Friday, June 15, 2012


This cute kid has been making me laugh lately.  And he's growing up.

Instead of asking "why" to something I say, he comes up with his own questions, which he hasn't really done much until now.  His questions aren't very clear, but I know exactly what he means.  A 12 year old student of Brian's was leaving our house to walk 3 blocks home when Eli said "How can she do that?"  I knew this meant, how can she walk home without her mom?

And some of my rants are sinking in.  Every meal the kids are picky about which fork, color of plate or cup they get. The other day Esme made her request and Eli told her "Esme, don't be picky, be grateful for what you have."  I was so proud I almost cried.

Oh, and we discovered his first permanent tooth. He's delighted about it and happy to pose for pictures or show people or look in the mirror.

Hopefully the next wiggly tooth will be exciting instead of traumatizing.

And yesterday I looked up on the living room book case for the first time in a while to find he built quite a nice house for Mousie and Harry.  The scene melted me.

We made the furniture out of egg cartons for Mousie's Christmas present and he moved everything from a box to the bookshelf.  A cabbage getting washed in the sink. A pet frog in a cage on a rug. Food storage in the brown box and pine cones. In the very back is toy "violin" (guitar) and laptop on top of the dresser(matchbox advent calendar).  My favorite is the flowers on the table in a thimble. He loves when I cut flowers outside to bring in and moves them from the coffee table to the dining table.

And my other discovery on the shelf...

Mousie is also a hoarder.

He just hopped on my lap to say what hard work it was for Mousie to move. But that he had to because their old house was full of spider webs and the wood was broken. But they found a new house for "15 bucks."  And it's messy because Harry's always buying "junk."  Sometimes I tell him about hoarders when he wants to buy something he already has or I find to be lame.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Coming Along Nicely

I was a little traumatized by our fall garden. Things grew much slower than I expected and I think we got a few leaves of lettuce before the hard frost after spending $40 dollars on plants and $60 for the green house.  To my surprise most of the plants (not perennials) came back to life after the winter.

Lettuce in the center is new, but corners of picture have celery,  bunching onions,
purple onions and nero kale from last fall.

I figured things would grow as slowly now and that bugs would be a formidable foe.  But they haven't been bad.  Some natural slug poison pellets have done the trick and we'll see if the moth traps keep most of the apples worm free.  Things are really flourishing and I've been so surprised because I don't know what I'm doing.  Apparently I underestimated Brian and the fact that his family usually kept a garden growing up.

First thing we could harvest this year, rhubarb in April
It has been fun watching him.  All Winter long he was thumbing through the seed catalogues (enticed by the exotic varieties), looking at planting calendars for Utah, and starting seeds.   We used a basement closet with a grow light hung, seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, herbs, strawberries that didn't work) were gently spritzed several times a day, a fan was going to ward off mold and to strengthen the little stems. If it was warm enough and sunny on a late winter/early spring afternoon he'd carry tray after tray upstairs and outside to the sun. As for the heartier plants, if the calendar said you can plant broccoli seeds March 15-April 15th it was done March 15th.  Ever since thing were planted outside first thing in the morning he heads out there, even if he's rushed for work and as soon as he gets home from work, he changes and goes out to check on the plants.  They are doing so well I can't believe it.

Main Garden: radishes, peas, onions, carrots, lettuce, leeks, beans, swiss chard,
herbs,arugula, tomatos, peppers,  beets

Onions, lettuce, carrots

Leeks, chard, tomatoes, arugula, beets


From this morning's garden check he brought back a couple of dragon tongue beans that I "have" to take a picture of. 

I wonder if we get more excited about these things than normal people.  I got happy when I realized that one of our little tomato seedlings is almost as big as the few that we bought at the community garden plant sale a few weeks ago.  It's all thanks to the rabbit poop, I've found she's actually good for something.  Eating our weeds and turning them into instant fertilizer.

We brought them in last night since some random cold front was dropping
temps to the low 40's

And we've planted things all over, wherever a spot of dirt gets some sun. Beans along the fence under the grapevines, tomatoes where tulips used to be, potatoes, zucchini, and pumpkins back by the rabbit, and broccoli with asparagus where the grass doesn't meet the fence.

