Feathered Aspen




Happy October!  We’re enjoying a warm streak this week with temperatures in the seventies and eighties, and it’s just gorgeous.  The leaves are changing, it’s just cool enough to wear long sleeves, and I’m dabbling in warm drinks.  Life is good, and I’m feeling particularly thankful for my little family and this wonderful time of year.  Lu is such a cuddle-bug, and Lily just told me she loves me to the moon and back when I put her down for nap, sooooo.   Yeah.  I’m one lucky duck.

Joshua took his eighth day of paternity leave yesterday and let me study up for my nutrition exam.  It’s been so nice to have a few three day weekends and little more time with him.  I sure am grateful for paternity leave.  The rest of the country should hurry up and see the wisdom in offering fathers time to take care of and enjoy their newborns.  It’s just so crazy to me how we don’t have better legal provisions for moms, dads, and babies.  For all of the conservative focus on the family pandering, I hear mum about making it more financially and professionally feasible for parents to take time off and usher their little ones into this world.  My heart just goes out to those moms who get no time or just a week to three weeks off, unpaid.  And for all those dads, too.  And babies!  Imagine being swaddled in amniotic fluid one week and then dropped off at a stranger’s the next!

On a completely separate note, you may have noticed a couple of name changes going on around here.  We’ve decided to slowly phase out our girls’ real names and bring in Lily for the eldest and Lu for the youngest.  I’m done going back and changing to Lu, but it’s going to take me a while to change everything to Lily.  Anyway, we decided to take a little more precaution with our girls’ internet footprint, so that’s why you’ll be hearing a lot more about Lily and Lu.


One of the things I’m thankful for these days is being able to nurse.  It’s such a nice thing Lu and I share, and I know firsthand that it can be such a struggle for so many people.  Recently, I’ve encountered mommies who have been quite militant about nursing and other mommies who have talked openly about their struggles with nursing, using formula, and then successes nursing with their subsequent children.  Sometimes, I’m amazed at the self-righteous judgement people are willing to cast upon other parents.  So while I’m thankful for this gift I’ve been given, and I do like that nursing in public is becoming more and more acceptable, I’m also hopeful that we can be more open and loving to all of the wonderful ways in which babies are cared for and fed.


Just a glimpse into my micro lab.  I kind of love it?!


Just amazed by the changes in this little one’s face.  Two months (bottom) to three months (top).




Soooo…  You know how lots of parents say, “you can be whatever you want to be.  You can be an artist!  An astronaut!  A ballerina!”

Yeah.  We’re trying something different.  We’re brainwashing Lily, and she’s going to be a scientist.  She can be an artist too, but I’m thinking I’ll just encourage her to be an artist or a poet or a writer – what have you – in her free time.  I will not be encouraging her to be a ballerina.  Anywho.  I’m sort of joking and sort of not.  It’s kind of like with my students.  I told them they were going to college.  Are there other valid life choices?  Of course.  But there’s something to be said for positive messaging and high expectations, you know?  A lot of people might assume that students from families with low incomes won’t go to college, so I thought it was important to have someone saying – rather adamantly – that they would.  In the same way, I had people telling me I could be whatever I wanted to be, but I don’t think I took them seriously because it was almost too abstract.  The narrative that girls didn’t make good mathematicians and scientists was less abstract.  Even though I felt confident that I was smart and I could go to college, I never ever considered being pre-med because I was “bad” at and didn’t “like” math and science.  Which is ridiculous really, because I never got anything less than an A in high school, and I think I didn’t “like” math and science because I couldn’t see myself as a mathematician or a scientist and the classes were harder for me.

So I’m telling Lily that she’d be a great scientist, and we’ll see where it goes.  Should she decide that she wants to be a teacher or a lawyer or a mechanic, I’ll get behind that, too 🙂


More brainwashing, of course.


I hope they are good friends someday.  For now, I’ll settle for Lily keeping her fingers out of Lu’s orifices.


Oh, Lu.


The pregnancy hair hasn’t vanished quite yet.  Maybe it will stay forever?


Lily and I went on a walk around the neighborhood the other night.  It was a date, just the two of us.  When we got to the park, I asked Lily if she wanted to get down and play, but she said, “no mommy.  Lily, mommy walking.  Cuddle, talk.”

As you might surmise, I was more than ok with that.


More mommy and Lily time on the front porch.  Love this girl.


Is that….  A BABY in the laundry?!


Cha-cha-cha-chocolate face!


Mommy and Lily hiking at Guanella Pass.


Friends that wear your baby are the best sort of friends 🙂 🙂  This morning was so great, you guys.  We got into the car at 645, got up to Guanella Pass by 8, and Joshua and Will ran together while Val, Lu, Lilly and I walked together.  It was gorgeous!  Afterwards, we had lunch and then Joshua, the girls and I walked around Georgetown.  It was a good day 🙂


Cuddle bug!


Fort building later that day!


Miss Lu and me.



It feels like such a win when you pull off a meal with zero groceries that actually tastes good 🙂


I won’t go on with all the details, but I’ve been learning about fluids, etc in nutrition, and guys.  Drink up.  Seriously.

