suited up in jacket, gloves and toted hot cider with me. The pumpkin patch, which is within walking distance of our house (but no, we didn’t walk–pumpkins are heavy), was nearly empty.

This year, not so much.

It was a beautiful 78* and sunny–an altogether gorgeous day to be outside, one of those vestiges of summer that pops up before the real chill and rain set in here in Virginia. So families were out at the pumpkin patch in droves.

Thankfully, there were still nice pumpkins left and Husband and I managed to find three pretty ones to take home.

Picking pumpkins

Picking pumpkins with Husband.

We set the pumpkins out for decoration, a few under the bird feeder that can be seen from the road–giving everyone who drives by a little bit of fall. The others went with the white and beige pumpkins we’d gotten last week, they sit on a bale of straw along the walkway to our door. A great big welcome to guests (and to ourselves as we return home every day).

My decor this season is hardly worthy of photos, but in the end happy pumpkins make for happy people, I’m convinced.

Have I mentioned how much I love fall?