Two roads diverged…

A walk in the woods and girls’ day at the ballet

The contrasts of life never cease to amaze me. It struck me last weekend that I can go for a hike in pristine woods alongside deer and turkey and coyote pawprints….then go to the Nutcracker ballet an hour later. Here’s highlights of those two events.

Reminds me of the ever-comforting Mr. Frost:

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Caroline, Matt and little Rev (too cold to walk any further, apparently)
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Julia, Caroline, Allison (my niece) and "Santa" Nutcracker before the show

Meaning to the Christmas season

Both events were part of the smooth segue to the Christmas season. This season, I’m again wondering how to best give the holidays meaning for our kids? At our home, it’s an evolving answer… And this year, it began with the first snow and an afternoon at the ballet.

A walk in the woods

Our first snow finally arrived last week. I wait all year for the excitement and joy as pure as fresh-fallen snow. I love winter! (Of course, if my commute was more than a skype call, I may feel otherwise.) I love the air that is somehow fresher, the snow that crunches differently each day under boots and I love mixing and matching hats, scarves and mittens. I especially love winter hikes in the woods. So, too, do the kids and especially the pooches.

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Caroline and Matt "tracking"
Rev, continually trying to keep up
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A boy and his dogs. Is this pure joy (or what)?

I know we’re not alone

The woods are home to many other creatures. Sometimes I catch glimpses of them. During Thanksgiving prep, we saved the apple peels and core from our apple-pie making and left them in the woods. We noticed all the apple treats were gone the next time we hiked through that area, with plenty of deer tracks all around. I explained it was a thank-you for them letting Mollie rustle them up.

Girls day at the ballet

Growing up, my mom took us to the Nutcracker Ballet at Northrup Auditorium. Since we’ve lived back in Minnesota, the girls and I have gone to the local production. They typically know some of the younger dancers, we’re all amazed at the professionals–and it officially starts the Christmas season for me! This year, my mom and my niece Allison joined us for the Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota performance at the new Burnsville Performing Arts Center.

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It was a lovely performance. They again utilized local dancers for many of the parts, including the demanding role of Clara. The cast is 120 dancers. The prime roles were danced by professionals from New York, Texas, Italy and Spain, I believe. I’m most amazed by the male leads: the height they achieve in jumps, stamina in turns and spins across the stage. Wow!

The costumes and staging were incredible. Music, exquisite, of course.  And the story is delightful. It brings up the eternal question: “Was it all just a dream?” I think not. (But then, I think Dorothy may well have gone to Oz in some realm.) *Note: Photos from I wasn’t breaking rules and clicking during performance : )

So now I’m ready for the holidaze — my attitude is, we can rest and spend less $ in January.

Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying our snow and other holiday traditions.

What gets you in the holiday spirit? I’d love to hear about it.


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