My Wish For You

Winter break!!!!!

After a long quarter and a case of pneumonia, Bea came home for winter break, taking the train up from Stanford with her BFFs, Ben and Michael.

And my son Eli flew into Sea-Tac after ten months in Argentina!

Such great kids!  And it’s wonderful when your best friends just ‘click’ with each other.

They filled our home with music…

…and were prone to spontaneous bursts of dancing…

…and juggling.

And they cooked too!

Not for nothing are they known in certain parts of California as ‘The ‘Stache Squad.’  All for one, and one for all!


A game of Risk becomes a costume affair.


Bea and Eli shared their hometown, and took in a bit of culture while here.

Proof that the sun sometimes shines in Seattle!

Gifts were exchanged, most of them homemade.

Eli’s gift was to write an original murder mystery for the whole gang.  He put his storytelling experience to good use.

It was, of course, a costume affair…

…set in Russia in 1860.

It seemed to capture the social turmoil of the times.

We were sad to have to send Ben home in time for Christmas.

But it felt like we had already had Christmas, and the icing on the cake was a day of snow, a rare treat, a white Christmas.

The only thing missing was Ben.  So the kids made…

…a SnowBen!

Of course, juggling ensued.

And huggling.

And snow angels!

And it wouldn’t be a proper snow day without hot chocolate.

Another bunch of friends and family have arrived, and it’s hard to believe we have yet another Christmas to celebrate.  It makes me realize that holidays have less to do with the dates on the calendar than the light we create in our hearts and homes and between each other.

My dear friends and family and blogging buddies from all over the world, after health and happiness, my wish for you is this:

May you never be too old for dinosaur pancakes.

…or dress-up…

I wish you a Merry Christmas, a happy Solstice, Kwanza, and New Year.  And whatever the New Year brings, may you always have, no matter what the calendar says, or however large or small, an occasion to celebrate and  a shoulder to lean on.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Winter.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: One.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Community.



  1. Beverly says:

    May all your many reasons to celebrate a wonderful family warm your holidays. Thanks for keeping up with your writing Naomi. Beverly

    1. Hi Beverly,
      It’s so good to hear from you. Have a wonderful holiday, and a Happy New Year!

  2. ledrakenoir says:

    Wonderful, very well captured… 🙂
    All the best wishes for you and yours from here, Happy Holidays… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! And I wish the very best for you and yours!

  3. Roy McCarthy says:

    Ah terrific post Naomi, who couldn’t smile, even the most anti-Christmas of us? Here’s hoping you and your family (continue to) have a great Christmas and a fab 2014.

    1. Dear Roy,
      Thanks for the smiles, Roy, both yours and mine! I wish you a very Happy New Year!

  4. bulldog says:

    and may you have a fantastic memorable Christmas and may the New Year be as good to you as you are to us with your posts…

    1. Thank you so much for the good wishes. I look forward to another year of Photographic Journeys! Wishing you the very best for a Happy New Year!

  5. Mona says:

    Merry Christmas to you & your family too Naomi! 🙂
    A beautiful post, as always.

    1. Dear Mona,
      Thanks so much for the good wishes and the very kind words. Wishing you the very best of everything for the New Year.

  6. Great fun. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cousin! It’s always good to hear from you. Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your family.

  7. So sweet, Naomi. I love the music part–that is so special. Merry Christmas to your whole team!

    1. Thank you, Suzanne! I wish you and your whole clan a very Happy New Year!

  8. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    Heartwarming from start to finish Naomi – thanks for sharing all this festive fun and family love. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and look forward to more of your tales in 2014

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! So glad you could come by and join us. I wish you all the best for the coming New Year, and look forward to another fine year following your blog.

  9. What fun! Always love meeting the kids’ friends. What’s with laying in the snow in shorts? Cute pix, happy holidays and best for 2014!

