Garden – April Update

Despite our relatively mild winter, everything seems to be coming up a bit later this spring. This past week, I’ve finally been able to harvest asparagus. For over a month, I’ve been anxiously checking on the asparagus bed, wondering if they had died. Last year, I was first harvesting asparagus in March. Late indeed.

20180415_092100_resized.jpg

I’ve had two harvestings similar to the above photo, and it seems like what started as a trickle might become a more steady stream. The photo above was from yesterday, and below there are already more spears that I can harvest today (as evidenced by the photo below).

20180416_111236_resized.jpg

Unfortunately, most of what is growing in my asparagus bed is an invasive weed, Whitetop, that seems to be everywhere in my neighborhood. It’s one of those weeds that, if you pick one, 5 million more pop up in its place. My neighbors across the fence have tried smothering it with thick layers of cardboard and wood chips, and the Whitetop seems to be flourishing in their yard more than ever. In the ornamental areas I am actually applying a weed killer – – very systematically cutting off the top of the plant and applying the weed killer directly to the cut portion of the plant. I feel so guilty about this because I don’t like to use chemicals but I don’t know what else to do.

20180416_111240_resized.jpg

Anyway, I’ve got two beds of snap peas coming up. I direct sowed these in February, which is what I normally do, and they have taken a really long time to come up. If I were more organized, I’d be testing the temperature of the soil rather than just doing the same thing from year to year. Oh well.

There’s also some overwintered carrots in this bed that I haven’t pulled yet. We have a bearded dragon who likes to eat the greenery from carrots, so I’m growing these for her.

20180416_111225_resized

Here is my overwintered chard and garlic chives. I’ve been feeding the bearded dragon (named Lizzy) all winter from our garden. She loves chard.

20180416_111214_resized

I planted the broccoli several weeks ago and the plants seem very happy. I’ve also been feeding Lizzy broccoli leaves. There is also some oregano that has spread to this bed.

20180416_111209_resized

The raspberry plants I planted last year are coming up and already are sending out suckers.

20180416_111202_resized

So, this is interesting, last year’s rosemary is still growing strong. Typically rosemary is an annual here so I’m impressed that this one made it through the winter. I don’t remember what variety I bought last year but I wonder if it was a cold hardy variety.

20180416_111254_resized

An overall view of the main veggie area. I’ve been doing a lot of weeding, but still there are weeds everywhere.

20180416_111307_resized

Oh gosh, I forgot to mention that I put tomato cages around each of the asparagus crowns because Milo likes to play with his construction vehicles in my beds and has crushed a good number of asparagus spears. I’m hoping the cages will somehow prevent this. Of course, I’ve asked him not crush the spears and then have asked him to play in a different place in the garden, and this is basically like giving him a double dog dare to do the exact thing I want him not to do.

20180416_111312_resized

Here are my tomato plants that I started from seed.

20180416_111517_resized

And speaking of the care and feeding of bearded dragons, I’ve got a nice selection of ‘dragon salad’ plants that I started from seed. These plants I actually place in her enclosure and she eats directly from the plants. I rotate them out every few days to give them a break. But in addition to the chard, carrot greens, and broccoli she eats from the veggie garden, she also enjoys mustard greens, collards, basil, mint, cilantro, and some variety of lettuce.

20180416_111534_resized

Oh, and out of the 20 or so flats of peppers I tried to start, here are the two that germinated. I guess next year I’ll be investing in new pepper seed. And this year, I’ll be buying plants from the nursery.

20180416_111529_resized

Onto the ornamental areas. Below is my newest flower bed in the backyard that I started last year and have continued to work on this spring. I’ve added more soil, moved the plants around, scattered flower seeds (many of which have already germinated!), and have added some compost. In the foreground of the below photo shows a pile of compost that I dumped right on the lawn. Our city has a great new compost program where it collects unlimited compostable materials from residents, and then we get to pick up a few yards of compost for ‘free.’ Because it’s a city program and there’s no way to regulate what people put into their compost bins, I’m only putting this compost on the ornamental areas. Just in spreading around this batch of compost, I’ve discovered a decent amount of trash (mostly remnants from plastic bags). So that reinforces that I don’t want to put this on anything that I’m going to eat.

20180416_111117_resized

Here’s my other main flower bed in the back. Nothing new to report here, just that the existing plants are coming up nicely. In the background, the lilac still hasn’t blossomed. And you can see my sad excuse for a forsythia which I think has actually gotten smaller since I got it about 5 years ago. It was actually just about this size when I first planted it. Each year, it has grown a bit during the warm months and died back a bit over the winter. Forsythia’s are ubiquitous here and I assumed that one couldn’t go wrong with them. Kind of like with Black Eyed Susans. But maybe I got a lemon.

