I was mowing the back area. I never do it. Ever. But I did. Mostly cause I wanted the grass clipping to mulch my tomatoes. And somehow I shot a golf ball 30 ft from the mower into the house window.
Josh laughed till he was unable to breath when I explained how I carefully duct taped the hole closed and then taped an old workbook over it to act as insulation. I am still not sure why this was so funny to him, but my work must have really tickled his handy soul.
That night I had a dream that I woke up and every window in the house was broken and I was trying to convince Josh that I didn't do it.
THEN - the next day I did something else I NEVER do. I took the kids to the pool. I hate public pools. I don't like swimming and I am too self conscience. But it was 100 degrees (for real) and what else was I going to do with the kids that needed to burn off energy? We had a total blast. I laughed so hard my face hurt. And while we were swimming some a-hole busted out my drivers side window of my new mini van and stole my empty wallet. I had all the cash in my wallet in my pocket. They got my frequent shopper cards, 38 cents in starbucks gift cards, and maybe a dollar in change. I didn't really care but it really scared Lily. She kept asking for Josh. The guys at the pool gave her a slushy and she calmed down, but I have never not been what she needed. She NEEDED Josh. She needed his comfort. Sister, I know it too. I wanted him too. When ever I feel unsafe, or sick, or fearful I NEED Josh. The slushy distracted her till we got home, but she wasn't right till she saw Josh. Then she was OK. That kid and I are more alike then even I know sometimes. I did not take a picture of the van because I was too stunned.
Once they get pulled as first they go into a holding pen to wait to show for higher placings.
So Lily babysat her while Shealyn showed her other goats.
This was big stuff for her.
See the flip flops?
Max just wanted to drink his bigger than him Lemon Shake Up.
Which he would not share with me.
Then when our little Nelly came out for her next class she won grand champion junior pygmy doe.
Then reserve champion pygmy doe! This may mean nothing to you but these are high placings for such a young baby. Plus she is just so sweet.
Side note - Emma got the bummer end of the deal. Her goats didn't do well this year. But she was in good spirits. I was proud of her sportsmanship. But next year I am going to make sure she is hooked up with some quality stock. As you may have guessed I am making a list about it right now.
Super side note - Shealyn is Josh's exwives boyfriends daughter. Read it again. It isn't as complex as it sounds. I ADORE the kid. Hard working, brave, smart. Love her. Shealyn lives with her mom in Florida during the school year. She and I via text message picked out her dairy baby goat to show. A first time for us in that group. And once we got him to fair to check in he got sent home. I guess they can't have horns. CRAP. I had already made her leave Ernie home because he was such a jerk that the girls and I couldn't get him shaved. (Dairy goats must be shaved) Luckily we had go to early check in on Saturday, the real check in was Sunday. Josh and I ran home and JOSH held down Ernie and I shaved him. It was a major wrestling match but it got done. Then the next morning I took Ernie in, and Shealyn was so happy to find him in her stall. Major cuteness factor.
The cottage garden started with three square foot gardening boxes - then a 4ft/8ft bed for tomatoes was added - and then it exploded. With tons of technical/construction help from my Josh I got to bring my little cottage garden to life.
I looked through many garden magazines and I was always drawn to the English cottage gardens, sometimes called potager gardens. I loved the idea of paths and arbors and all kinds of plants mixed together. The concept of straight row, just didn't appeal to me. I want a canvas to paint.
And Josh agreed. He started by putting in corner and fence posts.
Then the frames for the beds got made. We moved the one 4/8 and three 4/4 beds we already had into the design. Josh braced the longer beds with shorter boards that would be hidden under dirt, but would keep the beds from bowing.
Josh also screwed my handmade arbor (from fallen timber) into the gate posts so it wouldn't fall or move. The lumber was around $200 and the other supplies got the grand total to $350. I felt like that was expensive, but it would last a long time.
Once the frames were in we put weed mat in the beds and used the tractor to fill the beds. We knew to make them heaping full, because they would settle.
Josh added the high tensile fence around the garden. It's not to keep out animals - just to define the boards and give a visual stop to kids and dogs. But I didn't want it to block the view. Plants can grow up it too. After a little training of dogs and kids this has actually worked well.
