Saturday, October 29, 2011


The first tree has started dumping leaves in the back yard and when you look up you can hardly tell any are missing. It's going to be crazy.  Last night I wanted to drive half an hour and pay $30 for us to go to a  kiddy corn maze with lots of games.  Brian wisely voted for playing in the leaves in the back yard.  A first for all of us.

Surprisingly, Esme was quite serious and uptight about it while Eli was the opposite.  "Noooo" she'd say grumpily and start picking the leaves off her coat.

Brian shielding her

She did perk up when she got the idea to get Eli back.

Eli, on the other hand...   

loved rolling around and getting buried.

We got more excitement and expression out of him than we have in a long time.

Then was my turn.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eli's Birthday Party

Today was the first party I ever hosted.  We've had a few last minute gatherings, but this was complete with invitations, decorations, activities, and dinner. And now that I think about it, all guests were from different times in our life. Brian's parents came from Oregon, my mom from Idaho, my old roommate with her kids, Brian's coworker's kids, one from martial arts, a friend from the mom's club I was in, and of course Curt from the condos.  All the kids made friends and seemed to have fun.

Puffy goldfish swimming overhead.

Brian's mom did great work with the limited decorating supplies
I gave her.  Besides wanting fish swimming on his cake, he wanted
maraschino cherries. inside. Yuck. At least I found some with no
artificial colors or sweeteners.

Funny dinner conversation

 Then we had a relay race, it was a hit!  There were obstacles to cross: monkey bars, a balance beam...

Whack a baseball...

a wheel barrow ride...

tape to run through at the finish line...

and medals.

Then came pinata time. Everyone got a turn and it broke with the last kid.

Eli too busy with his sucker
to blow out his candle.

Brian set up the rabbit in the yard during
all the excitement, then it was discovered.

The birthday boy had tons of fun. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School So Far

Eli has really taken to school.  He's always dressed before I tell him, has wolfed down breakfast and is asking if it's time to go yet.

I was worried since last year he was scared and refused to even talk about school.  He's also a shy kid and pretty serious.  And, despite the fact that he hasn't had a lot of other kids to play with, he's very social at school.  When I'm walking him in the other boys yell "Hi Eli!" and their parents say he's the only kid they hear about at home.

He goes to a really great school where everyone's friendly fun things are always going on. In September was the school carnival.

He decided to ride...

after watching Esme go first.

Today was a pumpkin hunt, next week a little birthday party, and then Halloween.

Last week I picked him up and the teacher said, "What is Eli into, what would get him going? I can't even get a smile out of him."  And it's true. Most of the time he's quite serious, even if he's doing something fun, like on a ride at the fair. This has me worried since I'm always worrying and stressing and it's rubbing off on him.  Like today, I started to talk about his birthday party and grandparents coming and he said "I'm busy, I've got to go clean, wash the dishes mom." So I'm trying to be more fun.

He is, however, social.  His teacher also told me that he'd been asking everybody to come over to his house and play. He'd even asked other moms before I was there. So the teacher was glad today when she overheard me arranging something with another mom.

The boy seems to be a good student. Listens to the teacher, always gets a treat at the end of class for being good, which he keeps in his pocket to share with Esme. Besides asking to wear the same shirt every school day (luckily it's every other day) things are going smoothly. And I've noticed his teacher isn't shy about telling parents how their kid acted up that day. He doesn't complain about homework, or "fun sheets," as his teacher calls them, although, it takes some prodding to get them done.

It's fun to see him interact and slowly figure out what kind of person he will be.  And I'm especially glad that he loves school. We always take walks to his future elementary school and play at the playground, so the transition should be pretty smooth.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our First Real Garden

Well, we tried with window boxes the first Spring we were married and living in a dark basement apartment.  I think we got two peas.

Hopefully this fall garden goes a little better, cuz we're jumping in all the way. We even built a little green house yesterday on a second patch closer to the house and I finally finished putting the compost tumbler together yesterday.  So now our first batch of future compost is cooking away.  I'm expecting bugs to get half of everything since it will be organic and my first time. And of course, the one vegetable I'm not as excited about is doing best: cabbage.

At least it's purple. And I don't hate cabbage, it just takes a week or two to get through one head of it. So cabbage recipes are welcome.  Hopefully we'll also get some leeks, broccoli, and

Colorful Carrots
Swiss Chard

Nero Kale

Next to the house I made a little green house since the teacher at a "Beginning Organic Gardening" class last week said it was simple. Pound 2 foot metal rods into the ground, bend pvc onto them and cover with thick, plastic painter's tarp.  I wimped out twice at home depot since everyone was telling me a different thing to do, but this weekend I finally braved up.  And hopefully the lettuce, onions, celery, kale, and chard have a happy warm place and their growing season will be extended.

Planted October 8th, we'll see what happens
I've learned a few things. Organic is more about nurturing the soil than the plant.  And adding instead of taking away.  So marigolds planted on the end of each row help attract pollinators and have a smell that pesky bugs don't like.  Smashed up egg shells to keep slugs away. Plant basil under tomatoes since it likes the shade. Plant legumes, peas, clover in the fall where heavy producers like tomatoes will be the next summer to naturally add nitrogen to soil.  And the only trick I've used so far, plant onions and garlic between the kale and lettuces, since their roots are high and are also stinky to bugs.  But that's only been going for a day, so we'll see how it works.

Cute little heirloom lettuces,
with purple onions between.