Monthly Archives: May 2011

Don’t you worry, we’ll all float on.

I love the predictability of good, old friendships. Where they effortlessly stroll in the front door like neighbors popping in for a cup of sugar, when the truth is we haven’t seen each other for many months and live many miles apart. Our long weekend involved hikes, bikes, food, hanging, soaks and music. The hikes and bikes were bright green, wilderness, downtown, around the hood. The food and hanging was fresh, plentiful, homemade bread, rhubarb pie, swinging, soup, chilaquiles, reading, ice cream, pancakes, coffee chats. Again. The soaking was the funky sweet sulphur town of Hot Springs, Montana. The music was abundant: Arann happily narrated our days with Margot’s toy guitar until we fetched him a proper grown-up instrument from neighbors. And, we went to the Modest Mouse concert last Friday night. The show was completely great, one of those wonderfully confident and content nights rife with reflection on the good ol’ buzzed college days and gratitude for standing in a field leaning happy into my husband’s frame. I wrote about it in this week’s mama digs: float on. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on Don’t you worry, we’ll all float on….
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hump day nuggets: May

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last weekI think May is my favorite month. Color and warmth that demands I run and feel, rain and chill that pushes me to sit and witness. Oh, May, you manic, lovable creature. Forming nuggets kind of quick(ish) today because my best pals  get to town tomorrow and, currently, their little vacation suite needs some love. Specifically, the entire surface of their bed is covered in laundry. Anyway, laundry is boring. More interesting is the reason for the heap: we have been outside, only passing through our home. How can we possibly focus on socks when peas are growing by the minute? How are we to fold napkins when the rivers sprint to kiss the pedestrian bridge? How can I prioritize anything other than walking among the arrowleaf balsamroot and snow-covered peaks? I know you are picking up what I am putting down. After months of a long, cold, gray winter, my skin craves to touch the air. It’s irresistible. Nuggets. :: We biked to our lovely local family-run farm to fetch flowers and starts. Margot’s choices surprised me. In a greenhouse full of every color imaginable, she chose oregano and a spiky green dude for her pots. Sister knows what she wants. :: The bliss of shared backyard meals. :: Busted out the kiddie pool and just as I was smiling at how peacefully and happily the girls were playing while I planted tomatoes I saw Ruby giggle with excitement, my phone in her chubby grip. It remains quite waterlogged but the bag of rice thing worked. :: My sewing business is growing a bit and involving some travel. Nothing far but every time I follow a river out of our valley, I am gobsmacked at the beauty of where I am from, where I live. :: Squirrel Slayer‘s beautiful blooming trees hang into our yard. No squirrels on this tree. :: “See Ruby? You just put your feet up like this and then your hands like this and then swing like a big kid. Some day you’ll be a big kid. Maybe next summer.” :: The magic of compost. This: Turns into this: Several have asked about my compost method and I must say it is highly unscientific. No, you don’t need sun. Yes, you need to add water if it gets too dry. No, it doesn’t smell. We pile all of our kitchen and yard waste and chicken poo, turn it every few months and voila. :: Our boulevard garden is going to rock this year. I am less afraid of illegality now that boulevard plantings are sprouting up as quickly as spinach in Missoula. Ruby helped me plant squash. :: It was my turn for last week’s family night. I made spring rolls and steamed up the last of 2010′s beans and we then ventured off to find ducks (even when it is my turn, I am heavily influenced by a certain three year-old) and play on the big blue slide. Tonight, Margot has chosen cheesy noodles (shock!), carrots and ice cream followed by the library. I wonder if I can sway her into putting laundry away? Y’all have asked for our cheesy noodle recipe and, like the compost, it isn’t very scientific, but here’s a stab at a “recipe”: :: Margot’s Cheesy Noodles ::  - pasta (we like egg noodles) - cheese, shredded (any combination will do…cheddar, havarti, parm, mozz, swiss etc.) - milk - butter - flour - tofu, crumbled - carrots, shredded - spinach, chopped Prepare noodles. Make a roux: Melt a generous scoop of butter in a sauce pan over lowish heat. Add enough flour (about the same amount as the butter) and whisk until thick. Add milk (~1/2 cup) and stir until warm. Add shredded cheese (~1 cup) and stir until melty. Add crumbled tofu, shredded carrots and chopped spinach. Mix with noodles and serve. :: While cheesy noodles aren’t gourmet, I do love that it is an entirely local meal (I linked above to our family staples). And the locality is made even easier by my favorite way to grocery shop: Farm to Family Montana. I am so happy this inspiring business is joining us as a dig sponsor. Margot and Ruby love F2F deliveries, diving right into fresh produce. The gist: I shop from my home and a pile of local and organic food is delivered to my home days later for a $5 delivery fee. I support Farm to Family and local farmers and makers (like dig sponsor Wee Chef) and my family eats fresh, awesome food. The prices are competitive (check out the CSAs and produce boxes) and the food quality is outstanding. I really love Farm to Family. Place and order and use coupon code ‘dig this chick’ to get one dozen dozen (free-range, organic-fed, from the Rattlesnake Valley) for free! Thank you, Farm to Family! :: We made dog treats for a certain canine friend who is sick. It was supposed to be a surprise but, while skyping last night, Margot proudly announced to my mom, “We made cookies for Annie!” Annie will still be surprised. I used my recipe but used almond butter and flax instead of peanut butter and cornmeal. They turned out great and my kids like them too. :: Ruby is 18 months old. Goodness, a wonderful age. Holes in the knees of tights, insisted-upon snow boots, wonky haircut given by older sister, always smiling and curious. :: Margot dropped her sparkly darker blue heart hoodie downtown earlier this month among the thousands who were out for our monthly art walk. To her disappointment, we couldn’t find it. And then? Then, I got an email from a reader who found and recognized it from my blog. So we brought Lee a cupcake and fetched the hoodie. Love my town (and readers!). Thanks, Lee! This week, I am looking forward to: staying up late with bffs, an outdoor concert, first lettuce harvest, planting pole beans, bouquets of lilacs, green trail runs. I know June will soon be my favorite. What are you looking forward to this week? happy hump day out there. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: May…
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making clothes and time for dates

