hump day nuggets

I am starting a new initiative on dig: every Wednesday I'll post the past week's nuggets. Little bits of the season in photos and (few) words. This will be my outlet for the moments of my world that I want to capture, document, share...I am giving myself permission to be random and brief. I used to write really short snippets on occasion and when I moved to essays, I am not sure. Sometime around Margot's emergence I think. She made my brain think in novels instead of short stories.....anyway, nuggets.

My niece was born last Thursday. There was an epic thunderstorm that night and a rainbow greeting me when I woke the next morning. My love for her has exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to meet you Aida Louise.

After-work river lounging and dipping and sipping and deep talking with best friends.

Pulling our ever-producing peas last week to let some light shine on other struggling veggies.

Being in the refreshingly chilly river together with bug. The same river my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents swam in with their kids.

I threw my back out in a bad way last weekend. I was incapacitated and knew I needed to move so I breathed through the pain to get on my yoga mat for mild some cat cow. Margot's interruptions were initially irritating and then charming. Andy was laughing and snapping photos of my falling-apart body and bug's spry, flexible acrobatics. It did even make me laugh.

Summer evening light.

My girl's shoulders and neck and wet curls.

Our family shadow.

Rides on her papa's shoulders and the way she always find security in holding onto his hat.


new clothes for mama

So I have been sewing all this stuff for my chicken and nothing for my sorry self who is stuck wearing shirts that are becoming increasingly pitted out and inappropriately short for work and too-few skirts that I have to wipe dog and kid snot off of before wearing out.

It was time for this mama to spend some time on some clothes. I always feel better when I am confident in what is on me. Pregnancy amplifies those feelings at least a billion times, probably more like a trillion. No self-respecting girl likes to be reaching in her bra on the corner of Higgins and Pine to adjust the spilling-out boob or yank on a tank that is rising to meet her chin. ahem.

So, back to vetements. I am into tracing patterns from my favorite clothes. It mostly works out. I'd never give them to anyone else because I am bending some major rules and often end up polishing a turd but the fabric is cheap and the time worn is short, so some pieced-together, not-that-pretty-on-the-inside items are just fine by me.

I do pretty well with the skirts and dare say they turn out nicely. This one was supposed to be a beautiful dress I was to wear when I officiate my dear friends' wedding in a few weeks but, ack, it's now a skirt. And I have lots of scrap light blue shirting material...

fresh out of the wash, drying on the line

I traced my favorite Michael Stars top and have made a few of these tunics. They are a snap--two pieces and four stitched straight lines. yes. I do wish I has a serger to finish the edges. At least knit doesn't unravel because there is NO WAY I will ever attempt binding on knit again. Not even if I was promised daily massages for the rest of my life.

favorite shirt on left (photo taken in May) :: my attempt at replication on right

And then took my first stab at tracing pants and wound up with low low riding, unattractive capris. When I say low low I mean, half of my ass crack was exposed. And I look terrible in capris. I added a band of material (let the turd-polishing begin) and then I had enough room up front should I "ever happen to grow a large penis," said Heather this morning at pilates. So I fixed that real quick too. And the length is more wide leg, long shorts than capri. I like em. The next pair will be better.

And, finally, I have chopped up a few sweaters to make cardigans. Sweaters that are too tight on my even when I am not pregnant. This lady has been doing it with knit shirts and that motivated me. Simple: just snip up the middle and snip off the sleeves to make a 3/4 sleeved cardigan out of a too-tight sweater with a hole on the wrist. Stitch the new edges to stop fraying. Scoop necks are a bit funky because of the drape but I did a little accordion fold thingie and I think it'll work. Margot likes it too.

Oh, and Margot is going to have a little sister. I had intended to be all one with my uterus and reject technology and not discover the gender early but when the healthy little fig was squirming on that screen and I had the chance, well, I am a woman of opportunity and I said yep so we had a little guessing game and I guessed boy because tiny vulva looks like a penis to me so now I owe Andy a dinner of his choice. It was a fabulously beautiful experience. Much better than bug's ultrasound. I feel very lucky for all of it...Andy, Margot, little soon-to-make-us-a-family-of-four kid. I love.

