Gardening has Started!

Please forgive me for my lack of posting last week.  I’m happy to say the beautiful summer weather has finally made it to our neck of the woods!  So any nap times have been spent outside trying to clear away winter debris + get our property ready for summer beauty…

Sunday after EJ’s party, I was able to rally my hubby + in-laws to fill in the trench around our home addition with top soil.  Even the young boys next door wanted to help us shovel it out of the truck and into the wheel borrow.  I loved how quickly it went with so many hands!

 

Friday I finally planted two large rhubarb starts during nap time and I’m so excited to see them taking root.  Saturday hubby picked up a truck load of compost to spread on top of the topsoil, around the rhubarb and around the back side of the addition for the future blueberry bed.

 

After I planted the rhubarb I got to work pulling out all the grass taking over our 3 remaining raised beds.  (Two? years ago hubby had to remove 2 beds in order to bury our electric line to the house).

 

It is definitely taking longer than I wanted.

 

But I’m so thrilled to see all the earth worms that have taken up residence in the beds!  I don’t remember seeing ONE when we were building + tilling them 3 years ago.

BONUS!

 

my dad is starting my Amish paste tomato + bell pepper seeds since I don’t have access to a sunny south window this year (or the time to remember to water them) and he sent me this picture last night of the SPROUTS!

How is your garden growing?

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EJ’s Birthday Party

Even though it may have been organized in only a couple weeks and a scramble up to the last minute (since I wasn’t sure if we would be hosting at our house or my dad’s), it turned out to be such a fun day!  Lots of friends + family came out to celebrate our little one’s huge milestone.

I am always humbled + honored that so many of our friends + family take the time to join us in our celebrations.  From her birth to her baptism to her birthday and all the home addition work in between, we are truly blessed by all the amazing people in our lives.

EJ definitely enjoyed her special day once she had a chance to take in all the faces that came to see her.  She was the cutest little guest of honor, greeting + smiling for everyone and never even cried once!  She was quite happy being passed from mom to dad to auntie to grandma to friend and took it all in stride.  She even dug right into her personal colossal cupcake much to everyone’s cheering.  Though it took giving her a taste from a fork for her to realize she was supposed to eat it.  😛

I’m happy to say my mother caught it all on video with her iPad so she could share it with my dad (who was sadly called into the ER for a surgery for the majority of the party).  I couldn’t believe EJ ate nearly the entire thing! (I wasn’t sure if I should have stopped her sooner?)  I’m happy to report she never got a stomach ache that we could discern and never threw up so that was a success.

She was showered in gifts with a whole new summer wardrobe + beach toys + sunglasses + sun hats.  And like a perfect gift receiver, loved every one of her toys as she unwrapped them – more interested in her current one than the new one placed in front of her, haha.

I think the biggest success, after all the birthday girl festivities, was the double-sized play yard that my father set up in the living room.  We brought over some of EJ’s toys for her peers to play with and they seemed to really enjoy themselves which helped our friends + fellow parents enjoy a little adult conversation.

Even though I was a little nervous about planning such a thrown together Big Milestone party, I think it was success.  I’ve even got half her thank-you card written (usually a procrastinated chore for me)!  🙂

How did you celebrate your weekend?

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EJ’s First Birthday Reflection

The Days are Long but the Nights are Short

It is an accepted fact that these little ones in our care grow up far too quickly.  And I think it has a lot to do with our struggle to keep up with the day-to-day of living (clean dishes anyone?) while still trying to stop + be fascinated with these tiny humans (that wrinkle-nose smile never gets old!).

So it is with this in mind that I say, “when did you grow up already!?” + “Slow down on that growing-up thing” so I can be in the moment with her more.  These desires to be present + observe all her little personality traits are what motivate me to get a dishwasher (true story) + hire a cleaning lady (if only for deep cleaning every couple months) + just outsource more housekeeping.  I don’t want to wake up one day to a clean house (though it would be lovely!) + find out my daughter is heading off to college.

But I digress.  Today is about EJ + her amazing milestone of turning ONE. YEAR. OLD.  The Humble Christian in me feels truly blessed when I say what a miracle it is to celebrate her birthday today because so many babies don’t make it (every story breaks my heart!).  I’m not trying to sound morbid, just acknowledging what an accomplishment it is.  And how proud I feel of our little family for getting here.

To all my New Mommy friends

Those endless nursing sessions + long nights really do fade away into yesterday.  Your nipples toughen up so quickly you don’t realize it until weeks later (at least I didn’t).  One night you wake up before Baby + realize they “missed” their feeding and you get to go back to sleep.  And then it happens another night until you are both “sleeping through the night”!
The amount of milestones + new teeth + outgrown clothing overlap so much you start to loose track which happened when.  Although I’ve been doing my best to remember “She first crawled the week after her 5 month birthday,” dated pictures (thank you smartphone!) have been my best memory keepers.  Thus backing them up to a hard drive + Shutterfly is a must for this Mama.
My biggest advice is to drink in their sweet baby smell every day.  Give them the biggest hug every time it crosses your mind.  Because one day they really will be “all grown up” + smashing cake at their first birthday party  🙂

Happy Birthday my Sweet Baby Girl!

Back up all those lovely photos + Have a great weekend!

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Since Becoming a Mama…

“I see you!”