So I am having a blast making clothes from clothes. It’s a little challenge I gave myself this spring when I looked in my closet. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding since 2007. That sentence is INSANE. Anyway, styles change in a few years. More importantly, bodies change in a few years. I find myself wearing shirts I once wore as dresses. And I find myself using rags I once wore as shirts. I want new clothes. For free. So, basically, that leaves me one option. Well, a few, but I’m holding off on picking up post garage sale boxes left in alleys. I guess free isn’t exactly honest as I have stacks of new fabric in my basement. And, the clothing I am altering I purchased at one point. But breathing new life into a maternity dress feels like I am winning the lottery so we’ll settle at free. I made this little darker blue sundress for Margot this afternoon from an old maternity dress of mine.  maternity dress made into a sundress for me (FLOP) and then into a sundress for Margot…she’s still napping and I can’t wait to try it on her! I am doing the same for Margot. Ruby is set in that way that all second-daughters-to-older-sisters-who-are-born-at-the-same-time-of-year are set. But bug needs clothes and I have this pile of previously loved shirts and sweaters just waiting for a new spin… I think Andy would give me a hairy eyeball if I tried to make him knickers from an old sweatshirt otherwise I’d be recreating his wardrobe too. Although, he would look cute in knickers… I’ve made a few skirts, shirts and such and I have a stack of ideas waiting. I will be posting before and after shots and details here. Last week I made a dress, fashioned out of an embroidered silk blouse I scored at a naked lady clothes swap party, for Margot that I am quite fond of. I made it up as I went and if one happened a gander at the interior of the frock, one would know I made it up as I went. Anyway, it turned out cute and, most importantly, Margot loves it. She can wear it with the buttons in front or back  She wore it our our date last Friday, with her cowgirl boots of course. I wrote about our adventure, one of the best dates of my life, in my column this week, mama digs: the perfect date.  :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on making clothes and time for dates…
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collecting wishes

“Alright bug, time to head inside for your nap!” I shouted from our boulevard garden. “I just need three minutes to get all these flowers.” And so I helped her collect dandelions for three minutes, this arbitrary time unit she has chosen to mean as long as it takes. The shady patches yield the best weeds: leggy gold tufts towering over grass, shin-high to a three and a half year-old. One well-placed grab and snap through the hollow stem. She remembered the last time she collected her beautiful bouquet. The tangle of bright flora turned into a heap of gray chicken food. She said, “Remember yesterday all my flowers got little and tired?” Yesterday is another time measurement that means sometime before right now. So we filled a bucket with water and the dandelions swam while she slept. Yesterday we collected wishes for three minutes too. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on collecting wishes…
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hump day nuggets: Planet Ruby

