Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on the Garden

(Basil, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomato, bell pepper, and cubanelle pepper)

I have been very pleased with how the garden turned out this summer. It was a positive experience and I can't wait to do it again next year. The above is a sampling of some of the produce we have picked from the garden. Lots of lettuce, tons of peppers (bell and cubanelle) and my hot peppers are still maturing. TONS of cherry tomatoes, a good amount of yellow tomatoes (so sweet), some squash, 3 pumpkins, some cucumbers, basil.

And 2 okra. Not exactly enough for a meal. The plants are still growing so maybe we will get some more. I only have 2 plants and I didn't realize you have to grow a lot of okra to get enough for a meal. Oops!

Items I will definitely be planting again:
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Bell Peppers
  • Hot peppers (not sure on variety yet)
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Squash or Zucchini
  • Chives

Items I will NOT be planting again:
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Okra
  • Corn

These took up too much room and/or didn't produce. Our corn plants grew but never produced any edible corn. I don't know what happened. The peas never took off and I couldn't get them to crawl up the sticks for them. Radishes were fun but no one likes them except for me and I'd rather use the room for something else. I apparently don't have enough room for okra.

Items I WANT to grow next year:
  • Broccoli
  • Blue, White, or Mini pumpkins
  • Tomatillos
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Sunflowers
  • Cilantro
I don't think it is possible to grow everything I want to grow! But I really want to grow some blue pumpkins--how cool would that be?

Things to remember for next year:
  • I learned about powdery mildew and how it can kill plants. My cucumber plants started out great and then died. I figured out that the powdery white stuff that seemed to be killing the plant was mildew and had also spread to my pumpkin and squash plant. I also learned of a natural preventative spray you can make for the plants to keep that mildew away.
  • I will do one tomato plant and one cherry tomato plant. And I will use large wooden stakes to tie the tomato plant to instead of the cage. The cages collapsed and damaged some of the stalks.
  • I want to plant MORE basil for making pesto and freezing.
  • Plant earlier in the season and start seeding plants indoors in April.
  • I only need 1 cubanelle plant, not 3.

After the plants stop producing I have 3 bags of cow manure to turn into the ground. Hopefully this will make the soil healthy and more productive next summer.

By the way, the bell pepper plant where I buried the placenta is HUGE and so healthy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't Bump The Glump

You know how kids love to read the same books over and over? Ours are pros. Isaac purposely likes to hear stories over and over so he can memorize them and tell the stories. My mom bought us Shell Siverstein's Don't Bump The Glump a while ago and the boys have loved it. Short poems that tell silly stories.

When we read the book now they stop us and say, "oh, let me do that one!" And then they recite the poem. It is more fun to hear them say the poems than us and we got Isaac on film so we could remember how cute he sounds when he tells them. It makes us smile every time. I am putting the words down below in case you can't understand.

So, enjoy!

The following poems were taken from Shel Silverstein's Don't Bump the Glump

The Crawfee

That silly fish the crawfee
Has been swimming in my coffee.
But now I've drunk it up
And he isn't in my cup.
And he's nowhere to be found....
Do you think that he has drowned?

See The Muffer
Above, you see the Muffer, who...
You don't?
Well anyway, you see his tracks, the Muffer has gone to sup---
You don't?
Why that sly old beast...
I do believe he's gone and covered them up!

The Zrbangdraldnk has just arrived
And it's up to me to announce him.... do you pronounce him...?

The Gletcher
See the Gletcher in his cage,
His claws are sharp, his teeth are double.
Thank heaven he's lovked up safe inside,
Or we'd all be in terrible trouble!

