Tuesday, December 11, 2012
What a year this has been! She has grown so much. She is in VPK and has the most amazing teacher. She has more faith in her little finger than anyone else I know has in their entire body. She is the best big sister to Xander and is constantly kissing and hugging him and takes such good care of him. She loves her stuffed animals and usually has no less than 3 that she will carry around with her everywhere we go. She is also into Lalaloopsy and still calls herself a princess. She still dresses up occasionally but doesn't live in her princess dresses like she did when she was 3 and early 4 (which is so sad for me!). She is a little fashionista though! She loves to mix and match leggings and skirts and always has the most fashionable boots (which she never wears on the right feet). She loves science projects, writing, making books, painting, and gardening. She lovs fairies and running and loves her mygym class. She is incredibly strong willed, stubborn, persistent, and still has the occasional meltdown, but for the most part the screaming and crying fits have been replaced by "pouty arms and duck face". She is 5 going on 15.
She is in love with Lukas- a friend she's had since before she was born (his mom and I taught at the same school) and has been in her same class since she started preschool last year. She says she's going to marry him! Until this year her (our) life has revolved around playdates. Now that she's in school every day we don't see those friends as often but we have made new friends and I love seeing her with her girlfriends! She has a cute little group of girls, some of whom will be going to the same kindergarten as her next year.
Today I went to her class to celebrate her birthday with cookie cake and oranges. Then we went to the mall and got pictures with Santa and had dinner. She opened presents when we got home. We got her owl pellets to disect (my favorite gift!), a scrapbook, photo albums, and a nutcracker she can paint herself.
Her big birthday present this year was her first pet- a guinea pig named Guinea! It was her present from my parents and she loves him. It's so crazy that my baby girl has her first pet!
This is going to be a crazy year. We are planning a special trip for her this summer to New York City. It'll be her first big vacation and we want to make it special for her. Then she'll start kindergarten! I can't wait to see where this next year takes her. I love that little girl. She challenges me in ways I never thought possible. And she is perfect.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
This summer has gone by WAY too fast! I was afraid I would lose my mind once Rosemary was out of school, but it turns out we haven't had much down time at all. And I haven't taken many pictures, even though there have been a million important things to take pictures of. Xander's baptism, for one. I didn't get any pictures and even though I've requested that people send me some, no one has yet, so, no pics for now. The week after Xander's baptism left me kidless. Yes, a whole week without kids! Not only that, but Joe was out of town for most it! I worked on house stuff- yes there was more than enough house stuff that needed to get done to last a whole week. So while I was at home regrouting my bathroom and tearing up my backyard, the kids were at grandma's house doing something like this:
They had a ball playing at grandma and grandpa's house! I just realized these pictures posted out of order and I'm too tired to fix it. So this will be all over the place.
While my family was here for Xander's baptism, the cousins got to play. Aren't they adorable? Rosemary and Xander love Malachite!
Now back to grandma and grandpa's house. After a week, Joe and I joined the kids in PV. We got a little vacation out of it. We also celebrated out 10th wedding anniversary!!! Yes, 10 years!!!! In honor of the special occasion, we had a vow renewal celebration on the beach. I always regretted not getting married on the beach. It was always my dream to get married on the beach and since we didn't do it on our wedding day, we always said we'd renew our vows one day. So, we did! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures (yet) of the actual vow renewal. But here's Joe and I afterwards when we went out for a celebratory drink with our amazing friends who joined us!
Note: I have been trying to come up with an excuse to wear a fascinator ever since Prince William and Princess Kate tied the knot and decided this was the perfect time. Unfortunately, it just didn't go with the outfit. So I wore it out that night. Sorry for the blurry pics. My camera phone sucks.
Here we are, actually the night before. We started the evening at the San Sebastian Winery. Unfortunately, once again, I didn't get any pics. I need pics people!!! After that we went out to another bar for another drink or two. It was amazing to spend time with our friends, who we rarely get to see altogether in one place at one time. And since most of them don't really know each other it was really a special night for us to be able to spend time with so many people who are important to us. I wish we had a pic of the winery, because there are some important people missing from this shot!
