Saturday, August 31, 2013

already there

We had the best kind of weekend.  Camping.  15 miles from home.  No agenda.  (And I can say this on a Friday night because our weekend falls in the middle of the week.)  

I just wanted to hike somewhere.  My man just wanted to fish somewhere.  In western Wyoming, you'd be hard-pressed not to fulfill those two goals.
^Possibly the first time I've seen a glimpse of an adult in Hazel's face.^

Hikes during naptime, carrying both kids, thighs and lungs burning.
My kids are total nut-jobs when it comes to berry-picking.  If we say it's edible, they pick it and eat it and only with considerable bribing can we pull them away from the patch.  Favorites: serviceberries, red currants, raspberries, strawberries, chokecherries, rose-hips, oregon grape....  If it isn't poisonous, they love it.  And I love witnessing this primal gathering; the way they fall into a rhythm of hand-to-mouth, an instinct born from the eons of gatherers who came before us.
Juniper's (oregon grape) "lollipop":

Camp.  Plein-air painting.  And, wonder of all wonders, a kid-bridge over a kid-sized creek.  I heard this approximately 137 times: Let's go back to the kid-bridge!  We bounced from the kid-bridge to painting, to pine-cone collecting, to eating and back to the kid-bridge.    
^Hazel did a funny old-woman slippered-shuffle across the bridge, but Juniper bounced, skipped and flew.  Over and over and over again.^ 

That evening after dinner, we walked down to the river.  Rock-throwing.  Sister-hugging.  Snail-inspecting.  Pretty much anytime we mention a body of water around Hazel--river, lake, swimming pool--her eyes widen, her lips pucker and very deliberately she asks, Fishing?    
My man said he was just going over there to see if he could catch a fish.  I snapped a few photos and he was back.  I was probably staring at my LCD screen mumbling about how I was still learning my new camera, when I looked up.  I swear, he'd been gone 2 seconds.  "This is why I love Wyoming," he said, holding up a thick, glistening, beautiful cutthroat trout.  
Juniper gets simultaneously excited about wanting to eat the fish and rescue the fish.  "Oh, Baby Fish, it's going to be okay.  Don't worry Baby Fish.  I'll take care of you."  
Both girls practically whipped out pen-and-paper to take notes on fish-gutting.  Fishing is my man's thing.  He's a former fisheries biologist.  So not only does he gut the trout, but he opens the stomach to see what it's been eating.        
:: The next day we popped on up to this little lake, known locally for its small stature and kid-friendly bait-fishing.  
Found a little "raft" jerry-rigged from pallets.  (Next time we could bring a paddle and we'd be hip paddle-boarders!)    
No luck with the hoppers, but a nice old man shared some worms.  He said he had three grown daughters and we were reminding him of good times.  He moved over and gave us the best fishing beach too.    
Juniper on the worms: "Mama, they keep fussing around."  
True to form, Hazel slid head-first down the gravel bank, opening the scab on her arm from the frying-pan burn of the day before.  So she was already in a tender mood.  Right away my man hooked her up with a fish on the line.  Hazel--with help--reeled-in her first ever trout.  
Then it flopped and writhed and that was just too much for her bruised soul.   

Juniper reeled in a bigger cutthroat and we headed back.  Home.  But really, we were already there.  
Psssst.  Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, the girls tie-dyed those shirts themselves at a playdate.  I did the tying, they did the dying.  We are totally doing it again.    

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the end of something special

Thanks everyone for all your comments (and offers to babysit!) on my last post...always nice to know I'm not the only one yearning for a little rest from motherhood.  Just like the rollercoaster of parenthood, in this post the pendulum swings the other way. 

