Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Garden

One of the hardest things to leave behind at our old house was the garden. When we first moved in, the place had been neglected for years and there was ivy growing everywhere. The terraced backyard was covered in vines, wild raspberry bushes, and weeds- all the way down so that we couldn't even reach the top terrace. Little by little we took back that yard. Chopping down dead trees, exposing and then rebuilding stone walls and stairs, pulling out ivy and planting flowers, creating a play space for our kids on the top terrace overlooking the neighborhood. Our backyard became a place of beauty and retreat, our private little space. When we moved I dug up some of my favorite plants- coral bells and lillies that my grandmother had divided from her garden and given to me, sedum, day lilies and spider wort. All of it survived except the sedum, which I replaced this spring. I also left behind a lot of flowers that I miss- pink peonies, lavender, allium, and phlox to name a few. Whenever I drive by I crane my neck to see how the garden is doing, and I still mourn the flowers I left behind. It may seem strange to dig up flowers to take on a move, and grieve the ones you didn't, but I think there are other gardeners out there who understand.

Anyway, the first year in our new home I didn't do much. I wanted to see what came up, and where before digging around. I planted some annuals and left it at that. I was pleasantly surprised to find peonies, irises, a beautiful rhododendron, and LOTS of day lilies. Last year Ed did a huge amount of digging and created a beautiful new garden across the front, and I ordered lots of baby perennials from a catalog to plant in it. Since they were immature, the garden still looked pretty bare last summer and I
had to buy lots of annuals to give it color. This spring I was thrilled to find that many of those perennials had lasted the winter, and were now lush and mature. I will need to replace some that died, and they will fill in the bare spots, but I hardly had to buy any annuals this year. I made a trip to the nursery and used a gift card from my birthday to buy a beautiful blue-green hosta (I still would like a variegated one, and am on the lookout for friends who have some to divide-hint, hint!), a peach coral bell, some little lavenders and a sedum. We also spread mulch this year, which totally makes a different in appearance and weed maintenance. I have to say that I am quite pleased with the effects. I don't cringe inside anymore when we pull up to our house. Instead, I have a little thrill at the beauty of the flowers. There is still a long way to go- a whole side of our yard has been, and still is neglected. There are trees to chop, branches to chip, weeds to pull. The work is truly endless, but so are the rewards.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Busy Weekend

After the frantic pace of painting and putting in a bathroom, it felt very strange to just be able to sit and watch tv on Wednesday night. We went to bed pretty early the next few nights, and tried to catch up on our sleep. By Saturday we were ready for some serious "family time". So after lunch we headed out to the Morris Arboretum. We recently got a membership, and it was the first time we went. It was gorgeous! There were fountains for the kids to play in...

sculptures to climb...

but my favorite was the rose garden where a ground hog was also enjoying the beautiful surroundings...

And in the end we took a little train ride around the garden, which E and N loved, but K wasn't so sure about. She was game as we waited for the train to start, standing in my lap and looking over the side of the car. But once it started to move, she moved toward Ed and snuggled against him the entire time, taking in the scenery from the safety of his arms.

As we walked around we noticed that there was one portion of the garden that looked sadly neglected, with only past-bloom azaleas, lots of weeds, and even a couple of dead plants. It was a huge contrast from the lush, carefully planted sections, so I am wondering what is going on.

Saturday night we spent at a fun first b-day party for Addie that was well attended by family and playgroup friends. Even though we were out after a long day, it was nice to not have to cook, and have the extra bonus of seeing our friends, and of course celebrating with little Addie.

Sunday after church we headed out for the zoo. Our membership there is about to expire this week, so we thought we would take advantage of it one more time. The kids enjoyed all the usual rides- swan boats, draft horse, electric train. We were disappointed that the line was so long for the balloon. Ed has been wanting to go up in it, but it is always closed when we go as a family. N was especially disappointed and burst into tears when we left the line. I felt bad for him, but I wasn't ready to wait an hour in a line, at that time of day.

Oh yeah, and we saw some animals too.(hippos in the water in the background)

When we got home, I made dinner and then we went to "Everybody's Playground". It was so much fun. I have heard that it is super hot in the summer because there is no shade, but it was perfect in the evening. K loved crawling around on the soft surface, and the kids chased each other over and around the huge structure.

Ed also walked K around on all the ramps and he decided that she was ready to walk.

So we set her between us and she walked a couple of steps from Ed to me before falling into my arms. We tried to get her to do it again, but when I let go, she would just stand there and then fall to her knees. She can be such a stinker sometimes- we think that she purposely
doesn't do what she know we want her to do. Like say "Dada", or sign "thank-you", or even to look at me when I am taking a picture. She will purposely turn her head the other way, with a little smile on her face like,"I know you want me to look at you, but I won't". Case in point- this picture taken at the Memorial Day picnic on Monday.

