you are my sunshine

I went for a run yesterday afternoon. Just Alice and me on my favorite Missoula street, the one I run down all the time wishing for For Sale signs. It was hot and grassy. I heard crickets and laughter.

On the way home we ran by our neighborhood park and, holy smokes, there were hundreds of people there. Grilled meat, frisbee, horseshoes, picnic, slide, fetch, beer, blankets, lone dandelions.


Every spring we get a few teases for summer. And we got a good tease a few weeks ago with many days of open windows and scant clothing. Then it chilled again. For a long time, or maybe it just seemed long after all that vitamin D? I don’t know but it felt long. Highs in the low 40s and rain gray rain. So when everything sang and erupted last weekend, Missoulians opened their arms. I love that about our four-season town. Every single change is celebrated and enjoyed. The same reaction will happen when fall air bites noses and when winter snow blankets the valley.

Being without something for a bit sure brings on new found appreciation. We don’t have much sun in the winters here. Like, hardly ever. And when it shines on my pale skin? Wow.


Dear Sun Absence,

Thank you for returning. My heart is indeed fonder.


There was some movie I watched as a kid about a place with no sun and the sun came out and nature freaked out and kids ran about in green fields. But there was one kid who, for some reason, was locked in a room and missed his chance at seeing the sun the one time it emerged. That’s my memory anyway. Anyone know this (perhaps inappropriate for a child) film?


Irregardless I relate to those frolicking kids every June in Montana. In June, for the first time since late October, the sun is out more than it isn’t. In June we are out more than we aren’t. In June, I actively begin the ignoring of our messy home. Or, more like I encourage myself to ignore it and do a good job of it and then burst into insane cleaning fits. You know, because we are bi-polar housekeepers.

In this week’s column, I reflect on spousal pet peeves regarding tidiness. Read mama digs: tiny islands of organization in an ocean of pandemonium. What is it like in your home?

And, the (randomly selected) winners! Please email digthischick at gmail dot com. Congrats!

Urban Baby Bonnet winner: me said…That painting is incredible! I created an account and put the watermelon sugar bonnet on my wish list!

ERGObaby winner: recipesforcake said…Such awesome tips, thank you! I cannot wait for my son to be big enough to enjoy our garden as much as I do. My grandpa and father gave to me their love of gardening and it’s one of the things I hope to share with my son. Next summer cannot come fast enough. For now, I take him out with me to smell the flowers and feel the earth under his feet.

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all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from

40 Responses to you are my sunshine

  1. Marisa says:

    I remember watching that movie in elementary school. It’s based on a Ray Bradbury short story called “All Summer in a Day.”

  2. I know that movie too! I just tried to figure it out via google and as best I can tell, it is indeed “All Summer in a Day”

    Here’s what will blow your mind. Protagonist is named Margot.

  3. Staci says:

    i remember that story too! but i think it’s something we read instead of watched…crazy

  4. Evelyn says:

    I remember watching that one in school too. I remember the boy playing kick the can, and that they all had to have daily vid D light treatments. Don’t remember why they had us watch it. It was not a feel good movie

  5. Alicia says:

    I totally remember reading that story and watching the film! In fact, I have used it in my own classroom…I teach 8th grade language arts.

    Lovely picture of that “star” shaped plant with the rain drops!

  6. rebecca says:

    ,,,love the photo of margot filling the pool and ruby waiting to test the water,,,oh and the “meaty” legs of ruby, adorable!,,,

    ,,,today, i’m bursting into my insane cleaning fit, i’m exhausted with the house being out of sorts and belongings peppered about the house,,,time to get organized, oh happy day!,,,

  7. Rhett says:

    This weekend was so great! Loved the sun!

    I remember that movie too. It made quite an impression but I’ve known the title.

  8. Ah! Totally remember that film – I could draw it. Hmm, can’t wait to figure out the title.. Glad you and Alice got to get out and clear your mind. Dogs make such great running buddies.

  9. I do not know your movie, but I am still haunted by one I watched where a largish group of siblings were purposely abandoned at a gas station and spent the rest of movie fending for themselves and trying to find their way back to…something. It’s all a bit foggy. But it still depresses me to think about it and I’m almost 35 now.

    ps – Hot Diggity! It’s sunny here, too.

  10. Tina says:

    Just blogged about the arrival of summer-like temps myself last night! Although I also appreciate being able to experience all four seasons, I gotta say that right now I am ridiculously happy that the cold, rainy days seem to be behind us for now. Ahhhh sunshine!

  11. Kelle says:

    Smiling. Brett started piling my shoes I leave out in the bathtub. I go to take a bath and there’s six pairs of shoes in there. This has been happening for awhile and I won’t give him the satisfaction of letting him know this is indeed very funny. And I see that picture of your messy house and I raise you a whole hell of a mess. My messy living room would eat your living room for breakfast and burp it out a minute later. I’ll clean it before you come.

    Water droplet photo is totes stunning.

