Friday, April 30, 2010

On my mind:

  • My throat hurts, a lot.
  • I really really want to get a treadmill. I keep checking Craigslist for a good deal. The only question is if I'm willing to have it out and visible in the house ... you know, since I'm trying to make the house more cozy. Nothing quite says cozy like a treadmill.
  • I have so much laundry to get done before we head out of town for a week! And not much time to get it done.
  • We're planning to get away (without kids!) for our eighth anniversary in July, and I'm excited already. We're both running on fumes these days. My parents are going to stay with the kids, and we're going to head to Chicago and use the gift certificate generously given to us for Christmas. (Thanks, Jon & Tomo!)
  • Bob's mentioned the Iowa Writer's Workshop a couple times to me lately, and it was enough to make me go check it out. Because, you know, I'm ready to start a career. (Not really. But I occasionally think I'd like to be a pharmacist, and Bob suggested that, rather than going to pharmacy school, I should study writing. And make good use of that Accounting degree I worked 3 1/2 years for.)
  • Really, my dream job would be to buy old houses and rehab them. And make a profit, I guess, though really, I'd just like to see the houses come alive again.
  • Will has decided he likes solid foods, which makes my life easier.
  • The tree next door is still down. No sign of any trimming or clean-up any time soon. Is it possible that it's our tree?
(Can you see the top of the neighbor's skateboard ramp? And the sword that's stuck in the tree trunk that's still standing? No? Well, I can.)
  • We had a really nice time with my brother-in-law Jon, when he came last weekend for a quick visit. Caroline really loves her uncle Jon, and it was no surprise when she wanted him to put her to bed. And it didn't hurt that she got to (try to) skype with Tomo in Japan on Jon's new iPad.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April showers

Leviticus 26:

3 " 'If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land."


9 " 'I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. "

These are beautiful verses, and now that I have a garden, I feel much more in tune with the weather. I need rain for my crops. All of a sudden, we have been sent rain in its season, and my little tomato plants are liking it.

Unfortunately, the beautiful big old weeping willow tree that's between our house and our neighbor's? It didn't make it through the rain unscathed. It was in rough shape already, scarred, awkwardly trimmed, but what was growing grew well. Tonight, I was really sad to discover that a huge portion of the tree, almost half of it, fell today. If it hit their house, it was just barely: I don't believe there's any damage to the house. But, oh!, the tree! Even in its uneven, awkward state, it was still a thing of beauty. Now it's mostly ugly, with a patch of beauty.

I am grieving.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An archaeological dig...

or at least it feels like one.

In the course of digging my garden, I have come across:

4 marbles
1/2 of a bone
1 souvenir-type bicycle license plate from California that says JOSHUA
1 clothespin
1 piece of some kind of gear
1 metal tube, rusted, and filled with soil

and, of course:
lots of earthworms
a snake hole, I think
rotted tree roots
tons of ants
some rocks

It's been fun. And I'm not quite done. Beds 1 and 2 are complete and ready for planting. Bed #3 has been single-dug (as in, all the soil removed to one spade's depth); next up is to turn the next spade's-depth worth of soil with a pitchfork, then put a layer of compost on top of that, and then return the topsoil to the bed. Bed #3 has been my most efficient yet, with the single-digging taking an hour and a half. The turning and composting is fairly quick, and I hope to get that done today. The most tedious part for me is breaking up the clods of topsoil so that the top of the bed is airy and ready for new roots to dig in.

I hope to plant the first seeds in the garden by the end of the week, and my seedlings that I started inside are doing well already.

I'm finding gardening to be very addictive...

Monday, April 19, 2010

We are Dorks.

Yes, we are.

I planted some basil and cilantro seeds in some little pots on my kitchen windowsill. They came in a sweet little kit from my sister, for my birthday a while back.

As the seeds started growing, I became suspicious. The basil didn't look like basil at all, but more like parsley. I told Bob they'd given us the wrong seeds in that little kit. I was amused and annoyed. I was getting ready to call Ellen and tell her about the mix-up, when all of a sudden, Bob solved the problem.

I had just put the the labels on the wrong pots. It's true, that never occurred to me.

And you know how I said we are dorks? Well, Bob was super-gluing something yesterday, and set the super glue down on his desk. No, not on his desk exactly, but on a book. And last night, he brought this down to show me. Yep. Super glue stuck to his Bible.

We are dorks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our beloved Vanessa

is getting married. Vanessa has been our go-to babysitter for a while now, and she's leaving us on Saturday, after she up and gets married. I'd be grieving big time if I weren't so happy for her.

