Apr 03

Six Days in the Desert

Easing The Gruffalo away from the curb of Casa Uva late Tuesday morning, we felt both the anticipation that the beginning of an adventure brings and that light, floating feeling you get when leaving civilization (and work and email and cell reception) behind (is that freedom?).

We’ve only had her a few short weeks but in that time, Stéphane has worked his everyday magic customizing The Gruffalo inside and out, top to bottom. Some things you can see, like hooks and a special platform insert in the tub to accommodate Myra; some you can’t (which of course are always the most important and functional): securing our new AGM batteries safely to the camper tongue, fixing a water leak, tightening and/or replacing every last loose screw, and, the BIGGIE, which we are super excited about: the installation of two solar panels which provide us with self-sufficiency, as long as we follow the sun.

Not the best picture but you can just barely see the two solar panels that Stéphane mounted to the roof.

Energy from the sun is collected by the panels and then sent to “the brain”: this charge controller is what sends the power into our batteries when they need it, and stops sending the power once they are fully charged.

The solar panel wires feed inside from the roof through the a/c. From there, into the solar controller, and then down into the batteries. Look at the beautiful work Stéphane did to make the wires disappear.

A few shots of the interior of The Gruffalo. She has way more storage than the Baby Bison, lots of natural light, two bunks, and a queen bed (and she’s smaller, lighter, and has better clearance – yay!).

Hugo sleeps on the bottom bunk and we use the top for storage of blankets, books, and toys.

We’ve found that adding different-sized hooks in strategic places really helps with organization and to keep all the little odds and ends in their places when we’re out camping. We have hooks for headlamps, hats, kitchen utensils, camper keys, bottle opener, jackets, etc. The black magazine rack is home base for the essentials: radios, climbing books, maps, camera.

 

The dinette folds down into our bed. It requires a little more work around bedtime but we’d much rather have a smaller, lighter camper so the extra work is no biggie.

 

Plywood platform perfectly shaped by Stéphane to slide onto the bath. Myra’s bed fits on top.

Our first stop was Dolores Canyon, just north of Dove Creek in SW Colorado. We thought we had our directions wrong as we drove past flat farmland down dusty county road 10, then we took a slight left and switched back down, down DOWN into the canyon. Beautiful!

The Dolores River runs through Dolores Canyon. We spent one night here and did some exploratory hiking to check out the climbs.

Lots of pretty lines, and anchors shining in the sun.

Hugo enjoyed the hike, slowly shedding the hat, then the mittens, then the winter onesie as the sun entered the canyon and warmed things up.

He was very interested in the river.

 

Little man cruising down the road.

Dolores Canyon has some great-looking climbs, very reminiscent of Escalante. Unfortunately, not easy-button climbing with Hugo so we’ll be back with the group to climb.

 

Next stop, Indian Creek: where red mesas meet bluebird skies; where friends meet up to climb in the sun all day, straggle back to camp, gather around the fire and exchange stories all night. Below is our camp (Cobbler Camp) – you can just barely see our campers and cars lined up along the end of the dirt road in the foreground.

 

Scraps of paper flutter in the breeze at the Beef Basin Message Board. There is no cell service at The Creek, so this is how people find each other.

 

Golden Hour at Cobbler Camp.

One by one friends and friends-of-friends roll into camp.

 

Annie & Fred, Alissa & Colton, Melisa, Stéphane at the base of Bunny Slope (Critic’s Choice Wall). The steep and slippery hike up combined with the exposed areas below the climbs make it hard-button climbing with Hugo. So we switch it up – Stéphane climbs for part of the day while I hike around with Hugo near camp. Then we trade places.

 

Brian takes a rest.

Gear.

Meanwhile, back at camp…

Tired climbers return from the crag. Light the fire, crack a brew.

 

Evening at The Creek.

Ray grills some amazing meats in our oblong-shaped firepit: perfectly-shaped to accommodate both a blazing fire and a bed of coals for grilling.

Cheers!

 

Those up past their bedtime and alcohol tolerance participate in Stupid Human Tricks.

Wake up, hydrate, and get up that crack! Ray is our off-width (super wide crack) specialist.

 

Large gear. Heavy rack. Big smile.

 

Stéphane had some great days on the rock, putting up some gnarly leads.

 

Up he goes!

 

And up another…

 

Nice work!!

 

Meanwhile, back at camp…

Hugo and I went on some exploratory hikes, Hugo learned about cactus and knows to avoid it, and is proving himself to be a little free-range trailblazer.

And he loves his girl Myra (THE most patient, gentle dog in the world).

Tom and Melisa in their happy place. Good to catch up with them and get some T&M (and P&K) time. We miss our Montrose peeps but we are so fortunate to be able to get together with them in places such as this.

Another wonderful desert adventure in the books. Can’t wait to get out there and do it again soon. Come visit so you can do it with us!

Mar 23

Hugo-stones

“Hugo-stones”: Those milestones that Hugo reaches that are worthy of sharing (the fun, more quirky ones – because do you really care when he first ate with a spoon?)

Two fun ones yesterday:

March 22, 2018:

Hugo’s first attempt at climbing a fence. I demonstrated the proper technique and he was way interested in trying it out. Need to work on foot placement but a good first effort!

Hugo’s first “trail run” – maybe 100 feet, but he was on a trail (Kwage Mesa Trail) and he was MOVING!! I would almost call it a trail sprint. The little guy is fast.

I suppose this one is worthy of sharing too:

December 7, 2017- took first steps.

I’ll add more here as they occur.

Mar 18

Meet The Gruffalo

We would like to introduce the newest addition to The Hefti family: The Gruffalo!

She’s one foot shorter and one foot narrower than The Baby Bison. Way lighter (read: easier towing and better gas mileage), higher clearance, more storage, and better interior layout (bunks! And a dinette that folds down to a queen bed for us).

 

We just returned from taking The Gruffalo out on her maiden voyage with the Heftis. I’m not sure she ever met a dirt road with her previous owners, so we definitely put her through the paces the last few days.

 

We spent a few days at Diablo Canyon – one of our favorite places to climb. Hugo did great sleeping in his bunk bed (we had to add a baby gate + blanket over top to keep him from falling out and to keep his space dark) and our bed – which is actually the dinette folded down into a queen bed – was super comfy thanks to an added foam mattress.

 

We were surprised with how easily we were able to fit the climbing gear, clothing, camping stuff, bedding, etc., into The Gruffalo! Lots of storage for such a little camper! And Stéphane absolutely loves the electric awning.

 

The other day someone asked us why we had a camper versus a tent. Yes, we know we are “glamping” (glamorous camping) but here’s the thing: would we go out and camp/climb/play outdoors with Hugo if we all had to sleep in a tent? Maybe (if we were hard core), but you can bet we wouldn’t do it half as often as we would with a camper. So yes, we know we are “fancy” when we go camp but the point is that we get outside and we get after it and it is something we love to do as a family. Glamp, camp: do whatever you do that you love to do together and that makes you happy!

 

This trip was super enjoyable with Hugo – he is walking so well and is very independent – going on little walks around the campground and around the climbing area while we climb. He is very curious and loves exploring, climbing up on smaller rocks (and of course Myra).

 

Scrambling up our rock at the base of our climbs.

 

The Tilley Hat. Yes, they make them for kids! We found it used for $3. Best. Hat. Ever. Not sure Hugo would agree…

 

Climbing at Styx Wall again. There are many awesome areas to climb here at Diablo Canyon but we come here to the Styx Wall because it is the easy button with Hugo: short hike in and the base of the climb is a sandy wash – basically a giant sandbox for the Hug-ster.

 

A rather large sand box.

 

Fun in the sun.

 

I need to keep a copy of this one in every room in the house, so when Hugo is acting up I can remember his awesome-sweetness potential and not give up hope.

 

Can you believe he still bums rides? The Time of the Pack is nearing its end… (little dude is heavy).

 

We had a great time testing out The Gruffalo and climbing in Diablo Canyon!

Mar 16

The Story of The Baby Bison

We moved to Maine in January of 2016. By March of 2016, the realization that Vacation Land was not our cup of tea was in full effect. But you can’t just leave a job after a month because you don’t like the bugs/weather/indifferent neighbors/suffocating trees. Reluctantly pulling on our grown-up pants, we committed to making the best of Maine for one year and started planning our exit strategy. Part of that strategy involved logistics: how do we get our stuff from A to B? While the “B” was at the time unknown to us, we DID know that it would be somewhere Out West.

Do you know how much it costs to rent a U-Hail to go from A to “B”? Two thousand dollars! Yup, I was shocked as well. You know what you can buy for $2K? Eight hundred dozen eggs (organic, cage free)! Twenty-five pairs of Salomon trail running shoes! Thirteen and one-third 60m climbing ropes OR…one third of a toy hauler.

Instead of throwing all those dollars at U-Haul, we threw them (x3) at a nice man from Virginia. VA Man posted his little toy hauler on Craigslist; and one snowy day in December, after searching and searching for the right RV for us, Stephane finds it. The only problem? Virginia is 15 hours away (and 15 hours back), we are both exhausted from Hugo (two months old), and Stephane’s shift begins in three days. You would think these things would deter Stephane, but let’s be honest: nothing deters Stephane when he’s made up his mind.

Two days later, road-wearied, but excited, Stephane returns with The Baby Bison / Escape Pod (yes, we name our “homes” – I suppose it is because we’ve had so many over the years it helps us keep track). The reason behind the name? Our new camper is a mini version of The Great White Buffalo + the means to helping us escape Maine.

