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so faux-concussed I know not what I type Superior Hiking Trail the sight of my own blood trail running

I Did Not Either Go Back Three Days Later and Stage These Photos, So Hesh Up with Your Badgering Questions Already

Check out my science experiment this week:

When a body falls in the forest, and no one’s around to hear it, it does make a sound, and that sound is “Great Johnny Appleseed, but OWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

This scientific breakthrough happened the other day when I was out for a run on one of my favorite sections of The Superior Hiking Trail. I love trail running for multitudinous reasons, but one of them is that the varied terrain breaks a run the hell up, so that I can be out there for more than an hour and not even realize it’s time to turn around (contrast this to a run in town, where I spend the last mile counting down: “Fifty-Second Street. Fifty-First Street. Fiftieth Street. Ah, hell, is this only Forty-Ninth Street?”) A side benefit of trail running (aside from rock-hard quads capable of opening a No. 10 can of peaches) is that the varied terrain provides all good reasons for sloggish runner to go rewy, rewy slowly.

With all those roots and rocks jutting up, caution is clearly in order.

What is The Suck, however, is when a sloggish runner who is “running” in a way that actually resembles a quick hike because she is being so very careful about rocks and roots

still takes a mo-fo of a tumble, thanks to biffing her toe on a semi-exposed piece of Nature.

Yup, the other day my body hurled–backwards, by the time I finished pirouetting–into the prickly brush, making contact with at least three more squads of rocks as it gradually skidded to a stop.

“OWWWWW!” does, indeed, echo loudly in an empty forest. As do a few of Yosemite Sam’s finer expletives, particularly those ending in “-frackin’sassafrass.”

Taking stock, as I lay there, I first checked for witnesses (it being several weeks before the local trail ultra-marathon, I’d already passed a couple of gel-squishing 135-lb full-grown wiry males out on 40-mile training runs). Fortunately, no one was around, so there was no need for me to spit the ferns out of my mouth to facilitate a sheepish explanation of, “Em. Lost a contact lens. Oh, and also: I ran 50 miles yesterday, so I’m only having a short 20-mile recovery run today. But keep at it, you pusses.”

Alone in the now-silent woods, I felt around for my head.

Praise Marie Antoinette: it was there!

As well, I still had roughly four limbs extruding from my torso, and as luck would have it, two of them hung out above my waist (Hey, wait. a. minute. I actually have four appendages hanging out above my waistline alone—although two of them are capable of hanging just to my waist while the other two can stretch nearly to my knees. It’s your guess which two are my breasts).

All that new math aside, I felt around and sighed in relief when I realized I also still had two hands–thanks for doing the feeling around, dudes!–along with some leggish things stretched out in front of me. When I bent the leggish things, I saw one of the kneeish things there in the middle was properly scraped up and having a good bleed.

Yes, I realize one of the biggest drawbacks of social media is that anyone with a boo-boo can broadcast it to the world. I also realize this could totally be Conan O’Brien’s knee.

Here’s the moment in a mini-crisis when I often surprise myself: in my general self perception, I tend to think that I’m infinitely open to getting wound up and milking the drama from any possible moment (such as the time, on a day called yesterday, when I got a hangnail and was convinced its removal would require radiation). In reality, though, I actually tend to keep my spirit together in moments of crisis or OWWWWW (case in point: one of my all-time favorite students was raised without advantages, so she spent her mid-twenties learning things most of us mastered as kids…you know, like reading and writing; she also didn’t know how to swim, so I determined to teach her. The first time we were in the pool, her natural athletic abilities kicked in, and she was stroking around in no time. We headed for the deep end. Did I mention she has a seizure disorder? Yea, okay, so in the deep end, the movement of the water and the weird fluorescent lights brought on a seizure, and while I would have thought I’d get all shrieky and limp when faced with her jerking, sinking body, all I really felt was a sense of calm resolution and “NOT ON MY WATCH” wash over me, as I swam to her, dove down and grabbed her, swam her rigid form to the edge, and called repeatedly for the distracted life guard to help me pull her out and to get flotation devices to put under her head so she didn’t crack her skull).

After taking a moment to collect myself there under the sugar maples, I realized I was only bleeding from three places (knee, shoulder, hand) and couldn’t do much about it until I got home. So why not enjoy the rest of my run, as I had to cover the ground to get back to my car anyhow?

