Adventures in New-Home Gardening

I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb. For example, beetle plants are supposed to be easy to keep alive… but in the year I’ve had charge of one in my temporary classroom, I wouldn’t call it “thriving.” Sorry, teacher who’s room I’m in. At least it’s not dead!

We moved into our house at the end of August, and we caught the tail-end of summer but didn’t plant anything new, what with the moving in and the baby and new job and all. So this spring has been a very exciting time of planning and planting.

Joel, naturally, wins all the green thumbs up. He’s planted SO MANY berries! Oh, also a cherry tree (it’s a 4-way, with Bing, Royal Ann, Black sweet something…, and Vinlad?…Vidlan…?..Van?…I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about.)

There’s also a kitchen garden with a new asparagus patch (we have to wait awhile for that one), tomatoes, onions, lettuce, strawberries, and cucumber.

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I’m going to take my own stab at successful gardening, though. There’s an ace up my sleeve at this house: irrigation! This house has by far the fanciest system we’ve ever lived with. I mean, my 2nd-story deck trellis has 6 (!!!) drip line terminals!!! That’s crazy town!

So here are my deck babies: a dahlia, coleus, snapdragons, some neat black-eyed-Susans, and some other stuff. I’m feeling good about their chances of survival, what with the irrigation fanciness and all.

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I put some other stuff in the ground, too, in our by-the-house garden (which is well irrigated): lilies of the valley on a shady side of the house, mint, peas, some succulents, a cool ice plant (?) that’s hardy, and some shade pretty leaf thing. (Ha! I should learn the names!)

And can we just take a moment to glory in these inherited blueberry bushes? Take your time.

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Further afield (pun! the field’s far from our house!), we’ve got a native meadow taking shape. The grass is pulling more than its weight in this balance, so we’re going to try to add some more blossoming things. This includes but is not limited to: poppies, cosmos, fuzzy-leaf-pink-guys that we had in Bend, bachelor’s buttons, and foxgloves.

Someday, I will also have a pink dogwood out here. They’re so preeeetty.

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So you could say we like it here. 🙂 I’m a fan of traipsing around the property from one end to the other, feeling like an explorer or pioneer or something. It’s so private compared to every other place I’ve lived! It’s going to be an excellent summer.

Oh Canada! 2017 Edition

Most people head to a sunny beach during spring break, but this year we bucked the trend and went north to the Canadian Rockies.

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Lake Louise was so beautiful during our honeymoon in July 2009. I wanted to see its winter version, which Joel had enjoyed visiting as a kid. We took advantage of off-season deals and the 150-year anniversary of Canada (free national parks pass!) to visit.

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Our first stop was Deer Lodge, steps away from the famous chateau on-site at Lake Louise. We stayed in the lodge’s historic rooms, which means that while Gordy had a room to himself (so convenient for naps!), there was pretty much zero sound privacy (sorry, other hotel guests!). The biggest bonus of this hotel was that our baby monitor reached from Gordy’s room to the hotel lounge, so we were able to hang out and play games while Gordy napped or after he went down for the night.

We loved skiing on the lake with Gordy in his pulk! We also used this hotel as our base for downhill skiing (Joel) and visiting Radium Hot Springs and Banff (Gordy and me).

Our second, shorter stop was to the seriously incredible Emerald Lake Lodge. This spot is west in Yoho National Park, and WOW! The main lodge is a cool log building with a massive game room and sitting rooms with food available. The resort has a bunch of 4-unit cabins of varying fanciness, but all seem to have a great view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Best feature = wood-burning fireplace in every room!

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Although we had to whisper a lot during our stay (the lounge was way too far away for our baby monitor), we both really enjoyed the incredible location. We also had a great family hike through the snow around the lake on a sunny day. I definitely want to return here in the summer! …But probably not for an overnight! $$$

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On this trip, Gordy learned about napping in the car, swimming in pools, and deepened his love for food squeeze pouches. It was so fun bringing him to Canada for the first time, and we look forward to many more summer and winter visits to the Canadian Rockies!

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Gordy is 1!

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What a year it has been — welcoming Gordy to this world, watching him grow and learn, and loving him more each day!

