giggling pile

Throughout my days I make notes of things I love: stuff my kids say, a way a person interacted with me, how I feel, things I learn, thoughts, what I aspire to. These items fuel my passions, my work and my life. Also, it is just a compulsion of mine.

Writing it down is part of me. I tumble through thoughts into words and hurl the mass into space. I don’t expect anything from it. There is no end, no resolution. Just chapters. I need it. I’ve always been this way.

I’ve had times before when my list of notes of things I want to write about grows unruly like late summer  spotted knapweed, threatening to scatter seed with the wild wind. But I honestly don’t ever remember feeling this “behind.” I put behind in quotes because saying it sounds silly. Behind of what? Why, my own agenda of course.

Thing is, right now I am full of so many stories, patterns, ideas. I want to purge it all but feel bound up by the mass of information I contain. What do I let go of? What do I explore? When the hell do I do any of it?

I feel like a walking metaphor. 
I know this time in life is busy, for everyone. It just is. The thirties are when kids are young, careers are growing, interests crisp into focus. It is when we commit to the kind of friend we are and what kind of friends we want. It is when we decide, like thoughtfully decide, how we spend our time. We learn to own our choices, to mean what we say, to say no, to say yes. People we love get injured and sick more often; mortality feels less fuzzy, not at all abstract. We learn that we create our life, that we are wholly responsible for our perspective. 
So I was just pulled away for a good bit by Margot who shrieked, “Hey mom! Count to seven and see if you can find daddy, Ruby and me!” I stomped around, growling like a monster and found them, a giggling pile, under a fort made of every article of clothing and blanket in our home. Where was I? 
Oh yeah. 
A few things I like:

:: Margot and Ruby visited Santa.


Margot hopped up all smiles.

Santa: Hello. And what would you like for Christmas?
Margot: First, what is your middle name please?
Santa: Er, um, well I don’t, um, have a middle name.
Margot. Huh. Well, I would just really like a new puppy like Trixie. Here is a card I made for you. It says “Happy birthday Santa. I love you.”

:: My new mug, a gift. Oh how I love a mug with a good feel, not too big and a light-colored interior.

artist: Audrey Rosulek

:: Collecting eggs with Ruby.


:: Moving past that horribly uncomfortable, pukey, writhing overwhelmed feeling. I wrote about it in this week’s mama digs: braless and running. Thankfully I have since showered. Oofta.

:: Morning tea and books.


:: Our friends’ annual cookie decorating party.


:: New sponsors with knock-your-socks-off jewelry. I am blown away by the detail, craftsmanship and uniqueness of Lava Lake. I was excited by Betsy’s interesting, edgy designs when we first started corresponding and was really impressed once I got my hands on a few pairs of her earrings. Every little bit is hand-formed (soldered and hammered) with exquisite detail. Really, red lipstick and big earrings are my only accessories. Behold, my new favorite ear bobs, the ones that get all sorts of whistles and remarks.

These badass earrings are $20. DEAL. I additionally adore the pet tags, cuff links and rings. Oh those rings! (edited to add: a photo of me in the earrings — to give you an idea of length)

For chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Lava Lake: 1. Visit Lave Lake. 2. Leave a comment on this post naming your favorite item. 3. For a bonus entry, like Lava Lake on facebook and leave another comment here stating you did. Randomly selected winner announced in the next post!

:: All the good people who came out to shop local last Sunday at the MADE fair. It was a great day. Also, thank you to those who brought Food Bank donations! I really loved collecting food and making that delivery.


:: Spontaneous “camping.” We strung lights, stayed up late reading books and then the girls slept together in a pile of sleeping bags, blankets and pillows on the floor. 
We add a book to our winter/holiday collection every year. This year, we added The Story of the Snow Children

OK, chickens. Off to bed now or maybe I should work on Margot’s birthday present? She turns four on Sunday, you know. Four.

:: :: ::

all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from

71 Responses to giggling pile

  1. jolie says:

    One of my little boys will be 4 tomorrow! Hard to believe…it just goes too fast! Happy Birthday to Margot! I love the copper wire cuff, and the gold leaf bracelet, and the wire dangle earrings! Super cute stuff! Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Jen says:

    I really enjoy your blog and essays over at mamalode…the Custom letter badge necklace is nice…
    Random question …how many eggs do you get in a week during the winter from your chickens??
    (we are considering chickens for pets in wintry wisconsin)

  3. jolie says:

    I liked them on fb! :)

  4. I so feel you on the “behind” feeling, although you did a much better job articulating it. Also, the braless encounter had me in stitches, what mom hasn’t been there? So glad you’re doing well and got a shower. Happy holidays!

  5. mrsmthdst says:

    I’m with you in so many ways. One of my little will be 4 within the next month, as well. We also love the Snowy Day that I spied in one of your pics.

    I like the metallic Gold Leaf necklace and the customer name stamp necklace. I don’t wear earrings and rarely wear jewelry, but the stuff she has is beautiful AND reasonable!

  6. Ellie says:

    What a perfect holiday post, and I have not even read your mama digs yet. I especially like how well you are articulate what it feels like to be in our thirties. Somehow I’ve missed that before, but I love seeing yoru book recommendations on amazon also. Happy week before Christmas.

