Saturday, October 30, 2010

right now

Juniper, you are one wild and precious girl.
Things I love about you right now: your laugh. Your huge, cheek-splitting smile, your grin.  Your open-mouthed kisses.  The way you lift your arms high and slap your hands down on the ground during your speed-crawl.  The way you squeal and "run away" from Osa as she lumbers past you.  Your double-toothed grin when you're doing something you shouldn't.  How well you listen--most of the time--when we ask, "no touch" or "no mouth."  The way you want to stand free-hand and surf on everything, including your new wagon.  How seeing your dad come home from work is always, always, the perfect ending to a perfect day.  The way you spit like a camel when you're excited.  The way sunlight strikes your blue eyes.  How you've discovered your mouth is a third hand, carrying toys around like a dog.  Dogs; how much you love them.  How you say, "Daaaa" for dog, and "Ohhsh" for Osa.  How much you love leaves: dry leaves on the ground, fresh leaves on the love them all.  How you still stick your tongue out when you're tired and sleepy.  How you are like an owl: wide-eyed and watching everything, even when we think you aren't.  How unabashed you are to explore a room full of strangers on your own.  How you still check on me, like Osa running ahead on the trail then turning back around, just to let me know we're still in this together.

Welcome to the world once again.  We love having you here.

You wild and precious girl.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Perfect.  First, thanks to all who sent wishes for a happy birth-day!  We adore you.

::That morning, I noted 7:55 am and ran through one more this time last year in my head while feeding Juniper some yogurt and pear and rushing out the door for swimming lessons.  J bug received her first round of "Happy Birthday" in the water.

Afterwards, while June bugs continued to nap in the car (er...extension cord running from house to car with monitor attached), I set to work in the kitchen: pumpkin soup, cornbread, Grandma L's famous salad and, of course, the cake.  If felt weird to be giving J bug sugar when she hasn't even eaten walnuts yet, so I compromised with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting.  My man made the #1 from carrot slices--Juniper's first veggie and long-time favorite.

:: In the meantime, we had a lazy day visiting with relatives and near-relatives:

Getting tight hugs:

And assembling J bug's birthday wagon--a gift from her grands:
^Uncle T's specialty and cousin Owen's fascination--well, anything with wheels.^    

^Check out that bump!  Dude, and she still has over three months to go!^


:: And just before Uncle M grilled up some lake trout with the best marinade known to man, Juniper received her second round of "Happy Birthday" and wondered why in the hell we were putting a flame right in front of her face when we're normally all, No touch, Juniper.  That's HOT.    

She wasn't sure what to do with her slice of cake at first,

but after a taste of frosting looked up at me like, Are you serious?  Oh. My. God.

And proceeded to hoover the remainder.

And the willing, non-preggo adult folk dabbled in what is undoubtedly our best batch of dandelion wine to date.  Less sugar, more bubbly fermented goodness.  Pure liquid sunshine.

And speaking of which, here I am, almost five months pregnant with June bugs, clipping the dandelion flowers for said vino.
We had a plethora of unsprayed dandelions in Montana (as in, our entire back yard), but still need to find a safe patch near our Wyoming home.  So for now, our liquid sunshine is a limited commodity.    

::  We--or rather, Owen--opened Juniper's birthday booty the next day.  Books and blocks and clothes and a train, handmade hair clips, and a vest, pj's, clothes, snacks, a doll all the way from Jordan, an oak toy chest...the girl made like a bandit.

Not that she noticed.  She was too preoccupied with chowing down one of her great-grandfather's Shenandoah apples.
And wagon rides galore.  
 ^Cleopatra on her chariot.^

And just before we said our until-next-time's, we made a little family photo:

And seconds before the second shot, Juniper dove head-first for the ground, was caught by the ankle thanks to her grandfather's lightening-fast reflexes, and emerged with two fistfuls of cottonwood leaves.  The whole bungee-jump experience left her a little shell shocked:

::And so, just like that, we have a one-year-old. 

To Juniper:  
"Happy Birthday Juniper.....we love having you on the planet!!!"  ~Great Aunt M
Well said.  

To me and all my one year ago todays:  
"Happy birthday to you for Juniper. I've always thought a child's birthday is more important to the mother as it's the day our bodies were touched by birth." ~from our midwife.
Well said.

To Juniper from me:  Oh, my.  That will have to wait for another post.    


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

six of her

These last few weeks I keep flashing to One Year Ago.  And while my bean is asleep in her crib, and my man in our bed, I stay up late and browse photos and watch snippets of video of the day J bug was born.  The day that our lives changed so completely, irrevocably and all for the good.

But today, one year ago, I was still pregnant.  And because I had absolutely no conception of what a newborn is like, or what to do with them, I focused on the tangible things.  Pack the diaper bag.  Pack our bags.  Make some mixed music cds.  Get more dog food.  Make a list for Missoula, because while we're there having a baby, we should also pick up more granola and winter squash and get the oil changed in the car.

