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Pider Love!

A whole quarter has passed since my last post – how did that happen? Josie has changed into a running, jumping, talking, tantruming, two-year-old (almost). These adjectives are the biggest reason for not having any free time to post.

Josie is obsessed with the itsy-bitsy “pider” and spiders in general. I mean, what baby isn’t? So before she develops fear for these 8 legged friends, I thought we would support her obsession with a little Halloween art project. Matt would much rather have been doing some “real” home projects, but adding Josie to the mix makes most things a two-person ordeal. And sometimes he just has to suck it up and support my daughter-of-a-4th-grade-teacher art projects.

Pider obsessed:

Pider kiss

Pider kiss

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Josie, as always, was a huge help:

Helping

Helping

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DONE! and pretty spooky if I do say so myself:

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Superhero and Fairy Princess Festival

A few years ago, Matt and I happened to be near Dragon’s Hollow playground in Missoula, probably hitting up some brew festival living the cool life, when we came upon the Fairy Princess and Superhero Festival. It made my uterus hurt it was so cute and we dreamed about the day we would bring our own superhero or fairy princess to the party. That day finally came this past weekend!

Matt took a couple of hours off from studying for the bar to come with us – he needed a healthy dose of cuteness and boy did he get it.

When we started to dream up the cutest possible costume for Josie we knew that she fell more in the superhero category than fairy princess. Josie’s goal in life is to cause trouble so if there had been a baby villain category that may have been more fitting. It turns out that this was the perfect opportunity to rock her Wonder Woman outfit my lovely cousin Rachael gave her months ago – thank you cuz! It was sized for a 6 month old so I really had to stretch the fabric over her 17 month rolls. I will shut up now and let the cuteness abound.

Super babies rule! Princesses drool

Super babies rule! Princesses drool

We attempted to wait in line to plant our own fairy garden, make a magic wand, look at the firetruck and sing on stage, but Josie’s attention span for waiting in lines was about 4 seconds. She bobbed and weaved through the crowd right to the place that she really felt at home – the gymnastics tent. You will never guess what they had there…A SLIDE!!!

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She even learned how to do her first forward roll:

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We had to flee the party for the real playground where slides and swings abound. We sent Josie down the biggest slide and she did not come out the bottom – she was stuck. While Matt and I yelled back and forth discussing if he should crawl up or I should crawl down, Josie scooted her way out. She looked spent.

The baby disappearing slide

The baby disappearing slide

We ended the day with a popsicle and some superhero swinging.

Some for Dada, most for me!

Some for Dada, most for me!

Wonder Woman rules!

Wonder Woman rules!

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The Bar is Ruining My Life

You might think that this post is a guest blog from Matt while he studies for the bar exam, it’s not. The feelings of life ruining are not only for miserable law students, they extend to their families – and that means me! This crazy company called “Barbri” insists that you must study their program for 10 hours a day or you will not pass the bar. They also make you pay thousands of hard-earned dollars for the privilege of boring you to sleep – yes, I have caught Matt “sleep-studying.”

studying through osmosis

studying through osmosis

I have also caught him “woodshop-studying,” which he said helps him focus. Barbri does not provide you with class credit, a guarantee of passage into the coveted role of licensed attorney, or even a back massage. What they have provided me with is a grumpy spouse and many nights home alone with a glass of wine, watching the baby monitor and re-runs of The X Files. They also gave Matt a water bottle that he can fill with his tears of boredom and frustration.

Josie has been helping to alleviate the tension of studying for the bar. She demands that Matt push her at break-neck speeds around the house on her bike yelling WEEEE!!! or RIDE!! She throws food into the dogs’ mouths then yells WADE NO! She also feeds Matt ice cream to keep his strength up for studying.

She even pooped on the floor and tricked Matt into stepping in it. She is literally keeping us on our toes. I am so grateful that Josie is a wild, bright, sparkly child who can momentarily erase the tension of a test that will determine the future of this family…(Matt, no pressure).

Sit family!

Sit family!