20180416_111126_resized

And here is my main ornamental area in the backyard. I’ve been working to pull the neverending weeds, freshen mulch, and clean up the rock scapes. I procured a new trellis because I wanted to transplant the clematis that’s in the front yard to this space (because I think it would do better back here) but I wasn’t able to make that happen soon enough while it was still dormant.

20180416_111337_resized

Front yard. I love our walkway that Josh installed last month (lower right). And all of the plants that I planted last year are doing well. I’ve placed rocks around some small and tender ones that I want to discourage Milo from crushing with his bulldozer. He really is an amiable kid with such a positive and funny personality, and I’m so happy that he loves playing outside in the dirt. But when it comes to dissuading him from doing something, it’s much better to modify the environment to create physical barriers and inconveniences rather than asking him not to do something. So, rocks around plants I don’t want him to crush.

20180416_111446_resized

And here’s just the other side of the front yard. This past weekend, Milo helped me spread our compost on the ornamental areas and he did a great job. He helped me shovel the compost into the wheel barrow and then helped scatter compost. It was so cute because he kept saying things like, “This is hard work!” “There’s so much work to do!” and “I’m working hard!”

20180416_111501_resized

I’ll leave you with a photo of the two of us at the local ‘March for our Lives’ last month.

20180324_103823_resized.jpg

Garden – March 2018 Update

Overall, we’ve had a nice winter this year. It’s been warmer than usual and relatively dry, both of which have been conducive to spending a good amount of time working in the yard and garden. We have had different batches of snow come through as well as cold snaps, but in general Milo and I have been able to spend many many more weekends than normal puttering outside.

So, Milo is at the most fun age right now. The past couple of years, he hasn’t been old enough to really play in the garden or help me with the work, so my gardening efforts were limited and fairly unsuccessful. Now, he loves being in the garden with me, whether he is playing in the dirt doing his own thing or actually helping me.

20180128_141257_resized

Arguably, Milo truly has been helpful in the garden. Yes, as evidenced above and below, he does enjoy playing in the dirt in which I am growing plants, but he has been mindful about not destroying my plants. But even more than that, he is a good helper.

Several weeks ago, he helped me dig up the potatoes that I didn’t have time to dig last fall. And that was the perfect example to contrast last year’s lack of success in the garden with this year’s productivity. He honestly was very helpful in digging up the potatoes and we were able to get the project completely done. He has also been helping me to clean up the debris on all of my garden beds.

20180128_140359_resized

Above, here is Milo playing with his construction vehicles in my asparagus bed. Probably not the best idea to let him do this, but I would prefer to encourage a love of digging in the dirt over retaining an intact asparagus bed. I’m sure many gardeners would be shocked at this perspective, but asparagus I can replant. Right now, fostering a love of gardening in my son I feel is so much more worthwhile.

Other gardening tasks I have accomplished include:

  • Direct sowing to beds of sugar snap peas
  • Cleaning up the overwintered beets and chard – – I’ve even been harvesting some chard the last several months
  • Caught up on so much garden clean up – trimmed back perennials, raked leaves, etc.

20180128_144227_resized

Above, this is a random silly picture – – Milo thought he’d be able to crawl through my tomato cages.

20180309_094203_resized

I do have a good start on my seed starting. Milo has been helping me with these as well. Initially, he helped me to fill the different containers with dirt and gently add seeds and then water. Then we’ve been watching the seedlings grow and he’s been helping to water them. It’s a cool science project to share with him.

20180306_175547_001_resized

We’ve also been working on a lot of landscaping and ornamental gardening projects. Above, this is our dirt mound in the front yard that Milo loves rolling his trucks on. I managed to bring out a haul of landscaping rocks that we found buried in our back yard several years ago. I’m still trying to figure out where to place them.

20180309_094017_resized

Another project that Josh has been working on has been installing a walkway next to our driveway. It’s about 90% complete.

20180309_094054_resized

In the backyard, I’ve continued to work on this flower bed that I started last year. I also laid several layers of cardboard on an area that I want to get rid of grass.

20180128_151008_resized

Front yard again, our lovely neighbor across the street gave me a ton of ornamental plants that I’ve added to the front yard. For example, that bit of ornamental grass in the foreground of the above picture (obviously, is dormant for the winter). I’ve bought oodles and oodles of flower seeds that I’m going to scatter over all of our dirt areas in the front yard and I’m so excited for this to become a colorful wonderland.

20180128_151702_resized

The weather is predicted to be in the mid 50’s this weekend and I’m looking forward to spending many many hours working in the dirt.

Belated Update

I am astonished at how long it’s been since last I posted. Things have been great, overall. My newish job is going well, but is so very busy that I don’t tend to feel inclined to spend time at the computer when not at work. Hence, the months of silence.

What follows will be an inadequate update, but it is more adequate than no update.

