Hello! It’s been awhile.
I missed you, and I apologize for the long silence on my end. This year has been many, many things, with one of the main things being: TOUGH! It has also been beautiful and fun and sad and boring and confirming and confusing and… all of the things. I have a feeling many of you have had similar feelings and experiences. After writing in April, I missed my next post and then just could not get myself to write. I thought of the readers and other Farmgirls and knew I should at least pop in to say, “Hey! I’m alive and okay!” but there was this huge mental block holding me back. I have to admit that my mental health was hanging in there, but the break from writing deadlines was necessary to keep it that way. Time kept moving on as it does, and it got to that weird place where my absence had been too long to address. Thankfully, one of MaryJane’s dutiful employees reached out and asked if I’d be up for writing again (Thanks, B!). Writing is one of my best outlets, and I appreciate being gently nudged back into practice.
So, what has happened? We had a baby–another girl! On July 3. (Fun fact: three of four kids have birthdays on the 3rd of their respective months). This will mostly be about her. It was an incredible birth, and she is by far the best thing to happen to us this year. Her name is Nova Hobbs Wilder. She is already
six SEVEN months old. Her name is very fitting. We chose it because we were looking for a celestial/ethereal kind of name to go with the flora (Fern)/fauna (Ava)/earth (Opal) theme we have with the other girls. You know how some babies and kids seem to be old souls? Well, Nova seems very NEW! She is bright eyed and eager to quietly and cheerfully observe any and every thing going on around her. She doesn’t seem to have many opinions. She does seem to have an excitement for life, family and love that is more naive or pure or novel than many of the babies I’ve met (okay, I may be projecting here a bit). She rarely cries. She laughs and has the sweetest little voice. She is independent but also loves everyone. She has the thickest, most scrumptious, fat-rolled baby thighs. I’m officially a girl mom and couldn’t be happier.
We have taken the pandemic very seriously and avoided most social outings over the past year. We learned to sew and wear masks (then we learned to buy masks, haha!). I learned to muster up courage to kindly ask people to move a few feet away from me when in line. I’m a researcher at heart with a more than basic understanding of biology, virology and immunology. I spent many hours scouring scientific journals and articles for the latest findings on transmissibity, mechanisms of infection, mask efficacy, symptoms, long-term effects, and risk factors for various situations. Epidemiology is fascinating. I stocked up on supplements and medicines and an expanded medical kit. We established a small pod of friends who have kids in school with our kids. Most of us don’t have at-risk or elderly parents in state. We were essentially trapped in Alaska. We did not travel on any public transport. My kids have been inside two stores since March 15. We ordered curbside and take out. Evan and I have both eaten inside a restaurant once at low traffic times (a pub on Monday afternoon, anyone?).
…Aaaaaand we got Covid.
It kept us down and out over Christmas and New Year’s and Opal’s birthday. Evan was patient zero. We are 95% sure he got it from a place we need to go because of our rural status. It is a place integral to rural life. I generally try to go during low traffic hours (and had refused to go inside the day before Evan went), but it was before the holidays and everything was busy. It has low ceilings, bad circulation, low mask wearing compliance (although there was no mandate or rule to comply with at the time), and often a line that is an hour long in a building with many people coming in and out. UGH. We were in various stages of isolation and quarantine for 34 days. Three of us got it, three of us didn’t (or at least never tested positive). We all had mild cases and have recovered fine (with some tiredness and brain fog, but those seem to go hand in hand with four kids under 7!). Still, it was one of the worst experiences of my life due to the stress.
We had an immense outpouring of support from friends and neighbors. I honestly don’t know how we could have done it without them. The holidays would surely have been ruined more than they were. Friends brought food, picked up groceries and went Christmas shopping for us. One day I discovered a pineapple and huge box of oranges, another a home made pie that was secretly left on the porch. On Opal’s birthday, our friends came and shot off a few fireworks in the yard. Amidst the stress and uncertainty, there were many reassurances and acts of love. I am forever grateful for them.
