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.

img_1122

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.

img_1108

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!

img_1164

 

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!

 

img_1130

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

 

img_1115

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

 

img_0632

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.

img_1145

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

 

img_1157

Mighty Myra is endlessly patient with Hugo Bear.

 

img_1174

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.

img_1147

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.

img_1180

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!!

img_1124

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.

img_1113

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…

 

img_1443-2

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

 

img_1330

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.

 

dsc_0226

Getting out for a run on a beautiful Fall day.

 

dsc_0223

Myra photo-bombs like a pro.

 

dsc_0210

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.

 

img_1447

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.

 

img_1316

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!!!

 

dsc_0213

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!

 

img_1462

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

 

img_1468

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).

 

img_0843

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.

 

img_1276

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.

 

img_1296

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).

 

img_0797

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

 

img_0847

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

 

img_1270

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.

img_0806

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

img_0856

 

img_1234

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

 

img_0793

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:

 

dsc_0160

Hugo’s first bath!

 

img_0848

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

 

dsc_0195

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

 

dsc_0172

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

 

dsc_0194

More posing with Hugo.

 

dsc_0181

Our new little family.

 

dsc_0203

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 😉

 

img_0842

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!

 

img_0750

Welcome to the world, little Hugo.

 

 

dsc_0099

Love at first sight.

 

img_0755

Lots of sleeping going on.

 

 

img_0761

Proud papa.

 

dsc_0111

Our little man.

 

img_0782

 

fullsizeoutput_bbc

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.

 

Image 17

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

Image 18

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

Sep 14

“The Barbeque”

“Don’t forget we have Lorry and Kevin’s barbeque next week!” says Stéphane.

It was the fifth reminder in as many days; if I was perceptive or even slightly suspicious, I would have thought something was up.

DSC_0866

Well, something WAS up: a super secret baby shower was up, that’s what.

DSC_0868

Given by the fabulous, generous, sweet-hearted ladies of Life Flight of Maine: Kathy, Nicole, Veronica, Lorry, Kim, Missy, Jodie.

I was completely blown away by the kindness of these women who really don’t even know me. Onesies were bestowed, a stroller and Boppy pillow revealed themselves under lovingly wrapped paper, and even the long-sought-after Boba (baby-wearing wrap) made its appearance. All of these items started showing up as “fulfilled” on our gift registry over the last few weeks – which was puzzling because my Michigan baby shower had come and gone. Little did I know that the Life Flight Ladies, led by Kathy, were gearing up for Round Two.

DSC_0865

 

Well, “the barbecue” was a complete success and such a special evening. It’s a pretty powerful thing to know that you have a community of people behind you, rooting you on and looking out for you. Until the evening of “the barbecue”, such a community did not exist for us in Maine but just. like. that….how things change.

 

Thank you Life Flight Family!

 

 

Sep 09

Climbing For Two

We’d been working so much lately it was like I’d won the lottery when Stéphane presented me with a gift borrowed for the weekend: a full-body climbing harness! I’d outgrown my regular climbing harness a few months back so had given up on the idea of climbing until after Baby Cub arrived. However, a full-body harness is a game changer! Definitely able to climb safely and comfortably in one of these babies! A big thanks to Jon Tierney for loaning me the harness!!

DSC_0838

Setting up at the base of my favorite route at Eagle’s Bluff.

DSC_0844

Myra’s super happy to be out and about again too! So many squirrels to chase!

 

DSC_0847

When you have lost the ability to bend over, you have to create new techniques for very basic things, like putting on shoes and trying them. Patience and the ability to laugh at oneself goes a long way too.

 

DSC_0842

Stéphane gearing up for the climb.

 

DSC_0852

Twenty extra pounds and a very round belly out front makes for some interesting climbing.

 

DSC_0854

So many noises in the forest!

img_0933

The next day at Park’s Pond, we met Matthias, a photographer who was there to take photographs of climbers for a new book on the area’s local climbs. Thank you, Matthias, for sharing your great shots!

 

img_0932

Go bug!

 

img_0934

My superman.

 

img_0930

My turn! Climbing at 34 weeks – for me – happens at a very slow and methodical pace. Slow because I get winded pretty quickly moving the extra weight up the wall; methodical because with each movement you want to make sure the bump is protected. My signature belly flop move no longer flies these days.

