pewit’s nest

We drove down to the most amazing little hidden spot near Devil’s Lake this week – Pewit’s nest. It was totally hidden between farms and houses; I was sure Google maps was leading us astray until we found the trailhead, and then a five minute walk later and we’re surrounded by forest and cliffs and waterfalls. It was unreal.

We found a shallow area in the stream that was perfect for wading. Everyone got a bit wetter than we’d planned on, but goodness was it worth it. Just the perfect afternoon.

^Totally devastated because she wasn’t allowed/able to climb the cliffs. Quinn joined with a sympathy pout. All was well when we got to the water, though.

She requested a bun to match mine that morning, and I basically died a little every time I looked at her all day.

Geniuses that we are, we let the kids soak their clothes before we thought to remove most of them, so we ended up just buying some new cheap outfits so we could grab a pizza and beers in Sauk Prairie before the 45 minute drive home. All in all, it was a pretty magical afternoon/evening. We’ll definitely be back this summer, better prepared.

juniperisms

Two close friends of ours are having a vintage-camping themed wedding this summer, so of course I had to Photoshop their heads onto the the bodies of the tweens from Moonrise Kingdom for the shower invitation. Junip walked past and informed me, “That’s the photo of when Chad and Mallory went for a walk and he wore my hat.”

She actually does have a hat like that, but really, the girl is going to need to learn to spot a forgery or she’ll never make it in this crazy world.

(Playing with Teddy): “His classmates call him Teddy but his real name is Betty Cheggy Meddy Teddy.” Try saying that three times fast.

J: “Mom, is today a school day?” Me: “No, it’s spring break.” J (totally and completed devasted): “Mom, I need to SNUGGLE, because I am SO SAD that it’s spring break.”

(Making a bead/pipe-cleaner bracelet): “Mom, do you want to put this bead on? Then it will be a collaboration!”

Her figurative drawing ended up reverting back to Tadpole Man (arms and legs extending from an enlarged head) after an initial stage of figures with torsos. Except for the butts! The butts remain. She is so casual about it I have to check myself not to laugh – I don’t want to make her self conscious about it.

And her first casual insult (directed at Quinn, in a loving, if patronizing, tone): “You little Hei Hei.” Me: “What’s a Hei Hei?” June (smiling deviously): “You know… the chicken.” (As in, the idiot rooster from Moana.)

She is more often Quinn’s advocate though, frequently mistaking my neglect for genuine misunderstanding, the sweet, naive thing. Example: I thought the children were occupied and attempted to hop into the shower, giddy with the thought of being able to bathe, however rushed, without fussing children at my feet as is our norm. Quinn heard the water turn on, though, and came running, pulling back the shower curtain and screaming with rage at being excluded, which I obviously ignored because I was having that shower, so help me God. Juniper, ever helpful, came to yell over Q’s screams, “MOM! MOM! I think Quinny wants to shower with you because she’s trying to get into the shower and she’s screaming!” Thanks, kid.

How did she get so big? This week I walked into the dining room and found a piece of paper with QUIM written on the top – Junip was setting her up to draw and wrote her name for her! What?! I mean, I’m not one to wish my children back into babyhood – I am generally finding life more interesting and more hilarious the older they get – but every once in a while her unstoppable growth kind of knocks me on my ass, makes me want to dig in my heels and pull the reins.

You hear that, kid? Slow down a little!

life lately

As long as I’m playing photo catch-up, I’m gonna take it way on back to Easter, so you can all appreciate the amazing tie-dye eggs Junip and I snuck in during Q’s nap (no, I’m not brave enough to release Quinn near the dye yet. Not by a long shot.) They were messy but awesome, and June painted a family portrait with the left over dye. The eggs have been sitting in a bowl on the credenza since – I’m kind of afraid the whole yard will reak when I throw them in the compost and I’m putting it off. Eh.

We also made pet rocks a few weeks back – J named this one Cricket, and I keep finding him in precarious situations around the house. Like, dangling from the ‘high wire’ of Junip’s pull toy, tied to the closet door and a chair. But Junip makes it up to him by inviting him to some fabulous tea parties.

Quinn’s insistence on choosing her own clothes is reaching new heights, and rubbing off on Junip. Here it was costumes, today it was coats. She napped in it, ate her meals in it, painted in it. I couldn’t get it off her and decided it was easier to wash than to argue over. The child has a stubborn streak a mile long. Yesterday it took us twenty minutes to get out the door because I only had two pairs of her favorite crew socks, and neither of them was her favorite color. Can you believe I’m writing about a one-year-old? “I want PINK socks!” (I offer her another pair of pink socks) “Uh UH!”

Juniper has upped her fort building game. Luckily now they’re generally stable enough that Quinn can join her without destroying it. Thank goodness. Also, I have to say, I think she really rocks the underwear-and-sunglasses look.