 

Baby Bison takes a break from its travels @ Hurd House.

 

So, what’s a toy hauler? I really didn’t have a clue until we started researching campers. A toy hauler is basically a camper with an interior “garage” space. This allows you to haul your ATVs, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, motorcycles; whatever your toy of choice may be. Regular campers have beds and dinettes and immovable walls that make it hard to pack large things. PLUS, regular campers have one small door in which to enter while a toy hauler has a side door AND a giant ramp that opens up in the back making loading all your toys (or belongings) a breeze.

 

The ramp! Queen bed up top, couch folds out to bed below.

 

Everything we own packed in tight, made the trip across the country to “B” (New Mexico).

 

When you aren’t using the “garage”, queen bed lowers down and couch folds out and garage space becomes sleeping space.

Our little Baby Bison also came with a kitchen and bathroom! Not bad for an 18 foot RV.

 

The bathroom. Believe it or not, there’s a full-size shower in there. We used it as a closet/extra storage space (who showers when they’re camping anyways?)

 

The BB made it possible for us to move all of our things across the country AND have a home-away-from-home while on climbing trips.

We’ve explored Tres Piedras, Comales Canyon (pictured here), El Rito, Diablo Canyon, and our local County Road 376 up in the Jemez with The Baby Bison.

BB has taken us on Colorado adventures up in Creede, Escalante, and Montrose.

 

And it’s housed us for simple day trips just to get out, enjoy the sunshine, climb (or work), and be together.

 

It’s been a giant playpen for Hugo,

(working on his pull-ups here)

a shelter from the elements,

our home base,

 

and our home away from home.

Thank you for giving us cool memories like this,

and for enabling us to get to places like this.

 

Thank you, dear little Baby Bison, for all the miles and all the fun! We hope you will be well-cared for with your new owners!

 

Mar 04

Apache Kid Wilderness

So back in the day, mid-late 1800s, lives this Apache guy named Haskay-bay-nay-ntayl (the Apache Kid, for short). He’s kidnapped by the Yuma Indians as a child and is later freed by the U.S. Army, after which he lives as a beggar-boy orphan, running feral around the army camp. A teenage Kid enlists with the U.S. Cavalry as an Indian Scout and shows mad skills on the job; does so well over the years that he climbs the ladder all the way up to sergeant. Then things go south: drunken fights, some people get killed, the Kid does some time in Alcatraz, in and out of prison; eventually escapes. From there it’s spotty and legend-ish: some say he was killed in 1894 by angry ranchers who caught him stealing their cattle in the San Mateo Mountains (present day Apache Kid Wilderness). Some report seeing him down in mountains of Chihuahua in Mexico, others say they saw him living amongst the Apache of the Sierra Madre Occidental (W. Mexico) as late as the 1930s. There are many stories and sightings. Here is the man himself:

 

The Apache Kid, namesake of The Apache Kid Wilderness.

 

Stéphane, Hugo and I spent five days in The Apache Kid Wilderness, a four hour drive south of Los Alamos Base Camp. We read of a scenic, isolated rock face filled with climbs just steps from camp: this combination is music to our ears (read: easy button with Hugo).

 

Expressive rocks here at our camp.

Our home for nearly a week. We saw not one soul until the day we left, five days later!

 

Perfect pairing: crackling campfire + brisk, moon-filled night.

 

Luna Campground is an ACTUAL campground – like with fire pits and picnic tables – VERY fancy. We typically do not stay in such places but Camp Luna is free and central to so many climbs it wouldn’t make sense to crash anywhere else.

 

Taking advantage of the many nooks and crannies to hide out from the wind one night. And play Yahtzee.

 

So many stars.

 

Hugo tries out a headlamp.

The evenings get cold pretty quickly so we log some camper time with Hugo before he hits the hay.

 

Perfect pairing #2: warm milk + Mr. Snuggles.

 

Smokey says: “Let’s climb!”

 

Perspective on just how close the climbs are to camp. While Hugo naps, we get in as many laps as we can.

 

Climbing with Hugo has always been hit or miss and lately, as he grows more mobile, we’ve been posting more losses than wins. Yet here at Red Rock Arroyo, we post a “W” as Hugo comes into his own: exploring the area while we climb, he stumbles around in the sand, pushing the stroller, helping daddy with the rope, and showing interest in what his parents are doing fifty feet up in the air.

 

Rocking the winter onesie and his new “real” shoes (they have soles).

 

Myra: patience ad infinitum.

 

Cool shot looking down on camp and out into the Apache Kid Wilderness.

 

Pushed myself to the top of this sandbagged route. The climbing here is mostly sport; very enjoyable, different routes. I even got another lead under my belt, thanks to Stéphane’s encouragement.

 

This one’s for our climbing Team Ducktape friends, The Lunas 🙂

Fun in the sun.

 

Hugo scrambling around at The Box. Day five we head north, towards home, to check out the climbing near Socorro, NM (“The Box”).

 

Love the font they used for this BLM sign-in kiosk: old school. Placed atop the box: an arrowhead, some kind of animal tooth / nail, and a conglomerate-type rock.

 

Top rope climbing area just beyond the camper. We enjoyed a fun morning of climbing with a really nice group and Hugo got to play with some kiddos.

 

The Apache Kid Wilderness spoke to us and we will be back!

 

The Apache Kid Wilderness is quiet, vast, and riddled with Wild West history. In iteration #102 of how the Apache Kid (center) met his death, the Kid is captured by ranchers (the Anderson posse) who lived in the very area where we explored. Angry at the Kid for stealing their cattle, the posse kill him. Today, one mile from the Apache Kid Peak high in the San Mateo mountains, a marker stands as The Apache Kid’s grave (no, I haven’t found it yet, but I will).

Jan 15

Fifteen Months

My name is Hugo Jürg Hefti and I am fifteen months old.

 

There are tons of playgrounds in our new town. Mommy and Daddy found one that has the perfect-sized steps and slide for me. I go down head-first all the time. Because if it isn’t dangerous, it isn’t worth doing!

My first words were: “blah blah, blah blah, blah blah” in a very sing-song, sarcastic tone, JUST LIKE momma when daddy talks shop…(mom says “oops”)…

 

Words I can say in addition to blah blah: mama, buh-bye, and *sometimes* dadddda

My favorite things are my books. I pick the one I want to read and bring it to mom or dad. Baby Farm Animals, My First Counting Book (Little Golden Books from Grammie) and Polk-A-Dot (thank you Krugmans) are my current preferred reading material.

 

Baby Farm Animals is the best!

 

I also enjoy my Hello! (Highlights) magazine that Dr. & Mrs. B send me every month.

I took my first steps on my Nani’s birthday – December 7th. Also pictured here are Mr. Snuggles and Mrs. Hedgehog (before her dryer accident, now we call her Grandma Hedge).

 

Toilet paper was sooooo three months ago.

 

The new thing is ladders.

 

Mom takes me hiking all over the place. I really like being in my pack, except for when mom tries to “run” – it gets a little bouncy. Now that we live near pavement, she runs with me in the stroller – WAY smoother.

I also get rides in “the chariot”. This thing is pretty slick. Now that it’s winter, mom puts the plastic covers down to keep out the cold and a blanket over me and we cruise around town.

Mom and dad like to climb up rocks. They take me with them on their climbing trips – we get to sleep in the camper and hike around all over the place. When I’m bigger, I’ll climb with them too.

 

For now, I just practice on the low rocks. Mom and dad even bought me a climbing harness and a helmet! I’ll be big enough to fit into them soon.

 

When we go on climbing trips, I get to sleep in my cool little tent.

 

I like scrambling around on rocks and being outside. It’s the best.

 

I can eat with a fork and spoon now (sort of). Yogurt and oats is the easiest to eat. Applesauce is a bit runny and I usually get more on myself than in my mouth.

Daddy’s my favorite. Mom’s okay too, but daddy is just so cool.

 

I helped daddy wash his helicopter the other day.

I have my own helicopter too! It’s from Nanni and Ninni. It’s a magnetic puzzle. Sometimes I can get the main roter on but mom has to help me with the other pieces.

 

I like to steal mom and dad’s phones – these phones are very interesting to me. It seems that they are supposed to be for talking but I see people stare at them more than talk to them. Mom always takes her phone away from me when I find it – ugh! That makes me scream.

I have eight teeth now and I just started brushing them! I really like the apple-flavored training toothpaste. I ask mommy to put it on my toothbrush and then I suck it off. She tries to brush my teeth but I run away!

 

 

I share the floor with this other creature – her name is Myra. She has stinky breath and likes to lick my face. Whenever I eat, Myra stays REALLY close to me. Sometimes I throw food on the floor not because I don’t want it, but because I know Myra REALLY wants it. It tastes WAY better than her food (I know because I ate some back when I was a baby, and it did not taste right).

 

I try my best to help out at home. Here’s me helping with the laundry.

 

And I help in the kitchen too! Mostly I pull all of items out of my special drawer and lay them on the floor so mom can see what’s available.

 

Just last night I started playing hide and seek with daddy! I go into the cupboard and close the door. Then I wait for a second, open the door, and scream! You wouldn’t believe it, but mommy and daddy are SO surprised EVERY time – it’s like they forget where I am or something. They’re a little weird when they pander to me like that.

 

I made my mark in the basement! Mommy and daddy are going to keep track of my height on the basement pole, just like Grammie and Grampie did for mommy and Uncle Pete & Dan when they were little. Fifteen months!