Back to the kids... Back at home...
After 2 weeks at grandma's house, we took the week off when we got home. No playdates. No plans. No schedules. Just the three of us. It was a delightful week with a lot of tea parties!
Rosemary only looks like she's scowling because my camera phone sucks. She was very happy when I took the picture. This particular tea party lasted about an hour, or maybe even longer. I love my kids. Oh, and Rosemary wore this tiara every day this week. Including when we left the house. And for some reason people liked to comment that she must be a "queen." They don't know what they're talking about. She's obviously a princess. :)
The kids also loved playing outside a lot this week. I have the cutest pictures of them playing in the kiddie pool, but Xander was in his birthday suit and try as I might, I just couldn't get an appropriate angle. But I did manage to get this cute one of the two of them in our hammock!
Staying at grandma and grandpa's house was really good for the kids. For all of us. The two of them bonded like nobody's business! And Rosemary has told me everyday since we got back that she loves me as much as she loves God and Jesus. And since she has more faith in her pinky finger than anyone else I know has in their entire soul, that is a big compliment! Their vacation also allowed me to work on things around the house that have been driving me absolutely bonkers and just can't get done when they're around. I hope I get more pictures of all the big things that happened over the past few weeks- the baptism, the vow renewal, the trip to the Bed and Breakfast. Oh yes, there were so many more things that happened over the past few weeks (house flooding, drains being replaced, dryer breaking, garage door breaking, roof shingles falling off, tropical storms, worst rainy season ever...) But I'm kind of glad that I don't have any pictures of those for this post. I think this post is all about the little things that have been going on. And really, the big things are nice and memorable (well, the house falling apart really isn't so nice, but it is memorable!). But the little things pass so quickly. And they make us who we are. And I love who we are.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Rosemary and I have been working hard on our butterfly garden this year. It started about a month ago when I purchased a homely looking milkweed plant at Ace Hardware (which was the only plant nursery opened on a Sunday that carried any milkweed at all- believe me- I made Joe drive all over town looking for one that was opened). They had recently cut it back and it only had a handful of leaves, so they gave me a discount and I figured I'd go ahead and give it a try. Rosemary and I planted it in a pot and placed it outside our screened in porch. To our surprise, a monarch butterfly responded and laid eggs on our sad looking mikweed plant! Once the egg started hatching, I brought the plant, along with the several tiny caterpillars, inside the porch to protect them from the wasps and other pests that like to eat them. After a couple weeks, there were no leaves left but there were a handful of hungry caterpillars that needed more food! I went to a local nursery and found some native milkweed- which looks nothing like what I had been buying and which can grow to be as a big as a tree. The owner of the nursery even took a huge caterpillar off another plant and let me take it home. It was the biggest caterpillar I have ever seen. I knew it wouldn't be long before it would be ready to pupate. The day after we got the new plant, I went to Petsmart and purchased a reptile terrarium to use as a butterfly hatchery. Unfortunately, by the time we got home to set up our little nursery, Mr. Big Caterpillar crawled off the milkweed never to be seen again. We knew it was his time and when the caterpillar senses it's time for him to metamorphose, it will crawl off the host plant and change into a pupa (chrysalis). I told Rosemary to be careful where she stepped and for the past two weeks, she has been warning me to be careful every time we step onto our porch. We searched high and low for the chrysalis, but never did find it. In the meantime, we did successfully nurture two caterpillars in our terrarium who did pupate. Today after I drop Rosemary off at school, I go out to check on the little pupas, and there on the screened-in porch, is who else but Mr. (or Mrs.) Butterfly!!!!! Our escapee was inside the porch the whole time!!!! And one of our pupas inside the terrarium was about to hatch! It was magical today inside our little old screened-in porch! Here are some pictures of our adventures in butterfly gardening:
Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. They will drink the nectar from the flowers and lay their eggs on the plant. Usually they lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, but this little guy left his on the actual blossom. That little tiny dot in the middle of the red bud is a butterfly egg. They are very tiny, but once you know how to spot them, you will be amazed at how quickly you will notice them!
