Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our gardens

I have had two raised beds in the front yard for four years now. One is herbs and the other is the winter garden. That is because it's under a huge pecan tree and doesn't get enough sun when the leaves are on the tree to produce anything. But in the winter, we get lettuces, chard, spinach, kale. After watching Kate eat chard right out of the garden back in March, I went the next day to the store to get more lumber to build more gardens.

Most of our lot is shaded, but we do get direct sun in the side yard.

We built a 4'x4' bed there and planted beans and peas from seeds (beans doing well, peas not much. We planted them too late. I may just eat the tendrils soon.) I also transplated to that bed two tomato plants and two unidentified members of the squash family. They were all volunteers that came up from the compost. I had no idea how they would do. The tomatoes are both grape tomatoes, it turns out, and they are doing great. Covered in green tomatoes. The unidentified squash (could have been melon, for all I knew) have turned out to be eight ball squash - a variety of zucchini. And they are going gangbusters.

We also built a small bed for the back yard (2'x2') and planted a grape and cherry tomato (purchased), a canteloupe (also purchased) and some basil. The tomatoes are doing great. The canteloupe has had a lot of blossoms but so far not much happening in the fruit department. I'm wondering if it's not getting enough sun. The basil is gorgeous and we are eating it all the time. And Kate loves it. Tonight she went out and picked some leaves for me for dinner.

I'm already planning next year. Cherry/grape tomatoes again, for sure (assuming they ripen. I may be counting my tomatoes before they hatch.) and cucumbers. Maybe we'll try melon again but on the side yard. I'm thinking of digging up some of the soil along the house and planting some squash there, since the beds are pretty full and we want more. MORE!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

45 months

I realize it's not very balanced to do a monthly (as if they are! ha!) update on Owen and neglect to update on sweet Kate. There are always changes for her too, and maybe they don't seem as momentous as learning to walk, but they are equally fascinating for us to watch.

I don't know if I can pinpoint things that happened this past month, but there a lots of things since I last wrote about what's happening with her. If you'll forgive, I'm going to resort to bullet points.

- Her favourite movie/pretend playing is Cars. She pretends to be a race car or she drives her toy cars around or she draws them. Or I am a car, or the dog, or her brother. She played Cars all day today from morning until bedtime. By the end of the day, I'm pretty worn out by Cars.
- In the last two months she is suddenly willing to try new foods. I'm so proud of her. If she tries it and doesn't like it (which is rare), she doesn't have to eat it. Right now, I just want her to be trying things. She has recently tried (usually not for the first time): cucumber, broccoli, zucchini, hot dog, herbed chicken, spinach pie, celery, chard, tomatoes. Clearly there is a veggie trend happening. She has liked all of them.
- She is writing her name (not a recent development. She's been doing it for almost a year) and her friend's names. She asks how to spell things and we figure them out phonetically.
- She is a great sister and plays with Owen. He is in the hitting stage, but she's getting better at dealing with that instead of just screaming.
- She is really excited about our vegetable garden. She may become a tomato eater by the end of the summer.
- She's excited about starting preschool in the fall even though she doesn't really know what it means. I'm less enthusiastic, mostly because I am having trouble letting go and facing the change.
- She can nearly ride a pedal bike without training wheels!

And, as she always has been, she is sweet and funny and affectionate and I love her more than I can believe. She drives me crazy every day but I wouldn't change her at all.

15 months

Owen turned 15 months old last week and it's been a month of serious changes.

About a week ago he went from crawling 90% of the time to walking all the time. Once in awhile if he's in a hurry (to chase his sister, for instance), he will drop down and power crawl, but otherwise it's walking. He's quite pleased with himself. He's also started to use some sign language and it's so nice to have a few instances of clear communication. Otherwise, there is a lot of pointing and yelling which gets frustrating for everyone. He has about six spoken words and three signs (more, all done and milk). His spoken words are Baboo (the dog and by extension any other non-human animal), ball, bye, mama, dada, uh-oh). The time between 15 and 18 months were hard with Kate, and I think the same is true this time. He knows what he wants and he understands us but he has a hard time communicating. At 18 months that got so much better, so I'm hoping the same thing happens again.

Owen is super affectionate and a clown and is still in love with his sister. He can play happily on his own for 20 minutes (second child? Kate could not do this at 15 months) and his favourite toys are castanets and the play pots with wooden food.

Since Graeme has been away so much this spring, Owen has gotten really attached to him. I think Owen is starting to react to G leaving all the time. He now gets upset if Graeme leaves the room - crying for him until he comes back into view. It breaks my heart. Fortunately, there is only one more month and G will be home for 1.5 weeks of it.

Nearly every day I look at this little boy and bigger girl and I'm in awe of them. I don't know how I can love two little people so much, be challenged by them so much and be so lucky to be their mum.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Henry

Happy birthday, chunky monkey. You're a sweet one.

Love Aunt Beth
(psst. Your mum could use some sleep. Maybe you can work on that now that you're 1.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seven year itch

We've lived in Austin, and our house, for nearly seven years. A lot of the rooms are just as they were when we moved in (except for paint colour). Suddenly, I've got a bee in my bonnet to change things around. The living room especially. It is a long narrow room that doesn't have a lot of furniture arrangement options. I haven't rearranged, but I did get a new chair (we had one that was too big for the room. The new one will eventually be reupholstered.) and I've made a wall of family pictures. I'm especially happy with the wall.

The office has also been reclaimed now that Owen is sharing a room with Kate. We moved Kate's table in and the spare bed/couch is back. I also put up some curtains, which makes it seem more finished. The change table is still in there, but that's a minor thing.

I have rearranged the furniture in our bedroom too, but I'm on the hunt for a new dresser. Until I find one, that room isn't quite done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First haircuts

Today both kids got haircuts. Their first official ones. Owen had had a small trim around the ears and back, but it didn't really count. Kate had never had one. Yep, 3.5 years old, never had it cut. She wasn't goign to get one today either, since she declared she wouldn't get one until she was 4. But when she found out her little brother was getting one, she declared that she was getting one too.




Monday, May 2, 2011


We went to California about two weeks ago. G is there most of the spring (mid-March until mid-June) for work. He's staying in Venice Beach one block from the most beautiful sand beach. We were there for five days and went to the beach every day. As evidenced by the photos:

Hell must be cold today

Because I'm writing a blog post. It's been nearly three months, and I'm not quite sure how that happened. Actually, I do. Life has been happening. Fun, busy, child filled life. I am not going to try to write everything, or even any, of what's been going on. I will just say what is going on now. And pictures will soon follow.

- Karen and Henry are visiting right now, although they leave tomorrow. It's been a fun week. We haven't done a lot, mostly hung near home. The boys both nap twice a day and they have fortunately been on a similar schedule. It does mean a lot of tea drinking at home. Which is lovely.
- Owen took his first steps weeks ago but has seemed pretty uninterested in using it as a means of transportation. He's a crazy fast crawler, so I don't blame him. But this weekend he started choosing to walk the small distances between the coffee table and various chairs. Yesterday he took a few steps, stopped and then took a few more. I'm guessing that we have a few more days until he's doing it all the time.
- Kate has been amazing lately. She just gets better and better. We've been figuring out school options for next year. I want her to do a pre-K program since I think she would love it and totally thrive. We were just offered a spot at the UT Child Dev. Center and although it's a whole lot more money than we currently spend on childcare, we're going to try to make it work. It will mean a lot less eating out and being a bit more careful about random purchases at Target.
- Graeme is off in California again. We're half way through his time there. (which also contributed to the lack of posting, I suppose)

Well, that is a good start. Photos and videos coming soon.