Tales of a Garden Rookie

So, this is me:  On Google this morning trying to decide which way is up for tomato cages. 

I waited WAY too long to add tomato cages to our garden.  With the glorious rain we've been having lately, the tomato plants have really exploded.  Yesterday afternoon after an extremely blustery day, I took a look at the garden and noticed that the wind had flattened our tomato plants.  In a panic I ran out with a left over craft dowel and some string to upright them until I could get to the garden store.  After dropping Anna off at school, I picked up 3 tomato cages (my 4th plant was mysteriouly sheared off at the base a couple of weeks ago) and brought them home.  With Lauren and Jacob watching through the sliding glass door, I gingerly tucked the cage in around the leaves and stems.  After carefully placing all of the branches it occurred to me that in that position it would just be blown over by the wind and take the plant along with it.  So, I came inside and asked my dear friend google for a bit of help.  I started over and have them in the right way now...or so I think. :)  Maybe I could invent a little tag to sell on cages for novices like myself that would read:  This Way Up! 

Speaking of the garden, Doug's been really getting a kick out of the strawberries.  It's the first plant to actually yield any fruit.  The kids and I come in really excited whenever we have ripe strawberries.  What makes Doug laugh though is that we only have two small plants and the most berries we've had ripe at one time has been three.  Normally, it's the 5 of us cutting one tiny strawberry into fifths so we can each have a sliver.  I keep picturing great things made with strawberries but I think we actually need a bed full of strawberry plants for any of those recipes to occur!  The zephyr squash and lemon cucumbers are chugging along happily as are the bell peppers.  The eggplants apparently have some little pesty that have been working on them.  The leek and cantaloupe plants have seen better days but at this point are still living.  I'm just  amazed that I have anything left alive at this stage.

Lots to share about the past few days:  Doug and I celebrated our 11th anniversary and attended a Brooks & Dunn concert.  I had new teeth put in and Jacob is busy growing a few more of his own.  We've finally found the right fabric for our family room curtains and they're being made as we speak...err..write and read.  I was offered the opportunity to photograph a wedding in Grass Valley (I'm over the moon about this.  It sounds amazing!)  I finally have a craft room although you can't actually walk in it yet, it's still mine and will hopefully someday soon be functional.  Doug told me I could refresh my wardrobe if I cleared some of the old stuff out.  Ever compliant I cleared out my closet and we took 6 XL bags of clothes to Goodwill.  I still had outfits from our honeymoon and Anna's baptism.  It felt good to lighten the clutter but will feel even better to do a little shopping.  YAY! Jacob has been learning to dance and apparently has inherited his Daddy's mad dancing skills.  Video to follow soon.  Lastly, I'm busy planning birthday parties and trying to get gifts ready for Mother's Day.  More to write about but my smallest assistant has toddled up and is busy tugging on my camera strap, trying to get to the keyboard to check his e-mail and periodically head-butting me in the chest.  I guess I'll close for now.  What have you guys been up to this past week??


Daddies and their Daughters

Last night was the Daddy Daughter Dance at Anna's school.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  The ladies who put this together did an outstanding job.  They really made a special evening for the girls.  Anna and Doug were both very impressed and Anna said, "This was the best night of my life.  I had a blast!!"  She also said that Daddy let her have whatever she wanted (i.e. cupcakes, brownies, pizza).  She was on a definite sugar high when they came home!  The two of them looked so incredibly sweet together.  Doug bought her a bouquet of roses and she got her little camera out and took a picture of them before they left....gee, I wonder where she gets that from??  After the dance, she cracked me up talking about dancing with Daddy and how he would jump up and say, "Wooh!"  I was lucky enough to get to photograph some of the girls in front of the limo along the red carpet.  I must say I don't think I've ever seen so many beautiful girls and so many proud fathers!


9-1-1, Bloody Noses, and The End of Breastfeeding, Part I

Do you ever have days when you wish you could just stick your head under the covers and not come out?

