Wednesday, March 30, 2011

still winter

Just stopping in to say hi.  I have nothing brilliant, funny or wise to share tonight.  I'm just. plain. tired.  I've been falling asleep with Juniper at night and it's like I've been hit over the head with a baseball bat.  I just can't get myself back up for a date with my late-night hobbies.  I've been doing all the leg-work on our house which would normally get me all fired up to have a big project, but right now I'm in a funk.  Maybe it's because spring seems to be one-step-forward and two-steps-back.  Snow melts, then we get another eight inches.  I love snow.  But right now, I'd really love some mud.  In the meantime, I spent what could arguably be part of Juniper's college fund to get myself a contraption I'd been wishing I had for the last 3 months:
Can you say, "Heaven?"  Heaven.  
I have two rules about winter: 1) If you're going to live where the temps get below freezing, you better have some friggin' snow.  2) If you have friggin' snow, you better enjoy it.

:: Last week we put on our tourist hats and took Juniper for a "sleigh" ride on the refuge.
Turns out, we were two days too late for the sleigh and got the bumpy wagon instead.  Still, awesome.  

Juniper kept trying to climb out of the wagon all the while saying, Ott, ott, ott...  (Ott = elk, obviously.)
  There was a pretty nippy wind that made her eyes water, but she hardly noticed.  

::  Juniper's nanna braved her first-ever airplane flight to help with the new baby up in Montana, then came down to see us for several days.  It was *wonderful*.  
  We did a little wildlife watching and between here and Montana, I think my mother-in-law saw damn near every large mammal we have in this region (except for hibernating grizzly and black bears, of course).  Around the corner (so to speak) from our soon-to-be-home, there is a little herd of mountain goats who winter on the rocky slope above the highway.  
 I can never get photos of these guys because I don't have a telephoto lens.  Used my mil's camera for this one.  

Also, checked out a herd of big horn sheep.  
 Again, mil's camera.  

::  We celebrated a birthday in our house.  I love when this day comes because my man has to stop teasing that I am the old geezer of our relationship and we spend the next eight months in the same age category.  By his request, I made my step-mom's lemon poppyseed cake.  
Juniper was enamored with blowing-out-the-candles.  She was too young to appreciate that ritual on her own birthday, but by the end of this night she was blowing out candles herself.  Also, she officially ate sugar for the second time.  But this time, she was bigger and smarter and learned to ask for more cake (or rather, point excitedly and say, Mooore?)  and for the next several days we had to sneak cake while J bug was in the other room--or else share.
:: First pig-tails.  (She pulled out the hairbands and tried to feed them to Osa shortly after this photo was taken.)  

:: Evidence of what my family does when I leave them alone for half a day.  

:: The growing collection on our windowsill.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

rocks & pistols

In the years preceding my temporary split with Wyoming, I was a pretty outspoken little cus about the rampant oil and gas development in our wild, pristine part of the country.  My public letters and commentary cost me more than a couple of job opportunities.  I was loud enough to land myself in the professional world's equivalent of The Principal's Office on charges of insubordination.  (But as my commiserating coworker's said, You're not doing your job if you don't have a letter of reprimand in your file.)

There are certain truths that I hold to be self-evident and in the twenty-first century one of those truths is: What's left of our wild lands should remain wild.  I would go to the conservation group's meetings to help gather local steam and in the beginning I noticed two things: A) I was the youngest person there, and B) nearly everyone else was retired or had some other form of independent income.  I found this both frustrating and depressing.  Didn't anybody care?  What the hell, Generation X, where are you?  I heard people complaining in private, but they were all tight-lipped in public.  Come on, people.
These are photos from the last week and actually have little to do with this story.  Sorry.  

This winter, one of the issues I've been following for almost 6 years came to a head with the publication of a draft environmental impact statement for oil and "natural" gas drilling in a mostly roadless area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  (This is not your average Not In My Backyard, we *already* have it in our backyard--in the high desert just south of our forest the oil and gas development in the last ten years has been monumental.)
We are huge supporters of sustainable heating fuels.  

Turns out, my fellow Wyomingites had one eye open all this time.  They were waiting for a line to be crossed and when a Texas oil company came along and stuck one foot over the edge, holy hell, watch out.  Hunters, anglers, ranchers, outfitters, hikers, bikers, bird-watchers, tourists, business-owners, high school kids, former and current employees of the Federal land management agencies, and oil field workers themselves came out loud and strong.  "Not Your Average Treehuggers" their slogan reads.  They stepped up to the plate with their spurs on and pistols strapped to their belts.  Look out.  

