Tag Archives: family

Back in the Blogging Saddle

It’s been nearly two years since I last posted. TWO YEARS! I haven’t forgotten about my little blog. It’s been quietly nagging me in the back of my mind. For two years I’ve been thinking about and meaning to get back to it, but life has been so busy. In those two years I increased the amount of hours I am at work and our two kids are now school age and involved in more activities (soccer, swimming, gymnastics, piano). I value our quiet time and we all enjoy just hanging out at home and playing in the back yard. We aren’t usually involved in that many things at one time. However, in an effort to try different things and see what the kids really enjoy (in addition to wanting the kids to learn how to swim), it feels like we’ve been overdoing it. My son informed me last night that he’s ready to take a break from swimming. Right on. He’s been doing great and has really progressed since he started winter lessons in January, but a break is definitely due.

One of the highlights of the last year is that we now have backyard chickens! I plan to write a whole post on that, but in short: husband built a coop and a run, and in March 2015 we got six Golden Comet chicks (red sexlinks). The kids loved watching them grow from chicks and have continued to love and care for them. They even gave them names. The chickens deserve a blog post of their own, so we’ll cover all that next time around.

In the meantime, it’s April and the weather has been gorgeous (except for the last few days of heavy rain). We’ve gotten our garden started, and since my garden is the topic I blog about most (aside from my kids, maybe), I wanted to share a few pics of what we’ve got going. I’m also home today with a sick kindergartener, so while she’s resting and watching The Land Before Time (a favorite movie series around here), I decided to finally bring back the blog. πŸ™‚

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Our new chicken coop and run along the side of the garden. Also, last year Mr. L. added a fence around the garden to keep the chickens, dogs and deer out. It’s been working great!

 

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This is late afternoon and as you can see, the garden gets a good bit of shade then. I usually try to start planting in the far end and save the sunniest parts of the garden for tomatoes.

 

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The first transplants include cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. I will need to keep an eye on them so I can see when the cabbage worms start to show up, then take action.

 

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Our “walking onions” popping through! My dad gave me a bunch of these a few years ago and I save the bulbs to replant each year. They develop a flower at the top with a bunch of new bulbs that get heavy and plop over, starting a new plant, which is how they “walk”.

 

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These two were really into helping garden this month, so we harnessed that enthusiasm! They helped plant onions, potatoes, and green beans. Miss D. also helped transplant the Brassicas one afternoon when her brother was at soccer practice. We still have lots to do!

At the recommendation of my Uncle Joe, I’m currently reading Growing Great Tomatoes in preparation of planting our own tomatoes in the next week or so. I’m also checking out Straw Bale Gardens and am thinking of giving that technique a try at some point. There’s always so much to learn!

To be continued…

 

 

Gettin’ Dirty

What a gorgeous weekend! The late, heavy snows that we got in March delayed the start of our gardening, so I tried to get caught up this weekend. It was the perfect weather for it; just like those perfect couple of weeks of true spring weather that we get between winter and the hot summer weather that always seems to come too early. I remember a couple of years ago we had what felt like two full months of true spring weather. Hoping for another spring like that this year, now that spring has finally arrived.

We spent most of the weekend in our back yard, transplanting and sowing in the vegetable garden, as well as making a butterfly garden next to the kids’ play house. I’ll follow-up with a post on those, but in the meantime, here’s what we got started in the vegetable garden this weekend:

  • Egyptian (“walking”) onions (actually planted a few weeks ago; my Dad gave me these spring onions a couple of years ago)
  • sweet onions
  • potatoes (Kennebec and red)
  • lettuces (Buttercrunch, Bibb, and mesclun)
  • swiss chard
  • cabbage (early flat Dutch and red)
  • peas (frosty pea, sugar snap and dwarf sugar bush)
  • Tepary beans (heirloom from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company)
  • carrots (short n’ sweet, and rainbow)
  • radishes (easter egg mix)
  • arugula
  • parsley
  • dill

After all of that, I have over half of the garden planted already, which I always find a little depressing. I can never keep up with our garden, once the weeds move in. Then I wish it were smaller. But when I’m planting and sowing, I always wish it were bigger.

We all got very dirty and by Sunday evening, I was tired and sore. But it was a divine weekend. I took this photo of my daughter playing in the less-than-half of the garden that we haven’t planted yet. She had gone inside to fetch her favorite blanket and brought it out to the garden. This photo pretty much sums up how I felt about the weekend. πŸ™‚

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Hoping you also had beautiful weather this past weekend and got outside to enjoy it!

 

Where Has Summer Gone?

I can’t believe it’s already August and I haven’t posted a blog since January! The summer is nearly over, my boy is about to start kindergarten, and my garden is drying up and full of weeds. Ugh. There is just not enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do (or even to accomplish the list of things I should do)!

We did manage to take our first family vacation to the beach last month though! It was Miss D’s first time to the beach, and though it was Mr. D’s second time, he doesn’t remember his first visit (at 18 months old), so it was like his first time too. They loved it! I was just looking at some photos of our visit and was really appreciating this one in particular, which seems to simply say “slow down and enjoy the journey”.

