I don't like to lie to my kids. I might gloss over some harder truths, and I LOVE to play along in pretend play, but most truths we don't hide from our kids. We want them to know where their food comes from. We want them to know the price paid. We do not hide Life, and we do not hide Death. Juniper has seen dead turkeys, fish, deer and antelope. But more recently, while visiting relatives in West Virginia, she saw a dead bear. The bear that bit our car met his end by my father-in-law (like it or not, it's part of his job). Juniper got to see that bear, his sharp claws, his long teeth, his soft pads. Since then--and even before--she has been obsessed with bears. She both loves bears and finds them frightening (but really, don't we all?). She has two stuffed bears--a black bear and a polar bear--and most nights she cuddles them tightly. Other nights, she chucks them out of bed and insists they sleep in the living room. Anyway. Our library has a huge stuffed teddy bear about three times the size of J-bug. Today, she walked in, ran to the bear, hefted up his slumped head and said, "I want a knife to kill the bear!" I glanced around, cleared my throat and said, "Oh, no, this isn't the bear that bit our car, this is a friendly bear. He needs kisses and hugs." I have been trying to nurture her gentler side.
Hazel Iris. She flaps her wings so hard she might just take off and fly before she learns to crawl. While nursing, she palms her scalp and grabs her own hair. In swimming lessons, she kicks for all she's worth. When I ask, "Where's mama's nose?" she grabs my nose. Or mouth. Or ear. She prefers to be heard and tonight she said, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Aaaaaaah dadadadada." Love this babe. This is my favorite baby stage: post-newborn, pre-crawling.
I am a planner. But I'm also a do-it-now kind of gal. My least favorite word combination: "When I retire..." I don't like to say no to something I want NOW. But. Our summers are short and mine started with a long list and a full calendar. There are a few things I've had to back away from, to make room for this:
We packed the girls into the truck and sailed our camper 45 miles down the road.
Our old stomping grounds. Back in the day (six years ago? eight?) I climbed this peak^ with girlfriends and dogs.
Twelve years ago my new boyfriend and I had a romantic, moonlit soak in the secret hot springs just below these falls. Now, that boyfriend and I have a jammied kid walking the rocks after breakfast.
Waterfalls, camping, hot springs-swimming, hiking, fishing, mmmmm.
It had been on our calendar for months, scheduled just after visiting relatives left and well before our next flight: potty train Juniper. I have some theories on why she was such a rock star but in a nutshell: she daytime potty trained in 2 hours and full-time (day & night) in 24 hours. She is a full-time undies girl. (And sometimes poops with a view.)
I will never stop loving bare monkey feet dangling at my hip:
I have a confession to make. I have been split, from head to groin, ever since we moved here. I have one foot in, one foot out. This is unlike me. In the past, I either dove in head first, or barely skimmed the surface. And I am unabashedly blaming this split on my children. Before children I always knew what I wanted. Now, I want different things and can't remember what it was I once desired. Things I never even considered before having kids, I now think about more often than your average male thinks about sex.
In the meantime, while one foot dangles sunburnt and dirty outside the water, the other is cool, clean and mingling with the trout. Grow where you are. Home.
:: And growing we are.
Our squash, beans, potatoes and broccoli are happy, garlic is close to harvest and asparagus is still pushing through. Normally, cool-season veggies love our moderate mountain summers and heat-loving veggies are better off in a greenhouse. But this year, dang, I wish I had planted tomatoes and peppers. Our lettuce, peas, spinach and cilantro are limping along, trudging through the desert in Eskimo furs. This week's forecast: 90's.
:: Home. We've been making pesto. Lots of pesto. First dandelion pesto, then garlic scape pesto, then regular ol' basil pesto. We spread it on pizza, sandwiches and stash it in the freezer for January.
:: My favorite way to clean out the crisper: pizza. This one is laced with sauteed onions and radish greens, then topped with drops of ricotta, basil and just enough mozzarella to hold it all together. Mmmmmm.
:: No skeeters yet, so we continue our formal dining at this superb table.
All of last week, our fridge was full, dishes done, dinner made, kid's faces clean, clothes folded...yes, my parents were in town. My dad and step-mom were here for a week, thoroughly enjoyed, and now sorely missed.
Summer is in full swing with her tight curls and tanned feet. Life is full around here. When we got home from West Virginia, we hurry-quick planted trees and bushes: honeycrisp and MacIntosh apples, crabapple, silver maple, raspberries and current. Since then, we've been watering like crazy because, as my grandpa would've said, it's been drier than a popcorn fart.
There is a 50,000 acre-and-growing fire burning on our forest and I can't even remember the last time it rained. (Was it May?) In the meantime, I will shamelessly admit that I've been drinking up these 80 degree days, soaking it in like a lizard on a rock.
Joined us for playgroups in the park,
Our local Mountain Days celebration,
And eating out (front porch dining every evening),
And while I took Hazel swimming, Juniper played in the urban jungle with Grandpa (which I SO remember from my childhood),
And took most of the photos in this post. My dad put more screws in our fence, my step-mom prepared nearly every meal. They watched Juniper while I went on a shopping spree with only one kid in tow. And the reason we didn't crumble when they left...is knowing they'll be back in two months : )
I love having everyday photos of me with my girls^. Thanks D&L...for everything!