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February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

I’m not so good at holidays.

I come from a long line of Hallmark-skeptics. When I was little I pleaded with my mom to buy my sister and me chocolate hearts for Valentines Day. (Specifically, the puffy, marshmallow- and creme-filled hearts from Sweet Dreams candy store on College Ave, where I was a regular lurker, gawking at the candy-filled jars for twenty minutes before laying my 43 cents on the counter for all the jelly bellies I could get). My mom complied with my instructions, hiding the pretty foil-wrapped hearts in the linen closet, where they melted onto our towels or got lost by February 14th. Eventually we all gave up.

And as much as I’m wired towards skepticism, it’s hard to knock a holiday about expressing love.

Thankfully Col and Rose are such good little love-repositories.

When my hands drift to Rose’s full-moon belly for a rub, she pulls up her shirt obligingly and then turns around and instructs, “and now my butt.”

And every night after singing Col his bedtime lullaby, the vast lonely nighttime tugs a full motherly confessional from me. “I’m so proud to be your Mama,” I whisper over the buzz of the humidifier. “It’s best thing I’ve ever done,” I pledge. “I know, Mama. You’re the best Mama ever,” his sleepy voice squeaks out, reading from the script of Quotations of Notable Sons.

Because I regularly smother the kids with affection, and I gave Dan chocolates from our favorite local chocolatier (which he insisted on sharing with me, because he was going to get me the exact same thing. How romantic!) my Valentine today is for you.

Thank you to all of you who sneak a moment to come here between breakfast dishes and rerouting toddlers from the recycling bin. Thanks to those of you who read this while pumping breastmilk at work, or at the end of the day when the family finally exhales a collective, sleep-filled sigh. Thanks to those with grown kids or grandkids or no kids. Thank you for sharing your stories, for making me laugh, for encouraging me, and for correcting my spelling and vocabulary blunders.

Turns out yesterday was national blog de-lurking day. And I’m a little shy about asking, but, if you read 6512 and growing and haven’t said hi yet, would you consider it today? (how’s that for an effective request? Straight out of the 7 Habits of Highly Anxious People.)

Tell me about yourself (lurkers and regular commenters alike). Where are you from? What do you like about your place? How are you celebrating Valentines Day?

54 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 7:15 am

    Hi :)
    An occasion for a handmade card is never lost on us! (though we still have to make them… eek…)

  2. February 14, 2011 8:25 am

    Hi Rachel! ‘National Blog De-Lurking Day’?! I love that! I found your blog via the lovely Pixie Campbell and thoroughly enjoy the honesty and humanity you bring to your tales of parenting. I have passed on your writing to mamas I know! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours…. may spring be closely following!

  3. February 14, 2011 8:33 am


    I’m from Indiana, recently moved to the capitol, Indianapolis. I like Indiana alright, but it’s not where I want to grow old. I would love to grow old on a farm in Montana, raising chickens and goats and all kinds of other farm animals. :)

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and I just love it.

    And I used to be skeptical about Valentine’s Day too, but after falling in love, I found a whole new meaning for the day. Now I love an excuse to show people I love them!

  4. February 14, 2011 10:00 am

    Happy Valentine’s Rachel. I love Rose’s request for you to rub her butt too. Kids do say the darndest things don’t they? Love it! And who can say no to chocolates? Mmm… Enjoy your day.

  5. Sabra Lugthart permalink
    February 14, 2011 10:04 am


    I have been reading your blog since it was published. In the last eight months I have been a faithful reader. I often read your posts on my phone, in bed, as if they are some kind of bedtime story! Your posts make me miss living in Durango and every time I read one, I feel a little bit closer to the area. I really miss the snow, the mountains and general lifestyle. I live in Oakland, and I spent V-day at a remote beach North of Fort Bragg. The ocean was calm, weather warm, and waves great. Thanks for writing your wonderful blog!!

  6. February 14, 2011 10:08 am

    I live in Durango and love reading your blog. My daughter likes to have her armpits rubbed!?!

  7. February 14, 2011 10:08 am

    I love you and your blog. Please keep rubbing the computer keys.

