Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bedtime spill

I logged on to write something but my mind has turned to mush.

Guess I'll go to bed. But first I'm going to empty my brain like a cluttered purse.

We've gotten into an itty bitty bit of routine around here with the boy and the dog. Still, it's harder for me now to catch zzz's with Bubba during his naps. Gotta watch out for that pup starting his potty dance, and get him outdoors ASAP.

And make sure he doesn't chew through anything electrical. Et cetera.

The house training is progressing, but if I'm distracted and forget to let him out super-regularly there'll be an accident to clean up. 'Seems to always happen in the evenings when I'm trying to put dinner together.

Speaking of clean ups, I subscribed to ePantry when Modern Mrs. Darcy had a promo on her blog. It was like a $10 credit and a free candle. Or something.

We go through a lot of vinegar (gallons) and a lot of Mrs. Meyer's around here. I once had a bleach-it-dead! approach to sanitization. Having a toddler around changed things. He touches everything and maybe his breathing and basking in Clorox isn't so healthy. I want cleanliness without the toxic exposure, and Mrs. Meyer smells so darn good.

Ever feel like every blogpost these days is a sponsored advertisement? Well, this one isn't. I don't get into all that.

Speaking of subscriptions, Target randomly canceled my diaper deliveries. Maybe it was a computer glitch or maybe it's a sign I should try Amazon Prime. I succumbed to the free Prime trial when it promised to deliver my vacuum filter replacement in two days. I couldn't wait for standard shipping. We are a vacuuming people around here.

Even Bubba knows how it's done.

Oh my goodness. With that new filter I felt like we had a brand new machine. The power. Oh boy.

Still reading? Since I'm on an internet subscription kick I thought I'd give StitchFix a whirl too. I need some jeans but don't feel like dragging Bubba through a gazillion mall dressing rooms.

Fingers crossed. Goodnight Moon.

I mean, goodnight y'all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Battle of the Bugs

We had a few hits and many misses with our garden this year. I think we'll have covered all the biblical plagues just as soon as the locusts show up.

^These guys ^  The super cabbages. No deprivation of water, soil, or sunlight could kill them until the armyworms showed up. The armyworms eventually got bored and moved on to the tomatoes which had been our "good" crop. Nothing is safe.

Experiment: did you know you can soak armyworms in bleach for 48 hours, and they will not die? True story.

And then the blight settled in as well.

We've been applying a natural agent called Neem oil every week or so. I think it's the extract of some South American tree. It has some anti-fungal and anti-insect properties but it's no cure all. It seems to have deterred the armyworms a little and may keep the blight in check. Hard to say where we'd be without it.

The sickly summer squash seemed to finally start growing  . . . and then it mysteriously wilted. There was this orange goo around the stalks, and I thought it was one more fungus among us. Oh no. I scraped off the goo and caught a flash of the worm from Dune. Just kidding. Sort of. A big fat maggot had been eating the plant from the inside out. Vine-boring larvae apparently; thanks Farmer's Almanac. These guys are awful. They hide inside the stalks and stems, and it's a hunt to cut them out without totally destroying the plant.

I think we planted over a dozen summer squash plants. Here's our lonely, single zucchini yield.

And the compost pile gave us this butternut squash. We'll see if it survives. I've heard winter squash has to ripen quite a while on the vine.

Many people have recommended pulling out the big guns and using Sevin dust (carbaryl = neurotoxin). But I'd rather not turn the garden into yet another area of no-no! for the baby and the dog. Bubba--if he's quick enough--will pick a tomato and eat it like an apple before I can wash it. What's the fun of a home garden when it's a hazmat zone?

Meanwhile, the tomatoes are earning the MVP award. They've been hit hard--about every other fruit has to be tossed because of worms or fungal rot--but they are prolific in spite of it all. One plant is literally seven feet tall.

They're the encouragement I need to keep trying.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

fur baby

We've had the puppy for about two weeks now. My first impressions are these:

1) He is a great little dog

2) I'm thrilled we have tile floors

The two babies like each other a lot, most of the time. They just don't know how to express affection appropriately. Bubba thinks a napping dog is the most bear-huggable dog. The dog thinks a chubby toddler is a great chew toy.

Thankfully both are tough little boys.