Sisters. Very cool. And, since they will be born in the same season, no need for any new clothing. See how thrifty I am? voila.

On left: imagine kid sitting in a glass chair and you are underneath :: On right: little bean is lounging with her fist up by her forehead, babe is in profile, cute little blurry ear on left. Can you see it?



First off I have to say wow, y'all, thanks for your thoughtful encouragement and advise on my last post. I read every comment and e mail and it was through your words and a few of my dear friends kicking me in the ass to make a few changes that I am feeling way better. Turns out I needed to talk some things through with some people, let myself feel funky and ultimately let some some stuff go. Geesh that's hard sometimes.

I also discovered I am not crazy in thinking that my belly is exceptionally giant. I am a whole month ahead with my due date. Still a holiday but t'will be closer to turkey than santa. This is surprising because it seems completely impossible to us but nonetheless the little babe has femurs and a head that suggest 21 weeks. Also, when our midwife had her little ultrasound machine on my belly, all of my I-don't-want-to-know-the-gender-yet stubbornness left my body and I was so excited to know. All we could see was a butt....no dangly genitalia but that doesn't mean anything yet. 21 weeks.

And I am just loving the somersaults from a real, live, 10 1/2 inch human. Length of a carrot.

So, in the spirit of summer we have been hugging and my conscience effort to be and enjoy, here are some little nuggets that make me happy right now.

First tomatoes, sungold of course.

Margot romping around with her friends in the dress I made her.


First-thing-in-the-morning faces.

Three eggs a day in the hens' fancy new nesting boxes.

Best garage sale ever: 25 yards of thick, fabulous knit fabric and 10 patterns for $15.

Watching Margot grow into friendships with my friend's kids.

Nearly four gallons of peas from my garden and the little buggers are still bloomin'.

Date night with my man and his new wooden ring I had made for him. Love etsy. His real wedding ring could kill him, what with the metalness and conductivity around electricity and such so he can't wear it.

Where I live. Dang it's beautiful.


blech (but ultimately yay)

I have felt out of sorts for the last week. Just a general, gnawing anxiety and insecurity that totally blows. And, you know, yes, my hormones are nuts right now but, no, that is not why I am feeling this way. It's all very annoying and boring to me because these aren't feelings I often sit with and here I am sitting.

sometimes I feel like face-planted raggedy anne

I am a closure gal. Chat, work it out, move on. But right now, there's no closure to be had and I am left feeling blech. It's all surrounding giant changes in my life that, while I am quite confident with my choices, are rocking my current understanding of my world. I am having another kid at which time I am not returning to the museum, where I have poured my heart and soul for seven years. I don't talk much about work on dig but it is an important part of me. So no closure cause I have to just wait it out and let it happen. No way to know what it'll be like. No previous experiences to draw from. No way to prepare.

mama, I know you're exhausted but can we go for a walk?

mama, I know you're exhausted but can we go for a walk?

I am frustrated with myself even as I write this because, while honest, it doesn't feel true to me. I also feel shy about complaining when I know I am so fortunate. I am emotional. I am tired. And it is all compounding in these hideous ways like when I feel anxious and tired and emotional I then feel the wrinkles are deeper in my forehead and my thighs touch a bit further down. I question myself in situations I should feel confident in. My house feels especially messy and I am snappier with my kid and my dog and my husband. I don't like any of it and I can't wait for the next part when I learn some big lesson that makes all this tumult worth it.

piles of books, Art in America magazines, Chronicles of Philanthropy newspapers, clean napkins and underwear = perfect playground

The area I am so so resolute and confident in is the choice, the result. When I focus on that, I get all zen (0r closer). Life, I am more comprehensively understanding, does indeed pass quickly. Lately there's been lots of important talk about priorities in our household. I just can't wait to spend my days writing, making art, sewing, cooking, canning, gardening, all with my children. Going to the library at 10am on a Tuesday. Camping mid-week. Running. I have little nuggets of creative endeavors lined up that'll provide two necessary roles: stimulating my brain and passions and generating cash money.

