Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh Baby, Baby!

I know, I know... I've been terrible with the updates this summer. I have pics from last month still in the camera, I have a backyard that resembles a jungle and bowls of uneaten produce on my counter. It's a bit of a mess, but I do have a good excuse.

We'll call it progesterone poisoning.

Yes, gentle readers, it is true. After over a year of trying, we are going to be parents again.

We've been getting the "when are you having another one?" questions [digs] since a few months after Quinn was born. I have a colleague that has greeted me with "So, when are you having ta girl" since the first time I met her... in the fall of 2007. It was never our intention for him to be an only child. Unfortunately, every time we started "talking about it" again, something would crop up. Some little things, some big. Some things like viral myocarditis.

So, I dropped 30lbs. We tried to align schedules and to get more sleep. We ate healthier. Nothing.
Then I gave up. At least for a little while, to regroup before I had to take that long hormonally charged walk down to the fertility clinic.

As is the way with most things in my life, that's what finally did it. Surprise!!

So far, we're so good. As of today, we are 7 weeks and 2 days closer to our new arrival!

Things seem a bit different this time as well. With Quinn, I kept getting "maybe" for pregnancy results and I don't remember having any nausea until well into the third trimester. This time, the test turned positive before I was done with it! I stared at it thinking "Aren't I supposed to wait two minutes and check the control window or some shit???" The nausea this time is the stuff of legends. I'm not throwing up (like a few of my girlfriends are/have done) but I'm existing solely on crackers, cheese, gingerale and peppermint tea most days. I'm not sleeping well, I'm having vivid crazy dreams, the PVC's are annoying, my head wants to hit the desk every morning about 8:30 and I'm considering having phones installed in the bathrooms.

But it's worth it. So very worth it.

Quinn is thrilled with the concept of having a younger sibling. He's been naming imaginary ones for months. He's not sure if he wants a Macaroni Joe Sean or a Zoe Pam more, but he is very insistent on wanting an older sister. We are trying to explain this one to him, but so far, to no avail.

There you have it. The big news. As with everything else, I'll keep you updated... when I can get to it. :)

Here's a handy little ticker from Lilypie that will help keep things in perspective. I'm posting the mini version on this blog and on my Facebook page.

And most of all, wish us luck!

Lilypie Maternity tickers

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June Garden Update

I am really enjoying my garden this year. [Cue hail]

It's been a long time since my Green Dreams update in March, so we have quite a bit to catch up on.

Early April saw the first true signs of life. The first to flower this year was some cheerful Siberian Squill that I planted last fall. I danced with delight as it flowered and little green things began poking up all over.

Siberian Squill
Siberian Squill - Taken April 1st.

By the 20th, I had a forest of sunny jonquils and grape hyacinths to keep me happy. None of the tulips I planted last fall came up; I fear the squirrels had a feast. It was very encouraging to come home after a long shift and water the garden and see what new thing had buds, then shoots, then leaves.

Jonquil Macro
Dewy Jonquil - April 20th

Grape Hyacinths III
Grape Hyacinths - April 29th

By May 23rd, I had planted the vegetables. I actually planted some herbs, lettuce and carrots a week or two before, but the squirrels, birds and nocturnal ne'er-do-wells dug a lot of them up. Once again, I am using the square foot method. This year, instead of using two oversize squares (as the garden is over two feet wide), I've made each square exactly a foot and used the extra few inches to form a border of herbs around the outside. The idea here is to keep the animals out... now that everything is growing, I can actually say so far, so good.

By the next week, all the roses were blooming, including the Evil Rosebush out front. I lost two large branches off the pink one in the back; with all the rain and being overladen with blossoms, the branches could not handle the weight. The really sad part is that I had just tied them up the evening before and thought "Wow, that looks gorgeous... I should take a picture", and then discarded the idea as the light was fading. C'est la vie.

Rosebud Macro
Rosebud Macro (from the "Evil Rosebush") - May 30th.

The Perennial bed
The big rosebush "Before" - May 30th

Damaged Rosebush
The big rosebush "After" - June 5th

You can also see in the second picture that I removed the crazy daisies once and for all and replaced them with some peonies. I'm not expecting too much from them this year, but they should do well over time. I love peonies... they are one of my all time favourites.

As of now, the veggies are outstanding. I had my first feast of lettuce this evening and it was wonderful... Normally you couldn't pay me to make a salad, but there is just something special about growing it yourself. It doesn't get any fresher.

The Veggie Garden
June 5th - Tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, red and green onions, cucumbers and herbs.

I've added a few more delights for the senses as well. In my visit to the nursery the other week, other than the peonies, I also picked up some jasmine pots, some lavender, alyssum, astilbe and three different colours of lobelia. They have made welcome additions for the eye and the nose.

One pot of "Edge of Joy Dahlia", a pot of jasmine and blue and white lobelia. I have this arrangement on either side of my french doors.

As of this morning, my pink calla lilies are poking up, the begonias are doing very well and one of the astilbe bulbs that I planted on Mother's Day (in a fit of gardening desperation) is coming along. The tomatoes have all jumped again with the rain and my Tiny Tim cherry tomato plants actually have blossoms!

