Photobucketour favorite secret swimming hole

Things are shifting. Soon, I sneak outside to tuck my tomatoes in under the cool moon. We bike to my neighborhood farm and buy four dozen ears of the best corn that will dutifully wait in the chest freezer for a blustery opportunity to remind us of tan skin and bare toes.

Last week, I wore my down coat and I swam in the Clark Fork (at different times). Our home heats up like a whore on nickel night* during the day and cools to down comforter necessity at night.

In the mornings I sit outside in the chilly morning air, I sip coffee and study the way my daughters’ bare toes shuffle through the grass. I regularly stop mid-pick to stare at a sunflower’s perfection. I memorize the curves of Margot’s growing body. Her baby belly is gone. Flat. Just like that. I witness Ruby’s zucchini-like growth. Too bad I can’t harvest her to preserve her nowness. Although, growth is cool too.


I feel introspective and aware with the coming fall. I always do a bit. This year feels particularly poignant with Margot’s new gig. Starting Tuesday, she will spend two days a week in a beautiful blue classroom which stings me with pride and the raw difficulty untucking her from my wing a bit.


In this week’s mama digs, I wrote about my family’s compass. Last year we had a severe scare that I am actually thankful for. It rocked our world and we came out with clear motivation and understanding of ourselves. Er, that sounds so final, like we are there. We are there but we are moving that direction and it feels fantastic. Goodness, the link already: At least I love today
PhotobucketIt is a haul to get to our spot. A short drive but a super steep descent down to the river. Ruby on my back, I was on all fours several times. And then two side channel crossings but once there, it is the most perfect place in the world.

ps HOLY SMOKES y’all. Thanks for your purchases! I had over 60 orders this weekend! Sale ends Wednesday, Aug 31. xo

*props to Anne for that little gem of a saying

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all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from

35 Responses to shift

  1. Tara says:

    Wishing you a lovely Monday! Congrats on all the orders! You deserve all that comes your way! Thankful to hear your family is doing well!

  2. “Too bad I can’t harvest her to preserve her nowness.” Very favorite.

  3. ,,,”she will spend two days a week in a beautiful blue classroom which stings me with pride and the raw difficulty untucking her from my wing a bit.” ,,,aaahhh, i love this!,,,

  4. Seelife3d says:

    gah! I so want to order! Im even wearing 2 bucks dress I want to send you and ask can you make this from cool fabric now that Im a momma too?
    then I look over at my twin ladies who are nearly nine months old now and come to the realization my wants need to be put on hold for their needs…okkkkk if you put it that way. SO until then I have you filed in the wish list folder…being inspired by your posts and pictures :)

  5. Cate says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Cate says:

    I love reading your perspective and wisdom gained from the seasons. Living in Florida, we don’t experience that as much. My son and I got a great book from the library a few weeks ago called, “To Be Like the Sun.” Your post reminds me of it.

  7. Alie says:

    Your photos are so full of that poignant end of summer feeling. . . thanks for the beauty!

  8. Lovely post and such beautiful photo’s, still looking at your etsy shop – too many things I like.

  9. StephM says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. StephanieM says:

    I’m feeling that shift towards fall as well…despite temperatures still in the 90s most days. You describe that shift so eloquently.

  11. Ellie says:

    I don’t have time to reread right now in order to point out exactly what I love both about your post and your mamadigs column, but there is, overall, a special poignancy in both pieces which, along with the recognition that the daily grind can be both exhilarating and exhausting, makes these two of your better pieces of writing in the last few months. I live with a calm soul who also is prone to bouts of extreme stress, not always evident, so I can only imagine the terror you all lived through. Thank you for the weekly inspiration, as always.

  12. Melissa says:

    Avi started his new school today . . . good stuff. Margot is going to love it!

    And I want to order a California hoodie–I tried last night but forgot my etsy password; damn passwords. My low-tech-ness just plain irritates me sometimes!

    Someone tried to hack my fb (should i be flattered?) so all my passwords are wonky . . .

    I just also want to say how much I appreciate the honest sharing and introspection you are doing here. Much love during this seasonal shift. It’s a good one.

  13. Dana says:

    Congrats on the orders!!
    and love this weeks digs!

  14. Laura says:

    “It rocked our world and we came out with clear motivation and understanding of ourselves.”

    This does not sound final to me. It just sounds familiar, and beautiful, and able to evolve.

    I dig it.

  15. I really enjoyed your mamadigs post (well, I always tend to enjoy them, but especially this one), and I appreciate your honesty (and Andy’s) in writing about what happened when Andy was ill. Last week my husband and I ended up at the hospital in the middle of the night and it turns out that my husband was suffering slight asthma made much worse by a massive panic attack. We’ve both had these off and on over the years, although this one was pretty huge, but we find that if we’re honest about them, then others tend to open up too, taking some of the stigma out of discussing mental health. It appears to be a blessing to so many to be able to talk about these things openly. It certainly is to me. Thank you.

  16. FinnyKnits says:

    Cha! Yeah – I went over there to shop and found the shelves nearly bare! Congrats :)

    And I must say, that swimming spot looks divine and perfect. Enjoy.

  17. April says:

    my dad says sweatier than a whore in church, but that’s my new favorite :)

  18. Ellie says:

    And my best friend in Missoula says “nervous as a whore in church,” so I guess all these expressions morph with the user :)

  19. Jenn R says:


    “Choose kindness. Pay attention. Be honest. You create your own reality.” Yes! This! This is what I am focusing on.

