THIS BLOG WAS BORN WHILE WE AWAITED THE ARRIVAL OF OUR BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL. IT HAS GROWN INTO A COLLECTION OF FAMILY MEMOIRS...

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Holy $#&%! We Just Got Married!


This past summer we took the kids to Montana for our annual summer visit. We visited the Madison County Courthouse in Virginia City where Dave and I were married in 1996, almost 18 years ago. (Sheesh! How did that happen??). As I recounted the tail of our nuptials for the kids I realized that it was a story worth sharing and documenting for the great grandkids. (Yes, I fully expect that the great grandkids will enjoy GG's blog!!).

Here's the story...

It was the summer of 1996. I was 20 and Dave was 26. We were planning to be married on the Madison River in Montana. We had planned an ultra groovy ceremony perfect for our river-side-dog- friendly-shoe-optional-locale. Our ceremony would be complete with bare feet, Enya, and an ivy covered trellis, hand made by Dave. It would be my dream wedding (and my husband-to-be conceded to my every whimsical desire. Thanks, Honey.). One detail that we both agreed upon was that we didn't want an officiator. We didn't feel the necessity for the state's permission in our unity. We agreed that we wanted to spend our lives together, and why did we need the blessing of the state to make it so? We felt that all we needed was our life long commitment to each other, the blessing of our families and a ceremony to be witnessed by our dearest friends and family. (Aside - Now, almost 20 years later, in light of the recent denial of marriage equality by so many states, I am proud to have foregone the blessing of the state in my own marriage.)

But back to June of '96 - So there we were planning our groovy ceremony, and we realized that even though we didn't want an officiator to be a part of our ceremony, we did want to come out of our "wedding" as legal husband and wife. We realized we would have to go to the Madison County Courthouse beforehand to get a marriage license, which we assumed was how you made a marriage legally binding. So about a week before our nuptials we made the 45 minute drive to Virginia City, adding to our "To Do in Town" list: file marriage license. We figured filing our marriage license would be as simple as getting a license for our dog: fill out an application, pay a fee, and file it with Bundy, the county clerk. You filed everything with Bundy in our tiny county: dog licenses, car registration, property tax, and, we figured, marriage licenses. So we arrived at the county clerk's window, wearing our usual errand running attire of the 90's: cut-off shorts and hiking boots and told Bundy we were there to get our marriage license. We explained to her that we were planning a groovy wedding ceremony, and we would't have an officiator, but that we wanted to be sure that we were legally married when it was all said and done. She tilted her head and looked at us through questioning eyes for a long moment, assessing whether or not we were serious. Once satisfied, she said, "Ok. Then you two will need to go see Judge O'Malley." Great. We thanked her and inquired as to where we could find Judge O'Malley.

"I'll have her meet you upstairs in the courtroom. Did you bring a witness?" she asked as she glanced down at our matching cut-offs and hiking boots. We looked at each other.

"A witness for what?"

She smiled and said, "Never mind. I'll send someone up."

So up to the courtroom we went figuring that was where the applications for the marriage licenses would be found.

The courtroom of the second floor of the 150 year old, stone Virginia City Courthouse was empty and cold and slightly creepy with the 20 foot ceilings, heavy, red, velvet drapes and rows of wooden pews that had surely seen all varieties of atrocities since the 1860's. We sat in the front row and waited. Eventually, Judge O'Malley arrived wearing a long black robe and followed by two women in business suits and sneakers. Smiling, she said, "You two ready?"

We were slightly confused. Ready for what? To pay our fee? To sign our application? But we didn't want to seem like the ignorant, barely twenty-somethings that we were so we hopped up from our pew and said, "Yes, ma'am." We approached her where she stood in front of her heavy oak desk with a name plate that read Honorable MaryAnn O'Malley. She asked us to face each other while the other two women shuffled around and stood behind and off to the side of us. "You can join hands." We looked at each. Weird. And it wasn't until Judge MaryAnn O'Malley said,

"Welcome everyone. We are gathered here today..."

that we finally understood.

"...to witness the joining of these two people in matrimony. Do you, Dave, take Heather to be your lawfully wedded wife? To love and to cherish her, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

Holy $#@%! We were getting married!! Right then and there. In our cut-offs and our hiking boots. At the Virginia City Courthouse. In Madison County, Montana. And we didn't even know it!! Honestly.

"I do."

"And do you, Heather, take Dave to be your lawfully wedded husband? To love and to cherish him, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

Holy $#@%!

"I do."

"Do you have a ring?"