  7. Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday to Margot! I think that means I been reading your blog for 3 years. My Margot turned 8 a few weeks ago. Seems impossible, but then again, it also seems impossible that she hasn’t always been a part of my life. I like the circular copper pendant. I would order it with M and P for Margot and Pascal…

  8. CLP says:

    I always enjoy your posts, there is always such a solid under current of joy, hope and gratitude. I’m excited about the new sponsor. Those pieces are swoon worthy. I especially like the braided leather bracelet (love that the accents remind me of fishing weights) and the white cabochon earrings.

  9. jenniwaka says:

    I love the Vintage Blue Glass Cabochon earrings. And thanks for reminding me to get a holiday book!

  10. jenniwaka says:

    And I liked Lava Lake on Facebook.

  11. Kristi C. says:

    Such a lovely post. I think “giggle piles” are some of the best times with my niblets.

    Also thank you for introducing me to another wonderful crafter on Etsy! I love the copper acorn earrings.

  12. Kristi C. says:

    I liked LavaLake on FB too.

  13. TRB Holt says:

    Sometimes I think it is better to be behind than ahead. When you are behind you do what you can… when you are ahead you just keep doing more! (I’m ahead right now!)

    OH those pigtails! & leave it to Margot to be the only kid to ever stump Santa…4! already so soon…

    LavaLake has brilliant “stuff” & right here in Minneapolis!…LOVE the dog tags!


    Love you!

  14. The Lady says:

    Beautiful writing, beautiful mind! I love the thought of my kids camping in their bedroom someday. Glad the MADE fair was a smashing success!

  15. Jeanne says:

    Man, it is going to appear I did not check out Lava Lake’s page when I say the earrings you posted are amazing. Love them! (FYI, I totally checked out their etsy page…braided leather bracelet, custom letter badge, beautifully needed necklaces). But those earrings…oh my!

    I can’t believe how fast the clock is now that “mom” has been added to my titles. Happy Birthday Nici and Margot.

  16. Jeanne says:

    Liked Lava Lake on Facebook…woot! Woot!

  17. Ellie says:

    I SO understand what you mean about having so MUCH in front of you. I think for me, it is that in this part of my life, I have so many things that I want to give full, meaningful attention to…without skimping on any one passion. The biggest challenge is to slow my brain down, to bring the foreground into focus,to stay present.
    This chapter is so wonderful and rich, though, isn’t it?

  18. Lauren says:

    I love the cuff links! My husband needs a new pair, but I think all the ones in the stores look boring. These are so unique!

  19. Lauren says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Lauren says:

    Liked LavaLake on facebook!

  21. Karen says:

    I do love the copper ones you chose and also like the Labradorite Earrings as well. Very pretty and so well priced!! I can’t believe Margot is 4… Where does time go?

  22. Seelife3d says:

    I liked the Lava facebook page and am now beginning to think I need to move to your neck of the woods. Seriously, your pictures rock! wondering if the husband would be game…hmmm.
    I also went to thee Lava Etsy page and my heart stopped when I saw the copper and silver rivet ring. Wowza I need a cool right hand ring.. =) LOVE!

  23. That custom name pendant… beauty. Great post, as always.

  24. Kelsie says:

    Liked them on FB.
    Still laughing at Margot’s conversation with Santa.
    Wishing my daughter a happy birthday today.

  25. mela bangs says:

    Missing you mama and decided to spend a little time on your blog this AM to fill the hole. :) Love your images, the colors, the lists and questions. Love Rosulek and your ear bobs. Remember… I am here w gin rickeys or bourbon n nog when the moment and need appear. :)

  26. I love the Gold Leaf ring. How cool!
    I love your blog, Nici. I want to be friends! Too bad I’m in Michigan:(

  27. Tina says:

    Hah! I also have a scrap piece of paper laying around that I jot down random thoughts that enter my head that I’ll forget before I sit down to blog about them. Glad I’m not just a forgetful mess and that this must be somewhat normal… right? 😉

    Wow… 4!!! What colour balloon do you think Margot will pick this year? I remember that blue 3 like it was yesterday!

  28. sarah says:

    Jeez. How is she four?! I like the copper flower ring. And I like you!

  29. Britta says:

    I write down all the random memories I want to keep on a growing list on the fridge – then once a week transfer them to a memory (just words) book for my Elinor. I just bought a new book for baby #2. Still waiting for her arrival. Soon.

    I would get the brass initial necklace or the wool twist bracelet!

  30. Annie says:

    You described the business of thirties for my life to a T! I’ve found that evaluating my personal agenda for what truly needs to be done and when is more successful for me too.

    Thanks for the intro to Lava Lake. I added the shop to my favorites and now have quite a few items added to my wish list!
    So hard to pick a favorite…I like the Leather Braid Bracelet and the Copper ring with flower.

  31. Amy says:

    I love the sterling swirl bracelet. But all of it is beautiful! I can totally “see” you wearing those earrings!
    Did you see Santa in a mall? For some reason I totally don’t picture Missoula having a mall? hahaha

  32. Amanda says:

    I liked Lava Lake on Facebook!