    I’m currently reading ‘Buddhism for Mothers’ by Sarah Napthali and it hits on this same message. Another good book is ‘Hand Wash Cold’ by Karen Maezen. While both books center around buddhism the message is the same, be present. Good reads.

    Enjoy your week and thank you for the timely message.

    -Jenn R.

  20. via

    Thanks for the book recommendations! I will check them out.

  21. Ashley says:


    This is one of my favorite Mama Digs columns. I especially love this: Breathing the moment and the daily grind exist simultaneously. There isn’t a pretty bow on either.

    So, so true. This whole piece speaks to me deeply. The importance of living in the moment has become so apparent in my journey through motherhood, yet I’m ridiculously hard on myself when I fall short of that ideal. But I keep trucking along, and keep trying, to make choices that feel right for our family.

  22. Tammi Salas says:


    Nici – just what I needed to read this morning. Absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing your life through your words

  23. April says:


    A) sorry Andy and your family went through that—scary!
    B) your reaction to spend time making yourselves happy sounds a lot like a book I recently read, The Happiness Project. definitely recommend it.

  24. Jennifer says:



    Having gone through it myself, I can empathize with Andy. and you have got it pegged. I applaud you both for the positive changes you have made.

    A few book recommendations for Andy of the hundred that I read that really resonated with me:
    POSITIVITY by Barbara Fredrickson ( I always thought I was so positive but as a researcher she dives deep into science…very interesting.
    FULL CATASTROPHE LIVING by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This one is my bible…..

  25. via

    Jen, I have been BLOWN AWAY by how many people we know who have suffered from a panic attack (or several). It is amazingly common. Andy is really open about it and, as a result, many have confided in him. Thanks for the book recs. I’ll pass along (and check out myself!). x

  26. Wendy says:


    Nici, Love this so much. “Choose kindness. Pay attention. Be honest. You create your own reality.” I so needed this today, Thank you!

  27. Sharayah says:


    The husband of a newly married couple that my husband and I are good friends with recently became ill with an unknown disease that was looking not so great up until recently. He’s still not 100% but doing much better. We keep in touch with them pretty frequently and while they have from time to time entertained the ideas of what the future could potentially look like, their continual postive outlook has been admirable. I recently had a conversation with Erika(the wife) about their situation and she said something that struck deep inside of me. She said the hardest part with her husband’s illness has been their lack of ability to dream about life and their future together. They just take one day at a time and appreciate every minute they are blessed with to share together. Being able to dream about the future is a gift that I know personally I take for granted. Ever since that conversation, I’ve tried my hardest to appreciate each day for what it gives whether it be the good or the bad, and truly appreciate the beautiful gift I am given, being the privilege to dream. So happy that it was nothing serious with your husband. Thank you for your words and indispensible message.

  28. via

    Yes, I take that for granted too. I love that reminder. Glad your friend is doing much better To dreaming

  29. Melina says:


    Hey Nici-

    GOOD! I am so glad to read this. I suffered from terrible stress as well and did the whole late night google MS brain cancer stuff. Terrible thing to do. It’s a choice, most of the time. I chose medicine and I also chose to quit my job. I’m proud of you and your family and your intention to live in the thick, sweet, maybe messy world of now.


  30. Lea says:


    everyday i feel like we balance needs…my writing time, kid exploring time, exercise time, food making, cleaning. sometimes i fall off the tightrope and land dizzy. i suffered from panic attacks around 8 years ago after a close friend’s death. THEY SUCK. and are a great reminder to slow the f down. great post today. you actually inspired me to turn our spare room into laundry jail. it helps get us out more!

  31. Judybusy says:


    Great writing–one thing I learned a long tim ago while dabbling in Buddhism (far too lazy to actually _pursue_ any thing) was the phrase, “Just wash the dishes.” The mundane can also be joyful. My partner’s been in school a long-ass time (long, long story) and is now in a great nursing program. She’ll graduate in 2013. Because of many delays, I’ve really had to focus on living in the present, and what we can do now. It’s been very helpful and valuable.

    I also used to fill up our calendar, and I am still happiest when I’m super busy, but we do much less. Guess what? Down time is nice!

  32. Kate says:


    Trying to slow the racing brain down is my biggest challenge. The gerbil is in there night and day, just running in place, making squeaky noises with “what ifs” and “we need to’s”. I really feel like if I don’t make some sort of peace with my life it’s going to be a much shorter one than it should. I know this, and so does the gerbil…in fact it’s great fodder for the nighttime wheels. Oy. You guys sound like an awesome team when it comes to sorting out how to make things work.

  33. Finny says:


    Ugh! YES! I have found myself beginning to “move on” from particularly delightful activities and then stopping myself to just savor the moments because I *know* that those are moments I’ll want to savor later as rich memories rather than the things I “moved on” to do.

    When we were swimming in a lake we’d hiked to a few weeks ago, I started to swim back to shore and then stopped mid-stroke and turned back toward the deep. I forced myself to not rush. To instead float and reflect and enjoy the experience of cool snowmelt lake water on every bit of my skin before I allowed myself to paddle back.

    And you know what? I’m so glad I did. And you’re right – you never regret those decisions.

    Anyway – what I’m trying to say is – YES. Oh wait, I already said that. Happens…

  34. via

    Finny, I adore that image of you on the lake! So glad I met you on the interweb.

    And, anyone else reading the comments: click through. Read her blog. It is awesome and hilarious.

  35. Hello, just wanted to tell you, I liked this post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!