Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm rocking a homemade gardening apron- would you like to rock one, too?

It cracks me up how more and more domesticated I am becoming. It's very odd, yet cool in its own right. I think it is good for a person to have some hobbies. Furthermore, it's good for a person to have some skills. I love reading about what I would call a "throwback revolution." Young people are getting interested in small scale enterprise, local food, knitting, and basically living it up- old school. There is something awesome about baking your own bread, knitting your own hat, or watching vegetables grow right in your own yard. These types of simple things give me a strange sense of accomplishment, and really, just make my life more enjoyable.

A few years ago, Adam's mom got a new sewing machine and offered me her old one. I declined, replying, "What would I do with a sewing machine?!?" She laughed and told me that she'd save it for when I changed my mind. A couple of Halloween costumes (aka, hot glue gun disasters) later, I called her and asked for the machine. I have not done much sewing in my life. Before I got the machine, I think I'd only ever sewn scrunchies back in my tween years! I have now made several baby blankets, a slip cover for Gavin's dining room chair, and my favorite project so far- a gardening apron! When I spotted the project in a book that Adam's mom got me, I knew it was for me. First of all, totally useful to have a gardening apron. Second, I didn't need to stress out about sewing it perfectly, because it was just going to get dirty. And third, aprons are just sort of awesome. I love how it turned out! It's got plenty of flaws, but that's ok. Skills take time to develop. I've decided I will make another, in a very cool, lime green zebra print - and offer it up as a giveaway for you!

This really isn't a giveaway style blog, but what the hell! I need to practice my sewing and you want to rock one of these "Made by Jenny" gardening aprons. Why wouldn't you?!? Ok, a few of you may not. But, should you like to enter my little contest- here's how it works: simply comment what is your favorite plant. If you do not know how to comment, it's quite easy. Just hit comment and click the anonymous button if you do not have a google sign in. Just make sure you leave your name in the comment space- so I know who you are! I will select a winner, randomly on April 6th. Good luck!
You know you want one!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I've been meaning to write a post all week. It's not a lack of material that kept me from posting, as I have several little projects keeping me busy. Yet, it wasn't a lack of time that kept me away either. I just had a really fun week with Gavin and Olivia. We didn't do anything spectacular, mostly just played and cuddled. They're both at really fun ages. Olivia started crawling on Wednesday. She pulled herself up to kneeling on Thursday. On Friday, she started babbling, "Mama!" It's not exactly an official "Mama". Her favorite phrase is, "yayayayaya!" If you say it back to her, she repeats it again, and gets really excited. I finally got her to mimic "mamamamama!" That's my girl! I'm just completely in love with her.

Gavin has changed so much in the last few months- he's a kid now. His language skills seem to advance daily, but it's his logic and how he interprets emotions that continue to surprise me. He offers opinions and is actually pretty helpful. The other day, I was trying to find something and was ranting about, all worked up. He stopped me and said, "Mom, I'm going to give you a hug now. It's okay; you'll find it. Just keep looking." It was so sweet. I felt sort of ridiculous that my three year old basically called me out for throwing a tantrum! He says things all day long that just crack me up. When I scolded Max for doing something, Gavin said, "Mom, that is not very nice. Max is very, really friendly to me. He's my beagle and my buddy." Age 3 has its unpleasant moments, but overall, Gav is becoming a very good friend of mine.

Anyhow, that's about all I have to say tonight. My kids are awesome and this post is for them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life with Olivia at 8 months

Eight months have gone by since I first started writing about Livie Lou. She has been keeping us busy over the past month, as she's on the move! She quickly went from rolling to army crawling. Now she scoots herself all over the house. She hasn't figured out the coordination with moving her knees and arms, so she uses her upper body to pull herself around. It's funny how different kids are- Gavin was so hefty that he couldn't lift himself up like that. I don't think Gavin was really crawling until 11 months or so. Olivia has had a fire in her eyes from day one. She is ambitious and seems to feel that rest is overrated. I keep seeing pictures of friends with their newborns. They are all enjoying that really cuddly stage when babies just lay on your chest and snooze. Olivia has never done that! From the get-go, she was quickly nicknamed Little Miss Squirmy by our friends. We are convinced that she is going to be some kind of gymnast. I am a little scared for when she officially moves to crawling- she's going to be speedy!

