I have a million ideas queued in my head right now. To do, to arrange, to share, to make, to finish, to start. Today — as coffee cut cream in my mug, as sun fought through the thick smoke haze that’s got us all disoriented, as my daughters scooted about all bed head-shiny — I decided to not do a lick of anything because I felt I should. I announced this out loud to my daughters, as they chewed granola.

“OK,” said Margot with a yogurt mustache. “So, we could, like, totally play family.” Ruby nodded.

I had a dream in the morning, just before waking up. I came home to my house and Andy was in the kitchen with the girls and he said Babe, look. Babe, she’s home. and he was holding Olive. Everything was brilliant and electric and she purred and I buried my face in her fur. I touched her ear tufts and counted her belly spots with the kids. And then she looked straight into my eyes and we were locked there in a deep, spiritual stare. Everything was blurry around me. She was peaceful and pensive. I woke up. I smiled and I sat right up, knowing for a hot second that it was real. I believe Olive is dead. My dream was my goodbye. I got to see her and hold her one last time and for that I am thankful.


Our day was breezy and random. I finished arranging my studio while Margot and Ruby played Boxy Heads. Boxy Heads is a game they invented where one places a box on their head and then runs into objects and exaggerates their fall while shouting BOXY HEADS! at high decibels every nine seconds. We cleaned a bit, had a friend over, ran a few errands, cut down branches, painted feathers, had more friends over and then Margot surprised us all when she hopped on our neighbor’s bike and rode off. So that’s what we did for the rest of the night until just before bed. I could hardly breathe though my excitement for her, my pride in her.

I haven’t made a home video in years and felt compelled to do so tonight. Its repetition might be tedious to people who aren’t Margot’s grandma but this song* is so rad that you just might make it through.

with love,

*Rise by Eddie Vetter

49 Responses to Rise

  1. Hazel says:

    Amazing! Watching her just makes me smile!

  2. That’s *awesome*. Loved the video and I’m not even her grandma.

  3. Brandi Shope says:

    The video. The pictures. The words. My 2:30am (AK time zone) nursing session just got a little sweeter!

  4. Meghan says:

    just rolled out of bed and this was the perfect way to start my day. thank you.

  5. She’s awesome! Loved it.

    Whenever I log onto blogger and see a new post from you – my heart skips a happy little beat. Always find so much inspiration and joy in your blog Nici.



  6. Lauren T. says:

    Love your view on life so much! It makes me want to live in Montana too, or at least far away from the hustle of our NY suburb. So sorry on the loss of your beloved Olive. I am happy that she was able to bring you some peace in your dreams.

  7. Sophie says:

    I loved your dream about Olive, it made me all shivery! Awesome that Bug is riding Xxx

  8. Gosh I loved your video! I’m just smiling away over here. My smallest boy (4) learned to ride this weekend, all by himself just like that! He looks just like Margot with those tiny 12″ wheels and huge helmet. Love it so much. I took a quick phone video and it’s all windy and looks terrible ((http://ifthesewallsspoke.blogspot.com/2012/09/etc_18.html) )…you’ve totally motivated me to take a good one and make it adorable so we can watch it for years and love it!

  9. TRB Holt says:

    OH sweet Olive….may you rest in peace….makes me sad.

    Oh sweet Margot….ride baby ride!


  10. Tammi says:

    That sweet little video made me teary this morning and brought back my son’s first ride only three years ago. They say it goes so fast and THEY are right.

    Glad you took a day for yourself and enjoyed the life you have so beautifully created.

    Oh, love the hot pink rocking chair. Love.

  11. Seelife3d says:

    tearing up in my morning coffee watching the video.
    that was awesome :)

  12. SmithShack71 says:

    Nici, I never/very rarely get teared up, but between Olive, your dream, Margot’s tiny legs and feet going so fast, and her smile. Well, I just sat here with teary eyes from sadness, things amazing, happiness, and hope all wrapped up in one.
    I’m so sick for you about Olive, but I love your dream.
    Have a great day.

  13. You know what, I think I need to play a bit of “boxy heads” to just reboot from my full head. Oh my. games like that are awesome. Your studio looks awesome and colorful and so, so organized. Awesome.

  14. Tina says:

    Yep. I’m crying. That is freaking AMAZING!

  15. ctb says:

    oh olive. what a sweet dream, that she came to you just one last time, to comfort your mama heart, to let you know her spirit is flying high.

    rise indeed.