I hit the backtrack button on my Ipod, having, during the fall, missed out on the last few informative sentences of the Savage Love podcast (sentences that, upon relistening, went, “I have no problem with you having a centaur fetish; I just feel sorry for you because it’s not a fantasy that can ever actually get played out in real life. ‘Cuz the closest you can come in real life is a guy in a centaur costume, and when everything interesting is packed inside a costume like that, it’s never going to be fulfilling.”). Thusly heartened, I started to run again.

Four minutes later?

Wearing a cap, and being careful to watch the path for roots and rocks, I didn’t notice the birch tree blocking the path—suspended between two other trees—just at head level.

(why didn’t any of the paparazzi skulking in the foliage call out a warning to me?)

BLAMMMMM. My forehead plowed into the thing at five Large American Miles Per Hour.

Frick.

I was actually thrown several feet into, you got it, another stand of ferns. I actually didn’t know what had happened until I found myself sitting there. Gently, I shook my head and tried to focus my vision. Oh. My. Lawsy.

My eyes had been knocked loose. Even after a minute of trying to clear my vision, everything was blurry and out of focus. I would never see right again. How would I read? How would I drive?

Then I saw my glasses sitting next to me on the ground.

Never mind.

Once I put them on–gingerly, as my noggin was a’screamin’–the world got clearer and, once again, I found myself in a moment internal inquiry: “Do you need to have a little cry right now? Because it feels like you might need a little cry.”


Again, however, Self turned all calmish and replied, pretty quietly, “Naw. I don’t think that’s going to help. I think we should get up now and go to a place of Band-aids and hugs.”

So we did.

When I got home fifteen minutes later, ready to tell Groom about my wee trail adventures, he pre-empted my story with a, “Are you okay? You look really rough.” I’d known my skull was rattled and that I was worried I was going to go all Natasha Richardson or Sweet Baby Lime on him, and I knew I was bleeding, but I hadn’t realized how much dirt was covering my body. Seriously, some women would have paid hundreds of dollars for a mud wrap like I had just gotten for free. Later, when I rinsed off, I realized I might have needed Ibuprofen, but, damn, my pores were tight.

In the days since my wrassle with the woods, my neck has been stiff and painful, even mid-way down my spinal column (my neck extends very far). Plus, the jarring of my top and bottom teeth against each other during the impact chipped a nano-tidbit off one of the lower teeth. I need to file that baby.

Maybe into a fang.

What I’ve learned from all this is that emory boards (and mojitos) are wonderful tools for coping.

Even more profoundly, I’ve learned that Nature and exercise are, like the thing I tripped over in the forest, the Root of All Evil.

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In a Fog


It was full-frontal foggy the other day. This wasn’t just film noir, dry ice kind of stuff. Nay.

This was, “Holy Haunted House, but I’m holding my hand up in front of my face, and I can’t see it!”

Okay, it wasn’t my actually my hand, but I was waving something vaguely hand-like up in front of my face–a glazed bear claw from the donut shop, in truth–and I couldn’t see it a bit. Which makes it all the more fortuitious that pastries can be eaten by touch and require no sight.

Indeed, it was so foggy last Monday that a person might have been forced, there, outside the bakery

–as if she were slow dancing with a man named State of Desperation–

to use only mouth feel and feather-light fingertippling to feel her way around yeast and glaze and buoyant dough, until the claw disappeared and only chin crumbs remained. Yup, it was Sticky Face Foggy the other day, friend, the kind of day where pride is unnecessary, as you can’t even see yourself falling upon 500 calories of wickedness in a frenzy. You might as well eat three, for only the shadows know.

Some hours after that person Helen Kellered her way around a baked good, she awkwardly high-fived her healthy self and went for a run on the Superior Hiking Trail. Getting to the trailhead was an adventure in itself, as visibility was down to approximately 15 feet, which meant, once she knew roughly what part of town she was in, she had to flip on her blinker and then drive another 400 yards in the turn lane, muttering, “They ate Hutchinson Street. There is no Hutchinson Street. Yoo-hooooooooo…Where are you, Hutchinson Street? Maybe Hutchinson Street looked like a bear claw to someone this morning, so they mauled it with their teeth. Whoa, jinkies! There it went. That little curb thingy back there was Hutchinson Street. Looks like nobody’s behind me–but who would know, on a day like today?–so let’s throw it into reverse and hit it on the rebound.”