  8. February 14, 2011 10:25 am

    i like that de-lurking idea. i don’t comment too, too often, but you *know* who i am. i used to live in that beautiful place that you call home and miss it dearly. we met many, many years ago. ;) i am now in the mountains of nc. lovely in it’s own right but my heart still sings for the west! happy love day.

  9. February 14, 2011 11:13 am

    Thought you might like to know that I usually read your blog first thing in the morning. Often before anyone else is awake, and before my eyes can even focus properly… I love starting my day with a little inspiration from your family! I’m not too good with holidays, either… but we’re going out for dinner and bowling as a family in honor of st. valentine (we don’t do “gifts!”)
    Lastly, I LOVE your description of sharing the love in your house. I secretly adore rubbing Cole’s little butt! And often spend the few minutes before he falls asleep trying to make up for all the times I yelled at him that day, or blew him off, by saying – “I love being your mom… thank you for letting me be your mom… having you is the best part of my life… etc…” Thanks for sharing, Rachel! Always, so authentic! :)

  10. February 14, 2011 11:32 am

    I’m thinking Rose has been around the wheel before…perhaps as a cat?!

    xo today to you and your sweet fam.

  11. ike permalink
    February 14, 2011 11:50 am

    Every day is like Valentines Day when we are with the four of you.
    With much gratitude.

  12. Molly permalink
    February 14, 2011 11:59 am

    My daughter likes her elbows tickled, after we’re done tickling her back. She made glitter glue on construction paper valentines for her classmates, which I augmented with heart shaped pieces of homemade pink playdough wrapped in wax paper envelopes sewn with pink thread. This was a quasi subliminal over the top defensive maneuver thing, as if it would ward off the chokable hard candy I feared she would receive. I’m pretty self conscious about it. Her daddy and I are celebrating by seeing Wailin Jennies in a couple of days. And I knitted a tiny little red cotton string heart for him, and sewed it to a piece of watercolor paper. Done.

  13. February 14, 2011 1:17 pm

    Oh we are butt rubbers over here too (which is SW Ontario, btw.) Valentines Day has always been one I’ve boycotted because I consider it a Hallmark holiday. But since having Isaac I try to do a little something. We don’t buy gifts for one another but talk about love, show our love and create with what we have. This equates to lots of baked cookies coated in sugary sprinkles, felt hearts, pancakes for breakfast, and just about anything else he wants.

    I love your space here, Rachel. I don’t always comment, but I often leave either in tears or in stitches. It’s one of my favourite places to visit. Thank you for being here. Sending you a little love today. xo <3

  14. Jessica permalink
    February 14, 2011 1:53 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    De-lurking per your request! I almost commented on the tonsil thread, as I have way too much experience with throat surgeries. But, I didn’t.
    I very much enjoy reading your blog; your style and attitudes and love. Thank you for sharing! I’m in So Cal and usually check your blog midday while at work.
    I’ll try to comment more!

  15. February 14, 2011 2:08 pm

    Hi there! New to reading your blog, but so far I <3 it. I'm trying to incorporate more creativity into my life, because I love to make stuff. I appreciate simplicity in the home and continue to try and get husband and kids on board. Sigh. But love to read and create! Hugs from Des Moines.

  16. Amy Mayfield permalink
    February 14, 2011 2:18 pm

    Since you asked so nicely, happy to de-lurk! :-)

    I think I found your blog through Natalie from Feeleez. We went to high school together in Santa Cruz a long time ago. Now I live in Corvallis, Oregon, where I edit magazine articles and raise two (soon to be three) kids.

    I really enjoy your writing!

  17. amy fry permalink
    February 14, 2011 2:32 pm

    Hi Rachel. Sorry I’ve been lurking, but I love your blog. You have the ability to make me cry and laugh all at the same time. You quite often give my feelings a voice. Thank you for that and for sharing your beautiful family and experiences. Love from Texas and the Fry family

  18. February 14, 2011 3:01 pm

    I’m not sure if I’ve said hello before, but I’m a regular reader of your blog. I love the choices you’ve made on how you live your life, which is why I keep coming back to you.
    I’m a city girl with a primitive spirit. My favorite place to be is out-of-doors whether it’s in the woods or on the water, and even though I live in Michigan, I’m a year-round tent camper and kayaker. My enthusiasm must be contagious because I see my d-i-l’s coming over to my way of adventuring – and they love it. I refuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a holiday, but I’m delighted to celebrate the love I have for my family every day.

