I noticed 5:00 pm yesterday.  I noticed 5:00 pm yesterday not because it was terribly noticeable, but because I could notice it.  I could notice it because it wasn’t dark-o’clock.  I could notice it because it wasn’t dark-o’clock and hadn’t been that way for an hour.  It wasn’t dark because it was light.  It was light because the sun was out.  The sun was out because the earth is tilting ever so slightly in the direction of the sun, and minute-by-minute, we’re getting our light back.   Just as all our festivals, the ones that use lights and candels and sitting by the fire as deeply rooted parts of its  traditions, end- the sun is picking up the slack and adding some light of its own.  Seems like a good system to me.  The sun is totally a girl.

that bright spot, way at the back = the sun (it's darker than it looks, all the christmas lights are confusing things)

In other numbers news, Kate turned 6 on Saturday.  If I was on top of things (such as the packing/organising of our house for the looming renovation we can’t really afford but have to do if we ever want to be able to use our third floor), I would have said “today, Kate turns 6.”   But since I’m obviously not on top of things, (which can be witnessed by the state of how not-packed our house is, as well as the state of my insides over the stress of how not-packed our house is), I’m going to talk about it now.

Kate is 6, which is so amazing to me I can hardly say it out loud.  I can’t believe six years have rushed by since Kate declared herself born, promptly turning into  “ten bad babies rolled into one” as described by our seen-lots-of-babies midwife.  It sucked, but then the crappy part stopped and got way better.  It got so much better we wanted to have another baby, just like Kate.  Okay, maybe not a baby like Kate, but a person – just like her.  Kate is daring and courageous, thoughtful and imaginative.  Kate has the most amazing ability to be inspired by the smallest things, and in turn, inspires us.  The best part about Kate: she hugs with her whole body and sings made-up songs to herself while she plays.  And Kate, because I can tell you you all the other things you are when it’s not your birthday, I want to leave you with this:

Dear Kate, when we met you six years ago we had no idea that you would spend as much time teaching us as we’ve spent teaching you.  We believed people when they told us “you’ll know what to do” and thought following our hearts would make parenting easier rather than harder.  Kate, you had the unfortunate chance of being the person who had to teach us how to be parents first, which means we usually make our mistakes with you, ironing out (some) of the creases for Simon.  Yet there you are, lovely, smiling and kind, even though you’re covered in all our mistakes.  Apparently there isn’t a straight line between our choices and who you are.  Apparently when you do something fantastic it’s your success, not ours.  Apparently when you goof stuff up a bit, it’s not (always) because we’re terrible parents.  Apparently you’re your own person and we just get to borrow you for a bit before you start your own life.  A life we hope will be rewarding and challenging and all your own.  And if we’re all very lucky, you too will borrow a little person for a bit, and be an inspiration as a parent not just as a daughter.  Kate you’re not everything we ever hoped for in a child, you’re more.   Thank you.

it was so cold, we stored the ice cream cake outside.

after blowing out candles, big sister punches little brother in face, 2010

A little sentimental crap always goes down a bit easier if it’s followed up by something that doesn’t matter at all, and since Baby,  it’s cold outside, I’ll show what I’m doing to manage the snow and cold here Toronto.  I prefer otherhatsarestupid berets , but winter’s decision to arrive last week and proceed with vigour has shown me that my preference just isn’t cutting it.  Obvioulsy vanity prevailed last year because I’m stuck, proper-hat-less in January.  I guess I’m over it now and have (almost) willingly succumbed to Mother Nature’s bidding and decided to  knit a toque.  A toque does not flatter as well as a beret, but a toque stays snug over the ears and doesn’t get pushed off the head when North winds force the fur trimmed hoods to go up on down jackets.  Toques cannot be worn inside with the same effortlessness as a beret, and tend to mess up hair in away that looks accidental instead of intentional.  Sigh.  It ain’t fall out there, so a toque is what I need. Voila:

warm, functional, pretty. it almost won't look dumb on my head.

I was *this* close to finishing when I tried it on in front of some of my finest knitting friends, and the truth was impossible to ignore – it’s too short.

exposed ears = bad toque

There’s nothing I can do (don’t suggest blocking, it won’t do enough) except pull it out and add some length.  As a person who enjoys knitting this is not an entirely bad proposition, it’s just that I kind of need the toque now, not last week when I figured it out and then got side-tracked by birthdays and renovations. 

So it’s light at 5, Kate is 6, and I have 0 toques.  2 out of 3 ain’t bad.