Showing newest 5 of 9 posts from 12.10. Show older posts
Showing newest 5 of 9 posts from 12.10. Show older posts

12.29.2010

hump day nuggets: home

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

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The vastness of eastern Washington

We are home. Right now, I am sipping coffee on my couch next to my sleeping dog. Our living room is decorated with a cooler full of food, an open suitcase with its contents arranged like a small, sprawling mountain range around a lake of three pairs of shoes, five bags of miscellany, new gifts, two snowsuits, a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich, a cell phone charger, hats, socks...you get the picture. I really, really don't like unpacking. Packing is kind of fun with the anticipation of the journey and arrival to a different place. Unpacking just sucks with all that stuff that needs a home and all I want to do is be home.

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Snow is piling up by the minute out there making my cozy tunnel vision even more appealing. Ruby is napping, Margot is at Owen's house and the piles will wait. If I were to make a list of things to do right now it would contain a lot of stuff like laundry, cleaning and showering. But I am choosing to tackle a list of assembling nuggets, making soup, sledding and drinking coffee.

Our holiday adventure was great, rich with prolonged coffee-pajama mornings, walks, shared meals, adult beverages, late-night game-playing, perpetually lost items and good conversation. Our adventure was also rich in a different kind of holiday reality, one that comes with many people in one house for many days: kid disputes mostly involving Margot exhibiting her love for her cousin with spirited shoves, one bloody nose and a misunderstanding over pasta.

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Our family gave the gift of a cold to everyone but last night I got a text from my sister-in-law who is more like my sister that said even though they returned to Portland with really sick kid and a collapsed ceiling due to a water leak, they were in high spirits from our trip, feeling grateful and in love. I married into an exceptionally fantastic family.

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nuggets.

:: I wonder, if adults pick up thousands of pieces of paper and marker lids, never calling it quits and putting them out of reach, if the cyclical charade would continue for days. I think yes.

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:: Not many pics of Rubes this trip. My sick monkey was in arms, mostly mine.

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:: One time when Aida was crying I asked Margot what she thought might make her cousin feel better. Without hesitation she said, "My boob."

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:: I had a standoff with a squirrel. He spoke to me through his beady, asymmetrical gaze saying things like, "You think I am afraid of you just because you are tall and have thumbs? Well, only one of us can climb fences and only one of us is looking down on the other right now. So, you best move on homeslice."

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My sister in law was behind me shrieking and squealing about how he was about to pounce on my face.

:: My niece, Aida Louise.

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:: Margot ran around the aviary asking all the birds just as sweetly as she could, "Can I please hold you?"

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:: Sharing of the grandma was a tough reality for my bug. 

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:: I might want to be a duck in my next life. Just so I can have feet like this.

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:: L'cole 41 winery, one of our favorites.

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:: Dads are just way more fun than moms at the playground.

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So we're home with a great list of memories to hold our hearts until the next visit.

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We are home to piles of snow and more piles on the way. We are home to our wacky normalcy, with a few days of staycation, perhaps even more stay than we'd planned as the roads are mostly undriveable, looking forward to the New Year.

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ps In response to inquiries about the last post: I made the pajama pants (I moonlight as an elf) by tracing existing pants. This method is wonderfully outlined in The Creative Family.

12.27.2010

Santa Claus Came To Town

We landed safely in southeastern Washington on Christmas Eve. It was great to hug family, share a meal, toast wine. I felt especially excited to be Santa this year. Because Margot is at an age where wonder and excitement reign and I finally came to terms with my lying-to-my-kids-about-a-flying-gift-giving-man hangup.

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Margot picked two clementines and three carrots to leave for the reindeer and one peanut butter cookie for Santa. I went to fetch a glass to fetch a glass of milk and she told me she didn't want Santa to have her milk. She said, "I really do think Santa will like that icky milk." pointing to Ruby's goat milk. "Mama, Santa loves goat milk a lot."

I made a mess in the house, traipsing fire place ash and carrot chunks all over the floor. I filled stockings and finished up some gift-making. I had the hangup about Santa because of my own sadness when learning it was only his "spirit" that lives. I found comfort in my memories. My memories are of the magic and love. My memories are of excitement over the very idea that Santa had been in my living room and taken the time to write my brother and me a note, of laying in bed and watching my clock for hours, waiting until 6am when I could finally wake my parents.

So, Santa came to our Walla Walla stead and it was really fantastic.

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Santa brought pajama pants for everyone.

