Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still learning

We've lived here for 5 years this July.  Un-un-un-un.  And though it does feel normal by this point, I'm still amazed.  "Time flies."

I can remember back to the spring of 2008 when I was so utterly horrified by the amount of flies in the house.  They came creeping and crawling out of the cracks and buzzed at the windows en masse when the weather warmed up a bit.  Oogie, it was gross. 

(And I don't know why . . . but it hasn't been as bad the past couple of years.  I can't imagine we've done anything different?  Maybe 2008 and 2009 were particularly bad "fly years".)

With that, I was shocked to understand the purpose in the fly-tape I had previously observed in rural homes.  I had always thought it was so disgusting, wondering why on earth anyone would want something so repulsive in their house . . . then finally realizing what a necessary evil it was.  Fly-tape covered in dead flies is better than the little buggers buzzing all over your house.

Well, now I've come to another realization.  One that involves dirty carpet at the bottom of the steps of an outside entry.  Yuck.

We use our back door as the primary entrance in our home.  It's closer to the garden and garage and just easier.  But.  When the sunroom was added on to the house, the previous owners never installed a cement patio, sidewalk, or even proper steps.  The steps to get up to the sliding-glass door are nothing more than stacked cinder blocks.  This is a project on our long-term TO DO List that just hasn't had priority due to time and the intimidation factor.

However . . . as the years pass, things are getting dirtier and dirtier.  Where there used to be grass, we now have a growing DIRT PATCH with a 1-2 foot radius at our back entry.  It is ugly.  But worse, it is filthy.  We are tracking dirt and pebbles into our sunroom entry like you wouldn't believe.  It looks like a dirty sandbox after 1-2 days.  Very disheartening. 

I never contemplated cement landings at the bottom of stairs.  They were always just there in the city and suburbs.  (And I'm sure in many-to-most rural settings as well, but not at our house.)  But now I understand their purpose: the grass and ground will wear away with that much traffic.  Duh!  I'm so sthmart.

Which brings me to something else I've turned my nose up in the past.  Dirty carpet at the bottom of steps.  Revolting.  But folks are just trying to keep their houses a little cleaner, right?  Yes.  And while I know our temporary solution will not involve dirty interior carpet attempting to stave off the inevitable, I finally understand why it was there.  It makes sense to me.

I'm still learning.  Always.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Peering in at our new chicks this past weekend

The communication is pouring out of little Jamie.  I'm always amazed to see the wheels turning in his little head (though I suppose I shouldn't be).  It's adorable.  He generally doesn't say things when we ask him to, but they crop up on their own easily enough.

The past few days it has been names.  A first, aside from "Dada" and "Mama".  He will walk through the house looking for me, hollering, "Mama-mama-mama-mama!" on repeat.  But this weekend, I heard him say "D-go" in the living room, mimicking me as I was calling his brudder back into the kitchen.  And yesterday Squeeze walked into the living room right after we had been skyping with my sister . . . Jamie pointed at the computer and said "Dayna".  Just like that.

This weekend, it was just Jamie and me at the grocery store; he heard the intercom and signed "phone" to me.  (It was the sweetest thing.)  He also signed "phone" as we were ringing my sister on skype, now that I think about it.  And last night at bedtime, he was signing "milk" and "snuggle" in between the hollering screams and chest-pounding.  My chest, of course.  Heh.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More spring garden notes

This weekend we planted:
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Leeks
Squeeze did all the leeks, I did all the scallions, and we split the onions 60 (him) / 40 (me).

The weather has been very chill for the last couple of weeks, often down to the low-mid 30's F at night.  We've lost a couple of early iris blooms because of the cold, as well as the new-growing asparagus spears we hadn't picked yet.  But good news: the asparagus is sending up new shoots again and the celery didn't die (we were afraid it might languish into an oblivion).

Sprouting beautifully in the garden are:
  • Peas
  • Lettuce, radishes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale, collards, chard
  • Dill, chamomile (both reseeded from last year)

We enjoyed our first lettuce salad of the season this past Saturday night.  All four of us wolfed down with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  With scallion-laced scrambled eggs and basmati rice with a peanut/curry sauce, it was heavenly.  We can hardly wait for the next harvest!  Oh, it will be grand.  Garden lettuce!  There is no comparison.  And we did get a chance for one scrumptious side of buttered asparagus before the cold spell put an end to that.