She offered to babysit one last time on Tuesday, and then last night, she and Jordan came over for dinner. In the week preceding her wedding, I was really honored that my girls (and boy) got to have two more nights with her. And it didn't hurt that they brought their new Great Dane puppy Zeke with them.
I asked Caroline yesterday who was coming over for dinner, and she said, "Zeke!"

Zeke was a big hit with all of us, even Lily, who wasn't quite sure what to make of him while he was here, and then looked all over the house for him after he left.

That's Lily sharing (maybe grudgingly?) her stuffed duck and her dog bed. Have I mentioned how much I love that dog?

And Vanessa, I don't know what we're going to do without you. But we think Jordan's the best, and we know you'll be happy.

May God grant you many happy and blessed years together!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring weather makes me happy ... and productive.

This time of year, I just can't get enough time outside, and the kids are perfectly happy with that. We inherited some horseshoe pits in the yard, and Bob took the wooden frames of the pits out, but we left the sand. Good thing we did! The girls dig and dig and dig in that sand. It's by far their favorite thing about the yard.

My favorite things? The size of the yard, the amount of sunlight, the fact that we have big trees (though I would change the kind of trees if I could), the fact that it's fenced (though it's a chain link fence in disrepair).

Since 2010 is the year of the garden for us, I've started digging the beds. Following the instructions of the books my dad gave me, I've been double-digging. I've been pleased with it, so far, but it is back-breaking work. As in, this morning, I found getting out of bed to be a bit of a challenge. That's okay, though. I can use the exercise.
The newly christened gardening gloves (a Christmas gift for Bob from my sister). (And, yes, I used them first. I feel a little bad about that.)

Digging out the first layer of soil.

My four-legged helper. I love this dog so much.

First layer out, second layer turned. Next: compost, then topsoil back in.
It was at this point that my neighbor said, "That's a pretty small garden!" And I thought, YOU go turn over 40 square feet of soil by hand, and then we'll compare notes. Especially since I've got another 80 square feet to go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The newly baptized.

It looks like maybe he's crying, or about to, but I promise he didn't. He had a great time.

He's pretty much always happy in the arms of his godmother. What a wonderful day it was...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My sweet baby

Will was baptized today. It was a beautiful service, made all the more beautiful by his happy disposition through the whole thing.

I'm going to try to post my favorite picture from it tomorrow, but I'll need to censor it just a bit. (Babies are baptized in the altogether, if you know what I mean, in our church, and I don't want to post an indecent shot.)

Today's baptism was in direct contrast to Lucy's baptism in October 2008. Whew. I wouldn't want to relive that one...

(That clip only shows a fraction of what was by far the most painful baptism I've ever attended. Imagine a child screaming through the whole service. Yep, that's what happened. Lucy was hungry and MAD.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010


This is Holy Week, and it makes sense to me that it's been a crazy week so far. Our church has at least two services per day, and my goal was to take the kids to one a day.

That hasn't happened.

We're having the ceiling in the girls' room drywalled ... and I'd put some pictures in here, if my hard drive weren't FULL ... so I've been hanging around, waiting on the guys to show up each day. They're not comfortable with our dog (a 120-lb. Great Dane. Why would that make you uncomfortable??), so I need to be here when they're here.

Yesterday, I waited all day for them. Today, I gave up around 1. They showed up at 4:42. I was a bit surprised to see them.

The girls have both been tired lately, since they've been going to bed later, what with the sunlight in the evening and all. Will's been cranky, irritable, not wanting to nurse when he's hungry, not tolerating rice cereal, but not liking other solid foods either.

Here's how the evening has gone down so far:
  • dry-wallers here past 6pm
  • they arrived while Caroline was asleep in the living room with nothing but her skivvies on
  • one child had a huge accident in the sunroom while I was talking on the phone
  • Bob had more people sign up for the Seder than he was expecting (no, we're not Jewish; he's the pastoral care director for a retirement community with people of lots of different faiths), so he had to make an emergency run to the liquor store for more wine
  • his mom called to tell him she'd been throwing up all day, and could he go get her a chocolate sundae from a little shop in town
  • Will's been crying most of the evening
  • I have little girls covered in sand, since they thought it was hilarious to put sand on each other's heads while they were outside today
  • I've learned that we have more snakes (many more) than I'd realized in the back yard. And they live right near where the garden's going to go, which is freaking me out.
  • Lucy picked up some dog poop with her bare hand today.
  • Bob's working late tonight, and tomorrow's going to be crazy, too.
C'est la vie, non?

Is it any surprise I've put the kids to bed early just so I can breathe?