wonderful, energizing


There is something about spring this year that is making me crazy with lovely energy and excitement. Maybe it's because I am sleeping many hours in a row for the first time in over a year. Maybe it is because my husband is DONE with his apprenticeship and can fill-in-the-blank without feeling like he should be studying. Maybe it is because my exhibit is up and I am happy with it. Maybe it is because Ruby is walking all over the planet and much more content because of it. Maybe it is because Margot can wiggle her thumb and her lightening bolt forehead scar is actually just fine. Maybe it is because soon we will be eating chives, parsley, peas, spinach, arugula and lettuce yanked right from our backyard dirt. Lilacs will be in obnoxious splays about our home because their glory is brief and fabulous and I cram every surface with bouquets.

Most likely it is a wonderful, energizing combination of all of these things.


When we moved into our home, our first home, eight years ago, it was trashed. It had been a rental for a decade and the tenants hadn't cleaned much or watered the yard. The house and yard were dirty and gray. It was perfect for us because we could afford dirty and gray and we had skills (my husband, being a carpenter, had most of said skills) that could brighten.


We moved in in October and when March rolled around I could be found poking around the yard trying to figure out the best garden spot, searching for anything green that wasn't a dandelion.

I found rhubarb boiling up out of the dry, otherwise-barren earth. Rhubarb is a survivor.


Since that rhubarb discovery day so many moons ago, our home has changed a lot. I remember moving in and thinking how on earth will we ever fill this space? We were moving from a 500 square foot house (a two car garage that had been converted) where we had lived for several years. We didn't seem to have any problem filling it with animals and kids and life. It's our home.


In this week's mama digs, I wrote about some of the stuff that filled our home, the stuff my mom saved and sent to me. Boxes and boxes. Read all about that stuff, my annoyance with it and love of it, in mama digs: keeping childhood.

Last weekend we dug out the barbie dolls. I am not a fan of barbie in her creepy airbrushed perfection and don't feel totally comfortable with my kids playing with her. But I decided to just see...Margot picked one from the pile because she had yellow shoes and long hair that allowed her to spin the doll like one of those New Years Eve noisemakers. For now, and maybe always, barbie is just fine. Besides, my boobs totally look like that.

:: :: ::

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


Tina said...

via mamalode.com:

I also have a box of stuff in our basement. I’ve gone through it numerous times, sorting through deciding what to keep and what to pitch. My first Cabbage Patch Kid is among the rubble (Boris. No joke.) but he unfortunately suffered some water damage when our water heater leaked, so he’s musty and yucky and gross. But after reading this post, he’s going in the washing machine with the next load of laundry… not sure if he’s supposed to or not, but if he gets ruined he’ll be no better off than where he is now.
I’ve kept almost every drawing and art project that my oldest daughter has done. I recently have started putting colourings/drawing in the recycling bin because she colours so frequently I just can’t keep it all. But I hope that one day she’ll enjoy looking back at it all… and if not, that’s okay. It’s kinda more for me too.

trbholt said...

via mamalode.com:



ps….this is exactly correct, “I think perhaps she gave it to me to throw away because she couldn’t do it and knew it needed to be done.”

pss…I am cringing at your reference to ‘girl scout patches’ after all you where a BLUEBIRD! I was your leader throughout your Bluebird years and still your leader when you ‘flew up” to be a Campfire girl…..OH by the way….you sold the most mints one year, (we sold mint NOT cookies!), and won something…I can’t remember what you won BUT I am sure I saved it!

Tina said...

via mamalode.com:

One more thing I want to add… my best friend from childhood, Dani, had these twin baby dolls, one boy and one girl, that we used to play with together all the time. We LOVED them, and every time I went to her house (which was nearly every weekend) we would play with them all day long.
For Brooklyn’s 2nd birthday, Dani gave her the twin baby dolls. I cried. It was so thoughful and meaningful to me, especially because Dani does have every intention of having babies of her own one day. Brooklyn plays with the dolls all the time, and I love telling her about how I used to play with those very same dolls.

Daria said...

via mamalode.com:

Nici, This really struck a cord with me. My mom is a major “saver” but was unable to keep up with the amount of stuff. So before my kids were born I had the task of moving her out of the larger house I grew up in to a smaller one. I just had to get rid of most of it. Now that that the kids are here, I sometimes find that I wish I had kept just a few more things. But we would probably have to move into a larger house if I did! LOL.

Thanks for the post today.

The Hip Homemaker said...

Avery is totally into Barbie right now too. Yesterday, she pulled down the shirt on her current favorite and said, "Oh, she has beautiful boobies, just like mommy". Take that Barbie!

Zo禱 said...

Right?! Girls Scouts ARE NOT Bluebirds/Campfire Girls! I too was a Bluebird, and flew up to Campfire Girl.