  19. February 14, 2011 3:52 pm

    You nearly always make me laugh. We hail from Wyoming. We love the land, water, air and animals around here. We don’t love how tough it is to eek food from the ground, but we’re persistent.

    My man is gone this week and my chickadee is too small to bother with hearts, so today we’ll probably clean the house because it’s been…..well, a while. I’m trying to embrace Valentine’s day after many years of skepticism. My parents have been divorced since I was one and if you count backwards nine months from my birthday, you will land, precisely, on Valentine’s Day. So.

  20. Melissa permalink
    February 14, 2011 5:08 pm

    You and Nici both made me cry today–what is going on??

    Happy Valentine’s Day . . . Lilit helped me tour a preschool for Avi (not far from our new digs) first thing this morning and I plan on whisking the 3 of us to the bakery to properly indulge after we pick him up from school–I am too mired in moving to bake today (:

    Leeor will not be neglected; I picked up a special bubble bath from the natural foods store yesterday–it’s “rose petals” that melt in the tub–is this an overshare?–but I think we’ll both like it.

    We (your readers) should be thanking you for your inspiring, generous, heartfelt words!

  21. February 14, 2011 5:15 pm

    I love your blog because it is so genuine (and I love Durango and the mountains) and I like learning about growing food.

    I’m from Norman, OK and a mama to a 19 month old and currently growing another due on Sept. 1.

    We live in a neat university town that we love for its festivals, music, and tribe like neighborhood vibe.

  22. Judy permalink
    February 14, 2011 5:20 pm

    Sometimes I forget to check 6512, and when I realize it, what a treat! It always picks me up!

    Love to all of you,

    Nana Judy & Grandpa Starks

    P.S. We’re having a special V-day dinner at home – where our hearts are when they’re not in CO, AZ, NV & AK!

  23. Barbara permalink
    February 14, 2011 5:39 pm

    Hi Rachel, I made a comment recently about the tonsils but I have been reading your blog daily for 4 or 5 months. I love hearing all your stories. I live in dayton, Ohio but I am originally from Toronto, Canada. We started the day with small treats for the kiddos and then my son Saba (5 almost 6)went off to school and Jenin (3 1/2) and her dad went to the library while I went off to work for the morning. The kids wanted to surprise their dad with a cake so we picked one up after art class and they are patiently awaiting his return home from work. Thanks for writing your blog – I enjoy hearing about all of your adventures. Enjoy the rest of your Valentine’s day!

  24. Ruth permalink
    February 14, 2011 6:37 pm

    …Another lurker from the Bay Area de-lurking just for today…

    This is Ruth, from elementary school, who was your friend until I joined some girls at recess who teased you.

    And when I googled you this year to apologize, I found your wonderful blog, which I love to read.

    My favorite candy at Sweet Dreams (oops, I almost wrote Sweat Dreams) on College Ave was the jawbreakers.

    As a grownup, although I still crave sweets, I no longer crave jawbreakers!

    For Valentine’s Day, I have one cat on my lap, another cat staring at the cat on my lap, and a book to read.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  25. February 14, 2011 7:00 pm

    Love your blog, found it on Consciously Frugal’s blogroll. Hope you have a happy holiday!

  26. Ruth permalink
    February 14, 2011 7:01 pm

    Ah, now that I have de-lurked, I am going all out and posting twice. I checked out the link to the chocolates and wow! So I just ordered some (still believing for now that I will share them with the office…).

  27. February 14, 2011 7:15 pm

    Two titles I’d love to own:

    Quotations of Notable Sons
    7 Habits of Highly Anxious People

    National blog de-lurking day! Love it. Happy Valentine’s Day from a person who didn’t care much about it and is currently gushing and wearing a strapless pink dress and a red sweater as I sit in my living room with my dog and a martini.


  28. February 14, 2011 7:21 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    I have to agree with Col – I honestly do think that you are the best mama ever.

    And I think all holidays are so much better when you have children to share them with.

