hump day nuggets: now, then

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

This morning, I searched through my blog archives looking for a post. I rarely do this. It is strange and kind of wonderful to remember, to see and read what I was thinking and doing. I like blogging.

A year ago, I was still terrified for Ruby’s life. She was off the apnea monitor but we were still doing heart monitoring. I don’t think I had slept in months. It took a while to bond with Ruby because I had distanced myself when she was on life support and kept worsening. She lived right there close to my heart for months, all day, every day. And slowly, cautiously and eventually, like a powerful wave, she plunged right into my heart.

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Two years ago, we returned from a two week vacation to Portland and northern California and I felt chubby and tired. I wondered….I didn’t say anything to Andy and took a pregnancy test about 23 seconds after we got home. And, lo, little Ruby Jane registered as a plus sign. I gave Margot the test and told her to go show her papa. He asked Wait, what? Really? at least five times. Really.

Three years ago, I was wonderfully blown away by the love I felt for a four month-old Margot. I had just gone back to work at the museum and she came with me every day, nursed while I worked, played while I was in meetings, slept under my desk. She met Obama.

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Four years ago, I dug in the same garden, cooked in the same kitchen, ran with the same dog, held hands with the same husband. The difference? Cells were dividing in my uterus. Oh man were we ever surprised at that information. Digging, cooking, running and hand holding forever changed.

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nuggets.

:: Everything is messy these days. The everyday activity seems to be amped up about 17 notches. Painting turns into piles of color and little red footprints around the kitchen, puzzle pieces find their way into every one of my shoes, at any given moment there are at least three socks on the floor in every room, muddy boots lounge in corners, garden tools are inside and my jewelry is outside. This morning I found Margot’s easter basket under our bed. It was full of chopped carrots.

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I think it is because I don’t have a baby and a kid anymore. I have two kids.

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:: Last year I made these felt eggs for the backyard hunting.

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And, this year, I am making them to sell! There are only 10 15 sets available (wow! sold out right away…I added 5 more and that’s really all I can do by easter. thanks!) They work great, don’t break and land in the trash. They are colorful and securely hold jelly beans, erasers and other such items the easter bunny brings. And, they are made by a mama in her basement instead of a machine in a factory. What’s not to love?

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The draw strings also allow for crafty egg placement.

:: Ruby talks to the hens in this cockacockacocka chant that melts my heart.

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:: Having two bipedal children is so freeing while outside. I feel light as a feather as I flit about the garden, while bug runs busily from rock to rock to see if any ants live underneath and Ruby swaggers behind, her faithful follower.

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:: Speaking of bipedal, sweet potato glows with all that is beautiful in the world as she moves forward on her own two feet.

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:: In the garden, Margot really likes to do whatever I do and this can be tricky when dealing with itty seeds and excited hands. Large seeds like peas, beets, beans, squash etc. work wonderfully for excited hands. 
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Diary of a Worm is one of our favorite books around here. And I am quite certain it has deepened Margot’s respect and curiosity of the amazing critters. As we dig, chicken collects all the worms in a bucket, talks to them, feeds then dirt and weeds. And, then she enthusiastically, carefully replaces them in the garden to “disappear under the ground.”
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:: Margot is such a little girl. I have been hanging on to the word toddler for some reason. I said it the other day while watching her pirouette and plié about our home in a carefully crafted outfit and immediately realized I was watching a girl who crossed toddler off her resume many months ago.
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She’s always been feisty and independent but now? Now, I have sincere visions of her at 18, fearlessly hopping on an airplane with a one-way ticket to Egypt. It might be because I am her mom, but I really feel that this daughter of mine will do incredible things in her life. She’ll pave her own path and I think I will be wonderfully surprised and inspired by her choices.
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:: I dusted off my favorite spring skirt last weekend as the temps felt beach-like when the sun peeked from behind the chilly clouds. 
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:: The sun really does change everything. It is so lovely that the bright ball hangs out after dinner, allowing us to meander about our neighborhood before tucking in for the night.
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:: A big, fat welcome back to dig sponsor Soapwalla Kitchen. I have talked before about my allegiance to the deodorant and body oil.

