Monthly Archives: April 2009

Going Green. And a little crazy.

I am expanding my domestic goddess repertoire to the great outdoors. Sorry, Mother Earth.

Now that we are in our house and have this precious little yard, I have been feeling the urge to plant something. Nothing major. Just some color to liven up the place. I picked up some pansies, transfered them from pot to ground. They lived. I was surprised. And energized. What else could I not kill?

I picked up a pack of seeds, zinnias, I think. Could I grow a plant from seeds? Too soon. Not yet.

So I picked up some dahlias and potted them. Not too hard. So far, so good. I branched out, and bought a spade (I think a spade. A kind of shovely thing, that’s short. I’m not sure). And some hedge trimmers. I trimmed the hedges. And did it really well, too!

I want to dig in the dirt and plant my seeds, but I’m still too nervous. Can I get them from tiny little speck of germinated plant matter to blossoming blooms of color? I’m still skeptical.

I spotted some beautiful orange and yellow marigolds at the grocery store, and decided they would make a great addition to my growing garden. I planted them kinda without thinking about it, and now I just have a random row of orange and yellow puff balls in front of my hedges. Hmm. Now I guess I understand the concept of landscaping. I guess I’ll need a lot more marigolds.

After it got warm and rained a bunch, suddenly our grass is 2 feet tall. I decided that we need a mower that I can use (meaning, I can’t start a regular mower, the kind with the pull chord. Never could do it.), and since our yard is so small and flat, and since Earth Day was this week, Paul and I decided on a push reel mower. Those are the old-timey mowers that don’t require gas or electricity. So I went to Home Depot and bought the mower AND I assembled it. All by myself. Albeit, a couple little parts didn’t quite make it on, and I apparently didn’t put the washers (?) in the right place, but it was functional.

So today, I sat there, looking at MY mower. My own piece of machinery. I’ve never had any kind of machinery, outside of hair dryers and flat irons. Declan was asleep and it was 80 degrees and sunny. The mower was glistening in the light, a real beauty. So I did it. I mowed the yard. With MY mower. Well, I mowed the front yard, then Declan woke up. Then tonight, after Declan was asleep and while Paul was cooking, I went outside to put up Declan’s toys, and there it sat again. My little green machine. I knew I had a few minutes before dinner, so maybe I would just touch up a few patches that I missed. After all, this was my first time mowing; our yard didn’t exactly look like Southfork. I ran over a few rows, spruced up a few patches. It was so nice out, warm and breezy. The first summery-feeling night.

I headed to the backyard.

I haven’t spent much time in our backyard. No reason to. But once I was back there, I noticed a great smell. Honeysuckle! Tons of it, on one side of our shed. Tons of bumble bees, too, which I know are harmless, but I hate them. Then I saw big tall stems, at least 4 feet tall, growing out of some thick leaves that Paul and I had been curious about. Irises! We are going to have irises! On the other side of the shed from the irises is a full cascade of some sort of hanging flowers in blue and purple. I’m thinking it could be a wisteria tree, after googling a million different things, but I have no clue. So I started mowing back there, dodging the bumble bees and smelling the honey suckle. Paul called me to dinner before I was finished, and I really had to decide whether to go in or not without finishing. I hated to, but I got the stink eye from Paul, so I knew it was time to quit for the day.

I also bought more marigolds when I got my mower, and a starter kit thingy for my seeds (that’s the scientific name, BTW). I’m going to plant zinnias and aster. I want my yard to be bursting with color. I want to play in the dirt and watch something develop and grow every day, just the same as I do with Declan. There is something nurturing and natural about gardening that I think goes hand in hand with motherhood.

But even if our house doesn’t become the next Biltmore, my love for the outdoors as grown. I’ve discovered a new hobby that gets me off my butt and away from the TV and the computer and into the fresh air and sun. It’s surprisingly invigorating and mind-clearing, and kinda therapeutic.