20170916_153038_resized

Milo is doing awesome. His language skills continue to EXPLODE. He speaks in full sentences, using pronouns occasionally and conjugating verbs appropriately. At day care for several weeks, they’ve had a learning theme around opposites and each week they focus on a different set of opposites. This week is hard and soft – – he knows that his teeth are hard and his skin is soft. Last week was clean and dirty, before that was inside and outside, etc. It’s been fun talking about opposites with him at home. During bath time, we talked about empty and full, while filling up cups with bath water and then dumping the water out.

He has also learned that Josh and I have actual names, rather than just mommy and daddy and, on occasion, he calls us by our names. When he does, he says “Gosh” for Josh and “Genfer” for Jennifer. It’s pretty cute.

We’ve been working more on potty training. It had been going great – – Milo had actually gotten to the point where he would ask to sit on the potty before going a few times – – but then he got sick and he hasn’t sat on the potty hardly at all for about a week. He’s also used the potty several times at day care.

20170904_181039_resized

We got him a balance bike for his birthday (way back in August) and he’s gotten really good at it.

20170822_191409_resized

He’s gone ‘mountain biking’ quite a number of times and is pretty good at it. Josh and I will run along after him on the trails

20170917_135311_resized

Obviously we take him on very easy trails, but they do have a slight grade and he can get going decently fast (for a toddler) on the downhill. He’s had a couple of crashes but nothing that phased him at all, he would just get back on his bike and keep riding. But he’s also really good at keeping his speed under control.

20171123_101945_resized.jpg

In a few months, I expect to be able to have him ride his bike while I run and for it to actually be a great workout for me. Pretty excited about that.

20171105_085542_resized.jpg

We had a lot of fun this past summer. There were so many great activities around town and we even got out of town a fair amount.

20170901_193100_resized

In October, we went to a corn maze at a ranch and Milo got to ride a pony.

20171029_160312_resized.jpg

I took him to a pumpkin patch at a local fire station and he got to explore a fire truck.

20171014_110849_resized.jpg

He also had a bit of a meltdown because I wouldn’t let him climb to the very very top of the hay bale structure by himself.

20171014_110442_resized

He LOVED playing in the leaves after I raked them into a pile.

20171014_175255_resized.jpg

Halloween was fun. I made him a rainbow turkey (???) costume and we trick or treated along the very busy Harrison Blvd. It’s so busy that they have police stationed at all of the intersections.

20171031_184312_resized.jpg

We went to an air show at the local airforce base.

20171015_123542_resized.jpg

We went to the Idaho Botanical Gardens for their annual Winter Garden Aglow and it was lovely.

20171123_182014_resized.jpg

Okay, well that’s a super quick update of a few things happening.

~ Milo 2 Years! ~

Today my lovable guy is TWO years old.

FB_IMG_1503413290620

We’ve had a great month. I am constantly in awe of how smart and fun he is.

COUNTING!

Get this… my little genius can COUNT! Last night in the bath, I asked him how many toes he has, and he correctly counted all the way up to SEVEN! He’s been reliably counting to 2 for a few weeks (and has been very excited to identify when there are TWO of something) but last night I was absolutely blown away when he kept counting all the way to seven.

Of course, I tried to take a video of him counting and he wouldn’t count in front of the camera. But he did count to seven for Josh, who was equally amazed as I was.

BIRTHDAY NON-PARTY

This weekend, we had a casual gathering to celebrate Milo’s birthday. Josh recently finished installing a dishwasher in our house and the process of installing a dishwasher in a 70 year old home that previously did not have a dishwasher wreaked havoc on our already chaotic lives, so we had no mental or physical energy to organize an actual party. Instead, I sent out a last minute facebook invitation to a few friends to hang out at a local brewery, one that has a nice outdoor space.  As of two years ago, minors can accompany their parents to breweries in Idaho, and we have so many breweries that are lovely places for families to hang out.

20170820_153136_resized (1)

Anyway, a small but wonderful group of friends joined us and it was a very nice time.  Elizabeth made DELICIOUS chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

ADVENTURES & FUN

This has been a fun month. There is always so much going on during the summer in Boise, particularly family friendly activities.

This past Saturday, for example, we went to Bug Day at the Idaho Botanical Gardens, which is a great space that is within walking distance of our house. The Gardens have so many fun events that are great for kids and it’s also just a great place to go.

20170819_111430_resized

Anyway, Bug Day was awesome! There were so many different hands-on learning booths, that were fascinating for both Milo and myself.

They also had several model trains setup that were decorated with bugs. This was different than the other exhibits, but Milo LOVES model trains and we watched them for almost half an hour.

20170819_103804_resized

We also wandered around the Gardens. Below is looking down on the koi pond.

20170819_112326_resized

Later that day, he and I went on a bike ride to Veteran’s park and we spent a long time just running around on the grass. Milo has developed a great affinity for running down hills.

20170819_174002_resized

We’ve also gone to the zoo several times. His day care actually did a Saturday field trip a few weeks ago, that was fun.

