• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Filed under Christmas • Written by Carmen @ December 26, 2010

… a baby who took her very first independent steps! Talk about timing it for maximum impact — right in the middle of the gift unwrapping chaos, I glanced to the side and said, “Oh my gosh!” as I saw Sara take a step toward me, toddling forward in her little snowman sleeper. I startled several people, who thought something awful had happened to Sara and wondered for a second why I wasn’t dashing to rescue her, but then they realized what was happening before she flopped on her bottom — and then she repeated the trick several times over the next hour or so. Angie caught the whole scene on video, which is wonderful — how often does that happen, that you have a camera recording a big milestone for posterity?! Janelle and I had been talking not long before that in the living room, and she predicted that with Sara being so confident pulling herself to a standing position, “it” would happen within the next two weeks. Both of the Sengas’ kids walked between 10 and 11 months, and here is Sara, just three days past her 10-month birthday, taking her first steps. I was also amused by the fact that maybe five minutes before this, she and Bryan had opened a gift from Grandma and Grandpa (Papa) Orthner — a pink child-sized “Baby Princesses” car, which she had been examining with great interest ever since the wrap came off — and the tag said, “Once you learn to walk, next you’ll be wanting to drive” (or something to that effect). She’s always been one to rise to a challenge — when she was brand-new, every time we’d wonder aloud if she was done with her bottle, she’d start sucking more vigorously than before, and she’s pursued every developmental step with almost obsessive determination. And just maybe, that card gave her the incentive she needed today! ;)
… voluminous amounts of presents — seriously, it took 3 hours to open the gifts for 11 people, and we came home with (way) more than we went with.
… a “Big Bang Theory” marathon on the “Space” channel — I am so going to have to start watching that show. And I love the commercials for the “Space-Mas” specials, with Darth Vader opening (much to his disgust) a pair of fuzzy slippers from The Emperor.
… more food than I should have eaten, with round 3 set for after church on Boxing Day.
… a lovely time of relaxed adult conversation while Theo had his post-lunch nap and Quinn watched a movie on her DVD player — we don’t often take the time for that at family gatherings, going straight from dinner and dishes to the board/card games.
… fabulous photo-ops — we even got Dad to take a few shots of the three of us, which we get so rarely (thus the “twosomes” as our Christmas card photos).
… a chance to sleep in — I told Bryan this is probably the last Christmas we’ll have for many years when we’ll be the ones getting the baby up, instead of the other way around!
… word that our gifts to Curtis and his family in B.C. were both received, and well-received (including happy squeals from Haven in the background of the call), and they were brewing up a pot of the Bolivian coffee for breakfast and appreciating the art for decorating their new home.

There is much more I could write, but Sara is already back to sleep in her crib (she cried and/or fussed remarkably little today, even with an accidental tumble off the bed in Mom and Dad’s spare room), and Bryan and I should get to bed, if I can pull him away from playing with his new iPod Touch for a few hours of sleep….


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