We caravanned back to Missoula yesterday and had a big ol’ meal in the backyard last night. And then we had to say goodbye to our family, my least favorite part of the last 10 days.
Lots of love on the riverMargot directing the family to her special swimming holeBackyard folfMy mom, Queen of Finding the Walking StickMy little brother and his fiancéA good way to get to know my future sister-in-lawCooler bathOne of my favorite nights: My brother and I stayed up late talking and he told me how he planned to propose and showed me the ring, all beaming and excited.
I *almost* threw our still-packed luggage back into the car and followed my parents east for a day. I just wasn’t ready to end it and it felt doable until I realized how ready Margot, Ruby and I were to be home. So we stayed. Cuddled our pets, watered plants, watched a movie and managed to avoid unpacking.
Andy is gone for a week and he wasn’t able to join us last week, making this two weeks apart the longest we’ve ever experienced. Our threesome (plus our 11 furry and feathered creatures) miss him. I wrote about a hard moment in this week’s column. Click to read mama digs: Big Feelings
My man trekked 27 miles on horseback into the middle of the Bob Marshall Wildreness with five friends where he’ll float and fish the Flathead River for eight days. And, because he is totally off the grid (we won’t even be able to talk until next Saturday night), I can tell you the surprise I have planned for him! I hired a friend to build steps off our east deck into our newly fenced yard. Oh how he’ll be stoked to check that project off his to do list. And oh how Sam, Olive and Alice will be stoked to freely roam in and out the glass door to the yard. I do love surprises.
Our friends having a Top Secret meeting about the stairs. Shhhhh.
And that last paragraph reminds me that I owe the interweb some home reno pics! I haven’t forgotten. I am planning a room-by-room series unveiling our before and after photos. Who doesn’t love before and after photos? I surely do. Coming soon. Also coming soon? A new website! Yes. Lots to share.
Read more on Home Sweet Home…
We are away for a week, with a pile a family (including my little brother and his girl whom he proposed to LAST NIGHT!!!) at a cluster of lakeside cabins. It’s a slow-going, simple kind of place that is completely about people and community. A place where I really notice everything. Every sound is acute, every smell vibrant, every sight brilliant. My favorite kind of getaway. I wrote about the history and connection of this lakeside getaway in my weekly column. Click to read mama digs: a good pace
Last night I walked with my daughters and my cousin’s daughters, from one cabin to another. The girls stopped at the rustically covered ping pong table at the center of camp to watch and listen to the teenagers. They were talking about genetic predisposition to cancer and lupus, a riveting topic for four thigh-high girls. The conversation shifted when the audience was realized and the teens asked the kids to join in and play, asked them questions and told stories about growing up here. Calliope’s family has operated camp forever and she said it’s pretty much the best place to grow up on the planet. The others nodded.
Ruby, to a kid on a bike wearing shorts and a lifejacket: Hi.Kid: Hi.Ruby: Hi.Kid: Hi.Ruby: You live in Montana?Kid: Yes. Do you live in Montana?Ruby: Yes.Kid: Bye.Ruby: Bye. Margot lives in Montana too.
Margot, to her cousin: Do you want to play family with me?Charlotte: Yes.Margot: Do you know how?Charlotte: Yes, it’s like when like you are the baby and I am the mom and we play.Margot: Yes. How about I am the mama.Charlotte: OK. Then I get to be the puppy.
Ruby, Margot and Charlotte walked to the “store” to buy some worms for fishing.
The camp owners line dry all the linens
We spent nearly an hour trying to blow up a baby pool my mom brought so the kids could take baths (they are a bit big for the cooler they bathed in last summer
!). Thing is, my mom mistakenly purchased an infant pool that holds like two gallons of water and, for some reason, wouldn’t blow up despite a hilarious and dedicated effort by my mom and her brother. I have it all on video, most of it shakey from laughter (oh all those cooks in the kitchen making suggestions about how to blow, where to blow and oh all the jokes about being “hard to blow”).
My mom shut her cabin door and the hook fell into the eye, locking her out. The two of us had to unpin the door hinges and wedge the screen door out of the frame with a slotted spoon. There were several campers documenting and directing the crazy thing. I mean, for real, HOW can that happen? Usually the hook dangles down. It certainly cannot stay upright without support. It is a great mystery discussed by many campers. And? It happened a second time the next day. The latch is now duck taped flat. Ghost? Hmm.
or maybe it was one of the magical bunnies hopping all around the cabins
Ruby woke early this morning and Margot and I were still tired. I carried her seven feet to my parent’s cabin where I found my mom and uncle preparing to go fishing. I suited Ruby up and crawled back in my bed. I couldn’t fall back to sleep but I freaking relished that extended stay in bed. Hot coffee, Margot’s heavy breaths, knowing my girl was out on a lake catching perch with her grandma and great uncle.
Trail runs with my aunt, long hugs with my second cousins. Jumping into the lake holding my dad’s hand, listening to my mom talk about her mom. Living in the woods by a lake with a smiling village. I feel so lucky.
