Sunday, May 31, 2009

Welcome All Little Pastel Birdies

We've spent huge swaths of time neglecting the children while working on our yard. Sorry kids, we've found a new favorite hobby, the raising-small-children one was just too expensive. Now we've moved on to the only slightly less expensive gardening. Although we've spent many, many hours on it, for some reason we have very little to show for our efforts. (We've found this to be the case with child-rearing, too.) However, I do think the tiny portion of mud between the wall of the shed and the retaining wall is looking mighty cute. Here's how it was:
And here's how it is today:
We've planted a couple butterfly bushes, siskiyou, tiny ground coverings of various ilks to see which one we like the best and a lot of mulch. I would really like it if the mulch would grow and spread... Below the retaining wall, where there are still great hunks of bumpy concrete carelessly left by the makers of said wall and the patio, we've planted the beginnings of our herb garden. Rosemary, mint, parsley, sage and basil. Oh, and a rose bush for Kate, who earned it by being very well behaved at Lowes. Sarah was also very good at Lowes but didn't give a rat's ass about getting some stupid plant. Now we know.
The bird houses were the girls' Christmas gifts from Uncle Steve and Aunt Jo Jo last Christmas. We've lacked a good spot for them until now. The wall seemed to be begging for them. Hopefully, gaging the rapid growth of butterfly bushes below, some nice bird families will move in. I'll keep you posted, of course.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We came upstairs to check on the kids before calling it a night. This is where/how we found young Sarah.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hooray, a Bithday Party!

It's another birthday for the handsome and winsome (not to be confused with flotsam and jetsam) Jeremiah - man of my dreams, man who sometimes interrupts my dreams with noisy snoring, especially during allergy season...

Last night we enjoyed a beer dinner at The Porter celebrating the arrival of the very delicious Bell's beers to Georgia (Anni, you can come back now, we won't be asking you to pack bottles of the stuff in your carry-on anymore!). Today we've taken the day off work and are about to take a bikeride to the breakfast joint of the birthday boy's choosing. The rain had better hold off. Oh, the rain. First drought now days and days and days of rain. Seriously, it's enough already.

I hid all of his gifts in and around the house and made him find them. He's got one left. More than anything, the girls really enjoyed that and isn't that what really matters? I wrapped one of them in a princess gift bag. That might have been going too far, I don't know. So today we'll see the new Star Trek movie and end with a cook-out and of course, cake and ice cream. Not bad for a Wednesday. Happy birthday Jeremiah! Love ya, mean it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So long, diaper bag

Yesterday was Sarah's third full consecutive day of staying dry in her pull-up so as promised she was allowed to wear her Elmo undies today. I have never seen her more full of herself than when she bounded down the stairs with Elmo on her butt and skidded to a stop in front of me, displaying her new attire. There was much ado made.

Sitting at the breakfast table, chowing down on her current favorite morning grub - hippy-dippy organic honey nut cheerios with vanilla yogurt - she said to Kate "I'm wearing underwear today!" Kate replied "I know, you're such a big girl. Thumbs up!" and as if that wasn't enough to get me through the day, Sarah then turned to her dad and joyfully reported "Kate's proud of me!"

In further news Sarah managed to stay dry in her undies all day, even through nap time. She was telling me, this afternoon, all about how she's a big girl now. Then she decided I should throw her pacifier away. I told her no, that if she's done with that thing (oh please oh please) she needed to throw it away herself. So she did.

She has a back-up, though, and is sleeping with it now. How much can you really expect from just one day?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh no, Betta

This is Sugar Ray. Jeremiah won him at a ping pong toss at his office. Apparently that's what he does at his job. It was employee appreciation week last week. We don't have that at my office because we're appreciated every day. We just have to...remember that...on our own. Jeremiah said he wasn't going to bother with the ping pong toss but then he decided the girls would really love having a betta fish. Oh joy. Another mouth to feed.

Of course Jeremiah was completely right, Kate and Sarah were thrilled to meet the fish. They like taking turns feeding him. We have to tell Kate not to feed him during non-sanctioned feeding sessions because, we explained, he will eat himself to death. Sugar Ray currently resides on the counter in the kitchen which I suppose is meant to be some sort of dieting tool. "Eat too much - die. Any questions?"

So far, though, no one has fed the fish to death. I keep checking. Sugar Ray merrily swims around in his tiny tank, discovering and forgetting each detail of his special living space over and over every day while he awaits the inevitable.

There will be a head for you...a tail for me.