    This morning, as I was getting ready for work, my girls were both alternating kisses and love slaps on my (bare) bottom! That’s the best thing about kids – they don’t yet know what adults have gone and ruined and coined “inappropriate”.

    Much love to you and yours.

  29. February 14, 2011 9:53 pm

    Ok. Can I de-lurk even if I’ve delurkified myself before? It’s just that you asked so endearingly… :)
    I came by your blog via a comment you made on a blog written by someone I met when we traded strollers without ever having met previously. That makes sense, no? (I’ll give you a hint: Mamanongrata).
    I was a confirmed Valentine humbug, until this year, when it was kind of fun making cards for my son’s class. We spent the evening fretting about the Papa’s eye, because the giant heart shaped balloon he was blowing up for the kids popped and whacked him right in the eye. And then I burned the nachos, but we ate them anyway. And they all lived romantically ever after.
    P.S. I’m not from Thunder Bay, but I live here. I love the big huge lake on my doorstep, the frigid winters, and the way a summer day can be a whole eternity, while a winter day is always pretty short.

  30. Mamie Joyce permalink
    February 14, 2011 10:11 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    I’ve come to your blog by way of your columns in the Durango Herald and enjoy EVERYTHING you write about. I’ve known you for almost 11 years when I met you at Ro-bear and Lisa’s wedding. You & Dan were meant for each other and Col and Rosie reflect you two so perfectly.
    I’m spending Valentine’s day in Dallas with my daughter, son-in-law, their 1-1/2 yr old daughter and 5-day old son. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate!
    Happy Valentine’s day to all 4 of you!
    Oh! where I’m from? Buffalo, NY & Montreal, Canada and the magic of computers allows me the pleasure of reading your blog wherever I am – always a treat!

  31. February 14, 2011 11:08 pm

    I don’t really lurk here, but I don’t always post a comment either. I love, love, love visiting here from the Biggest Little City. My daughter and I were just discussing how much we love having a river run through the middle of our city.

    For Valentine’s Day, we celebrate our daughter’s birthday. She turned six today! I can hardly believe how tiny and how grown she seems at the same time. (I think the same thing every year.)

  32. February 15, 2011 1:10 am

    hi, I’ve commented before, but maybe not for a while. I recently directed a few friends to your site; they are planning the leap into the world of backyard chickens, but not sure if they’ve stopped by to meet yours yet, via Internet, of course. for valentines day today, my husband and I shared a bottle of bubbly while cuddling on the couch watching The Bachelor after the kids had gone to bed. who says romance is dead?!

  33. February 15, 2011 1:14 am

    oh, and I’m from the Denver/boulder suburban sprawl, smack dab between the two. this summer will be my second attempt at backyard farming. you are an inspiration. I learned a lot about what NOT to do with my virgin harvest last year. I’m looking forward to your gardening related posts.

  34. February 15, 2011 1:38 am

    Not much of a lurker, but a lover of your blog! Found you via digthischick!

    I am from both the Colorado Rockies, where I was a child, and northern California, where I grew to adulthood, married, and birthed 3 children. The girl one of those is living now in Guerneville, in Sonoma county, working as a barista in the same coffee shop I worked in as a barista when I married her dad, almost 23 years ago. Circles and cycles…

    We now live in Grand Rapids, MI, me, the hubby, and our grandson. I love the Lake Michigan beaches! The most wonderful, fine white sand, the kind that squeaks when you tread barefoot to the water. Lovely water in which one can swim, really yummy cherries, and ginormous sand dunes to clamber up and RUN at breakneck speed back down.

    Today, my adored grandson and I went bowling (he won), played some air hockey while we were at the bowling alley (we tied), then went home and made sparkly fun pictures for Papa with pretty paper and glitter. Pad Thai for dinner, because Papa’s been saying he really missed Pad Thai, and both my boys got a wee smidgen of chocolate. Also, Connor ‘cooked’ lunch today! My 4 and 3/4 (today!) year old guy poured the pasta in the water, then stood on his stool, stirring and fully enjoying the steam. He’s fascinated with steam. It was a fabulous Valentine’s day date with the cutest boy I know.