In the wee hours on Christmas morning Ruby, Alice and I drove the dark, damp streets of Walla Walla searching for butter and I also came to terms with a need I have: to make lists so that I can save myself the time and frustration of forgetting and having to punt. I wrote about it in this week's mama digs, making a list, checking it twice.

12.22.2010

hump day nuggets: lunar hug

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

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I was up late Monday night making gifts thinking how I'd be so privileged to see the solstice eclipse but between dreaming of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and making my way out of my studio and up stairs I forgot. I fell into bed next to my exceptionally warm husband. But he stirred which is unusual and heard a noise he wanted to investigate. He got up, I fell asleep. I woke to him standing over me wrapped in his grandma's wool blanket.

"Babe, wanna see the eclipse?"

I jumped up, thankful for the nudge. It was so cold, even with the heat humming. We huddled on our front steps in three degree air, wrapped in Dolly Mae's thick blanket and watched the red moon, our girls asleep inside.

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The moon often makes me tear up. The same moon the whole planet sees, it circles every living thing once a day. A lunar hug. It's so consistent, always showing us the same face, waxing and waning, pushing the ocean in ebbs and flows. The moon makes me feel calm and generous.

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:: elving nuggets ::

The verb elving has been popping up all of the interweb and I think it is a strange word but elf is one of my favorite words in our language and the concept of elving is a lovely one. So, we've been elving.

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elving with little breaks for down dog

:: I got all my holiday sewing orders complete and closed shop for a few weeks. But, it's not really closed because I am making gifts for my people and having the most fun (mostly fun. there have been a few seam ripper swear sessions).

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I do a lot of gift-making while the girls sleep but I also do a lot when they are with me. It's less productive and often insane but I think it is important for them to participate in the spirit of making and giving, a complex concept for a three year-old (three year-old!). I am not saying that I am wiggy about a kid's love of receiving gifts. In fact, I celebrate Margot's excitement to open packages and presents. It's just that I want my kids to witness and eventually know the total joy of giving.

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fabric scrap garland: two 1x6 inch pieces of fabric fused together with interfacing (like heat n' bond)
and then stapled just like the paper chains.
:: Rubes and bug have been hanging out in their 'nest' in the mornings.

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Which I, of course, think is pretty dang cute.

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:: We made ornaments and Margot picked which creation goes to which friends.

The whole fam drew on shrinky dink plastic.

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Mama drew hearts and stars and cut and punched holes and we got to watch the magic folding and unfurling of our creations.

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Tomorrow, the girls and I will drive all about Missoula dropping little gifts at friends' homes.

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:: Our city is blanketed with snow. It's like baking powder and squeaks when you walk. It makes 12 degrees feel a lot warmer to me.

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:: Cinnamon snaps for the museum staff.

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Recipe from one of our favorite cook books, Vegetarian Planet.
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Margot rolling dough in sugar in my fourth birthday dress (made by my ma) that is obv way too
big for Margot but, boy does it twirl.

:: Margot picked the fabric for family presents. Well, I guided a few choices. Like, I am pretty sure my dad wouldn't love pink fleece with orange hearts and elmo. For the most part she did a pretty rockin' job and is adorably invested in which fabric goes to which person.

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The general state of our home these days: Ruby on my hip, Margot wearing Ruby's coat and boots on the
wrong feet, making up a song about her grandmas amidst the smattering of toys.

:: We are a big stocking stuffer family and I had SO MUCH FUN buying little treats for my kids. Margot is going to flip out over Curious George bandaids, stick on earrings, guava lip balm and rainbow socks. And Ruby will flip out over canning rings, wine corks, fabric balls and other stackable/rollable objects.

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My mom made these incredible stockings. They are sewn, hand-embroidered and have secret little
animal buttons in the toes so when the girls are at the bottom they 'find' their own special button.

:: Ruby 'helps' in the kitchen like a good little elf.

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:: We made play dough and shopped thrift stores for tools. I gessoed the lids and Margot and Ruby decorated.

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For pennies we bought wooden forks, measuring spoons, butter knives, small spatulas,
cookie cutters, etc. to accompany the play dough.

The key to Margot's participation in the giving is that she also gets to give to us. Like, she picked an ornament for our tree, picked six cookies for us to keep, picked fabric for herself and picked play dough tools for she and Ruby. This seems to open her up to giving with enthusiasm, getting really excited when she knows a gift will be a perfect fit for a friend. It's very sweet.

