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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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But this getaway was pretty nice.

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:: 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.

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:: 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.

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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?

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:: 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.”

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:: Homegirl is preparing for Florida retirement with the white socks and flip flops.

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But sister still gets barefoot to garden.

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:: Ruby and Alice wander out to the chicken coop every morning.

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:: 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.

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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.

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:: 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.

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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!”

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:: My handsome, kind, funny, gentle, smart husband who I love a lot. And OH that kid on his shoulders.

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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.

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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.

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:: :: ::

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

45 Responses to hump day nuggets: Planet Ruby

  1. TRB Holt says:

    :) !!!!!

    Now to go back and read!

  2. Brandi says:

    My vote is for the black and white cadet! :)

  3. Kelly says:

    Ahh…so great! You’re a beautiful writer. I like the gray hat. :)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. TRB Holt says:

    Your words about Planet Ruby are so beautifully written…words like these can only come from one place…your heart. I had to read & reread….with tears.
    I am at loss for words today….these words, your words say it all…as I read the following I felt like I was reading the preface to a really good book…which it is..Planet Ruby…

    “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.”

    I love you so Nici

  6. You are such a gifted artist on so many levels!! I get lost in your photos and your writing is just exceptionally masterful! You are able to put into words what so many mothers feel but are never able to express. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  7. Gorgeous prose once again. And I know what you mean by not looking up. Sometimes I find myself shocked that I’m not sure which moon cycle we’re in, but I know every rise and fall, ebb and flow of my daughter’s body and breath.

  8. I am totally digging that beige thatched looking hat. :)

  9. Alie says:

    Such fun photos, and amusing stories of Margot, and moving words about Ruby. I vote for the hat on the left:).

  10. Beautiful photos & a beautiful description of your last year. There were a few tears over here!

  11. Amanda says:

    Beautiful, mama. I’m glad you’re able to feel safe enough to look up, again. She made it, and so did you. That’s so pretty and great that it makes my eyes tear up.

  12. Susan S. says:

    Hey Nici!

    I could be wrong, but from just the few partial profile pictures I’ve seen on your blog, it looks like Ruby is starting to resemble your mom. Would you say so? She’s a beautiful little girl and lucky to have such great parents!

    Susan

  13. Jennifer says:

    Awesome post…took me back to Anna’s scary moments. Thanks for posting and enjoy the looking forward!

  14. Marti says:

    That was beautiful!!!

    I don’t remember much about last spring either but for different reasons. Your words and pictures are beautiful just like you and your girls. Keep on keepin’ on!

    I like the khaki-ish hat on the left, I think it would look great with your dark curls.

  15. Lisa says:

    Definitely the gray one…that’s the one I’m getting!

  16. Louise says:

    I think you are a middle hat person! But you know you a lot better than me, hehe!
    Lovely pictures, lovely words. And I could have written your squirrel post, kinda. My neighbor stands on his back deck with a huge BB rifle directed at a hanging ‘man’ he has up in a tree, bordering our fence. The very noise, the way it looks (a man with a gun), the fact I live next door with 2 kids under 4, the whole thing gives me chills. Last week I peeked out my blinds when I heard the bang-bang-bang and saw him randomly shoot high above our house (not to far from my kids bedroom window). Anything that moves or makes a noise, gets shot. What if I opened the window? Would he turn and shoot without thinking? A couple of days later as the kids and I got ready to go out I saw a small bird, its head blown off, nowhere to be seen. Thank god my sensetive boy didn’t see it. How would I explain that to the boy who fills the bird feeder so carefully and who shouts me to come and watch with him when he spies a bird eating from it. There should be laws against this stuff, I don’t care if he is standing in his own yard when he shoots it. I want to protect my children from it.
    Sorry this is long, it felt good to get it off my chest! Next house we buy I am going to stalk the neighbours for a week first!

  17. Tonya says:

    This was a beautiful post from start to finish….I really love the tree picture.

  18. Jasmine says:

    I just found your blog and love it. I especially appreciated your post about labeling blogs and having to fit into one certain category. I struggle with that all the time while writing.

    Its been crazy windy here in Maine as well. Last week a tree in the yard blew down along with our clothesline!

    My vote is for the black and white hat, and if you haven’t named the hens yet what about Raven and Noir?

    Missoula looks like a beautiful place to live. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Nicki says:

    just beautiful, Nici.

    Loving the black and white hat.

  20. Malissa says:

    You write so beautifully. I am in awe.

