Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hi! Tired of my puppy yet? I'm not. He's a big baby as you can see:
Our last dog (Max) of similar mix would NOT let me hold him like this. Eiger is a mellow (for a Lab puppy), sweet dog who is very attached to his human mother (I did nothing on purpose to encourage this in spite of the photo op). This is good and bad - depends on who you ask and how many times I've tripped over him in the kitchen. We are working on staying "on the rug" while I'm in the kitchen. He prefers the mat under the kitchen sink. Go figure.
My birthday and our anniversary fall in the same week and this year we were able to get away for a night in Napa. I convinced my Dad to come stay with the girls. He asked if he had a choice. Hahahaaaa..... Thanks Dad! He chose to come a few days early to get started on a project we had talked about since we bought the house.
Long ago when we lived in San Ramon and had our first house, I focused my garden on flowers and a couple berry plants on the side. I wanted more of a veggie garden but working full time and then having new babies didn't really allow much time. Then we moved to Iowa and had to spend our limited budget on actual landscaping vs garden plots. There was a house I would drive by every couple of days that had beautiful garden plots in their backyard - easy to see as few houses have fenced yards in that part of the country. I finally had a garden bed made in Switzerland and enjoyed a couple years of corn, green beans and zucchini - weather took it's toll the last full summer we were there and we didn't have much of anything except the green beans which are pretty hardy with low sun/cool weather.
With the move, I had a summer off but in looking at the new backyard and surroundings, I knew I needed some veggie garden beds/boxes. My dad built his and I wasn't going to ask but then when he drew out such nice plans I said "you're hired! If you're willing to take the job?" He said he'd do it and his own sense of timing coincided with our weekend away. He showed up with tools and equipment and after some trips to Home Depot, we (he) went to work. May I quickly interject - Don't go to Home Depot shopping for lumber with my dad 1 hours before school pick-up. You will not get back in time. Deaf ears, deaf ears........ :) Fortunately I have big kids and a neighbor with a key!
He first had to dig around the rock-hard clay to find our where the water lines were. None were broken in the construction of these boxes - of which 14" of the posts are cemented below ground level. Checking a frame:
Rachel is stylishly working the post-hole digger:
Rachel helped Dad out quite a bit. She helped him move the frames, dig holes, level the boxes and how to use some very useful tools.
The boxes are finished and ready to be set in:
Taking a break with Eiger before the fun starts:
We (yes, we all helped move the finished product as they were a bit heavy) moved the boxes into the holes and dad and Rach worked on leveling them before the concrete was poured.
Kendra joined in on the concrete - she pretty much left the rest of the project alone!
The finished product!
I just had them filled with dirt yesterday and look forward to seeing what veggie fun we'll have this summer. Are you wondering why they resemble covered wagons a bit? I'll put netting over the beds to keep the turkeys out! Steel mesh lines the bottoms to keep the ground squirrels and gophers out. We shall see, we shall see......
I'm looking forward to another good year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Change....First Day of School ?

I suppose a "first day of school" isn't exactly what anyone was thinking when I mentioned we were making some adjustments in life. For this young lady, that's just what was in order:

There she is in her "pseudo" uniform. Today was her first day at a Christian school nearby. No - we had no problem with her current public school. Things were going along fine.

This change is an investment in her Middle School years - 6th through 8th grade. It's a result of her desire for a biblical education, smaller class sizes, a nurturing educational environment and some interesting experiences with the Middle School as we are experiencing through Rachel.

Rachel benefited from 2 good years at Middle School in Switzerland and while this year has certainly not been bad, it has been different. Not what we all expected and we've had a few "OMG" moments. And we have to launch Rachel off into the High School next year. I'm soooooooo NOT ready for that. I'll send her with prayers and the knowledge that she is God's first and entrusted to me - what a responsibility.

So Kendra had a good first day - complete with nice girls who came up right away to welcome her. She enjoyed the day and although it was hard to leave some friends behind, felt good about the decision. I dropped her off and stayed for the initial start of the day - pledge of allegiance and morning prayer - felt like I was back in school myself. It felt good.

I never did attend public school. I'm thankful for the sacrifices my parents made for my education. I'm willing to do the same as much as possible and as needed. I must say - it was great to pray for the kids before the start of their day.

The move mid-way through the year was a strategic move - if not now, there's a waiting list for Middle School at the new location. Kendra was willing to make a change to guarantee her place for next year. It's been a process and all I can say is that girl has a strength of character to be admired.

Talk about characters! Check out this "little guy":

He's kept me busy along with everything else but oh, worth it. He's keeping my feet warm right now. We had a good weekend with family in West Sacramento and he got to meet everyone! Short of a cousin who moved recently to Colorado. I was a bit concerned that all would go well and he's young enough that one worries still about the potty training but it went great.

All were in agreement that our breaking the "sleep in bed with the humans" habit is a good move for future dog sitters. He really would like to crawl right up in bed with me ( I admit it happened once in a moment of tired weakness) but the crate is the only place he should really be. There aren't many other bad habits we have to break although I should share the stomach obstruction issues we've had - or not! Needless to say - life has been full and while very, very Blog-able; little time to do so.

Enjoy your day! Take time to smell the daffodils - they're blooming in our neck of the woods already.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mein Nase ist Sensitiv

Yes. I have a sensitive nose. A sensitivity that banned seafood from being cooked in our house for almost 3 years. It started when I was pregnant with Kendra and in the midst of cooking Salmon, I threw it out and that was the end of that until some point in Iowa when I thought "I'd like to cook fish tonight." My nose has never been the same since that pregnancy.

I have a pan dedicated to fish. I won't cook fish in my other pans because the smell will linger and I don't want to smell fish while I'm cooking beef/chicken/whatever! I wipe down everything around the stove as well (including exterior of exhaust filters) after cooking fish and yet I still smell it well into the next day.


That is just ONE example of what bothers my nose. I also don't like to listen to people chew certain foods - it will send me out of my chair and out of the room. Too much information? Back to the nose.....

We have a dog again. He smells like a dog. My room smells like a dog. I smell like a dog. Actually, I think I smell like a dog who has Wild Rabbit treats in its pockets. I don't smell like Warm Vanilla lotion or Chanel Chance anymore. I try. But all I smell is dog.

When we had Max, I used my mom as my 'odor barometer.' She'd fly in and I'd always ask her to please let me know if the house smelled like canine when she walked in. It never did according to her. My dog (current and past) will receive regular baths at which point they don't really smell 'clean.' They smell like wet dog. But I know they're clean and besides which it leaves them very soft and shiny. They also smell somewhat better.

Is it worth the assault on my nose? Yes.

Off to explore the neighborhood with a little "eau de Salmon or Wild Rabbit" in my pocket. Hey - it's better than freeze dried liver!