Eventually, our nameless bear claw ravener, also named me, forwarded and backed herself to the trailhead. I parked, pretended I was Catholic so I could cross myself dramatically, and headed into the woods.


Blundering through the fog, I listened to the Halloween podcast of “This American Life,” which featured the anxiety-inducing tale of a woman outside her country home who was attacked by a rabid raccoon on the driveway. Only after she managed to pin the ‘coon by its neck and feel around in her pockets for something–anything–did she find her cell phone, with her that day by a fluke. She called her son, and within minutes she had the aid of her family. But, get this: after her husband bashed at the rabid beast with a stick for several minutes, trying to kill it, the thing only got angrier and more aggressive. So they got a tire iron, the ultimate meat tenderizer, whereupon it only took another twenty whacks to put the poor, diseased creature out of its misery.

As I listened, I was reminded that going for a trail run is really relaxing, especially when you’re making your way through the forest juggling an enormous branch, a shard of broken glass, a granite rock, and potentially-rabid-animal-blinding confetti made of leaves.

What? I heard a puma.

And a badger. Discussing, in an exchange of hisses and gnarf-gnarfs, which parts of me looked most tender.

I had the children to think about, as I armed myself, intent on self-preservation. Wouldn’t want Niblet and Girl to grow up without a mother and all. Who else would dissect for them the talents of American Television Icon Chuck Woolery? (one day, when they’re ready)

Equally as heebiejeebie-ing as the thought of being stalked by rabid monsters was this worry: in that soupy fog, was my face going to melt?

Or in a slightly-brighter scenario, I posited that I might get back to my car and look in the rear view mirror, only to see this:


I’d have to gasp and be all, “Where’d my hair go?”

Fortunately, nothing used its cougar fangs or bear claws to tear at my flesh that day. And my face didn’t decompose into a smoky masque.

In fact, the whole thing turned out unexpectedly well. The scary podcast ended with David Sedaris visiting the morgue for kicks and giggles. The carbo-loading I’d done earlier in the day kept my tiny cat feet happily gliding over the trail. And the best bonus of all–that which keeps Bono looking 48 instead of his true 87 years old–is that mist and fog are hella good on the pores.

When I finished my run, flushed and trail tangled, I dropped my arsenal of weapons and hopped into the car, doing a quick check of my look in the rear view–for stray branches that might be dotting my hair.

HAWP. Looking back at me was this:

Oh, joyful, face-tightening fog, you made me ten again! I am glorious! I am magical!

Then the curious goiter on my shoulder bit me.

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Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want: This Key

I wasn’t kidding. This story is a continuation of the previous one. I know you’re all, “Well, even though I didn’t read her last post, I’m not about to go back now and waste my precious time on it. No, I’m NOT. I’m just going to read this one here and piece it all together. I’m smart. I can do that.”

Yes, honey. Yes. You’re smart. And you’re pretty and sweet, and the other kids just don’t understand you.

But go back and read the previous post anyhow.

I’m waiting. (*taps foot and begins humming “Ina-Gadda-Davita”*)

What, you again?

You haven’t even scrolled down to it yet, ya Big Faker. It was called “Like Searching for a Grain of Broken Rice in a Bowl of Particularly-Soggy Shredded Wheat,” and it involved my talented girl parts and a 95 minute run, so you really don’t want to miss it.

Schlep off now.

I’ll wait. (*starts filing nails and practicing some “Mr. Bojangles” soft shoe, further proving her ability to multi-task when fingernails and vaudeville converge*)

—————————————

Oh, HI. I’m glad you’re back, you upstanding and honest reader who’d never skip a preliminary post in an effort to cadge four extra life minutes during which you dreamily picture what Sarah Palin looks like with her glasses off, hair down, her “energy plan” a’roarin’. Now that you’re up to speed:

So yup. There we were the next day, the Assembled Family Jocelyn, ready to fan out the family’s collective vision and scan every stick, leaf, and dead raccoon on a very particular stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail, in search of my shiny silver Camry car key.