Lotsa Love,



Winter in Colorado



First, a couple of photos from before break.

Morning Cuddles

Whenever Hen wakes up in the morning, she is a happy, smiley, perfectly wonderful baby.  It makes getting up early much easier 🙂


More Morning Cuddles

Love this little girl.  After some morning cuddles, we went up to one of our favorite places, Galbraith, and had a beautiful walk.

Galbraith Hike


Oscar is happiest on the trail, and it looks like Hen is too 🙂



Happy Baby

Afterwards, we took a bath, and Lily was so pooped, she fell asleep.  Look at those pink cheeks!

I fell asleep in the tub...

Today, we piled into the Rodeo and drove up to Eldora in the Indian Peaks.  It’s a gorgeous drive, even if I get car sick every time from the windy roads.

Jazzed for hiking...

Lily was well rested and stoked for the hike.

A magic combination!

We broke out the gators and microspikes.  I even got to wear my new Sheboygans!  (Dad got them for me for the holidays 🙂 )


Lily’s finally about the same weight that I was carrying around when I was full-term, so it’s no biggie…


Walking across a bridge.


The last mile up to the lake was solidly uphill, and it was a real butt-burner.

darn cute

Lily’s looking pleased.  I may or may not have turned her in and nursed her while I was walking.  I have proof in photos, but I won’t post them here.  Let’s just say I’m so bad-ass, I’m now looking for sponsorship from La Leche League or Bjorn.

Family Photo

A rare family photo.  I love my husband, but he is the king of grimaces.


Another grimace, but he sure is cute 🙂

Oh Bear


Look at those teeth!

thick ice

When we finally did get up to Lost Lake, it was frozen solid.


She’s hilarious.  Sticks that tongue out all the time.

Well Prepared

So glad to have the spikes!

All in all, it was a lovely time, and afterwards, we hopped into Nederland for some hot chocolate at a little bookshop.  At home, Joshua whipped up a fabulous Mexican-inspired lasagna, and we feasted.

My apologies for the text-less photo posts – I love being able to post the photos from my phone, but I’m not so good at narrating via the iPhone.  As for the food photos, my cousin asked me about our vegetarian proclivities, and I thought it might be fun to write a bit more about our food.  I guess it is a bit unusual when people cook a hot meal every d,ay and share it at the dinner table (often with friends), but it’s a huge part of our lives.

There’s more to come on that front, but for now, some of the meals we’ve had in the past two weeks:  huevos rancheros (nearly every weekend morning), Quinoa Loaf (an ultra-hippie recipe that we’ve now eaten two times and got off of the Whole Foods app), Tempeh Stroganoff (another Whole Foods app recipe, and absolutely delicious), Baked Veggies (thrice), Ellie Soup (variations, but always spiced with Tumeric, Chili, and includes quinoa, some kind of green, three roots, and beans), Chili with Wheat Berries, Vegetarian Posole (with Hominy!), No-Knead Bread (thrice), Mexican-inspired Pizza/Tostadas, Sweet Potato Au Gratin, and Egg-Plant Parmesan.

Anyway, I’m sure I’m missing some, but our main inspiration comes from:

1. Deborah Madison’s Cookbook (the Vegetarian Bible)

2. At least in the past two weeks, the Whole Foods app that Joshua put on his iPhone

3. I recently found a blog called thestonesoup.com and her recipes are pretty good 🙂

4. Pinterest (oh god, it’s embarrassing…)

5. Finally, if I’m craving something, I just look up a vegetarian version on-line.  My Wheat Berry Chili is a crowd favorite, and I got that on-line, as well as my Vegetarian Posole.  Recently, I’ve eschewed store-bought vegetable stock and started making my own.  It’s super easy, and we always have old veggies laying around, so it’s super cheap and no fuss.  Plus, it tastes way better.  As for the No-Knead Bread, I found a recipe on Pinterest, and it’s gone within 30 minutes of getting out of the oven (it’s just that good).

So that’s an abbreviated version of a much longer food conversation.  What’s been your favorite meal in the New Year?


Adieu to Break

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For our last few days as free agents, Joshua, Lily, and I escaped up to the mountains near Leadville.  The air was cooler, and we were able to spend time with one another without distraction.  We stayed at the Mayqueen Campground on Turquoise Lake for three nights.

We left on Sunday, stopping once to feed Lily.  On the second half of the trip, I sat in the backseat with her and sang songs while she held my finger with a vice grip and concentrated hard on my face.  At the campsite, I donned a new baby carrier that I picked up on craigslist for 20 bucks.  We still love the Ergo, but we discovered that there are a few drawbacks to the carrier as Lily gets bigger.  Lily loves facing outwards, and the Ergo is pretty broad at the bottom, so it’s pretty uncomfortable for her hips to sit facing out.  In general, the Ergo doesn’t seemed to be designed to allow the baby’s limbs to stretch out, and often times, Lily ends up all curled up.  This works great when it’s cooler outside and when she was tiny – it’s definitely cozier – but I wanted something that would allow her to see out and stretch out.  I absolutely love the Bjorn, and I feel like she gets even more support than the Ergo.  On the other hand, Joshua thinks it’s hellishly uncomfortable.  Oh well.  For 20 bucks, I’m pleased 🙂

While I walked around with Lily, Joshua set up camp.  When he was done, he said, “Hey Babe, I’m off for my run.  I’ll be back in 6 or 7 hours.”