  16. Katie says:

    Love me some Eddie Vedder and a beaming Margot with my morning cuppa. And sending you, my friend, love and light. I felt a lump in my throat while reading the bit about Olive. xo

  17. Fresh Mommy says:

    What an oh so beautiful day! I feel that pull… for the many things that need to be done, and the desire to do none of it but just BE with family! Your girl is growing!!! Such a pro on that bike. The song, the photos in your post, the words… all of it is beautiful.


  18. anymommy says:

    I love breezy, random days. And that first sentence, you described the queue in my head all the time.

  19. dc says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. dc says:

    Beautiful, So much joy in that little video! What a gift your dream was, I lost someone very dear to me a year and a half ago and I’d give anything to have a dream about him. Thanks for sharing.

  21. ~ jessica says:

    I’m so sorry about Olive. What a blessing she came to say good bye, though, such a sweet kitty. Congrats to Margot, just going for that whole bike riding freedom. So inspiring!

  22. Kelly Cach says:

    Oh my gosh….teary through every word, every action!

  23. Maggie says:

    Honestly, Rise is the most amazing song. I love that whole album. It makes me smile and cry at the same time. Happiness in a mandolin, right there.

    Oh, and it’s so trippy to see your studio as a STUDIO, and not your little nest. Not going to lie- kind of miss the bunkbeds. :)

  24. MG says:

    Hello! I have been reading for awhile now but have never posted. We are living for a bit in LA and I have struggled with raising kids in this city. Your blog is so familiar to me (my childhood) and a pleasant reminder of where we WILL be some day soon. Your posts really help get me through and I thank you for that.

    What a sweet dream about Olive. I hope it brings you a little peace.

    I felt compelled to write to recommend a bigger bike for Margot when you’re ready. My average sized 4 year old daughter has and loves the 16″ Specialized Hot Rock. it is a smaller framed 16″ so she can put her foot flat on the ground but she doesn’t have to pedal non-stop. It is very, very well balanced and fast. She easily rides with us. It is $$ but worth it and can be passed on! Maybe Craigslist? I just thought I’d pass that along. Way to go, Margot!

  25. Debbie says:

    I read probably 10-20 mommy blogs a day, and after reading todays blog from you, I know why you are one of my favorites. I cried sad tears when I read your thoughts about Olive, and then I had, oh so happy tears watching your little one making that next big step in life on her bike. My kiddos are 23 and 21 years old now and I do miss those days of just watching them be so carefree. Your writing is delicious. I savor every word!

  26. Martha Rule says:

    Bed head-shiny, love it, I immediately knew what that meant. You have such a great perspective on life, keeps not only your head up but those of everyone in your world. PS your Etsy shop is awesome, Xmas gift planning…

  27. ,,,first, i love eddie vedder and the song “rise” and all the movie songs that he contributed to one of my favorite movies “into the wild.” i loved and felt a sense of pride (and i’m no relation) watching margo “take-off” with command of the bike and pavement. and then i cried tears of joy when she jumped off the bike, waved to her fans who were watching, and hopped back on the bike to continue her joy ride. nici, margot is going places you know that, right? of course you do. xo,,,

  28. mrs chux says:

    99% of the time I think pictures are more moving that videos…but this bicycle video of Margot is rad. xoox, lisa

  29. Totally teary. I’m a big believer in dreams speaking to us loud and clear, only if we listen. I’m glad your dream held closure for an old friend.

    And Margot has mad-crazy body control. I’m not even that coordinated. Go Margot!

  30. Maria says:

    So I’m not the only one who had tears rolling down her face while I read about your dream of Olive. I haven’t stopped thinking about her or you since you posted. I am a cat lover. My four mean the world to me. I prayed hard. We have to make our own peace sometimes. I hope you’ve found yours. So, so sorry. So sad. More tears.
    But…pleasure outweighs pain & it was pure pleasure to see Margot ride so fast & so free. It’s so exciting to watch them blossom.
    Much love to you, Nici

  31. Liane says:

    What a gorgeous post. The video brought tears to my eyes and your dream about Olive was beautiful too.

    Margot looks so proud of herself! x

  32. kate says:

    I feel so proud of her … Like I am her grandma!! Congratulations sweet Margot!!

  33. Lucy says:

    May your sweet Olive rest in peace. How nice that she came to visit you in dreamland.