Unfortunately, I know several people who have lost parents, siblings and other family members prematurely to this disease. I know several who are experiencing effects months after their infections. It is serious, and it will take me a long time to accept the world that has been laid bare for us to see because of this terrible disease.
But it all comes back to my babies and my family. Luckily we mostly like each other (and always love each other) so these last ten months have been tolerable. They have also been incredibly hard. My parents have not met their newest grand daughter, and they might not for a long while more. My nieces and nephews will have grown so much the next time I see them. I have three very close friends who had their first babies. I hate that I could not be there as support. I tire of the monotony of the daily grind without the promise of a social outing or restaurant visit or concert in the future. Pile on all of the political and social unrest, and it’s been a lot. I know you know, and it’s all old news. But if you’re in the trenches and spiraling, please know that you are not alone in your loneliness and hard times.
So back to this baby–Nova. She is so loved. Her sisters argue about who gets to carry (although she is getting big for that!) and play with her. She is doted on, smiled at, kissed and hugged at every opportunity. There are many songs about her and many pieces of art dedicated to her. She is such a sweetie and tolerant of the constant attention. I wish we could spread her goodness everywhere and revel in the positive possibilities that us humans possess.
Of course Nova has had many “firsts” over the past seven months starting with her first breath of air at 10:11 p.m. on July 3 in our home surrounded by her whole family. It was really an ideal labor and birth. She was born into loving chaos–Opal climbing on the bed, Fern bouncing around, Ava tentatively watching, Evan showering words of love and encouragement, me celebrating how beautiful it all was. Even the dog got on the bed!
Since then she has:
- Grown through many sizes of clothing and is now in 12 month sizes!
- Cut three teeth
- Tried a variety of foods, showing a preference for sweet potato and avocado
- Gone on her first overnight backpacking trip!
- Tagged along for skiing, sledding, hiking, and gardening endeavors
- Helped raise our new kitty, Lenny Clawvitz
- Started to scoot/crawl
I could go on and on and on and on and…you get it! We’ve agreed to ease back into writing, so I may only check in every other month for awhile, Farmgirls! As B mentioned to me when encouraging me to get back to writing: Moms’ plates have been 250% full during this pandemic!
I hope this past year has brought you some peace and joy amongst the solitude and uncertainty. It has been a rough ride, and I apologize for disappearing for a good bit of time. I hope my payment to you in the form of photos for baby gazing will help you accept my apology! If a picture is worth a thousand words…I’ve reached my word limit!
Until next time,
Sending you peace and love from Alaska,
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl
You are a brave and powerful woman with a beautiful family. Stay well.
Thank you for the kind words, Marlene. Take care!
Thank you for coming back to us! Ï read every word and plan to go back. For You to put down your deep feelings and joys and fears and determination is such A SPECIAL GIFT to all who are able to read this! You seem to realize there are hundreds or thousands of us who will read this and draw strength and comfort from your words. …Ï appreciate your valuable time and writing skill that brings all of us together as we read your words. Love from a friend you never met in Ohio.
*sniff* Thank you, Mary (for making me tear up!). It is a strange and powerful time to be alive, that’s for sure. So glad to hear you could draw strength and comfort. It definitely felt good to write!
Oh! How I have missed you. Life has been a struggle these last months for everyone.
I love your new baby’s pictures. I just have to brag. In January 2021 I became a great grandmother! New babies have a talent to send sparkles of love through out the family.
Take care. I hope to see you back on your blog very soon.
Wow, a great grandmother! What an honor. I dream to achieve that some day. My grandmother singing to my babies are some of my most cherished memories. Thanks for “bragging”/sharing your good news with us and congratulations!
Thanks for sharing your experiences in the this last year. It has been challenging but uplifting at the same time. Wishing you all the best.
Thank you, Lily and right back at you!
So glad you’re back! I missed you and wondered if everything was ok. I even sent a message over Mary Jane’s website asking what happened to your blog but never heard back. Take care and write when you can!
Sorry to make you worry, Catherine! That was my worst fear in not writing. Thank you for attempting to check in; it really means a lot!