If you’ll recall Joshua’s earlier post, his first run of any notable distance was with me on our second date.  Now, he’s definitely beating me at my own game.  I love that he loves running, and I love that it makes him feel great, but as I stayed back with Lily, there’s a part of me that thinks, hey!  I was the runner!

So while Joshua ran 23 miles on the trails where he’ll be pacing K in the Leadville 100 in a month’s time, Lily and I went for a 4 or 5 mile walk along Turquoise Lake.  When we got back, we hung out at the camp to wait for Joshua.

Of course, Joshua was back a couple of hours earlier than he had expected.  He felt great, and after 2,000 ft of elevation gain, he had averaged 11 minute miles.  Also, his Merrell Trail gloves now have a silver dollar sized hole in them, and so do all of the socks he wears when he’s running in them, so he basically ran it barefoot.

We had cornbread and chili for dinner, and Joshua shivered as he held Lily.  Skinny boy.

That night, Lily was great, and the next morning, we had breakfast and went for a little walk along the water.  Heading into Leadville, we walked around the Victorian homes surrounding mainstreet, and then we treated ourselves to coffee and a couple of sandwiches at a cafe.

Back at camp, Joshua went for a 9 mile run (two long runs in a row are part of his ultra training schedule) while I read, napped, and nursed Lily, and afterwards, I went for a 5 mile run.

For dinner, we ate Falafel, and as it got dark, we went for another walk along the lake.  Including walks, Joshua covered 36 miles in a little over 24 hours.  Stud?  I think so.

The next morning, we ate our breakfast near the creek feeding into Turquoise Lake, and then we headed out on Timberline Trail.  Lily was cute as a button in her sun hat (sidenote:  why are baby hats impossible to find?  We had to safety pin this one to make it fit.), and she stayed awake for much of the hike, enjoying the trees and Timberline lake.

It was so nice to take a long walk in the mountains with my two favorite people 🙂  Joshua and I talked a blue streak like always, and Lily seemed content taking in the world.  9 miles later, we returned to camp happy and tired (and out of diapers, so Joshua had to make an emergency trip to Leadville).  We relaxed for the rest of the evening, and I finished another book by Ann Patchet.  I loved State of Wonder so much, I was trying to recreate the experience, but alas, The Magician’s Assistant isn’t nearly as good.

The next morning, Joshua packed up while I went on a run with Oscar.  When we got back, we all bundled into the car and then drove to Leadville for breakfast at the Tennessee Pass Cafe, where everyone gaped and cooed at our beautiful baby 🙂  Lily slept all the way through our drive home, and Joshua and I agreed that our little camping trip was the perfect way to finish out our summer break.


A Longs Hike

8:00 PM Thursday night I bid farewell to Lily and Ellison and then took off for the Longs Peak trail head with Kyle and Will.  Our plan: Summit Longs as fast as we can.  With the unseasonably warm weather and the severely low snow pack this year, Longs is already snow and ice-free.  Usually this doesn’t happen until late July.  So, we decided to take the opportunity for an early season summit.

Arriving to the Longs Peak trailhead campground around 9:45 pm we snagged the last of the 26 campsites.  It seemed that the Fates were blessing us already.  Under a cloudless and extremely starry sky, Kyle and I laid our pads and sleeping bags on the ground to catch a few hours of sleep.  Will, on a lamer note, decided to sleep in the car.  It was a beautiful night, and I had a hard time falling asleep as I took in the stars, thought about Ellie and Lily and pondered the hike to come.

At 3:00 AM I sat awake waiting for my phone to buzz.  I’d slept about 3 hours.  We quickly threw our bags back in the car and rode to the parking lot.  After a quick breakfast of blueberry bagels with Nutella spread, I was ready to go.  Kyle on the other hand took a little while longer to don his Krupicka inspired short shorts and leg warmers.

This gives me images of Goblins trying to cook humans over a MSR camping stove.

Headlamps are a must. Quite fun to hike in the dark.

At 3:45 AM we clicked on the headlamps and started power hiking up the trail.  I think Kyle and Will had mind to jog a bit, but I prefer the power hike when I’m carrying a daypack and camera that like to jostle.  Regardless, in the front I set our pace at a quick clip. Hiking around 20 minute miles we hit The Eugenia mine split off just before 4:00 AM and passed the Goblin Forest a little after four.  A mile or so in, I hear Will ask from behind “how are you walking so fast?!” At that point I realized I wouldn’t be holding Will and Kyle back. (Yes, I had something to prove. Both Kyle & Will are veteran ultra runners.)

Horizon begins to light up as we break treeline

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