Okay.  So on Friday, I was sure I was dying.  Convinced.  My chest and left arm hurt, I had indigestion, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.  In fact, I was so sure I was a goner, I taught Lauren how to dial 9-1-1 in case I passed out.  Alright, maybe I'm a bit dramatic but I honestly wasn't feeling well.  I had felt off since the day before when I had gone in to have my teeth whitened.  Thursday was the first step in a little cosmetic dentistry that I've been wanting to get done for about four years now.  Actually, I need to back up.  The story starts much earlier than that even.

When I was 11, I was in a boating accident at a water amusement park in Gulf Shores, AL.  I was spending the day at "Rainbow World" with my friend and her mom when  we decided to go for a jet boat ride. We each had our own boat and when I pushed the gas pedal down, the boat lifted up out of the water and sped off.  I couldn't see anything (I was little) and took my foot off of the gas.  Unfortunately, the pedal stuck and the boat kept going.  The boats were supposed to be driven around an oval-shaped canal surrounded by wooden walls.  I ran into three of those walls and then while reaching down to try and pull the pedal back up by force, hit a fourth wall.  My mouth hit the steering wheel and knocked out four of my bottom front teeth, roots and all.  An oral surgeon attempted to reimplant the teeth but the procedure failed and so I've had a partial now for many, many years.

In addition to that, my teeth, although straight, had the whole Lauren Hutton/Madonna gap going on and so the summer before my senior year in high school, I had veneers put on.  That was back in the 80's and they were only supposed to last 4 years or so.  Well, here we are almost 22 years down the road and still going strong.  I, however,  really want everything updated and refreshed.  Dentistry has changed a lot in two decades, don't you know!! 

So, on Thursday (the day before I thought I was dying) I began the process with a local cosmetic dentist.  First the whitening, then the new temporary veneers later in the month, followed by the final permanent teeth, and a new partial....yeah!  I was surprised though by how much the whitening hurt.  The first two 15 minute sessions were fine but by the third I started getting some real zingers (toothaches that pop up and then disappear due to increased tooth sensitivity from the whitening process).  I've had all three of my children naturally and so I kept reminding myself that this wasn't that bad but it hurt like the dickens.  When they came in for a fourth session, I felt like crying because I didn't think I could make it through another 15 minutes.  I did it though and left the office with 1000mg of Tylenol in hand, and two-toned teeth, as neither my veneers nor partial whitened at all.  I knew they wouldn't and was ready for that or so I thought.  I think I look a bit ridiculous but it will all get evened out in a week and a half.

An unexpected side effect was the sad demise of my time breastfeeding my sweet baby.  While reading the paperwork, I noticed it said that lactating mothers should not have the procedure done.  Noone at the office or online could tell me what the problem might be.  As I would rather err on the side of caution, I decided to call Jacob weaned at that very moment.  We were in the process of weaning anyway and even though the dentist told me I could reschedule, I opted to go through with the procedure.  It had taken me months to get all of these appointments set up and I was worried it would be many more months before they could fit me in.  Since Jacob is our last baby, I've really tried to savor my time breastfeeding him.  I even spent time picturing our last session and how the room would be quiet and still.  I promised myself I would sear each moment into my brain so I wouldn't forget even the slightest detail...the way he felt tucked into me, the little half smile he gives when he pops off, the curl of his hand around my finger.   Life never seems to work out how you imagine it.  Instead that final morning not realizing it would be our last moment in that way, Jacob nursed for just a few seconds while I was checking my e-mail and begging Lauren to please just brush her teeth herself so she and Anna wouldn't be late for school.  Granted I probably could have pumped and dumped and been fine but we really were at the end anyway.  My body seems to have accepted the change without complaint.  Jacob still has looked at me and smacked his lips a couple of times (his sign he wants to nurse) but he seems to be adjusting also.  Mentally and emotionally though, I just feel a little sad.  It made me think about this post I wrote many months ago now.  I so loved the poem and words from cJane that inspired my post.  She just summed things up so well.  I'm really going to miss my quiet  time with my baby but I'll survive....or at least I think I will.