And Nici, we are STILL going through stuff that my father in law sent/kept/brought over when we moved to Michigan. He passed away almost 3 years ago. There are more hotwheels than I knew existed. One box was full of trip memorabilia. Straw wrappers and a PILE of paper napkins from a trip to the Space Needle in 1969. My MIL saved every. damn. thing. Except, of course, stuff one might want! Not a single scrap of schoolwork, art, poetry... interesting choices...
And at the same time, going through my own children's and grandkid's things, deciding what to keep and take in the RV/trailer, and what really is time to part with. Holy cats. It's hard.

Courtney said...

Spring is slow to come to Bozeman this year. We were in Seattle/ Portland last week where things like daffodils and tulips are blooming. I worried that the gophers might have been getting to my asparagus. Instead, Bozeman received 8" of wet spring snow on Friday, delaying me from planting even the first spinach seeds until this coming weekend. The asparagus is buried under 3" of the crusty snow remnants. Gardening in Montana takes the perseverance that rhubarb offers!

dig this chick said...

Amy, Shut UP. I love that.

Holly Taylor said...

"Rhubarb is a survivor" is that where Ruby's nickname came from?
Happy to hear energy and excitement are surronding you!

Yuliya said...

Not that you have time to read more blogs or anything, but if you don't already read this one, check it out, as the both of you ladies inspire me to live my life in the moment.

Plus she has a great Barbie story right here... http://inthesesmallmoments.com/2011/01/disappearing-stripper-boots-or-why-barbie-can-stay/

Green Zebra Market Garden said...

I just bought some rhubarb crowns and I already can't wait for my first harvest (which will be over a year from now, but who's counting?)!

Erika said...

We have raggedy anne and Beth too. Funny, my girls are drawn more to them, and my old stuffed animals than all their fancy new ones. They must smell the love.

rebecca said...

,,,i'm not a fan of barbie, not when i was 5 not now at 48,,,the "bitch" has everything and hasn't worked a day in her life for it,,,i had 1 barbie and i managed to poke her eyes out, cut her blonde locks to a pixi, deflated and inverted her boobs and then eventually gave her to trash,,,poor barbie she didn't stand a chance in my toy box,,,love the photo of margot with barbie's head in one hand and body in the other, looking at that picture was de javu all over again for me (smile),,,off to read "mama-digs",,,

Annie said...

Love your tone...makes me smile in the last sentence : )

Baby By The Sea said...

I can't believe how you've transformed your yard. It's really inspiring and amazing. You've worked so hard to make your house a home, your yard an oasis.
Love to see your littles lovin' on your old lovies. My Lucy sleeps with a grey kitty I got for my sixth birthday. She really thinks it's special because "mommy's little girl hands touched it."

tad said...

hi nici-----i've got an almost 3 year old who really wanted barbies like her cousin for christmas and it was an internal struggle for me---her dad's vote was to get her what she asked for....i ran into an article by a really fascinating mom on karenmaezenmiller.com about the dharma of barbies. it helped me accept my own misgivings and realize maybe i could just get over myself, let her be 3, and have the conversation with her when the time is right. chew on her idea if you get the chance. thanks for voicing so much of the similarities going on at your/my house. you've been a fascinating nap break.

Kelle said...

I think Barbie discussions are very funny. I've never seen moms get so heated either making a fuss about their kids NOT playing with her or defending why they do. I am consequently interested in what issues lie beneath this.

We have two hand-me-down Barbies that live in our bathtub. I find them all the time lying in really funny positions on the bathroom floor. I take pictures of them and send them to my sister. And now I am laughing.

I love that your mom saved all your stuff. I love that your parents didn't get divorced, split the momentos and lose most of them in the move to two seperate families.

And I love when your tiny print under photos tells us that a beloved toy/sweater was once yours.

I'm on my way to the grocery store and craving rhubarb something awful now. Perhaps there will be baking tonight.

Love you.

Melissa said...

Nici, having just moved into our first home, I can totally relate to the "stuff issues!" It feels good to settle in though, and I like how the place looks with our junk literally strewn around.

I actually wish I had more stuff from my childhood; I see how tickled Avi is with his auntie's old toys and know he would have loved my Barbie Mobile Home (btw, I know, Barbie is so incendiary, right?).

Happy Spring!

Sian said...

I am so loving spring too! The change in the air is energising and the garden is coming to life and I'm no gardener like you ;) I also throw more than keep and now I'm a mum I'm wishing my mum and me had kept more of my stuff. Its making me hord my children's things even the scribbles. In those scribbles I can see what they were going for. I can see cars and trains that no one else seems to see lol

Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

I totally had that headless Barbie with the pink dress!

Amanda said...