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

It’s been so warm outside! It’s almost impossible to come up with an excuse to NOT be out there. Last week the four of us went to a nearby park that has a small network of trails. My son LOVES this sort of thing. He loves to lead the way while we follow. My daughter also enjoys being out in the woods, but we’re usually slow to get our act together on the weekends and we didn’t get to the trails until almost lunchtime, which is always followed by a nap for my daughter. So, she was starting to fade and we had to carry her much of the way. (I confess, part of me really looks forward to when we drop that afternoon nap!)

Of course, I had to bring my camera (much to my husband’s dismay, who said “Next time we go hiking, no camera!”) I guess I’m just not smooth enough with it to not let it slow us down. But I know if I hadn’t taken it, I would have been wishing I had. So, it’s always better if I take it along… “just in case”. πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t long after we set off that my daughter asked to be carried. (Why do I always forget to bring that Ergo?) We took turns carrying her, but she got a special treat when Daddy put her on his shoulders.

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Everybody follow while big brother leads the way!

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The hikers share the trails with horses and their riders, so much of the trails are a bit muddy and heavily trodden, with horse “droppings” for us to dodge along the way. It’s not bad, but you do have to watch where you step. Little sister was happier walking in the drier stretches.

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But she still wanted at least a little help getting around some of the muddy spots.

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My son didn’t mind the mud. He was having a blast!

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“Daddy, take a picture of me and D!”

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Hiking around a bend, we came upon a small stream. The kids love to explore streams and big brother’s favorite thing to do is to jump over them.

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“I told you I could jump over it!”

Little D mostly just looked around and watched with curiosity…

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At one point she was mesmerized by a large pile of horse doody on the trail.

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I’m not sure what she spotted overhead, but it must have been interesting!

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A little wooden bench along the trail makes for a nice break and photo-op. πŸ™‚

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Little D started to lose steam, so it was back up on Daddy’s shoulders!

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When we got back to the parking lot, my son insisted that we sit at a picnic bench to have a snack break before heading home. So, that’s what we did. Then we went home for the rest of lunch and nap time.

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We’re really loving this warm weather. However, whenever Mother Nature feels like sending some snow our way… at least enough to pack a few snowballs or make a small snowman… we’re ready. πŸ™‚

Embrace the Camera: Wine Festival Fun

A couple of weekends ago I went with my son and his grandma to Ash Lawn-Highland for a wine festival, where we met a couple of other family members. It was my birthday weekend and I was really excited to be able to spend a little time relaxing at a wine festival. There are a ton of wineries here in central Virginia, but with two small kids and a husband who is not much of a wino, I haven’t been able to do much wine tasting or touring yet. I’m looking forward to touring some of the vineyards this summer with some girlfriends, though!

D enjoyed the festival a lot too! He got to see some animals, the most exciting one being a peacock! Here is a photo and him and me with the chickens.

The roosters were neat, but the peacock was especially exciting, though we didn’t get to see him with his tail fanned out.

D’s other favorite part of the festival was listening to the folk band that was performing. He even asked me to go over and tell them they were good singers. I couldn’t get him to tell them himself or to go with me, but the singer seemed tickled by the compliment when I relayed the message. She even looked over to him, smiled, and waved, which tickled him. We bought one of their CD’s and listened to it on the way home.

Ash Lawn-Highland is so beautiful and scenic! D thought so too; he especially loved checking out the herd of cows that passed by in the adjacent field.

And, of course he never passes up an opportunity to have time with Grandma!

Now… on to planning that winery tour! πŸ™‚

Embrace the Camera: Four Generations Times Two

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I thought I would share these two photos because they both include two special mothers in my life: my mom, Carol, and my grandmother, Elinor. My great-grandmother, Pearl, is in the first photo with us and the bottom photo shows us with my baby girl at her first birthday party. So, between the two photos we’ve got five generations!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom and Gram! I love you both!

Four generations the day of my christening, summer 1974

Four generations at my baby girl’s first birthday party, June 2011

Embrace the Camera: Me and My Girl

One of my first blog posts, Getting in the Picture, is about using a tripod and wireless remote shutter release to try to get in more photos, rather than always being behind the camera. As the primary photography of the house, I end up in few of the photos we have of my family. Since participating the Simple Things Sunday link-up, I’ve discovered that Rebecca at Simple as That participates in another link-up called Embrace the Camera. The point of Embrace the Camera is to encourage us get in the photo with our loved ones, especially our kids. They’ll love having these photos one day.

I’ve been meaning to do more self-portrait photos with my kids, so I’m going to join the Embrace the Camera link-up as a way to get myself to actually do it. So here is my first post. Like the photos from December’s post, I took this photo using my camera on a tripod with a wireless remote shutter release. You can see the remote in my daughter’s hand. Like my son, she thought it was a hoot to push the button and make the camera go “click!” and after several shots she wanted to go look at them on the camera’s display screen.

It took a bit of trial-and-error, and a lot of deleting after we filled the disk, to get the focus right and to avoid cutting off the tops of our heads. (Maybe next time I’ll change it from continuous shooting mode to one shot mode; then when my daughter holds the trigger down, we won’t fill the disk so fast!) That’s the beauty of digital cameras, though; you can shoot away and delete anything that isn’t a keeper. Also, by using the remote shutter release and letting your kids run the show, you’re sure to get some fantastic smiles!

I definitely plan to do this more often and I’m going to use Rebecca’s list of “50 Photos to Take with Your Kids” for some inspiration. That will be my biggest challenge… getting creative with these shots. Thanks for visiting!