  12. trbholt says:


    Oy vey! After 39 years with your father plus 5 years of courting before marriage….we have chalked up 44 years of pet peeves. I myself am perfect ~ :0)…your Dad drives me nuts with some of his habits BUT for every yin there is a yang….he can clean windows and vacuum like no other person I know! These are just two of his qualities that I overlook while he searching for his shoes on the ceiling, as I trip over 4 pairs right outside the garage door! I will stop there…xoxo

  13. Joan Cline says:


    I remember piling Kevins dirty clothes in a corner. I’ll teach him a lesson. I don’t think he ever noticed. I just drove myself

  14. Ashley Kim says:


    Oh, I can SO relate to this! My pet peeves are dirty sinks and countertops and clutter of any kind on countertops and tables. It drives me bonkers. And I share your love of neatly-arranged throw pillows, which now happens, oh, twice a week. My DH is an organized guy, but he is not nearly as nitpicky about the small stuff. Which is a good thing, I suppose. At least one of us needs to have reasonable standards. *Letting go* is one of my greatest challenges as a parent and a spouse, but when I manage to do it, the rewards are great.

  15. Peggy says:


    I have just given up on an orderly house.
    Well…until the next manic episode, anyway. *wink*

  16. via

    When I freak out over the lack of order and cleanliness in our house, my husband sweetly says, “We have a little kid. Your pregnant and sicker than a dog, and I work a lot. We live here. This is just the way it’s going to be for a while.” Sweet, but doesn’t necessarily make me feel better!

  17. jen says:


    all of the above.
    in fact i was asked this morning why i missed a single sock that fell out of finner’s hamper when i took the clothes down to wash them. like i purposefully LEFT it there.
    so i responded by asking if he noticed that he left a GIGANTIC pile of dishes in my sink when he left last thursday after he had been off for several days.
    we have the same discussions apparently.
    i also told him that even if we do things that drive each other crazy … at least we have each other … the perfect balance.

  18. Happiness is... says:


    Oh, I needed to see this. We just finished a b-day party and I got the disgusted commentary over a week ago, “(sigh), you’re just like your mother. You projects are all over every floor and every room of this house.” He’s a neat freak. A bad one. Not as bad as his daddy, but at least I know where he’s headed. I laughed and told him that his jab was the best complement ever. I think that pissed him off even more.

    There is a ying and a yang, and we always make it work. I HATE his pile on tables. And that damn charger cord is always in the way. Doesn’t matter where you’re trying to be/work/eat/prep…there it is. But he’s an amazing vacuumer and cleaner and window washer. And he also holds a black belt in the art of distracting a tired or upset child. So we take the good with the bad because the good is deeper and richer than the worst peeves and piles. And ultimately I’m sure I piss him off way more than he pisses me off anyday!

  19. Lisa says:


    trbholt – Why, oh why do men look UP when they are searching for something?? I have never known a man who didn’t. Do they really think we’re going to glue their shoes to the ceiling while they are sleeping? This is one of the great mysteries of life

  20. Ericka says:


    Diagnosed OCD right here, and my compulsion of choice is cleaning. I used to not be able to go to bed if there was one dirty dish in the house, or dirty coffee mug in a car. Somehow I managed to maintain this for years until my 3rd baby. I quickly realized that I had a choice to make…sacrifice precious time with my “later in life” baby or maintain a model home. My house hasn’t been the same since and all three of my kids are benefiting from my newly found freedom from cleaning everything all the time. I wish I had done it sooner.

    Now we are moving and as I’m packing I’m amused by how far I over corrected. With every dust bunny I encounter, I remind my self of the cookies we probably made or the peppers we were planting instead of worrying about him. Good stuff.

  21. Ericka, Wow! That is amazing and inspiring. I have several OCD loved ones and I know what a challenge it can be to let go of systems. You are awesome, mama.

  22. missy says:


    loved this. needed it today especially as I sit here with the oven timer on providing me ten minutes of “me time” online before frantically attacking the bathroom and laundry that have been ignored too long.

  23. Teresa says:


    This makes me feel better!! I’m glad I’m not the only one driven crazy by my husband’s habits…phew! And the comment about the pubes…omg can so relate!!

  24. Erin says:


    You rock! and I hope you make the coffee table book. xo

  25. rebecca says:


    ,,,oh how appropriate and right on schedule your words were today,,,after having sent “him” an email this morning, at work no-less, and ranting about piles of paper everywhere, and disorganized closets, drawers and cabinets, and dirty, white athletic socks peppered throughout the floor and, and, AND,,,(the list much too long for this comment),,,and i second the comment about the “pubes” what is up with that?,,,so this morning i took a deep breath (but not until after i sent the email) and did what i normally do when i’m feeling over-whelmed, i went outdoors to water my plants, enjoy the 70-ish degree weather and take a stroll about my wonderful neighborhood,,,cleaning, straightening, and organizing will happen one day soon i hope,,,(smile)

  26. Kelley says:


    SOOOO happy that I am not alone in feeling frustrated over my man’s messes. He likes building “forts” out of all the piles of boxes, projects and other things he accumulates. We did not live together until our mid-thirties, and so we were both accustomed to our own habits and cleaning methods. It has been one of the hardest things to navigate in our relationship…where to give in, where to take a stand, where to compromise. We are working on having our first child, and I hope it helps re-prioritize our dysfunctional system. Love this post! Love Mama Digs! Love Motherlode! Love the other comments! Thank you all!