I carefully read and tried hard to come up with a plan to make the best use of the space in my new little baby. And it basically worked. I knew the strawberries would take some time to come in, but the first little attempt was going pretty well.
One thing that needed to me changed was the front beds. The logs I had found were ok, but more down timber made the front flower beds just right. (The red cups were an attempt to grow daisies that didn't work out - put they looked kind of cute.)
Another issue I was having was the aisle ways were weedy and muddy. I put down new weed mat and bought a whole lot of mulch to spruce it up.
And that really improved the whole thing.
When fall rolled around (we are in zone five-so we get four full seasons) I covered the beds with a full foot of leaves and let them sit, except the strawberries got straw. Then the snow showed up and really covered it all. Meanwhile I started making design layouts and dreaming about seeds.
Then the spring rolled around and last years horse/goat/cow poop was this years compost. I raked off the layer of leaves and we added a few tractor scoops. Then the leaves went back on to block out the weeds.
I also came across the idea of added a bean frame.
Wait till you see how wonderful this thing is turning in. LOVE IT.
I planted and planted and planted. It started off so little and cute.
And then it got so crazy (and still cute).
But it is trucking along wonderfully.
Can't wait to see it!
If you want to see more click here to go to my gardening label.
We had our ultrasound last week. I walked in the door with panic in my heart. I picked a fight with the receptionist. For no good reason. I just felt like it. Hateful. Then I had to lay down on the very same ultrasound table were I saw Zack floating perfectly still, and I couldn't do it. I couldn't lay down. I just could not lay in that exact position, looking at that exact screen. I had to just cry my eyes out. Way too much drama. I just can't take it again. But then I finally got calmed down, and there you were. And I heard your heat beat and I just felt like you might be real.
This week I send in your first trimester screen blood work. It's a new test that is just a finger stick at home that I mail in. Then we go for our first trimester screening ultrasound in early August.
Then I am super excited about our 18 week ultrasound. Because of Zack we are getting some high risk treatment, which means a high risk ultrasound at 18 weeks instead on 20 weeks. We are not going to find out if you are a boy or girl. We are going to have the tech write it on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. Then I have it all lined up with a baker that we will take it to her and she will bake us a cake that is pink or blue on the inside. That night we will have our family over for dinner and then Lily will cut the cake. Showing everyone at the same time. We never did any of this cheesy stuff before, but we are this time.
This is something I want you to know when you are someday a grown man.
You saved me.
From the second I came home after your brother died you are the only one who always gave me exactly what I needed every day. You didn't give a rats ass that I wanted to curl up in a ball and not get out of bed. You are the only one who could treat me normally, because you really didn't care. You just wanted your Mommy, and you over looked that I was broken. You let me fake it for as long as I needed to. You warmed my heart when it was frozen. You patted me when I cried and still wanted your lunch. You demanded me to be present - and it helped me so much. There was a time period when I couldn't be away from you. I literally felt panic to leave the house with out you. You were my normal in a world on uncertainty. You were the only one who had no pity for me, or wasn't carrying your own heartbreak. No three year old should have to carry their own mother around, but when I was at my lowest you did just that.
It's so nice to be back in my own head. It's wonderful to be so in love with you and be back to being myself. What fun we will have now.
I adore you -
...and that curly hair - I am so crazy about that hair
My friend Gretchen (who is a wonderful party planner, by the way) turned me on to the idea of a tulle table skirt for the tea party. Once she got the idea in my head I could not let it do. I needed it. Required.
I got on etsy - as usual - to look for inspiration. I found some stunningly fluffy skirts.
But I knew that it was too fluffy to be affordable.
I decided to just experiment.
I went to walmart and bought a $6 dollar roll of 6in wide white tulle.
Then I bought another roll, then another one, then another one - ending up with 5 rolls. That's $30 people. Way to expensive for such a non-essential part of the tea party. But I convinced myself I would use it again (like my lovey Becky's October baby shower). And once I got started I couldn't just leave it half done. ~Like that cursed balloon wreath that still haunts me, sitting half finished in the demo'd bathroom~
Once I had all the tulle, this thing was easy but a bit time consuming.