 

img_0935

Taking a breather. Feeling the extra weight.

 

img_0931

Honing the peek-a-boo skills.

 

IMG_0843

A fabulous weekend of mellow and very safe climbing. Fall will be here soon…and so will Baby Cub!

Aug 27

Home Again

Note to self:

When going on a road trip to Michigan from Maine, knowing that the route will go through Canada, please remember to bring your passport with you next time.

Because we all know that the very best part of a road trip is the beginning: the excitement of leaving home, cooler packed with spritzers and snacks for the road, podcasts downloaded and ready to be listened to, the road opening up before you, the anticipation of the upcoming days off. The middle and end parts of the road trip you tend to find yourself “in the driving zone” (middle) and then “ready to be done” (end). But the beginning? That’s magic. And nothing kills the magic faster than having to turn around and go home an hour into the trip. You get ONE shot to set the proper road trip vibe – it is a precious moment that fades all too quickly into the monotonous grind that it actually is. And I ruined it by forgetting my passport. Son of a….!!

After a grueling twenty hours on the road, we made it to Exit 222 – St. Helen, Michigan – the cottage!

IMG_0604

Euchre on the deck at the cottage. All Or Nothing!!!!

We were only able to spend a day and a half up at the cottage with Pete and Ryan, but we had a fabulous time nonetheless.

DSC_0807

Soaking up the sun on the new pontoon boat! What an upgrade from The Green Machine!

DSC_0800

Ryan set up a special chair just for Myra.

 

DSC_0796

She really loved that camp chair.

IMG_0796

So the cottage has definitely seen better days but thankfully it will be getting a face lift this year thanks to mom and dad! I have decided that I should begin the demo early. Because I watch HGTV and am therefore qualified to swing a heavy hammer at walls and such.

 

DSC_0832

Heading south to St. Clair Shores for the final few days of our trip, Mom and Grandma threw us a wonderful Baby Cub Shower!

 

DSC_0831

Thank you for the super cute cake, Aunt Chris! (We still do not know if Baby Cub will be a boy or a girl. According to The Cake Oracle, we are having a girl…something to it?)

 

DSC_0835

Aunt Shelley made this fabulous fruit art arrangement. Too pretty to eat! Thank you Aunt Shelley!!

 

DSC_0834

A wonderful afternoon filled with talking, laughter, generosity, smiles, sweetness, and love. I am so blessed to have such amazing women in my life. I only wish I could spend more of my life with them.

DSC_0828

The trip home would not be complete without eating some kind of yummy grilled food. This time around – chicken burgers (which I am now obsessed with). You can put so many different things in them – dried cherries, nuts, cheese, etc. soooooo good.

It was a whirlwind of a trip home, as usual, but, as always, so worth it. While we aren’t in love with Maine, it is nice to be a day’s (albeit long) drive from home. Because it’s always good to be home again.

A big huge special thanks to Grams and Mom for throwing me the bestest shower for Baby Cub! Love you both so much!!!

Aug 27

Up in the Clouds

Life Flight of Maine is an IFR program. IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules (versus VFR, Visual Flight Rules). IFR means you can fly in the clouds with zero visibility. You use only your instruments to guide you (instead of looking outside). So, instead of looking out the window and seeing that you are X number of feet in the air and that X mountain is off to your left or X building to your right, you rely on technology alone to get you where you need to go.

In order to do this, you have to be flying the right helicopter (not all helis have the stuff you need to fly IFR), and you need to have nerves of steel.

Here’s a video of Stéphane getting a little IFR practice flight in. The flight nurses tag along (in case they get a call while they are out flying) and one of them took a little footage of the trip.

 

 

Jul 30

Bugs

Summer has arrived: the time that we were told was so beautiful and perfect; the season that made the windy, bone-chilling, gray winters and rainy, muddy springs all worth it. It’s the time of blue skies, fresh lobster, outdoor concerts on the river, increased road traffic from tourists, ninety degree, 100% humidity days, and…

… bugs.

 

IMG_0650

Picking wild raspberries in the front yard (long sleeves help a little with the bugs).

