Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby Bath Time

Bath time with the kiddo is probably my favorite time of the day.  I mean, how can this picture not bring a smile to your face?

We try to keep the same ritual for bed time every night.  Bath, nurse, story, bed.  We got the routine from a friend of ours and it works like a charm.  Bath time is the best. Kiddo gets a chance to get his last burst of energy out and we play and splash.  I look forward to it every night.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Good enough is just perfect

I stole the title line from Joel Salatin.  If anyone is interested in farming - I highly suggest his books.  He's a little Bible thumping at times for my taste (like decrying evolution in one breath but preaching the benefits of selective breeding on successive generations in the next) but he's a farming genius.

This weekend D and I have worked ourselves to the bone.  We've each put in hours and hours and hours in the yard.  We found more gardening cloth super cheap at Sam's so we're in the process pulling up all the mulch and hay we've put down and putting down the cloth then covering it again with the mulch.  We planted a blackberry bush and several strawberry plants.  Thinned the okra.  And weeded, weeded, weeded.

I have a hard time with big work weekends like this.  Not necessarily because it's a lot of work but because, I know that even with all the work we put in, we'll never get everything we want done, done perfectly.  I tend to be a perfectionist and it leaves me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed when I can't have everything EXACTLY the way I want it.  There just aren't enough hours in the day, dollars in the bank account and so on.

One of my goals the past few months has been to tell myself that doing what I can when I can is enough.  It's not worth it to go crazy making everything "just so" when it was fine in the first place.  I was reading You Can Farm by Joel Salatin and he sums is up well - "Good enough is just perfect."  Pretty much what I've been thinking about but said in a much more succinct way.  Don't kill yourself for the nicest or most expensive or best looking whatever.  If you make a functional clothesline for your yard and the angles aren't exactly square - don't kill yourself to make it perfect.  The clothes won't get any drier.  You're only wasting time and mental capital.

Sometimes I wish we had something more for the yard.  That something would make it perfect, right?  Wrong.  I get annoyed that we don't have a drip irrigation system for the vegetables.  We have one soaker hose for the tomatoes but use an old square plastic cat litter bucket with a brick in it to water the other vegetables.  Weird, huh?  We take our regular hose and place the nozzle through a hole in a leftover brick that's placed in the bottom of the bucket and set the bucket in between veggie patches.  That way, the water breaks over all fours sides of the bucket and doesn't hit the plants too hard.  And the brick keeps the hose weighed down.  It's pretty silly looking but, you know what?  It works good enough.  So it's just perfect.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Whew.  My resolve to post at least 5 times a week got busted.  I had an unexpected family situation and have had to be in Houston all week with no time/ability to post.  D headed down with me and the kiddo on Saturday but he returned home on Sunday for work and school.

I stayed at Mom's till Wednesday and, wow, it is hard work to travel with a baby all by yourself.  I was a little nervous on the drive back when I wondered how exactly I'd use a restroom in a gas station with Little Bit in tow.  A lot of gas stations have baby changing tables in the handicapped stall but not all.  If I couldn't strap him down while I did my business, I'd have to sit him on the floor?  Ick.  Luckily, that didn't come to pass.  My camel-bladder rescued me again.

Adding insult to injury during this already stressful time, we forgot diapers.  You'd think we hadn't had a baby for the last 8 months or something.  Normally, we use disposables when we travel so we always have a small stash on hand.  We got to Houston and each asked, "Uh, you packed the diapers, right?"  Crap.  Look in the diaper bag, and see 2 diapers.  Double crap.  Back in the car to head to the Wal-Mart out in the boonies.  There is one closer but sales tax is 1% cheaper in said boonies.  We get home and open the box only to realize WE BOUGHT THE WRONG SIZE.  Triple crap.  So, back in the car.......

Traveling with a baby is crazy.  I always said, "I'll never be the parent who packs everything but the kitchen sink."  But I am.  The play yard, the bath seat, the baby Motrin, the bulb syringe, toys the blanket, the Boppy, the extra outfits.... It's ridiculous.  I've made a list of all the items that we usually take with us and I note if we use them or not.  Four months ago, the Subaru was packed to to the gills for just the three of us and the dog.  This past week, I easily packed the car and could still see out the back window.  My list of 53 items is down to 25 or so.  The older the baby (and parent), the less stuff you need.  Hopefully, I'll knock it below 20 for our trip to the Panhandle next month.