And while I sit here, nearly one year of motherhood under my belt, trying to remember one year ago and all that not-knowing, of having absolutely no fucking idea, how hard our world would get rocked...I have to smile.  We took our docile life and jumped into a stormy ocean and found out we can swim and ride the waves and that we wholly love all the cold water and the unknown depths and the taste of saltwater on our lips.

I can't believe we have a one-year-old.  If  I could, I would take this last year and re-live it a hundred times over.  And this is just the first year.  Wow.

This evening, my man came home from a long day at work, took one look at Juniper in her high chair all covered in avocado and cheesy pasta stars and said, She is so wonderful.  I could have six of her.        


Love is the answer
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Why are we here and where do we go
And how come it's so hard
It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing
It's always better when we're together.

                                                         ~Jack Johnson, Better Together

Friday, October 8, 2010

golden cloves: gathering

golden cloves: kernels of goodness in lots of photos and (usually) little words from the last week or so

Around here, autumn is our busiest season as we gather and squirrel and ready ourselves for winter deep.  

:: Firewood. 

Juniper and I hung out on the trailer, in the road and under a tree, while good ol' pa cut:

Then we switched and good ol' ma chucked:

Firewood.  My theory has always been: wood warms your body three times in it's lifecycle.  Once when you cut & chuck, once when you split & stack, and once when you burn.  How's that for efficiency?  And speaking of efficiency, my man's big ol' road hog has been getting 23 plus miles per gallon.  That's way more than your average truck and, sadly, just a hair behind today's average car.

:: Meat.
Sigh.  I wasn't with him.  Wish I was (although after hearing about how gnarly the terrain was...maybe not).  I was a vegetarian for ten years before I became a hunter, but this is my second year running that I haven't gone and I miss it.  I don't feel whole without it.  It's just as bad, if not worse, than not having a vegetable garden.  Last year, I was a good 8 1/2 months pregnant (or, in rifle season, had a newborn slung to my chest).  This year, we are in limbo.  We are no longer Montana residents, but not yet Wyoming residents and we could only afford one nonresident deer tag.  So my man hefted his pack to bring home the bacon and Juniper and I stayed home and ruled the roost.  (Or rather, cleaned it as my parents were expected that night!  More on that in a minute.)  

If hiking and backpacking are like taking a guided bus tour of a foreign country, hunting is like moving there and learning the language.  There is no other way of truly, deeply, being in the woods.  I never knew that until I became a hunter myself.  Like parenting.  I remember rolling my eyes when my step-brother told me, You think having a DOG is cool?  Wait until you become a parent.  I never believed it until I became a parent myself (full disclosure: Osa, you *are* cool).  

This year, my man did something we never, ever, ever, do.  He killed a deer his first day out.  He boned-it-out in the field, packed-out all the meat and was home just after dark.  And, spent the next five days paying for it.  Even now, his big toenails are black and blue from a steep, cliffy, hike out.  
^A nice, big, mule deer to boot!^
The not-so-funny joke among hunters is that the work starts once you get the meat home.  After an elk last year and a moose the year before, this mule deer didn't seem so bad.  We had him tightly cut, ground, wrapped, labeled and in the deep freeze in no time.

:: Vegetables.
Besides potatoes, the only real fall harvest we had was spring-planted garlic.  The white stuff is last year's, the purple is this year's.  Not bad for a May planting, eh?  

:: House-hunting.  
Not a part of our usual fall harvest and gathering, but I figure the time I've spend house-hunting is probably comparable to the time I would normally spend weeding, cultivating, harvesting, blanching, canning and freezing a garden as well as picking, mashing, boiling and canning berries for jams and jellies.  And guess what?  We still haven't found The One.  At least not in our price range.  But we have seen some crazy, huge houses in our range, which is mind-boggling.  And we can't help but get excited about a big house, until we wonder how we'll heat the thing.  And then there's this: we still haven't made the in-town or out-of-town decision.

:: Gathering. 
My dad and step-mom came to visit for a week.  Holy heaven.  They could be my guardian angels in disguise.  They cooked glorious, scrumptious meals.  Dishes were always done.  They played with june bugs and I actually had a chance to sew and, under the tutelage of my step-mom, nearly got a project completed.  This was my step-mom's constant refrain: What do you need done?  I'll do it.  (Perhaps we will buy the bigger house!) 

We celebrated two out of three (early) birthdays.  Should have done all three but, sigh, next time.   

Like grandfather, like granddaughter.  

My dad and step-mom have always seemed more of the animal-lover types and prior to Juniper, I would always joke to my husband that they would be more excited if we got another dog (or a pig or a goat or something) than if we had a baby.  So it shocked me when, almost a year ago, they grabbed their new role as grandparents and ran with it.     

Senior Pato, on the other hand, may need a little more adjustment time.    

One morning during coffee my dad announced: Juniper, you're going to stand today.  And yeah, she's been standing here and there for a while, but that day she started doing it ALL THE TIME and hasn't quit.    

C'est tout.  Have a great weekend out there!