This episode of our life, let’s call it “the summer the bar exam ruined our summer,” will culminate on July 30, 31 and Aug. 1 with the big test – a brain ultra-marathon. Then we will kick back and relax at a real bar and wonder for the next month…did we pass?

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July 10, 2013 · 9:27 pm

Finding Fungus

Remember how last time I said I didn’t have any hobbies since Josie came along? Well I found a new one! Unfortunatly it is seasonal and short-lived (spring for a few weeks) and you have to hang out in a burned out forest, which I actually enjoy. It’s…drum roll…mushroom hunting! Josie, Matt and I packed up today and drove an hour away to a spot called Jerry Johnson where there was a fire a year ago. Matt had it on good authority that the pickin’ of morel mushrooms would be easy. For those of you who are not up on your mycology (the study of mushrooms), the morel is a tasty, elusive, non-poisonous beauty that tends to grow in fire burned areas the spring after a fire. It is big business in these parts.

perfect conditions

perfect conditions

Just to make things interesting, Josie decided to scream for most of the car ride there no matter what food or toy I bribed her with. By the time we got to the trailhead our nerves were fried and we were having serious regrets.

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We headed into the woods and passed a dozen dudes coming out with monster backpacks, buckets and bags of morel mushrooms. Matt informed me they were pros with permits and had probably picked everything dry. We hiked 2 miles in and ventured just off the trail into a burned out area. Matt found the first little tiny morel and we breathed a sigh of relief that we could go home with one in hand, our heads held high. Then we hit the motherload…OH, the adrenaline of finding 15 big ones in one spot. In moments we were addicted to the hunt.

hidden bugger

hidden bugger

an eyebrow raising mushroom

an eyebrow raising mushroom

Josie was a huge help. She spent her time trying to run off the side of the trail, eating random pieces of the forest floor and fussing about her man ride:

get me off this big sweaty Dada!

get me off this big sweaty Dada!

found one!!

found one!!

the haul

the haul

Here is the the mushroom portrait before they go into the freezer:

the big, the small and the ugly

the big, the small and the ugly

What a fun day! Hopefully I can practice my hobby again next spring.

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Life As We Knew It

We recently hired a new CEO at my work and as part of his introductions he asked us to go around and tell him what our hobbies are. I froze then panicked. What are my hobbies? Do I have any? Could I say “infant sleep training and half-assed house cleaning?” I took a deep breath and decided to channel my cooler inner self of two years ago…I had hobbies then, right? I stuck with the standard Montana answer, fishing and hiking, even though I am not currently doing either.

My mom came to town a couple weeks later to help with Josie. Matt and I decided it was time to revive those cool people of long ago and go fly fishing. It took us over an hour to locate all the fishing gear we have jammed here and there over the years. I was dreading trying on my no-mercy-no-elastic-pre-baby-body waders, but somehow they fit! With one beer to split, two apples, trail mix, water and all the fishing gear we could wrangle we were off.

We decide on an “in-town” fishing spot called Kelly Island because there was the distinct possibility of Josie freaking out and needing a mom-mom or dada.

It was beautiful, quiet and tranquil on the river….and much needed.

Tie one on

Tie one on

Beautiful Skwala!

Beautiful Skwala!

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I am not embarrassed to admit that we caught nothing, in fact, we didn’t even get a bite! This outing was less about catching the big one and more to prove to ourselves that those free-spirited, cool people who moved to Missoula four years ago still exist and are emerging after a couple years figuring out how to be new parents. Look out fish, we’re back!

Something else that we used to be much better at was getting the black pack into their natural environment–the wild. Since Josie came along the dogs have been playing second and third fiddle and are not happy about it. They have acted out in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, eating every piece of bread that comes into our house; dumping and eating the trash; bum-rushing dogs and people they deem sketchy; digging holes in the backyard, pooping in the garden, fighting dogs that look at them funny…I should stop as my blood is starting to boil. We came home this week to find Wade’s indiscretion on his head:

I love Raisin-Bran!

I love Raisin-Bran!

This bag had obviously been on for hours and we feel lucky that he was okay. We hope that he didn’t kill off either of his brain cells. Okay, okay, their life is not all bad…check it:

Into the woods!