I am beaming with pride.  Last week, the Forest Service expected to receive 10,000 comments on this proposal.  They received 30,000.  As a birkenstock-wearing, everyday, average treehugger, I feel like I only count for three-fifths of a vote in the wake of these shit-kicking, well-armed men and women.  Between our three-year absence and a toddler, I am not as involved as I should be.  Yet last week reminded me that those truths I hold to be self-evident are strong as ever and are now serving the new purpose as the foundation on which to grow my family.  I want to show Juniper we can stand strong on top of our ethics and push the envelop for what is right.  Get your spurs on and your pistols out, here she comes.
Armed with a handful of rocks and a giant heart...even better.         



:: In other, unrelated, news maybe you noticed the spring-like dress in the above photo?  The mittenless hands?  We may have started the week like this,

But then we got some of this,

Which led to this,

And inevitably to this,

Then, ta da!, asphalt, mud, rocks and leaves.
Getting outside is becoming less of a dress rehearsal.

:: New words: knee, toe, nose, toy, pato, wallet, mouse, moose, chicken, wood, rocks, and--just today--Owen.

Favorite words: eyes, uh-oh, ow-ee, no.

Favorite new pastime:
And, three new molars.

:: One last thing.  We're under contract on a house!  And if it weren't for daily conversations with our banker, I could hardly believe it myself.  Juniper and I have been busy drawing plans, sketching out a very necessary kitchen/dining expansion and daydreaming of where we'll set up her art table.  I am sure you will hear more details in the coming weeks and months.
Thanks to everyone who weighed in on our small house/ big house dilemma.  We went with your advice (and our own gut) and opted for the small house, awesome area.  Cheers.  

:: A final, random note: our Christmas tree continues to grace our livingroom window.
And, wow, did you really make it to the end of this War & Peace post?  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

a brand new soul

Week before last, we headed to Montana.

We had been waiting two weeks to meet this new soul.

The ugly-beautiful drive was totally worth it.  And when we walked in the door and they handed him off to us, I grabbed him by the armpits, supported his bobbly head and anticipated the weighty mass of the rest of his body.  But, I'd forgotten.  I wish I could cast the body-memory of a newborn in plaster like we do our nine-month bellies.  It is so easily and quickly forgotten as our biceps grow right along with them, that babies are so...small.  And the most shocking thing of all: young Samuel Fisher is a big baby.  He landed into this world at 9 pounds 2 ounces and was probably already 11-something by the time we saw him.

I remembered how it is with a newborn: they seem so impossibly small and yet--when you think he was just inside his mother's belly--so impossibly huge.  When Juniper was born I couldn't get over the small-bigness of her body.  I couldn't believe that a perfect little human was right there all along inside my belly, and then was out.  Impossible.  It's really an amazing thing, this choice we have to procreate.
Look how comfortable we are.  This is in stark contrast to the photos of me holding Sam's older brother Owen as a newborn.    

Juniper was enamored with Sam.  She would sidle up to us with her head cocked to the side and say in her sweetest voice, Bay-bee?  
Sam doesn't like to be laid down; an arrangement that worked out pretty swell while we were there.  

Owen turned 2 the day we arrived and I had knitted the brothers matching monkey hats.  (Well, Sam's was originally Owen' know how these things work.)  I didn't have a pattern and pretty much had to wing it, but I think they turned out awesome.  I had to learn a new skill: intarsia (that's the face knitted flat into the hat) and intarsia-in-the-round...and then, er, re-learn it again two years later.  Ahem.

:: Like last year around Owen's birthday, we hit the hotsprings:
Juniper could touch bottom and walk, which she thought was the bomb.  

Sam was in hog heaven.  I'm pretty sure he's already decided there is a God.

But our poolside Mama Bear, who undoubtedly needed the soaking most of all, was still a couple of weeks from midwife-approval.  

:: I hope we were helpful during our stay.  We cooked, we did laundry, we held Sam (twist our arms), we pointed out deer and elk and horses to Owen and Juniper (yes, all from the livingroom window), we mediated toddler spats, we hung out, we drank beer.

I never did feed the chickens.  I'm not sure who fed the chickens, but it wasn't me.  I should have.  I'll need the practice.
Welcome to the world little-big Sam!