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We are off to Walla Walla for the holiday. And between now and the time we pull away from our home with food for five adults and three kids for four days, a dog, our family, gifts and essentials, we will be alternating between romping in the snowy wonderland of our valley and finishing up all the festive preparations. I'll be away from here and back on Monday with mama digs from southeastern Washington.

Wishing all of you love, laughter, good food, waxing and waning, ebb and flow,
Nici (and fam)

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12.20.2010

She's Three

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She's kind, compassionate, fiery, opinionated, adoring, independent, hilarious, wise. She likes twirling on one foot, digging through my grandmother's costume jewelry when I'm not paying attention and making Ruby laugh. She plays hide-and-seek every night with her papa and her giggling gives her away every time. She makes me feel proud, purposeful, important, humble, alive and in love.

:: :: ::

We were playing airplane the other night and I said, "Margot, I love you so much."
"I love you so much mom," as she hovered over me, my heels against her belly button.
"I can't believe you were in my belly three years ago."
"You pushed me out? You pushed so hard?"
"I did."
"You pushed me out of your body?"
"Yes. Do you remember it?"
"Yep. It was dark and I was stuck. And I went weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

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:: :: ::

We were at the grocery store fetching ingredients for her rainbow cake when she spied a display of giant foil number balloons. "Oh wow! Oh mom! Can I please have one?" In a nanosecond, I went from autopilot-no-way-am-I-spending-$10-on-a-balloon-mom to absolutely-YES-mom.


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Here, Margot lassoes three.
"I want that blue sparkley one! It's so beautiful!" I said ok thinking it was hilarious that she would have a number 8 balloon or something but, sure enough, of the dozens of balloons, there was only one "3" and only one dark blue balloon and that was the ONE Margot loved. She said it was the letter "C." I fetched it and she ran off clobbering unsuspecting shoppers (balloons are silent but deadly attackers when being pulled by a three foot-tall person), talking to the balloon saying things like, "I love you so much! I am so exciting to meet you darker blue letter C!"

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Playing with her son and darker blue letter C

I couldn't stop smiling. I was actually laughing out loud. Her thrill, excitement, pure joy sent my heart to the moon and back. Right there in the aisle as I was talking myself into pouring pints of food coloring into my daughter's rainbow cake, as Ruby was trying to climb out of the cart to get a better look at her sister who was running in her cowgirl boots with an audible clack clack, clutching a balloon twice her size and her truck son, I felt giddy with happiness and thankfulness. I felt so right.

Every single person we passed, she had the same questions for them, "Do you see my balloon?! Isn't it awesome?"

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:: :: ::

The night of her birthday I went to bed with her. We laid there for a bit and I turned over and whispered, "Bug, you still awake?" She whispered back, "Yes. Tell me a story about Sam, Olive and Alice at the carousel." I've been spinning this story for a while now and she loves it. I made up the next chapter and asked her if she would tell me a story. "I can't because I am only a kid." I asked if she wanted to try and she said ok.

"There was a bug. A giant, giant bug that was so HUGE. And he was in our backyard. He played and played and then found a leaf and ate it and took it home to his lighter red house. He took a nap and then woke up and played again."

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:: :: ::

I wrote about Margot's third birthday and the cake I made and then remade and how I pretty much learn everything I need to know about life from her in this week's mama digs, a rainbow cake for my girl.


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I remembered to take a photo on our way out the door. Hence the rainbow cake with lighter
blue and darker blue and blue sparkles in our entry way.

12.15.2010

hump day nuggets: celebrate

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

Hard not to think about when the sun came out one year ago today. A reader, Erin O., left a comment last week about her Life Anniversary. When she was nine she went blind over breakfast, had three massive seizures and doctors predicted she wouldn't survive. She did and now writes comments on my blog that I think about when I lay in bed at night. Her mom calls the day she lived her Life Anniversary. I like it. Today is Ruby's Life Anniversary. Today is a day to celebrate and love.

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And then we have another day of hullabaloo this weekend when our bug turns three. Saturday is a day of Margot which means many specifics like:
  • food: a rainbow cake with a lighter blue duck, tofu, cheesy noodles, beets, carrots, maple yogurt, peanut butter and apples, toast with butter and jam, quesadillas, ice cream and ketchup.
  • activity: puzzles, books, a trip to the park with unlimited red slide rides (I am actually kind of curious to see how long this might last), fort-building, bed-jumping, carousel-riding and all things Margot Bea.
  • a party: twirly straws, balloons and "just all of my friends would be great."
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dress was mine, kit by my grandmother

There is a lot to celebrate. People often ask it it's nuts having my kids' birthdays close to each other and close to holiday craziness. I think it makes perfect sense. For my family, this time of year is entirely about  spirited embracing, ritual, shared meals, colored lights, gift-giving, merry-making. Throw a few birthdays in there and it's just more to chew on. I like to celebrate.