20170805_113932_resized

Last week, we went to the old train station in Nampa, where they have multiple model train exhibits. A train came into the station while we were there and we got to learn all about it.

20170811_161714_resized.jpg

Milo has a book about construction and there is a picture of a worker holding his hand out like this, to signal STOP. Milo loves making the STOP sign with his hand.

Here is a photo from a mama day a few weeks ago, when Milo and I went thrift store shopping together (and found that awesome Tonka truck on the table).

20170806_154630_resized

Also during our thrift store shopping spree, we found this scooter that Milo has mastered.

20170806_171802_resized

TURTLES

This week at day care, Milo is transitioning from the Chipmunk classroom to the Turtles. He’s moving along with his best friend, Lilah, who both turned 2 this month.

Joining the Turtles should be a fairly non-issue because he already knows the kids and teachers, as they socialize Chipmunks and Turtles regularly. Also, the current Turtles are all former Chipmunks that Milo has been in class with previously.

POTTY TRAINING

As I mentioned in my last post, Turtles are big kids and start working on big kid things like potty training.  At home, we’ve been having Milo sit on his potty in the morning after he has his breakfast. So far, he hasn’t gone in his potty, but we’re not really potty training yet, just trying to get him used to sitting on it.

I do think he’s showing more and more readiness. Yesterday after his bath, I was putting lotion on his skin and he asked me to put his diaper on. I was surprised because he usually loves his post-bath run around without a diaper for five minutes. So I got up to put the lotion away. When I returned, I found him on his changing table (he can climb up by himself, which used to freak me out), lying down, with a diaper, and trying to put the diaper on himself. It was hilarious! Right after I put the diaper on, he had a big pee (the line on the diaper turned blue really fast) and I suspect he was holding his urine until he had a diaper on.

Likely this is obvious, but I am excited for potty training, if only because I feel so bad about how ‘wasteful’ diapers are. If we ever have a second kiddo (which I’m sure we won’t), I will definitely try harder to make cloth diapers happen. After I had given up on cloth diapers for Milo, I learned that we have cloth diaper consultants in town as well as washing services.

Anyway, yesterday when I picked Milo up from daycare, I chatted with a Turtle mama who said that her daughter Dara (who is just a few months older than Milo) is 75% potty trained. I know that girls are supposed to be faster to potty train than boys and that it’s also very important to wait until the child is ready, but it’s nice to feel optimistic that one day we might be done with diapers.

OTHER STUFF?

As usual, I wasn’t organized with what I wanted to update this month’s post about, but I feel super awesome about being able to post an update on the actual day of the 22nd rather than six weeks late, despite the insanity of life. So, go me.

Oh, Milo got horribly sick two weeks ago and I had to stay home from work for three days. He was running a fever of 103 for four days, would hardly eat or drink, and was cranky as all get out. Apparently several kiddos from his day care were out with similar symptoms. But I also think that perhaps he was teething in addition to whatever he brought home from daycare, as he was drooling everywhere and his mouth was in a lot of pain. He won’t let me look in his mouth anymore, but I caught a glimpse of some white farther back in his mouth when he yawned the other day. So maybe molars…

This sickness reminded me of life with a colicky baby, as I found myself desperately driving him around town with the fans blaring with white noise, just to try and get him to calm down and sleep. He also had the meltdown of the century one night while I was trying to put him down for bed. He was SCREAMING, “No mama!”, kicking and hitting me with all of his might (which is actually a significant amount of might), and violently crying and crying, until finally, at a complete loss for what to do and feeling like I was going to lose my mind, took him on a walk around the neighborhood in the stroller. Of course, he fell asleep 30 seconds into our walk but I continued walking him around for quite some time because the peace and quiet was a godsend. For the next three days, the only way I could get him to relax enough to fall asleep was by walking him in the stroller.

Then, as suddenly as it began, Milo’s behavior returned to his normal, happy self.

In other news, not Milo related, but yesterday was the eclipse and I got to see 99.5% totality at the patio of my workplace. (All of my eclipse photos are terrible, but I did take this one of me and the uneclipsed sun behind me). Josh was actually able to head up to Pearl, Idaho to see full totality, which I hear is something worth looking at. I feel pretty meh about my partial eclipse experience, but everyone I know who saw totality are just going on and on about how it was one of the greatest experiences of their lives.

20170821_112600_resized

But I digress.

Milo 23 Months

Playing catch up here, and I’m confident it will be most inadequate.

My last post was an inadequate summary of some adventures we’ve had the last two months, and this post will provide an inadequate summary of some of the developments my little genius has made. Not only will it be inadequate, but it will likely also be disorganized.

Language & Comprehension

In May, Milo said his very first multi-word expression, “Bye wah-wah” when he was saying bye to the river. Since then, he’s expanded his multi-word verbalizations to things like, “More milk,” “Mama no,” and “Milo shoes.”

