7.31.2015

across the country

No matter how far ahead I get with packing when we move, the end of it always sneaks up on me, and leaves me totally blindsided. This time around, packing up everything we own was (oddly) incredibly hard. The morning of our departure arrived and found all four of us crammed into snuggled up on an air mattress in our living room.
A million thanks to friends and family who helped us out! Saved. Our. Lives.
I've never been so anxious during a move. I've also never felt so great about tying up the last loose end and getting on the road to a new destination.
Our first day of driving took us through the corner of Wyoming, down through western, mountainous Utah. We had planned to stop at Flaming Gorge... but where on earth was that sign?! I kept looking. Didn't see it. Didn't realize that for a solid half hour. Sooooo, plan B took us to a fun rest stop at Red Canyon.
The kids got out and ran around like maniacs, and then sat happily in the car with a new box of crayons until we reached Vernal, settled into our hotel, and went out to Wingers. Since Husband simply couldn't imagine going two months sans sticky fingers, and needed one last plateful before bidding the west adieu.

 Verity immediately made a bed for herself on the floor, which she did not sleep in. Liberty proceeded to pretend Daddy was a trampoline at bedtime.
 We got off to a slower start the next day, traveling (at what seemed like a snails pace) through the Rockies, to my brother's home in Denver.
 I love these mountains. Such gorgeous views! So many tourists. 

My poor girls aren't used to the swarms of Asian tourists who all want their picture taken with them yet. They're still terrified every time.

Verity loved pointing out all of the "horsies" we saw in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I loved seeing this happy skyline come into view. It felt so welcoming. I seriously wanted to shout out, "I love you, Denver!!!" and dance a happy dance.
 We met Chad and Nikki for dinner and got settled in for the night at their house.

Libby immediately attached (again) to her Uncle Chad and it was super cute.
 I love my brothers.

And I already miss my hair staying that straight...

We swam. We laughed and ate goldfish. Chad taught Libby to hold her breath under water, which is nothing short of miraculous for my accident-prone little girl.

Libby had the time of her life with Chad and Nikki!
Vera loved swimming as a baby, but has since grown increasingly cautious. She finally did warm up... a little. And enjoyed the kiddie pool even after Libby crashed at naptime. She can't be rushed or forced into anything and I kind of love that about her. Maybe because I'm the same way. And I'm grateful to be her mom for that reason- that she has someone who knows and understands this part of her. She may not ever be the life of the party like her sister and that's perfectly fine. We're all about loving each child for who they are.

And I do. 
 Dinner on the grill and some "Colorado" brownies-- as we only joked-- and we decided to sacrifice a night of sleep for an easier day. We left that night just before midnight, since we had 11 hours of travel to our next stop. Anyone with small children understands that this kind of madness actually makes perfect sense.
 Husband took the first shift while I slept. We switched at the Colorado/Nebraska border and I drove another 4ish hours before the kids woke up and screamed till we stopped.

Husband was super motion sick with me driving, and super tired. Dramamine was the plan.. but then my driving partner went comatose (along with the kiddos) and I finished the rest of the drive while the rest of my family slept.

We arrived at Matt & Courtney's house about 12 hours after we left. And that was awesome. I promptly laid down and took a 4 hour nap.

"Hi Courtney! Hi kids! Haven't seen you guys in a year...."


*zonk*

It was a fabulous nap. I drink caffeine about once every other year or so, so the crash after all it took to keep me alert and driving all that time.... was epic. I'm not really interested in doing that again anytime soon.
 Libby just couldn't get enough sleep, so she flopped out anywhere, on anyone. Poor babe.
 We might have had the largest group of kids at a sushi restaurant that anyone's ever seen. Hopefully someday my kids will eat it as freely as their cousins, and not just stick to noodles!
 South Dakota is green and plants grow. Plants other than sagebrush and evergreens.

Also, there's water. And rumor has it... lightning bugs. 
We spent six hours straight the next day swimming with cousins. Vera had a blast for the second half of the day. We ordered pizza and had a picnic outside the swim park before heading back in for one last hour of water play before dark. 

I love the Honest Company... but their sunscreen totally failed us. 5 rounds of sunscreen on my little ones in 6 hours and they still got sunburnt. Poor things! 

Verity got to go to Primary with her cousin Guy on Sunday. Those two are so cute together! Two years ago when they came to visit us in Idaho, Vera and Guy did nothing but fight. It must have been the age...? And with this trip, Verity got along surprisingly well with her other cousin Leif, who's three years older than her. Also super cute together.

That evening we drove the last few hours into Minnesota, where we spent our last night with Daddy before taking off in an airplane the next day.
The flight went better than I expected, with only a couple of tantrums and both girls falling asleep through the last hour or so till we landed in Boston.

Soooo happy to see the ocean after two years absence. 

We were met by grandparents, Aunt Kelly & Uncle Rafe, and cousins EJ and Ari, who made a super cute 'Welcome to Boston' sign which is currently sitting over a box of toys at Grammie's house. Aunt Kelly brought healthy, kid-friendly snacks. We stopped for dinner at an Italian place just outside the North End which had (shock and awe!) gluten free pasta and made my entire night.