Your babies are all so beautiful….enjoy the journey!
Thank you, Pat! I have to agree with you
Alex!! You have four babies!! HOW would you have time to write? For me, anytime you feel like writing is great. Congratulations on your beautiful family! ❤️
Aw, thanks, Meredith! It felt so good to write. So cathartic and freeing!
Beautiful family,Glad you are back!
Thank you Charlene! It’s good to be back.
So glad you are back. You have been busy in the most important of ways. Many blessings to you and yours.
Thank you, Maureen! It feels so good to be back!
You encapsulated every feeling of my own personal experience in your first couple of paragraphs, minus the baby (who is beautiful and darling by the way). It has only been in the last month that I could pick up my pen to write and even then it was letters to friends. When I read those first couple of paragraphs you wrote, it was like you were reciting verbatim from my journal. I was doing okay until winter struck and couldn’t be outside like I wanted to be. The walls of my beautiful home normally make me feel cozy, warm and safe during the winter but this time it has felt more like a prison. I slowly lost interest in all the things that I normally enjoy. The holidays might as well have never happened. Anxiety was creeping in and during the political unrest came to head. I can count on one hand the number of stores I have been in since October and I do not need all five of those fingers! I didn’t have the added stress of children in the home. I know it is stress but as you have shown, they are a wonderful diversion, too. You are very blessed. I have been in awe that MaryJane’s magazine has continued to come because I don’t know how they have maintained their creativity through this time. While this pandemic has been so awful I have seen some good things come out of it. Keep looking for those good things and focusing on the love of friends and family. We will endure!
I just want YOU to know that YOU aren’t alone either. You wrote from your heart and it resonated with mine. It was brave, it was honest and it was giving. Thank you!
Wow, Thanks, Lisa! It is hard, isn’t it? We know these things will help, but actually doing them is a different story. Interesting that you mention MJF’s ability to maintain creativity. I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kinda gal, but decided that this is the year to focus on being more creative. Doing art, singing, dancing, writing, cooking, and building make everyone in my family very happy, but I am often on the sidelines managing these endeavors instead of participating. I’m going to hop in more and try to pursue more of my own. Thank you for your note of solidarity! Very much appreciated.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful life during these challenging days. It made me cry with a blend of emotions. I truly appreciate people who have the gift of writing as you do. We’re all swirling in and out of light and dark days, and your words really touched my heart.
Thank you, Donna! Writing is definitely a calling of mine. It is great to hear that it offered some catharsis for you. Hope this finds you well.
I so loved your post ❤️❤️❤️
Thank you, Marti!
You have an authentic, honest, vulnerable spirit. Thanks much for writing your truth and being willing to share with us all. I do believe there are so very many of us feeling the same way and connecting to others is helpful. In the chaos of raising 4 beautiful daughters, please try to find a few minutes for yourself to recharge as it seems as many of us have done; we give all that we have to those we love and then we wake up one day exhausted with all we have given. Blessings to you and your beautiful family for health, happiness, and a return to some semblance of normal very soon!
I live in PA in the heart of many Amish communities so if there is something you would like from this end of the world, I would be most happy to send a care package your way. It would give me something to smile about as well as those beautiful girls. You can find me in messenger or reply to email.
Take good care!
Thanks, Jacqueline! I am an over-sharer and can be honest to the point of bluntness, sometimes…but maybe the world needs more of that :). I will heed your words of advice as my reserves (like many parents, caregivers…and pretty much everyone) can get close to depleted at times. A care package would be so fun, what a generous offer! I cannot think of something off the top of my head, but I’ll think on it.
I so enjoyed your writing and pictures. Your young family is so enjoyable to see and it looks as though you do family things together. I am 80 this year and my life has been rich and blessed with 2 wonderful children and now their children. So fun to watch them grow and see what they are becoming. I have one in college, two that are juniors in high school and lastly Emma in middle school. I live on a lake in Michigan so I enjoy nature as you and your family do and appreciate it as well. This is my first reading of anything you have written and I so enjoyed it. Carry on dear one, you are a blessing to your family and keep writing when you get that extra minute (those precious minutes of your own).