 

 

Jan 05

Life in Los Alamos & photo catch-up

A photo catch-up of our life in northern New Mexico (since the last post was so wordy)

We bought a house! I like to call it the Ugly Duckling because even though real estate is so hot in Los Alamos, no one wanted to touch this one with a ten foot pole (except us). Projects have begun.

And I won’t bore with you with all of them, but here’s a few of the fun ones:

The entryway: Stéphane build a storage bench + mirror. The seat flips up for shoe storage beneath.

 

The living room: the previous owner took his wood-burning stove. Stéphane installed this super cool natural gas fireplace.

“Light Among The Ruins” in Jemez Springs, NM – farolitos (brown paper bags with a little sand for weight and a candle inside) line the old pueblo ruins. An annual event around Christmas-time.

 

 

The photos don’t capture the beauty of this evening!

 

Inside the ruins of the old church.

 

Work-wise, Stéphane and the crew of Classic 1 Los Alamos have been working hard taking good care of the injured people in our community. The scenery of northern New Mexico is beautiful, particularly where we are in Los Alamos and the Jemez Mountains.

 

Helping daddy wash the helicopter!

 

Hugo is in constant motion these days: walking, running, dancing, climbing, “swimming”, and falling.

Jammin’ out to Buffalo Soldier. Already he has better moves than mommy and daddy (sigh).

 

First time at the pool! Thank you Cindy & Sally for the life jacket!!

 

Clambering around in the dirt (and eating some of it).

 

Hanging out with his girl, Myra.

 

Pulling his little wagon around the living room.

 

*Almost* big enough for his little hand-me-down trike (from cousin Jack – thank you Jack!).

 

Rocking the yellow puffy.

 

Since I don’t fly a shiny helicopter, posts about my job are not nearly as exciting. So instead of that pretty bird, here’s my face – grinning because I’m on one of a PLETHORA of awesome trails in the area – and I’ll tell you that my business is growing and doing very well! I’ve added another client this past year and am enjoying both the challenge of working for myself and of mommy-ing. We are blessed that we get to keep Hugo home with us all the time and still both work. Some days are more trying than others but our little family rocks and makes it happen.

 

Myra will be eight years old this year. She is still out pounding the dirt with me, running her tail off.

 

This week we took a little trip to check out “the best bouldering in New Mexico” (Ponderosa). We had never bouldered before but thought it might be something fun to try, especially with Hugo running around now.

 

Stéphane scampers up the routes.

Me: what now???

Digging the crash pad.

Assessment of bouldering after trying it for the first time: glad we BORROWED the crash pad and didn’t invest in one 😉 We’re climbers – give us a rope and some vertical rock and let us go that-a-way.

 

We SO look forward to having visitors! Thank you to all of our family and friends who have come down to The Land of Enchantment to stay and play with us. You ALL have an open invitation!!! Please come!!

 

Mom & Dad!

 

Tom & Melisa came out for the Fourth of July – our first visitors!

We had a blast checking out the local climbing area.

 

Stéphane’s parents, Maria and Jürg, came out for a visit from Switzerland! We enjoyed showing them the trails, local hot springs, and they even came out on a camping/climbing trip with us.

Maria and I jamming around the campfire.

A fun climbing trip to Tres Piedras.

Hugo’s Auntie V came out to visit us from chilly Maine.

Albuquerque Hot Air Ballon Festival was amazing. We went to “the glow” in the evening where the balloons are inflated but stay tethered to the ground.

 

Magical

Had to get a photo of that one 😉

Brother Dan and his girlfriend Jess came to visit (twice now, yeah!).

 

You are now caught up on all things Hefti! Come visit us in Los Alamos! It is a beautiful area and we will show you a good time 🙂 To all our friends and family, Happy New Year! Here’s to a fabulous 2018 for you all. We are so blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives!


Jan 03

Camino Uva

 

Buying a home in Los Alamos – at least in the current market – is a daunting enterprise. The scenario plays out something like this:

  1. Asbestos-ridden, lead paint-filled, temporarily-built-barrack-for-the-Manhattan-Project house goes on the market with professional photographs of professionally-staged rooms. Sellers list the deadline for which they will accept all offers (yes, offerS- plural: because there will be many).
  2. Potential buyers tour said house and have anywhere from a week to ten days to put in an offer. Buyers may choose to write a Letter To Seller – anything to help sway the cause in their favor. (I know this sounds ridiculous but in places where homes are few and buyers are many, buyers need an edge: you play the sympathy card or the empathy card or the chummy card or whatever card you have in order to get your hands on some real estate).
  3. Sellers get multiple offers for their house, many of which are OVER the already-inflated asking price (because there are way more buyers than homes), and pick the highest offer (unless the Letter To Seller hits a chord and they are such saps that they decide to sell their house based on their emotions on not their bank account).
  4. The rejected buyers hang their heads, go back to the drawing board (Zillow) and sit and wait for the next over-priced death-trap of a home to pop onto the market.

And that, in a nut-shell, is how you buy a home in Los Alamos. *

 

* Unless you’re a Hefti.

 

We’d hoped to buy a home that we could afford to pay off in fifteen years. That is, until we realized what homes were going for, after which, expectations were quickly adjusted. We toured a few of the previously-described asbestos-ridden, low-ceilinged, low-light homes with little-to-no love on our end. The problem with Los Alamos, for us, is that the homes are packed in, tight as sardines – not much privacy, not much land.

Here’s what Los Alamos looks like:

The town spreads out over several finger-shaped mesas (flat mountains) with canyons in between. Limited land to build on means houses don’t have much breathing room. And many of the homes were built in the era of asbestos and lead and were all of a very similar shape (rectangular) and style (dark, galley kitchens, “cubby” rooms – i.e., NOT open floor plan). Our plan to combat these issues was to find a home that backed up to a canyon (most don’t), one that was built within the last forty or so years (many aren’t), and one that had some CHARACTER, one that spoke to us (none had yet).

 

Enter The Ugly Duckling a.k.a. The House on Camino Uva:

Yes, she’s a little rough and that is why no one wanted her. Because of this, we were able to negotiate a For Sale By Owner, saving quite a bit in realtor fees.

 

And there you go – the money shot. View from the rooftop deck to the canyon beyond. Natural beauty, peace, solitude, and privacy.

 

View from the back of the house. We fell in love with all of the south-facing windows, natural light, and uniqueness.

 

Wall of windows (living room, below), rooftop deck (above).

 

The story of how Camino Uva came to be ours spans many months, phone calls and emails to the owners. It also includes a six-hour drive to visit with Roy & Jane at their Colorado home and beaucoup hours spent on the internet researching how one purchases a home in New Mexico.


But in the end, on November 16th, 2017, we sat down at the title company, signed our names twenty-five or so times, drained a ridiculous amount of money from our savings, and then drove to our very first home together. We’ve owned – and called home – a sailboat and a camper but never an actual house. We are stoked!

A sneak peek at a few of our first (of many) projects:

Before: the owner heated the first floor of the house with this wood stove. He wanted to take it with him when he sold, and that was fine with us. Our plan was to put in a gas fireplace in the chimney, thus freeing up more space in the living room.

 

Two grinders, ten masonry blades, and hours of manual chiseling later, Stéphane gets a nice, clean opening in the chimney for our fireplace.

 

Supporting structure inside chimney built out and ready for the fireplace.

After: the fireplace! We love it – modern, quiet, and low-maintenance.

The amount of work Stéphane put into this project is indescribable. You see the end result, a beautiful fireplace, but what you don’t see is the hours of labor, sweat, trouble-shooting, measuring, and cutting. You don’t see all of the piping that had to be re-done inside the chimney and all of the internal guts of the chimney that had to be rearranged in order to make this sucker fit. Stéphane is a genius. And he’s in his element, just like we’re back on the Free Range again except way more square footage and tons more projects (heaven).

 

Project #2: Here’s our entryway – the front door is to the left of where the two-by-fours are leaning. It’s kind of an odd space, right? Not very big but kind of a waste of space – what do you even DO in this room?

Looking out towards the back of the house from the weird, empty entryway space.

After: Stéphane built a gorgeous storage bench for the entryway AND made this super fun mirror happen. The top of the bench opens up and we have storage for shoes beneath.

I absolutely love this! Next step is to paint the walls a very light, neutral gray.

 

Brother Dan and Jess came to spend Christmas with us! Jess brought the turkey but forgot the pan (doh!). The boys are improvising with some tin foil.

 

Dishin’ up. We had a feast! Turkey, green beans, and Stéphane’s homemade stuffing.

 

Enjoying “Christmosas” in the living room.

 

Merry Christmas!

It wouldn’t be a Trombley gathering without a little euchre!!

 

Annnnnnd…back to projects! This is the downstairs guest bedroom / office. We’ve primed over all of the stain drips, painted the trim, and the walls are now ready for a fresh coat of paint.

 

Here’s Hugo at 15 months. Nothing to do with the post other than the fact that I know mom and grams are trolling the site hoping for some photos of this little guy – there will be lots more coming on the next post, I promise! xo

 

Nov 25

Thanksgiving in Escalante

It’s been an annual tradition going on twenty years now. Some folks, like Tom, are solid fixtures – showing up to the campsite (and in most cases claiming it) like clockwork every year. Others make more spotty appearances, their attendance affected by the demands of their lives: children, careers, relationships, health, finances, travel.

 

Since we started joining in the annual Thanksgiving celebration, Stéphane and I missed a few consecutive years due to our sailing adventure and our Maine misadventure. So this year we were determined to go – no matter that we had just bought a house two days before or the seven-hour drive – these things are small potatoes and well worth the effort to overcome in exchange for a few days of camaraderie, climbing, and cavorting in the desert.