Into the woods!

Best buds

Best buds

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While we do miss a part of who we used to be and our adventures and hobbies, this is really our favorite hobby these days:

Cone head

Cone head

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Temper Tantrums and NO!

Oh the terrible twos! How did they creep up on us 10 months early? Josie has really embraced her new title of “toddler” by zooming everywhere, getting into mischief and asserting her will. That last part is a gentle way of saying that she throws temper tantrums and repeats NO! over and over and over…. I have been told by seasoned parents to get used to it, you have 17+ more years of NO! I should add that 99% of the time Josie is a doll, this post is about the other 1%.

I dare you to try to take away my wooden Prius...

I dare you to try and take away my wooden Prius…

I never put myself in the shoes of that mom in Target whose kid is writhing on the floor because she took away (insert ANYTHING here) or said no to something – that will never be me, right? I think I might be that mom with the child who has “strong feelings” as we are calling them. Josie’s highs are fun, exuberant, happy, joyful and silly and her lows are red-faced rage, tears and hitting (eek!). Matt and I went out and bought a library of books to try to figure out what to do with a 14-months old who has spirit coming out the ying-yang. We consider ourselves pretty laid back people, but the reality is that Josie gets this from someone…probably Matt (;

Instead of describing the drama queen in action, I figured you could watch it for yourself. Note to viewer, no people or animals were harmed in the making of this video…unless you ask Josie, this may have hurt her pride and her ability to draw all over the walls…again.

Our pediatrician put it best, “all you have to do is figure out how to channel all that energy into good and she will do amazing things.” Is there a book for that?

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Snaggletooth

It has been a long two weeks. I have been traveling for 10 days out of the last 12 for work, worrying that Josie will forget who I am. Through the wonders of technology I have been able to watch Josie stuff her face, cruise around, and act wild on Skype. Whenever Matt takes out his computer now she points and says – Mom-mom!! Apparently I live in the computer.

Pack me!

Pack me!

Josie has been growing-up at breakneck speed. We have been particularly tickled watching her tri-chompers come in.

Check out my chicklet

Check out my chicklet

It is amazing the amount and variety of food three teeth can mash. I guess if you have been used to eating with gums for a year you make it work. She also bit my finger the other day and they are as sharp as baby shark teeth!

Naked lunch!

Naked lunch!

In other exciting news (it’s sad what is exciting to us these days), Josie has graduated to a new car seat! I have been feeling like she needs to know her Vermont roots, so when I saw the Britax Pavilion in cowmooflage print, I knew we had found a winner. Matt did all the important (boring) research on safety and it has arrived! Josie is psyched to get out of her infant seat but will probably scream in the car regardless of her swanky new throne.

Am I camooflaged?

Am I camooflaged?

Black Pack Update:

Where we used to support the wildness and spirit of our pack, these days we are trying to control it. Having a wild baby and two high energy cattle dogs has pushed us to buy some devices of control like a gate to relegate the dogs to the back of the mini van. Wade thought this was b.s. and found a way to squash his pea brain to the flatness of paper and crawl under the gate. We moved the gate down and he found a way to separate the bars and jump through the middle. That dog is dumb as rocks, but determined!

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Happy Birthday to Josie!

Today Josie turns one – can you believe it!? A year ago this morning we were in the hospital deciding if it was time for Josie to come into the world three weeks early. I was in pain, Matt was stressed, and our doctor was calling in favors for an early morning emergency c-section. Luckily the surgery ended in joy and relief for all of us.

After a sleepless, challenging and rewarding year of firsts, I still find it amazing that we are all alive, semi-well rested, and functioning at a socially acceptable level. Josie is having a bunch of her little friends over tomorrow to roll in cupcakes and blow bubbles. Matt and I are having our friends over for hi-fives and booze to celebrate making it a year.

In this past year Josie has developed into a spirited little girl with definitive likes and dislikes. Here are her stats at one year:

Height/weight – short/wide. Josie is 4x the size she was when she was born!