"Uhhh." I took off the ring that Dave and I had chosen to symbolize our groovy commitment to each other and that I already wore on the ring finger of my left hand and gave it back to him.

"Repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed."

"With this ring, I thee wed." And he put it back on my finger.

Dave took off the ring that I had picked out for him and gave it back to me.

"Repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed."

"With this ring, I thee wed." And I put his ring back on the ring finger of his left hand. I dare say, we both trembled a little.

"And, now, by the power vested in me by the state of Montana, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."

Holy $#&%! We just got married!! We just eloped!!! And we didn't even know it. Our parents didn't even know it!! Our siblings didn't know it! Holy $#&%! We looked at each other and we could hardly contain ourselves. We laughed right out loud. Right there in the Honorable MaryAnn O'Malley's courtroom we laughed. And we kissed. And we laughed again. And we hugged. We were married. And hadn't even meant to.

"Congratulations!" The two women said, clapping their hands.

"Congratulations," said MaryAnn O'Malley.

And we all went back downstairs to sign our marriage license, pay our fee, and file it with Bundy.

Dave and Heather in front of the Madison County Courthouse in Virginia City, MT, June 24, 1996 - right after we got married without knowing it. Four years later to the day our second son, Emerson, would be born. 

A visit to the courthouse in 2003.

A visit to the courthouse in 2013. 

 With the Honorable MaryAnn O'Malley in 2013. 











Friday, November 22, 2013

Halloween 2013

At the Pumpkin Patch with my honey.

I'm always really excited when the kids will humor me by partaking in the pumpkin patch tradition. 

Cole as "Shaggy".

Emerson as "Waldo".

Soleil as a squaw.

Evie as "Alice" (again).

Me as "Marie Antoinette". 


I LOVE fall! It's my very favorite time of year. Sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes and leaves, leaves, leaves, leaves, leaves. This time of year always inspires me to blog. 
I hope you're enjoying the beauty of the season, too.
Hugs, Heather

Sunday, May 05, 2013

One Groovy Birthday


Here's a funny story that you'll appreciate.

Last summer Emerson turned twelve. We had a really fun bonfire at Carmel Beach to celebrate. We had arrived early with Emerson and a few of his pals to get set up and get the fire going before the throngs arrived. (He'd invited the entire 7th grade.) Just a few minutes before "go time" I looked up from the fire to see Em's friend, we'll call him Will, pick something up out of the sand. He held it up to get a better look and I could see that it was a clear plastic container the size and shape of a film canister. Inside there were two...well I couldn't tell what they were. So I said, "Will. Bring that over here."

"What is it, Mrs. Stewart?" he asked as he handed it over.
"I don't know," I lied as he scampered back to join his pals in the ice plant.

Well, I didn't know for sure what it was, but I felt fairly certain that the clear plastic canister with the two dried herbaceous looking "flowers" inside was not something I wanted in my hand just when I was expecting a bunch of parents to be dropping off their 7th graders in my charge.

I looked around quickly for a place to get rid of my stash. I though about burying it in the sand, but I wasn't keen on the idea of another 12 year old finding it again in the future.

I thought about stashing it in my purse. But then I realized that I was likely to forget about it entirely for months until I was about to go through security at the San Francisco International when I would wonder if I had any nail clippers in my purse that would be confiscated. Gulp. Yikes! Bad Idea. Do not put it in your purse. Mucho bad idea.

But what was I supposed to do with it?! I was starting to panic! Parents were going to be arriving any second!

Then I had a brilliant idea. I would burn the evidence. It would burn to oblivion and no one would ever have to know. Yes. Perfect. Brilliant. Do it fast. Before any parents get here. But don't burn the plastic. Imagine the toxins and there are kids around! Yes. Good. Take off the top and dump it in the flames.

So anyone who has any experience with such things will know that this was NOT a brilliant idea. And I knew it too just a split second after the buds hit the flames. That was one groovy bonfire. And for about 20 minutes Dave had to stand guard at the bottom of the stairs, upwind of our fire, to cut parents off at the pass.





Monday, April 29, 2013

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

'Twas Two Weeks After Christmas

'Twas two weeks after Christmas when all through the house,
Not a twinkle light twinkled to the joy of my spouse.
The stockings were nestled all back in their crates
Along with the snow globes and fancy red plates.

The ham, long since finished, the soup from it, too.
The yams were delicious, but those days are through.
The fire'd gone cold, having not one more log.
And the fridge was entirely void of egg nog.

