Somewhere between Elsa and Katy Perry

My daughters watch themselves dance in the window reflection. Margot tucks her shirt in, untucks it. Sways her hips from side to side. Tucks it in again. Spins on one foot, her bejeweled plastic heels stomping the turn to a stop.

Mama, when I am 12 I want to fly all the way across the country all by myself with no mom or dad!

Ruby believes she invented the side ponytail. She spends at least 10 minutes smoothing every hair into this intention every morning. The hairstyle changes in one hour. By the end of the day it’s always down, a tangled mess of blond.

Mama, I feel so beautiful.

They visit my sewing studio in search of fabric for the day’s cape. They play kittens, babies, school, family, princesses and vacation. They carry purses full of treasures on their shoulders at all times. Rocks, coins, lip balm, carousel tokens, tiny stuffed sheep, tinkerbell, drawings.

Margot is 6 1/2. I remember wearing a 6x, remember my cat peachy folder, Mrs. Ryding, my mom’s soft brown locks. My girl is promising swirl of thoughtfulness, wisdom, confidence and gumption.

Ruby studies her sister, often torn by wanting to do what Margot does and wanting to do what she wants. She usually does what she wants. Ruby is a promising swirl of tenderness, earnestness, resilience and courage.

I really want my own room but I can’t even handle not sleeping with my sister. Ever.

Our entire family knows every word to every song on the disney pandora station. The girls feel like they win at life, many times a day, when Do You Want to Build a Snowman and Let it Go come on. Recently, the interest has shifted, especially with Margot. She now likes the Katy Perry station. Ruby prefers “princess music.” They talk it through and bounce back and forth until I call it quits and call on Gillian Welch.

You’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
Do you want to build a snowman?
Or ride our bikes around the halls?
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through

My daughters want to be together all the time. Even when they argue, pinch and hit — they sit with it. Sit with each other. I feel proud of this, proud of them. One of my primary parenting goals is to give my daughters each other. To support them in their authentic love and problem-solving; to give it to them instead of stepping in to manage. To hope for a strong relationship between them that outlives me. To show them what it’s like when someone always has your back. Inclusivity, empathy, compromise, listening, sharing — all these vital life skills are learned in my daughter’s shared bedroom and through their shared experiences.

(the story of the turtle we found in the road, in the middle of nowhere)

(the story of the toad at the river)

My husband and I are witnessing change that is both profound and ordinary, as our kids cut deeper into their channel of self-discovery and personal style, as they sort through this world. Andy and I swim beside them – in our own channels – sharing their light, sharing our light. Together, finding our way.

We leave tomorrow for one last summer hurrah – a 10 day road trip. After a very full few weeks of working to prepare for this time away, I cannot wait to get out and about, exploring. Our family is at its best when out there, I believe. Oh the glory of no cell service! The blessing of nothing to do but talk and play made-up games in the woods! The time to just be, somewhere between Elsa and Katy Perry, together.

weekend camp trip details:

first night (forested images): Lake Alva Campground
second night (river images): River Junction Campground
lost turtle: on the road to Upsata Lake
last photo, THE BAG: by Dharma Door, my new favorite everything tote. My friends own Dharma Door, a company that designs & sources Fair Trade, sustainable homewares and lifestyle products. You can have 15% off your order with coupon code DIGTHISCHICK.

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There’s Nothing To Be Afraid Of Sister

Who hosts a big ol’ summer sale in her shop during the busiest season of the year the week before going out of town? This girl! (pictured with her children)

Getting out the door is my nemesis but also my gift. Meaning, it takes me hours longer than I ever think it will and I am a crazed, unorganized, last-minute packer. But! I always succeed at getting out the door. Just like I can always carry one more thing, I can always squeeze one more task in an hour. I can always accommodate one more dinner guest. I can always get shit done when prize of Leaving Town glistens on the horizon.

The day we left I woke at 5am. I went for a run, did all of our laundry, worked for a few hours, packed everything for a week of camping, planned meals and went grocery shopping and, by 3pm, my daughters and I were on the highway getting outta town. The house was unbelievably messy but I assured myself Andy would be bored and in need something to do while we were away. Or at the very least, proud of us for leaving at a reasonable hour and not forgetting anything.

We usually go to Lake Mary Ronan for a week with my family but this year my parents couldn’t make it and my husband couldn’t make it so I changed things up a bit. Margot, Ruby and I camped for a few days on our way. We chose Rainy Lake. I think this will be a new tradition every year before Lake Mary Ronan because oh, we loved this lake and campground.

On the first night, I prepared tofu curry and rice on our little cook stove. Something smelled funny, sounded funny. Continue reading

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joy full

I stood in my plot last night, the sun down but the sky still bright with lavender and honey. A doe walked by with her two freckled fawns. We saw her pregnant and then saw the babies brand new. We see them every day, marking the passing of summer with the fading of those white dots.

GIRLS. I whisper yelled to my daughters and they took giant tip toe steps to my side. The fawns nursed, violently pulling and biting at the doe. She steadied herself against the feast, swaying between her two babies, just on the other side of the garden fence. She then jumped straight up and over the fawns. They stumbled and followed after her. She kicked at them. They stopped and waited. She locked eyes with the fawns. She said something with her eyes. She walked, they followed, right at her side up the hill into the night. Good night.

I run in the mornings, usually pushing Ruby while Margot bikes by my side. Sometimes they don’t want to go. Usually, they really don’t want to go. They protest and hold grumpy stares as I tie my shoes and begin. I tell them I need this and we are in it together. I tell myself that they will remember riding creekside as the sun greets the day, they will remember our conversations about the difference between diamonds and crystals, they will remember a strong mama who gives all day and asks for this from them. I hold my tongue when the run is over. I want to say See! Look how awesome we all feel! Look how fun that was! Look at your smiles! I don’t. They know. I believe joy eclipses annoyance, especially when we make it so.

Ruby: Margot, is the end of the world coming? Continue reading

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strawberry jammin’

Last week, my daughters and I spent a morning knee-deep in strawberry plants, the air thick with heat and sweetness. The night before we realized Ruby’s vision and slept in the tent on the trampoline. MAMA, she said, so stunned by her own brilliance she was barely able to speak the words. I have THE BEST idea.

I had my usual foraging tunnel vision: my body bent over, my arms sweeping green leaves from side to side, my eyes earnestly in search of the shiny red prize. Despite the fields being somewhat picked over, we managed to gather up 16 pounds.

Margot and Ruby ran the rows and sat in the shade with friends. In between bites of peanut butter sandwiches and games of tag, they joined the mamas in picking.

I remembered last year in this field. I held Ruby much of the time. Margot tired of the experience after about an hour. This year we walked the field for more than two hours and never once was I asked to leave. I took note, appreciating this increasingly autonomous season of parenting. And just a little bit missing the last.

Like this year, last year I stayed up into the dark, quiet hours past midnight making strawberry jam. Listening to music, my hair stuck to my humid neck as I stirred the sticky, jammy mess. Continue reading

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dig this summer sale

We are having a super spectacular summer sale over at GEO right now!

July 7-13 >>> 25% off everything (including sale section)


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