 

As I sit on the deck, reclined in one of our red plastic Adironack chairs, swatting at horseflies and batting away gnats and mosquitoes, I wonder if Maine summers live up to the hype and if they truly tip the scales, making it  worth living here the rest of the year. While it was another hot and humid day, at least the evenings bring some relief from the heat, if not from the relentless irritation of bugs.

 

IMG_0655

A big enough raspberry harvest for Stephane to make some jam! (Note the long sleeves).

 

I am fairly certain that Maine has the largest collection of the most irritating, obnoxious bugs around. They bite your skin whether exposed or covered, swarm in your ears, launch themselves at your face, crawl up your legs if you dare to shed your flip-flops, and make it pretty unbearable to be in the great outdoors.

 

IMG_0654

Eschewing all chemicals these days, my form of bug spray is my flailing arms and long-sleeves.

 

Basically, bugs abound in Maine. And they come out to play hardball in the summer. And they don’t play nice. It’s ironic in a sick sort of way, our little nickname for each other (bug). Little did we know when we first coined our pet name that the word would take on new and irritating connotations in Maine.

 

In other more upbeat news, mom and dad came out to visit! Among other things, we burned pork in the fire pit and played lots of euchre (girls got crushed by the boys and Stephane’s Swiss Shuffle – he flipped a bower AND had a loner pretty much every time).

 

IMG_0591

Pretending we’re Daniel circa 1996 when he blew up the chimanea.

 

IMG_0566

Played tourists for the day at Acadia National Park. Posing at the top of Cadillac Mountain.

 

IMG_0574

Awesome lunch in Bar Harbor, watching the boats sail by.

 

IMG_0583

Me & Dad.

 

IMG_0549

Dad playing around on the rocks near Otter Cliff, overlooking the ocean.

 

IMG_0550

Pretending he’s falling over the edge (because mom’s saying, “don’t mess around! You’ll fall over the edge!!”)

 

IMG_0572

Mom & Dad.

 

IMG_0594

Euchre intermission: a diaper tutorial using Baby Cub (who fits perfectly in a newborn-sized diaper, I might add).

 

So we’ll see what August brings – perhaps all the bugs drop dead, the temps drop to the seventies, and the humidity lightens – perhaps AUGUST is what everyone was talking about.

 

Perhaps…

 

IMG_0648

Cheers from Maine! Here’s to August!

Jul 22

Goodbye, Great White Buffalo

Today marks the end of The Great White Buffalo era- a small era in the scheme of the Hefti timeline, but a pretty epic one nonetheless. The Great White Buffalo was our first land home after returning from our sailing adventure and today we send her on to her next owner with relief, a little sadness, and lots of nostalgia.

 

In a similar fashion to island-hopping on Free Range, we roamed around The West in The Buffalo: pulling out a map, pointing to a destination that looked interesting, and checking it out.

 

Just like on Free Range, after learning all of the systems we settled into a steady rhythm: each of us with our tasks, coordinating with the other in preparation for departure, settling into a new camp spot, dumping the holding tank, or squeezing into/out of a tight spot on the road.

 

Life on The Great White Buffalo was perfectly simple: a couple of pots and pans, a french press for coffee, a few clothes, internet for work, and a quiet, scenic spot to set up camp. Our household was in complete and perfect order when the following items were achieved: a fridge packed with foods for salads and breakfast sandwiches, a bottle or two of red stuck in between the cushions of the fold-out couch (the absolute best spot to store wine when en route), full water and propane tanks, an empty holding tank; gasoline for the generator, and a full tank of diesel for the truck; Myra in the backseat, me in shotgun, and Stéphane at the wheel.

 

It doesn’t get much better than that, let me tell you.

 

GWB_photoCollage

Thanks for the adventures, Great White Buffalo!

Jul 21

The Lobster Bucket List

After Matthieu and Christelle departed for the rest of their Babymoon in Canada, it was time to prep for Sarah & Brian’s visit. The Newmans came to us with a very specific goal in mind: feed Sarah lobster at every meal and thus fulfill one of her bucket list items (eat lobster in Maine).

IMG_0477

Prepping for The Newmans’ visit: scoping out a sweet little spot to eat lobster. Picnic benches adorned with cheery red umbrellas line the pier, it’s BYOB, and the lobster doesn’t get much fresher than this.

