Gardening–end of July update

We’re still waiting on the majority of our produce to come in. We are SOOOO close, I can almost taste it!! But the winters are long and late out here, so the planting starts late, and thus, the harvesting comes late. We’ve got tons of green tomatos just waiting to ripen. I haven’t dug out our onions yet, but by their shoots I think they are close too. And we have one fantastic bell pepper growing like a champ with lots of flower buds surrounding it. We are getting a little impatient, but (like all things in life), good things come to those who wait!!

Looking forward to enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of our labor soon!!

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Like a Child

I knew that being a parent would teach me a ton about my relationship with God. I had always heard that becoming a parent would give you new insight into how passionately and fervently God loves us. But I never realized how much becoming a parent would teach me about me.

You see, I can see myself in the way my child acts towards me way more than I can see God in the way I act towards him.

I see my child worry and fret about being hungry, being tired, being bored, etc. The whole time I’m looking at him thinking, “Why are you so worried and discontent? Don’t you know I will care for you?”

I see my child desperately cling to silly items when there are way better ones right in front of him. He chews on and eats anything, but will reject real, solid food. Again, I think, “My child, don’t you know that I’ve provided nutritious and yummy food for you? Why do you cling to your scraps when you can sit at the table?”

I see my child attempt to injure himself 100 times a day, and throw a tantrum when I tell him “No”. My thoughts are filled with, “Don’t you know I want to protect you? To teach you and help you become independent and secure?”

Of course, there are also so many ways in which Parker’s trust in me demonstrates “faith like a child” that is admirable. When I’m concerned about things like our basement being flooded, he is just happy as can be not knowing what troubles I’m taking on his behalf. But, more often than not, I see myself in a negative child-like faith. One that results in worrying, fretting, settling with less, and throwing tantrums rather than trusting in my caring Father. Oh, to have full confidence and trust in God in all circumstances–that would be true faith like a child.

What has being a parent taught you?

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Parker & His Kisses

Following on the heels of yesterday’s news about my new video-on-the-go iPhone 4, I can now show you some of the sweeter moments with our little man.  So for today, I’ve got a little jem of Parker’s propensity towards affection.  Parker loves “giving kisses to mommy”.  Want to see one?  You don’t have to twist my arm!  Here’s the proof:

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Video Fun

I recently upgraded to the new iPhone version 4, so I now have video capabilities on-the-go. The best part is, it is super easy to upload the videos directly to YouTube. So, I’ve created an account and will occasionally be posting video over there. Just in case you want to check it out, I thought I’d pass on my username info to you: monicajgee. They are just family videos, nothing terribly exciting. That is, unless you think Parker is as adorable as I do!! Enjoy!

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A Change in Plans

It’s amazing how quickly life can completely change. Friday night  seems like such a long time ago. I spent the evening enjoying a date night with the hubster–talking about life, our goals, and our home renovations aspirations. Saturday morning, well that’s another issue entirely. I was woken up early by the little man; for once, I’m really, really, really thankful that I was. When I walked into our living room and gazed out the window I was in shock. The view from our windows looked more like a view from a boat.

The view of our side yard.

The storm drain in the middle of our street gushing forth water. It just couldn’t handle any more.


Our neighbors sloped driveway, completely filled with water. Her garage had only about a foot or two left before the water would have completely filled it.

The water creating a little river through our sidewalk and street.

The view from our dining room window.

Our backyard. It’s hard to grasp the depth of this water. The the swings on the swingset towards the back are just barely out of the water. It is probably about a foot deep, maybe more.

We’ve endured pretty bad rainstorms in this house with no internal damage, but for some reason I just hada really bad, sinking feeling. As you know, we’ve been working on our basement so I wasn’t sure our sump pump was hooked up and working properly. I woke Brian just to check, and he assured me everything was fine. After another 5 or 10 minutes, I couldn’t help myself, I woke Brian again and asked him to check the basement. (I hadn’t gone down because the first room in the basement is where Pop is staying and he was still asleep.)

Grudgingly (or sleepily), Brian went down to check. Guess what. Our basement had flooded.

And believe it or not it wasn’t a sump pump failure; well, not entirely anyway.

You see that seemingly small trickle of water in this pic? Well, it managed to dump anywhere from 150-200 gallons of water into our basement. Lovely. The ground was so saturated around our walls, the water just had to find some place to go. I guess it found our home welcoming. This was a weak spot in our wall (that we didn’t know about) from a shoddy patching job done by the company that installed our sump pump. Just splendid. The company that was adding a feature to our house that was supposed to protect it from flooding ended up causing our *little* flood.

So, instead of building more walls, adding insulation and drywall, and painting our ceiling this weekend, we’ve been taking care of this little situation.

Say goodbye to the couch, TV console, some fabric, some pictures, documents (nothing really important), and a bunch of other random stuff we stored down there. All that damage from a couple of inches of water. Wow.