  21. KWQR says:

    Gorgeous from start to finish.
    Loved this in particular… 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.”
    You are such a beautiful writer.
    I vote for the gray hat… much cuteness!
    And the photo of your getaway?!? Just the idea of hanging with my girlies in such an incredible setting, with wine & good company, oh how I am dreaming of such a treat.
    Happy nuggets,
    Kate

  22. I so remember that first night I actually got a full nights sleep. It was really like you said, as if I didn’t realize how tired I had been for so many years. I crave sleep now. I think I’m still making up for it. Anyway, I like the blue-ish hat on the right. ♥Kyndale

  23. I think I’m probably not the only one who teared up some while reading your beautiful words today. I can relate so much to feeling this way with both of my babies…one (22 lbs at 9 mos old right now) of whom is still carving out a spot in my waist, on my hip and by association, my lower back! 3 1/2 years ago (before the birth of my first baby) I might have stood a little straighter but I’m okay with that. :)

  24. jen says:

    such beautiful words … and what caught me today was your simple words of her humid breath upon your collarbone.
    oh.
    i so know that feeling.
    that milky little baby breath sighing against your shoulder as they breathe you in.
    such simple words that have me longing for another baby …

  25. That was simply beautiful. Limbs like roots, my body like soil. Wow. I agree with Jen that your threading of words makes me crave another.

    What a wonderful assortment of shots this week.

    -Jennifer from Annapolis

  26. Sian says:

    So beautifully written you had me in tears.Thank you for sharing.

  27. Kelle says:

    Exceptionally beautiful words and photos today, Nici. Reading again!!

  28. Angela says:

    Those hats!!! Is d) all of the above an option. That would be my vote! I’m sure you would love rockin’ in all of them!

  29. Angie says:

    Beautiful, beautiful! I love your words in this post.

    XOXO,
    Angie from Ohio

  30. So much to say here. Well, welcome home from Planet Ruby. I know just what you mean as I’m returning from Planet Olive now that I’m done nursing. I dig the orange hat (might have to get it for myself).
    “She walks away from me. But not too far. The magnetism.” So get this.
    And the third person narration? Love that girl.

  31. Kelly Cach says:

    I can’t even think of anything intelligent to say…..still in awe of how beautifully written that is…Wow!

    Of course, you’d look great in any of the them, with your dark hair and popping lipstick, but I always navigate toward denim (or is it gray?).

    Beautiful post ~
    Kelly

  32. FinnyKnits says:

    Yay! Stoked P&P is back as a sponsor. I scored myself that striped cadet hat in TWO SHAKES when I saw it. In five weeks, I will LIVE in that hat. Awesome.

    And so totally awesome that you can “look up” a bit this spring, maybe with a lighter heart.

    Spring loves to all you crazies – Alice, too :)

  33. Bikini By 30 says:

    I vote for the blue/gray hat on the right! It would totally compliment your eyes.

    I need a bee play outfit for myself :) Margot looks like she has such fun in it!

  34. This is the kind of post that makes a wanna-be writer almost decide to throw in the towel. It made me a little bit dizzy. It was that good.

    ps – Pick the gray.

  35. April says:

    Beautiful post, Nici! I love how I end every post with a renewed sense of hope … not to mention, a smile on my face!! Thank you.

    xoxo,
    April

  36. Melissa says:

    such a beautiful post, nici. xo

  37. Sarah says:

    Your writiing is a bit like Jane Austen or Faulkner for me in that I have to be in the right mood to read it and want to be reading you when I am mindful to really get it, soak it up and enjoy it. It is so deep and when I take the time to come here and read, I’m always inspired by your writing and your spirit. Your artistry stringing together words to share such deep, beautiful thoughts is wonderful.

  38. Aunt Kiki says:

    I love the buttery beige hat!
    Kate

  39. Amie says:

    So glad you’re where you are now. Quite a journey. Enjoy your week!

  40. mariah says:

    Your blog makes my heart sing….love the photos, love the words! I so wanted to name my first daughter Montana but had two sons…hehe… I’ll just read your blog to get my fix. Thanks for sharing.

  41. beautiful, simply beautiful… thank you.

  42. molly says:

    i’m breathless after reading, seeing, living this post. so, so beautiful. life sounds like a dream, always waking to it.
    and i love when little ones start talking in the third person, like they are narrating their own story.

  43. Sophie says:

    Beautifully moving descriptions of a Mother’s heart. Your blog is beautiful, words and photos! xxx

  44. Sasha says:

    The hat on the left

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