And I am trying to just get over the fact that sometimes, when I am so so tired I feel like I could crumble into a heap of goo on my doorstep, I can't and shouldn't rally (I am a rallier. I get shit done. I like it.). And that at times I need to sleep hard for nine hours while drooling on my pillow or let Margot throw credit cards and tampons and flip flops all over the house while I sit and sip ice water and take deep breaths. We're really busy. Right now, in my house and my brain are piles of to-dos all over the place that'll eventually get done but currently lay in piles because we are focusing on bigger stuff: love, eating, planning, sleeping, walks, art, each other.

amidst the chaos of laundry taking over my home, there's a kid growing in my body. amazing.

Ah so it'll pass and I'll be better for it. Still effing hard. Big changes, changes in identity and purpose, how you answer the question and what do you do? are tough and they should be. So, as much as I can, I am trying to like and grow from the little bit of crazy my life is not-so-gently throwing my way. I'll get there but I have to work for it. I can feel my core self returning already. I do enjoy a challenge...



Whoo eee. It is a busy summer for our family. All full of good stuff--weddings, pies, swimming, dinner parties, afternoon parties, hikes, scrubbing dirty feet before getting in bed even though the sheets haven't been changed in a month. Things are prioritized differently in the summer. We pass through our house for sleep and food and to change into and out of work clothes and the rest of the hours are outside. This lady describes her kitchen as a "summer kitchen". I think we have a summer house and car and just general life. Some things need to be neglected so others can be enjoyed.

We spend many early evenings poolside with n/a beer. Oh how I wish someone would make a non-alcoholic ipa for us pregnant ladies.

I have at least 11 blog posts started in my brain and this here is smattering of the last several weeks.

Rhubarb berry pie. It was devoured before I had a chance to take a pic of the finished beauty.

wedding in Glacier Park :: The entire drive there and back I am certain I annoyed my car companions, Andy, Margot and Alice, with my holy cow I just can't believe we live here. It never gets old. Even as a fourth generation Montanan, my state takes my breath away. We drove through every shade of green available to our eyeballs under an umbrella of big blue sky.

It was Margot's first trip to Glacier and our first camp trip of the summer. Camping is way more fun with bug this year because she is so acutely thrilled with all of it. The tent, the stove, the rocks and birds and wildflowers, the mountains and lakes, sleeping in a cozy cave under a moonlit canopy of cottonwood and cedar.

my wedding shoes had a nice view from our campsite

The wedding was beautiful. Bug ran and ran with kids and cheered like crazy during the toasts. Oh my I was a bit embarrassed but everyone thought it was funny. She intently listened and if the crowd laughed, she clapped and yelled YAY! She was a total peach the whole time eventually falling asleep on her papa's back and then waking again for some dancing before we all drove into the park and crashed hard on in our little tent at the base of a giant mountain. I even heard a heavy hoofed animal walk right past my head in the chilly night, bug snuggled tightly between Andy, Alice and me.

bug was so sublimely happy waking in a tent, it was hard for us to leave our cozy confines. This is the last photo before my camera battery broke my heart. Just imagine Going to the Sun road where it is so narrow you can't believe cars don't just drive right off the edge every five minutes, where waterfalls cascade onto the road, blanketing our car, exciting Margot to ask for more more please mama! Imagine that Margot couldn't get enough of the turquoise glacial waters of Lake McDonald; she kept begging us to dip her icicle toes in *just one more time*.

two tired girls on the drive home. I stopped at the first camera shop I could find to buy a car charger! Never again!

chickens :: I have read all of these awful accounts of older chickens pecking the eyes and neck feathers out of new hens, and even killing the girls, when they join the group so we have been very cautious with the introductions. We started by letting Paige and Lindsay out in the open yard with Ida, Clem and Bossy. It was pretty uneventful as Paige just ran right up to those curious old birds and said ha! you don't scare me! with a showing of her puny wing span and lift of her chicken chin, that was that.