(if you have no idea what I’m referring to and are just kind of nodding and smiling blankly after that last paragraph, that’s because you are one seriously lazy cuss and didn’t EVEN go back and read that previous post, Mrs. Pants On Fire…like it’s so onerous to take a few measly minutes out of your life to catch up with the rest of us. You’re just a living, breathing, personified “War of the Worlds” broadcast, fooling the entire audience into thinking one thing’s happening when, in truth, you’re just sitting in your lazy chair drinking Diet Mt. Dew and pretending to be “an avid blog reader and defender against alien attack”)

Before the family gathered around, I had done some kitchen-table triangulation and narrowed down the most likely area for the key loss–to a spot called “Pee Alley.” Knowing this, we could park on a nearby road and hike in a few hundred yards, looking all the while for browning ferns and a mish-mash of footprints that indicated a Woman/Ipod scuffle.

But first, we had to get the kids out and on the trail, the motivational script of which read,

Me: “Okay, now that you’re both home from school, we’re going to drive up to the spot where Mommy was running yesterday when she lost her key.”

Kids: “Mommy, why do you talk about yourself in the third person? It creeps us out.”

(okay, they didn’t say that, as they’re still learning–and will be for at least another decade–that anything beyond first person exists in the world)

Me: “So, listen, we’re going for a lovely hike on this sunny fall day. Our mission: to find a silver key.”

Kids: “Don’t wanna and are not.”

Me: “This actually wasn’t a request. We. are. going. out. to. the. woods. And. we. will. make. this. an. adventure. And. FUN. You. poopshoots.”

Kids: “Not going. Don’t like hiking.”

Me: “In what universe do children of mine not like hiking? This is unimaginable–preposterous–like women over thirty wearing leggings under a tunic blouse! Clearly, you are not the true people I grunted out from my body; anyone fostered under my care is destined to have a life-long fixation with sumacs and granite and singing The Smiths amongst them. Pod-people, you are clearly not my children. Either you hike with Pappy and me, or I love you not.”

Kids: “Hey, Mom? You’re kind of a dinkus.”

Me: “I know what you are, but what am I? Now get in the car.”

Kids: “Not going. No hikey. Can’t make us.”

Me: “The key is very shiny, you know, which means it’s glamorous. Only the cleverest of people could ever find the treasure that is a lost key in the woods. Let me tell you a tale about the kind of person who only wishes he could find a key in the woods: there was a guy once who seemed, on the surface, to be clever, a guy named Johnny Keyfinder. One day, he plunged into the woods, in search of a key. After many hours, he emerged, keyless, having fooled himself that he’d found something better: a hand full of appleseeds. Listen to this: old Johnny ‘Keylacker’ Appleseed then wandered the country for years after, holding his seeds in one hand and shaking hands with the other. Now how clever does he sound to you? Not very, eh? Not bloody clever at all. Kind of dumb hickish, if you want to use real words about it. Seriously–how did he think he’d wipe himself or cut a steak, what with both hands already so busy? This man was NO keyfinder. He was just a busy-pawed gladhander. Eventually he keeled over, appleseeds in hand, with his last words being, ‘I never did find me a key, so what’s it all been about?’ His legend pales in comparison to the one you two are going to create today, when you hit those woods and find Mommy’s key!!!!”

Kids: “Gracious! He was hebetudinous. We must differentiate ourselves from that dolt. Hie now–to the horseless carriage. Oh, and thanks for the thesaurus last Christmas, O Maternal Matriarch.”

Me: “Huzzah! The afternoon is ours to seize.”

So then we, like, drove there and stuff.

The second we stopped the car, as predicted in a secret wink-wink-eye-rolling exchange between Groom and me, the kids did shape up and forget their hatred of Woods. They ran to the trail and began bushwacking, peering, and


herky-jerking on the balance beam known as “uprooted and suspended birch.”

Two minutes in, the true beauty of the afternoon became apparent, particularly to the Star Warsian Wee Niblet:

We were in Ewok country.

Vexingly, Ewok Country is rife with stands of browning ferns, each looking more like a possible pit stop for a full-bladdered runner than the last.

But the Jedi Youngling was not daunted.

Picking up speed,


Niblet gathered light saber sticks, thrashed the bushes in search of battle droids, and continued his Jedi training, which has advanced considerably in the last few months. Specifically, his ability to harness The Force has gained finesse.


Concentrating, the lad raised his hand and channeled all his fledgling powers into using The Force to find that key.

Fortunately, Jedi Master Groom was in the lead. Stopping suddenly and staring intently at the ground, Groom called to his Padawan, “This looks like a spot in need of your attention, Boy. Focus your powers here, and let The Force do its work.”