Hanging out in camp surrounded by the beautiful red walls of Escalante Canyon. Some folks hang with the kiddos, while the rest head out to climb up at the crags.

 

Hugo and daddy at camp.

 

The Logans come in with slick camper AND potato gun.

 

Starting the campfire early – well before sunset – to generate coals upon which to cook food and to keep the general population warm and toasty.

Kim splits some wood for the fire.

 

 

Hugo layers up with puffy, hat, and mittens.

 

I noticed a new green tab in Tom’s binder of campfire songs: “Songs for Kids” (Uncle Tom rocks).

 

Hugo has his own little camp chair, compliments of John Bass & Tom (thanks, guys!) and is absolutely entranced by the other little people at camp.

Pre-Thanksgiving prep: practicing our pallet dance moves before the big night. (Ray, Matt, Andy, me, Charlie, and Sage).

 

 

Bath time in the Escape Pod. Hugo fits in the little sink just perfectly (for now).

 

Thanksgiving morning! Let’s make some coals, prep the protein, and go earn our turkey dinner!

 

Me on Honey Badger at Green Machine wall. Climbing is not as easy as it used to be, pre-Hugo. Stéphane and I split our time between the wall and hanging with “Huges” at camp. Today we brought him up to Green Machine and he hung in his pack ‘n’ play with one of us while the other climbed. It worked well until nap time.

 

Hanging with Hugo at the crag. Looking forward to when he’s a little older and can clamber around safely outside the confines of the pack n play.

My turn to climb again. Working my way up Stick Up.

Camp yoga.

 

Camp kids playing with Hugo in the Escape Pod.

 

The climbers make their way back to camp late afternoon and the prep for Thanksgiving dinner begins. Lots of side dishes in tin foil cooking away on the giant pile of coals.

 

Ray brought is smoker and his skills! Delicious, juicy turkey, Ray!!

 

It’s wine time!

 

Dish up!

 

Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family around the campfire.

 

Patrick and Matt bask in the golden glow.

 

Doug and Heather show up and we are treated to some folksy, bluesy, harmonies.

 

Check out that bass.

 

A little more wine, please!

 

Rocking out to Tom’s newest addition to the campfire songs – Top Rope Hero.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Time to hit the road and head south for our new home in Los Alamos. Hugo munches on tomatoes.

 

Another wonderful Thanksgiving is in the books: perfect weather, a wonderful assembly of friends and family, good food, drink, and music. We turn our heads south and head to our new home (we bought a house, people!!!) and prep for the next adventure!

Sep 17

Exploring The Jemez (adventures closer to home)

Right now we live in the Jemez National Recreation Area, forty minutes west of Los Alamos, up in the Jemez Mountains. While we love the quiet and the ease of access to the outdoors, our goal is to buy a home in Los Alamos (gasp! I know, that does not sound like us at all, does it? Moving INTO not AWAY FROM town AND buying a house? That means settling down, right? Maybe…? Just goes to show you how much Hugo has changed our perspectives and lives!).

Stéphane taking Hugo out for a spin in “the chariot” at Fenton Lake State Park.

 

Hike up in the Jemez.

Guess who came to see us and meet his nephew for the first time?!?!?!

We had so much fun with Dan! He tried out rock climbing for the first time and surpassed all expectations! Led his very first climb on his second day of climbing!! What!?!?!

 

Dan figuring out the moves.

 

Hanging with Uncle Dan.

 

A soak at the San Antonio Hot Springs post-climbing does a body good.

 

Hugo loves the hot springs.

 

Exploring some new routes at Comales Canyon, a great little climbing area near Taos.

He has all the toys in the world but the best “toys” of all are grubby climbing gear: belay devices, cams, and beaners.

 

Messing around with the camera, waiting for my turn to climb. It was really nice climbing with an extra person – much easier to herd Hugo and everyone enjoyed more time on the wall.

 

After sending Dan on his way home, we check out our local forest road 376 for some possible new climbs.

This crag is of particular interest because it has some nice lines AND great camping spots right across the road. Now that Hugo is in the picture, it’s all about easily-accessible climbs and close-by camping. This spot would be ideal.

Seventeen miles in on FR 376, The Gilman Tunnels. During the 1920s, the Santa Fe North Western Railroad decided to build a line through this area to provide access for logging and mining companies. But the Guadalupe Box Canyon stood in the way. The rock here was extremely hard and the gushing river complicated the project. Still, this was not a sufficient deterrent. Workers forged ahead with the plan, using dynamite to create the two railway tunnels. They were dubbed the Gilman Tunnels after William H. Gilman, the company’s vice president of operations. This railroad was primarily used for hauling timber down from the mountains.

 

There is excellent camping along our FR 376! We tried out a couple different spots, spending a few nights out in the Escape Pod.

The Escape Pod is slowly coming together! Each time we go out, we make note of how to make things better and keep tweaking. So far, the layout of the Escape Pod is great for our needs. Hugo sleeps below in his Pack n Play and we are above in the bed. The toy hauler setup is perfect for our current camping needs.

 

No bottle warmer in The Escape Pod, we do it old school when we camp 😉

 

Even though it is a small area, Hugo loves exploring in the Escape Pod. So many different things to touch and discover! On this particular day, the fire extinguisher was the bee’s knees.

 

Fun with daddy! On a side note: baby food pouches are a life saver; total no-brainer easy button when we are out hiking or climbing.

Me working my way up a climb @ Los Conchas (our local climbing area, 15 minutes away).

Another no-brainer easy button: The Pea Pod. This little baby tent has allowed us to keep climbing with Hugo. Set him up safely away from the wall with blanket and toys, and he is a happy camper (most of the time) and we are able to get in a couple of climbs. Win-win!

Smiling faces all around! Enjoying our local outdoors in norther New Mexico!

Sep 17

Catching up in Creede

Creede, Colorado is a teeny little town tucked up in the San Juan mountains. Over the years it has morphed from its silver mining roots into a quaint, clean, funky little town catering to travelers, dirt bikers, hunters, campers, and explorers. It’s traded silver mining for tourism as its economy but has still managed to keep its historic vibe and quaintness. Trendy restaurants, an amazing outdoor store, funky art gallery, tequila bar and other fun shops line main street in historic buildings backed by sharp, craggy cliffs. I love this town and I love this particular corner of Colorado.

 

Creede, CO

Welcome to Creede.

 

Cute little garden on Main Street. I dig the polka-dot wheelbarrow.

 

We stopped by a very unique art gallery. The artist to the right (“War Machine” – skull/metal) caught all of our attention. Tom fell in love with a super cool sculpture except Melisa was not too keen on adding yet another skull to the Hotel Chamberlain art collection.

 

Same artist – flying horse skull on tricycle.

The local outdoor store – how is it that a town this small can have an outdoor store this amazing? Los Alamos needs to take page out of Creede’s book, that is for sure.

We set up camp at our traditional spot right on the banks of Miner’s Creek: access to great trails just down the road and a short drive into town = perfection.

 

Myra is in her glory. She is her old self again (and so are we) – shaking off the dust that settled while in Maine.

 

We crossed the river to gather some firewood, chucking it across piece by piece.

 

Hugo enjoying watching the adults in evening camp mode (gathering fire wood, grilling appetizers)

Hugo’s first Colorado camp fire! Appropriate that it’s in Creede, my absolute favorite spot.

 

Tom and Stéphane get out on the trails. I settle Hugo into his pack and he, Dan Q., Myra and I get a nice hike in and explore a few old mines.

 

Vibrant flowers from Stéphane’s ride.

 

Into town for some lunch and poking around.

Garden honoring the different branches of the US Military.

 

Hugo is very hands-on today.

The Mac Mine: AMAZING gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese truck. Owner lives in a wee home next door.

 

You can get your mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, jalapeños, spinach, and mushrooms, just to name a few. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Creede also has a very special music store featuring unique items such as the hammered dulcimer.

A fun rendezvous with part of The Village (just Tom and Dan could make it out). On our way back to Los Alamos, we stop at Three Barrel Brewery in Del Norte, CO. Pretty decent wood-fire oven pizza- thumbs up!

Digging the beer label art.

A great first trip back to our beloved Colorado to visit the gang! First of many! Now back to The Land of Enchantment to catch up on work so we can get back out and play.

Jul 16

First days in New Mexico



Hidden House is snugged up high among the ponderosa pines- one of a handful of homes scattered around the hills in the Jemez Mountains forty minutes west of Los Alamos. Our neighborhood is called “La Cueva” (the cave; not sure why but I will find out and report back). Our street, a red sandy road, leads to a lightly-traveled two-lane highway; at the corner a fishing shop where we sometimes sit and get wi-fi. The owners, La Cueva locals Jim and Nancy, park their shiny, cherry red ’68 Camaro out front and sell maps, fishing gear, guns and ammo, snacks and coffee to the weekend tourists.

 

Hidden House!

 

There are miles and miles of trails and forest roads to explore, countless camp spots to discover, and fifteen minutes down the road, a wonderfully accessible climbing area (easy button with Hugo is key). Natural hot springs are another sweet little feature of the area.

Tom and Melisa came out to visit and we had such a wonderful time together. We missed these two so much while we were in Maine!! I can’t describe how wonderful it is to have these guys back in our lives again.