Back to the story...So,the dentist said I should only be achy for about 8 hours or so but 24 hours later (into Friday) I was still hurting.  On top of the tooth thing, I just didn't feel well (see above) and then I ended up with some mystery fever.  Fortunately, Doug got home from work in time to watch the little ones while I curled up in a bed in sweats, a jacket, a blanket, and comforter.  The next morning we were supposed to be heading out on a little surprise trip that Doug had planned for us.  I really didn't think I would be able to make it so Doug tried to cancel the reservations.  We were within 24 hours though and the hotel wouldn't accept the cancellation and refund our money.  Would I live?  Would we go on vacation?  :) To be continued...


Happy Birthday, Nana!

Mommy: Why do you love your Nana?
Lauren (age 5):  Because she be nice to me and she has chickens and I get to hold them.
Anna (age 6):  Because she plays with me and does all kinds of nice things for me.  I love her and she has curly hair and she smells good.  She's cute.

We miss you and hope your birthday was a special one.  We love you, Mom!


Chickens & Bunnies & Eggs, Oh My!

We had our very own little Easter "party" on Saturday with our friends Ryan and Kate.  We invited four other friends as well but they were unable to join us. :(   

I was so inspired by the latest issue of Martha Stewart weddings and the James/Moyle wedding.  No, we're not renewing our vows but I still enjoy wedding magazines.  I loved the wedding parade based on a Tim Walker photo so much that we created our own version.  I used some Martha Stewart templates and actually learned how to use a jigsaw.  I cut the shapes out myself and am proud to say I still have all my fingers intact.  Granted I put the blade in backwards to begin with and cut the chick and rabbit out that way.  When Doug put the blade back in the right way, I found it to be much easier to cut while pushing instead of pulling.  Oops. 

The kids seemed to enjoy them.  They really liked the ribbon wands which were a cinch to make...just 4 strips of ribbon stuck to a dowel with a thumbtack!

I couldn't find a bowtie for Jacob in the right color.  So, I learned how to make my own using a little tie.  It not only made a bowtie but there was enough left over to make a little pocket decoration too.

We had another beautiful cake made by our friend Sarah Sollee. She created the cake for us based on the original made by Erica O'Brien and used here.  The old stereo belonged to Doug's grandfather and still works! 
I fell in love with the girls' dresses.  Unfortunately, they both wanted to wear the same dress (the one Lauren is wearing) and I had to bribe Anna with a chocolate bunny.  Their "necklaces" are actually supposed to look like the collar of the dress but I forgot to attach them and so they turned into necklaces.  I found them at the Sacramento Antique Fair last month and couldn't pass them up.  When I bought them, I didn't have any use for them but they seemed to fit the girls' dresses just right.

I found the table and chairs at the flea market last week and fell in love.  They're not too big and not too small. I'm planning to use them in my craft room as a stand for my sewing machine or as an art table for the kids to draw and paint on.

Anna is my flower child and always has a flower or two hidden in her pocket or stuck in a purse.  She loves going to nurseries as she gathers all of the blooms that have fallen onto the ground.  She manages to collect enough for an actual bouquet.  The other day she came home with a beautiful and free bouquet of snapdragons.

Kate and Jacob were so adorable together.  They just stumbled from one spot to the next, usually with either an egg or flower in hand (or in the mouth!).

Last but not least, I wanted to make masks for all of the children but it took me four hours just to put 3 together.   I wish I had more pictures of the kids in their masks but it was the end of the day and everyone was ready to stop taking pictures and start eating cake (which was very yummy, I might add!)

Hope your Easter was a happy one full of friends, happiness, laughter, and lots of eggs!


Our Vegetable Garden Day #12

Everything is still alive!!  I know, I'm also totally in shock.

 We even have a strawberry that's starting to turn red. 

The herbs are starting to grow a bit more but they're are just so few plants that I don't want to pluck any leaves.

 I just received my Mittleider Gardening Course book in the mail yesterday and have been enjoying flipping through it.  If the gardening is successful this year, then I'd like to try the Mittleider method next year.  Since we have such a small yard, it seems like a fantastic way to grow veggies.  I first heard about this method on the blog "Balancing Everything".  Jessica  and her family were setting up grow boxes and I was amazed at the childhood pictures she posted from her family's garden using Mittleider techniques.  Here are a few of those childhood photos from Jessica's blog.  

Okay, these next two blew me away.

Have you ever seen something so amazing?
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