The same thing happened with the space in our home! I remember thinking, "we have so much room!" when we first bought the house. We came from a 3 room apartment, so it seemed huge. Now, we barely have enough room to fit our growing family! I love your spring post. I'm so excited about getting veggie from the yard, too!

dig this chick said...

I think the thing about Barbie is that she is an adult doll. All of my kids' dolls are fictitious creatures or little kids and then there is this grown, curvy, lipstick-wearin' woman that fits in the palm of Margot's hand. It's weird. You know?!

I don't think Barbie is going to warp my daughters' understanding of what a woman looks like. I just think she's kinda creepy.

Will you start sending me photos of reclining post-bath Barbie? ha. x

Montana Pulp Works said...

I only wish my boobs we're that 'perky' when I was lying on my back! LOL!

Happiness is... said...

No barbies here. I was a snoopy girl 100%. I still have my smallest and largest snoopy dogs with the wardrobe and a bunch of outfits. I love seeing Alex play with them and my raggedy ann, who only has one eye left. The other threaded eye disappeared with the years, but gives the effect of a winking girl.

So cool that your mom saved these items and that you've had a chance to dig through them.

-Jennifer from Annapolis

Tara said...

Every Monday I blog about my childhood treasures. I've been avoiding the barbies but they were a pretty big part of my childhood. My girls play with them now in the dollhouse their daddy built for them. I think they will be o.k. too!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

So that's rhubarb. Huh. The year after we moved to this place I was very sure I had surprise rhubarb growing near the property line. I squealed with delight and posted a picture on my blog. A picture of a poisonous, rhubarb-impersonating weed.

Incidentally, did you ever break a stalk off and suck on it when you played, as a kid? It seems like not such a great idea, in hindsight.

Also, Calvin yanked Ken's head off tonight in the tub, so your photo seems especially timely.

I feel like I could just keep going here..but I will not.

jen said...

we have a ken-ish doll that routinely loses his head. and it cracks us up like crazy. and it's fun ... not in the must do her hair and dress her up and this and that ... but in the giving your daughter something that she can use to throw her big-girl voice around a little. in a safe place. with mama and daddy. and then ken's head will fall off and we will all laugh.
and it's ok to just have fun with it. plus my mom kept our mc hammer doll. and that is awesome for some superty cool cell phone pictures to send to friends. complete with hammer pants. oh yes.
but the barbie shoes? are a pain. in. the. ass.

Steph Hamilton said...
This post has been removed by the author.
sweetnektar said...

Love this post as we have recently planted a garden (mostly all organic and even getting into the heirloom seeds now, very exciting!!) and tonight I made apple and rhubarb crumble, and damn it was good!! Barbie is who she is....yes she is creepy and yes we all want our boobs to look like that but the thing your Margot will remember most is that she belonged to you once upon a time. :)

rebecca said...

,,,just read your mother's comment,,,i was a bluebird and campfire girl too! (smile),,,yes, i remember selling mints and other candies and like you i always sold lots of boxes of candies and would win some sort of gift and receive the "bead" we sewed on the garment that we wore at state meetings,,,what a hoot thinking back on those days,,,good times (smile),,,i agree, barbie is "creepy",,,

Abs said...

My grandparents had a vintage set of Barbies with handmade clothes made by my aunt and grandmother. They were awesome. They lived in my grandparents' attic and my sister and I would sneak up there and probably fight over who got to wear the pink velvet coat. Now, some of the items are at my Mom's house and my little girl gets to play with them when she visits. I especially love the short-haired Barbies. The long hair only looks good for about 5 minutes after removing her from the box, but the short haired gals are still looking great!

Bikini By 30 said...

My Cabbage Patch Kids' name was Meredith Sadie, but for some reason, in my infinite five year old wisdom, I felt that Carol was a more appropriate name. In true Cabbage Patch rage fashion my Dad stalked a shipment to our local toy store to get his hands on one. Carol lives in my parents attic somewhere and now I really want to see her!

FinnyKnits said...

Well wouldja look at that? The rhubarb *does* boil up from the ground. I wish mine had lived through the winter (no idea what happened there), but I'm hoping to give it another shot.

Mrs Mason said...

Totally with you on the Barbie debate


Definitely a Sinday girl!

Sarah said...

I don't like barbie at all and my 5 year old loves them. People give them to her for birthdays and Christmas, and I'm too much of a wimp to say to our friends, "uhm, I'm not allowing her to play with those, so thanks but no thanks." I'm not a wimp because I'm afraid of my daughter; I just don't want to hurt friends' feelings. So I had a conversation with Anna Cate whereI said, "what's so great about Barbie anyway?" And, she said, "she has a lot of friends like I have a lot of friends." I was satisfied with that. I would have been sad if she said, oh she is pretty.
Happy Spring!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...