It's been a few days adjusting to a new place. New, especially because my mom and stepdad just moved into a new house last week! Libby met the Atlantic Ocean for the first time (more on that to come), and Verity learned to identify strange bugs called grasshoppers, and which blueberries in Grammie's backyard are ripe for picking.

We're going to miss Daddy for sure this next couple of months, but hope to fill the time with lots of fun adventures here in New England!  

7.01.2015

summer and everything after it

I don't know why this blog has received so little attention from me lately. Or my camera for that matter. It's been a few months with only sporadic posts, and I'm hoping to get things rolling again as best I can.

(And no... this hiatus has not been morning sickness/exhaustion related. Because I'm not pregnant. I've just had a weird few months.)

Ummm... sooo... summer is here?!?! It rained a bunch a few weeks ago and we loved it. Then the sun came out and hasn't gone away for a moment since. The temporary greenness we so enjoyed is now gone, the mountains looking their typical Idaho brown. 

And we are roasting.

My kids don't like to run through sprinklers. What's up with that?!

So we got a new inflatable pool. Libby was more entranced with the hose than anything...

 "How is it done? What is this thing which spouts water? It's a mystery..."
 In a few weeks time, we are packing up and heading east. Husband will be taking a temporary job in Minnesota, while the girls and I continue on to New England, to spend some much needed time with family that we rarely get to see. Two months. I don't know how I'm going to manage as a single mom for that long, considering I spend each afternoon pretty much counting down the hours till Husband gets home and can help me wrangle these little rascals into submission. How do single parents do it?

I won't be totally alone. We'll be staying with Grammie and Grandpa Jack. But I'm getting nervous about how they're going to handle being away from Daddy. Because seriously, he is the best thing in their little world.

And I might miss him a little bit, too...
 These girls are growing and changing so much everyday. 
 Come September, we have zero set plans. A few different options in the works, but for the most part.. we have no idea what the future has in store.

Everyone has a million questions, and all I can say is, "We don't know yet."

It's a strange feeling-- some mixture of excitement and apprehension that I can't really explain. Although I certainly try to focus on the excitement, and not on the unknown.
 So over the course of the next few weeks, I finish up all my Bradley classes and attend one more birth (assuming baby doesn't come too fast for me to get there!). Husband finishes up at his job. We pack up the little home we just moved into.

And in between all of that we spend as much time as possible with friends and family here, and as much time as we can splashing in our new oasis in the backyard.

We're in for an adventure.

6.22.2015

quilts

My mom has been quilting for years. She owned her own quilt shop for years. I got to do fun things like attend Quilt Market with her, and play around with her long-arm quilter. She's always been generous with her fabric stash.

Quilting and I shared somewhat of a love-hate sort of relationship until recently when I made Libby's baby quilt. It started out somewhat of a fiasco, being new to triangles. When my mom came to visit in January she helped me troubleshoot.. and once I got the hang of it... MAN! It was so much fun! I loved how dynamic all those triangles looked together. And I loved seeing all those little points match up perfectly.
And that was the part that always irritated me before-- was the need for such constant precision. You can't be lazy about details and make a great quilt.

But when the miracle of Libby's triangle quilt happened, something in my designer brain shifted, and I really began to enjoy the precision.
(Verity enjoys quilting, too.)
I decided to try hexagons from equilateral triangles, using a jelly roll my mom had given me years ago. It was a blast. The whole thing was loud and daring and dynamic, and it was so stinking fun!
After nailing the triangles (for the most part), I got this crazy idea to try out a Lone Star. I think mostly because my mom, the experienced pro quilter, had never done one. And I was determined that I could manage those diamonds. 

So I tried it, and I did it. Piecing that thing together was pure insanity, but I loved it. Absolutely loved the craziness, and watching it all come together so perfectly.
Then I tried the y-seams for the background.. and well, I'm still fighting that battle. 
For a long time I'd been wanting to make a houndstooth quilt. And I wanted to make something with ALL solids (because I simply love that look). And so this quilt was born:

Piecing squares after working with triangles and diamonds is, admittedly, a little boring. This quilt was beautiful but lacked momentum. Quilting and binding it in pink were the perfect finishing touches, and I was so smitten with this thing that I almost couldn't give it away! 

But then.. I thought of the baby girl whose nursery I had designed it for, and decided I would always see it as her quilt. And so I gave it to her, and (I hope) she loves it. 

Aaaaand the quilting obsession has continued. I designed this modern flying geese quilt for a friend's baby, and I can't wait to get started on the real deal! I might just kill myself making all those teeny little geese... but as with other borderline-insane endeavors of mine lately, I'm thinking.. I might just love it, too!
It must be some (very strange) quirk of creative people to enjoy and feel energized by complex, detailed, difficult tasks. At least, I'm going to go ahead and call it a quirk. I'm sure to some it's an ordinary character trait while to others it's pure insanity... but, hey. I'm okay with that.

If there's one thing I've come to understand a lot better about myself and motherhood, it's that I need to invest myself in something creative--which can really be anything-- on a daily basis, in order to be my best self. To have a smile in my heart all the time, to keep from feeling anxious, to have more patience with my children. And whatever creative form that takes on from day to day is fine with me.

Although speaking for my husband, I think he always likes it best when my creative impulses manifest themselves in the form of dinner!