May Garden Update

Time for the May Garden Update.

This month was cold cold cold. And rainy rainy rainy. My cool weather plants adored it, but they were alone in their opinion. Still, I watched in wonder as my lettuce/spinach/pea bed grew and grew and grew.
God bless cool season plants. I was even able to enjoy a lunch time salad with the thinnings of lettuce and spinach I took and in a week or two I'll plant more lettuce and spinach in the "rows" for a continuous harvest.

I also enjoyed success with my onion plantings.

And by the looks of the strawberry bed, we're going to get quite a harvest of those as well, they are all a-flower.

Elsewhere in the garden I didn't have quite the same luck,

All my herb seedlings died. This happens to me every. time. I attempt start things indoors. They die when I'm trying to harden them off, no matter how careful I am. Bugger. I replanted them outdoors in the corners of the raised beds and most are already sprouted now. I think next year I will either just wait until I can plant outdoors, or I will purchase grow lights for indoors. We dont get a ton of direct sun in the house, which might be why my plants are so weak.

I also gave up on my potatoes in frustration. And then a week later 2 of the 9 popped several sprouts out of the soil.
Does this mean the rest will come up as well? I have no idea. Well, I have an idea about 4 of them, which rotted in the overabundance of rain. The other 5 seemed fine when I checked them, and obviously 2 were more then fine since they are now little potato plants. So the remaining 3 are the mystery. I will say that what isn't a mystery is if I am planting potatoes in the same spot next year: I will not. It's a bit shady and cold I've realized, and the deck pours rain directly onto that bed. I'm thinking lettuces and spinach for next year in that spot. They like the cold and dont mind compacted soil. Sprouts or no, I'm not expecting many potatoes this year :(

And the raspberries Josh has named "his stick garden". Nary a green shoot on those suckers. We will see. We're giving them until the fall to grow something, a leaf, anything, and then we will decide whether to try again next year or not.

But I don't let it get me down too much and I purchased and transplanted tomato starts into the garden, despite the cold weather.
(cherry tomatoes)
(big tomatoes, and those are sprouted carrots you can sort of see in the back. I'll be planting more carrots I finally get out there and do it.)

I also planted corn, squash, zucchini, and green beans. And the zucchini and green beans are just starting to germinate.
(green beans)

The squash and corn are yet to be seen but I'm not concerned yet.

Next month I want to:
-Plant more carrots, lettuce, and spinach to extend harvest.

But other than that one chore, its pretty much upkeep and harvest from here on out. Yay!

New Floors!

Our house isn't really that old, as far as old houses go. None of Josh and I's parents were yet born the year it was built but almost all of our grandparents were.

It seems to have attracted more then its fair share of enthusiastic, yet inexperienced, do-it-yourself owners over the years, however- I once counted 5 (five!) different styles of baseboard still in use, almost none of them properly installed. And once, after drilling a hole in the wall, I spent a bemused half hour staring at the tiny layers of old paint newly exposed. Layer after layer of color like some permanent rainbow history of our house's many past lives. I could clearly identify seven different colors, and I wasn't sure there weren't a few more.

I don't begrudge the handymen of our home's past- Josh and I are not least among them. The first thing we did, after being handed keys, was paint over half the house. We were as inexperienced and enthusiastic as the rest of them and by looking at the details you can tell which room we began in and which room we finished last- our skill grew with time. We've finished many projects since then, and we still have our running list of projects waiting to begin. Projects waiting for funds (finishing the basement), projects waiting for motivation (repainting all the trim), projects waiting for the other spouse to get behind them (Josh-rebuilding the deck, me-transforming one of the small bedrooms into a master bathroom/walk-in-closet).

One of the very first projects I had in mind for the house was wood floors. Carpet is my kryptonite. My bane. My arch nemisis. It is the very blight of my life, a scourge on my otherwise happy existence.

Unfortunately, it was also installed in our house and removing it was firmly in the "projects waiting for the other spouse to get behind them" category.

But in the last two years, between that time Josh let Zeke eat blueberry yogurt in the livingroom, that time Malachi danced on a cartons worth of raspberries, potty training the puppy, potty training the toddler, and a hundred other mishaps, between a husband who wont take his shoes off, a dozen times shelling out to get it steam cleaned, and two overworked and broken vacuums later- our carpet had gotten into an embarrassingly stained state. Also, shag doesn't give up cracker crumbs, it doesn't matter how many times you vacuum. The crumbs will live there forever.