The slithergadee has crawled out of the sea.
He may catch all the others, but he won't catch me.
No you won't catch me, old Slithergadee,
You may catch all the others, but you wo-----

The Wild Gazite
Late last night
I'd a terrible fight
With a wild Gazite
With eyes of white
And a fifty-foot height
And he gave me a fright
When he gave me a bite
And then squeezed me so tight.
But I fixed him, alright--
I turned on the light!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Feel Like A Brave Mommy

The weather here has been beautiful during the day. It is the kind of weather where you want to be outside as much as you can because it is brisk in the mornings but lovely in the afternoons. It is a sign that cold weather is coming and that I had better enjoy the sunny afternoons while I still can. I got dinner going by putting a chicken in the oven and asked the boys if they wanted to go swimming or go to the "super cool" park. Swimming won the vote and I immediately wasn't sure if I was really ready to take all the boys swimming by myself.

I quickly tried to convince Ewan that we would have more time at the park but he was insistent on swimming. So we had to go. If I wasn't sure I shouldn't have opened my big mouth!

Ewan wears a swim pack that the Y has for kids and Isaac has a swim vest he scootles around in. The swim pack isn't as floatatious (is that a WORD?) as a swim vest. It keeps him from sinking but gives him lots of freedom to swim around the pool. Isaac can go where he wants in the vest and I worry about him less since it keeps him pretty upright.

So we all got in the pool with me holding Graham and the other two swimming around. The Y has some fun floaty rafts and exercise floats that the kids can play with. So they swam while I played with Graham and we had a great time. It wasn't hard at all and I think I am going to try and do it every week. Even though I don't get as much exercise as the boys do from swimming since I am holding Graham it is still fun and relaxing. I love that feeling of getting out of the water after swimming.

I faced one of my fears and got everyone in the pool with just me. Whew! I think it was worth it because I discovered a great way to spend the afternoon. And it will be a great way to spend some of the cold winter afternoons. We may have to go twice a week to beat the gray winter blues!

Yay me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mom Crowd is on TV!

The Mom Crowd, the website I write for, is on TV! Amanda, the founder and leader of TMC, was interviewed in San Antonio yesterday by Fox News.

Here is the link to the video! I had some trouble with the sound but maybe it will work better for you.

Isn't that COOL?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things (I Could Never Say)

Kids have it great, don't they? Sometimes I think they can get away with almost anything?

Yesterday, we went shopping for clothes. I thought we were shopping for clothes for the kids, but pretty soon we were shopping for clothes for me and for the boys...and then for mommy, too. I wanted her to try on this cute top that I thought she'd look "smokin'" in.

Minutes later from the dressing room, I hear a voice from my dearest, "Daddy, come here, please." So, I go into the dressing room followed by two boys traipsing behind. The usual discourse ensues:

"Wow," I say, "You look great!"

"Really?" says she, "You don't think I look too fat?"

"No, you look awesome! You should get it."

Meanwhile, two little boys are crawling around our feet in this 4'x4' ceiling-less cell. (I had the baby in my arms.)
So, neither Amelia nor I had really noticed that Ewan had snuggled up in front of her with his hands in the "up-up" position (like he would if he wanted her to pick him up).

Amelia pauses to look in the mirror again when...

Ewan suddenly gives her a total double "honk-honk" with his hands and declares for all the dressing rooms to hear:

"Mom, your nursies look GREAT!"

Two parents bury their faces in their shirts and laugh silently and uncontrollably!

And I wonder to myself, "Now why didn't I just say THAT!" =)

Ah, kids, they say the darndest things!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Guessing Game

Guess who this is...

Guess what is all over Graham's face....

Okay, no guessing here. I just love these overalls. I have some cute pictures of Ewan wearing them when he was a few months older than Graham here. I was trying to get a picture of him standing up without holding on to anything but he saw the camera and wanted to hold it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Memorable Conversation

Isaac still wears a diaper for his naptime and bedtime. I really want to get him out of the diapers for nap time but he has had a bad habit of pooping in his diaper either before he falls asleep or right after he wakes up. I would rather not clean up a poopie bottom at all but I'd rather clean it out of a diaper over underwear.