    1. Dear Lisa,
      Thanks so much for the visit. It was a rather spontaneous moment–the excitement of discovering a patch of pristine snow in which to make snow angels, after they had trampled the snow on both the front and back lawns. It was a delight to meet the guys, but I had heard so much about them that I almost felt that I knew them, although I was meeting them for the first time.
      Happy New Year to you and your whole family!

  10. scillagrace says:

    I love living vicariously through your blog…all the fun of having creative extroverts living with me again, without the energy drain on my introverted psyche! 🙂 Music and costumes and cuddle piles come naturally to my brood, being half Italian. I’ll have some of that, plus some quietly intense time with a bearded Slav. Happy hosting, Naomi! I know you feast on warmth and feed others generously with yours, and that makes me smile just thinking about it! Fond love to you and yours!

    1. Dear Scilla,
      You are so dear! You always make me think, and smile.

      We had a very happy busy Christmas, but the introvert in me is still quite content to say goodbye to the last of the guests, and clean up the aftermath, still wearing my pajamas at 3PM on Boxing Day.
      We are all working quietly on our own writing and drawing projects, but have a date for a Leftover Dinner of Cornish pasties, our traditional Christmas dinner and a vestige of my Michigan upbringing. We also made a date to play games tonight. Last time we played Risk and battled each other’s armies to take control of the world. Tonight we will save it from a worldwide epidemic by working as a team, playing Pandemic.

      My kids know all about you, Scilla, as I have shared many of your stories with them. You are living their fantasy, which is to be paid to wear a costume and re-enact history.
      Best wishes to you and your tribe from me and mine for a Happy New Year filled with music, costumes, and cuddle piles!

  11. I enjoyed the pictures..always glad to see people enjoying their family time! 🙂

    1. Dear Ayesha,
      Thanks so much for the visit, and your generous response. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  12. Cee Neuner says:

    Oh what happy fun. I really like the photo of dancing in the kitchen. These are all great fun though!! Thanks for playing. See you next week!

    1. Dear Cee,
      Thanks for the visit–it was a delight to see how perfectly suited this post was to your weekly theme. Love your blog!

  13. I love murder mysteries and dressing up. We did one set in the 60’s during our recent Christmas weekend. I was Yoko Ono. How did you make the dinosaur pancake because I have never had one and do rather feel I’m missing out?

    Merry Christmas. Hope they’re all fabulous.


  14. niasunset says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday dear Naomi, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      Thank you so much. Best wishes to you too for a very Happy New Year!

  15. I love it, great post, looks like a lot of fun. Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Thank you so much! We had a blast! I hope your Christmas was a gooder, and I wish you all the very best for the New Year!

      1. Thank you and I am looking forward to another year of reading your blog 🙂

  16. mary says:

    these pictures and words take me back to those rich mysterious days of college and grad school…when we all had portfolios we showed to each other on request…..mmmmmmmmm so open and personally expressive….I have found storytelling sharing to be the continuation of this…thanks mary Hamilton for sharing this post!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I do remember those days as very special–also exciting and scary to be on the brink of adulthood with so many paths to choose from. After many twists and turns on the journey, thank goodness I discovered the path to storytelling as a profession and a way of life, and from that time onward, I knew I was heading in the right direction.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your insight. And thanks to Mary Hamilton for introducing us! Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

  17. nutsfortreasure says:

    What a perfect celebration Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Dear Eunice,
      Thank you so much. Happy New Year to you too!

      1. nutsfortreasure says:


  18. kathy says:

    Naomi, your post warmed our hearts. 🙂
    May your “second Christmas” be just as wonderful & fun as your first one, and have a very happy New Year!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thanks so much for the visit. It was a great holiday, and I hope yours was too. It’s very nice to have a quiet Boxing Day to recover and play with our toys! Best wishes from our tribe to yours for a very Happy New Year!

  19. kz says:

    happy holidays to you and your lovely family 🙂

    1. Thank you, KZ. Congratulations on your magazine. I wish you a very Happy New Year, and continuing success on all your writing endeavors.

  20. suzjones says:

    I smiled all the way through this post. What a wonderful Christmas you have all enjoyed 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I hope your Christmas was a good one, and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

  21. Mary Brugh says:

    I love your family!

    1. And we love you, Mary. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  22. This is a delightful post, Naomi. Heartwarming. Amazing pictures.
    I especially like, “… the light we create in our hearts and homes and between each other.”
    Isn’t that the truth?

    We must indeed capture these friends and family gatherings like the jewels of memory they are for they will never be quite the same again. The beauty is we can put them away and take them out again anytime we wish. 🙂

    1. Dear Tess,
      That is so true! Sometimes, when the kids are both far away, I will use the Weekly Photo Challenge as an excuse to go back and enjoy once again some happy times together.
      I hope your Christmas was a merry one, and I wish you all the best for the New Year.

      1. Yes, my Christmas was good but wore me out.
        Hap-hap-happy New Year to you all.

  23. 4amWriter says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Dear Kate,
      Thank you so much. I hope your Christmas was merry, and that your New Year is full of fun and happiness.

  24. Indira says:

    Hi Naomi, wish you a merry Christmas and Happy new year.

    1. Dear Indira,
      Thank you so much! I wish you all the very best for the coming New Year as well!

  25. What a great lot of fun! Thanks for sharing these wonderful times with all of us.

    1. Thank YOU so much for visiting, and sharing your response. It is always good to hear from you! Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  26. Meg says:

    All that fun had me itching to join in! Great to hear all the news and engage with all the different moods / creative activities in your family get-togethers, Naomi. It’s only 30C here and I am house cleaning in a sweat getting ready for the New Year. Have a wonder-filled New Year. You gave great kindness, joy and exuberance in 2013. Much appreciated. All the Best of all you’e wish for yourself and the family. Happy New Year! Am sending you a cracker of an online card too.

  27. Dear Meg,
    I was just talking about you today to Norm and Anne, who stayed at our house for Christmas, and I planned to write after catching up a little with the blog. SO good to hear from you! Several times over the last few days I wished that you were here to join in the fun! You might have enjoyed experiencing a white Christmas, just for a day, which is the way we do it in Seattle.
    I hope your 2014 is full of fun and adventure, and brim full of stories and storytelling. Will email tonight!

  28. megtraveling says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays! A Happy New Year to you Naomi… 🙂

    1. Thank you, Meg! I hope you had a good holiday. Wishing you many new adventures in the coming year!

  29. Madhu says:

    Ah what fun!! And thank you dear Naomi. Hope the coming year is filled with just as much fun, love and laughter 🙂

    1. Dear Madhu,
      Thank you so much! I wish the same for you and yours for the coming year!

  30. restlessjo says:

    I love the way that your joy in life and in your family brims over and bubbles all over the page, Naomi. A house filled with music and laughter 🙂 I so miss the music when our son goes back to Leeds, and it’s great when his friends just pop in. May you always have this joy to share, in 2014 and forever!

    1. Dea Jo,
      There is something so heartwarming about homemade music! I hope in the coming year you have many visits from your dear lad in Leeds. I love having their friends over too–it’s like turning a tumbling good natured litter of puppies loose in the house.
      Thank you so much for your kind wishes and all the encouragement. May the coming year bring much joy to you and your family, dear friend!

  31. So much joy and laughter and love in these photographs. Thanks for inviting us in!

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      What a pleasure it is to have you come and visit! I hope your Christmas was a merry one, and that your New Year is brimming over with joy.

  32. I loved the photos of the kids having such fun. I felt as if I were there too! I have thought about you during this Christmas, Naomi. And, I am wishing you the happiest New Year and the best 2014! Thank you for always visiting me even when I don’t get here! 🙂

    1. Dear George,
      Delighted that you could join the party! Thanks for the kind words. I wish you a very Happy New Year. I love your blog, and look forward to happily following for another year.

  33. Pat says:

    Thanks for sharing this great group of young people with us. It reminded me of how much fun it is to bring people into our homes to share love and joy. My daughter is with us for two weeks and she just fixed us a delicious stew for supper. Now she is starting to take down the ornaments on the tree so we can all leave for warmer climates. I’m not ready to take down the decorations but… Peace and love to you in the new year – and I look forward to reading many more of your posts, Naomi. 🙂

    1. Dear Pat,
      What a pleasure it must be to celebrate with your daughter–she sounds like a real sweetheart! Mmm, I wonder where she could have learned that? Thank you for your encouragement and kind response, as always. I look forward to another year of beauty and wisdom as I continue to follow your blog. I wish you and your loved ones all the very best for the New Year!

  34. tchistorygal says:

    Naomi, your posts always make me laugh, this one with the pure joy of having fun with kids. My Christmas kids aren’t as grown up yet, but I may have to do a post about that, too because it was so fun. Yours is fantastic. The music, the dressing up, the novel writing. What a creative bunch of people. They will remember this Christmas for the rest of their lives, and so will you. Thanks for sharing it with us so we can remember it, too. 🙂 Happy New Year, and may your year be especially blessed. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

    1. Dear Marsha,
      You are very kind! Thank you so much for really sweet response. It really made me smile. I look forward to another year of following your wonderful blog too! I wish you and Manny and the gang a very Happy New Year!

  35. ShimonZ says:

    A great post. You brought joy to your readers. May the next year be even better that this last one. Love and best regards to you and yours!

    1. Dear Shimon,
      Thank you so much! I wish for you a happy new year filled with friendship and family, sweetness and laughter.
      Love to you and yours, dear friend!

  36. Wanderers says:

    Great to see the smiles all around. Wish you a Great Year ahead…..

    1. Thanks so much. All the best to you and yours for the New Year!

  37. Naomi, what a great wrap-up for a fabulous year. Happy New Year to you. We have so enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to more of your wonderful posts. 🙂 ~ Terri & James

    1. Dear Terri and James,
      Thanks so much! It has been wonderful getting to know you too and reading your wonderful blog. I wish you all the best for the coming year, and look forward to another year of your wonderful posts!

  38. That all looks so much creative fun. Much, much, much better than grown-up kids lurking in their separate rooms playing on the computer for the duration of the holidays.

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Oh, my, yes! Much better than that! It was a wonderful New Year’s Eve, too, with kids playing games and interacting with everyone. I am loving this time together.
      Thanks for the visit. Happy New Year!

  39. Lead Our Lives says:

    I smiled all the way through this, Happy I have found your blog!

    1. Thank you! Glad to have found you too, and look forward to following your blog! Happy New Year!

  40. Happy Tenth Day of Christmas, Naomi, and may the fun continue . . . I love your crazy fun times! Hugs! ❤

  41. Matilda says:

    What a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year and best Wishes from Spain. 😉

  42. mselene says:

    Oh, I love seeing pictures of my beloved Seattle! Happy new year!

  43. Dear Matilda,
    Thank you so much for your generous comment, and a very Happy New Year to you from Seattle!

  44. What great pictures! They certainly captured the joy of having family and friends home for Christmas. So nice of you to share all this happiness with us!

  45. Jamie Dedes says:

    I hope Bea’s energy is back to normal. She wrote me today to say she couldn’t do our project. I completely understand. I did tell we’d be happy to have her poems on occasions when she might want to share. Have to encourage budding talent, don’t we and she is good.

    1. Dear Jamie,
      Thank you so much for understanding, and for leaving the door open. She is much better every day, but she has asthma, and it always takes time to recover her energy level after a bout with pneumonia. I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated your outreach to her.

  46. randee says:

    How great to have your kids home and to have those few days of craziness and love. Love the photo essay!

    1. Hi Randee,
      It was SO much fun. And soon I will be picking up my son from the airport. He was visiting friends from college and taking a class on Graphic Novels, and it will be great to catch up on the news.
      Thanks so much for the visit!

  47. hilal achmar says:

    Hi Naomi..
    Nice moment, good angles, photos that tells a lot. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 Hilal Achmar.

  48. Thanks so much for the visit, and for your very generous response.

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