Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Garden

Here is the garden. We don't have a fence in our backyard and this is in the back left corner of our yard. There is a small hill just beyond that tree you see and the hill divides our yard from our neighbors. We put the garden here because we have a GIANT walnut/somekindofunediblenut tree in our backyard and this is the sunniest spot.

In the pots are: large leaf basil, lettuce, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, small leaf basil
In the ground: yellow tomato plants, cherry tomato plants, chives, jalepeno, sweet pepper

In the rows from seeds: 4 corn plants, 2 pumpkin, 2 watermelon, 2 squash, a row of radishes, a row of peas, and half a row of okra

First fruits of the bell pepper

Pumpkin sprout

It is a 4X8 plot and I probably over planted but I think I will learn by trial and error. At the very least I think we will have squash, pumpkin, and watermelon vines spreading throughout the backyard. Hee-hee. Jon will have fun mowing around that! Hopefully we will see some "fruits" from all I planted. I also have a cucumber plant in a pot in the front yard (not shown).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Graham 9 months old

Okay, so Graham turned 9 months old on June 3rd. I don't have a paper with all his info on it so I have to improvise with this months picture a little bit.

Jonathan Graham Antonius Parker
9 Months Old
22# 4 oz.
? " long

LOVE this picture of Ewan and Graham together!

Within the last few weeks, Graham has started pulling up, feeding himself, sleeping longer (we are working on 12 hours), babbling like crazy, and popped 2 upper teeth. He has begun to crawl a little on his hands and knees but prefers the army crawling he started when he was 7 months old. He actually has some skin rubbed off on his feet where he pushes off with them as he scooches on the floor.

I have to add lots of stain cleaners to the laundry because the tummy part of his shirt gets really dirty with our hardwood floors. The trains here haul coal back and forth on the railroad and coal dust gets EVERYWHERE. So, it doesn't matter how often I clean the wood floors he will still get coal dust and dirt on his shirts.

He is not a pro at pulling up to his feet yet but he can do it if he wants to. I'll have to get a picture of how he pulls up on the stairs and tries to play. Let's just say that the way he likes to pull up and play leads to collapsing with a head bonk on the floor. It doesn't deter him too much though.
I have eliminated his 3rd nap and he is getting used to staying awake for longer stretches during the day. I know it will make life easier to have a longer time in the afternoon to get some errands done or go on a fun adventure but he tends to get a little grumpy and I am trying to figure out how to include him at our dinner time in the evenings since he usually needs to be in bed between 6 and 6:30. In order to give him time to get on jammies and final nursing/bottle I think it means I need to start dinner around 5pm instead of 5:30 or 6. That is a little difficult for now but I am trying to adjust.

Just when you think you got it down something inevitably changes!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Placenta Is Buried--Not For The Squeamish

I dug up a garden plot last week. I have wanted a garden for the last 8 years and I finally just went for it. I have also been waiting for the right moment to thaw Graham's placenta (that has been living in the freezer the last nine months) to bury it in the ground. The garden plot seemed like the perfect place. A placenta is what gives the baby life in the womb and I like the idea of putting in the ground somewhere that will grow plants which also symbolize creation and life.

I had mixed emotions about burying the placenta. I felt sad and I wished that I had some close friends with me to celebrate the moment. I know it sounds strange--I can imagine many eyes rolling as this gets read or some ewwwww gross faces. That's okay. Placenta burying isn't for everyone. But it was right for me and I wished that I had enough foresight to have some reflection time before actually burying it. I think that part of me felt sad because it felt like I was saying goodbye to part of Graham's babydom. What if he is my last baby? I think there was a small part of me mourning that possibility. Plus, there was something cool about having the organ that sustained Graham throughout his development in my womb. Here are the pictures of my little "ceremony".

This is the bag that was holding the placenta. You can see the cord hanging out a little.

I wanted to inspect the placenta. I didn't really get to look at it much after Graham was born. Things were a little chaotic right after he was born and I was too busy bonding with him after that.

I wasn't sure what the placenta would look like after it had been frozen and thawed but it looked just a normal post-birth placenta. The cord was still jelly like and you could still see the veins.

Here I am holding up the amniotic sac where Grahammy lived for 9 months. It was so neat to see how big the sac and placenta was.

It is about to go in the ground. We put the dirt over it and I planted some pepper plants around it. I hope to have a lot of fun with my little garden and I think I will smile every time I look at it because I know that some extra part of who we are as a family went into making it.

I'll post some more pictures soon of the finished garden. I already have some lettuce, radish, pumpkin, and okra shoots coming up. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dove Family on the Porch

We had a dove family nest on our porch this year. Here is the mamma with her two babies, although I think you can only see one in the picture. She sat so still for days nesting and the daddy would bring her food.

Here are the babies. They grew huge in just a few weeks. The mamma would go off for food and then come back and vomit it into their mouths. It sort of looked like they were wrestling. Those birds grew really fast.

Eventually the mamma didn't come back to the nest for a few days so I don't know if she booted the babies out or if they ventured out themselves when she disappeared. She came back to show them how to hunt for food. I didn't get any pictures of that but I saw her teaching them. The babies hung around on the front porch for a couple of days and we got really close. The boys thought it was fascinating. They took pictures with their camera too.