Luckily the garden interests both of us and it's not a chore for one of us.  Weeds, not bugs, are our battle.  When we moved in the two main garden spots were overgrown with weeds and rock hard from being walked on.  A few hours a week we're weeding or I'll work on the pumpkin/zucchini patch that is littered with small rocks.  It's a lot of work, but I have the time and feel it's productive.  Maybe picking up gravel one by one isn't that productive. Hmm... The kids love it too. Eating a pea, pulling up radishes, finding a strawberry that the birds didn't get first.

At one point I had the kids fighting over radishes
at the dinner table,  they made me proud.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Graduate

Eli has loved preschool. He's really blossomed. Become more social, independent, and he loves the structure and rules.  He says he's going to go to preschool and kindergarden this fall.  His teacher is a loving, no-nonsense kind of a lady.  Once I popped my head in before leaving and saw her scoop him up for a big hug.  He thrives with affection and does well sticking to the rules. There was only one day all year that he didn't get his treat at the end of class for being good.  It made him cry.

He made lots of friends and was always excited for T/Th mornings.  I was worried the kids would notice his Mousie obsession and tease him, but it wasn't a problem. They all thought the mangy little rodent was cool. A couple of them even bought their own mice.  His favorite friend, Aidan got one too. Sadly, none of the kids will be going to our neighborhood elementary school. 

Eli and Aidan

During the ceremony, the teachers said something they liked about each child. I was slightly disappointed when his teacher said his memorable trait was how much he loved riding the bikes at recess.  I was hoping for something more endearing like how considerate, loving, obedient, or careful he is.  Oh, well. Here's a shot of him doing what he does best:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Making cards for Grandmas

Milk Tooth

Not long after this last dentist appointment Eli noticed a loose tooth.  I was excited about it and only told him positive things, but he just asked "when is it coming out? will it bleed?"  He wouldn't wiggle it to get loose and I was worried we'd have to take him to the dentist.

Thursday his friend was over and I made him a treat of a lunch (hotdogs!) which he stopped eating and said he was full.  I figured it was the tooth.  He just hung his head and started crying out of fear. It had gotten unbearably loose and so the I made the poor boy a milk shake instead.

Before dinner we tried to get his tooth out and there were lots of tears and bargains, but all our attempts were foiled by the slippery little thing. Luckily it came out on its own the next day.  He came running "I feel something!" between sobs and spit it out into my hands.  I hope the rest of them aren't this dramatic.

He did have a sense of humor the next day. He kept tricking me by saying that he had another loose tooth.

New Smile

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Time

I should have been grateful for this mild winter, but I have been waiting for Spring.  It was so dreary there was nothing to blog about for 2 months.  

It has been fun seeing the trees sprout back to life, discover what flowers would pop up (the original owner was quite the gardener), watching Brian obsess over plants that should turn into food. Everything else is unnecessary to him, except maybe the flowers that attract pollinators.  The kids love the freedom to head out back and play for a couple hours.  We've been busy making bird feeders, setting up a little garden for the kids, chasing the rabbit, and unbusy lounging in the hammock and having peaceful dinners outside. Here are a few pictures:

Rain and broken umbrellas don't stop them from going out

Esme's bird feeder

Eli and I worked hard on this beauty

The birds are yet to appreciate

Pear blossoms

Some of the many bulbs coming up

Of course the radishes are flourishing and the better
stuff like carrots, lettuce, beets, chard are slow-going

Eli's kid garden Easter basket

Esme's Easter basket
The kids have their own little spot to care for their flowers and watch new ones open. We'll have to set down some rocks so there will be a place to uncover bugs and their peas should be sprouting up soon.  Soon it will be warm enough for their tomato plant, cherry tomatoes and peas sound like the perfect things so they can munch while they play.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rock Candy

I was bummed when Eli's teacher said their Valentine treats had to be store-bought, his class mates would never see these beauties.  We decided to make some anyway for friends not from school. The jars didn't hold much syrup, so they ended up being skinnier than the ones in the tutorial

I could get addicted to rainbows.