 

 

I was eight months pregnant when Stephane and I last climbed. Feels so good to be back at it again! Las Conchas was the perfect place to get back on the rock – there is a great mix of hard and easy climbs with zero approach (approach meaning the hike in to access the climbs).

Back in action together! Love it!!

 

Easy does it.

 

My very first lead! Melisa talked me into it, and I’m glad she did 😉

 

Stephane leading a “ridiculously sandbagged 5.9+++++++”, as Tom says it. (Sandbagged means the climb is actually much harder than what the rating would have you expect).

 

Clipping the anchors. Like he’s never taken a break from climbing – no problemo!

 

Hugo testing out some holds on the rock.

Hugo did great at the crag! For the most part he enjoyed rolling around in his Pea Pod (baby tent) while we got in a few laps on the rock.

 

Stephane gives Melisa a boost at the start of a really tough route.

Testing out The Chariot – a fabulous gift from Pat & Kim. The Chariot gives us freedom to mountain bike together as a family! The first time out didn’t go quite so well – the trail we picked was a bit bumpy and Hugo was in the red as far as daily napping quota. We’ll be trying it again soon on a more mellow surface.

 

A sweet trail in a picturesque valley along a tiny, meandering creek.

 

 

Day two (or three?) of climbing. Hugo loves his Osprey backpack (and so do we). Such a great way to carry the little guy into the outdoors on extended hikes. Lesson learned: cut the diaper bag from the inventory for hikes.

 

Afternoon nap in the pack.

Tom climbing “carefully” – pushing the limits of the LEG to see what it can do post-surgery.

Cheers! Hydrating with a Moscow Mule at the local watering hole, Los Ojos. The mint makes it.

Stephane passes by herds of elk on his daily commute into Los Alamos.

 

Mom and dad make the epic road trip from Detroit to New Mexico with our second car + trailer and Myra. Thank mom and dad for operating outside of the box and your comfort zones and making this happen!!

 

Caught in a hail storm on the hike up to San Antonio hot springs.

 

Our little nature boy, all smiles.

 

Ahhhhhh, the hot springs. A steamy soak in the hot water felt great after the cold hail storm on the hike up. (Dad photobombing in the back).

 

Hugo loves soaking in the hot springs, especially with daddy 🙂

 

Sunset elk herd at the Valles Caldera.

Breaking out the tricycle a little too soon but fun to play around with the Little Cricket.

 

Our first few days in New Mexico have been filled with adventure, exploration, and learning how to maneuver in the outdoors with Hugo in tow. I think we are really going to love it here! Come visit!!

Jul 08

Stopover in Montrose

The wheels sqwaked as they met the pavement and the San Juan Mountains, still snowy at their tips, peeked at me through the window of the little regional jet. Hugo and I had arrived at our almost final destination: Montrose! A short stopover here to see our friends and then off south to our new home in Los Alamos (Jemez Springs), New Mexico.

We had to pull over to pose with our San Juans in the background.

It was an emotional reunion at the Montrose Regional Airport: Stephane, Hugo and I had been separated for more than two weeks and The Village and I for a year and a half. And no one had yet met Hugo! Many hugs, a few tears, and one poopy diaper later, we are off to enjoy some precious time with our most special friends.

Hugo’s first taste of a little “camping” – a day camp up on the Uncompahgre Plateau at Aspen Loop with friends and dogs.

 

In one weekend, Hugo experienced his first Jimmy Buffett party, first day camp, and introductions to all of his aunts and uncles: new faces, smells, sounds, and time zone for the Little Cricket. He is soaking it all in and doing so well with adapting to all the new – we are so proud of him.

 

Trying out the hammock with daddy.

 

A thirty minute drive up 2500 feet to escape the heat in town – 96 degrees in Montrose and a comfortable 75 up at the Aspen Loop.

 

Little cricket working on some moves.

Making new dog friends.

Plenty of room in Vicki’s REALLY BIG camp chair for Maggie.

Taking a morning lap around The Village

 

All smiles; cruising in style!

 

Teaching Hugo some moves at the Jimmy Buffett party.

 

We filled The Little House with friends, great food and drinks, and lots of laughter. Hugo was a real hit with the ladies 😉

 

Brandon plays ball with Hugo.

Hugo having a blast with his new gal pal Aubrey.

 

Hugo relaxing and taking it all in, from the safety of Uncle Tom’s lap.

 

Big hands, little hands.

 

Such a whirlwind trip! We did not get to reconnect with everyone while we were in town – but we will be back to Montrose to visit soon, and often. SO glad we are finally back west and close to our community. Now, it is time to head south to our new home in New Mexico!! Woop Woop!! Here we go!!!

 

Jun 18

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

Today is your very first Fathers Day!

Thank you for holding me all those nights (and days) and for dressing me in the kung-fu onesie as often as you did. It really was the most comfortable and fashion-forward wardrobe option at two months (and thank you for the kung-fu onesie, Aunt Melisa!)

 

Thank you for keeping the home filled with music. Sometimes your song choices on Pandora are questionable but your piano skills are top notch!

 

Thank you for keeping me cozy and warm, especially my hands when they sometimes get cold.

 

I know I have a super sweet face, but thanks in advance for keeping me in line when I get rowdy.

 

Thank you for taking me to the climbing gym and showing me the ropes. I can’t wait to climb with you and momma once I get bigger!

 

Thank you for letting me tag along with you when you work on projects. And thanks for looking out for my hearing.

 

You fed me my very first food (I think it was bananas; I didn’t like it very much but sweet potatoes are awesome).

 

Thank you for working so, so hard and for making sacrifices for the sake of our family.

 

Thanks for keeping me squeaky clean and for making bath time so much fun!

 

Thanks for wearing me as much as you did. It was so nice, comfy, and warm cuddled up next to you.

 

Thanks for being the funnest daddy ever.

 

Happy Fathers Day, daddy.

 

I wish we could be together today but I know that you are working hard out west to make way for mommy and I to come out. We’ll be there soon and we miss you so much.

I love you to the moon and back.

Your son,

Hugo

Jun 16

El Cajete Fire

The Cajete Fire started in the Jemez Springs area just yesterday. 700+ acres on fire. Homes evacuated. Dropped pin is Hidden House; blue pins are road closures.

 

 

Our neighborhood is an At Risk area but has not yet been evacuated…

 

 

6/18/2017 update:

The Cajete Fire is 0% contained but still pretty far from Hidden House – about 8 miles.

Jun 15

In Limbo (I mean, Michigan)

After seven hours of packing the “schnick schnack” (the last little odds and ends that we thought would take only a half hour to square away), multiple trips down the driveway to add to the growing pile of trash bags and recycleables, and a final walk through, we finally loaded up Hugo and Myra and set off on our new adventure!

Stephane found the cutest hotel, Publick House – somewhere in Massachusets. Dog friendly, quiet, and clean. Score!

 

A compound of a hotel, Publick House is comprised of multiple buildings of various ages and a lush grounds crisscrossed with walkways; it all looked so very homey from the window of the Tig as I drove through it in the morning, on the road out. No time to explore – gotta keep to the road and the schedule!

 

Day Two: in between the bad service plaza food (chicken McNuggets, etc.), funny looks from truckers while pumping and driving, and car seat breaks for Hugo, we receive news that we have scored a short-term rental in Los Alamos! (well, Jemez Springs, a half hour west, but beggars can’t be choosers). Yes!!!! A big relief for us and now Stephane can head directly to New Mexico instead of crashing at The Little House in Montrose.

Cleveland, rolling out the red carpet.

 

Day Three, heard through the static of my walkie-talkie: “I love you! Happy anniversary!”

 

We celebrate our #3 in true Hefti fashion: nomads on the road, homeless with all of our belongings in tow. Parting ways in the parking lot of the Cleveland Red Roof Inn, Hugo, Myra and I, Tig + trailer are off to Michigan while Stephane heads down US Route 66, truck + Baby Bison in tow, en route to our final destination. I am a little jealous as I click off the walkie-talkie for the last time. Road trips are fun, made particularly more exciting when you are driving to your new home for the first time. Except we aren’t too keen on giving Hugo car seat-related PTSD.  So to Michigan we go, to relax, enjoy some family time, and take a breath before the next step.

 

 

Having a blast with grammy and his new toy.

 

Stephane made it to the land of brilliant blue skies and red rocks.

Our new base camp. We call it “Hidden House”.

 

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, THIS is happening. Yes folks, he is sitting up now!

 

And he has WAY too much fun with grampie.

 

So much fun, in fact, that bed time is now a struggle. And the routine is out the window. But whatevs. We’re having a good old time in Michigan.

 

Bath time with grammie is SO much more fun and interesting than bath time with mommy.

 

This is what bath time looks like in New Mexico. Hot springs just fifteen minutes from Hidden House!

 

And a cool little cowboy saloon. Yes, please!

 

Stephane scouted out some great little climbing spots just off the road. Easy access to climbing will be nice with Hugo. We still haven’t figured out how we are actually going to be able to climb with Hugo in tow, but we have some ideas brewing…

 

Trails and climbing galore, bright blue sky, no bugs, dry heat, wide, open space. It’s looking good so far, people! I am so excited to get there and see for myself! Next week Montrose, and then we’ll head down to our new home in New Mexico.

Jun 04

Good Night, Maine

I’m sitting on the guest mattress (our last piece of furniture left in Hurd House) tipping back the final few drops of an Allagash White – brewed in Portland, ME –  in honor of our last night in Maine. Stéphane’s covering night shift for one of the pilots so yes, I am drinking alone. But it’s a nostalgic-excited-nervous-celebratory kind of drinking alone so no need to call social services, people.