The other day he pooped before he came out of his room. Feeling a little put out, I told him firmly that he is a big boy now and that diapers are not made for big boys to poop in. I told him that he is almost 4 and that he needs to get out of diapers for nap time soon. He is big enough to get out of bed, take off the diaper and poop in the potty. I told him that it is a little gross for mommy to clean the dirty diaper.

He very sweetly said he was sorry. Here is the rest of the conversation:

Isaac: I'm sorry, mom. Really, I am.
Mommy: I know, Isaac. I believe you. I just want you to go poop in the toilet rather than the toilet.
Isaac: Okay.
Mommy: You know that I love you, right?
Isaac: Really?
Mommy: Of course! I love you very, very much!
Isaac: Thanks mom, I needed that.

And he ran off to play with his brother.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pumpkin Harvest

We harvested our pumpkins from the garden this morning. It has started to get rainy so I wanted to go ahead and pick them since they were already turning orange. I didn't want them to get rotted. We got 3 pumpkins from the garden. The smaller 4th in the front is from our farmers market. I don't know if we will carve any of them or if we will just use them for decorative purposes, maybe eating. I will definitely be growing pumpkins again next year!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Graham is 1!

A few hours old

Two Months old

6 Months old

9 Months Old

11Months Old

The birthday boy eating his cake.

Graham turned 1 on September 3rd and what an amazing year it has been! I love that sweet boy so much. He weighs 26 lbs. and is about 32 inches tall. He says "night, night", "bye-bye", "this". He waves, signs milk, fan, and lights. He loves his brothers and he thinks his daddy hung the moon. He also loves climbing the stairs--in fact I would say he is passionate about climbing them, much to my chagrin. He likes crashing blocks, playing with balls, and enjoys playing with anything that looks like a stick, markers included. We had a small birthday gathering for him and he loved all his presents. He got some blocks from the grandparents, a ball maze from us, a hammer peg toy and some books from some friends. I am looking forward to another amazing year with him!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Small Rant

Can the people of Pittsburgh and all its townships and boroughs PLEASE, PLEASE get some readable and/or ACTUAL street signs? I am so tired of driving to places I am unfamiliar with and not being able to turn on the appropriate streets because there are NO SIGNS! Grrrrrrrrr..................

And even though bringing chips and other junk food to preschool for snack time is fun can we please do what the school requests and bring healthy snacks? They don't have to be homemade or anything. Grapes and cheese sticks. Apple slices with a peanut butter side. Carrots and a fun dressing to dip in. Not chips. Not cupcakes. Not marshmallows.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back From The Beach

Thanks to G.W. Bush we were able to take our stimulus economy package and go to Wildwood, NJ on a beach vacation. Thank you Mr. President! I can't believe I am thanking G.W. for something! We had TONS of fun and I have lots of stories and pictures but I think I am going to post them in several chunks. It makes it easier to share the pictures.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Artsy Shots From the Beach

Some pictures will be double posted since they have stories behind them too. A friend gave me a photography book that had a few helpful hints in it and I have tried using them with our camera. As a result I have gotten more good shots of the family. I think all these are my best attempts at getting good pictures. You'll have to tell me which ones stand out to you.

Sitting on a broken pier and pipe combination.

Wood with algae and barnacles. This gets covered with water when the tide comes in.

Seagull eating.

Graham crawling in the waves.


Feet in the sand.

Late afternoon silhouette.

Candid shot running around on the beach.

Enjoying the water.

Not wanting shorts to get wet.

Isaac playing with his "guys" a.k.a Star Wars action figures.

Sand baby.

More Isaac with his guys and Ewan in background.

Beach Trip Highlights Part I

We stayed at the Aloha Oceanfront Motel right across the street from the beach in Wildwood, NJ. It was lovely. Our motel was a suite with kitchen, 2 bedrooms, and pull out couch. All the rooms looked out to the ocean and had chairs to sit in while hanging out on the balcony.