So I spent much of Monday cleaning the house, but we did go out in the evening to a picnic with our C-group. Those not up on the lingo, it is short for Community Group, the new name for Mini-church which was the new name for D-Group. In all cases, it is a smaller group within the church that meets on a regular basis in someone's home for prayer, fellowship, and discussion. Anyway, we had a picnic together last night. I think the highlight for N was the motorized mini-car. He monopolized the vehicle the entire night. The only problem is he is a terrible driver, running down several children through the course of the night, and backing into all sorts of things. He was very sad to leave it behind. I was not.

This morning things are back to the usual schedule- playgroup today, and then babysitting for the remainder of the week. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2008

N meets "Johnny"

Last night was the groundbreaking ceremony and community night in our township. There were games, food, live music, firetrucks, and the official groundbreaking ceremony followed by fireworks.

We were positioned pretty close to the stage for the ceremony part of the evening. They had several speakers that spoke of the past of the school, and three different time periods when they had attended. While that was fascinating to listen to, the highlight for
me was the last speaker- it was Johnny from "Johnny and the Sprites".

Apparently he was a 96 graduate of UDHS. As soon as he was done speaking, I scrounged up a crayon and a piece of paper from my diaper bag and wove my way through the crowd, with E and N close behind me. When we got up to where he was, on the other side of the police tape, I handed the paper and crayon to E and told her to ask for his autograph. They had some trouble getting close, as he was talking to old teachers, so E returned to me. "Get his autograph- he's the one right there-- in the blue shirt!" I whispered to E. She reluctantly turned back towards Johnny, and I could see her trying to force the paper into N's hand, and whispering insistently that he do it. I guess it worked because the next thing I saw was N trying to get close in this crowd of grownups, clutching the paper and crayon while E stood behind me. "Why aren't you up there?" I asked. "I don't wan't to! I want N to do it!" she whined. "OK", I sighed, and then turned my attention back to N who was now tugging on Johnny's leg, his little face turned up, crayon extended. Johnny finished his conversation and then knelt down next to N with a big smile on his face. "Hi there! Do you want me to sign that?"

N nodded silently, his eyes shining.

"What's your name?"


"Well, N, do you watch 'Johnny and the Sprites?'"

Another silent nod

"Which one is your favorite?" At this I wondered what N would say- I knew he would never remember individual names. Fortunately Johnny listed them off and N nodded after one of them.

"Well, I will tell Lily that you said 'hi' when I see her, OK?"

N broke into a big grin and nodded again.

"How about a high-5?" I was now standing next to N and as he gave Johnny a high 5 I thanked him for taking the time to talk to N.

We walked back to where Ed and K were waiting and we listened to Gov. Rendell speak before the fireworks started. They were set up right in front of us, and it was a great show, especially since the band played along with them. When it comes down to it, N's favorite part of the night was probably the fireworks, but as for me, I was thrilled that we got to meet Johnny!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Old Friends, New Memories

So despite the rainy weather yesterday, we managed to have a fun day together. We went to the Kid's Castle in Doylestown and while the kids played, the parents hung out in the "dry" dungeon of the castle, trying to avoid the rain that was falling in a fine mist. these two girls share more than just the same name

Just when the rain was getting heavier, we left for Mercer Museum. The kids loved searching for the animals "on the loose" (4 animals they were supposed to find and then use the provided embosser to stamp their papers), and also playing dress- up at various exhibits.

We returned home in the late afternoon, and after dinner walked down to the "resi" where the kids threw rocks and fed the goslings.
We then put the children to bed and the adults played "Settlers- Cities and Knights" until about midnight. This morning was pretty rushed- after breakfast we all walked E down to the bus stop and then Chris, Angel and Co. left for their long 12 hr. drive back home.

As they were pulling out of the driveway N waved cheerfully until they were out of sight. Then he turned to me and asked, "When are they coming back?" I told him I didn't know and then his lower lip began to quiver as he realized they weren't just going on a little day trip. He said, "But I want you to know!"

I said, "I don't know- maybe you will see them again when you are six!"

At that he burst into tears and couldn't be comforted for several minutes, "I don't want them to go!!!"

E also had a similar reaction last night as she was getting ready for bed- not wanting them to leave. I must admit that I too woke up this morning with a heavy heart. It is always hard to say good-bye to friends that you know you won't see for a long time- years in this case. C and A are friends we have had since college, and we always have
such a good time together. As Angel said last night, it is just so easy when we are together, so comfortable. We all enjoy each others' company, and it is wonderful to see our children together, playing well and forming friendships. When Angel and I were in college we would take walks in the surrounding neighborhoods. There was one set of houses- they were mirror images of each other and right next to each other. We would dream that one day we could live next door to each other in houses like that, and raising our families together. Even though that didn't come to pass, I am so glad that we are still close, that we can connect with each other on a weekly basis through blogging. Through reading of blogs, our kids' faces are familiar to each other, and we know about the other's life- dreams, struggles, hopes and even random thoughts. So when we come together in one of these rare visits, it doesn't seem like we have been apart for so long. That being said, there is nothing like a real visit, and I hope it won't be 2 years until we see each other again. Maybe a trip out to the midwest is order next year!