His vocabulary has exploded. It seems like he says a new word every day. We read several books everyday and talk about the words for everything, and he usually repeats many of the words and understands what they are. Just yesterday, he learned ‘baboon’ and can differentiate baboons from chimpanzees or orangutans, etc.

He also knows his colors and has for a few months now (this is one of those developments that is old at this point).  We’ve been working on colors for quite a while and I was starting to wonder if he was color blind. Not only does he know the primary colors, but he also knows secondary colors.

I just LOVE that he and I can communicate at this level, it makes everything so much easier. I can ask him if he’d like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich or pasta for lunch. I can ask if he’d like to go on a bike ride or to the zoo. If he needs or wants something, he has a much greater capacity to communicate it to me.

Pre-Two

It blows my mind that Milo will be TWO years old next month. He is becoming a big kid and I still think of him as my baby. (I suspect that will never change).

Two will be a significant age for him, as several changes and milestones will happen.

Next month he will transition to the Turtle Classroom for the two year olds. Not only will have a new class to transition to, there will be new routines. I anticipate that the classroom transition will be fairly easy, as they already socialize the Chipmunks and the Turtles a lot, have the Turtle teachers watch the Chipmunks, as well as the fact that the current Turtles used to be Chipmunks and Milo already knows them from when they were in his class. From the point when he first started in this day care last fall, there is actually only one other kid remaining from his original class.

As for the new routines, Turtles are big kids – so they are treated like big kids and have big kid expectations. For example, big kids don’t use pacifiers. I mentioned this in my last post, but this past month we weaned Milo off the pacifier. He seemed so hooked on his paci that his teachers and I decided to begin the process early… At day care, they only use pacifiers during naptime. And at home, we’ve been pretty strict about pacifiers being for naps or bedtime. But still, Milo just seemed so hooked on his paci. Anyway, weaning him from his binkie was a total non-issue. We just explained that binkies were for babies, that big kids don’t use binkies, and that he’s a big kid now who doesn’t need a binkie. He occasionally asks for his binkie, but just by saying “binkie” once and then I think he remembers that he’s a big kid and he doesn’t persist about it at all.

20170721_162528.jpg

This photo is at his day care. Last week, they were reading and doing activities around the book Giraffes Can’t Dance and they drew a giraffe as well as outlines of all the kids in the class. On the silhouettes of the kids, they also wrote down their heights, and I noted that Milo is the tallest kid in his class, at 33 inches.

Speaking of his size, in the past I’ve mentioned what clothing size he wears and I haven’t done that for a while. Right now, he is solidly in size 18 months for shirts and size 12 months for pants and shorts – and size 6 shoes. Lengthwise, he could wear larger pants & shorts, but his waist is super skinny and anything larger than the 12 month waist size falls right off him.

Another new routine they do in the Turtle classroom is to start potty training. I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of their process, but from what I understand they sit the kinds on a potty and encourage them to go, but don’t make a big deal about it if they don’t use the potty. At home, we’ve started putting Milo on the potty without a diaper at least once a day – with no pressure or expectation that he use it, mainly just for him to get used to it. We’re also reading several different potty books at home, which he seems interested in.

It is interesting / weird, but he always says ‘no’ if I ask him if he pooped or if he is currently pooping (because I can tell) and I’m not sure if he’s saying ‘no’ because he doesn’t want to interrupt his playing to have a diaper change or if he honestly doesn’t know that he pooped/is pooping.

Imagination

In the last several months, Milo has developed an imagination. It’s apparent that when he’s playing by himself, he’s creating in his mind a detailed scenario of which he is the conductor. Right now, we have a big landscaping project in our front yard and Milo will spend a long time enthusiastically playing with his vehicles in the dirt piles, talking to himself about what he’s imagining.

20170723_132532.jpg

Another cool development is that he’s really playing WITH other kids now. Yesterday, we had a playdate with three other kids (each around 4-5 years old, except for Milo) and Milo was joining the other kids in their fun. It was so wonderful for me to watch him truly playing WITH other kids.

fin

Okay… as I suspected, this is an inadequate summary of the developments of my little genius, but an inadequate summary is better than no summary. I know there is so much more that has happened with Milo, but my memory is eluding me at the moment and I’m just going to publish this, lest I remain in draft form for months. (Interestingly, I have a post titled “Milo 21 Months” that has been a draft since May, so this is a very real danger for me.)

As for next month, I’m starting to mentally plan his birthday party. I’m going to invite at least one of his classmates from daycare (Lilah, who is absolutely his best friend) as well as his other playmate friends. Milo has so many toys and books, that I don’t anticipate buying him very much; but we are going to buy him a balance bike.

if I die in a cubicle zone

I am more than two months almost three months behind in a Milo update and my guilt about this is intense. I admit that I’ve let myself enjoy a bit of sleep, or reading for pleasure, or puttering in my garden, or being present with Milo, rather than writing about what a genius he is and all of his many accomplishments. I don’t regret my prioritization but I feel incredibly guilty.