Once the egg hatches, it becomes a teeny tiny little caterpillar. That teeny tiny little caterpillar eats his eggshell and munches through the leaf. You can see the hole bitten through this leaf right above the caterpillar. That's where his egg was. Now our little friend (Rosemary names all our caterpillars Bailey) will start his journey.
Here's a picture of another recently hatched caterpillar from our garden. You can kind of see how tiny they are in this picture by comparing it to my fingers. Trust me, I'm not a giant! They look so big compared to the caterpillar though!
While I was going around taking pictures of the caterpillars, Xander-man decided to play in my reserved soil. Nice, little man.
Here's another caterpillar, not so small. Actually, this picture was taken a couple weeks ago. This is the caterpillar that just hatched into a butterfly today! This was shortly before we put him in the terrarium.
Here he is after we put him in the terrarium. When the caterpillar is ready to pupate, he will either crawl off the host plant, or in this case, crawl to the top of the terrarium, spin a little web, hang from it in a "J" shape, and eventually pupate.
Here's the same caterpillar after metamorphosing into a pupa. He stayed this way for about two weeks.
Here's a second caterpillar in our terrarium in the "J" shape just before pupating (I hate that word. Pupate.) You can see our first pupa sticking out of the front of the top.
Here's the first one again. This was taken this morning. I noticed all the green color was gone, and I could see the color and shape of the wings inside the pupa so I knew it wouldn't be long before he hatched.
And this picture was taken about an hour later. See the empty chrysalis?! SOOOOO COOL!!!!!
And here's Bailey! But, what's that in the background, attached to the white part of our porch??? Another butterfly! Yes, that would be our escapee!!! Two butterflies in one day!!!!
Here's another closer shot of the escapee (look by the mulch- he's inside the porch.)
And an even closer picture.
I waited for Rosemary to get home from school today before releasing either of them. She was so excited to see the new butterflies!
After our escapees wings dried (you need to wait a while before releasing them or they won't be able to survive), I gently coerced her outside using Xander's toy butterfly net. She hung out on the screen door for a few hours before she eventually flew away. It was an AMAZING journey!!!! I hope she'll come back and lay some eggs in our garden so we can continue her legacy. But I have a feeling she's halfway to Mexico by now!
Our second hatchee of the day was still drying those wings by the time the sun went down so I stuck some food in there for her and we'll check on her in the morning. I'm sure she'll be ready to fly by then! I love how she grabbed onto the stick I put in there!
I like to think I'm teaching Rosemary some valuable life lessons about humans and nature, but really I'm way more into it than she is! She loves it and talks about it and knows all the life stages of the caterpillar (although we keep debating the whole cocoon vs. chrysalis thing. And believe me, that 4 year old can debate!) but I was like a giddy little kid when I saw those butterflies today! I don't think I've been that excited about anything in months! I can't wait to release the next one. We should have a third in the next couple days because our other pupa in the terrarium was only a day or two behind. And we have one caterpillar that will be ready to pupate soon, and lots of new babies to keep it company! I hope some swallowtails find my parsley so we can see another type of butterfly emerge but so far only the monarch has discovered our little garden.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Is it me or did something change in blogland? Hmmm... Things looks funny. I hope this post goes through!
