snow, stitches and stew

We had a full day yesterday. By day’s end, both of my kids were cooked. We were finally home, with nothing to do but make dinner (have you seen this? so funny) and sit down. It was nearly 6pm. I hadn’t even slipped my purse from my shoulder. I picked up my phone to check in with my husband as he is usually home at 5:30. Ruby started screaming, a horrible shrill painful yell coming from the guest room.

I was there in two leaps to find her kicking on the floor with genuine, fat tears. What is it baby? I asked over and over. She couldn’t answer. I saw my scissors — my super sharp sewing scissors — on the floor. I felt hot. Did you cut yourself with the scissors? Let me see your hands. Where? What hurts? Show me. She finally managed to let me know it was her arm. I scooped her up and saw a stomach-flipping sight. My little girl’s arm, the super soft fleshy place on the inside bicep split clean open in two spots. There was no blood, just a gaping window to raw flesh. And then, right before my eyes, it gushed.

I bandaged her up, remembering Margot, at this same exact age, her forehead cut open. Shit we have to go to the doctor I said as I reconnected with my phone, this time getting through to Andy. My sequencing was all out of whack as I recounted the story and and asked questions, as Ruby sobbed into my shoulder, her little porcelain arm held up high, wrapped in gauze and tape and one heart purple bandaid. Andy raced home, Ruby and I drove into the pouring sleet that was quickly turning to snow.

In the car, Ruby was calm and chatty. She told me how it went down: “I cut carefully away from my fingers, mama. I so careful. I cut a big piece of paper to make cards to send to grandma Terri and grandma Joan because us need to send cards. And the paper go like this and I try to cut and I just cut my arm with the scissors.”

As we neared the clinic, it was a full on blizzard. The streets were busy with slow-driving cars. I ate a carrot. I was really hungry. I had forgotten my coat. “Mama,” she said through a cracking, nervous voice, “you stay wif me? I want to hold your hand.” My heart heaved while I assured her I’d be right where she needed me, now and always.

She didn’t want to lay on the white bed under the bright light. I curled next to her, cupping her sweet, trusting moon face in my hands. I told her it was going to be painful for a little bit and then it’d be over. The numbing medication injection hurt her so damn bad. I twisted my full upper body around her while she screamed my name directly in my ear. mama mama mama mama. Oh how I wanted to take that shot for her.

And then I sang goofy songs, played our unique version of this little piggie and rubbed noses with her while the doctor glued and stitched her arm.

We stopped for pizza on the way home and drove through silver dollar snowflakes careening toward my windshield like a ticker tape parade. “I fine mama,” she assured me when I said I felt badly.


Our home had transformed into a winter  wonderland while we were out. After a late dinner, Margot and Ruby fetched snow gear and headed out to make moon-lit snow angels. It was the best medicine, I do believe. That snow created a canvas of possibilities and shined light on Ruby’s effervescent, able body. What a relief it was to sit on the couch and watch my kids play.


Ruby fell fast asleep. Margot and I sledded across the pearly ocean, beneath the still sky and then joined our family under down and wool.


Today, we find thankfulness in so much: the awesome care Ruby received last night, blooming Christmas cactus, a slow-paced day with friends, the earnest and pure childhood love of new snow, my kids’ newfound respect of mama’s sewing shears and this warm, hearty family favorite meal I invented last week and will make again today.


:: peanut butter yammy coconut rice ::

2 cups white rice
1 can coconut milk
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large parsnips, chopped
curry powder
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 yams, chopped
4 tomatoes
vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter mixed with water (use a fork to ‘whisk’ it into uniform liquid)

In a saucepan add rice and four cups liquid (coconut milk + water) and prepare as you would prepare rice. About 10 minutes before it’s done, add carrots and parsnips. When rice is done, add curry powder and fluff with fork. Set aside.

In a large stock pot over high heat, add a few swirls of olive oil. Add yams and onions and cook, stirring for a few savory minutes. Add several cups of vegetable stock and/or water, enough to cover yams and onions plus a a few more inches in the pot. I did about half and half. Grab tomatoes and squeeze them into pot, releasing juice and then drop the skin and pulp in pot. Add peanut butter-water mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, until yams are soft. Purée with an immersion blender (or in small batches in a blender).

To serve: scoop the coconut veggie rice in bowls and ladle peanut butter yam purée over rice.


wishing you all a warm and safe weekend.