Bubba wants to lay his head on the puppy and pin him down like a pillow. While I don't want him to actually hurt the dog -- and I don't think he will-- it occurred to me that, perhaps, wrestling down the dog like he does might be his own way of asserting dominance while he still has a few pounds over the puppy.

The puppy, to his credit, has never shown any aggression to Bubba. He just wiggles away. We've also let his meals be interrupted regularly less he get territorial about his food.

The gnawing--on my toes, on Bubba, on my shoes--is pretty obnoxious but I know it's a puppy phase thing. Overall, he is a pretty chill dog. He gets feisty and chewy from time to time, but mostly he just wants to lay down and nap at my feet.

Or pee on the floor. Ugh. My folks have had dogs my entire life but they were always outdoor dogs that slept in the garage. This is just an adjustment I have to make. The other day I found dog hair on the kitchen counter top

: o

The dog has never been on that counter and neither has his toys/bowls/leash etc. The hairs had simply wafted up with the fan draft, I suppose, and settled there.

German Shedder indeed.

Monday, May 11, 2015

How does your garden grow

According to Instagram, it's been one month and some change since we set out our plants. This is how we're looking:

This is how we've come . . .

One week in
Three weeks in
Everything in this bed is booming. It's the first one we planted. The tomatoes really shot up; they've got some small fruits on them. The marigolds bushed out. The cabbage plant that simply would not die is actually thriving. 

This bed we laid out a few days later with the same soil ingredients, though we purchased the composted manure (Black Kow) and dirt (Sta-Green potting soil) from a different Lowes on a different day. 

It has really struggled. Funny what a difference there is between the summer squash varieties. The crooknecks are slow growers but they are growing. 

The straight necks are clinging to life. We bought so many seedlings because I thought squash would be easy. 

I see some culling and thinning out in the future. Whatever does survive here is going to need some more space.

These little guys are unidentified growths transplanted from the mulch pile. I'm guessing more squash or some kind of melon. 

And the bionicle super-cabbage. We inherited a large flat full of baby cabbage plants. They stayed in those little cups for weeks until we got around to planting then. Hard to believe they didn't die, especially after we sacrificed them as a peace offering to the baby for keeping his hands off the tomatoes. 

This one was pulled out of its planter cup and lay exposed on the ground for days, its wilted leaves shredded. But it's hanging on. 

'Makes me wonder if we should be eating this stuff. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our New Addition

With only one co-sleeping baby waking to nurse every two hours through the night, we figured we were getting too much sleep 'round these parts.

The natural solution, of course, being the acquisition of a puppy.


Ryan has long wanted a German Shepherd, and I always had pet dogs growing up. We now have a house with a mostly tile floor and a big fenced yard.

Still, we had no active plans for getting a dog ourselves -- not just yet. Bubba's arrival last year had pushed those to the back burner.

Last week a German Shepherd litter came into my dad's clinic for their vaccinations and exams. Ryan's antenna went up immediately, and he swapped numbers with the owner, who happened to be a Marine veteran also.

We talked later that evening about the dogs. I've always had reservations about GSDs and their tendency to have fear aggression problems. It did help a lot that we had recently been dog sitters for a very friendly Rottweiler and a German Shepherd.

I could not care less about bloodlines and papers and pedigree. We most wanted to meet the parent dogs and see what their temperaments were. We also considered that--should there be more children in our future--maybe the easiest time to house train a puppy is now. *Most* nights there are two of us at home, one to put Bubba to bed, the other could deal with a dog.

I was scheduled to work all weekend, but I took it as a sign when I was called off my Friday night shift. The following afternoon all three of us drove out to see the pups. The owner's house and yard were shrouded by thick bamboo, the perimeter spotted by security cameras, and the mailbox painted like the Vietnam service ribbon.

I knew Ryan had found a kindred spirit.

Inside, the family kept a lovely yard and garden where we were swarmed by eight fluffy puppies. Bubba wasn't dazed at all. I kept trying to identify the most personable pups and the shy pups, but it was impossible. They seemed equally outgoing, and none were bashful. Both mom and dad dogs were home, and--while not having quite the lick-you-to-death enthusiasm of a retriever--both were very friendly, calm, and relaxed.

It was hard to pick out this little fella, but we think he's the one.

