hump day nuggets: exotic

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


We have been planning and dreaming about a family vacation, one that isn't to visit family or friends. Like we go to a place where we don't know anyone and do whatever we want. Of course we love traveling to see our beloveds but there's something so unbound and lovely about a trip somewhere we've never been, where we don't know anyone.

All of our exotic plans have been swallowed by other life necessities. So, on Friday morning, we decided to load the station wagon and head east to the charming city of Butte, Montana where a colorful toxic pool sits above a town rich in history and then south through one of my favorite valleys on the planet to Dillon, Montana.


It was a good trip although I wonder if I'll ever get over how effing long it takes us to get out of the house. I always think I can grab a toothbrush, wallet and jar of peanut butter and we're off! But then we have to water the chickens, get the oil changed, pack diapers, dig out gear. Right about the moment when I am shoehorning down coats, dog food and board books under the girls feet, I seriously fantasize about ditching everything and living in a yurt in the middle of nowhere.


But once we hit the road and forget about the pile of dishes and puzzles we tripped over to leave, we are off.


Friends joined us at the last minute and our trip was good, maybe even a bit exotic.


:: Just last week I noticed Margot's baby belly is flattening. I find extra joy when Ruby walks about with her shirt lifted, rubbing her round belly.


:: So much of art making is about exploration, experimentation and tactile experience. Sometimes it's hard for me to paint with Margot when I sit next to her poised with my brush, ready to render shapes and she wants to palm the color and mix it all into brown. But I remind myself feeling the paint is cool, coloring inside the lines is boring.


Art making with kids is rarely about a finished object.

This is for you, mom. It is still stuck to the table and I am not sure it will make it in an envelope.

:: April wins for turquoise sky.


:: We stopped at Fairmont Hot Springs on our drive (exotic!). We had the most fun at that funky old pool.


:: Our friends shared a family apartment in Butte and the view knocked my socks off.


:: Plus we could hike right out the door.


We did a lot of adventuring before kids and while it is different now, we are safer and milder in our pursuits, I find the thrill of being on the tippy top of a rock with my daughters to beat just about any other summit.

:: I wrote Monday about our current parenting challenge, which happens to be the most challenging so far. I got so much response and was left wondering why so many people all of the sudden felt got when it appears we all experience this. I think the hard parts of parenting are so quickly eclipsed by the beauty that by the time our friends ask what's new? or we sit at the computer to write, the challenge is blurry and the love is in sharp focus.


Anyway, I am really thankful for the comments and emails, your sincere support and empathy. I am also happy to report things feel better. I so enjoyed hearing what works for your families and, I'd like to share a few things that work for our family.


Andy and I had a "meeting"(we get good work done on road trips with both kids snoozing in the back.) We decided we'd place extra focus on making sure Margot feels heard and seen. We embrace empathetic parenting and decided to dig a bit deeper, resist hurrying and prioritize listening. Often all it takes is literally saying, "I hear you. I see you." when feelings boil up. The total opposite of the ignore undesirable behavior and they'll stop approach. And you know what? So far our deep digging is working so well.


We also made a few scheduling guidelines for ourselves, to provide a bit of predictability and structure to our busy evenings and weekends. The one I am most excited about is family night on Wednesdays. We make dinner together and take turns picking the menu and post-meal activity. Next week is Margot's turn and she is over-the-moon excited for her evening of cheesy noodles and bowling.

hat for sale here

:: Speaking of all that empathy, I am excited to present new dig sponsor Natural Parenting Center. Founder Kris Laroche is an inspiring mama and is offering an e-course in May called Magical Mothering: Befriending Ourselves. She asks, What is possible when we rewrite the stories of our lives to claim our honest and true brilliance? What transpires when we take our rightful seat in a circle of non-judgmental, loving and empathic support?

Click here to learn more and register! Also, Kris is generously giving away a spot in the class! Leave a comment for a chance to win.

:: Trip to the museum.


:: My running partners.


:: Easter Sunday was amazingly beautiful in Missoula.


The bunny left baskets full of goodies on the back picnic table and eggs around the yard. The whole thing was super fun.


:: Last year I made paska bread and this year I made challah (silent 'c') bread. From what I can tell, the big diff is that the paska is sweeter.


I like the challah better even though I about challahed myself into a snit trying to braid six strands of greasy, warm dough.