Then the many small things we board and feed (otherwise known as children and pets) decided to start pulling the carpet fibers out. One by one. Creating a hole in the middle of the livingroom.

And reader? I. lost. my. shit.

It was the last straw.

And new floors went straight from the "projects waiting for the other spouse to get behind them" category to the "things we are doing this weekend" category.

So Thursday The Hole happened, and Josh and I started pricing out options online, weighing wood and laminate in our minds. Friday we went to Home Depot and bought everything we needed. Saturday the boards acclimated to our house's temperature and we had a BBQ we'd been planning for a few weeks.

Sunday we moved all the furniture,

(see that white square where the couch had been? yuck.)

and ripped up all the carpet.
(here I am contemplating the wood floors we found underneath.)

(here are Jonathan and Mal pulling up carpet staples)

Monday we forgot to take many pictures, but we spent the entire day installing our new laminate flooring in the livingroom and hallway. We dont even have an empty and completed pic because I slowly moved the furniture back as the room was completed to appease Zeke. Zeke was NOT pleased with the house upset. Or with the fact that daddy and Jonathan were both home yet neither were playing with him. Or with the noise that the saw made- which frightened him.

Malachi was happy as a clam. He loved pushing furniture and he loved using tools and he loved the saw and he happily pointed out where each new board should go for us.

About 10 o clock we finished. Or..."finished". About 10 o clock we ran out of the type of nail we needed for trim. So i guess it will be Finished with a capital F after we buy those.

It brings our different types of flooring in the house count up to 5- but I don't care, it matches all the baseboards.


"We want to just cuddle now." he says, gently lifting a blanket over his brother's legs, "Because Malachi and I are on the same team."

And this is so full.

My heart permanently residing at the base of my throat, and not just when my kids are defying gravity and all common sense.

And this is the kind of fullness that begs to be shared. To be added to.

So Josh and I talk and talk, in circles. We talk about my body, my health, my emotional stability and readiness. We talk about what we have lost, what we have gained- what we stand to lose or gain in the future. We talk about the number 3. We talk about other numbers too, numbers of bedrooms and numbers of seats in our car and the ever-present-in-our-mind number of dollars required and acquired.

We talk about the fullness of our life, and try to measure something unmeasurable. Will our cups, as they say, runneth over? We both know the feeling of barely treading water. Will we fill until we are overfull and drowning?

And the allegory falls away, contracts, and comes back new.

Should we allow it to? To spill over? Isn't that what fullness does at its greatest? Spill over and run out and engulf?

And we've talked about this before, with its different set of numbers, different things to be lost and to be gained. We talk about what family means, what we want our family to look like. We talk about what makes a child your own. We try to be honest and measure our fullness again, every person in this family on their own. Because this is a journey that can suck up everything you have, leaving you dry.

Are we that full? Each of us?

So full as to give and give and give and give to a child that knows nothing of receiving and still have more left over?

I joke that applications and home studies are not nearly as fun as sex and we stare down two very different paths. Two different risks.

I sit after our talk and try to visualize the child that I can feel in my heart, waiting. Does he look like me? Did he come from my womb?

The picture remains fuzzy.

And in the end we decide to wait out the rest of this year- the year that is supposed to be mine. We wait for the kids to get older, for the money to purchase a bigger car, for a few weeks or even days of sleeping thru the night in a row. We wait for more time to research into foster adoption. We wait for the bravery to really do this- or the honestly to admit that we cant.

We wait for the picture to become clear.

Malachi Was Here

The Josh-is-in-Seattle-all-weekend-I-hope-the-Apocalypse-IS-coming entry.

One fine afternoon Zeke walked into his bedroom and said a single phrase, all in caps...

"Malachi Was Here."

And so began a blog series.

Notice how all the flowers on the left have been freed from their petals. So kind, considering that just a few weeks prior he had taken all the leaves off another patch.

I knew I had a bag of diapers somewhere...ah yes of course. Why didn't I look there?

All I can guess is that after waking he climbed from the bed to the nightstand, and from there...ok I still cant figure out how he opened the window. The only good news is that I caught him before he climbed out onto the roof. And now that window is locked so tight that even I can't open it.

Off he goes to text the other three horsemen.

Planting (226-240)

It is at once a very brave, and a very simple thing- entrusting a seed into the earth.

It feels strangely removed from the stack of gardening books on my desk, each waxing intricate about companionate planting, crop rotations, double digging, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, annual last frost dates, and vermicomposting. It's as if all of that book learning doesn't belong near the soil at all.

