Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Look Who the Big Storm From the North Blew In...

All Hail The Millas
The Millas!

Ah, where to begin?… Well, it was a dark and stormy night (haha, but it kinda was, so we'll go with it), the arrival of the Millas expedited by an unfortunate camping mishap involving Charlie’s finger, his woodcarving knife, and seven stitches….dun dun dun…

Released from the Crescent City ER, to a mounting storm and a car packed with camping gear, not to mention, strict orders from the doctor to keep that finger dry for the next few days, they decided to high-tail it straight down the 101 to us, postponing their California coastal camping for the journey home to their wee island off the coast of Northern Washington.

Now, aside from the evening of their arrival being stormy, it also happened to be Valentine’s Day, and while neither the Millas nor the Missas are much for celebrating said holiday, it did seem somewhat fitting that this day be capped off with the arrival of the girl who stole my heart (coming up on 3 years ago!) straight through the computer screen, armed with nothin’ but a cute red dress and a coordinating teacup ;)

With Charlie’s finger on the mend (he healed up like a champ, btw) and the weather forecast showing nothing but rain, rain, and more rain for the next five days they would be spending with us, many of the adventures that I had optimistically planned during the beautiful spring-like weeks leading up to their arrival, were not to be.

However, the Millas and I did venture out late one morning, during a lull in the downpours, and embark upon a drizzly hike up to the marshy little pond I hiked to with Clover recently.

Stopping at the pond to take it all in, just the three of us in our beautiful foggy surroundings, we noticed the storm clouds quickly approaching. The sound of croaking frogs was soon joined by the quiet tapping of hail. At this point, I decided to take out my camera and video document this lovely scene:

As I completed my little turnabout, it suddenly began DUMPING HAIL, at the end that’s Milla saying: “I think we may need to take cover, huh?” Followed by my reply of: “Yikes!” at which point we ran giggling gleefully up to the surrounding trees and, while looking out from under the cover of their branches, witnessed the most magical hailstorm I’ve ever seen.

The timing and setting so perfect, it was one of those experiences in nature that feels really special as it’s happening and I was so happy to be sharing it with these two wonderful people.

S is for Sisters and Silliness

Haha, we do alright with our self-timers, but the sad reality is we both suffer from an affliction where we get extremely awkward and uncomfortable when having our picture taken by an actual human.

Camera Shy

Often aggravated when said human also happens to be a husband ;)

We followed up our hike with yummy gluten-free cupcakes from the amazing Bliss Bakery, where Milla was especially delighted to discover that they served Kombucha on tap!

We took our goodies around the corner to Atlas, one of Santa Rosa’s finest lil’ coffee houses, for some warm caffeinated goodness to take the chill off. Then it was off to pick up Clover at the farm, where Milla and Charlie got to witness the aftermath of Pirate Day.

With all the rainy days, lots of time was spent just staying cozy at home. On this particular afternoon, Milla taught a very eager-to-help Clover how to make Finnish flatbread. I took this adorable opportunity to practice using the fancy flash my brother-in-law lent me on the new camera.

Clover, wielding her big rolling pin like a pro, quickly became quite the expert at cranking out flat circles of bread dough, faster than Milla could fry them up. As you can see, she got a bit overzealous with the flour too.

Made with love :)

Clover had so much fun being around Milla and Charlie. I thought she might be shy at first, but she was putting on a show from the moment they walked through the door. Charlie had to work a little harder to get on her good side, though she did get very excited about waking him up from his naps and enjoyed helping him pick lemons in the back yard :)

I think Clover was pretty taken with Milla from the get-go (she has a wonderful way with the little ones), though the bread-making really seemed to seal the deal. It was utterly precious to watch them bond so sweetly over it. I think Clover may have seriously considered trading me in at that point ;)

Exchanging belated birthday gifts (thrifted treasures and handmade goodies), crafting gifts for others, home cooked meals and chatting around the dinner table, movie nights on the couch, eating out at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and an epic Thai dinner downtown (the kind where you take your shoes off and sit on the floor with pillows. Needless to say, Clover was all about the barefoot pillow dining!), visiting thrift, vintage, and antique shops in Railroad Square, and LOTS of time spent being entertained by the small and often hilarious force of nature that is Clover in all her various states… these were some of our rainy day activities.

Hail-a Happy

Really, the best part was just having Milla around in my real life, doing real life sorts of things, and having it all feel very natural and normal.

On Friday, the day before we were to head off on our much anticipated weekend of sisterly goodness, the rain finally let up and while the day was still a bit chilly and gray, it was for the most part dry. So, Lucas quit work early, and we all piled into our car to head out for one big day of West Sonoma County adventuring.

We followed the Russian River out to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in the small town of Guerneville, where majestic old-growth redwoods tower over a lush understory of moss, ferns, clover, and mushrooms. We set off on a lovely hike through the forest, letting the cool damp air cleanse our lungs while watching Clover hobble around in her pink fuzzy jacket with little ears on the hood. Like a wayward ewok trying to find her way back to the village.

I forgot to put the battery back in my little point-and-shoot which does better in low light situations without flash (not a fan of built-in flash). I didn’t bring the fancy flash for my other camera either, so for this part of the adventure I mostly left the picture taking to Milla, which is probably why I went a little picture crazy once we were out of the dark forest.

Armstrong has an outdoor amphitheater tucked away in the woods and there was just enough light coming in there to get a shot of Milla in front of the stage and the water-filled orchestra pit.

Tree Dweller
Hollowed out trees make for good photo-ops :)

From the forest to the sea by way of the enchanting drive from Occidental to Bodega Bay along Coleman Valley Road. Preceded by a short detour into Freestone to gorge ourselves on fresh baked bread and scones at Wild Flour, home to the most delicious breads in all the land.