Newish to me are the Restorative Face Serum and the Organic Lavender and French Clay Facial and Body Soap Bar. I use the soap bar only on my face and I completely adore the smell, the consistency, the clean. And, the face serum? It completely cleared up this annoying dry skin rash thing (dermatitis) I had around my eyes all winter. Also, her stuff works so well that you need so little. Everything lasts a long time.

Rachel is awesome and makes all of these things in her wee New York City apartment. She is offering you all 10% off your purchases this month! Coupon code: DTC11. Thank you Soapwalla!

:: We made more of the figgy bars and I have the satisfying stats all ironed out. I updated the recipe with this info: The store bought fig bars are $6/pound and the recipe yields three pounds for $6! 

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Also, I rolled the dough way thinner and I like this batch better.
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:: One of my favorites right now: Margot and Ruby work together to pull chairs to the back window so they can watch the chickens. “See that Rubes? That is Peanut and that one is 16 Months. And there’s Maude. Cooper must be laying an egg or something.” And Ruby nods and says “cockacockacocka.”
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Um, It isn’t snowing. I cleaned this window after I saw this photo.

:: And, ending these nuggets with this beautiful moment that for real made me cry happy, grateful tears. Andy and I sat on the floor together and watched our daughters dance together. Free, open, content, healthy, present. 
Ruby dances.
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Happy hump day out there.

:: :: ::

except for the first three, all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com

53 Responses to hump day nuggets: now, then

  1. Isn’t is fun to have two kids?!
    I love all parts of watching them grow together.
    I also love being outside with them…two bipeds is much easier!
    I like to look back at old blog posts…I only wish I had started blogging earlier. I didn’t start until my little guy was almost 1. I feel like that first year of his life will be hard for me to remember because of that. I keep searching through old e-mails to find things that I sent to family. Maybe one day I can add those to my blog…
    As always, thanks for sharing!

  2. you have gorgeous girls :)

    what a great life you live!

    xoxoxo

  3. you have gorgeous girls :)

    what a great life you live!

    xoxoxo

  4. you have gorgeous girls :)

    what a great life you live!

    xoxoxo

  5. you have gorgeous girls :)

    what a great life you live!

    xoxoxo

  6. you have gorgeous girls :)

    what a great life you live!

    xoxoxo

  7. Brandi says:

    Ruby DANCES!!! So much fun! :)

  8. jen says:

    oh goodness. way to make this mama all teary as i sneak a peek at your life while waiting for the bell to finally ring releasing me into my superty long weekend … i love working a 3 day week.
    also … i can’t wait to go home and watch my kids dance. i think i may have mentioned to you once or twice that the having of daughters is AMAZING. add a baby boy to that mix … and dude. i swore up and down that i couldn’t have a boy.
    and oh.my.heart.
    he has it.
    though my girls make me swoon daily too.
    we too have been loving that sun after dinner.

  9. Zoe says:

    Oooh, I love the dancing picture. Right now, I have two dancers and a little nearly 7 month old lump who hangs out on her play mat while being entertained by the whirling dervishes that are her big brother and sister. Before I know it, she’ll be twirling too.

  10. Tonya says:

    I don’t think there is anything I love more than a dancing baby!

  11. T. Nelson says:

    Beautiful. I have warm fuzzies from reading your blog today. Thanks. :)

  12. Melina says:

    Ahh, in my 26 year old world of childless, single and running around wondering what to make of myself, I love an infusion of onesies, seedlings, baby (excuse me! toddler!) cheeks and little girl grins. Its obvious how much time, energy and gratitude you put in these posts. Thank you!

    xox
    Melina

  13. Tina says:

    I forgot about those fig bars you posted, I really wanted to try those out! Definitely going on a scavenger hunt for that recipe as soon as I’m done typing this!

    From the way you always write about Margot, I totally agree with you that she’s going to do amazing and inspiring things in her lifetime. She seems like one special little firecracker of a girl!