On Friday while Rosemary was in school I decided to take Xander to Horsepower for Kids. We've been several times with Rosemary, and even Xander, though he was too little to enjoy it much. I was pleasantly surprised at all the changes they've made since last time we were there! Tons of new animals, ponds, etc. There were even baby piglets less than a week old that I was very tempted to stick in my pocket! I didn't get many pictures because my phone camera kind of sucks, but I got this cute one of Xander meeting this horse. He loved this horse! You can't tell in the picture, but it only has one eye. Xander kept coming back to it. Some of the other highlights of the day were Xander getting chased and almost attacked by a turkey (I later realized it was trying to protect it's babies and what mother can't understand that?!), watching a camel get a haircut, taking a train ride around the farm, and feeding a camel! Yes, feeding a camel! That was COOL! Oh, and he petted a snake! It was an AWESOME day for my little man! He was pretty shocked when we got there. We normally take it easy, clean, run errands, or at most go to the playground or an in-home playdate while Rosemary is in school so I think he was surprised that I actually took him somewhere fun all by himself (well, we did meet some friends there but I mean no Rosemary)! I wish I had pictures of all the cool stuff he did, but I think this picture pretty much show how much fun he had. He had no fear of the animals. I had to keep him from crawling into the tortoise enclosure a few times and I almost had a heart attack when he started climbing the bars in front of the stall of a horse marked "HE BITES." He also walked right up to a peacock in full show-off mode. I HIGHLY recommend a day at Horsepower! When he's a little older I"ll take him back for the pony rides but he had enough fun just playing on the farm!
Sunday, April 1, 2012
This past week has been challenging in many ways. I had minor surgery - a cyst removed from my neck- and had been battling a sinus infection. Xander caught an upper respiratory infection and double ear infection, his second in the past couple months, which brought us to after hours at his pediatrician (my brain can't help but mentally add up all the health care costs associated with this poor little guy so far this year who seems to be battling one cold or ear infection after another.) Unfortunately, because of his illness, he was forced to miss our annual Easter Egg hunt with my first playgroup that I've been with since Rosemary only 2 months old. Fortunately, it ended up giving Rosemary and I a perfect excuse to have a day celebrating just the two of us! Also, since it's really what I consider "her" playgroup (I'm in two) it was nice just having her with me to spend the morning with her little friends. I didn't get any pictures of the actual egg hunt (another technological disaster occured- I dropped my phone and cracked the screen so I am limited in the use of it until it gets repaired) but she loved it. She also experienced her first tummy ache from too much candy! She just couldn't resist tearing into the chocolate candies hidden inside her Easter eggs, and for the first time, I just let her. Every kid deserves to experience a sugar coma once in her life and I'm pretty sure she won't do it again :)
I surprised her after the Easter egg hunt and took her to the zoo! We started on the roller coaster (again, no picture) and then found some lunch. She wanted a corn dog, and all they had were footlongs. Would you believe she ate the WHOLE thing? She did. I'm not kidding. You should see this girl eat. When she likes something, there's no stopping her. I was able to get a few pictures of our day with my pitiful phone and here's one I couldn't resist!
As we were eating lunch, the clouds started moving in and the rain started. We found a little shelter and hid under there for a while, allowing Rosemary to take her time and finish up for footlong corn dog and tear into a bag of chips :) [A note about her shoes: The silver flip flops she wore to the zoo fell apart as we were walking in so the first thing we did was hit up the zoo gift shop looking for a new pair. We ended up finding a pair that fit her. But they weren't her usual size. In fact, they weren't in the usual section. She wears some where between a 10.5 and 12 T. These are a size 1. No "T." It broke my heart a little that I had to buy her shoes from the big kid section.]
I took this time to snap a picture of the two of us, just to document our special day together.
After the rain stopped, we headed over to feed some fish, see the horses, feed some goats, explore the petting zoo, and then headed over to visit the Florida habitat where we saw a panther and the highlight of our day, the manatees! Rosemary loved the manatees and asked me to read the sign to her repeatedly. I noticed a gift shop nearby so we headed in there and I bought her a book about manatees to bring home. I love nourishing these curiosities she has and don't mind spoiling her mind and am thankful it was a book she wanted and not the giant stuffed manatee that we have no room for :) We've been to the zoo many times so we didn't rush around to see all the animals. After visiting the manatees, we slowed down and road the carousel. She found a manatee to ride on :)
Then we headed to the fountains for some splash time before heading home.