Squeeze also harvested catnip and nettles this past weekend, which we dried for our 2012 tea supply.

Previous Spring 2012 garden notes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

United we stood

This past weekend, Squeeze and I got involved in a dispute over bath towels.  It was a classic tussle over pet peeves, with arguments dissected into a million little pieces - a disagreement that would have sent us into a tail-spin for days at one point in time.

But instead of fighting tooth and claw over the aggravating minutiae of how we didn't agree, we ended it with a good chuckle and a kiss.  We still didn't agree, but the storm blew over and left us on the same team.  We even laughed over our different angles on the issue and all the same, old hang-ups.

Fifteen years of practice, patience, affection and further understanding has brought us to this point.  What a wonderful place to be.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I am . . .

  • Researching homeschooling.  I've hammered out my philosophy and methodology (Charlotte Mason Method / Charlotte Mason), but now I am looking into the reality of putting that in motion . . . analyzing booklists, curriculum guides, others' experiences and brainstorming possibilities.
  • Watching Jonsi's "Go Do" with the baby on my back while posting on my blog.  Now that is multi-tasking.  (Loving the bird motif.)  My brudder is EO.
  • Prepping for a late Easter celebration with Squeeze's family on Sunday.
  • Coddling my left pointer finger after a whack with a sharp chef's knife last week (it slipped on an onion).  Uff.  It didn't bleed much because I was so quick to put pressure on the cut, but I did FAINT 10-15 minutes later as I was attempting to look up stitches in a reference book.  Thankfully Squeeze was in the room and caught me as I tipped backwards.  Un-un-un-un.  He dragged me into the living room and laid me on my back.  Everything I had been thinking about that day was swirling around in front of my eyes like a funnel until I surfaced, which felt like waking up out of a deep sleep.  I heard Squeeze telling the curious boys, "Mama fainted" as I was coming to.  It was the strangest thing.  My finger hurt much less after I fainted.  Odd.  And Schtinky was trying to lay on my head as I lay there. :P
  • Cycling again.  After 15 months of respite (and actually, 24 months including pregnancy), I have to start thinking about charting again.  Bah.  Though I do know how lucky I am....
  • Busy.  I can't believe how busy I am.  Hardly a moment for contemplative thought, let alone any extras.
  • Happy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Lil' Schtinky is 15 months now.  I actually had to stare at the calendar and use my fingers to figure that one out.  It is just amazing how things change.  I know I knew Diego's exact age with each passing week and month (and possibly even Truen's), but with Jamie?  I just round up or down. 

"He turned one at the beginning of January," was my reply when people asked how old he was while we were at my parents' house.  Geesh.  There is just too much going on to be able to keep track.

