Igloo!

Spring can not come soon enough around here. It has been a long, weird, and sometimes harsh winter in Missoula. The last hurrah was a snow storm in early March that rivaled any I have lived through. It was not the amount of snow as much as the gale force winds that sent everyone inside for cover. The University of Montana was even closed for the first time since the 90’s.

To give you an idea of how much snow we were dealing with, we woke up to our door snowed shut and 7 foot berms on our front lawn while our neighbors had bare ground. Before we called in the National Guard, Matt freed us by taking out the storm door window and throwing himself through it.

Jump!

Jump!

Soft landing

Soft landing

The most unfortunate pile of snow we encountered was the 6 foot pile in the backyard that blocked our pathway to the trash cans. The situation stunk, literally. After the dogs spread a bag of trash all over the yard because our noses could not take it in the house anymore, Matt took action and strapped on some snowshoes.

climb trash man!

climb trash man!

king of the hill

king of the hill

We were all feeling a little cooped up by day 3, so Matt decided to make lemonade out of lemons. As I watched him dig from the kitchen window all I could think was, boys will be boys!

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An alternate home for the apocalypse

An alternate home for the apocalypse

Lucy and Josie explore their play igloo

Lucy and Josie explore their play igloo

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Our north side igloo lasted 2 weeks until Matt decided the structural integrity was sketchy and it needed to be demolished. During those two weeks Josie played in it, our dogs stood on it as a lookout, and Matt and I even has some late night (8pm) drinks by candle-light in it. Winter fun for all…now with that recap capped, come on spring!

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The Story of Josie’s Kitchen

Matt and I were talking a few months ago about what Josie might want for her second birthday and I came up with the idea for a play kitchen. Every time we are trying to cook she is up in our business hanging off kitchen cabinets, underfoot, sticking her hands in everything, standing on the counters and sometimes is wielding knives.

I tooled around the internet looking for ideas and saw some ADORABLE DIY play kitchens. This is doable and easy I thought. I took these ideas to Matt and he met them with a combination of excitement and skepticism at how much work this would be. Here is the story…

Two months ago we started by finding an old cabinet at Home Resource for $15, some handles, knobs and a faucet.

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Then we ripped off the burners and knobs from the dirty old oven in the basement.

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Matt spent many hours in the freezing wood shop during a below zero cold snap constructing, measuring, swearing, and perfecting.

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After hours and hours of toiling in the wood shop, the structure was complete and it was time to dig out remnants of old paint from the basement and get painting.

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Once we got some paint slathered on, Matt started attaching all the pieces. We used the old backyard dog bowl as the sink – cleaned of course! Glued the burners on and I found and re-painted a little mirror from Goodwill for $2. To some grumbling from Matt, I insisted that he attach the dishwasher and stove top knobs so they could still turn. I have great vision and no skills.

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We spent most nights over the last few weeks watching the Olympics and working on the kitchen – what exciting lives we lead! During the day, the kitchen lived in the back hall with the dogs. Josie asked a couple of times, “What that?” and Matt would tell her it was a sheet and she would say “Oh, okay!”

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Last night Matt and I made some final adjustments, set everything up and wrapped the darn thing.

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This morning was the big reveal! Josie loved it, maybe not as much as the skateboard we are trying to put off getting, but love nonetheless.

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The kitchen was used and abused during Josie’s party.

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It was obvious from the post-party carnage that the kitchen was a huge success.

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The Battle of the Bulge

Before I got knocked up and popped a baby out, I was told that “baby weight” was not a big deal. All you had to do was breastfeed and walk around the block a few times and any extra pounds packed on by eating multiple cupcakes a day for 9 months would melt away. 21 months post baby, I can tell you that this notion is crap.

Last year I begrudgingly went out and bought new work clothing that would fit my “mom” body. Matt had weaned me off my maternity pants as soon as he thought it was safe to bring up the topic and keep his head. The only thing I had in mind for these purchases was comfort and the attempt to hide any extra curves. Little did I know that this type of frumpy garb can start you on a spiral down, down, down to the land of not caring what you look like.

That land sucks.

Say no to fat pants!

Say no to fat pants!

Fast forward to two months ago. I dragged out the same box of pre-baby clothing that I dragged out last fall and lo and behold, nothing fit. Regular jeans had become skinny jeans, sweaters were snugger and snow pants were NO pants. How could this be?

With almost a dozen surgeries between us, Matt and I are the present day Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein. I creak like an old chair when I wake up in the morning and Matt can only give down-low hi-5s from lack of shoulder mobility. I can’t help but think if we are this broken down in our early 30s, what are we going to look like in our 60s!?

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That brings me to the crumbling point – a kitchen chair crumbled under Matt when he sat in it. We laughed, made jokes, then joined a gym. Dragging our butts to the gym the last 2 months has been both challenging and rewarding. Inevitably some body part is killing one of us everyday. Today Matt could barely lift a spoon to his mouth at breakfast, and last week my legs were so wrecked I had to crawl on my hands and knees up the stairs. These aches and pains are a good thing for a change, they show progress toward healthier (hotter) parents.

We are not measuring our success Biggest Loser style on the scale, but in days, weeks and years we know we are adding on to our lives with Josephine (unless she gives us a heart attack). Now THAT’S worth sweating for!

This one is for you!

This one is for you!

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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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