We ended up doing some baking after all.
Not a ton. But just enough.
Solstice spirals and gingerbread for the houses we'll decorate on Solstice night.
It was easy and fun, which sometimes it isn't when I have an agenda.
I was happy to be free of the agenda.
Because truly, I didn't care if we baked one batch or a dozen.
We mixed and rolled and cut and baked and cleaned-up all morning.
Then, after buttoning up the last of some holiday crafts it was time to get out.
All four of us.
To the woods.
Because being productive makes you crazy after a while.
Or at least me.
Suddenly all I needed was fresh crisp air, sunshine, and the quiet of the woods.
And so we embarked.
Throwing snowballs (packing snow in the sunny spots!), laughing, and racing through the field.
It was the "warm" outside that only makes sense to someone who lives far enough from the equator to have a winter season that sneaks deep into fall and spring.
A mittens-off sort of warm.
There were fresh tracks everywhere in the woods and abandoned nests from last summer's babies, piled high with snow.
By the time we reached the creek the sun was dipping behind the hills.
It was deeply quiet but for the sound of the snow beneath our boots.
We hiked to the top of the ridge and noticed things we had missed in noise of summer.
By the time we were back home an hour or two later I felt transformed.
Because more than I even knew I needed a break from the busy.
From the productive.
From the mad dance of doing that is December.
And when I woke this morning (after falling asleep an hour earlier than usual) I realized that taking care of myself is as important as taking care of my kids or my partner; gifts, food or the magic of childhood.
I realized that I can take a break without getting sick and being forced into resting by aches or fever.
So that's my plan.
From here, I'm making time for rest, for play, for long walks in the woods.
For knitting for the sake of knitting. Something for myself.
I'm making time for me.
Because two batches of cookies and a hike in the snow is a way better plan that a dozen types of sweets on Christmas eve.
I thought so.
Will you join me?
Because I'd just love to know that you're out there, somewhere, taking care of you, too.
Pausing in the busyness, if only for a moment.
I'd love to know that we're re-writing the story of what it means to mother, as we love our family – and yes, ourselves – all in the same breath.