  35. February 15, 2011 2:12 am

    Ha ha, that’s too funny about the butt! I’m north of Seattle. We didn’t do much for Valentine’s Day today – the kids and daddy made me some origami hearts, and I got them some spiritual books. We tried to make cookies but we got too late of a start, sot he dough is still in the fridge and we’ll have to make them tomorrow. I did salvage something and got a bag of chocolates at the store, so my daughter was happy. I had grand plans of doing more, but, you know, procrastination gets in the way so often.

    The one thing I’m proud of today was posting a bunch of photos on my blog of heart-shaped leaves and rocks I’ve found in nature over the years. Fun to look back and search through archives.

  36. jennifer permalink
    February 15, 2011 6:44 am

    Hi, I can’t remember how I stumbled across your blog a couple of weeks ago, but it is part of my regular morning now. I live in Minnesota and and realizing I’m not quite sure what to write about myself. Celebrated love last night with my 3 boys-hubby and 2 boys. Love your blog.

  37. Lilly's Mom permalink
    February 15, 2011 9:12 am

    I must confess I’ve been lurking your blog for a long time, at least a year now. (Though I am very behind on my reading right now on account of busy new job and my baby learning to walk!) I can’t recall exactly how I found it, but it was Durango related when we were having a series of slamming snow storms. I was *hooked* after reading the incredible stories of Col’s birth and subsequent years. We used to live in Durango , until August of last year, when we moved a little to the North to be closer to my parents after my brother died. I miss Durango terribly and in some way your blog and pictures are my life line to the town in which I stepped into myself. You inspire me to no end. I am in awe of your garden and the cool things that Dan makes. And your recipes! Oh man, they are good! I even want to have my own chickens because of you. I don’t lurk to be weird or creepy, its just that everyone has pretty much already said what I have to say by the time I get a chance to read your stuff. :)
    And just by the way, I for one am not grossed out at all by road kill or pictures of processing the deer/elk you get. I think its all pretty awesome.

  38. February 15, 2011 10:41 am

    Hello! Happy Valentine’s Day (a day late). Here in the middle of the Show Me State, we ate WAY to many iced cookies and asked our stuffed animals if they would like to be friends–a new and adorable activity that our little person has come up with.

  39. February 15, 2011 10:45 am

    Hi there, this one’s a re-de-lurk. I just finished reading all those comments above and gosh, it’s a whole community of valentines, mash notes, missives of love from the ether. Whatever you call them, they sure are nice–not only for you but as a way for us to turn sort of to one another metaphorically and say “hiya!…”

    I did absolutely nothing for Valentine’s Day, which does not make me feel sad perhaps because I live in the south of France, where V-day is not one of the biggies, although I read conjecture somewhere that it actually originated here way before Hallmark (insert raised eye-brow here).

    I like that I know the people around me in a way that would be far less likely in a city. I like that we live in the mountains, where chickens cluck, brooks babble, crickets chirp, swallows swoop…I also like that we’re not so isolated, that I do have an internet connection, because I wouldn’t want to miss out on reading you, a treat I fit in where I can, but usually when the house has gone shadowed and still.

  40. February 15, 2011 12:32 pm

    My husband made dinner for me. My kitchen will never be the same, but it was delicious! And I fully embrace all holidays that involve copious amounts of glitter and a butt rub or two.

    Hope you all had a Happy Heart Day!

  41. Becca permalink
    February 15, 2011 3:20 pm

    Hi there,
    I never comment, but your request made me overcome my e-shyness. I’m in Seattle, found you through Mama Om and read your blog among a few others just to remind me how many of us there are… Mamas working hard to bring love and gentleness to our little corners of the world. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family.

  42. February 15, 2011 3:25 pm

    I always comment, so why stop now? :P I adore this blog. I love your mad writing skills, think your kids are pretty nifty, and want you and your husband’s fabulous skills o’ self-sufficiency. I’m childless by nature’s mean default (me parts don’t work right!), but I love reading about your experience as a mother.