This past month, he has gotten quite adept at army crawling everywhere, sitting up from lying down, eating finger foods pretty well, and expressing his preferences at the dinner table.

He still naps twice a day and usually wakes once in the night for milkies. He is showing signs of pulling himself up to stand, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Now there are 6 teeth — he gained two top ones this past week. He likes to use them to bite clothes and toys (not us…yet!).

He finds new toys hilarious and awesome! His laugh is quiet but infectious. His favorite activities are snuggling with us and reading books, patting Franklin, and trying to stack toys.

Being his parents has certainly been challenging at times, but he has brought so much joy into our lives! We love our Gordy!

This month also marks the end of monthly updates on his progress. He’s just babying along, and his milestones are starting to spread out. Thanks for following along with his first year on the blog! Below, enjoy a (14-minute!) video supercut of his first year’s highlights.

Onward to toddler-dom!

Gordy’s 11th Month

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We’re almost to a year!!! He reached some big developmental milestones this month.

  • Crawling! Finally! He does a solid army-crawl, and occasionally raises up to hands and knees to bob around or scoot backwards. He has no trouble getting where he wants to go.
  • He only stands if you prop him up — no pulling up — but decent balance and strength.
  • Sleeping through the night!!! I can’t even believe it!!! He still wakes occasionally at 1 am or so, but now it’s more usual to have a solid chunk of sleep from 10 pm – 5 ish am. Hallelujah!!! He also naps from about 8:30-11am, and from 1-3pm.
  • He has 4.5 teeth (another top tooth is poking its way through).
  • Finger foods are coming along. He practices mostly at daycare, where they have greater patience for messes. He still loves all food, but has learned a fun new trick of spitting out the food when he’s done (or if he senses he has an audience).
  • The cutest thing he’s done this month is being a total ham in front of the mirror. ANY mirror! Head tilts, flirty looks, big smiles and laughs, dancing and wiggling, etc. It’s so entertaining!
  • He upgraded to a convertible car seat this month, too — I think he likes being able to see more stuff in the car. He was getting too tall for the infant bucket.

Enjoy his video below!

Family Skiing

Cross-country skiing, classic style, Nordic…whatever you call it, we love it!

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Joel proposed to me on a ski outing way back in the days of yore. We have enjoyed many adventures since then, and we always knew we’d want our kid to join us.

Now that Gordy is here, we have added to our skiing arsenal. Enter: the pulk! We bought this awesome Kindershuttle from Wilderness Engineering and have been extremely happy with it.

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We acclimated Gordy to the shuttle by taking him on short treks around the yard — and we’ve certainly had plenty of snow for it! He always seemed to range from indifference to excitement. That’s a win in our book!

We’re going to visit Banff again this spring break for the winter version of Lake Louise, and we’re expecting to have a great time pulking around as a family. 🙂

Side note: Each outing brings a batch of public reaction to the pulk, which is endlessly entertaining for me. (Joel would prefer to have no one notice him ever, haha!)  Our most recent trip up to Teacup Snow Park on Mt Hood brought many comments of “OMG look!!!” and “Remember how much my kid hated that thing?” HAHA! Gordy seems super content, lucky us, and stays toasty warm in his sheltered spot (so don’t worry, Aunt Sarah!).

I love having such a fun thing to do as a family! And yeah, maybe I did biff it super hard on this last outing (RIP, nose and shoulder!), but I know the pain is fleeting and the memories are forever.

You can expect a spring break ski trip post around the beginning of April! 🙂

Happy Snow Year!

I thought I’d document all the crazy winter storms we’ve gotten so far this school year. I’m writing this during an ice day, the 5th? 6th? time school has been canceled this year. (I checked –6th.)