So, that’s what has been going on for us this weekend. I know it isn’t the worst case ever and for that we are truly thankful. We didn’t lose anything irreplaceable or super important. We are still planning on finishing the rest of the basement, but of course we need to get that silly hole patched first. And we need a really big dumpster.

But honestly, it is ok. Yeah I cried, felt sick to my stomach, and freaked out a bit. But we have so much to be thankful for, so much that could have happened that didn’t. And we have really amazing friends. Friends and neighbors came over to help, friends and family prayed, friends provided us with dinner, friends came over at 11:30 at night to help us get our water heater back working. I think in times like these you realize just how truly blessed you are. And all that stuff, that stuff that upsets me so much to lose? It’s just stuff. We’ll get new stuff . It’ll be ok.

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Porch Curtains

Well, it’s about time isn’t it? The porch curtains are finally in process! I bought the fabric ages ago and then got stuck. I have had several different ideas of how to do them, but wasn’t 100% sold on any of them. Then I was reading my friend’s blog the other day and inspiration struck (striked? stroked? goodness that’s a weird one)!

I used her idea (that she got from another blog–don’t you love the Internet???) and then ran with it. Well, more like slow-walked with it. I have one panel done but have yet decided how to attach it to the window. It’s sort of a tricky situation out there on that porch so I’m still thinking on whether or not a tension rod would work.

Blah, blah, blah. All you really wanted to see was a picture of the curtain, no? Well, here you are. Enjoy!

Close-up of the pretty bow and layered fabric.

The whole kit-and-kaboodle. It will cover three windows. It’s lllooooonnnngggg.

Did I say they were finished? Well, maybe I fibbed a little. Just please ignore the pins and visualize with me here. I will post actual finished photos when they’re up! In the meantime, why not enjoy some funny faces from Parker?

Hello little boy! What nice big teeth you have! Have you been getting into some mischief? I see some little boo-boos on your face. I thought you were too cute to cause trouble! :-)

Uh-oh, what do you have in your mouth now? A paper clip? Seriously? I didn’t think we even owned any of these. You can (and do) find everything!! You keep mama busy that is for sure!

Being silly with mama. We do a lot of this sort of thing. You love to cuddle, you love to play–both at the same time is even better!! Better get back to playtime before you eat my shorts. (No, I’m not kidding, he is gnawing on my shorts right now. I’m starting to think he is half goat.)

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The Problem of Plastic

For the most part my beloved husband is super supportive of my desire to make our household more holistic. He partnered with me in natural childbirth, shares the load of cloth diapering (well, some what), loves fresh and natural cooking, and doesn’t mind the cleaning products I use. But, everyonce in awhile he will balk at my latest and greatest discovery in natural living.

Plastic is one of those things.

I’ve been doing a ton of reading lately on trying to eliminate the amount of plastic that food comes in contact with. Due to BPA and other chemicals (have you ever wondered what plastic really is, anyway?) it is especially unsafe for hot food to come in contact with plastic containers. Plastic leeches out some of its nastiness when it comes into contact with heat and that goes straight into our food. At least that’s the un-scientific Monica translation of the problem.

But there is very little proof of all that. Obviously dealing on a molecular level, its hard to prove much of anything. When in doubt, my motto is usually that it is better to be safe than sorry. Brian on the other hand, well, he usually says something like, “People have been doing this for a while now and we all turned out fine.”

Despite his skepticism, he puts up with me telling him to take food out of plastic containers and heat it up on a plate or in a bowl. Thanks hubby. You are the best.

Although I am most concerned with my food coming into contact with plastic when it is hot (i.e., hot food going into plastic for storage, heating up food in plastic containers, a hot drink in a plastic mug, or leaving plastic water bottles in the car where they get hot, etc.), I really would like to get the majority of plastic out of my house someday.  So, I’m starting slowly. With these beauties from Ikea:

I’m using them to store flour, dried beans, nuts, oats, granola, rice, quinoa, pasta, etc. I can’t get enough of them! They are super cheap, cute, and it’s easy to see what is stored inside. Win, win, win!

And maybe someday soon I’ll get one of these Sigg water bottles. Too cute.

Bouquet Burst

So, what’s your take on plastic?

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Breastfeeding

It’s difficult to put my thoughts about breastfeeding into a concise and helpful post. So difficult it’s taken me several days to work on this post. OK, more like weeks. I guess I’m a little schizophrenic when it comes to my opinion on the whole experience. It’s hard, wonderful, painful, tiring, bonding, convenient, and inconvenient–all at the same time.

You don’t need to tell me the benefits about breastfeeding, I’ve preached them to myself time and time again. In those early months when I couldn’t get more than 2 hours of consecutive sleep, I reminded myself of the physical benefits for baby and mom. In those early painful days (and again painful when teeth come in), I focused on the comfort and bonding I was providing for my little man. When my baby wanted to eat every hour on the hour for 3 months, I focused on all the great nutrition and weight my baby was putting on. As you can see, breastfeeding has been a matter of will for me.

I don’t really enjoy breastfeeding. It feels like I’m not a good mom to admit that fact. I love being close to my little guy. I love meeting his emotional, physical, and nutritional needs. But I just do not like breastfeeding. I’ve finally come to grips with how I feel about it and I’m ok with that. I think breastfeeding for us has been right, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a very constant fight.

In many ways I love breastfeeding. I love the convenience of being able to immediately sooth my little guy. No fussing with bottles (he doesn’t even know how to use one any more because we so rarely gave one to him), no expensive formula, no pacifier–just me. He has always only wanted me for comfort. There is something very special about that. I never was worried by feedings or schedules–he would just tell me when he was hungry. Easy peasy.

Along with the physical difficulties of breastfeeding, there are other related issues one must deal with. I had heard ahead of time that breastfeeding on demand would have difficult parts to it, but somehow there were many things that I didn’t expect. It didn’t occur to me just how tired I would be in the beginning, being the only one who could feed that hungry boy. I never anticipated how hard it would be to plan being away from him for more than 45 or an hour. I never realized how long it would be before I could be away overnight or even think of going away for the weekend.

With just over a month left until the little man turns 1, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how far we’ve come. Parker has always been a vigorous eater (clearly), but that doesn’t mean breastfeeding came easily or naturally for us. He has always been wiggly and very fussy around feeding time. I have scratches and bruises all over my chest from trying to keep him in place while nursing; and he’s nearly scratched off some of my moles in the process. And don’t even get me started on the teeth. Little man started getting teeth at 5 months and now has 8 sharp little chompers. Not fun.

And yet, I’m having a hard time imagining my life without breastfeeding. It has been such a huge part of our lives this past year. For various reasons we’ll most likely be weaning him after he turns 1 and I know I’m going to miss some of it. But I’m also looking forward to the next phase in our relationship. I often think of the verse in Scripture that describes the contentment of a weaned child leaning against their mother’s chest. No striving or tugging for what the mother can give them, just enjoying her company. I know I’d like to be that way with my Heavenly Father.

I guess this is another post without a real conclusion, but I think that is ok. There are somethings in life that you will just have mixed feelings about. Not everything can be wrapped up in a nice concluding sentence. Often there is no real “moral of the story” in real life. Instead, I’m going to be grateful for the time that I’ve had breastfeeding my child and not focus on the hard parts that we’ve overcome. Yep, that’s just how I’ll see it!

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Basement Project

I think my husband and I might be a little crazy. (Well, actually, I know we are pretty much certifiably crazy in some ways.) But really. After being homeowners for just one year we’ve redone our porch, living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom 1, bedroom 2, hall, office, all our lighting and electrical, garden, and some landscaping. I’d call that a little bit crazy.

But wait. There’s more.

We are now redoing our basement. And after the first of many trips to the home improvement stores, our car looks like this:

Yup, we apparently can’t get enough of home renovation. We are now finishing the rest of our basement, changing our office into a guest room, adding a 1/2 bathroom, changing the den into an office, moving the den/sewing area into the newly finished part, creating a laundry area, and redoing the electrical in the basement. Whew.

Thankfully, we aren’t doing this alone. In fact, we are hardly doing any of the early stages of work ourselves. My fabulous grandfather-in-law, Pop, flew in from CA to help us out.  He is currently sawing, hammering, and putting together the framing for the basement walls. Then we’ll hire out help for some of the electrical and plumbing (Pop and Brian will do part of the electrical and gas). Then on to insulation and drywall. It’s a little dark down there right now, but I’ll try to get some in-process pictures up soon!

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Christmas in July

It really is fabulous having a birthday half-way through the calendar year. It always feels like Christmas in July when my birthday comes around! I’ve had some really wonderful birthday presents over the years:

When I turned  16 my dad took me on my first date and gave me my purity ring (oh, and a bass guitar–rockin’!).

The year I turned 21 I was on a mission trip in Albania and a group of 4 girls pooled their money to buy me a ring. It was definitely the most generous thing anyone has ever done for me.

But this year has to top some sort of chart for great gifts. My hubby and my parents went together to purchase me something I’ve been wanting for awhile: a set of All-Clad Stainless Steel pots and pans. YIPPEE!! I realize this makes me a complete dork for having cookware on my all-time wishlist, but hey, it’s what I do everyday so give me a break. My set came in the mail on Wednesday and I’ve been jumping for joy ever since!

I am just loving the gorgeous look and feel of my new set! I’m happy to report that the inaugural meal was a complete success: made-from-scratch (including the sauce!) amazing enchilada dish. And no more nasty chemicals from non-stick pans! Yay!

I’m most excited about the chef’s pan on the left. I feel all-Food-Network with it in my kitchen. And that little Dutch Oven on the right came free with the purchase. Not bad. I also got 2 oven mitts out of the deal! Hip-hip-hooray for All-Clad!

Someone else was excited about the shipment too. I’m guessing for different reasons. (Don’t worry, I don’t let him play with the plastic bag by himself. He just loves waving it around and hearing the crinkly sound it makes.)

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