From the spectacular views along the vistas of Coleman Valley, where you feel as though you are literally on top of the world, we descended onto California's coastal Hwy 1 and headed north to Goat Rock, one of the most scenic beaches along the Sonoma Coast, to get out and frolic in the fog for a bit.

My Girls
My girls <3

Some Milla and Charlie moments :)

In addition to the arching rock formation just off the coast, Goat Rock Beach is also known for the abundance of lovely beach stones that can be found along the water’s edge.

We were bent over for quite some time sifting through these gems of the sea.

Laughter in the Mist


Milla insisted that we pose for a family portrait ala the one she took of us back in September of 2009 during our visit on the island. I'm glad she did.

Um, just in case you didn’t notice, CLOVER LOVES THE BEACH.


Have I mentioned how much I love this girl? It was so fun to get to spend an entire week together and tough to say goodbye, but the good news is, we don’t have to go there yet because there’s still so much more to come...

Next stop… the foothills! Where the sisterly love continues to grow and expand and encompass as beautiful kindred spirit’s abound! All by way of the dreamiest little vintage shop you ever did see… so stay tuned ;)


Teenysparkles said...

oh Missa, you've outdone yourself with this post. You guys are obviously so over the moon about each other (I mean you and Ms Milla) It is so cool to be able to see you all moving and hear your voices on the wee video! Can't wait for the next installment. It's been too long since you've been blogging young Miss - a!

Sadie Rose said...

oh man. i am speechless. the love you speak of is bursting through my computer screen and has completely drenched me and stolen my words.

Angela said...

oh my garsh, i am in love with that leaf in your hair! barrette? (sp) what a fun time you all must've had :)

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

i just wrote a huge comment and it didn't go through at all. . .
gah. in short you had fun and I loved seeing the flatbread . .never had that before. The reserve is nice and it is okay that you went photo crazy. I had more to say but ahh. I'm too frustrated now to type it all up again haha.

Alexa said...

SO much loveliness! Kombucha on tap and Finnish flatbread, heaven.

Milla said...

Awww! I feel like I'm trapped in a documentary about what a spazz I am. But seriously, I love this little record of our time together. Especially all the awkward photos. Those pics with your big camera of Cloverkin and I baking came out pretty good, I LOVE her expression in the middle one, she's just so confident. It really looks like it was that we're doing stuff together as a team. Go tem Cloverilla!

I love you and your little family. Thank you again for everything.

ps. how come Charlie looks totally sane in all the pictures?

Milla said...

oh and I've been going through my photos and whycome I'm wearing that same dang tye-dyed dress in every documented occasion? It makes it seem like I have no sartorial integrity. Maybe I don't. Can clover come live with us so that I can be well dressed by her? thanks.

moonshinejunkyard said...

oh my goodness these are so incredibly beautiful and the words you write are so moving and gentle and full of sweetness, it just made my day feel a hundred times warmer and more delicious to read this. you ladies are so incredibly special. the word special is ridiculous but i don't know how else to say it. there's just something, some glowing light, about you both together and clover as the little fairy-firefly in the midst of it all. the hubbies are pretty great too :) i love the beach pictures; i want to wander there with you all, and clover's spritely face just beaming up at the's just too magical! what a time you all had, baking to forests to ocean to coffeeshops, all the best and coziest and most majestic of adventures. i love how when days like that are going by you don't think about this, but they are etching themselves permanently into your sweetest of memories. you've shown these days so perfectly, and i miss you all even more now! xoxoxo

Eyeliah said...

hehe, so much fun! I had a hail moment this week as well.

Violet Folklore said...

So sweet, I love seeing this. It really is pure magic that folks can meet online (through sharing outfit photos!) and have such an immediate and deep connection.

I really love all the candid photos of you guys and all of us from the weekend- we just couldn't keep up the artful posing when so much fun was around :-)

The photo of Clover at the beach is absolutely darling. Miss you girls.

anne said...

what a wonderful visit! all the pictures are so beautiful and fun! it must have been such a treat to spend so much time together, unforgetable memories.

i loved your comment about my outfit being maude/audrey! so true it made me laugh :D

i look forward to seeing the next chapter of the meetup.

flaming hag folkwear said...

Having met the whole lot of you, I'd say that is a ton of warmth, kindness, and magic in one place! Aw, I miss you all.

Strange how things work out sometimes, because it looks like you had a perfect visit, even if weather and timing didn't work out as planned.

Looking forward to the next installment :)

sally said...

what sweet scenes! love them rocky beaches, too!



Ms. Habit said...

What a sweet, lovely post. And quite a magical little tale of an internet friendship that seems to bloom naturally as the years go. I love the old pictures of you guys on that farm. What a dreamy setting. Such perfect family shots. In addition to your beautiful photos your writing is really great. I don't see anyone mention that enough. You seem to have a inherit sense of story telling which makes your posts and insight all the more charming. I really enjoy "reading" you. Looking forward to more.

Andrea said...

Oh how adorable! I loved hearing about the "Missas" and the "Millas." The whole meet-up sounds so amazing and unreal. Love all these great hazy, cloudy & drizzly days. I love how those days always feel. I also think its wonderful how you two have become such close friends and all through W_R :) I think the best part (as always) is lovely little clover. I love her hair flower btw! So cute!

Tera said...

Your joy comes shining through your photos and writing in this post. Nice to meet you Milla and Charlie (OUCH!). A nice way to start a Monday. I
enjoyed this!

Nicky said...

You two are adorable! Looks like you all had a lovely time- loving those beach pictures especially and wanna kinda steal Milla's red coat- SO cute! Loving your lil family shot too with Lucas and Clover on the beach :D

Andrea said...

Sounds like you all had a great time! I wish you were closer, Missa. If you were we would definitely do a blogger meet up :)