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Christmas in July - part I

Christmas in July - part I

Christmas in July has always struck me as a funny marketing ploy,

but today as I reflect on our journey, how much of it remains unwritten,

"Christmas in July" seems timely. 

The winter's cold and dark seems almost impossible to recall

in the midst of July's brazen glare,

but the place we chose to stay for the Advent season

felt very much like July,

rather than December,

to our family -

so accustomed to the grey of a Pacific Northwest winter.

The Napa Valley took us in for the holidays.

Four weeks of light 

and food

and art.

The Valley was new to all of us -

the native oaks, 

eucalyptus in bloom,

ripening citrus,

engaging all our senses.

By day we soaked in 

the light of a winter sun, 

(And performed the everyday duties of life)

By night we gathered around our table

in the growing light of our Advent wreath

to read and anticipate

the coming Light. 

The birthday of our youngest child was spent enjoying

the three things she requested:

To paint

To skate

To eat lemon icebox pie.

offered exposure

to some of the area's best foods

at great prices.

There we met locals like

Peter Rubissow and his family

who warmly invited us to spend the day at his family's farm -

Rubissow on Mount Veeder. 

We spent a wonderful span of hours

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walking the fields,

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learning the colorful history of the land,

picking citrus,


playing a historic 1930's Steinway,

and running free throughout the vineyard.

Napa mornings were bright and crisp,

perfect for hikes into the hills.

Afternoons were bright and warm,

perfect for making gifts,

painting together,


and photographing pieces

for the 4 Birds shop

Locals gave us the address of

a must-see spot:

where we enjoyed a factory tour

far too many samples,

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and obligatory photo ops.

Christmas traditions were altered some to fit this mobile life -

a rosemary topiary for our tree - a fragrant miniature for remembrance,

$1 stockings be-glittered

to replace the ones we forgot to bring,

were hung with care.

Lego minifigures,

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felted balls and gilded acorns

emerged from golden afternoons

to dress our tree.

The days of light continued to shorten,

as our candles brightened & Christmas drew near.

Christmas in July - part II

Christmas in July - part II

Silks and Scarves

Silks and Scarves