Friday, March 29, 2013


We left our house around 10:30ish Wednesday morning to begin our trek to see Matt's parents in Groveland, CA.  Or as the locals call it, Groovy-land.

Not much detail other than this will be the last trip we don't buy a seat for Tatum.  Being nearly 34 inches long she is getting far too big to sit comfortably on our laps for an extended period of time in those tiny cubicles of seats.

Here are a few pics from the journey...

And the problem with Oreos for lunch is???

I've been traveling for eleven hours...I have a right to be a double-fisted-snackster...

Headed for Groovy-land...

This little trooper went 15 hours without a nap and had only a two-minute meltdown before crashing in her carseat on the drive up the mountain. She was so out that I walked in and put her in her pack n' play without even changing her diaper or taking off her bib.  She stretched, rolled over and continued sleeping soundly...until about 3:30 when I'm sure she woke up wondering where the hay she was.  After a change, letting her hair down, getting her in pajamas and some rocking she was back down again.

Today we rested, she took a THREE hour nap, then we went down to the lake and then to a park. Here's an overdose of cuteness for ya:

She looooves her Dada

And at the end of the day, after bath time, this is what Matt came into the bathroom to find:

Potty/pedicure time.

Such is our life and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


The major portion of the garden area has been sod busted!

I did the math, and I worked over 50 hours clearing 160ish square feet of sod.

Today there was just "the island" left. A portion of grass at the top of the clearing that still had to be dug up. Then we're free to rake it level and put in the garden beds!  I started outside around noon, and worked for nearly 7 hours at it. And it was in the low 40's all day...brrrr! I wore my snow pants (waterproof and warm!) and quite a few layers on top!

To give you an idea of how long it takes to get ALL the stinking Bermuda grass out, I took this picture at 5:58

And this one at 6:57

That is some SLOW going!  And that is one solid hour (and two buckets of grass and roots) of work. I got a cup of coffee before taking the first picture and refilled after taking the second. In between I kept my head down and worked and clawed that dirt as fast as I could.

My furry companion was there with me for most of it. At one point he was standing on the island gazing so quizzically at the dirt I went to take a picture of him...and in a second he went from just looking, to 


With me yelling "No dig! No dig!!!"

Then I thought, "Well...maybe it would go faster..."

Then I envisioned a yard full of holes and that affirmed my gut reaction.

And I've learned a few things in my 50+ hours of digging this past month.  

That I love being outside. 
That my hair actually remembers what the sun does to it and gets so much lighter.  
That Tatum loves being outside too, but when I tell her she can't water the plants any more she gets fed up and goes inside.  
That I love listening to the birds flirt with each other. 
That our soil is actually pretty darn healthy--lots of earthworms and very few grubs.  
That I can now quickly dispatch of said grubs with a pop of my fingers, whereas at the beginning I used the spade. 
That I despise, loathe and HATE Bermuda grass and its never-ending maze of stubborn stolons that will magically create another lush carpet of grass if you so much as leave a quarter of an inch of the stuff. 
That dirt will be under my fingernails even when wearing gloves. 

And that I will be very very glad when this is all covered with landscape fabric and mulch and the real gardening (in raised beds!) can begin.

So goodnight...I've earned a long soak in a hot tub for my aching back! And hey--look! I'm actually in a picture! What you can't see is how covered in mud and dirt I am!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


One year ago on March 3, 2012--I walked into the front door of our house for the first time. I saw walls that needed painting, a cat smell that needed eliminating, and a wonderful floor plan that I could see our family gathering in.  Matt was camping at the time and so I made an offer on my house without even talking to him--thank goodness we have a good relationship!

It is a year later and the walls have been painted, there is now a toddler smell in place of a cat smell, our family regularly gathers and it is time to turn our attention outside.

When we bought the house the backyard was 100% bermuda grass with a wood deck next to the square of concrete right outside the doors. Not a shrub, not a flower, not a tree in sight. In fact, it was so boring we don't really have any "before" pics.

With limited resources and time I managed to do a 4' x 4' veggie garden that I mostly began too late in the season and some potted flowers.

Last fall we planted a Cleveland select flowering pear tree (which I now am reconsidering for something more multi-tasking like a cherry tree or serviceberry tree), and I dug up two flowerbeds alongside the house to prepare for spring. I planted a few bulbs but nothing else, letting cardboard and mulch chill for the winter.

After a lot of research and numerous measurements and countless sketches on graph paper, I've finally got the bones of some landscaping for our backyard down.  With gas and cable lines running a full 5 feet along the back of our yard by the fence, I'm restricted from really doing much along the fence, although I'll try some vines to help bring a little life to the boring wood.

A few weeks ago, after a lot of snow and some rain and before another storm was supposed to hit, I dug up the outline of Phase 1 garden area in our backyard. 

And realized I was either going to have an awesome backyard come June or I'd just made a really big mistake.

So I've spent the last several weeks outside, digging up bermuda grass, adjusting my plans, taking measurements again. Roy has enjoyed the increase in outdoor activity and decided to adopt a log of firewood as his new toy.

It has grown larger over the weeks...

And has spread...

And I've had a very willing helper...

And a very lazy dog (other than chasing away those savage birds)

I was able to find time to put a few flowers in one of the flower beds I started last fall, and the bulbs are coming up now. The back row will be sweet peas, and morning glories will climb the trellis.

And little by little we're digging up the hated bermuda grass and getting ready to put in the raised beds. It looks different every day...put probably only to us! And now to tree or not to tree...that is the question.

We're hoping to get that done this weekend and get some seeds in the ground before we leave for Northern California next week to spend Easter with Matt's parents. Wish us luck!