Tomorrow, after we pack up our last few items, we will endure the teeth-chattering, shock-destroying drive out of Hurd Point one final time. We will turn right on Upper Dedham and left on 1A. We might stop at “the little store” to grab an over-priced snack or some water (they can charge what they want, they’re the only show in town and they know it). Then we’ll take 395 south. We’ll cross the bridge over the Penobscot River one last time – and I know Stéphane will turn his head up river and look for the helipad at Eastern Maine Med, straining his eyes to see Echo Mike (his heli) one last time.

Then we’ll merge onto 95 south (ignoring the yield sign as we rightly should) and we will set our eyes to the wide open west, and the next big adventure.

We bought a book for Hugo at BJ’s (Maine’s equivalent of Costco) called “Good Night Maine”. When reading it to him we’d joke and read it as “goodbye Maine” because we’d hoped we’d get to say goodbye one day. Well, that day has come. So for tonight, this last night, I’ll say goodnight Maine. And tomorrow, goodbye.

Here we go, Hugo!

The master packer.

A visit during one of Stéphane’s final shifts at Life Flight of Maine.

May 26

To the Land of Enchantment

Sayonara, Vacationland: in less than two weeks, The Heftis hit the road for the Land of Enchantment!

 

So what do we know about New Mexico? Admittedly, not much. Wikipedia tells me that the roadrunner is the state bird (who knew?! Not me- I thought roadrunners lived only in the desert landscapes of Wile E. Coyote cartoons).

Mountain Project tells me there is some great rock climbing around the area, and, after some further research, I am excited to report there are miles and miles of mountain trails just waiting to be biked / ran / hiked.

There’s a lot of sunny, dry days; views for miles, open spaces, and public land. There’s not a lot of traffic, people, bugs, humidity, and trees.

Los Alamos, NM.

 

We will set up base camp at 7,300 feet in Los Alamos – a smallish mountain town spread out across several mesas with the Jemez Mountains uplifting to the west and the terminus of the Rocky Mountains a bit to the east.

It’s not Montrose and it’s not Colorado. But it’s close enough and Stephane and I are excited about what we have learned about the area. And we’ll be close enough to meet up with our Colorado crew, so we’re calling it a day for now. We’re headed back west and that is good enough for us!

 

While we are escaping the land of black flies, humidity, and endless trees, we must also part ways with our generous, caring, and fiercely supportive tribe. Our “girls”, V and Nicole; Kevin & Lorry, Kathy & Charlie, and “The Helges” (as we so lovingly call them). And Stephane must leave behind the most professional, tight-knit, and badass group of co-workers he has had the pleasure to fly with to date. So yeah, it’s sweet, but it’s a little bitter too.

 

For myself, professionally, Maine has allowed my business to grow and I am happy that I will be able to continue my work – remotely – with my newest client.

 

So, here’s to the road ahead: adventures with old and new friends and maybe, one day, a place to hang our hat for good.

And here’s to the road behind: we’d never be where or who we are now without traveling the windy, buggy, and bumpy road through Maine – picking up some awesome friends along the way and adding a little bug named Hugo to our family.

 

I’ll leave you with some images I stole from the internet. Trust me, we’ll be posting some of our own REAL soon!

 

 

Mar 09

A Day in the Life (4 months)

For some reason I can’t seem to remember much these days. Like, what were our days like when Hugo was one month? Three? No clue. I’m thinking this memory failure is a side effect of sleep deprivation. Or hormones, perhaps? Some cruel trick played on mothers so that they forget how hard this all is and decide to do it again…?

 

So to help me remember, here’s a little evidence of life at four months:

 

Hugo dictates when we wake up (unfortunately). And it’s usually somewhere between six and seven. I guess it could be worse so I’ll take it. After a breakfast bottle, the little man lounges on his psychedelic play mat – batting at flowers, clutching mr. frog to his mouth, and pulling relentlessly on his blue musical elephant.

 

He adores his flowers, which are actually a mobile but they are so much more interesting and interactive at two inches above the face than two feet. So they sit on top of the play mat, smiling down at Hugo each morning.

 

 

 

Speaking of the little man, here he is at four months. In a nine month onesie (they tell me this is normal- four month olds wear nine month clothing, six months wear 12, etc. Why can’t they make it easy on us poor sleep-deprived parents and make the clothing sizes match the actual age?!?!).

 

 

Hugo lives in a very musical home. Mommy practices guitar off and on throughout the day; daddy jams on the piano. And when neither of us are on a instrument, Stéphane makes sure the Bose is spitting out some good tunes (today it was the John Denver station on Pandora- Rocky Mountain High!!).

 

I have been putting in some solid practice time on the guitar these last few months. Hugo seems to enjoy it (even when I play the same five chords over and over and over again). Tom’s been bugging me for years to get a pick and I finally gave in- what a difference! So much more volume!

 

Dad bought me this guitar before I left for college. I’ve taken it with me everywhere I have roamed ever since (even on Free Range). Songs I am currently working on: Blackbird (Beatles), Teach Your Children (CSNY), and a few Amos Lee tunes that Stéphane likes.

 

Hugo and I read books as much as we can (and as much as Hugo tolerates). His current favorite is “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” (go figure it’s a musical book about drumming on drums).

This post on our daily life would not be complete (or honest) without mentioning my daily – and nightly – routine of pumping. I am currently down to five pumps a day (2am, 7am, noon, four, and seven P) averaging 35 ounces- WELL DONE mammary glands! Hugo’s triple chins thank you.

 

This is a thing of beauty and makes me oh-so-satisfied. We have four glass bottles that we use to feed Hugo each day. I am constantly feeding, washing, pumping, and refilling these four little bottles. In the early months, it was a rare occurrence to have more than one or two filled in advance and there were times we had to fall back on formula for a bottle or two while I caught up. But those days are over! I milk supply is consistent and plentiful. To date, I have pumped over 4,500 ounces (that’s 180 bottles of wine, in case you were wondering). ??

Oh, Dapple. How many of you have we gone through? I have lost count. I have to say I do enjoy your graphic- well done.

 

Our colorful bottle brush sees much action.

Isn’t he handsome?

One of my favorite books to read with Hugo – a French book from his Tante (Aunt) Yvonne and Oncle Fabio.

This chair has never been so empty as in these past four months. My business is still going well but it has been a struggle to make it fit properly and proportionately in our new lives.

 

The patterns, colors, and fabrics used for baby clothes and changing pad covers (this), play mats, diaper bags, etc., are whimsical, soft, vibrant, fun, and colorful. I wish they made adult clothing out of some of these funky fabrics. I would not think twice about rocking a pair of these whale pants.

 

Case in point – the boppy: fun and functional. I ❤ baby fabrics.

Myra spends her day shuttling between her three dog beds, anticipating the sounds of breakfast and dinner (spit out by auto feeder), and contorting herself into ridiculously yogic positions.

It’s a lady bug. I love this thing. When Hugo outgrows it, I’ll keep it around for my enjoyment.

Colorful, textured rings of plastic.

With his favorite toy of all time (all time being four months). We’ll see how he’s feeling about it at five months.

 

Ans there you have it- images of what Four Hefti Months looks like. Stay tuned for month five- which is now (I’m behind, go figure).

Feb 22

Snowmageddon

We finally got a taste of what a real Maine winter can look like after experiencing our first Nor’easter. All said and done, two feet of snow blanketed Hurd House. That’s a lot of snow to remove, particularly when the engine of the snowblower you just purchased on Craigslist decides to seize.

The beginning of the Nor’easter. Snow and crazy blizzards for hours.

Now, we have sold and purchased many items on Craigslist over the years and have, for the most part, always had positive experiences. I guess it was only a matter of time before we got screwed. It was just really, really bad timing. So, to the seventy-year-old man in Winterport who sold us the lemon machine, I say to you: what you put out into the world will come back to you in one way or another. Karma’s a b$%!#.

Digging out the truck so we an go get snowblower #2. This time around, we were fortunate enough to purchase from an honest seller.

Almost all of our neighbors have their own plows or intense-looking snow removal machines like this bad boy. Das Haus (yes, they named their house- and you would too if you saw this house) pushes snow in style and comfort.

 

Big snow drift built itself up against the side door.

 

That’s a lot of snow!

 

Myra’s in chest-deep.

 

Not only does Stéphane have the best ideas, but he can execute them like none other! Prototype #1 of the Hefti “Skoller” a stroller on skis.

 

The Skoller’s maiden voyage.

 

The storm and the snow was actually a fun and welcomed distraction from our daily routine.

Is it possible to have an eeeeep post without a ppicture of our sweet Hugo? No, it is not. Here you go:

All bundled up in his bear suit from Naeha Maussi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 19

The whole night through

February 19th: Happy birthday Grams!!! Except I get the present today:

This is the face of a boy that just slept the whole night through.

 

For

the

first

time.

 

Smiles all around this morning!

 

 

 

Feb 11

Hugo flies!

Hugo’s four months and babies fly free ’til their two – so let’s fly home to Michigan and introduce him to his family!

At Bangor Airport waiting for our flight.

 

Unfortunately, a vacation to Michigan does not mean a vacation from pumping.

 

Hugo’s very first flight on a plane. He did great all things considering – we were stuck on the plane for TWO hours before it finally took off (waiting to get de-iced).

 

Channeling Princess Leia with his ear protection.

 

Here we go!

 

Hugo with Grammie. After a rough first day in Michigan – NO naps – Hugo settled in and got used to all of the attention and my very loud family. He was a champ and took it all in stride.