    Ruby is so precious and sweet. You should video tape her “cockacockacocka” for all of us to hear because I’m dying to hear it! My youngest daughter just started with walking most of the time rather than crawling and it’s been such a thrill for all of us. My favourite is when Brooklyn will say, “OH MY GOD! Brianna just walked, Mommy!” as if it’s still brand new. :)

  14. Ellie says:

    I like how you believe in your kids. Here in the Bay Area there is so much parental anxiety about raising our kids “the right way,” and it is so contagious, that it is difficult sometimes to remember that the best we can do for our kids is believe in them. That requires a certain abdication of control, and it is not always the easiest thing to do, but it looks like you’re achieving it pretty well.
    I struggle with the question daily: how much to allow them to be “who they are,” and how much to push them gently in directions where I would like them to go?…
    I love the idea of Margot hopping on an airplane to Egypt with a one-way ticket. I hope I can be cool with one of my kids doing that some day.

  15. Ellie,
    The same anxiety exists here and I am not immune. I ask myself the same questions you ask yourself. I write what I feel and also what I hope. It’s the law of attraction…I find that what I think about and write about comes true. Not in the strict sense, of course…but, rather, focusing on what I want makes it so. I want to learn from Margot, to encourage her spunk and honesty.

    I also hope I am cool with Margot hopping on a plane to Egypt! Thankfully I have some time to get used to the idea.

  16. Ellie says:

    I think you are on to something, Nici. I think there is much to be said about wishing it so to make it happen so. Kids feed off that kind of energy, which is why when I catch myself thinking anxiously about this and that looming on the horizon for our growing chicks, it helps to just turn on the music and watch them dance. My kids, too, love to dance, especially our 18-month old. She actually picked up a scarf today and came over to the CD player and started yelling, “moo…eeekk! mooo….eek!” It was darling.

  17. Melissa says:

    Ruby IS getting older and less baby-like. I caught her putting the last of ALL of the pegs to Owen’s little workbench into the heating vent! I couldn’t believe she’d done it. I looked at the older kids, and they shrugged. She’d done ALL of it. Brilliant. And somehow I’d feel okay about Margot flying to Egypt if she were with Owen. ;) Or vice versa.

  18. Lois Lane says:

    love this paragraph: Margot is such a little girl. I have been hanging on to the word toddler for some reason. I said it the other day while watching her pirouette and plié about our home in a carefully crafted outfit and immediately realized I was watching a girl who crossed toddler off her resume many months ago.

    love your writing.

  19. TRB Holt says:

    LOVE this….I’ll be back.

    xoxo

  20. Lola says:

    This is such an awesome post! Love the beginning…..How you go back to previous years and compare…..and nuggets. Love nuggets!!!
    I checked a few times during the day because I knew that it was going to be a good one. :) You are inspired and it shows!!!

    Your girls are awesome!!! So very special!!! Love; the relationship they have, their similarities and differences, Margot’s personality, Ruby’s conversations with the hens…..and the pic of your girls dancing (Love how Alice is laying there while they dance around her)
    Definitely made me smile!

  21. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first part of this post about your last four years … *sigh* As always, your writing and your photography of your girls make me want another baby girl RIGHT NOW. :)

  22. mistene says:

    I love thinking back in our past by years. My husband and I do it alot now that our first is days away from being one.

    And I LOVE Ruby dancing! So cute!

  23. Denise says:

    Awww, this is one of the sweetest posts! Your girls are amazing and I love how you speak/write about them! Reading this just makes me want to have another child so badly! I can’t wait to see how my Charlotte will interact with a sibling. Thank you for sharing with us!

  24. Emily says:

    There is something really special between sisters – I can’t get enough of watching my girls interact and my favorite moment in life is watching them dance together. The little one goes over and wants her big sis to twirl her and it melts me heart! I love the look back posts too!

  25. JCF says:

    I was trying to explain the kid and baby vs. two kids difference to a friend (who has kid and baby) the other day. She didn’t get why having two kids is/can be a lot of work. I pointed out the trip to the park when you’re following one kid with a baby in the Ergo, vs. when you’re chasing two kids in two different directions and trying to make sure neither breaks a bone or runs into the parking lot. The mess in the house is different and bigger. It is harder to catch up. It is also more fun (except for when they fight). I have two kids and a baby now, and I’m eagerly anticipating the three of them playing together and dreading the three of them fighting.