Thank you, Susan! We do enjoy doing things as a family and are looking forward to years of adventures together. Thank you for sharing your experience as a grandmother in Michigan–so much beautiful nature to share with those we love.
You were missed..oh, such beautiful babies..it was great to hear from you..
Thank you, Donna!
What a wonderful surprise this morning to see your blog! With a hot cup of coffee I enjoyed reading the past 10 months of your journey and seeing the perfect pictures of your growing family. Keep blogging when you can, it brings smiles to many people out here, especially this past year. Take care of yourself and the precious ones.
Aw, thank you Lisa!
Blessings to you and your beautiful family. I understand a lot of what you say. I was able to live in rural Alaska for nine years, but felt that my family in Michigan was a “world away”. You are doing a wonderful job of taking care of your family, but as somebody mentioned, make SURE to make time for YOU, to not lose sight of YOUR needs, as well. Can you say where you live, up there? Just curious if it is anywhere close to where I lived. I wish you good health ad happiness.
Hi Colleen! We live in Palmer–so it isn’t very rural by Alaskan standards, and it is moving away from the accepted definitions of “rural” even by lower 48 standards. And thank you, re: Me time. I definitely get some here and there and it is always appreciated. My partner is very gracious in helping me find time to regather and recharge. Good health and happiness to you, too!
This is the first time I have discovered your writings and I enjoyed it so much. Writing is also what I do best so I doubly enjoyed yours. I enjoy watching the girls grow–I saw your oldest when she was just a baby and now is 7! Wow–time moves on. I remember the two oldest ones at your beautiful outdoor wedding. Looking forward to your next writing.
Hi Pat! Glad you found the blog :). I’m shy of self-promoting. I guess the last time I saw you was Ian’s wedding, but even that was fleeting with the weather and wrangling kiddos. Hope you are well!!
Good to see you again! You are blessed to have such a strong bond with each other. I’m a proud girl mom too and love it. Except mine are now in the teenage years! So watch out for that time when your girls get there! My husband and I started as friends years ago and we still like/love each other, even when we milk cows together…everyday…no matter what… this past year was truly an eye opener and while we didn’t get a chance to slow down (gotta love farming!) we did, however, appreciate the work we do have. Many blessings to you and your family!
Thanks, Amanda! Oh yes, we have heard the warnings :). I loved my forays into milking cows when watching a friend’s farm in my younger days. My husband grew up on a dairy farm and had to help out a lot, really great memories. Blessings to you!
Glad to see you back.
Thank you, Ann!
LOVE all the pictures! THANKS for sharing! My 4½ year old grandson saw the picture w/ your daughter eating the carrot & he said that was one BIG carrot! I missed you, but, with 4 kids & COVID-19, it certainly has taken it’s toll! and trying to adapt to the new “normal” is not easy! I had COVID-19 in February 2020, & again in October 2020 (very mild, BUT, I lost my sense of smell, and not all of it has returned yet)
Thanks, Barb! yes, it was a HUGE carrot–over two pounds! My neighbor grew it as my kids (mostly Opal) ate ALL of our carrots by August when they were mostly little! Sorry to hear you had Covid twice. Losing my sense of smell was very strange, especially since it is usually very keen. I hope yours comes back sooner than later.
Family (fur-babies too)…love…laughter…memories…smiles…giggles…tiny hugs…beautiful moments of pure joy…creativity, solace, the ethereal wonder of nature….trials, tears…fears…the circle of life…thank you for sharing your blessings… concerns for all around you near and far…you are truly a gift to all of us…welcome back!!
Thank you Carmen! So many feelings and events
Yes, I’ve missed you and your family. So interesting you read about life in Alaska.
So much fun to see how your girls are flourishing.
Enjoyed your post and very glad you have return safe and sound.
Best wishes for 2021!!
Thank you, Wende! I missed the crew here, too.