I started with a piece of twine that was about two feet longer than the actual area I wanted to cover. That way I could just cut off the extra if needed.
I cut the tulle into strips that were generously twice the height of the table I was using. I thought they would look much better too long than too short.
Then I just started doing pull through after pull through. I did it early in the morning, during nap time, and at my inlaws - any down time. It took about two hours total. Once I got my rhythm I could pick up my pace.
I thumb tacked the skirt to the table. Then I took a yellow ribbon and tacked it to the table, stretching it all the way around. This hid the tulle knots on the twine.
I really like how this turned out and can't wait to use it again.
YouTube video that gives step by step instruction for the pull through system. It is not my video, but it is useful if my instructions are not making sense.
At 1:45 today I go in for your first Dr. appointment. PLEASE just have a heart beat. Please just let me not hear silence. Daddy is coming too. Please - just humor your Mommy's fragile heart and be a little perfect person OR TWO :) Hearing the silence of Zack's still heart on that Doppler, in front of all your siblings and Dad, was the singular most horrify thing that has ever happen to us all together. I will never take your siblings to a doctor appointment of yours. The first time they see anything of you will be when they hold you.
Today will be the first time I have seen my OB since she saved my uterus and potentially my life (that's a little bit dramatic) when Zack died. And my ultrasound is in the same room were I saw Zack floating still and knew exactly what I was seeing before I was told. Same actually machine.
I don't like it. But something has got to give. One of the things that I have always loved about working 12 hour shifts is that I only work three days a week. That makes it so I can really focus on the more important things those other four days. But - somehow in my head I had convinced myself that I could work three 12's a week at the new job and get my three 12's a month for St Vincent in too. Plus the 2 hours of computer classes then plus the 16 hours of charting training. In case your wondering that had me working too flipping much. And for what? It's not like our survival was hinged to me getting those hours at St Vincent. The only benefit of it was that I LOVE my friends there and I LOVE the unit. But the time away from the kiddos was too much to take.
So, on Monday I turned in my two week notice.
I hate it. I am really going to miss my friends, but I just can't do everything. I often feel like I have to make uncomfortable choices that put my family first, but my friendships always end up getting kicked down the line. The most important thing in my life is my marriage and my shorties. I can't pick up more hours and bust my hump right now. I am growing another person and trying to keep Max off the roof and trying to stop Lily from taking over. My last shift will be the 12th. What a tough day that will be.
Lily's garden has lots of color. It looks so pretty.
See her "found art collection" on the stump in the middle?
Cool stuff like an old rusted dull chain saw chain.
Here is this years experiment. My green bean rig.
I just didn't know if the the climbing beans would do what I wanted them to.
On the right side is my strawberry patch.
They came in great this year but were gone way too fast.
None ever made it inside.
Next year we need about six times the amount.
My egg plant is fairly unimpressive.
Any body know what's eating the lower leaves?
The broccoli is passed. But it's just so pretty. I did finally rip it up and throw the whole plant to the chickens. Who DEVOURED it.
The lettuce, broccoli, and spinach are past there prime too. I pulled out the spinach and fed it to the chickens. The lettuce looks stunning but is horribly bitter. I might use it as mulch for the front tomatoes. The pea's got woody, but we did eat lots of them before they got to far gone. The chickens are eating the left overs. All the spring crops did great this year.
In the front are mums and head lettuce.
Soybeans are coming in fast. I can't wait to eat these puppies.
Lily and I's garden scissors.
The early tomato that we babied all spring.
We got our first tomato on June 19th so I guess it was worth it.
Cucumber up front, followed by two of the four tomatoes in this garden.
(Don't forget the 18 more that are growing out back.)
See my 4ft/4ft onion bed in the back right? Lot's of red and white onions going crazy.
This is a shot along the back row. I have 6 hot peppers closest, then basil, then the blank spot the pea's were in (which now needs planted with second crop cilantro), then the soy beans.
Here is an onion from last year that got missed and is determined to be a giant.
On the ground are three bush watermelons.
More "found art". This one was out in the blue berry patch. What in the world is it?