The paper 'twas crinkled and thrown in the trash.
The bows piled high for the children to smash.
A plain silver tack was all that remained
In the place on the wall 'twhere the mistletoe hanged.

The poinsettia was dropping one leaf at a time.
It's depressing to see it as bare as a vine.
So to the back porch that plant had to go,
In hopes that no neighbor would see it like so.

The tree, it was gone, and the ornaments, too.
The needles turned brown, not much I could do.
With one kid in tears it was dragged to the curb,
"To cut down a tree for a month is absurd!"

The children were sent back to school on Tuesday, 
The toys, long forgotten. The bill, on the way. 
Their rooms are still messy with nowhere to sit
With all those new toys like that model car kit. 

My house now feels empty and quiet and cold.
"You should be happy." To myself, I do scold.
But, alas, I'm all misty and just have to say
A year 'til next Christmas seems a long way away.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year




The Best of 2012
“ A Series of Interviews and Interpretations”



Me: “Honey, I’m writing our Christmas letter. What was your favorite part of 2012?”
Dave: “Ummmm. I’ll give you one guess.” 
My Interpretation: “Peach, you know my favorite part of every year is being married to you. And after 16 years, I’m still head over heels for you. You’re an amazing wife and mom, and I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

Me: “Cole, Christmas letter. What were your highlights of 2012?”
Cole: “Mom, ugh! Seriously? That’s so lame.”
Mom’s Interpretation: “Jolly good, Mom. Highlights of 2012 were getting my driver’s permit in July and torturing you with my mad driving skills. Oh, and having a girlfriend and being MVP on my JV water polo team.Thanks for writing the Christmas Letter again this year, Mom. You’re the best.”

Me: “Em, tell me your favorite thing from 2012 for the Christmas Letter.”
Em: “Coming home from our sailing trip and going back to school and seeing my friends. And put something in there about water polo.”
Mom’s Interpretation: “Wow. Our 5 month sailing trip aboard ‘Balance’ was such an enriching experience, Mom. It was a real highlight of my year. I really grew as a person and learned a lot. You and Dad are amazing (although a little crazy) to take us on such fun adventures. I was glad to come home to the 7th grade and see my pals. And I’m pretty proud of my stellar backhand shot in water polo. I love you, Mom.”

Me: “Evie, girl. Tell me the best part of 2012.”
Evie: “Black Friday.”
Mom’s Interpretation: “Well, I’m really excited to be turning double digits soon, Mom, and I’m feeling entirely grown up now that I’m almost 10.  And I can’t wait to get my ears pierced because you and Daddy promised I could get my ears pierced when I’m 10. And I’ll be 10 on Christmas Eve, Mom. Don’t forget. And I love it when you let me wear make-up on the weekends sometimes, Mom. And I love spending special time with you, Mom. Like when we went shopping together on Black Friday. You’re my favorite person to hang out with, Mom. You’re my BFF!”

Me: “Soleil Mia, tell Mama your best, favorite thing from this year.”
Soleil: “I don’t know. Going to Evie’s birthday party?”
Eve (from the kitchen): “You better not put that in the letter, Mom!”
Me: “Shoosh. It’s not your turn. Go ahead Soli.”
Soleil: “Mom, that’s all. I’m playing Webkinz right now.”
Mom’s Interpretation: “Gee, Mom. Let me think. Well, you know I’m a pretty easy going kid being the youngest of four and all. I pretty much have fun tagging along after all the Sibs. And I do enjoy the first grade so. Especially when you make me sit still and practice my sight words. It’s fantastic. So fun. I love it. And you know I love to carry around our new black kitty and not set her down for an hour straight sometimes until she finally scratches me because she has to go potty. That’s fun. But that’s all I can think of right now, Mom, because I’m working on my computer literacy. Thanks for asking! You’re the best mom in the whole world!”

I hope your silver lining is as shiny as ours. (It’s all a matter of interpretation.) 
Happy Holidays, 
The Stewarts
Dave & Heather 
Cole (16 in January), Emerson (12 1/2), Eve (almost 10), & Soleil (6 1/2)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Heartbroken

I can't stop crying this morning. I'm so very sad today, this first school day since the tragedy in Connecticut. I'm so sad for the moms and dads that are waking up this morning with no babies to take to school. No little piggy tails to tie, no lunches to make, no little hands to hold on the way to school. No sloppy wet kisses on the front steps. No "I love you, Mama". No jammies left on the floor by the heater.

Heartbreaking.

So devastatingly heartbreaking.

Dear Earth Mother,
Please help them find peace.