Friday, May 21, 2010

September 24, 2009

This entry is very plain speaking and describes the birth of my son and my feelings leading up to it.  If you'd rather not know nitty-gritty details about birth stuff (or my cervix), then you definitely won't want to read more.  If you choose not to read it, you certainly won't offend me.  :)

On the business of birthing babies *

What do you think of when you hear "natural childbirth."  It conjures of images of a granola-eating hippie who thinks medicine is for the birds and who would rather have the birth of their dreams than a safe birth.  A lot of people liken it to "natural dentistry" and who would do that?  Well, having had both - I can tell you that they are nothing alike.

I'm a huge proponent of natural childbirth.  For me, that means giving birth without the use of drugs and with as little intervention as possible.  This means the woman is allowed to eat and drink, she does not have a mandatory IV, she is not strapped into a bed by monitor belts, she is not induced unless medically necessary, and above all else, she is allowed to take time to give birth to her baby in a safe, quiet and nurturing environment.  A woman's body is designed for childbirth.  It's not like having her appendix out.  Her body was made for this.  Provided with a safe, nurturing environment, and a skilled childbirth attendant, I feel that 9 out of 10 women can give birth to perfect babies on their own.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baby Needs a Schedule

And by baby, I mean me.

I'm a disorganized mess who thrives on organization.  Thus, my quandary.  When I had a traditional office job, my coworkers were envious of my workspace. Always meticulously ordered, a place for everything and everything in its place.  I even color coded my files.  Oh, and the Excel spreadsheets.  I get pleasant shivers just thinking about the neatness and organization and categorization and million other -zations.  I used to work on payroll and HR stuff.  You know, the kind of stuff that can't get messed up or someone doesn't get paid properly.  Since I'm not willing to allow someone to get their pay screwed up, I was meticulous to ensure that I didn't make mistakes.  I'm a firm believer in the "cluttered desk = cluttered mind" theory.  The neatness and organization cleared away my thoughts of procrastination and motivated me to get my work done NOW.
Me at work (Not my actual desk but you get the picture)

But it all changes when I get home.  At heart I'm somewhat of a lazy hoarder.  What saved me at the office was my small space and desire not to mess up someone's pay.  This has been my single biggest challenge since my office became my home, and the park, and the car, and the grocery store.....  How do I stay organized and motivated and not just play on the floor with the kiddo all day long?
Me at home (again, not my actual home but, you know...)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Living More On Less

You know the notion that "less is more?"  It's something I never used to think about.  I lived paycheck to paycheck and knew to stop spending money when my checking account reached $0.  My savings account never had more that $250 in it, I was swimming in credit card debt, I never even tried to set up a budget and I was always stressed out and upset over money.

I've come to realize that as we live on less money, I'm more happy with my life.  It's by no means happy all the time, but I've become proud of our accomplishments.  Our philosophy is to earn our freedom.  Our financial freedom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Musical Musings

I'm watching It Might Get Loud.  It's a documentary-type movie featuring Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, the Edge from U2 and Jack White from the White Stripes.  It's fun to listen to each of them talk about how they got started playing guitar and how they came up with some of their best known guitar work.  Music is something I'm fascinated by but I have absolutely no ability to create.  So I listen.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Edge and U2's music.  He doesn't do much talking with Bono around (who could?) so I enjoyed hearing him talk about his fascination with creating the sounds he hears in his head.  He also took us on a tour of the Mount Temple School in Dublin where U2 got their start.  Thrilling!  I still get excited when I see U2 play live, even on video.  I get butterflies in my stomach and a little part of my heart swells.

It was fascinating to learn about the beginnings of Jimmy Page's career.  I really don't know anything about Zeppelin so it was new and interesting.  Plus, Jimmy Page comes across as incredibly nice, down-to-earth guy who loves and respects music.  I'm going to listen to more Zeppelin.

That brings me to Jack White.  To be honest, I don't really get Jack White.  I think it's his attitude - he kind of comes off like a jerk and so contrived.  I'm not really sure he's on the same level as Jimmy Page and the Edge when it comes to talent either.  Am I being snobby?  Maybe.  It just rubs me the wrong way when a guy steps on his guitar on purpose.  I did really ennoy his appreciation for some of the early blues guitarists like Blind Willie Johnson but I think I just have a disconnect with him.

I haven't been listening to a whole lot of music lately but the documentary reminded me why I love it so much.  Now, off to update iTunes!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pflugerville, a pfun town

I moved to Pflugerville about two years ago.  At first, I wasn't crazy about this town.  I mean, the name was fun but that was about it.  The more I learn about this town, the more it grows on me.