    This is a good corner of the interwebs. Makes the world a more beautiful place. <3

  43. February 15, 2011 3:35 pm

    I love your blog, your so honest with your posts and it gives me pleasant memories of raising mine..your stories are intriguing too and I’m loving the life you lead…

  44. February 15, 2011 8:34 pm

    Oh sheesh Rachel! You never cease to crack me up with your funny self! Chocolate and glitter, seriously, who can resist?! I’m happy you are here and take time of your daily re routing to let us in on the antics and loves of your life.


  45. February 15, 2011 11:07 pm

    Hi Rachael…I’m not a lurker, just a sporadic commenter…I think you first posted on bare foot notes a little over a year ago, leading me to your blog and these wonderful glimpses of your life. Yours is the blog that my husband asks me about…especially during hunting season! I love my visits to your world, always irreverant, inspiring, and authentic…thank you for taking the time to share with us!

  46. February 16, 2011 8:33 am

    Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! I know I’m a frequent flier with the run-on comments, so of course I wanted to say hello, since you asked! :) I actually did the flower/chocolate scramble in the 11th hour late Sunday afternoon (oy). Guilt ensues: I succumbed to the day after ogling the insane inclosure at our local mega-mart (offering a likely international tower of flowers and cheap chocolate hearts) and eating most of the spoils myself. (Not including the flowers). Did a groovy partners yoga class with my husband over the weekend (ok, I think it’s cool that he is actually into this) and I have to say that was the best part. Lots of sweet uncomfortable looking husbands got dragged to that one… :)

  47. February 16, 2011 8:52 am

    I’ve commented before but in the spirit of de-lurking, hello from our small sheep farm in Canada! We also enjoyed home made cards and delicious local chocolates this year. Love your blog!

  48. February 16, 2011 9:00 am

    I’m not sure if I have said hello before. But you came and said hello to me at Dreaming Aloud last week, which I appreciated very much. I love that blog de-lurking day, going to borrow it for mine, am always curious who floats over my pages!

    So hello from a grey, rainy (of course) south coast of rural Ireland, from the Pink House, with our first daffodils emerging from their winter slumbers. My kids are eating grapes on the sofa as I type.

    Will be in Rhythm of the Home spring edition… so see you here, or there, or my place sometime soon!

  49. Lillian permalink
    February 16, 2011 2:50 pm

    I’m jumping in late, but still wanted to say hi:) I think I’ve commented before, but now I can’t remember?? A friend sent me your way in just the past few weeks and I’m so glad she did – I have no idea how I’ve missed the links to you on other blogs I read! We’re in PA and moved back here 2 years ago to be back with family after a 3 year stint in Denver, so I’m a lover of any and all things Colorado and you blog helps with that a bit:)

  50. Heather permalink
    February 16, 2011 5:17 pm

    Delurking a few days late from Niwot, CO…. typing with one hand and holding my sleeping 3-month-old baby with the other. I like that this town has one stoplight and about one of everything we need. Enjoying your blog during baby naptimes!

  51. Kat permalink
    February 16, 2011 5:26 pm

    Hi, Rachel,

    I’m a long-time lurker, I came over here from Natalie’s blog.

    I’m from the North of Scotland.

    Before I go back to lurking, let me just say I enjoy your blog and often laugh out loud when reading. I like how you write about your children, with so much warmth and humour, and you capture what makes them unique.

    (That’s all I can say for now, because, you know, I’m a lurker and thus a private person.)

    Happy Blogging! :)


  52. Holly Fry permalink
    February 17, 2011 9:46 pm

    Hello! Sorry I’m a bit late on the de-lurking, but I had to join in on the fun. I might be your only reader who doesn’t have kids yet, but I love your blog! I discovered you through Soulemama, and was instantly hooked! My husband and I moved to Colorado about 7 months ago, so it’s even better now. Thanks!


  53. Chris Crayton permalink
    March 1, 2011 6:18 am

    Hey Rachel,

    I think I commented once, so i’m not a total lurker. Sounds like a ski town slam (that chick is a total lurker). Anyway, we LOVE your blog. Not many other people I know eat roadkill and butcher on their kitchen tables and give their small children knives, so it is always great to feel normal (by my definition, if anyone else does it, it becomes normal). Josh and I both keep up regularly, and really enjoy your writing. Keep on!

    Chris and Josh

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