Margot LOVED painting with the egg

The braiding exhausted Alice.


:: Exotic is relative.


Happy hump day out there.

:: :: ::

all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com


TRB Holt said...


Adriana Iris said...

I love the bread shot...made me so hungry...gorgeous pics.

TRB Holt said...

Hi Burb!

I especially loved your photos today...smiled all the way through...from Ruby patting her Buddha belly, Margot's masterpiece for ME!...your exotic trip...Ruby wearing sweaters that you, your brother & Margot wore, (made by your two Grandmothers),...beautiful bread AND the Pièce de résistance...SWEET, SWEET Alice!

Love to all!
xoxo, Mom/Gram

Puget Sound Mama said...
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Marti said...

Great as always! Happy Hump Day!

Tina said...

Oh how awesome is that! That is so totally wicked that you got to escape on a little mini-vacay. I'm sure it was healing and helped you reconnect as a family, and I'm having a hard time getting over the view from the mountain! Wow!
We hardly get the chance to go anywhere either (besides visiting family like yourself) and we'd love to go somewhere later this year with our girls... we're leaning towards Florida (Disney) but I'm also tempted to go somewhere new to us, not necessarily somewhere tropical and warm but to some place where the sights will overwhelm us with awe and gratitude, but where we will also be able to kick back and relax, escape the everyday hustle of our lives.

Puget Sound Mama said...

Beautiful bread!! My Hungarian Aunt left me some recipes. I am going to try Beles next year for Easter.

Beth B. said...

The photos by the door... lovely! Am looking into the mothering course, thank you for the info.

thisfriendlyvillage said...

Parenting...a challenge no matter what the age. But the good parts outweigh the difficult parts and the difficult parts are the learning parts that make you a better one! Interesting to read your experiences. Even though my kids are older...it makes any of the challenges seem normal...and they are. Love your scenery shots today.

mama marchand said...

I love your photos! :) That little trip sounds wonderful. The hubs and I keep talking about doing a family trip, just the three of us, but, it has yet to happen. And I LOVE your Wednesday night idea. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Lindsey Swain said...

Loved the blog and the photos! Where do you buy most of your daughters clothes?? I love them!

StellarMom said...

Wow.... great nuggets. And boy could I ever use a seat amongst a cicle of non-judgemental, loving and empathetic support. I've been entertaining the idea of participating in an ecourse, hopefully as a way to nurture and renew this worn out mama.

Jo @ Jo in the Kitchen said...

That challah is so beautiful!
I love taking "exotic" trips across Montana. It just reminds me that even though I've lived here my whole life, there's so much of it I haven't seen.
Thanks for the Nuggets

Susan S. said...

I about challahed myself into a snit . . .

That made me laugh and laugh. Looks like it was so very worth it, though!

In the picture of the little girls checking out the view of Butte, it looks like maybe you evened up Ruby's 'do a bit? Maybe I'm mistaken?

Montana is so very beautiful.

Have a great day everybody!

Kelly Cach said...

Laughed out LOUD about how "effing long" it takes to get out of the house......soooo relate. And I don't even have chickens....or a dog...or a vacation planned!

Love the idea of an in-state "exotic" trip. I've lived in Idaho pretty much my entire 43 years, and yet there is so much beauty my little family & I have yet to discover.

Your blog is inspiring! Love the girls in front of the door...Oh, my---soooo stinkin' cute!


Lee said...

Thank you for your words. I am going to put a post-it note that says "I hear you. I see you." on my forehead so I can remember to acknowledge, not ignore my daughter's antics these days. Please enter me in the chance to win the class, I need a little magic these days!

Xtine said...

I know it's a tough pick... but I'd have to say my favorite/most inspirational lanscapes are from the Fairmont- Butte area. Such unique and weird hills, and whats up with those trees? Great post!

jen said...

oh a trip without restrictions! i need one of those ...
and that bread. thanks. i will be wishing for one all day. and i pretty much won't get one ... but tomorrow i'm home and may have to make some bread ...

Lisa said...

Great post! I especially love the photo of Margot in the pink hat...beautiful little girl!
And the bread looks wonderful!

Karen said...

Excellent as always. I am definately checking out the course. My 2 year old seems to be testing my patience lately and the 'ignore and it will stop' method is NOT working. I will also be taking a que from you and switching it up a bit!


Erin @ NurtureNature said...