Tough little 5 pounder

Tough little 5 pounder

Number of teeth – 3.5

Signature color – purple (unless you ask Matt, he would say brown)

Team Carhart

Team Carhart

Favorite words – bubble, buh-bye, HI!

Dislikes – drinking water, sleeping, sitting still, the car.

Most yummy food – fruit, fruit, puffs, cheese, more fruit, sigh.

Blueberries!

Blueberries!

Favorite books – DOG, In My Forest, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, Little Blue Truck…Not that she has ever sat still to read a book.

Jet-setting – Josie has been to DC, San Fran and Vermont in the past year.

Coveted items – bubbles, paper, anything electronic (tantrum material), shaker egg, daddy’s wallet (mmm…butt sweat).

tasty Mac

tasty Mac

Likes – jamming food in her face (apple does not fall far from the daddy tree), babbling (apple does not fall far from the mommy tree), The Black Pack, baths and helping dad.

Instructing Matt on how to make a dog bowl holder

Instructing Matt on how to make a dog bowl holder

periscope down

parascope down

The arrival of Josie has been a little hard for the Black Pack to handle. Wade sees Josie as a walking lick-a-stick and Blue sees her as competition for our love. We know they will all be good friends in the end, but it has been tough year for the “first babies”.

We found Blue trying to pretend she was Josie the other day..

maybe they don't see me

maybe they don’t see me

yup, they caught me

yup, they caught me

We could not be happier looking back on the last year, and we think Josie is pretty comfortable in our family.

Chillaxing

Chillaxing

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Land-Locked Lobsterfest

I was both thrilled and worried about Josie being born in Montana for a few reasons. 1) She might only like venison steaks and 2) she will never want to leave this vast state – much like her dad. Another reason, a little further down the list, is that she will not identify with New England, my home stomping ground and half her genetic make-up. I have already made her taste REAL Vermont maple syrup; I read her bedtime stories about Maine and Vermont; I dress her in Magic Hat Brewing Company and Shelburne Farms t-shirts; I even put up a Vermont license plate light switch cover in her bedroom…all in the hopes that my half of the genes will sink in.

The native montanans of the family

The native Montanans of the family

Yesterday evening I took additional steps to strengthen Josie’s New England roots by taking her to Lobsterfest. Once a year, the Montana Club Restaurant hosts this event. They fly in fresh Maine lobsters for 2 days and poor land-locked Montanans can get a taste of the sea. I grew up vacationing in Maine every summer, and had my first lobster at age 2. I can clean a lobsta (as we say in Maine) with one hand tied behind my back and blind-folded and I am a purist – no butter and no shell cracker. These skills are completely irrelevant and useless living in Montana. Still, I hope that Josie will learn all these important tricks in solidarity.

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Last year, Matt and I went to Lobsterfest while I was horribly pregnant, miserable and practically immobile. I had not left the house in weeks, but somehow dug deep to get my fat butt out the door for the taste of lobster.

Best hour of my pregnancy

Best hour of my pregnancy

This year lived up to the anticipation I had been feeling for a year. We squeezed Josie into a Maine Diner lobster t-shirt we retired 6 months ago and headed to the Montana Club at 3:30 to beat the rush.

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Josie thought lobster was okay, but she LOVED the rolls – go figure. All and all, it was a-MAINE-zing (that was Matt’s bad joke).

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Toothless Wonder

First a pop quiz. What is Josie up to in this series of pictures?

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If you answered pooping in a restaurant highchair, you would be right!

I may have mentioned that Josie is a little behind in the whole tooth development department. She has little friends who already can flash a full grill – show offs. Josie’s tooth deficiency has not stopped her from gumming down every kind of food we have put in front of her. She has gums of steel. Tonight during dinner I was trying to dig some food out of Josie’s over stuffed cheeks and BINGO! Is that something tiny and sharp?…A TOOTH! A TOOTH! Matt and I were more than a little excited. We both had been silently wondering, “is it possible that Josie will not get teeth?” Looks like our toothless wonder is now an 11 month old toothed wonder.

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