A few things about Jamie --
  • He has 11 teeth: 4 on top, 3 on bottom, and 4 molars
  • New words include "mama", "dah-dao" (all done), "bel-bo" (belly button), "tinky" (you guessed it . . . Stinky), "uh-oh", and "der deh dis!" (there it is).
  • He also said "brother" on the flight to Seattle but I haven't been able to get it out of him since.
  • He signs "milk", "more", "all done", "food", "sharp", and "hot".  We are working on "please" and "help".
  • He was absolutely CRAZY about my mom's horse and my parents' dog when we were home . . . it was all excited arm-flapping and squeals when he saw them for the first time.  He followed Joey (the dog) around and would get down on his hands-and-knees and laugh when he got close enough.
  • He called the horse "ba-ba", or something like that.  Isn't that terrible that I can't remember?!
  • His climbing obsession seems to have diminished somewhat.  He still climbs, but it isn't with the force it once was.  Thank goodness.
  • His new-found interest is terrorizing his brudders.  Not that he's trying.  He just wants to do everything they are doing.  He want to be right there, right in that exact spot, and will rip toys out of their very hands.  There has been a lot of screaming and biting going on.
  • Since we've been back from Western WA, he has been sleeping late in the morning, taking an afternoon nap (mostly) in conjunction with his brudder(s), and going to bed with all of us at night.  It has been nice . . . before we left he was getting up and going to bed earlier and was unable to make it to the afternoon nap, which usually resulted in a quick cat-nap around noon.  I either kept him in the backpack to ensure it was a short one, or would wake him up with his favorite home video (him dancing to Vivaldi) after 10-15 minutes.  Just enough to refresh him.  I will do anything for a simultaneous napping session!
  • Jamie loves his daddy as much as his udder-brudders.  He lights up and runs to the back door with the rest of the crew if/when he knows Squeeze is home.  He wants to be held and will sidle in for squeezes and snuggles.  It is just the sweetest thing.
  • He is still a total terror at meal-times.  We try to keep him as busy as possible.  The latest tactic is putting his food in a little egg-cup and with the a matching spoon, but after a few days he is losing interest.  I can't wait to enjoy my food again.
  • He usually only says, "mama" if he is running after me, tired or hurt or needing me, and it sounds like this, "mamamamamamamama!"  Squeeze gets the happy, smiley "dada!".
  • Some of my favorite moments with him are when he is sleepy or in need of cuddling . . . I hold him in my arms in front of me and he'll lay his head on my shoulder and it feels like we are puzzle pieces tightly fit together.  It feels so good and he smells so sweet.
  • I have recently realized that I have worked the mournful feelings of the end of Jamie's baby year out of my system.  I was really sad about it for awhile.  The baby year is just so special (and tiring, let us not forget).  And now that that sadness has passed, I have re-realized how much I enjoy this age.  I LOVE the second year.  I love that they are still babies, but more independent.  Learning, laughing, toddling.  The regular mom-checks.  It is such a fun age.  I am really enjoying it.
  • Schtinky is OBSESSED with his belly button and has been for well over a month now.  He walks around for most of the day with his finger in his belly button.  He keeps his finger in mine while nursing.  We regular talk about and examine his, mine, and Squeeze's belly buttons.  My poor belly button was red and sore in the middle of March from being poked and scratched at so much.  He finds it in the night while nursing.  He calls it a "bel-bo" (as opposed to Diego's "bel-buh").
  • I wonder if my belly button will be to Jamie as my neck is to Diego and my armpits are to Truen...?  Then they will all have their special nook or cranny of my body.
  • He definitely looks more like my side of the family.  My mom said she was reminded of me at this age while we were home.
  • He has the lightest hair-coloring of the boys, with blonde highlights in the sun.
  • He says, "Uh-oh!" when he drops something.
  • He will nod his head "yes" to any question asked of him.
  • He went through a little obsession with kissing and would start smacking his lips with a little "mpha-mpha" noise when he started thinking about it.  Then he would kiss everyone in sight.  Adorable.  A couple of times I would start hearing the "mpha-mpha-mpha" coming from behind me while he was in the backpack and I would turn my head to receive a smooch smack! on the lips.  He would stand up and grab my face if I didn't get at it quick enough.
  • His run is like a hopping-bounce, but he does get places faster.  And it is usually in conjunction with a big smile lighting up his face. ♥
  • The little fella.  How I love him!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Spring garden notes

We are a full month and a week ahead of last year and with hindsight we are realizing that we could have planted the cool-growing varieties several weeks ago.  This weekend it was in the 80's F.  Very weird for the end of March/beginning of April in the Midwest.  Very weird.  With last year's lengthy fall, the almost-snowless winter and now an early spring, it feels like we have barely had a break from the garden this year.

This weekend we planted:
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Celery
  • Lettuce & Radishes
  • Peas
Outside hardening off but still in flats are the alliums: onions, scallions, leeks.  Still in flats inside, in sunny windows and/or under lights on heating-mats, are some of the heat-loving varieties: tomatoes, peppers, misc. herbs, eggplant.  And now that I think of it . . . cabbage.  Maybe broccoli too?  Squeeze is in charge of logistics and I just got home, so I am a little out of touch.

We are still in the process of adjusting to being home.  Things are going so nicely compared to last year, for which I am thankful and making a point to consciously remember and feel grateful for.  It has been total cake compared to all the sickness of last spring.  The adjustment is mostly just sleeping times (wake, nap, bed-time) that are a little off.  But we are slowly transitioning.

I still have the feel of a refreshed perspective on life and I can tell that Squeeze does too.  It feels very good together again.