When you strip away all of the techniques and tips- the best ways to stake a tomato, the
flowers guaranteed to detract slugs and aphids, the organic materials that will ensure your beans
flourish, the correct way to manually pollinate corn, and the pros and cons of chitting potato seed- when you set all of that aside and get down to the actual business of being outside...

Well, then it gets a whole lot simpler.

Turn the earth.

Dig a hole.

Place a seed.

Add water.


A 3 year old could explain it. Hell, a three year old did explain it to me, adding the sage advice that "it helps if you pull the weeds."

And I wonder, now that I'm pretty well finished with the process of planting, why I have to complicate it. Why we all have to complicate it. Why can't any of us just trust?

It really is ridiculously simple. Nature does all the work.

I love the planning. Don't get me wrong. I love the research, and it's not going to stop any time soon. Not until I get a major personality change, and while I'm not sure how those are running right now I'm fairly certain it's more then I can afford.

But I think the part I love best is when the research all falls away, and I get to finally get my hands dirty (literally).

What I love best is the simplicity of it.

And I think the part that's hardest for me, is the bravery of it.

The trust.

And has to be Trust.

# 226. Zoo's

#227. A child's wonder in the simplest things.

#228. Baths.

#229. Icecream.

#230. Weather finally catching up to the season.

#231. A baby's newfound appetite for books.

#232. Iced tea.

#233. Newly mown grass.

#234. Sunlight on golden curls.

#235. Milestones conquered.

#236. My every-other-yearly night out clubbing. To remind me that I dont actually enjoy clubbing.

#237. Kind strangers.

#238. This guys smile.

#239. Phone calls.

Oh yeah, that other thing we did last week

Sandwiched between the two weekends holding Bloomsday (12k) and Listen to Your Mother (mother's day show I wont shut up about) we went on our first family vacation!

I realize that there is perhaps no cliche more prevalent then the boring family vacation photos, but dude, it's been 5 years since Josh took me anywhere interesting and it will be another 5 years before it happens again so SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, AND LOOK AT MY PICTURES! Either that or click away, I wont know any different.

Wednesday (day 1) we drove up to Seattle as soon as we woke up. It's a 5ish hour drive, so not too bad but not excellent either.

We went straight to the Woodland Park Zoo where Zeke bonded with elephants,

Malachi considered the possibility that he belongs with the gorillas,

And they were both more excited about the dinosaurs then anything else, despite the fact that they arent, you know, real.

Josh tried to feed our baby to a T-Rex, which Zeke did NOT find funny.

Feeding loved ones to Tyrannosaurus' is kind of a thing with Josh I guess, here as evidence is a picture of him trying to feed ME to a T-Rex years and years ago when we were young and newly married and didn't have kids and slept in and went places all the time.

After the Zoo we checked into our hotel (easily the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at, THANKS TAMMY!!) and fed two very tired children sandwiches before putting them to bed.

Thursday (day 2) we took a bus straight to the Aquarium after having breakfast in our hotel room.

Malachi couldn't get enough of the touch-pools,

While Zeke would not having anything to do with them,

But they both adored watching the divers clean the big fish tank. Zeke was especially impressed with his "duck feet".

We had chowder bread bowls near the harbor before jumping a bus back to our hotel for a nap.

After nap we bussed back down to the habor (the public transportation system was awesome our whole trip, the buses are free downtown and honestly I think the boys enjoyed our many rides as much as anything else) for a harbor tour.

Here I am on the boat, attempting to get my sons to take a picture proving I was indeed on vacation with them.

Then we had fried fish at Ivaars. And ice-cream that called to us on our walk by the piers.

On Friday (day 3) we took the monorail to the Pacific Science Center.
We went straight to the Star Wars exhibit, where Zeke was very very cranky that we weren't at the Dinosaur exhibit.

Actually he was just plain very very cranky. We ended up leaving for an early nap shortly after the dinosaur exhibit.

But after nap, and a hotel-lunch, we went straight back to try it again.

Because I wanted to see the butterfly exhibit gosh darn it!!!
Which was totally worth it.

We ended up seeing all the rooms that we had missed before, and got to see the dinosaur exhibit AGAIN before we left to see the space needle.

Then we headed back to the hotel, via monorail, stopping by The Cheescake Factory on the way :)

On Saturday (day 4) we sadly, ok maybe a little relievedly, checked out of the hotel. We drove to the Children's Museum to get all of our morning energy out,

Had a quick lunch upstairs at the Seattle Center, and then headed home.