  33. Amanda says:

    I love all of the vintage glass earrings!

  34. Laurie says:

    Checked out Lava Lake. The copper acorn earrings are so adorable. I’m adding her to my favs in Etsy. Thanks for the intro.

  35. Oh my, that swirl pendant is perfect for my last name! So pretty!

  36. Jesse says:

    ooh, I think my favorite is the copper and silver rivet ring but those earrings are gorgeous too.

  37. Jesse says:

    Also liked on facebook, i love that everything is also very affordable!

  38. Larissa says:

    River Rock and Turquoise! Thanks for sharing! Great post today!

  39. Larissa says:

    I also liked them on fb! I’m from Minneapolis so hopefully my friends will take notice and like too!

  40. Lexie says:

    Hmm I think the silver wire earrings might be my favorite, but I like ALL of her stuff!

  41. ctb says:

    first, FOUR! yes, we have this at our house also. unbelievable!

    second, words cannot describe how lovely your digs column was this week. currently braless over here.

    third, please oh please show a pic of you with those earings on! want to get an idea of size and weight. and who better than to model that dangley loveliness :)

    fourth, no facebook, but me likey

    fifth, camping rules!!

  42. I liked LavaLake on FB.

  43. I actually wrote down, “The Story of the Snow Chickens” oops.

    All of LavaLake’s designs are awesome but I am definitely enamored with the silver stacking rings and the labadorite earrings. Those earrings remind me of me a few iterations ago.

  44. aransdell says:

    I really like the dog tags!

  45. Stef says:

    As for everything you said in your post, yes. My neck is a bit sore from bobbing my head in agreement. I really should learn not to move like that when no one can see me.

    And I am a big fan of Lava Lake’s Copper Wire Cuff Bracelet.

  46. Kerri says:

    Margot’s conversation with Santa is amazing – way to keep that Santa on his toes :) And adore your column this week – have so been there with the strategic placement of folded arms at inopportune times and know that overwhelmed feeling oh so well. Yay for showers and clarifying hikes with good friends. Lava Lake is super cool – I love the copper flower earrings.

  47. megan says:

    Such a great post. What a sweet little conversation she had with Santa. It looks like your holidays have already been filled with special times, even though you feel “behind”!

  48. Ailene C says:

    Haha, loved Braless and Running. classic :)

    thanks for the intro to lavalake. I love the Metallic Gold Leaf Pendant,m’self!

  49. Ailene C says:

    And part 2 done! Liked them on FB. Ah, the mighty FB!

  50. liked lava lake on facebook and checked them out on etsy! wonderful stuff, as always, you have awesome taste nici! also, like the idiot i am, i commented on their facebook page… whoops, not great at following directions! hee hee! :)

  51. aprilallard says:

    love those initial circles…would just love one for each of my kids!!! please, please, please!

  52. Since I got married a month ago, I love my new initials so my favorite is the copper initial circle.
    I love your blog! Happy Birthday, Margot!

  53. Reuben says:

    I love the earrings you have :) the Stacked Square Brass Earring.

    I also love that Margot had to know Santa’s middle name!

  54. finally left the etsy page and liked lava lake on facebook :)

  55. Kelle says:

    Adding to my theory of “selfish” giving:

    I made that blanket for you.
    Every row.
    And yet I get from giving.
    Every time I see it in a post.
    It makes me a happy–a tangible thing…made with love…connecting us, miles a part.
    And yet, still giving back to me.
    Love that with that little blanket, now nubby and worn, a piece of our family is with a family we love.

    That is all.

  56. Angelina says:

    I absolutely love the first part of this post. Your words brought a little more beauty and order to the tangle of experience and emotion that makes up this crazy life! Thanks!

  57. Love Kelle’s comment as I sit here notching capes; a sign that love passes from one to another this holiday. Can’t wait to finish them, but more so to give them (and watch the gift give back).

    Love the stack rings…and the copper bracelets.


  58. Liked on FB. Now back to my project and hopefully bed.


  59. Lexie says:

    I think I changed my mind: the wool bracelet is my new favorite Lava Lake item. And I liked them on Facebook. I am crossing my fingers!

  60. babyroz says:

    Oh how sweet your new mug looks in your warm home. I am glad you love it! I love making mugs and love it even more when they go to a good home. :) Audrey

  61. Kerri says:

    Oops, meant to say copper flower ring is my fave. And I liked lava lake on FB!

  62. megan says:

    copper ring with flower by far my favoite!

  63. megan says:

    i liked her on facebook :)

  64. I love the Gold Leaf ring!

  65. i also liked lavalake on facebook :)

  66. Kelly Cach says:

    “I put behind in quotes because saying it sounds silly. Behind of what? Why, my own agenda of course.”

    I love, love, love that quote! No kidding, our OWN agenda.

    And I love the book Ruby is reading…The Snowy Day. I JUST realized today, that Ezra Jack Keats also wrote a version of The Little Drummer Boy. I found it in our Christmas story collection :).

  67. Kelly Cach says:

    Oh, and Happy Sweet Birthday to your Margot! We celebrated our youngest little man’s 8th birthday on December 10th :)

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