30 Responses to snow, stitches and stew

  1. Mary Thomas says:

    Sheesh what a day. That cry of pain I can hardly stand it. It’s crazy how strong we can be for our kids. We’re freaking the hell out but somehow we can get gauze and bandages and carry them fifty miles with one elbow. I love being the mom but wow in those moments I’m suddenly THE mom and some other awesome thing takes me over. Soooo glad she’s okay. Also loved that ecard. There’s a hilarious Twitter thing I follow called Honest Toddler, one of my fav quotes (from toddler POV) “it’s like every single night: pajamas.”

  2. ctb says:

    Damn, being the mom can be so scary. Happy to hear it all worked out. That snow looks so snuggle comfy cozy.

  3. T Borrenpohl says:

    How do they do that? Hurting themselves when the snow is falling and the world is screeching to a halt. There is no better place to raise kids than Montana. You are all so lucky.

  4. Amy says:

    For some reason, this brought me to tears. Perhaps it’s the fear and anticipation of my first experience with stitches (I don’t know how I have been spared… 3 boys). You are such a great momma and your attitude reminds me very much of my own. (Perhaps its a Minnesota thing?) thank you for your words..

  5. TRB Holt says:

    this broke my heart…”I cut a big piece of paper to make cards to send to grandma Terri and grandma Joan” I love you SO much Ruby…You are My Sunshine! xoxo, Gram/grandma Terri

  6. FinnyKnits says:

    Moonlit sled rides on the season’s first snow – that IS a cure all.

    Well done, Mama.

  7. My heart sank for you. For Ruby. I haven’t added this one to my Mama resume yet but i’m sure my time will come. You are such a good mom, I love to “hear” thier little voices and how you interact with them. And that snow is gorgeous. I’m sure it’s just around the corner in MN. xo

  8. Oh poor Ruby, bet it hurt when she cut her arm too, such a tender spot, kids are amazing how they bounce back so quickly, out playing in the snow even though her arm was probably still a bit sore . Moonlight sledding looks really fun and great pics.

  9. Joy Kinard says:

    Oh bless it.

    Your snow made me so jealous. It was 80 degrees here today.

  10. Anna says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I hate when children are in pain and we just want to take it away for them. It sounds like Ruby was so brave and so strong though, one helluva reflection on her parents. I’m relieved all is well and she bounced right back!

  11. Oh, Ruby :( I’m glad she’s okay. When I was 3 I had to get stitches because I fell out of bed and my top teeth sunk into the bottom lip… I remember very little. I proudly sport a small bump on my lower lip to this day :) I’ll try this recipe with almond butter (Zayn loves rice!)

    & when will you start selling prints of your photos?!?! I love snow photos and these look idyllic! xx

  12. Seelife3d says:

    holy shit sandwich, my stomach flipped just reading and thinking about the doc stitching her arm.

    I glad she is as good as new again.

    I know they are kids and it happens, but still makes my heart jump into my throat.

    Hugs Momma!

  13. kteacher22 says:

    When my older son was 3, he tripped in his new boots and bumped his head on the coffee table. It was just as you described-a gaping wound, then blood everywhere! When we got to the ER, they first insisted that I leave the room while they do the stitches. WHAT?? I refused. Then two burly men came at my son, wordlessly attempting to force him into a medical straight jacket so that he wouldn’t interfere with the stitches. I leapt in front of him, refusing to move, and began negotiations. They finally let me wrap him in the jacket, and I remember telling my son that we were going to do something so very silly-we were going to wrap him in a swaddle blanket just like we wrapped his little baby sister at home. I am still amazed that my little man laid on that table and let me bind his arms to his chest, listened to me talk about Disney World as he got stitches. Your post made me cry, remembering how I felt that day!!

    • Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great blog!

  14. Amy says:

    Oh Ruby, OUCH!
    I can imagine your pain alongside her pain.
    Kids hurting is so freaking heartbreaking.

  15. ,,,I was nervous reading this post, so happy rubes is good as new. Bless her that she was just making cards when those shitty shears decided to take a bite out of her sweet flesh! Oh that snow looks glorious we might get some of the white stuff before this whole sandy/frankenstorm is over,,,

  16. Jill F says:

    I always thought my husband was the strong one, and me the squeemish wimp. Then my daughter had to get stiches in her chin at the age of three. We both went to the ER, I held her as the Dr. stiched and my big tough hubby passed out cold. I still tease him. Mama power all the way. I hope your little peanut is all healed up!

  17. Wow. A new found respect for those shears is an understatement. So glad that both of you made it through the experience.

    I love how through it all, your night ended in bliss. Snow. So simple. Endless fun.


  18. Tammie says:

    What a scary thing to have to go through for the both of you. That is one of the worst jobs for a Momma is to have to witness our babies in pain. I’m glad she is ok.

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