:: :: 
Tonight, just before Hazel fell asleep, she nuzzled my neck and said, "Eye-yove-you."  This kid.  Her little personality.  Lately, she makes me all gooey-sappy, waxing nostalgic.  I know we are just at the end of something special.  Just as I lamented the end of the newborn stage, and then the adorable sitting-but-not-yet-crawling stage, I find myself wanting to soak up every second of RIGHT NOW.  This stage before a toddler-baby becomes a kid.  
When new phrases and sentences and words are still largely clothes she's trying on for the very first time.  Like the first time she tasted watermelon, I wonder what synapses are firing in her brain when the word flashlight exits her mouth: Did it come out the way she was expecting?  Did it surprise her?  Did it taste funny?  Was it good?  
I am trying to pay attention.  I am trying to remember.  I melt over her voice, the way it's still all throaty--like a spike elk or a jake turkey learning to bugle or gobble for the very first time.  
Her language floors me everyday.  Her clarity, her motivation, her intention.  Lately, if I'm reading or talking--especially to Juniper--and Hazel's trying to tell us something, she gets in my face, puts a finger to her lips and says, Shhh.  Shhhh.  Shhhh.  And when we finally shush, she points to the thing she wants to discuss, names it, perhaps assigns an owner or an adjective, and looks to me for confirmation.  And when I say, Yes, that's a _____, she smiles, swings her shoulders like, I thought so, and returns to the task at hand.  
When we lie in bed together, after I've told her, No more nursing; we already nursed, she requests, Hush Little Baby.  Just like this: Ush lil bebee.  Tonight as we were preparing for bed, she sang to me, rocking her head and grinning bashfully, Ush lil bebee, doe saya wor.  (I sing her the hippie version every night, complete with banjos and lightening bugs and the harvest moon.)  Between my exhaustion and this, you'll have to scoop my melted body off the floor with a spatula.  

I can now ask Hazel to get Juniper for breakfast and from the other room I hear:
Ju-bud.  Beh-fass.  And, oh, I'm telling you, I'm dissolving over here.  There will be nothing left of me but a giant, swollen, beating heart.

:: I snatched this little photo essay last month when my mom was here and we were making breakfast or something, then looked up to see Hazel building skyscrapers.  She was so dang proud of herself when she saw we were noticing.  She held her ground.


Saturday, August 24, 2013


There's some study going around facebook about how spending too much time on facebook, peering into other peoples lives, can bring you down.  Because, of course, people only post the good stuff.  Their lives are spit-shined and sparkling.  Their children never poop on the floor, the dog never eats a dirty diaper, their spouse is never gone, they never lose their temper in front of their children, their car always starts and they're never late for anything.

My husband and I talked about that and I said, I've only had time for snapshots on the blog this summer--all full of canoeing and camping and everyone having a grand 'ol time.  I should do a blog post on the shit-for-crap 36 hours I experienced last week.  Because, you know, I'd hate for any reader of mine to think our lives are golden, parenting isn't the hardest job I've ever had, or that I'm not often struck with the desire to move closer to someone who will watch my kids while I sit down and *do nothing* for an hour or two.  He got all enthusiastic and said, Yeah!  And you could post all the bad pictures!  (Way to be supportive honey!)

I would do that except Hazel just picked up some little bug and she's sniveling and having a hard time sleeping.  I can hear her down there snotting around and I'm expecting she'll wake up at any moment.  Also, I'm exhausted.  My man's been gone for almost two weeks.  It was all I could do tonight to drag my ass up here.  On top of that, I'm tired.  As in, Tired.  As in, I haven't had a day off in 4 years TIRED.

It used to be a fleeting thought, the little mini-vacation I'd give myself once Hazel is fully weaned and both kids are no longer physically attached to me.  What would I do?  Go backpacking?  Lately, that fleeting thought has transformed into a biting obsession.  Backpacking?  Visit a big city (because my husband hates them and I'd be alone)?  Maybe a quick trip to a foreign city?  How long do I get?  I do get something, right?

At the end of my shit-for-crap 36 hours I sat down to eat some sad, leftover meal and looked up to see my own likeness staring me in the face.  I had to laugh.
And there's my cue, oh poor Hazel.  She takes colds so hard.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


My better half has been working out of town.  I had a rough patch, which I may write about.  But not tonight.  Tonight was love.

'Night y'all.  ~clove