This upcoming weekend is the Deutschen Pfest.
Oh, I forgot to mention that every city event that starts with the letter "f" MUST be spelled "pf".  I love this fact, er, pfact.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I do.  The Deutchen Pfest will be full of German music, polkas, local vendors and stuff.  We're going this Saturday and I'm super excited.  This summer is the Pflugerville Pfirecracker Pfest, the Pflugerville Pfun Run and lots of other stuff.

This city also places a lot of emphasis on the environment and community.  It may have something to do with the fact that Austin is so close.  The city has a special rebate program to encourage homeowners to plant native trees, shrubs and flowers that require less water.  This past February, our garbage collection started a new single stream recycle program.  This cut our 4-5 bags of trash every week down to 2.  The city offers free wood chipping for all yard debris and the recycle center offers free mulch and compost created on site.  Right next door to the recycle center is the Community Garden where you can rent a plot for a season and they provide cinder block edging, water, mulch and compost for free.  To top all this off, we have tons of lovely parks and a farmer's market at Heritage Park.

I just got back from a walk on a 5k trail that runs between Gilleland Creek Park, Bohls Park and Heritage Park.  I like this trail because I can walk through a heavily treed park, walk around and over the Gilleland Creek and through several different neighborhoods in older Pflugerville.

I laid LD down for a nap after we got back and, if he wakes up soon, we're going to head down to the recycle center to pick up some compost and mulch.  If you noticed the mulch around some seedlings in my last post, that's the free stuff from the city.  We're going to needs tons more mulch because both the dog and I are allergic to our original mulch, timothy hay.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Family

A little bit about me and my family.

I'm married to an awesome guy named Donald. I'll probably call him "D" throughout this blog. He's a wonderful husband and terrific dad. We met online through in June 2007. The rest is history. He proposed on the day he closed on our house in January 2008 and we were married on our one year anniversary. We both tend to be cautions planners but when we met, everything seemed to click.  D is a software engineer.  He's working full time and going to school full time to complete his BS (only 16 more months!).  We don't have a lot of time together right now but we make the most of it.

We have a son, Dax. I'll probably call him LD (Little D) in this blog. He was born nearly 15 months after D and I married. We decided to take a page out the book, "Don't Waste Any Time." :)  LD is hysterical - he makes me laugh all day long.  I can't tell you how much fun it is to watch him discover new skills every single day.

Aw...aren't they cute?

We also live with two cats and a dog. Charlie, Dora and Jane. As soon as I figure out how to post pics, I'll get around to that.

Charlie AKA Jabba the Cat



It's like a menagerie most days but I don't mind - we have a lot of fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Big Break

I haven't updated anything in well over a month. The kiddo has been teething so I've been rocking and holding him more than anything.

D and I got the vegetable garden up and running over the last two weekends. Our beds were totally neglected over the fall and spring last year.  Newborns take up LOTS of time.  Now we're able to devote more time to the garden and LD can play outside with us.  We had to till and cover the beds with plastic to kill the weeds and encroaching Bermuda grass.  After a few weeks, we took the plastic off, planted and then mulched with hay and bark mulch.

 I love growing and cooking our own vegetables. They taste better than anything we could buy and I get so much satisfaction knowing that I grew this food.  This year we planted:

  • tomatoes (Sun Master, Big Boy, Early Girl, red cherry, yellow pear, and some mystery kind sprouting in our compost heap)

  • tomatillos
  • okra (YUM)
  • cucumber

  • zucchini
  • straight neck squash
  • and a variety of peppers (Purple Beauty, mild jalapeƱo, and poblano)

I also noticed a mystery plant growing in a big pot that was long forgotten last season.  

I'm hoping they're the strawberries that never came up but I can't for the life of me remember where I planted those last year.  Mommy-brain was already fully in effect.  I can't wait to see those little white flowers.

We also inter-plant with lots of marigolds to reduce pests.  These are a little peaked but I got 'em for one dollar at the local high school's ag sale.  I'll pull the seeds from the dead heads and spread throughout the garden.  In two months, we'll be covered up in marigolds and our pests will be long gone!

Last year I also planted lots of herbs in pots but they ended up neglected and dead.  I am horrible about remembering to water flower pots.  If I can get a bed cleared by early summer, I'll try the herbs again. 

I'm going to try canning some veggies this year.  Stay tuned to see how it goes.....