Wednesday, February 29, 2012

blah blah blog

It's a gray, rainy day and I feel cooped up. Turned out to be a great day for making art with E! We practiced using scissors, scribbling, and peeling labels off crayons. We also practiced NOT eating crayons. I was eager to make his a colorful word chart for the fridge and I've been working on a little word book for him (insert the word DORK here). I'm proud to say "rain" and "wet" and "art" have been added to the list, thanks to this soggy day!
The rain and onset of early spring also has me thinking about the ever-growing to-do list for our yard. So here's what was on it last year:

2011 The Ultimate Spring Fever To-Do List:
Remove the nasty English Ivy from under my hedge row (in progress)
Re-establish a border for my front garden, use branches from our Beech tree
Incorporate a dirt-digging pile for E somewhere in the backyard
Build a sand box for E
Get plans for a cool fort/playhouse (if not this year then next)
Create a little table/chairs area for E to do outside art projects (in progress)
Remove more English Ivy from the fence in the back yard
Rearrange and transplant perennials in the back garden
Pot several more herbs with E to use in our cooking
Divide and share our Lemon Basil
Give strawberries and tomatoes another go and plant some more peppers
Relocate the crazy pumpkin sprouts to the back yard and up a trellis if possible
Convince my neighbor to take care of her horrible English Ivy situation creeping into my yard!

See the area behind the plants? That's where E's little art area will be.
Okay, so I didn't do everything on the list, but props for doing half of the list, right?

And here's the new and improved list:

Summer 2011 - first year of veggie garden!
2012 Ultimate Spring Fever To-Do List:
Remove heinous English Ivy from back of yard, clear and plant native shade garden with natural play area!
Build a cool playhouse and sand box for E in new shade garden
Replensh E's digging pit
Install recycled instrument area for E (I started this last summer)
Make a living hut with E - train grapevine over bamboo frame
Continue to remove the nasty English Ivy from under my hedge row UG
Plant some fruit trees along the sunny hedge - cherry, pear, apple?
Finish mini stone patio with table/chairs area for E to do outside art projects
Rearrange and transplant perennials, especially the spider wort and coreopsis
Plant and pot more herbs with E to use in cooking (rosemary, basil)
Veggie garden - plant more tomatoes, strawberry upkeep, try zucchini, peppers, beans, and lettuce
Border for front garden - stacked stone wall?
Convince my neighbor to take care of her horrible English Ivy situation creeping into my yard!

So obviously I'm the most excited about creating a new woodland garden along the back part of the yard. There are three beautiful old tulip trees there and room for tons of great features. Our compost pile and shrubs will live on along with native shrub plantings to benefit the birds and bugs. There are lots of great old limbs and logs that I will keep for E to climb on and add more log jumps and loose parts for him to build with. We've got a bat house waiting in the wings because the mosquitoes are horrible here. I can't wait to add a tree house and sand box for E, but that will take some recruiting to build. If nothing else, we will be able to enjoy them first thing in the mornings before the skeeters are in full force. I also want a little quiet nook for me and my husband to put our feet up with a glass of wine (or beer as the case may be) and watch the lightening bugs when E is asleep.

There are some beautiful native hydrangeas and azaleas that should do well along with lots of fern and a pretty little stone path. There's no way we could afford to do all the plantings this year, but I'm hoping to at least get the bones of the garden in. Maybe even an archway at the start of the path...

This was taken in late June 2011 - consider it our "before" shot.
If you look closely you can see our shed on the right where the compost pile will go.
The neighbor's fence is on the left behind our property, just to give you sense of how big the
garden will be. The area is about 20 feet deep or so. (I'll get a tape measure when I go out next.) 

These are the mature tulip poplars in the space.
But first: irradicate the English Ivy once and for ALL!

I have literally tried everything from newspaper to landscape fabric and cardboard to smother and kill it. I've pulled alot by hand, too. But the area is enormous and all tangled with the stuff, not to mention poison ivy here and there. Unfortunately the only solution left is Round Up if I really want it gone. My dear friend is a Master Gardener and she assures me it's the safest, most effective thing to use to get rid of ivy and it won't stay in the soil.

The plan is to spray on Friday and start this wish me luck...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Assateague Island: a little calm after the storm

What impecable timing. Our professional development weekend in Ocean City gave me lots of space to reflect and recharge after feeling so worried about E. The core preschool staff visited Assateague Island and it felt like being on another planet. It was calm and wild. It felt remote, no doubt because it's winter, and was full of amazing nuggets to discover.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

can't remember when

Can't remember when I last posted and I'm too distracted to care. I don't mean to sound like a whiner today but it's one of those days. I am fortunate to have an amazing family and job I love, so please don't take this as me being ungrateful.

I'm just so frustrated. I feel like I try to do everything "right" in terms of being a parent. From the obsessively organic food during my pregnancy to the no VOC paint in the nursery to the organic cotton blankets - I feel like I've done everything in my power to keep my baby safe from harm. And now as he's a toddler, I still go to extreme lengths to ensure he's got a happy, healthy environment. A loving sitter when my husband and I aren't around, stimulating natural toys without the buzz of TV, healthy diet, and plenty of enriching classes and play dates outside our home. Lots and lots of fresh air and love and kisses.

It's not perfect, he's two. It's hard sometimes and we do our best to stay patient and loving. I read and read some more so I can (try to) be informed about the best possible ways to handle challenging situations that arise.

But there hasn't been an article out there to address what I'm feeling now.

Our sweet little baby has some challenges, beyond what other two year olds do. We had him evaluated this week and unfortunately my concerns were confirmed. Intensified. Magnified.

And it just brings me back to this frustration. Guilt. More frustration. Was there something else I could have, should have done? Is this my fault?

As public as I am with this blog, there are some things that we are private about, so I'm not ready to go into details. Yes, E will be fine and there's no life-threatening conditions to speak of. We're addressing his situation and moving forward to help him. It's just so frustrating. We do everything we can to make his life as wonderful as possible, but in creeps this unknown...

It's that much more annoying when there are so many people that thoughtlessly go about parenting and take their child's development for granted.

The snow is falling and I hear my beautiful boy stirring. Time for a walk in the quiet, gentle snow.

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!
Our little guy at 15 months, February 2011.