Monday, May 19, 2008


After countless hours, late, late nights, and long days we are DONE. And not a minute too soon. Our friends will be arriving within the hour, and Ed is currently hanging the shades. I can't believe we actually finished and I am soooo glad it is over. Thank you to all who prayed, and a special thank you to our parents and my friend Anna, who helped with painting, plumbing, cleaning and child care this past week so that we could finish on time. And of course, thank you to Chris and Angel who gave us a reason to finally finish this project! We can't wait to see you!

Here are the results

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Progress, Progress

An update on the list:
** Items highlighted in red are updated 5/18 at 9:20 pm

1. Sanding the woodwork,
2. Priming the walls
3. Painting the ceiling (2-3 coats) (5/18)
4. Painting the walls (2 coats)
5. Painting the woodwork (3 coats)

6. Spackling the bathroom walls (contractor)
7. Sanding the woodwork in the bathroom
8. Priming the bathroom walls (5/13)
9. Painting the bathroom wood work, ceiling and walls (5/18)
10. Laying the floor (contractor)

11. Installing the vanity, mirror, light & towel racks
12. Installing the toilet (still to be purchased) (5/18)
13. Installing the shower door (contractor)
14. Put ceiling fan back on, change out old outlets and switches, hang shades, put doors back on

Thursday, May 8, 2008

There's nothing like having houseguests...

to get your house in order. I am feeling the heat! Our friends, Chris, Angel, and their 4 kids will be coming to visit for a couple of days in about a week and a half. These are their accomodations at the present (Angel don't look!!)

We have 3 bedrooms and one full bathroom right now. We have wanted to finish our renovations of the master bed and bath since we moved in, but we were restricted financially. We finally saved enough to hire a contractor- 3 weeks ago. Yeah. We have known that our friends were coming, oh, since February, and we just started getting down to business 3 weeks ago. So we are working frantically to get the bedroom done. This means

1. Sanding the woodwork
2. Priming the walls
3. Painting the ceiling (2-3 coats)
4. Painting the walls (2 coats)
5. Painting the woodwork (3 coats)
6. Spackling the bathroom walls (contractor)
7. Sanding the woodwork in the bathroom
8. Priming the bathroom walls
9. Painting the bathroom wood work, ceiling and walls
10. Laying the floor (contractor)
11. Installing the vanity, mirror, & towel rack
12. Installing the toilet (still to be purchased)
13. Installing the shower door (contractor)

Yeah, just typing that list stresses me out. So, hopefully we will get it done. It will take a miracle.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Today was a perfect day to eat lunch outside. It was made even better because Ed could join us (Wednesdays he works from home).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My 6 Word Memoir Title

So, thanks to Angel, I have been tagged for a meme the FIRST TIME EVER! I feel a little nervous writing this, because I hate to disappoint. Anyway, after thinking it over for a few minutes, I came up with one. I decided to go the more serious route, rather than the funny one.

I'm Bound for the Promised Land

I was definitely influenced by my recent weekend away. The topic was "Eternity" and Jayne Clark gave a series of excellent lectures. She talked about how we long for our true home, because this world is not all there is. And then she gave us images of what heaven will be like- fully and forever free from sin and misery, finally having an undivided heart, saying what we mean/hearing what others intended, actually being what God intended us to be- to whet our appetite and excite us for what will be. She also gave us the other side, the darkness and despair of Hell- no community, connections, health or pleasure, shame and contempt without measure, raw anger, and God's consuming fire of his righteous wrath- to show us all that Jesus has delivered us from, and to give us a fresh incentive to share our faith with others. She ended the weekend with how the knowledge of eternity affects o
ur lives today. How it gives us perspective when we see our lives as a speck, and eternity as a never ending line; it gives us a purpose and changes our priorities; it enables us to persevere with patience; and finally it helps us to anticipate Jesus and get excited about his return.

I want to live my life in light of eternity, and all that it implies. I want to live like I am Bound for the Promised Land.

Anyway, the rules for this MEME are as follow:

Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
Post it on your blog.
Link to the person that tagged you.
Tag five more blogs.
Here are my tags:


Friday, May 2, 2008

On My Way Out

I am about to leave for the women's retreat, and so much is going through my mind. I am excited for this chance to get away with my friends for fellowship and worship, but also nervous leaving all 3 kids in Ed's care. I know he will do a great job, but it is a lot of work, and I don't know if he knows what he is in for. Additionally, I nursed K this morning for the last time. SHE will be fine, but I am not sure I will be. Just feeling really sad that this is the end of a season in my life.