Lindsay and Paige outside, free to roam for the first time

So we did that for a few weeks and then moved their too-small run next to the hen's run so they could like smell each other and stuff. I am making this up as I go but this is what you do with a new cat, so I went for it. Then, the newbies in the hen house for a few hours here and there and finally, finally, we built the coop playground addition and new deluxe nesting boxes and our new family of hens are happy to coexist.

so far, Lindsay is the brave one who climbs high. Funny because this is also like my best friend Lindsay who is a total badass. Just a few weeks ago she jumped off a boat in the middle of the ocean to do the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

lazy walks :: a new, consistent habit that I love love love. In the morning, in the evening. Sometimes long, sometimes short. It is an effort at times. We are tired. But, one thing Andy and I are learning is that after a kid, it takes more intention and effort to maintain a healthy marriage. There's less time and less energy and, well, our walks are us prioritizing each other. Just meandering and catching up.

garden :: Ack some stuff is doing marvelously and some stuff is just plain shitty. Like my beets are itty bitty but my peas are reaching for Mt. Sentinel. My spinach went straight to bolt after one salad but my tomatoes are looking for a gold metal at the fair. My chard is depressed and my garlic is glorious. Sometimes I feel so confident in my garden and at others, like a naive idiot. So.

yay garlic! We also harvested the bubils and have been chopping and eating them in everything. And, that's my 16-week bump.

Turnips are thriving. Any ideas for those bitter greens? I tried a simple garlicky sautee and it was a major no go.

The peas are my best crop ever with the tallest plants at six feet.

bug's wardrobe :: I have been squeezing some sewing in here and there for my chicken. After some not-so-swell fitting pants, I finally figured out my baby gaucho pattern. It is hard with her cloth-diapered junk in the trunk...I have several pairs that are too snug but fit her perfectly sans diaper. So, next summer, when diaper-free, bug'll have some shorter pants that'll cover her smaller behind.

scored the owl tank at a thrift store, thanks mom for sewing these pants! :: this photo from over a month ago and she looks so little to me

Little strawberry knit is to die for, a Selvedge clearance item :: 4th of July pants

Won this fabric from Philigry giveaway :: comfy for bed romping

pals :: My favorite part of the summer is all of the gatherings of my amazing community. Margot has six bffs who have birthdays within one month, so there are a lot of one and two year-old parties happening plus all the let's hang out in my backyard with an adult beverage chin wags. The camping and hiking and just inhaling our incredible, unbelievably beautiful summer. And, our friend's kids are just so dang photogenic.

Margot and Cooper have the most darling relationship. They adore each other.

The weekend of the 4th we had social engagements out the wazoo. Margot was spinning out of her orbit with the sugar and kids and pools and such. It was a good weekend.

And, a day late because chicken crashed early on the 4th, we introduced her to sparklers. More please mama? papa? more please?

At one point on our Glacier trip we stopped to make sandwiches. Margot and Alice were asleep in the car and Andy and I were sitting in the trunk of the subaru slathering bread with hummus listening to Puff Puff and Tricky talk about their epic backpacking adventures to Soul Daddy and his girl. They were carefully stuffing their packs, getting ready to set out in the park. The conversation involved a lot of acronyms, dudes and chat about powdered milk and mac and cheese.

They were slightly younger than us and a world away. I remember when Andy and I traveled that way, not that we have ever taken a year to hike the Appalachian Trail, but we had many years of barely packing the car, the contents being nearly everything we owned, to set out on several week backpacking trips, road trips, saying dude a lot more. Mac and cheese and powdered milk.

And now, probably looking all yuppified to those dread-locked free spirits with our rocket box full of gear and tank full of gas, our vacations are so different. But I smiled a big ole smile when we got back in the in the car, loving where those people were at with their life and loving mine even more. There is just so much I can do, so many options. Andy and I talked the rest of the drive back about adventure plans starting with a several month car camping trip next fall after he is all officially done with school. Eventually homeschooling the kids for a year while we travel somewhere unknown and life-changing. And, perhaps, someday in 25 years we'll barely pack our bags and head out into the unknown with powdered milk and mac and cheese.
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