It just gets better and better is the feeling I have reading this. I don't know how you continue to do it. your writing is an inspiration sounds catchy but feels true. thanks for sharing..


Jaime said...

You are doing beautiful work ! keep inspiring me with your honesty and creativity! That mothering class sounds AWESOME!!!!

The Viehweg's said...

I always love seeing the pictures of Missoula, and today your mini vacay. My favorite Aunt lives in Hamilton and my cousins live in Missoula as well. Just makes me wish I could pack up and go visit them.

anne said...

gorgeous words and photos, as always! please enter me for a chance to win the e-course. I'd reeeeally love to be able take it. Kris is awesome!

KWQR said...

... your big sky pix
... Ruby belly
... Alice belly!
... oh that challah looks delicious

and this, I think the hard parts of parenting are so quickly eclipsed by the beauty that by the time our friends ask what's new? or we sit at the computer to write, the challenge is blurry and the love is in sharp focus.
Such true words.

Beth said...

The challah looks amazing. Glad to hear you had a great Easter holiday. Also, you are so right about just acknowledgement of them..aka I hear and see you!!

Would love the opportunity to take the e course for free!!

Abby Taylor said...

Is Montana as magical as it seems?

Melina said...

Dear Nici, your photo of Alice loving life on her back with paws folded and the girls in the background? Sheer awesome.

If it makes you feel any better, i do harbor the delusion that a weekend away for me entails grabbing a toothbrush, my sneakers, and my tent. Gosh, but in reality? I pack heaps and heaps and HEAPS and it'S JUST ME. It's just how it goes, I suppose....and perhaps we should be thankful, because if it were as easy as 123, then those big open spaces far away would be filled with tons of people getting away for the weekend. Instead, it's for those who have worked, packed, double-backed to the house for the forgotten sleeping bag, and driven through the night. When we get out, we've earned it!


Dara said...

I hear you.
I see you.

It's amazing what those words do.
I have boys. 6 and 2. And OH does the six year old need to be seen and heard.

I've followed your blog for a little while now and it's always a welcome little trip to take away from what's taking my time at any given moment. I live up the 'root in Hamilton and I want to say thank you for sharing with me.

aprilallard said...

I enjoyed reading this post, as I do all of yours. I do have a question though, what is a yurt? My Massachusetts tongue does not know that one! Our lawn looks similar to yours...perfectly lived in by a family of 4...plus 2 dogs, a cat and a bunch of wild bunnies. My 1-year old daughter also rubs her baby belly. Hmmm...this sounds like all my own nuggets replied to your nuggest.

Peeper said...

I love Feeleez and would love to take part in this class. Glad you had a good little break over the weekend.

Colleen said...

Little baby buddha bellies make me so happy. My little one's is already starting to slim down and it is making me a little sad. Glad yall had a good trip. It looked really fun.

Louise said...

'I hear you, I see you' really made me think. You are such a great parent!

rebecca said...

,,,back at you "dig" happy over the hump to you too!,,,

ruby's lil belly
margot's animal crackers smile
the summit and,,,
the challah bread

Happiness is... said...

Oh, we are missing the wonderful orb of the toddler belly. It's all gone - was stretched thin on the last spurt. I just want to rub both Ruby's and Alice's bellies. And I simply love dogs sunny side up.

Thanks for your comments related to parenting. We are going through a new stage of exorbitantly swelling tantrums with a side of hitting. Ah the fun of being almost 3. I ask my friends about the tantrums and and they laugh and tell me that 3 was such a "special" year. I'm trying to keep it together and not react; but man, one tantrum back would just feel so good. But I'll just suck it up and take a time out when I need it.

Bread looks terrific. Good wrestling the dough into beautiful submission.


Jennifer from Annapolis

gelka said...

A. Please give Ruby's tummy a raspberry for me.

B. I am jealous your dog makes bread. I have three and none of them participate in cooking...begging yes, cooking notsomuch.

C. I found your blog through www.mamamayiwrites.com and I LOVE it.

TheresaT said...

Another amazing nuggets!

Kelly said...

Hahaha! Love Alice on Easter. :) It sounds like you had a really nice week, even with the challenges. I guess especially with the challenges...life is fuller that way, right?

Baby By The Sea said...