So, I have this new job. And it’s taking up a lot of my time. Much more than 40 hours a week. I don’t exactly regret taking the job, but I kind of regret taking the job.

It’s just so much more all-consuming than a mama with a toddler with little support can handle.

In an attempt to catch myself up, this post contains a collection on photos with very brief summaries of some things we’ve done.

May

Summer in Boise. Hot hot hot. We’ve been playing in our backyard pool and in the sprinklers a lot. I’ve since upgraded to a bigger pool than what is pictured and it’s a great way to cool off in the heat.

We’ve also been going to the pool at the YMCA. We did this a few times last year and Milo was completely overwhelmed. But now he’s really taken to it. He can even go down the big water slide on my lap and has so much fun.

Also, several parks have ‘splash pads’ and we’ve been enjoying those as well.

20170430_161806_resized.jpg

Summer, it’s all about how to beat the heat.

This below photo from May is from a hike we went on… seems like a long time ago. That’s our neighborhood below. This is my current favorite photo of Milo and I.

20170430_175723_resized.jpg

Josh has been taking Milo mountain biking when it’s cool enough.

20170430_174900_resized.jpg

Sleeping boy. As an aside, I’m noticing the two pacifiers next to him in this photo (which was taken two months ago)… In preparation for him turning TWO next month, we’ve weaned him off the pacifiers (both at home and at school) and it’s worked out great. I thought it would be horrible, what with how attached he was to his binkies, but he seems to understand that he’s a big boy now and big boys don’t use binkies.

20170509_210955_resized.jpg

For Mother’s Day, his day care hosted a Mother’s Day tea party. The whole time I was fairly anxious about all of this china around so many toddlers, but it was fine. (They also hosted a Father’s Day Root Beer Float party).

20170512_154044_resized.jpg

Arkansas

In May, we went to Arkansas to visit Josh’s family. Milo took his very first plane trip and he did great! Since he’s still under two, we saved some dollars by not buying him a seat and it was totally fine having him sit on our laps.

20170514_094200_resized.jpg

We stayed with Josh’s oldest brother, Jim, and his family (wife Wendy, son Jamie, and daughter Anna). This is their playset in the backyard, with Anna on the swing.

20170514_142905_resized.jpg

They also had this car and all of the cousins took turns driving it around. Even Milo drove it!

20170514_143747_resized.jpg

Milo driving Anna around.

20170514_175447_resized.jpg

Josh’s oldest sister, Jessica, bought the kids a bouncy house and they had so much fun. In the below photo, Milo was enjoying the sensation of lying down and bouncing around. I was worried the other kids would step on him, but everyone was very careful.

20170514_180120_resized.jpg

More bouncy house fun.

20170514_180252_resized.jpg

That’s his cousin Eden. It’s crazy… I held Eden when she was a newborn baby and now she’s 7 years old.

20170514_180936_resized.jpg

The next few photos are when we went to a ‘drive through safari.’ Below, we were looking at some birds (and right as I was taking this photo, Milo put his mouth on that poopy railing! ugh!) We used a lot of hand sanitizer on this trip.

20170515_140819_resized.jpg

Goats!

20170515_135923_resized.jpg

Feeding a camel.

20170515_144703_resized.jpg

Milo got to touch a snake!

20170515_144314_resized.jpg

We also spent time out at a lake (I don’t know the name).

20170516_193349_resized.jpg

This is Josh’s mom, Kathy.

20170517_112842_resized.jpg

Milo and Kathy in downtown Bentonville.

20170517_115505_resized.jpg

Hanging out in another of the cousins’ backyard.

20170518_104747_resized.jpg

We also went to a really fun indoor children’s playground, called the Amazeum.

That’s Leah, Eden’s sister, behind Milo.

20170518_130334_resized.jpg

Milo and I spent a lot of time at this sand swirly station.

20170518_132254_resized.jpg

I wish Boise had a place like this for when it’s super hot outside. I should mention that we went to this Amazeum on ‘tornado day’ – – not only was it really hot and humid out, but tornadoes were in the forecast and we wanted to keep the kiddos inside.

20170518_133143_001_resized.jpg

There was a fun water play area.

20170518_133715_resized.jpg

20170518_133848_resized.jpg

Northwest Arkansas is also home to an amazing art museum, Crystal Bridges, which has a large outdoor art space, including miles of walking paths. We walked along the paths quite a bit (and also went inside the museum as well). Anyway, this is one of the sculptures that I liked a lot.

20170518_142905_resized.jpg

After ‘tornado day’ there was ‘tornado night’ when Josh, Jim, and I were woken up by the tornado alarms (amazingly, Wendy and all the kiddos slept through it). We watched the radar for awhile and discussed whether to get all of the kids into a closet or something.