:: Our snowy wonderland turned into a soupy mess. It's still fun to get outside. OK, not nearly as easily fun but I never regret a neighborhood walk even when it's gray and slippery and cold.

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:: And then it snowed again, cleaning it all up and renewing excitement.

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coat and hat were mine, knit by my grandmother

:: Margot has a son. A nameless yellow truck she carries in her pocket, sleeps with every night. For the longest time I thought the truck was her sun but she was very quick to correct me when I said something about the bright yellow sunniness of the vehicle, "No no no, mama. He's my SON. I am your daughter. He is my son."

You can imagine my raised eyebrows when I saw her cutting her son on the counter. I inquired and she said, "Oh mama. He's just butter right now."

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left: giving her son a bath  |  right: cutting butter for toast

:: Cookies.

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We went to a cookie decorating party with friends and my social kid was suspended by her disbelief. She realized frosting swipes were not regulated and the plates of cookies were for eating and eating. I think she had like six cookies and probs a half cup of buttercream frosting. At one point she turned to me, total naive joy in her eyes and said, "Mom, this is the most fun ever."

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:: Why do I only bowl once a year? Fried food, pitchers of beer, friends in weird swivel chairs, stinky shoes, made-up stage names, the thrill of a strike (or, if you're me, making contact with pins). It's really great.

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The girls and I were lucky ducks to be invited to the museum staff party at the bowling alley. I thought we'd only catch the end of the shindig but my grumpy kids didn't nap so we bagged it and went bowling. Westside Lanes was a great reset button.

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:: The solstice is in a few days and then everything begins to swing the other direction. I love seasons.

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:: Margot has been asking to eat with Ruby in random, sweet little pockets of our home. They eat by the tree, on the floor under the desk, at the art table.

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Margot is the hostess. She selects the utensils and bowls, arranges the settings. She asks Ruby what she needs and then answers for her and then asks Ruby if she can have some of what she just fake asked for and then says thank you as she takes it. Ruby is thoroughly enamored with the whole thing. Me too.

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:: She signs a lot but mama is still Ruby's only word. I like it when she says mama.

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:: Being so busy these last few months, I find that laying on the floor and building towers with Margot to be supremely satisfying.

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:: Dig this AWESOME new sponsor: Stillwater Mountain Lodge.

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Located a few minutes from Whitefish, Montana, the nordic ski center and lodge is owned and operated by two families. There are dog-friendly trails, beautiful (and affordable!) accomodations, hot cocoa and suites. AND, the dreamy getaway is sweetened by free skiing and rentals for kids 12 and under.

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The Luminary Ski is this Saturday, December 18th.
The owners light the main trail with luminaries and host a pot luck. 
Really, for all you people who email to tell me you are dreaming of a Montana trip, here's your nudge to plan it today:

* For the next three months, book two nights and the third is free! One free night, free skiing for kids, gorgeous environment, ski-in/ski-out of the lodge (or sled, romp, whathaveyou)...it's dreamy and it can be yours. Mention 'dig this chick' to get deal.

* Leave a comment for a chance to win two nordic ski day passes! Use them yourself or would make a great gift. (Winner will be selected at random on Sunday, December 19 and will be posted right here in this very post so check back or leave your email!)

Thank you Stillwater Mountain Lodge!


**********COMMENTS CLOSED**********


and the winner is:


Catherine said...
Happy life anniversary! There is so much to celebrate!!

:: I am not much for the posed photograph but I really wanted one of Ruby and me to commemorate her vigor, her life, to document where we both are on this day. I rigged my camera up on an bucket with the handles balanced on a marker and set the timer. It was the most hilarious thing. As soon as my camera started beeping Ruby began giggling like crazy, grabbing my face, giving sloppy open-mouthed kisses. It is better than a posed photo. This is where we are on this day, her Life Anniversary. Lots to celebrate.

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happy hump day out there

ps locals: dig this chick and Walking Stick Toys are teaming up for a mama's night out on Thursday night: 20% off everything, REM cover band, adult beverages...details here.
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