I can’t believe it will be nearly a year (this week!) since I became a mama to the most beautiful, bubbly + SMART baby girl.  Looking back on the 12 months that we’ve managed to survive, I’ve never felt such growth in my adulthood. 

* I’ve started searching out more “organically practicing” food sources (because it’s expensive and too many hoops to jump through for the small farmer) for meat and dairy essentials as well as other grocery items when I stumble upon them.  We’ve been very fortunate to have such a great network of Farmers’ Markets (Toledo + Perrysburg) as well as a strong local food movement gaining ground in our local grocery stores.  I’ve also learned to reach out to friends of different ages (like my mom + her friend) and different lifestyles (my single, no-kids friends) to help me continue canning every summer now that I also have EJ to watch.  Hopefully this year she can help? watch more of the action.

* Celebrating the small successes more often & remembering to prioritize the comforts of home (real dinner at a real dinner time; bedtime rituals; alone time with hubby; me-time!; blogging, crafting & daydreaming brainstorming) have been the biggest challenges but also the best rewards.

Look at that clean endtable!  “Look Mom!  I can almost reach your coffee!”

* Baby proofing has been the best motivator for a clean(er) house.  As in, HIDE EVERYTHING!  😛  The toys around the room don’t bother me because they are easy to gather back into their basket.

Isn’t it so pretty?  I love Target.

It is my reading clutter (magazines + newspapers) that I sheepishly cannot seem to corral as beautifully.  I can’t wait until we have the rest of the house baby proofed (gulp – yes, so far it is only the living room sectioned off with baby gates).

EJ loves to help fold laundry.  She is really good at pulling everything out of the basket.

* I’ve learned the TRUE meaning of the word MULTI-tasking.  I can now backup videos (aka “home movies”) from my phone to my computer while playing chase with EJ while folding laundry (did I mention running the washing machine + the dishes drying?).  Of course, those are the good, long-napping days.  Other days I’m lucky we are all fed, dressed & smiling.  😉  I’m sure other moms can attest to these less-than-stellar days.  The beauty is that there are plenty of both days so the good days pick up the slack for the less-than days which keeps it all in perspective.

What have you learned with your newest transformation?

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Summer Review

Another long-lost post that was started but never posted.  It is definitely fun to read through last year’s canning season to wet the palette for this year’s goals.  My goodness where has summer gone??  Nap times have been spent cleaning & keeping up with housework as well as the occasional canning session.  And since time is so fleeting as it is, blogging has unfortunately move to the back burner 😦  But not forgotten!  Many times I have snapped a picture and thought, “This would be a great blog post!” only to barely find time to post it to Instagram (better than nothing, right?)

Canning:

June 25: strawberry jam
Aug 21: Green beans from the backyard garden

I started canning already-picked green beans from the garden and realized I had enough room for a couple more quarts.  Since EJ was still miraculously sleeping, I went out and picked more, washed & stuffed them in clean jars and even processed the whole canner before she woke up!  It was her first nap over 20 minutes – which turned out to be 3 hours long!

Sept. 8: Salsa & sauce
Aug. 24: Tomato pieces
Sept 14: Tomato Sauce

To my Mama friends, have you discovered Baby Wearing??  I feel like I just discovered an alternate universe with this lifestyle!  Here I thought cloth diapering had a following…

Here and there I have slowly started to carve out knitting time but I think it will pick up more when the colder weather sets in and I’m not busy with canning.  Even the garden has taken a hit of neglect 😦

I certainly hope my 2015 garden will be better tended than it was last year.  Maybe EJ will even get her hands dirty…  Are you planning any canning or gardening for Summer 2015?

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Putting it in Perspective

A couple weeks ago, I asked the city inspector to come out & see if we could start insulating the second story of the addition (future master bedroom).  I was having my second productive day in a row, chugging along through laundry, dishes, phone calls & picking up the house – with EJ in the play pen – when the knock came and I realized the house was a disaster!

2 laundry baskets waiting to be folded; an arm chair piled with half my yarn stash & etsy items waiting to be photographed; baby toys all over… :/

…not to mention all the dishes covering my entire kitchen counter.
But then it was like a voice reminding me:

Be thankful that I have a washer & dryer (no laundromat trips) and clothes TO wash.
Thank God for a healthy baby who is meeting & exceeding her milestones that we need a play pen; that we were even BLESSED with a beautiful daughter (some are not so lucky) & the resources to provide for her.
Thank God for such a beautiful, sturdy house that we can afford to live in & even afford to build on to, for our need of more space.
Thank God almighty for my beautiful, loving family & the hard working, selfless husband He has provided me.

And how could I not be over the moon thankful for this beautiful face?
So on this day I felt the call to show my thanks through service in the home: cleaning & organizing as best as I could with a little 8mo between my feet.  And I have to say, at the end of the day, I felt quite accomplished.  🙂

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Decorating for Christmas

Slowly but surely it is starting to look like Christmas around here!

Hubby hung the Christmas lights on the house last week & I hung up the wreath on our door.

I had hopes to get three stockings knit up by now but it hasn’t yet.  Maybe next week?  Last night I got around to making this crochet star garland, though, and that is a decoration crossed off the list!

We’re planning to pick out a real Christmas tree this year so EJ has the full holiday experience.  It should be up by this weekend and I’ll update with a photo when we do.

What decorations have you put up?

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