Though we hadn't planned this day far in advance, it was so special. The last time we had a special day like this was when I took her to the tea room and that was a long time ago. I noticed this week that she is growing more and more into a little lady and our relationship is changing. She is becoming more independent. I started to miss her. There were a couple days this week when she started feeling a little under the weather, though it didn't progress into anything like what Xander has. She was just run down enough to be extra cuddly. There was one morning this past week where the two of us just cuddled on the couch after breakfast. I played with her hair, kissed her cheeks, and just absorbed her. I miss having those tender moments. While I am sad that Xander is sick, I am thankful that it allowed Rosemary and I to have a day just the two of us. We need to make a conscious effort to do this more often. Both of us benefited from it. She is a delightful little person. She's smart (she asks such good questions and makes connections that are far beyond what I would expect out of a four year old), witty (she definitely has a sarcastic wit about her), funny (she cracks silly jokes about the most random things), caring (she mentioned things Xander would like at the zoo several times), and gorgeous. I wish I had Joe's camera skills so I could have shown off how amazing she is. She's not my baby anymore. She's this perfect little person. I'm beginning to see some positive things coming out of her headstrongness. While still challenging, I am seeing it is her way of learning about and interacting with the world. She takes power when she needs it. I admire her. I can't wait for our next mommy/daughter date.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
One of the things I was most excited about when we bought this house was the size of the backyard. Perfect for gardening! It's also one of the things that I haven't been able to do in a couple years. Two years ago I was pregnant and throwing up too much to plant and last year I had a colicky baby. This year, however, I am back and better than ever! This was our first year planting in our raised garden bed (purchased at least 2, if not 3, years ago but never having been planted in.) Rosemary chose most of the veggies and herbs that went into her garden and I planted a bunch more in containers. I am so excited about our potential crop this year!
Here's Rosemary smoothing the soil (I bought a prepared mix, hopefully it'll work out! Choosing the right soil was the hardest part!).
One the soil was pretty much distributed evenly, she raked it to make sure it was as smooth as possible.
This is the look she has been giving me most of the time lately. She i 4 going on 14. Oi vey. We have our hands full with this one.
Still looking like she's too cool for this whole gardening thing. Don't let that sassy little face fool you. This girl is a gardening fool. She's digging the hole for the very first plant...
Rosemary planting rosemary!!!
Altogether, we planted broccoli, chocolate mint, rosemary, catnip, a pink girl tomato, cucumbers, and a red bell pepper in Rosemary's garden.
In the containers we have a Black Prince Russian heirloom tomato (I tried this a few year ago and it disappeared overnight. I think it was the year I had the hornworm problem. I'm hoping to buy a mesh or something this year to protect my tomatoes), basil, thyme, dill, cherry tomatoes and habanero peppers and in the ground we have some marigolds and a citronella plant (let's hope this wards off mosquitos!). We still need to mulch, but I'm not sure what's best to use. I'll go back tomorrow and pick something up.
It was also time to spruce up the front. We enjoyed collards and cabbages this winter but it was time to replace them with Spring flowers (and leftover broccoli that didn't fit in the back). This was our last cabbage (okay, it was the only cabbage that actually grew). I roasted it with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, fennel, and olive oil and dipped it in balsamic vinegar- YUM!). And my own little Cabbage Patch Kid to display it!
And here are our new flowers- zinnias, petunias, and vincas. The broccoli is in there, but very small. I'm excited to see what this look like in another month! The collards and cabbages were even smaller but ended up HUGE! And in past years we had good luck with vinca. I'm especially excited about my purple petunias! If we ever have another girl, I think I like the name Petunia as an option.
We planted lot of marigolds (I didn't take pictures of the others we planted in the back because they really don't look that great yet. They are just sticking out of weed fabric and need mulch!) Rosemary fell in love with this one and wanted to keep it. She carried it around for a couple hours until finally agreeing that this pot was the perfect home for her new friend. After planting, she helped me water all of our new plants. Then she said goodbye to her new marigold friend and told it "It was nice to meet you!"
The coolest part of today's gardening adventures was when I came back in the house and found the entire family peeking under this chair. They picked some catnip and were testing it out. Romeo isn't the biggest fan of catnip, but it was still fun!