 

Hugo got to meet BOTH of his great grandmas – how cool is that? Here he is with Great-Grandma Wilma.

 

With Aunt Shelley

 

Grammie taught Hugo the patty cake song (now I do it all the time with him).

 

Daddy’s the best place to take a nap.

 

Grampie is fun!!

The flights back to Bangor were SO much better than the ones flying out. Note to self: fly early in the morning and get a direct flight if at all possible.

A good time was had by all and many lessons were learned in regards to travel with Hugo. He is proving to be a resilient and mellow little dude. He does cry – but guess what? He’s a freakin’ baby! Air travel was really not as overwhelming and scary as I thought it would be. Nice to have this first one under our belts – the next big trip will be to Switzerland at some point – hopefully this summer.

Feb 11

Irish Breakfast of Champions

It’s the morning of our last day in Michigan before flying home to Maine. We’d spent the past four days showing off Hugo to friends and family, playing euchre, and drinking Pete’s latest beer fave: Founder’s Rubais Ale (a raspberry-infused brew).

Dad says the same thing he’s being saying since he and mom were out to meet a two-week-old Hugo: “Hey you two, why don’t you go out on a date? We got Hugo.” Three and a half months ago, a date seemed like such a frivolous way to spend free time (with a two week old baby, any free time is best spent sleeping). Today, however, is a different story and we can’t get out of the house fast enough.

It’s 10:30 in the morning and we are on a mission to find a Bloody Mary. Driving down the Nautical Mile, all the restaurants are either closed for the season or closed until lunchtime. I’m ready to throw in the towel but Stéphane steps up and saves the day, finding Butter Run on Yelp.

I’ve driven by this place a million times growing up; over the years it’s had different names-  Mar Dee’s, Blue Star, etc. Today it is Butter Run. And today we strike gold in our choice of bar AND table – right next to two quality gents, Matt and John: hockey coaches in their free time and regulars at Butter Run.

Now I thought we were being a little crazy ordering a Bloody Mary at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, but these two made us look like saints in comparison, chasing their flights of whiskey down with shots of beer. We tell them it’s our first date since having Hugo and John says, “Well then, we need to celebrate with a round of Irish Breakfasts!” For those of you who do not know (I had no clue), an Irish Breakfast is a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of OJ topped off with a piece of crunch bacon. A little odd-sounding but quite a pleasant combination of flavors. Together we raise our glasses of Jameson and cheers, “to Hugo!”.

We could not have had a more enjoyable date spent in the fine company of Matt and John – who also picked up the tab on our breakfast! Thank you boys!!! We look forward to catching up with you again next time we are in town and breakfast is ON US then!!

With Matt and John, our Butter Run buddies.

Jan 14

Merry & Happy

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Heftis!

 

In lieu of bringing yet another tree into our lives (we have enough of them here in Maine), we decorated a happy little pine just off the back porch.

 

Using up some leftover felt to create a festive necklace for the little pine out back.

 

The Hefti Family Christmas Tree – our first one!

 

We hung one single, non-felt ornament sent to us by the Grand Junction Chamberlain Clan – a “baby’s first christmas” spoon. Thank you Chamberlains!!!

 

Hugo also received the most beautifully-knitted hat and sweater – complete with little sailboat buttons – from our friend Julie. Such a special gift! And it fits perfectly (which means it won’t fit for long)… 🙁

 

So…what else has been going on at The Heftis the last month?

Stéphane continues to concoct fabulous foods in the kitchen – pictured here with his latest batch of clementine jam.

 

Biscom (like gingerbread but ten times better), lemon cookies, jam, and homemade oatmeal bread.

 

Lots of jam sessions with Hugo.

 

We try and keep doing things we enjoy – here at the climbing gym.

 

Playing around at the gym.

 

Giving Hugo his first climbing lesson.

 

We dress Hugo up in cute outfits and take pictures of him while he’s passed out (this elf suit from Carrie!)

 

We do the same thing with Myra so she doesn’t feel left out.

 

Stéphane is still working hard at LifeFlight

 

On a scene call – beware black ice!

 

Hugo feels the love at Life Flight!

 

Myra and I are slowly starting to build up our running legs again after several months’ hiatus. Feels so good!!

We spend a lot of our time shoveling the never-ending driveway.

 

I mean, seriously, look at this driveway.

 

We dress Hugo up in cute outfits, take tons of pictures, and debate over who he looks like (I vote Stephane, for now).

More posing with The Little Bear.

 

Another storm. More shoveling.

 

More posing.

We bundle up and go on walks (soon, runs!)

 

And every morning when the sun rises and we find ourselves still in Maine, we realize how amazing our lives are, even if we aren’t where we want to be – yet. The wonderful friends we have made here, the sweet little cub we made here, and, yes, some fabulous memories too. Life is good. So Merry & Happy to you, from the Heftis!

Dec 14

Dodging Bullets

The heating oil is low.

It’s been snowing all morning and our steep, slick driveway, now hidden under five inches of powder, must be tamed by Wednesday or we will go without a heating oil refill ’til who knows when. Which means frequent trips to the gas station, filling five gallon jerry jugs with diesel and schlepping them home to heat Hurd House. Not great. Better than nothing but not an option we are stoked about.

It’s a good thing I am cold and itching for some exercise. I have been dying to move and sweat – to wake the next day to achy muscles and a feeling of accomplishment. Taking on the driveway with a shovel will be the perfect solution to my temperature and temperament. Hopefully when I have finished and Wednesday rolls around, we will be rewarded with a delivery of sweet sweet oil and a little peace of mind. That is, until the tank gets low again.

 

 

Biting off a little more than I could chew, Stéphane steps in and finishes the job – another Hefti tag-team mission accomplished!

Here’s hoping the snow stays away until after our oil delivery on Wednesday.

 

Dec 02

By the Numbers

Tomorrow Hugo will be two months old. I have no idea where these past sixty days have gone and what I have actually done during this time; they have zoomed by in slow motion. A friend of mine shared a “new mommy” saying that I find quite appropriate to our new life:

The days are long and the years are short.

The days are ridiculously long – particularly if Stéphane is on shift – but the weeks are just flying by. All day long I do nothing and everything, all at the same time. It is the most important nothing and everything I have ever done.

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Me and my little man.

 

We celebrated Hugo’s first Thanksgiving by going on a family hike / trespassing event. Bundling up The Little Bear in his warm, fleecy bear suit and telling Myra the magical words that make her life (“let’s go for a run!”), we headed out the door and bush-wacked up the thickly-forested hill in our backyard. We quickly crossed into no-man’s-land – not sure whose property we were on – but we didn’t quite care: who gets mad at a couple hiking with a newborn on Thanksgiving? You’d have to be the biggest douche in the world, really.

Up and up the hill we went, determined to find a view that let us see over and beyond the thick curtain of trees. And we did eventually get a peep of our Phillips Lake from above – after which we came across a hunter’s stand at which point we decided to evacuate the area.

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Happy Thanksgiving! Family selfie during family hike.

 

We are slowly collecting more “baby things”. Try as I might to keep our belongings to a minimum, we keep increasing our inventory of “Hugo stuff”. Each item does seem necessary though, like this newest addition: an Osprey (supporting our local Colorado businesses!) baby carrier (for extended hikes in the back-country). He’s a little small for it yet but we could not resist the half-off sale at Cadillac Mountain Sports!

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Returning to work has been challenging with a newborn in tow. It has taken Stéphane and I a month to figure out how I can best work and be a mommy. What I have learned, after many failed attempts, is that I cannot do both at the same time. Thank goodness for Stéphane’s work schedule and for his willingness to be super dad so I can devote a little time to my business!

 

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My attempt to multi-task as Mommy and Developer. A mega-fail.

 

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p.s. If you were wondering, The Magic Coffee Table is still in full effect.

 

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Behold the almighty cloth diaper: cotton rectangle of many uses (none of which include that of diaper-ain’t nobody got time for that).

This just in: all those bibs that you received, washed, and stored away in the back of the dresser because you thought they were for when Hugo was older and eating messy things like seafood (think Joe’s Crabshack)? Yeah, guess what? They are for when Hugo pukes up milk! Guess how many onesies have been changed due to milk puke? A lot. Guess I was out sick the day they went over that little gem. Yet another Mommy Memo missed.

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Note to self…Remember: the bib- it’s for milk, NOT seafood.

 

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Mighty Myra is endlessly patient with Hugo Bear.

 

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He loves his daddy.

Okay, let’s crunch some numbers:

1,609

The number of ounces of milk I have pumped to date. To put this into perspective, that’s 64 bottles of wine, 12.5 gallons of water, or 201 cups of coffee. The Girls are hanging tough and performing admirably.

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If you can’t tell by the copious rolls and double chin, Hugo is packing on the pounds, sucking down the milk like a champion.

168

The number of hours I have sat hooked up to the pump so far.

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It’s a love-hate relationship. Love because it allows me to give Hugo my breast milk. Hate because I have to use it in the first place and it determines my schedule, every 2-3 hours each day every day for the next six-to-twelve months (or however long I can take it).

5

The most number of consecutive hours Hugo has slept in one night so far – go Hugo!!

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He has the most beautiful eyelashes, just like his daddy.

4

Most miles run post-Hugo.

6

Times I have been peed on while changing Hugo’s diaper. I must have missed that Memo too. Have since learned a pee-protection technique that has been deployed successfully on the changing table.

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Cheers & Happy Holidays from The Heftis!