IMG_0481

Welcome to The Lobster Shack.

IMG_0472

The lobster shack: you could get lobster or mussels or mussels or lobster. The kitchen inside the little shack consisted of a stove upon which sat a large pot of boiling water. That’s it. Throw in the lobster, throw in the mussels, wait a few minutes, and voila, you have one pricey meal.

IMG_0487

Simple but perfect – customers bring the booze, owners provide the seafood. A brilliant business plan.

IMG_0479

Posing with the lobsters.

IMG_0495

Scoping out another spot for Sarah to fulfill her lobster dream: McLaughlin’s on the Penobscot River. A fun little spot (and you can order stuff other than lobster, like lobster mac ‘n’ cheese!).

 

Brian and Sarah arrive and bring with them the rain and cooler temps – which was actually a nice change of pace from the 90 degrees / 100% humidity days we’d been sweating through.

IMG_0497

Sarah posing with her Maine lobster (Lobster Meal #1). I have to point out that this girl knows how to eat lobster. Not one piece of lobster meat is wasted when this girl is through with her work. It is quite a thing to behold, Sarah vs. Lobster.

 

IMG_0516

Heli show and tell.

IMG_0515

So many buttons!

IMG_0501

Lobster Meal #….not sure, lost count. Stephane decided to order one too. His normal-sized one-pounder looked like a little shrimp next to Sarah’s monster (“It’s not the size that matters”, he says 😉

IMG_0502

Working off the lobster on the Beehive Trail @ Acadia National Park.

 

IMG_0500

A rare occurrence in Maine: a view! The trick is, you just have to get up out of the trees – not as easy as it sounds.

 

We put Sarah and Brian on a plane and they literally flew off with the rain. It poured down their entire visit but none of us really minded – we were happy to watch Sarah perform surgery on her many lobsters, play euchre, and drink (everyone else) / smell (me) beers. Good times with the Newmans!!

image

 

 

Jun 28

Hurd House

Home #2 in Maine we are calling Hurd House (because it’s on Hurd Point Road).

And we are all moved in.

The effort involved was about 75% cleaning to 25% moving stuff in (because the house was really dirty and, thank goodness, we are still keeping the “stuff” to a minimum so there wasn’t too much to move in).

IMG_0456

Hurd House!

Hurd House has got a few things going for it:

  1. It’s up on a hill OUT OF THE TREES! We get an amazing amount of natural sunlight. It’s fabulous.
  2. It’s still on Phillips Lake.
  3. It’s got a wild, fun yard filled with rose bushes, random plants, grape vines, fruit trees, a firepit, and several garden beds.
  4. The neighborhood seems nice and friendly so far. It is quiet at night and the fireflies come out to play once the sun goes away.
  5. Cell reception – we are out of the Dead Zone that is 6 Potters Drive. Literally every time I made or received a call at Potter’s, it was a 100% given that the call would be dropped at some point. Even with all of the man hours Stephane put in to trying to fix it – microcell, countless hours on the phone with AT&T, trouble-shooting – it never worked as it should. At Hurd House, the bars on the phone are many.

 

IMG_0454

Looking up towards Hurd House. Lots of vegetation going on.

 

IMG_0450

Garden beds – cleaned and prepped by Stephane.

 

IMG_0441

Myra loves yard work.

 

The only thing that Hurd House does not have going for it is its steep driveway (which wouldn’t be necessary if it wasn’t sitting on a hill, which we love so…catch-22, there you go). This will prove treacherous in the winter AND may cause issues if the oil company cannot make it up the incline to deliver our heating oil. And it will be pricey to keep plowed if we get a lot of snow.

The winter is definitely going to be interesting…

 

mailbox2

Hurd House was missing a mailbox. Stephane bought one and installed it like this. How cool is that? It is one of my most favorite things ever.

 

mailbox1

He even made sure it was regulation height (which, in case you were wondering, is between 36 and 48 inches).

 

firepit

The oven was left in a ridiculously disgusting state by the previous tenants. So there will be no using of the oven until it has been cleaned at least five times. And then maybe a few more. Because that’s just gross. This left us with an excellent opportunity to test out the firepit – warming up our two-day old pizza!

 

Here’s to Hurd House! May we be able to stay here until the time is right to head back West.

Older posts «