Olivia is finally sleeping through most of the night. I'm no longer exhausted during the day. There were several months that were just so brutal, I barely remember them. Now, with rested eyes, I love to watch Olivia discovering the world. I know I have said this before, but she is really sweet natured. She is so happy and smiley. Speaking of smiles, she now has two bottom teeth and a third bottom tooth is cutting through. I have yet to capture her new grin on camera, but will post pictures once I do. It's funny because Adam has accused me of "calling tooth" for several months. I just kept assuming that she was teething and that is why she was up all night. Who wants to admit that their baby is really just insane?!? Anyhow, she really is teething now, and oddly enough, she seems calmer. 

Here are a few photos. Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hazy Shade of Winter- a plumbing fail tale

It's March 7th- I am so very tired of winter. I had hoped to keep a positive attitude throughout the remainder of this season, but Mother Nature has pushed me to the limit and beyond. Over the weekend, the temperature warmed to the mid-40s and our two feet of snow began to melt quickly. Then, it began to rain. Suddenly, the ground was just completely overwhelmed with water. The weather channel had issued several flood warnings, but we failed to consider how that might affect us. On Sunday morning, we discovered that our basement had collected 2-3 inches of water. We quickly got to work moving stuff off of the floor. It was a complete mess. We had so much stuff just thrown everywhere- cardboard packaging, tools, etc. The absolute worst part of the mess was a brand new bag of dog food that had the bottom fall out. I cannot even describe how vile wet dog food is after floating around a flooded basement. Man, Adam was so pissed when that bag busted open! It was just so frustrating! Stupidly, we still had cardboard moving boxes sitting directly on the basement floor. They contained all sorts of random memorabilia and items that you have no idea where to put in your house, but don't want to throw away. I had looked at those boxes several times over the last couple weeks, thinking, "I should really move those." Hindsight is 20/20, right? It was disappointing to throw some of our things away- we lost some wedding mementos, including our planner and guest book. But, as I told Adam, it could have been a lot worse. We are still married and have two happy and healthy kids- I'd say we can live without the wedding planner at this point! At the end of the day, what good is having stuff that you just keep in boxes anyway? It actually felt good to purge some of these things that were just taking up space.

It took us an hour or so just to get everything cleaned up so we could start working on trying to get the water out and figuring out what the problem was. After moving everything off the floor and salvaging what we could, Adam went and purchased a pump. It took a few hours for the water to drain, but we were feeling good that it was out. Then, it came back. At that point, we realized that we had a bigger problem. Our drainage system was clearly malfunctioning. We thought we had a sump pump, but in actuality, we have a sump pump hole. This house is so old that it's hard to figure out what's what when it comes to how it is plumbed. The groundwater was overwhelming our regular drain, which appeared to be very clogged. We couldn't figure out how to snake the drain. For that matter, we couldn't even figure out which drain to snake. There is one hole in our basement that holds an old drain pipe made out of terracotta! We had to continue pumping water out every few hours throughout the night because the hardware stores were closed and we couldn't get the tool we needed. Adam woke up super early today, rented a power snake and worked on the drain puzzle for a few hours, before we finally decided to call in the professionals. Enter Rooter Man. The guys from Rooter Man were nice and helped Adam better understand how things were set up. They cleared out giant tree roots that were growing into the drain, in addition to some other nastiness, of which I will spare you the details. So $350 later, things are draining and Adam has a plan to install a sump pump to take care of future excess groundwater. We just finished mopping the floor with bleach and water. It has been a rough couple of days.

After all this, you'd think, "well, winter is almost over." However- did I mention that we got 5-6 inches of snow and 1/4 inch of ice today!?! What's that saying- anything in excess is never a good thing? Shouldn't this count for weather? I am just over it and can no longer sugarcoat it. I don't want to go snowshoeing or build a snowman. I have been a really good sport during a very hard winter. I really hope that the groundhog is correct, and that spring is coming early. I also hope that spring does not include too many torrential downpours- at least until we get that sump pump working. Blech!