Skipping along, humming a new song learned in kindergarten (“Hell-ooow/How are you?/I’m so glad/To see you”), holding his Force-channeling hand in the air, Niblet abruptly pulled up short.

He stared hard for a minute, soaking in the quiet of the immense trees surrounding him, and then carefully bent down.

When he straightened to his full height–equal to that of the brown ferns cloaking him–he peeled open his hand, on which balanced–

by the Original Light!–

a silver key.

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Like Finding a Grain of Broken Rice in a Particularly-Soggy Bowl of Shredded Wheat

Blissy.

That’s an apt word for how I felt during my run on the Superior Hiking Trail last week.

Maybe Glimmery.

Possibly Elysian.

Having my feet off asphalt, dodging rocks and roots, listening to the creek burbling nearby, I very nearly wanted to whip up a quick fire and cremate myself right there and then, just so I could pay the place tribute by scattering my ashes amidst those trees.

The truth is I’m a tragic slogger of a runner; I might have popped my ankle on an unruly slab of the Canadian Shield at any minute; I could’ve been mauled by a crabby badger; yet I couldn’t have been more happlefunky.

As I huffed along, a googly smile on my face, I twigged to something: I’m a very simple soul.

Oh, yes, I is.

With nothing but time on my hands and mud on my shoes, I started cataloguing the tenets that result in my simplicity. Clearly, I think trails are crunk. But I’ve got other values, too, Luther. Like four of them. Pretty much, I think–

1) Stuff should be fun
2) I should stop and holler about stuff when it’s fun
3) Profiteroles should run for president, and then I would have something to vote for
4) People should say what they’re thinking and let the hell go of all that blah-blah-blah namby-pamby fake nodding and smiling. If there is any discrepancy between what people are thinking and what they are saying, their bodies should explode into rainbow-colored confetti and fall gently to the earth.

My values brainstorming continued throughout my 70 minute run, taking a breather only when I crouched down in a stand of browning ferns to empty my bladder…and then for the two minutes after that, as I struggled to retrieve my wayward Ipod–it suddenly fancying itself a speculum and me in for a pap smear–from the general region of my cooch. After the bathroom break and intimate struggle with technology (“Look! A very talented part of my nether regions pressed ‘Play’!”), I hopped back on the trail and revved it up again, adding, revising, tallying, working very hard to keep my values list tight, lest I overreach my calculated and complex hope of simplicity.

As the podcast I was listening to during my mental shenanigans ended, the playlist shifted to music, and I tell you, Moses, that if listening to The Cure on a fine fall afternoon while flitting through low-hanging branches doesn’t convince you that Friday you’re in love, then you need some cotton candy and a hug from your mama because you’re lolling in some serious doldrums.

The Cure morphed into Morrissey, and, perhaps trying to outrun the existential morosity, I sped up, racing the last twenty minutes back to the car, tacking on a final triumphant 100 meters at the end.

Out of habit, I stopped the timer on my watch and started digging into my shorts’ ultra-secret key pocket.

Or as I now call it, my ultra-secret lame-ass lose-your-key pocket.

Yup, mostly likely during my ungainly cha-cha with the Ipod after that powder room break amongst the ferns, roughly 35 minutes back, the key had tinkled to the ground, alongside my Mr. Peebodies.

Fer feck’s sake.

It was dusk; Groomeo was awaiting my return so he could have his go at running and peeing in the woods; and I suddenly had miles to go at a slow, slow creep. What to do?

Re-clipping the Ipod, restarting the watch, and turning my face downhill, I was off, a veritable Steve Prefontaine sans cheesy mustache (my mustache is much more delicate and feminine). Twenty-five minutes later, I encountered the whole family at our neighborhood playground, where Groom greeted me with a hearty, “So help me, if the kids ask one more time ‘When will Mommy be here?’, I’m going to duct tape their skulls together.”

After my brief-but-inspiring narration of the key-loss saga, Groom took off on his run, which he finished at the still-locked Toyota Camry near the trailhead. Nice job, that: having a ride home.

The next day, with daylight and refreshed spirits and cooches on our side, the entire family would join in on Key Hunt 2008 (not to be confused with Key Hunt 2006…and, man, wasn’t that a David Blaine fiasco!)

–a hunt which, in the dense foliage of the Northwoods, would be a challenging search akin to finding even a lick of foresight in one George W’s blindered brain.

