hump day nuggets: look both ways

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

“Mama, it’s still dark out?!”

“Yep. The mornings are dark now. It is dark more and more as we move away from summer and toward winter.”

“Next summer we’ll have sun.”


Now I do believe Margot is BRILLIANT but it really isn’t true that she understands the proximity of the sun to the northern hemisphere and its relation to the seasons. She says, “next summer ____” a lot these days because, I realized, that’s what I say a lot. Like, “Mama when can Ruby walk to the park with me?” and I say, “Next summer Ruby will walk to the park with you.” Or, “Can Ruby have ice cream?” to which I respond, “Next summer Ruby might like to eat ice cream.”

Margot is a diva. A very unique diva who like darker hot pink panda bears tucked in yellow diapers, her ‘pineapple’ skirt,
two coats, six (six!) socks on her left foot, elmo slippers and sparkly sunglasses.

She’s really into “last night” and “tomorrow” and “the other day” and “next week.” It’s very darling in that way parents think every little thing their kid says is darling.

“Mama, last night that deer crossed the street by the alley and the car hit him. He has a broken leg. I am really sad about that. Remember that, mama?” This is a daily conversation about this very thing happening last June while we were in downtown Helena. “Yes I remember. It made me sad too.” We process it thoroughly and decide he may or may not be ok but it is ok to feel sad about it and good to remember to look both ways before crossing the street.

Every day when Andy gets home from work he asks Margot what she did that day and she always says, “We went to the carousel and the library and the museum!”

It has me thinking about how kids create their own realities. How, really, we all do. Why not re-remember a sad situation and develop a timeless, positive lesson time and time again? Why not visit the carousel, library and museum every day?


:: Picking the last of the season’s raspberries with our best pal and neighbor, Laura.


:: Lounging on the sidewalk with pals in the tart fall sun.


:: Sometimes I am so preoccupied with all the stuff I want to accomplish while my kids nap that I don’t look at this. And then I look at this and think it’s pretty cool.


:: Rhubarb.


I am so moved by all of your comments and emails from Monday’s column. Thank you for allowing me this space to process and for responding in such beautiful, real ways. You all really do change me. I am better for your words.

I was a little nervous to post it because I have been writing a lot about Ruby’s first month and thought response might be along the lines of yeah yeah move on. I got an email this morning and want to share a piece of what she wrote:

Please always post when you are compelled to about that dark place with Ruby because it will always live somewhere within. “Moving on” is not only so American Society style, but does not capture the essence of this is not a move on kind of thing. We mothers will forever get it…..

Sincere thanks for all you amazing, powerful people out there.


:: We carved a pumpkin with “heart eyes and a big, great smile”


Totally unprompted. Andy grabbed the camera and Margot said, “mama, I want a kiss please.”
“That’s my pumpkin. I grew it from a seed y’all.” Click here to see it lit.

:: Ruby and 16 Months dig each other.


:: There is as much beauty in end of life as in loud bloom. Don’t you think?


:: Backyard play in the fall. Good stuff.


:: Woot! for Soapwalla Kitchen, a new dig sponsor. Rachel lives in Brooklyn and makes organic, vegan skincare products with real, high-quality ingredients in her apartment kitchen. Um, yes, she’s cool.


I have the Luxurious Moisturizing Body Oil and it is for sure luxurious and moisturizing. I am not sure if I am supposed to put it on my face but I do every morning and it works WONDERS in this dry Montana air. It smells divine and absorbs beautifully. Really, I love it. I also have the deodorant and IT WORKS. Even on my mama pits.

Dear readers, you can support this very awesome business, have glowing skin, smell really great AND get a deal! To get 10% off your purchase, enter ‘DIG10’ at checkout. Thanks, Soapwalla!

:: Did you know a dog poo rake doubles as the perfect toddler toy? Cheap fun we have ’round here.


:: My grandfather Dutch, who was a helluva a guy, had this tee made for me. Nick the Rock was his name for me. My mom didn’t so much care for the name but I’m glad she saved this tee.


:: Skyping with gram while opening Epic Halloween Package. My mom individually wraps every little thing in her packages creating the most magical experience for my kids. Love you, mom.

Notice those toes poking out from the tired sole of the beloved elmo slippers.

:: My first memory is from when I was nearly three. I wonder what Margot’s first will be.


:: I can’t stop freaking out over the trees in our neighborhood.


And, so, there’s less sunlight this time of year but it seems just as warm. It has some to do with the thick blankets we haul out. It has some to do with the thick blankets of leaves and then snow. It has a lot to do with cuddling and chatting. And I think it has everything to do with outlook.

Tomorrow we are going to the carousel, museum and library.

34 Responses to hump day nuggets: look both ways

  1. Marti says:

    Yes it does have everything to do with outlook! Skype is a wonderful thing – it allows me to talk to my brother while he is in Afghanistan and it allows Ivy to talk to her favorite cousin Charlie!

    After keeping up with yours and Kelle’s blog for a while now I was inspired to write down my daughters birth story. Check it out on my blog if you ever have time. Don’t quit writing about Ruby and dark that time was. It is very good therapy that you need and you never know who you might be helping get through another dark moment.

    Much Love!

  2. Sage says:

    That sunflower! Absolutely stunning. Ah Fall, oh how I love thee….the colors, the light, the coming in and getting warm. This season for me is filled with lots of gathering and nesting and cooking, all in preparation for a big new change. Life is good. Glad it is for you too. xo

  3. KWQR says:

    Your site is my new marker for what day it is… beautiful nuggets? Must be Wednesday! :-)
    Love Margot’s carousel, museum, library trifecta… at our house it is the merry-go-round, pony ride and Grandma’s house that are (re)visited almost daily. Funny how we pick & choose our own remembering as well… intense joy or pain cutting deep into our memory banks.
    Love love LOVE the orange and yellow of your trees… I so miss seeing these changes in nature. This is one area where Cali is missing out bigtime.
    We are carving our pumpkins tonight… tho more likely to be regular ol’ triangle’s… love the heart eyes on yours.

  4. Sarah says:

    I love it when you’ve posted something new for me to read in my 18 minute lunch/pump time here:) In our household, we just had the conversation about sun/darkness and Fall/Summer:)
    On realities…
    My dad had a friend once whose aging mother (of about 10 kids) in a nursing home would watch ESPN and think she was watching all her grandkids play ball. a nice reality:)

  5. Kristine says:

    Hi Nici. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now…hoped over here from Kelle’s little space on the net.
    I just HAD to post today when I saw Margo’s slippers. We have the identical ones…holes and all. 😉 My son just can’t part with them! Oh and one other fun fact….my Mom did the same thing with gifts when I was little. So now that I outed myself, I promise to be a faithful poster. Love your blog so much!

  6. Kelle says:

    Just now read mamadigs and Nici, it’s beautiful. I am preparing to go back up to THE ROOM in the next few weeks and your essay gave me knots in my stomach knowing it’s coming. But the knots that bring good…the ones that dig deep to find the good stuff underneath. Beautiful.

    And nuggs didn’t let down either.

  7. TRB Holt says:

    I Love to too Nici….back soon!

    ps….new Elmo slippers in the works;)!

  8. Such sweetness Nici, outlook is EVERYTHING. Love how you learn from everything and everyone.

  9. Lauren says:

    Oh how I love your photographs. The leaves are amazing.

    Healing is one thing…forgetting is another. You’re where you’re supposed to be, and so is beautiful Ruby.

    Your blog is going in my gratitude journal today…I couldn’t love it more. Thanks for providing some beautiful color and a big smile on what is a dreary day on the east coast.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Nici, you are fabulous! Learning great things from you.


  11. RMAinMD says:

    ,,,reading your blog is like a warm down blanket, it’s like the warm delicious homemade apple pie I can’t wait to sink my teeth in, it’s like the warm summer days which have left us for now only to return months in the distance,,,your nuggets are always good food for my soul,,,and I love “gram” she reminds me much like my own mother who will deliver those much needed new slippers, who lives for her children and grand-babies, and who never forgets half the fun is in-wrapping the items within the box,,,thank you for being spot-on about life,,,each day I learn how I share many of your same passions,,,happy day!

  12. erin says:

    Hi there,

    I’m a new reader, I think I landed here after reading Kelle’s blog. Your blog is so very touching and honest. I find myself coming back and reading more. Your post the other day about visiting the hospital had me gripping at my heart. I can’t imagine the level of emotion that must have been like, but in the end, you have such a joyous outcome….and she’s stunning.

    I live in Naples and am a mom of 2, same ages as your little ones. I love coming to your blog bc I miss the cold falls desperately, even though I wouldn’t trade my Naples “winters” for anything. Your blog reminds me of home, (New Jersey). So, for a very short glimpse of my day, I sort of escape into your “fall.”

    Have a great rest of the week.

    –Erin :)

  13. Amie says:

    Ahhh, I LOVE the worn Elmo slippers! Margot has so much style!

  14. My 3 year old doesn’t want to nap today so she climbed onto my lap to read with me while her sister sleeps, and now she keeps saying, “Mama I need to see Mawgo again”. She wants to keep looking at her pictures and she wants to be her friend, hehe aww….

    I love this post.
    My 3 year old often answers my husband similarly when he gets home, telling him things like we went to see Yo Gabba Live and we had corn pizza for lunch. She has this thing about corn pizza though we have never ever had or talked of such a thing haha =)
    I have been thinking of her first memory too, for the same reason you have been, and wondering what it’ll be. She astonishes me with the things she still remembers even from last summer when she had just turned 2.

    Your pumpkin is SO flippin perfect! Love it.

    Need to go check out soapwalla. I have tried no less than ten natural/organic deodorants but with them all by 2:00 mama ain’t smellin’ so good haha.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for letting us know about the deodorant!

    Now about the sunflower…. Where are the seeds? I have wondered where they are on the flower.

  16. Pam says:

    Oh yay – DO come to the museum!

  17. Tina says:

    Just in case you didn’t know… you’re pretty friggin awesome. You always brighten up my Wednesday with your nuggets, so thanks for that. :)

  18. Cathy says:

    No wonder you’re freakin out about the trees! Those are amazing! Oh and Margot’s pumpkin toally rocks :).

  19. Joan Cline says:

    Great pictures, love them all!! Margot does tend to remember things, like the time she was with me and fell down on the cement on the way to Karen’s. I hope that is not her first memory of me. I want herto remember the day she got her froggy boots, her first little ride, the day I sang the party pooper song to her, or the time…..

  20. Annie says:

    “And I think it has everything to do with outlook.”

  21. Heidi says:

    Love your blog! Don’t forget that there are many women out there that can relate to your Ruby dark times or at least appreciate your fears, gratitude, and other emotions. And although you don’t hear from us, we have positive energy and love to send your way. Mamas are bound together through common experiences:)

  22. Jennifer says:

    What a fun post about fall and your big girl growing up! About Monday’s post, I am anxious to see how you feel after the one year anniversary of 1) her being admitted and 2)bringing her home again. I think you will find those “huge steps”!

  23. Leah says:

    What a great post! I especially love all your pictures. It really does make me so excited to be a mom and have my own children and have all these experiences with them.
    I really love the picture where you are carving the pumpkin and your daughter is kissing you. It’s just precious.

  24. babygalah says:

    Oh I do love your blog ! I love your honesty and warmth.
    My mother-in-law still wraps a heap of tiny individual gifts – Gram style- for us! At 37 and 33 my partner and I love it!!!
    Hope you have a great week :)

  25. Katie says:

    There are annoyingly obsessed parents, and then there is you and your wonderful, beautiful, hilarious, interesting children (and husband). And coming from someone who doesn’t want kids, I love hearing all the stories and living vicariously through you (and especially through the little things Margot says! Melt.). Keep up the amazingness! Hugs, Katie

  26. I’m about to be very, very redundant. Please forgive. It’s just so…perfectly cosmic, that’s all. Because I just put up a post, then my next stop was here, and I read this: “There is as much beauty in end of life as in loud bloom. Don’t you think?” and I got that strange, slight vertigo feeling, like when someone is reading your mind and it’s so clear that you are sure you must be wrong.

    That’s a high-drama way of saying “Girl? You and I continue this dual march”. We may choose a different color of paper and ribbon, but the guts of the gift are the very same.

    I love it.

  27. FinnyKnits says:

    Oh MY WORD – please tell me you go running through those falling yellow leaves!

    I see Margot doing it – you go join her – that is just simply stunning and I am JEALOUS.


  28. Emily says:

    You write “Why not re-remember a sad situation and develop a timeless, positive lesson time and time again? Why not visit the carousel, library and museum every day?” right before thanking readers of your blog for allowing you to revisit Ruby’s early days again and again…ironic? You are processing through the dark days, but not being consumed by them. This is necessary. The only way OUT is THROUGH and, once you are OUT – why not remember the journey a little differently? With a positive spin? With the knowledge of what did come AFTER and how wonderful THAT is? Re-remember…but never forget…that is how we make it through this little thing called life.
    Great post. Love the diva pics! Can hardly wait to see the COSTUMEs!
    Thank you for sharing…for sharing ALL of you. oh, and – Beautiful exerpt from your reader’s email.

  29. Lola says:

    Love your blog, and your creative spirit(and your girls……).

    Please, write as much as you need to in order to heal completely. It’s therapy for you and for us. It’s part of your story, of who you and Ruby are. And many can relate to your story……

    Leaving in FL I really enjoy looking at all the beautiful Montana pics…..FALL and cold weather!!! :)

  30. Adriana Iris says:

    TY for a beautiful post.

  31. Ellie says:

    I really like your comment about kids creating their own realities. Margot replying the same thing every day to the question of what she had done that day is, indeed, quite brilliant. I just listened to a conversation on KQED (Bay Area NPR) with a Los Angeles book critic who has written a book about the value of reading books.
    He had some wonderful insights about the value of memory in a world consumed by the continuous present which technological gadgets create: as I recall, he argued that remembering is, indeed, a creative act, and by not allowing ourselves the quiet time to forget and then re-remember, we are losing the ability to revisit our past in a creative way. Something along those lines.
    I also love this sentence: “It’s very darling in that way parents think every little thing their kid says is darling.” Feeling it right now, as I can’t believe my ears every time I hear my 12-month old try to mouth a new word, a few times a day; but I know other people are being merely kind when they ooh-and-aah as I tell them about our milestones.

    Happy Fall.

  32. Aunt Deb says:

    Nice job, Nici. It is nice to catch up with you and yours thru your blog. Love the pics. Margot has that little sparkle in her eye like Charlotte. You never know what they are going to say or do next. Love you lots…Aunt Deb

  33. Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this blog post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!