Welcome home, buddy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Things making me happy this week

Well, what made me happy a few days ago ; )  I wrote but forgot to post . . . 

1) A week of rain and thunderstorms. Everything is so lush outside, and few things are as luxurious as watching a good down pour from your back door with nowhere to go. 

Unfortunately, the garden is swamped. But I hope it'll bounce back. 

2) My smartphone being Facebook and Pinterest free.


I deleted the apps, not the accounts. Because really, one does not need to check one's newsfeed on the hour. Once or twice a week is just fine. 

Also, Pinterest is such a brain drain. I really like it for organizing web links I want to revisit, or for seeking inspiration on a particular thing, say, backyard gazebo designs. 

But far too often I was just randomly scrolling through an infinite number of pretty pictures, which can have the unintended effect of suggesting your own life sucks. When it doesn't. 

3) My patients. Did I just say that? Don't get me wrong: given the choice, I would always rather stay with my boys, but that's not a choice to be had right now. 

Anyway, thankfully I had the honor of working with some simply kind and lovely folks this past week. 

4) Ryan and lil' Bubba. I was having a particularly grouchy afternoon after a weekend of no sleep. Ryan brought some Vietnamese food to the rescue.

And he planted me an herb garden.

This one, with lemon balm, basil, sage, and lavender: you just need to stick your face in and inhale. 

And the little guy. Sometimes babies know best. I was checking something on the computer and getting frustrated. He wouldn't leave me alone, and I couldn't distract him with toys. 

I gave up, gave in, and snuggled him, and everything was immediately better, for both of us. 

5) Filed my taxes. Finished my CEU's to renew my license. BaZINGa!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Milking it

One year into breastfeeding and going strong!

For most of my life I did not think I would ever make that statement. 

Didn't plan on getting married. Didn't plan on being a mother. 

I'm a mom in one of the most visceral, tangible ways right now. It consumes so much of my life currently; I never expected this identity.

For the record, I have also never loved being alive like I have this past year.

But back to the subject, I always thought breastfeeding would be a chore. I presumed a mom would wean as soon as healthily-feasible. I presumed extended breastfeeding moms were slaves to their children, permissive, and [probably] had some kind of codependency problem.

I didn't foresee the joy of breastfeeding. I should have.

I have always loved feeding people. I've enjoyed making ridiculously huge family dinners since I was in grade school. I really, really like being able to put food on the table when friends are over. Babette's Feast: it speaks to me.

Feeding your child the best nutrition on the planet gives a similar satisfaction. Plus, there are the sweet snuggles, the convenience of ready-to-go, prewarmed drink, and less stress about how much solid food actually makes it in because you know the milk can sustain him.

Oh, and the weight loss. I lost 40 lbs of pregnancy weight in a matter of weeks and then an additional 10 lbs. Meanwhile I ate as much as I wanted. Yes, I know I'm lucky to have this metabolism. But regardless of weight loss, breastfeeding is lowering my risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and probably osteoporosis.

It hasn't been completely smooth sailing; it hurt a lot for the first few weeks. It was drippy and messy for a while. I had an unquenchable thirst. I think an oversupply caused a lot of colic-like symptoms for the first few months. We still have problems with occasional biting. And there is the ongoing challenge of nursing being Bubba's primary sleep association. But I'm thankful that overall it's been as successful as it has.

Also, breastfeeding in public: I should apologize to all moms right now. I used to think that nursing in public was unsightly, gross--you know, cover those things up, ma'am. Nobody wants to see that.

Despite all the advancements of feminism in society, I judged women's bodies so hard. Nevermind that biologically boobs are, well, made for breastfeeding.

And really, nursing just isn't a private thing. If you think it is, you are in reality suggesting that women ought to stay home. Because many babies need to nurse every 45-60 minutes, particularly newborns. And what is so private about feeding a baby? Nothing. For adults, sex is private. Going to the bathroom is private. But eating is hardly private. If anything, it's a communal thing. We meet friends for lunch, we have family dinners, we dine in public, we are amongst strangers at restaurants. So why would feeding a baby--in the way babies were designed to be fed -- be a thing of secrecy?

So I apologize, again, to all the flabby, frumpy, disheveled nursing moms I sneered upon. You were feeding your child. That is enough. You don't owe it to society to look graceful or elegant or photogenic in the process.