I've never seen a dove nesting family before. When we were looking at housing last year I noticed a dove nesting on the porch so I think it is the same family coming back to nest. Pretty cool.

Beaver One, Beaver All!

We went to the zoo on Thursday and had a blast. It was a pretty warm day but it didn't deter us from having any fun. We saw lots of interesting things. A group of Amish families, two pregnant elephants due this month or next, a one armed monkey, a family of beavers, and a very interesting magnetic sticker on a car (see below).

I guess whoever owns this car has a lot of problems with it and made this sign. I thought it was pretty funny.

We had a late night the night before so we weren't originally planning on going to the zoo but when we looked at our plans for the rest of the weekend it was the only day we could go. The boys had a FABULOUS attitude the whole time we were out. They were worn out at the end of the day but had a lot of fun.

Texas, Texas, yee-haw!

They have Polar Bears at the Pittsburgh zoo and this what they use to trap polar bears when they get too close to humans. It turns out we have two polar bears in our family.

The Smooshers. Can you see his two top teeth?

Taking a napski with his foot propped up. Doesn't he look huge?

This was one of my favorite things of the day: the beavers. The male and female beavers had a litter of 6 babies and they were sooooo cute! It was the first time I have actually seen a beaver in real life so I was struck by how large they are. The babies kept getting in the water to swim and the mamma would go catch them in her mouth and carry them back to the shore. Over and over again. It was pretty cute. I didn't know that beavers parent their babies like that. I could have watched them for a long time but when zooing with small kids you can't linger at any one site for too long.

Two beaver babies.

Beaver baby practicing his chewing of sticks.

The one armed monkey. It can swing from branch to branch using its usable arm and tail. Cool to watch.

Daddy and son. Awwww.....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I Heart School Breaks

Jon has been on break from school for a week and a half and it has been awesome--except for us getting a little cold. It interfered with my (long) honey do list.

We have had some fun family times eating lunch on the front porch, going to the Y to swim one afternoon, and playing together as a family. Jon and I have had lots of much needed conversations that we didn't know we needed to have. We have been playing cards over lunch after all the kids are down for naps. Nothing like a good game of cards to reconnect, apparently.

Sadly, I don't think our honey do list will be completed by the end of this week but a good portion of projects will be finished. We have discovered that one project often leads to MANY other projects which is really annoying. It is tempting to start on 5 other projects related to the original which then makes you not ever complete the original. Here is a funny post relating to that concept from another blog that I love to read. It has taken Jon all year to hang up the curtain rods in our bedroom and the boys bedroom so I know that whatever is left unfinished or not started won't be completed for a LONG time. I don't want him to look like a bad guy--it isn't that he WON'T finish the projects but we have a value that on the weekends we like to hang out together as a family and projects take a backseat. Now that the boys are a little older, the weather is conducive to being outside, and the boys are content to play outside while projects are being done nearby, I think it is possible to get stuff done.

We are repainting the front porch (floor, inside and outside trim, railings, porch swing, ceiling) and thankfully the boys have been happy to play outside while daddy works on the porch. No major paint spills or injuries have taken place. We did have a scary run in with the possibility of lead paint. The ceiling really needs to be stripped and scraped before being repainted. Jon started scraping and we noticed that there were about 6 layers of paint under what was on top. I wondered aloud if there might be lead paint underneath as I watch paint dust and chips falling on the floor of the porch that we all walk in and out of 20 times a day. I happened to have a little lead paint testing kit and the results were a little ambiguous but a part of the paint turned pink which means that dangerous levels of lead are around. I was trying not to freak out that a pile of poison was scattered all over the porch and figuring out how to clean it up safely without letting lead dust get in the grass and dirt around the house. All I could think of was how we could track it in the house and then Graham would ingest lead paint dust from the floor and become mentally retarded from some stupid house project.

Needless to say we abandoned scraping the ceiling and are just going to repaint over what is there. It does make it an easier project for Jon. And when mommy isn't freaking out about the possibility of her children getting poisoned by paint then everyone is much happier. Living in a house that is sure to have lead paint in it somewhere is a faith stretch but I have to trust that God called us to live here and will protect us and give us wisdom when we need it.

Our two weeks of Saturdays will end when Jon starts Hebrew Exegesis on Monday for two weeks. Then right after that class is over he starts Greek which lasts all summer. Even though he is in classes all summer they aren't paper writing classes which means that life will not feel so crunched and Jon will have more free time than normal because he won't have to be reading and staying up late finishing papers.

We have been warned by many that Greek is so hard and that if you are married to someone taking Greek then you are basically a single parent for the whole summer. Um, that isn't intimidating in the LEAST....not! We are trying to be optimistic that Jon will do fine with it since he loves learning languages (although, what doesn't Jon like to learn?) and he did fine with Hebrew last summer. I am praying that it comes easily to him because I don't want him to be stressed all summer and selfishly, I don't want to be a single parent all summer because he has to study all day and night.

So, I heart school breaks and I am going to spend every minute I can enjoying warmer weather and sunny days (when we have them).