Weirdly, there are no basements in this area of Arkansas. They have some really bizarre bedrock just a few feet down from their top soil, and it’s difficult to drill below it. Trees grow with shallow roots that spread horizontally rather than going deep into the soil, and they are always coming down in storms. At Kathy’s house, she recently had a big tree come down, and I was astonished at the root system.

20170519_003148_resized.jpg

On another day, we took a field trip to an historic mill and stopped at a few other places. We had taken a walk, and a storm quickly began forming, so we scurried back to the mill. Below, Milo is covering his ears because of some loud thunder.

20170519_153338_resized.jpg

It rained hard for about 20 minutes, and afterwards there were many fun puddles to play in.

20170519_162041_resized.jpg

Here’s a photo of the storm approaching. It’s amazing how fast it came on. On our walk, the skies were clear and sunny, and within ten minutes it looked like this.

20170519_153732_resized.jpg

We went to the Farmer’s Market and Milo got to tour a fire truck.

20170520_120611_resized.jpg

We also went on a hike and everyone got ticks. Northwest Arkansas is extremely beautiful and has some fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities, but the bug situation is completely unacceptable. Checking ourselves for ticks was a nightly occurrence, as was FINDING a tick on at least one person.

20170520_150830_resized.jpg

This is up at the lake again, and all of the cousins lined up together. The oldest cousin, Ely, is holding the youngest cousin, baby Joshua.

20170520_185358_resized.jpg

There’s a fun splash pad in downtown Bentonville that we took Milo to. The expression of absolute delight summarizes how he felt about the splash pad.

20170521_162219_resized.jpg

June

Back in Boise, Milo came down with another stomach flu. He’s already so skinny and he seemed to quickly get skinnier with a week-long stomach flu.

20170602_185322_resized.jpg

My former boss had a party that Milo and I attended with some of my former coworkers. She lives on a ranch and has several horses, included this mini horse.

20170610_114551_resized.jpg

Milo got to ride a tractor. It was a lot of fun.

20170610_113851_resized.jpg

Another adventure we had was to go to a petting zoo way out in a rural area (wow, I cannot remember where it was) with his friends Una and Eli. I had never been there before (and I don’t think I’ll go again… it wasn’t that great). But it was fun for the kiddos and afterwards we all went to a brewery that had a nice outdoor space for the kids to run around.

20170611_110634_resized.jpg

Josh is working on several home improvement projects. He’s completely re-landscaping the front yard, getting rid of most of the grass, installing a walkway, etc. Inside the house, he’s also working to install the house’s very first dishwasher.

20170625_135543_resized.jpg

I painted Milo’s and my toenails purple.

20170703_191524_resized.jpg

Okay, apparently that is all of the photos that I uploaded. I have actually not been very good about taking photos recently. Milo and I went blueberry picking last Saturday and we go to different playgrounds and nature areas all the time.

This post kind of catches me up on some of the adventures we’ve been up to but doesn’t even begin to touch on all of the developments that my little genius has experienced these past few months. I’ll try to do that at some point. And hopefully I won’t get this behind again.

June 2017 Garden Update

It has been over a month since I posted any kind of update. I am way late in posting a Milo update and have many updates on the garden (which I will post today, in a photo-heavy and somewhat disorganized post). To say that I have been busy is an understatement. I had been experiencing normal busyness with a full time job, many spare time activities, and my rambunctious little guy, then I unexpectedly applied for and was offered a new job, and soon thereafter we went to Arkansas for a family reunion. Currently, I’ve been working a lot of overtime to wrap up the projects in my current role so that I can move into my new role with no loose ends. Since I wasn’t even thinking about looking for a new job, my previously expanded timeline was suddenly scrunched. Basically, one Thursday, a colleague approached me and said, “Hey Jennifer, there is this position that the Sr. Director isn’t satisfied with her pool of applicants and I think you would rock the job.” I met with the Sr. Director the following day to discuss the role, thought about it over the weekend, applied on Sunday, had an interview on Tuesday, and was offered the job on Wednesday.

Despite the busyness, today I am able to possibly post a garden update because I find myself unexpectedly home with a sick Milo. He was throwing up all yesterday evening and all night and had a fever of 101 this morning. So far, he’s slept most of the morning and is currently lying in bed watching some Thomas the Train.

Okay, as for the garden… good news and not-so-good news, as always. Harvests are trickling in, though I’m not bothering with weighing anything. I have several garden projects I’m working on and just don’t think weighing the harvests is a priority with my limited time.

For this update, I’ll take you through the different areas of the backyard & veggie garden.

20170602_082623_resized

First up, is the general space in the backyard. Last year, we installed this flower bed that I planted randomly with many things. I love its wildness, though I am thinking about moving the blue flax. I also want to remove the grass between the bed and the fence and have a low-maintenance zone.

20170602_082645_resized.jpg

Along with ornamentals, I’ve planted strawberries that are doing quite well.