Wonderful update! Thank you. Very relevant for all of us, especially in the emotional toll of this past year. Hang in there, and keep the faith!
Thank you, Teresa!
Congratulations on the birth of Nova. She is beautiful as are your other girls. Glad that you are all feeling better. We have been praying for you during your pregnancy. Our cousin and her husband had Covid 19 Virus as did our friends granddaughter. Thank God they all recovered. We have been staying home. Marion has asthma so she has to be careful. We order everything on line. We have been keeping busy reading and doing puzzles and playing games. Thank You for writing. The photos are lovely. Stay well and safe. God Bless.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO OPAL
Joan,Marion and Marilyn
Thank you, Marilyn! I am so glad to hear that you are able to stay home to protect your family members. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts.
Thank you for your honesty, bravery and picture taking. In time I hope that you will see that you are an outstanding human being and are so loved.
Aw, thank you, Lauri. I definitely feel all of the love…working on the outstanding bit :).
I love you! I savored these flowing and meaningful words, and the pictures. Love the one of you at the beginning, Nova in her fave pose, Nova with her mermaid tail, Nova with all the items around her, and Evan smiling huge. I sure do miss you and I am also sad that we haven’t been able to be physically with each other lately. However I know for sure that we will always be close and connected no matter how far the physical distance or no matter how long in between our cherished phone calls. xoxoxo+booty smack
Thank you, yen! Love you so much! let’s talk, soon. Miss you, woman!!
Welcome back & congratulations on your beautiful baby girl & kitten! It’s good to see you back here!
Thank you, Denise!
Even without Covid, I think you would have been busy!! Other than a broken leg, which healed just fine, my year has not been bad at all. I do not mind avoiding crowds and staying out here in my woods… I have 2 grandchildren who live here…my older granddaughter with her herd of dairy goats and her 15 year old brother, who wanted to go to the high school here and not where their dad lives…he floats back and forth between there and here…helps his sister with the goats, does a terrible job of keeping up with his school work, but was my lifesaver when I broke my leg!! (Since it was due to his dog that I ended up with a broken leg, I think he felt responsible– anyway, he’s a great kid!). Enjoy your girls! They don’t stay little long!! I have 2 great grandchildren I have never seen… thank goodness for Facebook!! Life is good.
Wow! Sorry you broke your leg, but glad to hear you had some support. I hope it’s a treat to have your grandkids around!
So fun to hear from you again! Our one and only baby girl was an Alaskan too! I love your photos and comments about your life there – brings back so many memories for me – so…thank you!
Gotta love our Alaskan babies! Thanks you!
Welcome back! You were missed. And thank-you for your honest words. Your plate has been heaped and you made a good choice. But again, welcome back!
Thank you , Debbie! Great to be back
My granddaughter had her third little girl in March. They have a small farm, with a garden and chickens, and the odd goat or two, and luckily, with precautions, her older two are in school. I’m lucky that I’m part of their “safety” bubble, but sometimes like what happened to you, the spread of covid seems so random. Stay well.
Thank you, Linda! I hope you stay well, too. Congrats on your new grand daughter!!
Alex, you have a beautiful family and I am happy to see you back, but don’t worry about trying to be here every month – we understand. Take your time and enjoy life as much as you can. I am so glad you got over the CoVid as so many of my friends have done. My family has not gotten it and we hope no one will. A few friends have and survived it also, while I have read about so many who didn’t make it. Prayers to all who have lost family or friends for whatever reason. May God bless all.
Loved reading this. I could relate to a lot of it…took Covid seriously (still am even though I’ve had my 2nd vaccine), and over the months lost two close friends (one to Covid for sure), a former co-worker, and my daughter, husband, and 2 of 4 boys got Covid (even though they are pretty careful). Take good care of you and your special family.
Thank you so so SO much for a wonderful update, fantastic photos, and your wisdom in these ‘interesting’ times. Nova….WOW! What a little gem she is! Happy happy congratulations on that little mermaid!
Beautiful post thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤️