Sunday, March 30, 2008

29 doesn't feel any different yet?

Happy Monday everyone. We had our first thunderstorm last night, and yesterday we saw our first robins, so spring is here. Amen! My neighbor said I have 'spring fever,' and she is half right, b/c I also have cabin fever, and together these fevers make for a powerful surge of energy when I hit the garden. So, on with the post...

This is just a random note about Hunter being way too cute, and his little fat arms stealing mommy's heart. He's been in sweater/sweatshirts all winter, but he took off his shirt Friday to reveal chubby fat arm goodness. I could just eat it up.

I had a fantastic birthday! Theo made a fabulous breakfast of bacon, eggs, and bisquits, to which I contributed gravy. We then went shopping, of course, aside from gardening, its at the top of my list of things to do right now. I had to take some more pictures of myself, feeling quite darling, if you ask me. LOL. I do have some good wrinkles in my forehead, and some ickiness under my eyes, but I'm still relatively youthful. I'm cool with myself right now. Sidenote: I wore this eye shadow color on my wedding day.

Theo made a snarky comment about my gray hair or something here, so this face was not planned.

I started the shopping extravaganza out at a resale shop where I found a box full of treasures for only $17 dollars: I came home with two nice pottery bowls in vivid green and blue (one is Haegar), one 2 ft tall blue and white vase to hold umbrellas, a scandinavian painted tin, and a enamelware pot for the kitchen-now holding my hot cocoa packets. We grabbed an authentic chocolate chip danish kringle from Fosdals Bakery in Stoughton to eat for lunch (fabulously nutritional, don't you think?), and headed to a local nursery I've always wanted to run into. Do you know what I found there? A Bouganvillea, actually TWO of them came home with me. They are "red," but in the world of bouganvillea red is more like fuschia. I wanted an orange one, but they are so very hard to find up here, so I was more than happy to find a red one. The grin on my face did not fade the rest of the day. I gave the nursery guy my number if he finds himself in posession of an orange bouganvilea. Crossing my fingers.

We went to the mall in East Madison, where I picked up an adorable $15 dog bed for Laura. I toted this giant bag around the mall with me, as I also found some clearance garden reference books, a big $3 blue kitchen bowl, and some decorative glass balls for my birdbaths and the new birdbath fountain my mom got me for my birthday. Good, cheap deals, good times. I had a smoothie from Orange Julius, and went on my merry way.
We stopped at home to regroup and I found an envelope my girlfriend from high school Melissa (Myers Family Blog) full of seeds! This was the best perk of my brithday yet! How cool! I have some to send to her this week, too. I'm hoping to get to work packing them up this morning. So cool to have a garden buddy who gets me! Thanks, Melissa!

We dropped the kids off at Joey's house, so his mommy and daddy could watch the boys while we went for a peaceful dinner. I wanted salad and chicken, so we decided on Olive Garden. Yum sun dried tomatos. I have been eating those almost every day lately, just slamming them on my sandwich at lunch time. My obsession with sun-dried tomato goodness began in Los Olivos CA at this little wine restaurant where I found the world's greatest sandwich. In our neck of the woods the only sun drief tomatos I can find at a restaurant are at OG. The way they put them into a sauce, or bake them with chicken, so yummy, yummy. I did not want the side of mashed potatos that came with my meal, so I asked for a mushroom ravioli or two on the side--they brought me a whole plate of them. I came with way more than half of my meal. I also had some less than good Reisling. Here we are. So happy to be on a date alone again... we are so spoiled!

Then, we went to Coldstone. I was going to make a cake for myself, but you know, I'd eat the whole darn thing. So instead, we pigged out all day, and when the day was over I did not wake up to more cake. Reasonable, I think, for a food lover like myself. Cake Batter ice cream is just about as good as it gets. If you have not tried this ice cream go do it today. Cake Batter is the very best ice cream there is. Theo and I are lucky enough to have eaten at Coldstone's for years now, the original few are near where we lived in CA. And my adorable cousin worked at one of the first chain expansions they made. Love this place.
Before bed, the boys snuggled me a bit.

We watched 3:10 to Yuma before our bedtime. I loved it. Great, great movie. Perfect end to a great birthday. That wacky blonde cowboy made the movie for me. I'll have to look up who he is. See this one, kids.

Yesterday we did our grocery shopping and I headed out to the garden for some serious chores. I moved all the leaves and mulch off the beds and into the firepit, and burned it up--all by myself. I was desperate to get the moldy mulch off of everything. I should have waited a few more weeks, but worst case scenario some of the perrenials get frost damage. Better than a huge mold outbreak. Everything looks good out there. My $1-3 finds are all coming back as of now, even the apple tree and arborvitae. I felt great, getting in the dirt, too. Hunter helped me out while daddy and Ben went and got me a new garden cart, some manure for the veggie bed, and sand for the sandbox. Hunter was a great helper, but he would not let me have my rake. He insisted on raking the snow. He has his own rake, his size, but he wanted mine. He also spent a good chunk of time on his ride-on Thomas scootin' all about the yard. When he works hard his little tongue sticks out of his mouth--too freakin' cute!

God, I LOVE taking pictures in natural light on a cloudy day. Incredible clarity!

Ben's a little joker lately, the faces he makes crack me up.
Stay dry everyone. And find some signs of spring where you are--it's sure to kill the cabin fever.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Random: Theo's 2nd Tatoo, tomorrow, plants, animal love, and more...

Warning, this post is way random.

The boys are both really into my scrapbooks lately. Here, they are enoying the Sea World album. Hunter was so thrilled to find a page with daddy, grandma, and uncle Jason.

I decided I should document the chaos that is my dining room right now. I have a crap ton, perhaps more than a ton, of seeds and bulbs and tubers, and corms and whatever else grows something all piled in the dining room right now. There's even more upstairs in our bedroom windows. I have two full size roses on this chairs here, a new angel's trumpet on the bench, some hostas I picked up at Walmart last night (4 for $5, and there was accidently 5 in one pack, BONUS!). I have been buying Peonies in the bag and starting them in the dining room, 3 different varieties now. I even have several strawberry plants growing here. If ever there was a person that needed a green house, it's me. I wish I could make one magically appear. I have such an intense passion for plants. I'm addicting to caring for them. I run the humidifier for them, fertilize with various kinds of foods, compost, dream about gardening. When I lie in bed at night and I can't sleep, even in deep midwinter, I plan gardens in my head. Yesterday, we went to the nursery to seek out a fountain for my birthday and I got lost in talking about plants with one of the sweet ladies who works there. I knew more than her. A lot more. She started showing me their order books, and by looking at lists I had a visual for every plant I saw there, even the different varieties. I told Theo last night, as I potted things over a piece of newspaper on the living room floor, that I'm not anywhere near my potential. I can't help but wonder if my potential lies somewhere in plants. Somehow. Anyway, here's my dining room. Good thing we have a kitchen table to eat on.
Yesterday, when the snow started, the cardinals were eating side my side, husband and wife. This other bird flew up, a sparrow maybe, and I cracked up at how the female cardinal looks as if she's saying, "Who invited this guy?"
We had about 6 inches of snow yesterday. The first 2 melted, but the last 4 stuck. Stuck to everything actually. We have a Spring Wonderland here. The cardinals were back for another morning helping of the black oil sunflowers.

See, fluffy stuff everywhere.

A few days ago Laura Jane and Toby napped like this on the sunny floor of the dining room. Too cute! Last night Laura fell asleep in my arms.

Theo got his second tatoo on Wednesday. It's the fallen soldier memorial. It's on his left forearm. The lady working at the tatoo shop sketched it right on the spot, b/c the first two sketches they had done were not what Theo had in mind. Theo loved her impromptu sketch, and when his tatoo artist was complete, he was so impressed with his own handiwork he asked Theo if he could take a picture of it for the shop's website. He said something to effect, 'You know after all these years if I impress myself, it must be good!' Theo's tatoo guy has been in the business for about 45 years. Cool. Whether or not to add a touch of color to the flag in the background remains up for debate. Any one have any suggestions? I'll take a vote... color or no color?

Finally, tomorrow is my golden birthday. On March 29, at 9:09 pm I'll be 29! Yipee. Nevermind the fact that I'm almost 30, I don't care, really, I thought I'd get some real REAL shots of me right now. weel yesterday, in the big 'thinking chair' as Hunter jumped all over me. No make-up, no hair did, just raw me. Almost 29.
This is my favorite thing right now, I could bottle up the scent of little man's head. He's not yet stinky like Ben and daddy, just babyish all over. He smells like cheerios, lavendar lotion, baby breath, and a bunch of other things I can't pinpoint. Whenever he'll sit still long enough I soak up his scent. Priceless.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sure Signs of Spring

As the boys napped yesterday I went out into the 45 degree garden and soaked up what felt like summer sun. Even with a breeze I was warm, comfy and content to search beneath the mulch to find green treasures of life. I had the baby monitor on, so I could monitor the destructive but sleeping boys upstairs. Ben woke up just as I was finishing up, and he came running outside like this. Sad to say, both of these manly boots are mine, one for hiking and one for working in the snow/rain. Isn't he cute?

A fresh, garden equivalent of a day old baby: a clematis barely pokes through the surface.

The round leaves of Hollyhock emerge ready to grow.

Sweet William survives the late summer transplant with ease. These are my mom's favorite!

I planted this Sedum Angelina just days before a frost, I am so stunned it made it through the winter. In fact, I was so afraid it wouldn't make it I divided it in 4 and brought it's siblings in the house in pots.

This Apricot tulip is stunning just pearing above the surface.
The ever-beautiful hens and chicks look dark red in the cold.
A late summer transplant 'black beauty' heuchera.
I grew German Chamomile in the herb garden last year. Late in the year I learned it reseeds itself readily. This one is popping up in the back border, where I trandsplanted something from the herb garden... I have a feeling I'll be pulling a few of these guys out to save the plants around them. Tea anyone?
This primrose is hardy to 5, and despite my being in zone 4 I found a microclimate I thought it might live in: Ta Da! It's already blooming, too. Craziness. Like this? I saw a ton of them in Home Depot yesterday. Mine lived in the kitchen window for about 2 years before I moved it outside.
Sedum Autumn Joy never disappoints. I really need to divide these in April sometime.
Just exciting to see 3 things alive in such a small space. Lamb's Ear, a tulip, and a daisy all together growing in the front bed.
Those pinks (dianthus) I grew from seed last year are already green and covering the ground. Cool!

Just some cool bulbs poking through the snow. I can't remember what I planted here for sure. I know I put in several hyacinths, allium, crocus, but possibly some tulips and daffs, too? I guess only time will tell what this is. I love the garden in that way.
Of course, Ben got his swing on, too. This time, in his boots.

Just a quick overall shot of what my garden starts out with every year. I will definately post some before and after shots once the garden gets going. This is my 4th spring with a garden int he midwest, and it's still very magical for me to watch winter melt away and spring run its course.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter in Chicago

We ended the week with a visit to the family in Chicago. Grandma Chris had us all over for Easter. We all told stories about Papa, and admired his collections, while we ate good food and enjoyed each other's company. Here, Papa Dave dances to Papa's 8-tracks with Hunter.

Jason is in Papa's bar.

The annual Bunny Cake. this year a box recipe red velvet.

Hunter eats chocolate ice cream, and makes the normal mess.

My mom, looking beautiful.

Mom and Jason with Great Grandpa.

Jason with his mommy and daddy.

Jason's mommy and daddy together.

Jason and Alyssa in Papa's basement.

And with Dave...

So good to see the family together smiling and enjoying each other. Nice to be surrounded with all things "Papa" again, too. Lots of wonderful food, and just a nice time.

We spent the night at Aunt Di and Uncle Tom's and then went shopping a bit the next day. I drove the kids and Laura home while Theo drove the family to the airport in Chicago and then headed home. I drove home to a small snowstorm just over our town. I had to get out the camera (which was on the seat beside me) and take a picture of this wall of snow!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter, too!