  27. Jenn Furber says:


    Luke can’t find the recycling can for his PBR, while I can’t seem to keep the spices alphabetized the way he likes. It’s give and pull, but yes, you’re so right. Sometimes you’ve just got to drop the reigns and get out and have some fun.

  28. Monica says:


    It seems that your hubby and my hubby should grab a beer and chat… how do they not notice the pubes! HAHAHA!! That was the best.
    I’ll never understand why he leaves sandwich crumbs all over the counter in the morning, the same way I forget to recoil the garden hose after a quick lawn watering. After a few tiffs, we’ve recognized that these things, no matter how odd they may seem to either of us, will continue to bother us and we will need to continue living with them. It will give us more time to spend with our little girl and less time giving each other dirty scowls.

  29. Dakota says:


    Wow. Just what I needed to read right now – boy do have I my share of “how can he not notice… ” and oddly, instead of making me feel all justified, I’m thinking that I really need to let some things go. But shhh! Don’t tell my husband!

  30. Prairie Mama says:

    Oh my goodness…I saw that same movie in 4th grade. They showed it to us as a special movie day at school….I thought it was horrible than and I still think it the wierdest movie I ever saw….No I do not think it was very kid appropriate.(:
    I remember the kids tanning in front of these lights to get the V. D they needed. Too funny you saw the same one.

    Glad to hear the sunshine has hit Montana, it finally hit here in Wyoming too.

    Blessings Nicci!

  31. Kelly Cach says:

    Nope, never saw the movie but strangely intrigued to see it now–haha!

    Love that you wrote about the street “you run down wishing for For Sale signs”….TOTALLY get that (except I drive down ours :). Also love the fact that your town enjoys all 4 seasons!!! WE DO TOO here in Idaho! Minus the nasty white bugs that get stuck in your hair and teeth and come in droves during October, I love every bit of our seasons.

    What’s it like in our home??? Yep, “We live here.” I’ve always said, “If you’re coming to see me, then come right on over. If you’re coming to see my house, give me two weeks notice.”

    My husband leaves paperwork strewn about our dining room table and has PILES of electronic gadgets, cords, bits & pieces everywhere, yet he has a pet peeve with the way I load the dishwasher….I cram! Hope we’re teaching our kids SOME good habits though :)


  32. Melissa says:

    Ha, ask G about a dance number her sister created about that short story . . .it was a good one!

    Speaking of coffee table books, why don’t you edit one? (: I’m sure you could get plenty of contributions on the subject.

    We are starting to laugh about each other’s pet peeves but only just . . .

    Between your post and Rachel’s today, I am wholly enjoying blogland. xo!

  33. Kelly says:

    Love those mountains!! I’m going to have to take a trip out that way someday.

  34. Val Curtis says:

    4 year old and a 6 month old here. Clean house? Ha ha ha! I adore the pic of the girls filling the pool.

  35. AC says:

    TOTALLY remember seeing that movie, also… freaked me out. I was sooo sad for the one kid that was locked in the room. I grew up in northern Minnesota, so could kind of relate to really enjoying summer. :)

  36. Jenn says:

    Oh boy, oh boy. This has been where my thoughts have been lately. Perhaps that’s why this week’s MamaDigs jumped out and grabbed me by the collar and said ‘pay attention!’. Thank you to you and your community. The stories, the funny comments and the new perspective are just what I need.

  37. Kate says:

    No islands of tidiness for us. We tend to have a large storm roll through the house and two days later (typically just in time for visitors), the house is clean, decluttered and lovely. However, with three active young boys, it doesn’t stay that way for long.

  38. Daniele says:

    The mamadigs was so perfect. I sent it to my husband and he totally loved it…he wants me to send him the link to your articles every Monday now :)

  39. Feeling you on the kitchen counter. Feeling Andy on the shoes. My hubby’s shoe garden sprawls stealthily on a dark rug between the front door and the bottom of the stairs-places i’m apt to trip while carrying a squirmy toddler. But I de-clutter, while he cleans, so we make a good pair.

  40. Colleen says:

    Oh my gosh! I have seen that movie/film. I can’t remember the name of it, but I think is based on something that Ray Bradbury wrote.

    I wish we could swap weather for a bit, allow everything to even out. We are dealing with 100 degree heat in Austin (which is not normal for this time of you). You can have some of our sunshine for some of your rain and clouds. Deal?