This was such a delicious post -- it took me a while to sink my teeth in and savor it all. I kept clicking on parts and getting torn away.
Thanks for bringing such beauty from Butte. Your pictures are amazing. And, wow, thanks for the validation of parenting from the heart with a look of empathy and a verbal acknowledgement. I can so picture you wrapped up in "I see you, I hear you [and now I'll give you a giant hug]." It's so important for our little girls to figure out who they are WITHOUT being told what not to do, what not to say. Positive parenting is paramount. Right on.
The picture of your two struttin' their stuff down the sidewalk is perfect. Sisters rock.
Love you.

MyRayOLite said...

I so needed to read your post today. There is just too much ingnoring it away around here. We only have one child, just turned 13. Empathy is really the key to better parenting and I have read it a million times. Lately we have been more empathetic and sympathetic as she has had to endure mean girls at school. To the point she was kicked out from the group of girls she eats with. So, she had to eat with her teachers in their rooms or the counselor. Really broke my heart. She has frends in the A lunch but she is in the B lunch and only 26 days of school left. She was even slapped by another student. I just want to home school, but it is just not my gift! She is a social butterfly. Out of all of this negativity at school good things have arised. So, we will take the good and run with it and just know karma will come after those who treat others mean will get their turn. In the mean time I am enrolling her into the new junior high for next year, or we will be moving this summer to be closer to my husbands work. Gas prices are just going to get worse and I'd rather put that toward a house payment than milage on a car.

Guess I needed to vent!

Glad your exotic vacation was fun! We will do something similar this July on the gulf coast of Texas at Padre Island. Cannot wait!

clove's corner said...

Love these nuggets. Beautiful Butte Montana! Just goes to show you can take any place and turn it into a family vacation.
Also, if you lived in a yurt in the middle of nowhere, you'd probably still have chickens to water and down jackets and board books to shoehorn into some small space. Unless it was in Hawaii, then maybe not the down jackets.

Daniele said...

I hear you, exotic for us is often Wisconsin. haha

I got a kindle over the weekend for my birthday- I was playing around with it last night and I was thrilled to discover that I can access the web and read anything from any website. I read this post from my kindle last night, pictures (though black and white of course) and all! I then put your page into "article mode" where I read all the words like an essay with no pics. What a totally different experience--this kindle is loads of fun I must say.

kyndale_pease said...

oh those skies are just beautiful. What I like about road trips is just meditating on the world around me...the sky, the mountains..It actually reminds me that there's a world outside my own little town.

I'd love a chance to win the parenting course. Thank you! :)

dig this chick said...

Most all of my kids clothes are handmade or from thrift stores. We do buy new socks and shoes...a few new things from this post.
Ruby's bonnet: http://www.etsy.com/shop/urbanbabybonnets (digmefree for free shipping!)
Ruby's orange sweater: http://www.etsy.com/transaction/36094223
Margot's ball cap:

It took us many years to teach Alice to make bread. We had to overcome the whole 'old dog, new trick' thing.

I did even her hair up a bit! Although it is still super patchy.

Right you are. A yurt in Hawaii sounds lovely.

Abby, Yes. I think Montana is pretty magical!

A yurt is "a circular domed dwelling that is portable and self-supporting; originally used by nomadic Mongol and Turkic people of central Asia but now used as inexpensive alternative or temporary housing." some pics: http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&biw=1188&bih=862&site=search&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=yurt&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

FinnyKnits said...

I can smell that challah from here - one of my favorite things to make. Reminds me of being in my mom's kitchen growing up.

Glad to see Alice enjoyed Easter as much as you all did - ahh, spring lawn rolling - it's what dogs live for, from what I can tell. Jada hasn't left the lawn in days.

mrs boo radley said...

Your smile is STUNNING!

mrs boo radley said...
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Kathy G said...

Great photos- love those "exotic" getaways- we sometimes take an exotic getaway to Kansas.

Kelle said...

Catching up. Cannot have a week without your nuggets. So glad you finally got away for a bit. I know you needed it. And I can't think of anything more restoring than hiking under that sky and settling into a hot springs pool. Didn't even notice Ruby's haircut! And props on the challah. Miss you.

jen said...

I love that you made challah for Easter. OY. My mother-in-law would plotz.

Meghan said...

So, what's up with these cheesy noodles? I think you've mentioned them before. Homemade Mac'n'Cheese or something else?

dig this chick said...

Ah! The cheesy noodles. I'll post our recipe. It's a mainstay around here!

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