And my last little tidbit to share, a morning run through Ohlbrich Gardens on Drew’s day off. We smelled a lot of flowers, pointed at some fish, watched a quail take a dust-bath. It was a cold and gloomy morning, which I just have no patience for, this close to summer, so it was a relief to run around in a tropical bubble for an hour.

And in non-photographed news, we’ve been busy in the garden – Drew built two new raised beds and we finally planted an asparagus bed. I put in a plum tree, too, so that will be a fun addition to the fruit harvest.

Oh, and Juniper’s correspondence with her buddy Emmett is as dedicated and adorable as ever. Today she made a painting of them holding hands, and on the back had me transcribe, “Dear Emmett, I love you so much. Thank you for the happy card. Your happy friend, Juniper.” We got to Play and Learn and Emmett was waiting with a box he’d decorated, containing a dried pasta necklace he made for her. *Melt*

And my little Quince has been starting out each day with requests for pigtails and cereal, and to draw. I need to figure out a way to get more one-on-one time with her, so we can get into to the messy projects I did with J at this age. I love how eager she is for it. I’m thinking I might buy a block of clay for the girls this summer. There’s a kiln at the makerspace where I’m a member, and I think they could manage pinch pots or at least some slab impressions. Maybe make a little tea set. It really feels like we’re entering big kid territory now! Cheers to that.

picnic point

We drove down to Picnic Point last week for a quick little hike. Funny how nostalgic it feels to be on campus, showing the girls our old college-day haunts. Sweet little Junip is still young enough to actually want to hear it, ha.

The path was a little wet from all the rain we’ve had, and Quinn spent the whole walk down to the lake repeating “I want walk puddle!” although she showed remarkable self restraint when denied. We skipped some stones, poked a frog, saw some ducks, ate some sand, and called it a day.

easter

We had the cutest little Easter celebration this year. The weather was the nicest we’ve ever had with the kiddos, and Quinn was able to participate – I would even go so far as to say compete – in the egg hunt.

Quinn was really only interested in the eggs with little stampers hidden inside. This child loves to be decorated 🙂

It took them a satisfyingly long time to find all the eggs, even though I hid them in the loosest sense of the word – more like set down in minimally obscured plain sight. They were so sweet about divvying up the loot, too, making sure everyone had one of each type of little toy. No melt downs. I would call the morning a resounding success.

We spent the rest of the afternoon bouncing, making sand pies, and using up every single new sticker. My family came over for dinner, Drew busted out the grill, and with some cream puffs and almond gateau basque to top it off, we were all pretty well spent by 7. A lovely little holiday.

early spring

This winter was not a hard one for me – it was a good season and a good season of life – but it doesn’t make the first weeks of spring any less magical. We have been playing in the backyard, not even bothering to shut the screen door behind us. Digging in the sand and dirt and dragging the bikes up from the basement and bringing back the after-dinner walk. We’ve had bare arms freshly adorned with tattoos, naked toes fancied up in green polish, we are busting out the sunhats and sunglasses. I am beginning to think (audaciously) that maybe, just maybe, if I were to buy a lounge chair for the patio, maybe this summer they’d let me lay on it? I mean, they have chickens to follow and motorcycles to ride and large logs to drag around. What do they need me for?

These are a few shots from last night, some backyard shenanigans and the year’s first trip to the ice cream shop, dangerously located just down the bike path from our house.

That is a boat, by the way, in case you were wondering. You can tell because there’s a jump rope tied to the chairs (which Quinn had a helluva time limbo-ing under). As you will also notice, Stick weathered the winter just fine and enjoyed his inaugural cruise of the season.

And ice cream at sunset. Doesn’t get much better than that.

quinner binner

Quinn and I have this awesome game where she stands in the perfect beam of late afternoon spring sunlight, I get out the camera, she runs at me as quickly as she can, and I snap photos as quickly as my lens can focus, hoping to get at least one usable shot before she tackles me and attempts to steal the camera.

My best chance of winning is if she wipes out, so yes, I root for that.

She nearly always wins anyways. And if not, she jumps straight into her next favorite game, which is: roll up every flat-weave rug in the house.

Little stinker dinker knows how to drive her mama crazy.

Anyways, just wanted to take a minute to brag on this child (and was hoping to have a sweet photo to accompany said braggery). This little one is blowing my mind lately with her linguistics. Sentences like, “I want put that on,” and “I stand on that,” and ridiculous nouns like shadow, paint, strawberry, frog, backpack, and squeakers (yes, squeakers, and God help you if you pretend she said sneakers and grab the non-noise-making shoes instead) are popping out of her left and right. I feel like she’ll be chatting politics with me before she’s potty trained.

She amazes me every day.