  34. Ellie says:

    Awesome song, and way to go Margot! I made a video when our now-six-year old started riding a two-wheeler two. It’s hard not to. The smile on their faces is worth a million.

  35. Staci says:

    The pride and excitement in your voice is almost as delightful and moving as that in Margot’s face. Life with children is the most beautiful gift. I love how wholly you cherish it with your girls.

  36. Erin says:

    I’m sobbing over my dinner right now–literally, I am sniffling into my shredded mexi-chicken and brown rice. Dusty had told me Olive was missing, and I am so sorry for being so selfish and not writing you sooner–I just couldn’t bring myself to do it–to acknowledge that she might no longer be able to snuggle up with your family. If I did write, it would also mean I would have to think about what I would do or how I would feel if we lost Hazel or Scout or both.

    But, when I got home from work tonight, Dusty told me I should read today’s blog posting. He told me you had an amazing dream about Olive. I flat out said I wouldn’t read it because it would make me too sad. He got mad at me. Seriously. We just got in a fight about me not wanting to read Dig This Chick. So, I read it, and I’m sobbing.

    I am so so incredibly sorry you have lost her. I can’t even begin to imagine how much that hurts for all of you…and for Sam. I can only hope she was off on the best kitty adventure of her life when she met her fate. I want to believe she was feeling the warm sun on her fur and the wind blowing through her whiskers, all the while knowing in her kitty heart how much her family loved her.

    I hope your dream brought you some peace and comfort–Olive must have known you needed that.

    Again, I am so sorry I haven’t written sooner. Even as an oncology nurse, I certainly don’t always have the ability to cope with death and dying–especially when it comes to kitties.

    Dusty and I are both thinking of you all a lot right now. And, we miss you–not just now, but often!

    Sending you lots of love and snuggles,

  37. Riding without training wheels is one of those milestones of childhood. And half way through I realized, “damn she’s growing up.” Did you see her face??? You don’t have to be grandma to enjoy your video. Margot I am beaming with joy!

    And about your other child Olive. You know I had a similar dream with my mom 2 days after she died. It was vivid and real and expansive. I could smell her, feel her touch. And she was healthy.

    We spent the longest day of our lives gardening, cooking, having tea, walking through our favorite nursery; and being friends and totally in love. And at the end, Mom told me that she had to go as she played with a curl on my head. And that she loved me. And that I should never give up my dreams. And her last comment was funny and just so Florence – Mom asked me to make sure to cancel her magazine subscriptions because my father would never remember. Funny, but true. Still it was the most intense dream of my life; and I feel blessed to have touched her soul once more. And I did cancel her subscriptions that next day. :)

    Thanks for sharing Dig. I’m sorry about Olive, but I’m so happy that you had that moment with her; and woke up smiling. You will remember that moment forever.


  38. I had not a lick of trouble getting “through” that video. Such a proud moment for you all. Thank you for sharing. My heart felt full of pride for her.

  39. sue says:

    I love the part when Margot gets off the bike, looks back and waves. So sweet and happy. I miss my kids being little. They grow big so very fast. Your posts always bring back good memories for me. Thanks!

  40. pjholt says:

    So fun to see Margot reach another landmark! And it was not tedious for her Auntie either!! Kudos to Margot! Great Accomplishment!! xo

  41. Minnesotagal says:

    So, I might just be a smidge hormonal tonight but between your bittersweet Olive dream and Margot’s triumphant ride, I’m more than a little misty eyed right now. Life is just so BIG isn’t it? I mean, it just grabs you and doesn’t let go but oh what a wonderful ride it is!

  42. Melissa says:

    Nici, so sorry about Olive. It’s just awful to lose a beloved.

    Your girl, though, she’s a badass, just like you! xoxo

  43. Tears. She is such a rockstar!

  44. FinnyKnits says:

    Woo! First bike rides! The coolness of a bike ride never wears off :)

    And I’m glad you got to say goodbye to Olive. Sweet girl.

  45. Jenny V says:

    Oh my goodness…that is sheer pride and joy on that little girl’s face! Go Margot…and yes, that song is totally rad!
    And I love your dream…what a sweet way to say goodbye.
    Love this post, Nici!
    Jenny V

  46. I love your dogs blanket

  47. Amy says:

    milestones make me cry and smile at the same time! Love the video!
    Also, love the color of the rocking chair!

  48. Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post. It was practical. Keep on posting!