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week I don’t feel like I experienced Missoula much last spring and summer. I traveled a bit, had company. I had two small kids and very little sleep. But mostly I think I was on Planet Ruby. You know how you don’t realize how tired you were until you get a solid, heavy sleep? Or, how you don’t get how out of shape you were until you feel your body shift and settle into a stronger place? I didn’t notice my axis had tipped to accommodate a new pull. I didn’t see my new trajectory, the one that kissed the Milky Way goodbye as we spun into another solar system. I was on Planet Ruby, a gentle, protective orb with only one view: a little girl who almost slipped away with the tide. Upon deciding to stay, she curled her toes and fingers right into my flesh. Tethered to my orbit, our magnetism indivisible. I memorized her gurgly coos, her humid breath on my collar bone. Her limbs like roots, my body like soil. I know her every single valley and peak. I know not only because my body grew her but because it is my physical space that formed hers. The curve of her belly sculpted by the C of my waist, her cheeks begged round by my kisses, her right palm scooped out by my left tricep. Now she walks. For the first time in over a year I see her back. She walks away from me. But not too far. The magnetism. I study her stride. It is confident, vibrant and playful. My shoulders are hard as mountains. Erosion happens from the outside in. Crust, mantle, core. Nuggets. :: It was hard to leave this last Saturday morning. But this getaway was pretty nice. :: She’s such a capable big kid. So helpful, so loving, so independent. There are a few, precious baby things she does and I hope they last a while longer. Like, when I pick up her sleeping body, she still slumps into my body all curled up like a newborn. :: We had some crazy wind blow through our valley, snapping three story trees like dry wishbones. The sun was brilliant, the air warm, the current cold. I derailed my windblown, tired family for a photo shoot in a downtown alley last Friday night. We had just crossed the bridge over the swollen, raging Clark Fork River, Andy and I clutching out kids tight while our bodies blew zig zag down the sidewalk. But really, how could I resist a golden tunnel in the middle of Missoula? :: Margot’s best pal, Owen Bruno. Just today she picked out some fabric and asked me to make her a long dress. We started to discuss the shoulders when she said, “No no, mama. This is for Owen. I can’t believe he doesn’t have any dresses. He needs a dress.” :: Homegirl is preparing for Florida retirement with the white socks and flip flops. But sister still gets barefoot to garden. :: Ruby and Alice wander out to the chicken coop every morning. :: Welcome back to dig sponsor Piper & Paisley! If you scored one of her hats, you know it well as I am sure it is your favorite. Seamstress-mama Jen is growing her business and moving into a space in downtown Missoula! To finance her dream, she is running a Snail Sale where you get 25% off your entire order and your hat(s) will land on your head(s) in one-five weeks. Snail-paced. Will you help me pick my new spring-summer hat? Which one of the three above should I order? To get this screamin’ deal, use coupon code ‘SNAILSALE’ at checkout. Thanks, Piper & Paisley! :: My girls’ afternoon naps aren’t in synch and while I miss the three to four hour chunk of time (yes, Margot still naps that long!) I have grown to love the afternoon alone time with each kid. :: Bug has taken to narrating her movement in third person. Like Dad! Here comes a girl up the stairs carrying oatmeal. or Hey Mom! There are two daughters right here who want to read a book with you. Andy went to shut a drawer and Margot exclaimed, “Dad! No! Don’t shut that!” He asked why. “Because a little kid might put her fingers in there!” :: My handsome, kind, funny, gentle, smart husband who I love a lot. And OH that kid on his shoulders. I am not being metaphorical when I say I didn’t look up much last year. My memories of our garden, neighborhood walks, camping, travel, rivers, friends are all remembered through the water of Ruby’s blue moon eyes. I concentrated on the acorn-shaped soft spot on her scalp, I moved through the world with her on my back, on my front, on my hip. All the while I held Margot’s hand, cradled her long body in my right arm, witnessed every millimeter her honey hair grew. My recall is fuzzy and dreamlike, my daughters in sharp focus. After Ruby survived and her six-pound body came home, my daughters crawled into a hidden cave in my heart, our shared blood a depthless river. I held tight navigating this new life as a mama of two with a new fear I hadn’t known before. swinging under the smiling moon past bedtime The world is so vivid this spring. A hopeful, youthful perspective, like we landed back in our galaxy with new gravity. It feels really good to look forward, to look up. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: Planet Ruby…
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