Wildwood has a huge boardwalk with a waterpark, theme park rollercoasters, kiddie rides, carnival food, and adrenaline games. We let the kids pick two rides each to go on. It was fun to see their faces. Isaac picked out a fun racetrack ride that was a short track but whipped around the corners really fast. Here are the pictures from that:

We also went to Cape May which is about 15ish miles south of Wildwood. Cape May is on the very tip of New Jersey and we went up a lighthouse to see the view. We could see across to Delaware from the lighthouse. It is about 6 stories high and to go up you have to climb up a very narrow spiral staircase. Not so easy holding a 25 lb. baby who squirms. I had a death grip on him going up and coming down. Going down especially. Graham wanted to grab the banister and the part of the stairs going down was very narrow and you had to pass by people going up at the same time. I felt like I couldn't see where I was going very well. I was so sore the next few days holding on to him so tight! Jon was offering to hold him but there was no way I was going to let the one armed guy hold the baby going down those stairs! The boys did great and took their time. I was glad when we got all the way down in one piece.
The lighthouse.

I'm smiling but really I am a little nervous about being so high up and standing on a small passageway around the lighthouse.

Going up.

Holding the squirmy bug.

It is hard to see from this picture but that big cement thing on the beach in an old army bunker from WWII used to blast any German subs and boats that tried to land. The government came later and took all the guns but left the cement structures. We didn't go down there to look at it but I thought it might have been fun to climb on.

You can't tell from this picture but across the sea is Delaware. Pretty cool.

Cape May is gorgeous with lots of beautiful homes and shops. It felt very touristy and I was glad we stayed in Wildwood but went and visited.

Beach Highlights Part II

I love the beach. Always have. I think it goes back to when I was a kid and we took several trips to the beach for vacation. I have great memories of riding the waves with my dad, looking for sea shells with my mom and building lots of sand castles. And swimming in the hotel pool. I love the smell, the sound, and the feel of the sand on my feet. Sure, the sand is invasive to the body but I love it. We took several walks along the beach and Ewan has turned out to be my assistant explorer. He liked looking for shells and walking in the water. Isaac doesn't like getting splashed so he was wary of walking along the shoreline and got bored looking for shells. He brought along some Star Wars guys to play with one day and kept himself entertained that way. We found hermit crabs and a dead horseshoe crab.

One morning, Jon took Ewan and Isaac to a local aquarium while Graham and I stayed behind so he could nap. After he took a nap we went out for a walk with him strapped in my Mai Tai. I got quite the workout, let me tell you. Walking in the sand works different muscles and my body felt the weight of carrying him around.

While we were on our walk, I found the coolest Conch shell buried in the sand! I was walking along and saw something sticking out of the sand. I moved some of the sand away with my toe and realized that it was a VERY cool shell. So I dug it up. Then I realized that the Conch animal was still inside of it! Up until that point I was excited that I had found the best shell I had ever come upon. There was no way I was going to kill the animal just to have the shell so I layed it back down in the sand and watched it bury itself again. The animal was very slow to bury itself so I tried helping it. Of course Graham started getting fussy and was ready to eat so I had to head back to the hotel. I was nervous about leaving because I didn't want anyone else to come along and find it and take it home. No one had been walking around where I was but I was still nervous that someone would see it. I felt like I had a moral dilemna. If I left it there and someone else found it and took it home then would it be okay for me to just take it? I knew I wouldn't feel right about that but I also knew it would feel unfair for someone else to take it. So I left hesitantly and sure enough as I was leaving a man and his son shortly walked by, found the conch, picked it up and carried it off. I thought about running after them and telling them I thought they should throw it back in the ocean and then I kicked myself for not thinking of that earlier! I guess I thought it needed to be near the shoreline or something but I should have given it a good toss.
The shell was about as big as my foot!

I kind of hope that some day I will live on or near the beach. I find it peaceful and relaxing.