Evening community campfire; Margot and Ruby watch their cousin dance to a friend’s piano music
On the first night, I walked back to our cabin from the community campfire and Ruby sleepily whispered, “Look mama. Look at the beautiful ocean. It’s all puffed up. Isn’t that awesome?” Sure enough, the lake looked swollen, like you could see the earth’s curve and intention in the belly of water. Like, life starts and ends in that puffed up belly. It is awesome.
OK, off to kayak with my dad. More from here next Monday.
Read more on from the lake…
Well a giant, warm welcome back to sponsor Urban Baby Bonnets
! I “met” the brain behind UB2 about four years ago when I did a web search for kid bonnets. I wanted something hip, handmade and protective. I found Colette’s shop, bought a bonnet, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I so adore when I know or, more commonly, know of the maker of something I choose to purchase. Like when I need sun hats for my kids who are outside nearly all day, every day and I get to buy them from a hardworking mama who pours her heart into her work. Love that. Also, sister creates something that is unique, beautiful and lasts years, holding up fabulously in rivers, gardens and kid play. Most importantly? My kids love them. Wear them every day, they do.
Behold: Margot at 16 months and Margot at 4 1/2, same hat
Urban Baby Bonnets recently launched a new line of bonnets — the solBonnet
— which Colette describes: A sleek, seamless design is the trademark of our brand-new line of budget-sensitive bonnets. Our solBonnets feature a slimmer fit, a slightly shorter, floppier, garden-style sun brim.
And! One of you lucky ducks could win one. Leave a comment for a shot. Winner randomly selected on Monday, July 23. *Plus* every one of you beautiful people gets free shipping with coupon code DIGMEFREE.
** comments closed **
WINNER: Lucky #87:
Keely D said…love the bonnets! I want one for me!
Thanks, Urban Baby Bonnets
:: :: ::
Here at dig we love to work with businesses and organizations whose product and practice our family values.
To read more about dig sponsorship, click here
Read more on dig this sponsor: Urban Baby Bonnets…
nuggets: bits of the season in photos and words about the last week
So these nuggets are perhaps *more* than the last week. But, they are Summer. And, in Summer, time is different. Summerish. Summery. To me, those words describe
deep, perpetual warmth,
funky outside toes,
funky outside toes, inside
spontaneous shared meals,
wild, sun-kissed hair
mostly naked, storytelling kids,
stuck-together skin snuggles
rainbow lightening and purple skies,
iced, spiked beverages
breathless river leaps,
garden growth, kid growth,
moths headbanging to the rhythm of electricity,
fresh, regional food,
“Hey mom. Bye. We are going trippin’ to an international school in San Francisco. We’ll be gone for three weeks without our mom and dad. Don’t worry. We’re old enough. I’m like seven. I’ll take care of Ruby.”
Awe, thanks Missoula
In my mama digs column this week: Today we manage tableware distribution, tomorrow we counsel broken hearts. Click to read mama digs: teamwork
Read more on nuggets: summerish. summery….
We are finishing up details around our home. The painting is done! Well, there is always something I want to paint (that bench that will be yellow, the cabinets that will be white, that minty frame around the mirror…). And the furniture is lazily meandering into their places. It’s slow-going because the call of the mountain creek trumps the call of the lined up piles of dressers and boxes in the garage.
Right now we occupy the hot Montana summer space where activity orbits water. For, the water? The water stays cold. I love that it is always surprising, that thrilling chill. The initial prick on toes and up legs as we wade in.
Or, as I prefer, jumping in on the count of three and losing my breath to the river.
Our new home is only a few blocks from the creek which makes it easy to squeeze in a dip after breakfast, before studio work, after errands, before bed etc. We’ve grown into a new family tradition: Pajama Creek Walk. It’s a favorite around here. Some nights I moan a bit, not wanting to motivate out the door. But the magical, consistent, guaranteed part? It’s always the best choice we could make.
Because the simple joy in tossing rocks, collecting rocks, skipping rocks, standing on rocks is one of the best ways to pass time that I know of; It’s universally appealing.
cowgirl boots full of rocks
And there is all that water which is mind-blowingly rad.
It’s all so ancient, these mountains and streams. Centuries to smooth a rock, grow a tree. My ancestors may have stepped on the same patch of ground. I find I think about that a lot. My great grandma died in this water, drowned when she went to fetch a watermelon from the bank. My grandma was Ruby’s age. My grandpa worked the railroad up the gorge. My dad rode his motorcycle along Rattlesnake Creek, jumping in along the way (back when that sort of thing was allowed). My mom learned to fish here.
Andy’s blood pulses through his veins in tandem with rapids, I’m sure.
For me, I churn ideas in the mountains. I am energized. Up there I think, move and am reminded of the vastness and smallness of our wide world. In the river, I meditate. I settle into mindful observation, calm happiness and knowledge of my core and intention. It’s like the mountains are my future and the river is right now.
my AWESOME bathing suit
, courtesy of Popina Swimwear
Read more on for the love of the river…