I know this post wasn’t very funny or clever, but I am so surprised by this new turn of events, I had to write about it. I am sure that once the mercury hits 90 degrees, I won’t be quite so peachy about sweating my ass off in the grass, surrounded by bugs and and itching like crazy. I’ll only be outside long enough to walk into my mom’s pool or to get a new margarita. And I’ll be begging Paul to mow weekly. But for now, it’s easy being green.



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How things change..

I realized today that it had been exactly a year since I decided to quit breastfeeding Declan. He was 11 days old, and I was MISERABLE. I was so stressed, so tired, in so much pain and so desperate for a break after trying to make nursing work. I had lost 31 pounds in 11 days because my anxiety level was so high, I couldn’t eat one bite of food. I had no milk supply at all and was convinced that Declan was starving to death. I was suffering from the typical new mom fears on top of all that mess. For those that have been there, you know what I mean. I was convinced that if he didn’t eat every 4 hours MAXIMUM, he would die. He would just waste away in his bassinet before my very eyes.

I was also convinced that if we held him while he slept, he’d be sleeping in our bed until he was 12. When I was desperate for sleep and decided to hold him anyway, I would sleep for two seconds and then jerk myself awake, convinced he was going to somehow leap off my chest, roll off the king-size bed and impale himself on some unknown sharp object on the floor. I remember one night, Paul had taken him out to the couch so I could sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up to use the bathroom, and while I was in there, I realized I had been asleep for several hours, like 5, and hadn’t heard a peep. So I started PANICKING on the toilet, convinced that Paul had either rolled on top of him on the couch (hardly possible) or dropped him on another one of those hidden spikes. This did not speed up my bathroom break, which therefore led to more panic. I needed to put my eyes on my child NOW. And finally, when my body cooperated, I ran out to the couch and there were my two men, snuggled on the couch, both breathing. I’m fairly sure I woke them up anyway.

That day I quit nursing, so many of those fears were alleviated. I could SEE how much Declan was eating. Paul could feed him while I slept, therefore cutting out a lot of my sleep-deprived delirium. I began to believe that he wasn’t this frail little creature on his way to death’s door. In other words, I began to relax and enjoy being a mother.

Fast-forward a year. Now, my fears are more abstract. Typical things: fear of kidnappers or car wrecks or falling down our scary basement stairs. But day-to-day life is much more sedated, to the point of comedy. I think most parents can relate to the kind of insanity that happens once you have a toddler, and how normal it becomes. For those not yet in the toddler world yet, I promise you that you, too, will not believe the things that you do, see and say that you swore would never happen, or would have mortified you just months before.

(If any parents of toddlers out there don’t have conversations like this, please don’t judge. Maybe I am alone in all this. I doubt it, though.)

Recent conversations include:

Me: “There’s something in Declan’s hair. [sniff, sniff] Ewww, I think it’s poop.”

Paul: “Has he pooped since his bath last night?”

Me: “No.Hmm. Must be the cat’s. I’ll give him a bath later.”


Paul: “Where’s Declan’s paci/sippy cup/the remote control?”

Me: “Did you check the tub?”

Paul: “Oh, no. There it is.”

Most recently

Paul: “What’s he eating?” (This question occurs quite frequently, and never during a meal. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.)

Me: “Um, looks like macaroni.”

Paul: “When did he have macaroni?”

Me: “The other day.”

Very common


Paul: “Ouch, buddy, you ok?”

Me: “He just hit his head, he’s fine.”

So despite being a poop-covered, trash-eating, bathtub-playing toddler covered in bruises, cuts and unknown substances, he’s survived. Thrived, actually. Despite not having years of breastmilk, despite chewing on toys at the children’s museum, despite eating grass and McDonald’s (GASP!), he’s a walking, talking, big ole 1-year-old whose only fallen off the bed during waking hours. If only I could tell this to that 11-day-old Mom, so that she could have relaxed sooner. Babies aren’t nearly as fragile as we think. It’s the moms with the frailty.


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