By the end of that day, thus, I was back to my usual morally-nebulous self, finding that I’d failed to live up to even the simplest of my values:

1) I’d had some fun, but it had ended rather crud
2) I’d made some noise while I was having fun (who can’t sing along with “Please, please, please, let me/get what I want/this time”?), but then I shut up when the crud hit
3) Profiteroles were still not president
4) The only frank thing I had to say was, “When the Mara Salva Trucha gang offered me those ride-ganking and hot-wiring lessons back in ’97, I damn well should’ve taken them up on the offer, even if it would have relegated me to a year of payback as their international drug mule.”
——————————————-

(this story to be continued anon in “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want: This Key”)

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Family Expansion

“Family Expansion”

When Groom and I met, started the love groove, and launched into the Plan Making phase of our relationship, we had the whole “So, uh, you want kids or what?” talk. Since I knew I wanted have kids, and since I was irretrievably snagged by this guy, I got to do a big, dramatic “WHEWWW” and wipe sweat off my brown when The Groom replied, “Yea, I do. Just not this year.”

Since this talk took place on our second date, his statement was all good.

Four months later, I was pregnant (woops). Technically, however, we didn’t greet our Girl during that first year together. Nay, she didn’t emerge until a year plus three weeks.

During our initial kid talk, outside of setting a timeline of sorts, Groom also mentioned that he thought two kids would be a good number. On the other hand, I’d always thought three kids would be just about right (the fact that I’m a third child who sprinkled diamonds of sunlit joy onto my parents’ lives had nothing to do with it, either. I just, um, like the number three). A truce was struck with the words: “How about we take it one kid at a time?” Everything was all, all, all so very good.

And then I got knocked up, popped out Girl, nursed a lot, took a bit longer to get pregnant with Niblet (had to stop the damn nursing of Girl–who knew Da Milkies would work as Contraception for This Particular Redhead?), and then…

Well, and then I was really, really tired. Two? I could dig it as the magic number.

Of course, I can’t say that decision to stop expanding our family has gone unquestioned. Groom is completely set with our two. He’s all logical and rational and thinks it’s fine that we’ve essentially replaced ourselves, body count-wise. My gods, though, are Whimsy and Speculation–and they often, in the last few years, have sent me off to chase notions of babies unborn. I have often found myself caught in spirals of “what if” and “maybe we should just…”

But ultimately, over the deafening noise of my last few eggs shriveling up into sandstone fossils, I realized that I have only batted about the idea of a third child because I would want to know him/her as a 25-year-old. I’m not actually all that interested in the sleepless nights for three more years, in tripping over rattle-y keys on the floor, in putting in the sweat and tears required by everything leading up to Age 25.

Thus, we’re done with the whole procreation thing, Groom and me. Realistically, two kids pretty much tap us out, in terms of time, money, and energy; plus, we got two good ones, and since every new kid is a wide open crapshoot, we’re going to sit tight with these two and call it a day.

But still.

I do get the internal call sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I have space in my heart for another child…just not of my loins. And realistically, I’d need a child that could prosper from benign neglect.

Adoption seemed the answer.

So, last year–and most of you don’t know this yet–Groom and I adopted a third.

We did the paperwork. We went through the homestudies.

And eventually, we adopted “The Keene Creek Section of the Superior Hiking Trail.” I know it’s a long moniker, but it’s the only name the thing will answer to. For ease, you can just call it Baby. (that’s BAY-BEE)

The good news is that our 3.2 mile long Baby only needs attention periodically, for help with cleaning up, fighting natural erosion (much as I do with my home micro-derm kit), and a little chainsaw work. And, honestly, hasn’t every parent, at one point or another, wanted to take a chainsaw to his/her kid?

So a couple times a year, we shore up our little patch of trail, drop off a big blue stuffed bunny, and take the kids in for some bonding time with Baby. It’s all been very low key.

Woefully, Baby had a little tantrum last week, during the big wind storm. Yup, Baby got a little messed up. So Mommy J and Daddy Groom had to march in the other day and straighten the li’l tyke out.

Groom removes a splinter from Baby’s side.

Baby has brought some needed diversity to our family, as well, for she’s an Urban girl, running through the heart of Duluth. Just being around her broadens our horizons beyond our usual Quiet Whitey World. Look what she’s done with her blocks and fingerpaints:

Cootchie-Coo, Baby. You make Mama sooooo proud.

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