 

Nov 18

The First Month

Well, The Hefti Family has survived over a month. As I type, I hear Hugo Bear’s soft coughing/grunting noises coming from the crib. Which means he’ll be up soon. Which means a slapdash eeeeeep post – so here goes:

Top seven observations from our first month (because ten would take too long and I’m tired)

  1. When changing the diaper, make sure that you point the penis DOWN before closing the diaper. Otherwise you will get a wet baby, soaked onesie, and soiled crib sheets (thank you, YouTube, for helping us figure this one out).
  2. When baby starts to cry, insert pinky finger into mouth: you have now earned yourself an extra ten or fifteen minutes of quiet so you better find some breastmilk wherever you have it stored – in the breast, in the bottle.
  3. If you want to get anywhere on time, add at least an extra 30 minutes.
  4. Projectile pooping mid-diaper-change happens. Excellent hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes are crucial in minimizing the impact to the surrounding areas.
  5. Crying typically means: change me, feed me, pay attention to me, I’m gassy. Not sure about the order. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
  6. When out in public, you are a walking target for moms. Be prepared to answer the following questions: How old is he? What’s his name? And be prepared to smile and listen to the Mom Stories that ensue. It’s actually quite endearing if you have the patience and time (the former I am learning, the latter I have nothing but these days).
  7. Laundry… << insert something witty and clever about doing laundry every day because your newborn poops and pees and pukes. The sleep-deprived brain is shutting down… >>
  8. You have no time for yourself, not a second. You are crazy busy all day but then at the end of the day you wonder what the hell you did all day…Rinse and repeat…

 

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Hugo is growing like a champ! His last weigh-in was 10.5 pounds! (and yes, we like patterns in the Hefti Household).

 

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Mom and dad came out to visit and got to meet their first grandchild!! Taking one for the team, mom put up with the airport ridiculousness (this is huge for those of you that know her) in order to meet Hugo. True love right there, people.

 

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Getting out for a run on a beautiful Fall day.

 

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Myra photo-bombs like a pro.

 

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Trying out the baby-carrier. We love the Boba Wrap but this little carrier is much easier to use – slide the baby in and you’re done.

 

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Hugo is not a particular fan of the carseat (I think it’s because he has to be strapped down) but once the truck is moving, it’s nighty-night for the little man.

 

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We have had the most amazing outpouring of support from our Life Flight girls – Veronica, Nicole, and Kathy. Not only have they shown me some advanced holding techniques (not to mention the invaluable move: the “butt tap”) they have been so kind to stop by and give me a few breaks here and there, as well as a little company. Love my Life Flight girls!!!

 

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Mommy multi-task: chilling with Hugo Bear while getting a little work done. It usually doesn’t last for long though – Hugo requires movement if he’s in the carrier – standing still will simply not do!

 

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Shopping for books at The Briar Patch – thank you Dave & Elaine Blue for the books! We bought the first five Beatrix Potter books!!!

 

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Checking out a new trail.

 

And as the cries have now moved up a level from minor to premium, it is time to attend to the my little schnacki (that’s snail in German). Here’s to another month!

Oct 18

The Magic Coffee Table

He has many names:

The Curve-Breaker (coined by our group because he is so amazing at pretty much everything)

AirWolf (remember that 80s high-tech helicopter show?)

Bug

 

And in the last two weeks, a new one has emerged:

The Magic Coffee Table

 

Yes, you read right. The Magic Coffee Table. Just check out this short video and you will start to understand why:

The Magic Coffee Table

 

Having lost three times the normal amount of blood during delivery along with the typical wears and tears (literally; ouch) that occur with a natural birth, I was pretty wrecked and exhausted once Hugo joined us. The second we arrived home to Hurd House, the day after Hugo was born, Stéphane was in instant caretaker mode.

Knowing how I hate clutter, he is in a constant buzz around the house: folding baby blankets, re-arranging pillows that had been tossed to the floor after failed breastfeeding attempts, and washing Hugo’s pee-stained onesies (we’ve since figured out the penis has to be pointed DOWN before closing the diaper; the pile of pee-stained onesies has greatly diminished since this breakthrough).

 

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Chef Hefti working on his latest bread masterpiece.

 

Stéphane zooms around the house in constant work mode: sweeping up the never-ending piles of Myra’s hair, baking amazing oatmeal and walnut breads, making homemade yogurts, and cooking up fabulously tasty, nutritious meals. Washing clothes, dishes, floors, and butts (Hugo’s thankfully, not mine); caring for Hugo so I can catch up on sleep and get my strength back.

 

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Some of Stéphane’s bread experiments – the middle one is a pain d’épi – you can pull apart each section and it is made to look like a stalk of wheat.

 

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Another of Stéphane’s fabulous bread creations. It would have been really nice with a glass of the Chianti too, except we are still in Parenting 101: Survival Mode. The alcohol/parenting combo just seems way out of our league at the moment.

 

The second he learned that the proper position for breastfeeding is 90 / 90 (ninety degrees at the knees and then again at the back – straight posture), Stéphane disappeared down to the garage. The whirring of drills and other such tools ensued and a short time later he emerged with a stool – topped with a scrap of carpet – for my feet: to help me attain the 90 degree knee bend while sitting in the La-Z Boy chair (my legs being too short otherwise).

 

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The La-Z Boy chair + stool ready for action.

 

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Homemade mixed berry yogurt, homemade oatmeal bread, and some fabulous eggs. SUNNY SIDE UP – finally get to eat runny yolk again (yum!)

 

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Yet another amazing meal – roast in a red wine sauce with brussel sprouts and homemade bread.

 

Waking up for the fifth time that night for my hourly pumping, I entered the living room which had been transformed into a calming environment: la-z boy chair prepped with boppy pillow and supporting pillows, fire going, mellow music playing softly in the background. Lactation tea in a mug next to my pump, and a zip-lock baggy holding buttered, homemade oatmeal bread as a snack and delivering a special message: I Love You! You may think “cheesy”, but let me tell you, when your body is torn up and exhausted along with your emotions and you are trying to figure out how to take care of an actual human being that you grew; throw in a little sleep-deprivation and hunger and make it 3am:  tell me THEN how amazing that zip-lock baggy and its message becomes. It’s all about perspective. And it’s looking pretty fabulous from mine.

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Ziplock baggy delivering food for the body (consumed immediately) and a little for the heart 😉

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Hard-boiled eggs and homegrown tomatoes (courtesy of Dave Burr – thank you very much sir!!)

 

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A list of foods that reduce milk production. Always looking out for me.

 

So yes, this post is super braggadocious on my part but I am just so proud of Stéphane; proud to call him mine and proud of the amazing husband and father that he is. The Hefti Clan of Maine, now numbering three, is hanging tough and figuring it out.

 

Some more pics of our sweet little Hugo:

 

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Hugo’s first bath!

 

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Hugo sleeping (he sleeps a lot – they tell me this is normal for a newborn).

 

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Testing out the Boba Wrap. It’s hands-free except I don’t want to take my hands off him!

 

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Posing with the little man; fall colors / Phillips Lake in the background.

 

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More posing with Hugo.

 

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Our new little family.

 

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So, I was thinking that all I needed to lug Hugo around was a Boba Wrap. We were given a hand-me-down stroller for when Hugo is bigger but didn’t think we needed a stroller for newborn. WELL, let me tell you, getting this one was a game-changer. It is a jogger (for when Hugo is bigger) and we can click Hugo’s car seat into it and GO. This stroller thing – what a fabulous invention! BIG shout-out to Ma and Pa Stew for the gift of this jogging stroller – we are calling it the StewMobile 😉

 

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And one more of Hugo Bear.

Oct 15

Hugo

So very much more to say on this topic but at the moment I have the use of just one arm – the other is engaged in infinitely more important business: holding our son.

So to be brief: Hugo Jürg Hefti joined Stéphane and I Monday morning, October third at 11:46. I was able to have the natural, non-medicated birth we were hoping for (ouch) and after an hour and a half in the birthing tub and fifteen minutes on the birthing stool, Baby Cub is here.

Stéphane caught and placed Baby Cub on my chest, face down. We were so excited that BC was here that we didn’t even think about the gender until one of the nurses asked! We then flipped him over and…

Version 2

Baby Cub is a boy!

 

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Welcome to the world, little Hugo.

 

 

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Love at first sight.

 

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Lots of sleeping going on.

 

 

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Proud papa.

 

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Our little man.

 

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Mom, dad, and Hugo Bear are happy and healthy. Mom and dad are sleep-deprived but Hugo is getting tons of food and sleep and that’s what matters.

 

Lots more photos and stories to come.

 

Sep 28

Paul

During our sailing adventure, Stéphane and I had the pleasure of spending time with Paul Denton, fellow sailor and adventurer extraordinaire. We met Paul in the Bahamas and buddy-boated with him and a few others – island-hopping around the Exumas, sharing meals and stories on each others’ boats at night; bonding and enjoying life together in a way so very different from how it is done on land in the M-F 9-5 Life.

 

He was a quiet man but once engaged on a topic, witty and generous with stories of his time sailing and exploring the world. He was encouraging of and so very inspiring to Stéphane and I.

 

Monday night Paul took his life.

 

His last note to friends spoke of his unbearable struggle with depression and loneliness. I would not ever have guessed he possessed these inner demons. We had no clue.

 

And so, dear Paul, fair winds and following seas, friend.

 

Be at peace now.

 

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Paul, Phyllis, me, Stéphane, & Bill. Farmer’s Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.

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Planning the next day’s sailing route and getting some advice from the pros.

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