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The first storm dumped a huge amount of fluffy powder December 8 & 9 — I think around 18 inches on our deck. That was a lot to manage, but it came over a couple days and we stayed mostly on top of it, so it wasn’t too crazy. I got 2 snow days from that storm, which at the time felt unusual. Little did I know…

The next one was crazier. We arrived at PDX after our Minnesota visit to find our car encased in an icy shell. Turns out a severe winter storm had arrived Saturday, Jan. 7, and we had to drive home in it Sunday, Jan. 8. Highway 84 was INSANE. A BMW nearly spun into us while we were still in the city, but the road became pretty empty as we continued east. I’ve never been on the highway in conditions that bad — icy, drifts of snow, very strong wind gusts, and people pulled over every so often to chain up. Our 4Runner handled the conditions with no problems at all. 🙂

The snow that began on Saturday continued until Wednesday — about 5 days of accumulation! Since there was already a huge amount when we got back home, this storm definitely got on top of us. We didn’t really start digging out until Monday, and we focused on paths. With some assistance from neighborhood plows (one of unknown origin), our driveway got clear. Then Joel hopped up to shovel the whole roof because — guess what — another storm is on the way! I had 3 snow days from that massive storm.

The ice day was called for Tuesday, Jan. 17 due to dire warnings about freezing precipitation. Everyone used the time between storms to prepare: there is a real danger of roof collapse when you add it all up. Since we live in a steep place, the ice can be a serious danger for school buses, too. It was sunny until about 2:20pm, when the precipitation began… It would have been a sketchy drive home, so I’m glad they called it off! We’ll see how much glazing we get…


Update: Ice day called for the 18th, too, bringing us up to 7 missed days so far. We have some definite glazing out there. It’s a good thing I’m such a homebody, because I’ve been housebound most of this month! The upside of that is I have finally conquered cardboard city, and our basement is much less storage-locker-y than it was before.

Joel made it up on the garage roof before the ice began. We ended up getting about 2 inches of ice pellets followed by 3/8ths inch of solid ice.

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Update: Thurs., Jan. 19th — yet another ice day! We’re up to 8 missed school days. I don’t even remember what it feels like to go to work anymore, haha! This has been a spectacular mid-winter break for me. Many of these days, Joel has worked from home, and it has been so cozy battening down the hatches with my boys. I made no-bake cookies, quiche, delicious fish soup (scrounged from the pantry! win!), and I even cooked bacon while the power was out by using our camp stove. Gordy will probably have to readjust to daycare, but that’s a small price to pay for this time together. I will probably also be working until the end of June… but that’s to be determined, and that’s a worry for another day.

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Today, the evaporating ice is creating massive clouds that roll up the valleys, so sometimes our house is in a white haze and sometimes we see streaming sunbeams with scattered showers and evaporating patches of steam everywhere.

I’m enjoying the sun as it comes, and I’m mentally gearing up for a day of school before the weekend! We’ll see what our forecast brings!

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Gordy’s 10th Month 

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We spent almost this whole month together (2 weeks of winter break + 1 week in Minnesota + so many snow days!). He’s much more fun to hang out with now than he was at 3 weeks old, let me tell ya. Maternity leave should be now, during the fun parts, instead of during the potato stage, haha! Of course, there’s the whole physical recovery side of things I suppose… Guess we just need to go Canadian and take a whole year! 😉

He changed SO MUCH this month — every week brought new developments, including:

  • Reaching towards people he loves
  • Laughing at Franklin
  • Arm flapping intensely for food
  • The end of another sleep regression?
  • 50th percentile for everything: 28.5 inches, 19 lbs 9 oz at his 9 month appointment (time for a new carseat!)
  • Trying out dada, mama, and cat
  • Still loves all food, but occasionally expresses less enthusiasm for an offering. Also, he now prefers to eat big boy food first, then fill in the gaps with milkies. He’s getting more adept at Cheerios and other finger foods, but mostly eats purees.
  • Turning tummy circles and rolling around really well, as well as practicing standing with help and balancing on all fours with help; he’s just starting forward motion by pushing off with his toes
  • Started being scared of strangers, taking turns in “conversations,” making silly faces
  • Naps 2x per day.
  • Got 2 top teeth during our Minnesota visit, so he’s up to 4.

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He’s blossoming more and more as a little person; he loves to snuggle in our arms, to play with us and laugh at Franklin, and he absolutely loves reading books. ❤

Here’s this month’s timelapse. We love our little guy!