Monday, May 30, 2005

Quiet Holiday Weekend

Click to enlargeI cannot recall a Memorial Day weekend with three beautiful days.  This one came out of nowhere.  We stuck close to home as Jackson is still recovering from the cold that turned into an asthma attack that became pneumonia.  I am still sick also and so we passed up a fun sounding picnic at a winery yesterday in favor of staying home and having burgers on our own grill.  Jeff and I actually washed the windows in the kitchen and family room which were a streaky mess.  That made a huge difference.  Today Jeff went to see a friend about some car parts and took Jackson with him.  They'll be gone several hours as Bill lives on the other side of Alexandria from here.  Kate and I took a walk around the block and now she is napping and the house is quiet.  The roses have been sprayed, the laundry is caught up, the family room (aka romper room) has been picked up and I have some time on my hands.  Rather than finishing a baby blanket that is nearly done or cropping some photos I think I will rest as well.  When she wakes up we're off to the grocery store to buy steaks for dinner.  I hope I start feeling better soon as I don't want to spend my whole week of vacation time recuperating.  I'd like to get some home projects done and prepare for my wine tasting party on Friday and have fun doing it rather than having it feel like chores.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

How I Do It

I learned with Jackson that things go in phases.  You learn to cope with one and then poof! you're on to the next thing.  With the onset of nice weather we no longer have to bundle the kids up in heavy winter coats to take them in and out.  Kate is in a big baby car seat vs. the carrier/car seat that got to be so heavy as she neared 20 lbs.  Now that she's weaned I no longer have to get bottles ready to take for daycare, wash bottles, carry the breastpump to and from work, make time to pump, etc.  It seems like it all went by so fast.  By next Fall she'll be big enough to walk herself to the car and maybe even climb in.  I'm looking forward to seeing her walking and running along the beach this summer.  I've been looking forward to that since last vacation when she was a newborn.

There are other things that slide and I've learned to cope with that too.  Having a glass of wine after work to help me cope with the stress of coming home to dogs and cats and kids that all wanted attention was relaxing for me but that led to the 2nd and 3rd glass and I lost "me" time in the evenings because I was pooped by the time the kids went to bed and more often than not, I'd follow.  When I didn't follow I certainly didn't feel like doing more laundry, working, or doing a hobby.  That's the sacrifice I made. 

Another benefit of the nice weather is that gardening is there to be done.  From walking around the property (aka the Estate, Ha!), to watering, to pulling weeds, it keeps me moving and off my duff.  In years past I'd be out past sundown still puttering around and thinking that the neighbors must consider me to be the crazy garden lady.  Once again, as in the past several years, I'm vowing to stay on top of things this year.  The fact of the matter is that I really don't like being really hot.  Last summer I was still recovering from having the surgery and could really not take the heat.  Hopefully Kate will be walking soon and another phase will be reached and things will be easier once again.  

So, the garden:  The iris (aka blue flags) are brilliant this year; the ground cover with purple flowers has sprung, and the clematis seems to really have taken off.  It's blooming already and I'm thinking there are almost a dozen magnificent purple blooms.  All different shades of purple.  As the iris are fading the peonies will be popping to add some pale and bright pink to the palette.  I almost missed the lilacs on the side yard but stopped to admire and smell them a couple of times while they were blooming.  They're all done now and there are buds on the pink climbing rose over there.  I wish I had planted things differently over there as the maple tree shades the rose, and now the lilac is hemming it in, denying it even more light.  I haven't been the best at planning these things, partially because I didn't have a good sense of how fast they would grow.  If I remember correctly though, the lilac can be cut back each year.  Ideally, I'd find a better spot for the rose but I'm afraid I'll kill it if I move it again. 

So the kids are asleep and I'm off to do some more catching up with work. 

Sunday, May 1, 2005

More on Today

A little gardening a little relaxing.  Virginia at its finest... Our yard looks its very best this time of year.  This year we had the landscaper clear a two foot band across the wild area in back.  This is not our property but obviously the wild area would encroach, etc.  I am so pleased with the way it turned out and it looks so neat and clean with the mulching in the back.  The dogs are sitting under a wild cherry tree which is flowering right now and shedding its petals like crazy.  At the top left is the bottom of my lilac bush.  I had gotten 10 very tiny baby seedlings of trees when I donated to the Arbor Day Foundation a few years ago.  The French Lilac is one of the things that really took off.  I have 2 or 3 other trees, from the original 10 that are still going strong.  I think that's a pretty good ratio.  I'm thinking of getting another dogwood because they are my favorite and can't decide whether to get another pink or go with a white one.  The one in the pic opens out to a deep shrimpy pink color which pales to the pink you see in the picture.  The white azaelas in the background were getting boxed out by our boxwoods in front.  When Jeff took them out I suggested planting them in front of the wild area just to see what they did.  I'm so glad I did.  I just love how they brighten up that spot right now.  Jackson will be exhausted as he's been out with his dad going on 5 hours nap.  Princess has had one nap, two tries at lunch, a stint outside with the boys and then another to blow bubbles.  Now we're playing quietly while Mommy blogs.  Time to go start dinner.  

A Boy and his Dad

Spring has sprung in northern VA and Jeff has cut the grass a few times already.  Just as when Jeff gets out the vacuum, Jackson is also vacuuming  Jackson cuts grass when Jeff is mowing.  Capturing them together at this time of year is awesome because the trees are blooming, the mulch is fresh and the grass is coming up as green as can be. 

The dogs are in their element as well - moving around the yard to follow the sun so they're always basking...

I finally got the rosebushes and the butterfly bush pruned.  Better late than never I hope.  Several of my new rosebushes passed on over the winter and I'm a little disappointed but not a bit surprised.  Now to start battling the black spot....I'm thinking that if I don't turn things around in the rose bed this year I may take them all out and plant something that will thrive against the house.  We'll just have to see....

So Kate has had her first taste of gardening.  Somehow, I think by crawling off the patio and into the grass, she got her knees wet and a little dirty.  She was out for quite a while investigating the sandbox and whatever else she could see from the patio.  It's just a gorgeous wondrous day.  In a month or so, possibly a few weeks, she'll be walking and it'll be much easier to be out with her as she won't have to be held the whole time.  We're ready with the new doll stroller and ride on toy for her as well as the sandbox in the back.  She did really well just sitting on the bench of the little picnic table.....she's such a princess.....Why didn't I get a pic of that???

So Monday begins a very busy week for me that is not over until the following Tuesday.  Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.  With the nicer weather it will be easier though to be nice to myself and take time for myself to enjoy the outdoors and all of my flowers and plants.

For Mother's Day I think that I would like a gardening themed kind of celebration so that I can go to a nursery and buy some annuals to fill all of my hanging baskets, maybe some new gardening gloves, maybe a nice relaxing bubble bath, andbring dinner in???  We're going out the night before with friends to a Japanese steak house, taking the kids with the thought that they will find the at the table food prep very entertaining and most of the kids involved are really into their food so it's hopefully a win-win kind of thing..