20170602_082708_resized.jpg

I also planted cucumbers bought from a local nursery, and they are not doing well. Previously, I’ve explained how I decided not to start my summer garden from seeds but to buy transplants from a nursery. I did this not only because I thought I would save time but also because our trip to Arkansas overlapped with prime- Summer garden planting time (ie, mid-May) and I didn’t want to leave seedlings at the hands of a housesitter.

Unfortunately, many of my nursery-bought transplants are not doing so well.

20170602_082719_resized

Blue flax in the back yard. I love this plant.

20170602_082727_resized

Here is another one of our flower beds in the backyard.

20170602_082804_resized

It is also home to strawberries.

20170602_082815_resized

And self-seeded Calendula.

20170602_082741_resized

As well as this butterfly bush. I’ve been trying to plant more ornamentals favorable to pollinators.

20170602_082827_resized

Over by the shed I have this strip for flowers – california poppies, yarrow, delphinium, rudbekia, etc.

20170602_082839_resized

I also planted summer crookneck squash, which is doing much better than the cucumbers but I am concerned about something munching on the plants in this space. I planted six bunches of marigolds and they are also decimated.

20170602_082851_resized

The rudbeckia are also being munched on.

20170602_082845_resized

This one might not make it.

20170602_083729_resized.jpg

I’ve had other problems with some flowering plants this year. We had a late hard frost that destroyed the flower buds on the magnolia as well as the lilac. Flowers that I had been eagerly awaiting never arrived.

20170602_083636_resized

And sadly, the plum trees experienced a glorious flowering but the hard frost killed off most of the blooms so I suspect it will be a dismal year for plums.

20170602_083709_resized

On the Hollywood plum, there are but a handful of fruit.

20170602_083641_resized

Likewise the Satsuma plum has relatively few fruit.

20170602_083718_resized

But look! A bird’s nest. I think it’s been abandoned.

20170602_083629_resized

Fortunately the Hawthorn we planted last fall has survived the winter. We enjoyed its flowering and now leafing out.

20170602_082904_resized

The grapes are also coming alive.

20170602_082912_resized

Now we progress to the back where I have my official veggie garden. As a side note, I’ve planted several cukes, squash, pumpkins, and gourds outside of this area, so that’s why it seems mixed up.

20170602_082909_resized

This area is a mess because I’m trying to install a drip irrigation system. The one I did last year didn’t work very well so I’m redoing it.

20170602_082936_resized

The bareroot raspberries I planted are coming up.

20170602_082949_resized

My wild herb perennials are wild.

20170602_083324_resized

Asparagus is out of control. I had a good harvest and it exploded while we were in Arkansas.

20170602_082921_resized

I cannot keep up with harvesting peas.

20170602_083329_resized

Broccoli forming nice heads.

20170602_083407_resized

I harvested a bunch of rhubarb and enjoyed a new-to-me rhubarb muffin recipe.

20170602_083401_resized

Eight ball zucchini is doing well.

20170602_083018_resized

And then the tomatoes… ugh. All of the tomatoes that I bought from the super nice local organic nursery are badly off. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong but I’m wondering if I should pull them all out. (I’d appreciate some advice on this actually).

20170602_083033_resized

It’s a huge bummer, as homegrown tomatoes make life worth living.

20170602_083025_resized

Also, you can see that I spent a not-insignificant amount of money on transplants and the number that I doubt will survive is really disappointing.

20170602_083217_resized

Seriously, what the hell!

20170602_083248_resized.jpg

Oh look, a single tomato that appears sort of okay.

20170602_083137_resized

This one might make it as well.

20170602_083004_resized

In desperation, I bought this Better Boy at Home Depot. It’s doing great.

As for the peppers, I am unsure if they are doing well or not. All of their leaves are curling upwards. Every single one of them. Otherwise, they seem healthy and some even have fruit growing.

20170602_083424_resized

Then we move to the ornamental zone. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work here as well.

20170602_083429_resized

One project was replacing all three of my well-established spurge plants that were crushed by the astronomical amount of snow this winter. I was so in love with my spurges and it was so sad for me to have to dig them up.

20170602_083439_resized

Bottlebirdhouse Gourd

20170602_083454_resized

Galaxy of Stars Gourd

20170602_083458_resized

Staghorn sumac is doing well and actually sending out suckers.

20170602_083511_resized

Elderberry is blossoming and the squirrels planted this oak tree that is doing well and I have yet to pull. We definitely don’t want an oak tree here, but it looks like such a sweet little tree that I don’t want to pull it up.

20170602_083527_resized1.jpg

Hooligan pumpkin.

20170602_083537_resized

To replace a dead bush, I planted an hydrangea.

20170602_083551_resized

And spaghetti squash.

20170602_083609_resized

Finally, blackberries are going bananas! This is after I severely pruned them several weeks ago. They are exploding with growth and are loaded with blossoms.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hopefully soon I’ll post a Milo update.