  26. Sarah says:

    Loved this post – thank you for blogging. you just cemented my decision to get pregnant again soon with #2 :)

  27. Nici~
    I loved reading this. I’ve been working on a piece so similar for the last few days. I have typed *my boys* a few times this week and a part of me reels back, wanting to backspace those letters. And then I think…yep~my boys! They’re growing and rocking and I am along on this extraordinary journey. Such a gift.
    I’ll hold that mental image of Ruby dancing close to my heart. It seems so long ago, although for you and Andy I’m sure it’s still so close to home.

    ps..glad you love blogging. I love feeling like somehow, someway our paths still cross. I adore watching your girls and you grow. xo

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  29. Erin says:

    Hi Nici

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I have a 13month old girl (whom I adore!) and you really capture and put into words the magic, fun, emotion, and comedy that is motherhood. Thank you. Its also fun seeing what Ruby is up to and I know what’s around the corner for my little one.

  30. Kelle says:

    “One way ticket to Egypt”. It is on my mind a lot these days with Lainey. Hell, with Nella too. It’s going by so fast.

    I always love when you flashback on posts. It reminds me of the early days when I didn’t “know” you.

    And there is something magical in your posts when Montana wakes up in the spring. So much life in so many ways.

    xo

  31. Jenn says:

    Dangit Nici, you had me crying with that picture of Margot on her bike riding away and your beautiful words as you described her.

    And holy smokes, look at Ruby so big now! I mean wow, she has really grown!

    I also love the tutu and gardening combo. I definitely need to learn to love life in that way. Have a great week!

  32. Malissa says:

    I love this post. The carrots in the basket under the bed…hilarious! Margot is definitely little girlish! I love the photos of your girls in this post. They look like beautiful and delightful little girls. Have a great weekend. :)

  33. Annie says:

    Reflecting back to the same point in previous years…I like that.
    Those bars look delicious…I’ll have to try them this weekend!

  34. rebecca says:

    ,,,speechless,,,twice in 1 week!,,,(smile),,,egypt and turkey and africa and guatemala, and indonesia, and europe,,,her passport will be stamped with countries people only dream of,,,she’s going to grow up and do big things because she’s a product of her home where big things are always cooking and in the works,,,thanks for the “nuggs” always delicious, as yummy as those figgies look,,,i can’t stay speechless it just doesn’t bode well with me,,,(smile),,,went to the women’s health rally in DC thought of you, sure could have used margot by my side,,,2 spit-fires are way better than 1,,,

  35. The dancing sisters and adoring parents, what a lovely picture you paint.

  36. Amie says:

    Your girls are so precious! Don’t you just LOVE the sister bond?! I could watch my little girlies all day. Mmmmm…

  37. Minnesotagal says:

    Always love nuggets! I also really love Ellie’s and your comments. I am a firm believer that you create your own reality/destiny. I love reading your (and Kelle’s – that’s how I found you) blog because of how positive it is. I recently posted on Kelle’s blog about how much I appreciate the positivity. I get so exhausted and drained when I hear mothers go on and on about how exhausting mothering is. I know it is, I live it every day and I really want to honor their reality but I personally need and want to focus on the positive, wonderful things that happen. I feel less tired when I don’t think about how tired I am. Less cranky about the mess and chaos when I focus on the pure joy that my son derives from creating said mess and chaos. I choose to live optimistically, positively and energetically. I got a fair amount of flack recently from a fellow mom for seeming trite or superficial or naive – but I really don’t see it that way. I am a self proclaimed lemonade maker and while some people may feel that sucking on sour lemons is a more honest reality, I also see the karma that seems to follow. I am not happy and lucky and blessed because I am ignorantly blissful but because I have consciously shaped my reality that way. There is tremendous power in the thoughts, actions and words that we use to shape our life and I love gathering strength from such a positive and powerful voice as yours!

