Thursday, June 17, 2010


Juniper is becoming complicated.  It is both daunting and exhilarating.  She is so smart. Everyday, I'm amazed at how smart she is, how smart we are.  Humans.  Who'd a thunk it?  Not me.  Before J bug, I was pretty convinced that our species was just plain dumb.  What other reason do we have for treating the things necessary for life (food, air, water) in the destructive way we do?  But with a child, you can see the potential for brilliance and it is so damned hopeful.  Choosing to procreate is choosing to hope for the future, to be the change you seek in raising the next generation.  We're working on it.  

Last week, Juniper "read" a book on her own.  At first, she just quickly flipped through the pages.  Then, she slowed down and stopped to feel each dog (it was a "Puppies" book--and, yes, technically it was upside down).  I was amazed.  She's been playing on her own with books for some time, but usually ends up chewing on them.  This was definitely different.  The other amazing thing is how unimpressed she is with her own breakthroughs.  Just like that.  She reads a book.       

Then, J bug started playing peekaboo on her own.  For many months now, my man has been trying to "train" her to pull a cloth off her own face so she won't suffocate and we combine this regimen with a game of, Where's Juniper?  She's been pulling the cloth off her face for some time, but now, she puts the cloth OVER her own face.  It's the funniest damn thing because it looks like she's trying to smother herself. Plus, she holds her breath and kicks her legs all around and it really does look like she's trying to do herself in.  But all in good fun, because then she pulls it off.  Peekaboo!  There she is!    
And now, whenever we lay her down, she grabs whatever is in reach: a pair of pants, a diaper, a sock and holds it over her face, sucks in her breath and kicks.  It reminds me of a dog dropping a stick at your feet, ready to play.

::  And, drumming...

And, wing-beating...

And, reaching...




(That's J bug's super-sleepy face.  The tongue is a tell-tale sign.)  

:: My girls.  Reaching, rolling, back-scratching...

:: June bug started swimming lesson this week, which it so cool.  I am impressed with how well those little babes can swim--they are like little seahorses running underwater towards the instructor and their prize: the rubber ducky.  Juniper treats her ducky the same as she does at home: she hugs it to her chest and does not let go and if you take it away, she cries.  In lessons, she floats on her back, clutching her rubber ducky--like a sea otter with a clam (minus the rock they use to smash the clams).  There is no other toy she treats with such tender possessiveness.  I don't know what it is about that ducky.  She must get it from my dad, her grandfather (re: Senior Pato).           

:: And, walking between storms...

Tickling ourselves with blades of grass...

:: We are off once again.  First a rendezvous with many good friends, then a flight (our first) to visit Juniper's only living great-grandparents and see fireflies and luna moths and sit on the porch after dark sipping mint juleps.  My first time to the southland in the summer, oh my.     

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

tree frogs, howler monkeys and more

Digression:  My favorite photo from this week.  My husband took it this morning while monkey and I were both still asleep.  I love the rosy nursing cheek.  He loves that her skin is camouflaged on mine.   The light was low and the photo is blurry but it works.  I am smitten.  

::          ::          ::          ::        

The thing about being married to a man with a formal education in wildlife biology is this: you don't just have a daughter.  You have--like a good shaman--a shape-shifter.

We've known since we first came up with her name that Juniper would be a june bug.  And for a few months now, she's been a bean.  But lately, thanks to my man's mammalian repertoire, we quite frequently have a howler monkey on our hands.  It's not the sound (there is none), it's all in the face: 

And then, just to throw an amphibian in the mix of insects, legumes and mammals, we have a wide-mouthed tree frog:

And, thanks to the richness of my formal education, we occasionally have a mandrake (re: Harry Potter, the Old Testament, and ancient legend).

:: Lately, rain.  Rain.  More rain.  

And, mushrooms!!  Morels, yum.

My man picked dinner behind the shed one night.  J bug and I went looking for more:

Hot damn, is Juniper cute or what?  She is so wonderful.  I couldn't count how many times we say that in a given day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

voting & the daily grind

{Warning: Soapbox}  In my short time on the blogosphere, I have discovered something wonderful.  The Etsy shop.  If you were like me and hadn't heard of it, you have now.  It's an internet site for creative people to sell handmade goods, and conscientious buyers to purchase them.  Given the creative endeavors of nearly every woman in my family--who are, as we speak, finishing up a week of FFF (Family Fiber Fest: wish I was there!)--probably, we should each have a shop of our own.

: I don't mean to give the impression that the sun has just been blazing lately, because it hasn't, but still--Juniper needed a sun bonnet for the summer with good coverage.  Where did I turn?  Etsy.
Yeah, our girl is totally into wet, sloppy, grab-your-face smooches.  

And when our little sasquatch outgrew all her hand-me-down soft-soled leather shoes?  That's right...

Etsy.  Now, the national brand of soft-soled leather shoes, "Robeez," cost more and are made (and therefore shipped; re: fossil fuels) half-way across the world in China.  Hmmm.

Last night my man and I watched the documentary "Food Inc"--required viewing for anyone and everyone who EATS in the United States of America.  Since the age of eleven when I quit eating tuna in order to "save the dolphins," I have been aware of consumer power.  But I liked the way they phrased it in "Food Inc": with every purchase, you are placing a "vote" for that product.

So, with my two etsy shop purchases, I placed a vote for an Ohio mother making sun bonnets, and a Michigan mom sewing up leather shoes in her home.  I love that.  I love that when people try to tell us, You CAN'T find children's clothes that AREN'T made in China; I can point and say, Oh yes you can.  {End: Soapbox}

:: Of late, our days have been multifaceted:

Sleeping in...

Walking the road behind the house...

Watching aspen and cottonwood leaves unfold...

Afternoons with realtors,

And bankers,

And looking at far too many houses, not finding any ONE that fits us.