Kate told me matter-of-factly "we had a pet fish in the classroom and he died. It was tragic." Thus far, that has been her only commentary to me on the topic of fish-keeping and Sarah has remained silent. Hope they can maintain that stiff upper lip because that black cat is crazy and everyone knows the fluffy one is pure evil.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


The shed, except for some finishing touches, is complete at last! Here are some before and after photos. The rain spout is crazy-long like that because we're planning to put a rain barrel there, just as soon as we've acquired one. Also, although it's still clearly on the patio, the grill will go on that little covered porch area. That area was built for that specific purpose. Someday there will be a lovely little flagstone patio off the grilling area, made of all the rocks I've been digging up in my yard.

I took some photos during the process but decided they were boring. You're welcome.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Gift

We sat in Sweet Melissa's, awaiting our breakfast, when Kate addressed the table. "Whoever's womb you come out of, that's the mother you get." Jeremiah and I, not wanting to bother with the topic of adoption, confirmed that. "I love the one I got" she said, hugging my arm tightly.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hidden Treasures

While working on the yard and shed, we've managed to get quite a lot of clean-up done by bobcat. The perimeter of our yard is bordered by the ugliest, cheapest fence on which I've ever laid eyes. I only know this from close inspection, though, because that fence hosts innumerable, tenacious native weeds and can scarcely be seen beneath them . Many of those weeds have been uprooted by the bobcat, but there is much remaining to conquer.

Staring out at my nearly-completed shed and freshly graded and seeded yard I noticed there were mighty weeds already leaping up through the hay and pine straw. Irked, I wandered out, totally unprepared for a morning of sweaty, muddy yard work and began to tug at the interlopers. I don't know what these things are called, but they grow very tall with a full, bright green, leafy plumage and when you attempt to pull them out they break off, leaving their root safely intact. Not willing to admit defeat I reached for my trusty shovel and began to dig at the little bastards. It was then that I noticed two significant things. First, the roots of these plants are huge, deep, fibrous and difficult to dislodge. Very annoying. Second, as if the universe felt I needed a consolation prize, I discovered that the yard is covered with flagstones. We plan to put a flagstone patio off the back of the shed which is now open for covered grilling, see example on page here) and I had been saddened by the thought of purchasing these rocks, then hauling them to the house. What, ho? No need! Just a few inches down, and occasionally piled two pavers deep, more than enough to create our patio. I ended up spending the next hour digging away and throwing the rocks in a pile (and all the worms I found in our worm bin). The picture here was taken before I went back a second time this morning and found at least twice as many as the time before, and I'm nowhere near finished. Oh, joy!

Next up, the clean-up has granted us easy access to the piles of honeysuckle growing on the awful fence. I know it's an invasive that strangles trees to death, but no one's perfect...I love honeysuckle. I would write to it in prison. Kate shares my love. Kate loves flowers in general. Since opening up the yard enough to put the honeysuckle in view, I've had a hard time keeping her from walking through the mud to pluck it off its vine and suck its nectar from the tiny white flowers. Tonight she was wandering all over our mud-yard in search of other flowers. That's when she, my 4-year-old, noticed something we've missed in our nearly 4 years at this house - there is a gigantic rose bush, nay, tree, in our back yard. It brought forth roses! They smell divine and appear shockingly healthy.

We still have so much clean-up to do back there that I'm officially excited to see what other little treasures (besides about a year's worth of dog poop) are residing just behind the walls of English ivy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Red Velvet

I made red velvet cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday and squirreled a couple away for the wee ones, provided they ate their vegetables. One bite, fully chewed and swallowed and thoughtfully considered is all we ask. Sarah eats most anything but Kate, now the antithesis of her baby self, will taste almost nothing. Kate did not get her cupcake (we saved it for later). I told Sarah she could choose from the two cupcakes. Her face lit up and her delighted grin spread as rapidly as water on a cheap paper towel as she contemplated the plate of 2 cupcakes. She looked up at me, decision made. "I want them both."

Refusing to eat even one bite.

Destroying just one cupcake

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dance Party

Sarah's current favorite song is the White Stripes' Blue Orchid. She will demand we play it over and over. Her favorite place to get her groove on is in our room, so she can get down on our bed. Today Kate joined her, even though Kate's more of a jam band kind of girl.

Here they are dancing on top of a pile of clean laundry and all our pillows. Kate's fresh from the shower. I'm pleased we were able to at least get undies on her. I'm doing my best to enjoy this time when they like our music and don't think we're altogether too uncool to be around. Sure, it's destroying our mattress, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. Not to mention, we dramatically outweigh the kids, so how bad can it be?