  38. Amanda says:

    I love them! My older daughter is turning four in just a week, and I just recently realized that I should probably stop calling her a toddler, too! My youngest is 9 months, and we’re still waiting for her to crawl, let alone toddle, but she’s taking her time. That’s so totally fine by me, because I can’t even think about the fact that so soon, I won’t have a baby anymore! Just two big kids on an adventure. :)

  39. from mel says:

    your posts are so magical.
    your choice of words is beautifully poetic.
    i choke up nearly every time.
    and with the added soundtrack of ray lamontagne, i’m always in for a great treat. thank you!

  40. Katie says:

    Love the lookback post. It’s been really fun to watch you over the years. (OK, that sounded creepy!) But really, you;re raising some really awesome kids and when Margot goes off into the world at 18 I have no doubt she’ll be well-prepared.

  41. I’ve been unplugged for almost a week (with the exception of my phone as internet service) and it was so nice to plug back into nugs. As always, they’re wonderful. Love the sister pic with the cloud-ed sky as a backdrop. Nice job.

  42. Oh the comment about Margot – she checked off toddler a long time ago. I’m going through that right now. The baby girl is so long and lean; her soft round cheeks are the only remaining trait of her infancy. And her imagination is blooming. Burst. Pop. There it goes.

    I love Ellie’s commentary about the personal struggle to find the balance between the guiding parent and the blooming child. I leapt out of my skin tonight when Alex asked for ballet lessons. 10 years of my life. Could history repeat or is that me talking? I reflect on your comment about Margot and the potential of the one-way ticket. What pride. She’s an old soul with a purpose and I love how you honor that in her.

    xo,

    Jennifer from Annapolis

  43. KWQR says:

    Oh how I love the last pic of the girls dancing… just gorgeous! And in the one of baby Margot I can so see the seedling of the big girl she has become.
    Very sad I missed out on the eggs… such a great idea. Please let me know if you can make a set sometime later in the year so I can have them for next easter. (i.e. Save me from my own attempt to make them!)
    Happy spring.
    xo
    Kate

  44. Holly Taylor says:

    Love the carrots under the bed! I used to find grapefruits in my daughter’s bed. It was her “friend” for awhile!
    I love how you balance your postive thinking with reality. I am also a firm believer in the law of attraction, you reap what you sow etc. But I also believe in letting my kids experience reality. I think its important for mamas to show some frustration and emotion. Because that real, there are hard times and bad days for everyone and thats okay. Kids need to know that is okay, and people move past them and get thru them and learn from them. Those days are probably when most of our character is built and most of our wisdom is generated.
    So I appreciate that you let us see both for your family.

  45. Holly, I so agree with you. The most important thing I want to impart on my children is compassion, empathy. I strive to show my kids my honest, real self (and all the emotions that entails) and show my kids that life is all about perspective, that ‘half-full’ is possible for everyone. I have always embraced this approach to life but it is so much more important and big now that I am a mom. My kids are wonderful reminders of how I want to grow, who I want to be.

  46. elizabeth says:

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  47. FinnyKnits says:

    That’s it! I’m making those fig bars this weekend. They’re my running fuel and GEEZ if a box doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg – even at Trader Joe’s

  48. enmouton says:

    that post was just lovely…. really… we have been looooonging to get outside and today we’ve stayed so long i have a sunburn on my now farmer tanned arms… time flies when you’re having fun… cannot wait to start planting the garden… your petit babes are growing and getting cuter with every day… can that be possible?…

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  50. Kelly says:

    You made me cry too! I remember those moments when my girls were younger…watching them together.
    I love your photos. :)

  51. Sian says:

    aw such a lovely post. I just started reading you blog and it’s lovely as is your family x

  52. Daniele says:

    loved this post, love seeing the old pics.
    My 3 yr old and I were looking at her baby albums yesterday… from her first minute, day, week, month. I was literally getting butterflies in my stomach I was so lost in the pictures. Can’t imagine what it’ll be like to look back in 10, 20, 50 years from now ;)

  53. great post!! and I sooo know the socks in every room and the mess! 2 toddlers is tough but oh so fun!! Enjoy those gorgeous girls!