One small area of discontent right now is my tomato hangers. According to the directions (which I heartily ignored last year) you are supposed to use "soil-less potting mix". Well, I have no idea what the hell that is, but I picked up some coco-peat mulch stuff from the co-op thinking that it might work. It comes completely dehydrated in a (surprisingly heavy) brick that, as the package explains, you mix it with water, expanding it five times in size. They had a plastic fishpond full of an expanded brick with a plant growing in it, just to give you an idea of how much growing medium you got for your $5. Right! I got two. I was still a little skeptic when I crumbled a little into a bucket and turned the hose on it. What I ended up with was a mini peat bog! I could fill these pots in no time and still have enough left over to sacrifice a celt. I filled the hangers and crumbled the rest into pots. I didn't touch the second cube and gave it to Skye for her to try.

Fast forward to this week... the tomato plants in the hangers look like crap. They are yellow, they are dry, even with the patented wicking system and the constant rain we've had, they suck. I had a bag of potting soil left over and emptied out most of the peat and substituted it for soil. I added some tomato fertilizer as well, sandwiching all the layers together. Then I watered the crap out of all of them and turned them so the leaves got the maximum amount of sun (what little we had today). I hope this will do the trick, as I will hate to replace them with store bought plants. At best, these planters are really a fad, but they do provide a bit of promise to those without a lot of room.

We shall see what else crops up over the next few months. For now however, my garden is providing a calm oasis in a life that is anything but.

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

Jasmine Buds
Jasmine buds - June 5th

He's Growing up Fast

I can't believe how much Quinn has grown, especially in the last little while.

I know, I know... he's four. Daily he still shocks me with how much he has developed and how fast he is learning new things. Right now, we can:

- Read over 50+ words (It's probably a lot more)
- Count to infinity by ones
- Count to 100 by tens
- Recite most of Dr. Suess by heart
- Understand number relations (Ie: 3+3, 4+2 and 5+1 all equal six)
- Run, jump, skip, hop, catch a ball, kick a ball
- Listen for the "music" in everything (and make music with everything)
- Sing a multitude of songs a capella
- Recognize, spell and try to write his name

...and the list goes on and on and on. I forgot to mention his counting in Spanish and Manderin as well. French just upsets him, for some reason and German he just laughs at. All in due time.

Hot, Happy and Hydrating
Hot, happy and hydrating after a week with gastro (4 yrs)

One of the skills we are currently working on is learning to ride a bike. He will do it for a little while, but he gets tired. Slowly, he is getting it; he just has to learn to keep going!

Rockin' the Bike
I has a bike! (4yrs)

The biggest milestone occurred May 27, when we visited his new school for Kindergarten orientation. My baby? Going to school in September? How the hell is that possible??

He had a fantastic time whilst Mommy clicked away on the camera and tried not to cry. We got to meet all the teachers and went around to a few stations to see what the activities and learning style areall about. So far, so good. He responded well to his teachers (they all seem to gravitate towards him, which is nice) and helped the other kids where he was clearly ahead. My biggest challenge, I am sorry to say, will be keeping him engaged as I know he will bore easily. Since French Immersion is not an option until Grade 1, I'm going to have to fill his time with music lessons and activities.

Because that's how I roll...
Because that's how I roll... Quinn workin' the playdough.

Sigh... this summer will be a bittersweet time, methinks. On one hand, I am overjoyed that he will be moving on to other things. On the other, my little Frog isn't a baby any longer.

"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about." ~Angela Schwindt

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Nursing Week

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Nurses Week. From May 10 to 14, you may see a lot more chocolate laying around and a few more smiles. There will also be some swag, thanks to the hospital and our union. Most of all, there will be unity.

This is the one week out of the year that we remember that we are all in this together. We remember why we do the things we do... we recall patients of past and tell our own stories. For once, there is someone to listen.

A few of my colleagues have chosen to post the following as their Facebook status (I have corrected the dates):
Right now there is a nurse helping a woman become a mom, a nurse holding the hand of a dying man, a nurse inserting an IV in a child, a nurse listening to an alzheimers patient tell a story of long ago, a nurse missing their family while caring for yours.
In the minute it took you to read this nurses all over the world are
saving lives. May 10-16 is National Nurses week - thank a nurse! Copy and paste... ♥
...And it's true. There is also a nurse holding a family member as they cry for one they have lost, there is a nurse teaching a patient how to administer their own care... a nurse is advocating for his/her patient's right to choose their own treatment and their choice to withold it. A nurse is right now, telling a family that their child can hear them even though they are unconscious. There is also a nurse maintaining the safety of a patient and the safety of others while that person battles with their own demons.

We are the sickest workforce. We are underappreciated and underpaid. Our days can go from angelic choir highs to the depths of depression in seconds. We critically think, health teach, micromanage, multitask, administer, administrate and delegate. We are the complaints department, we are the front line. We help you into this world and we are here when you depart. We work around the clock, we are always tired. We miss so much of our family's time, yet there are days when we just can't go home. We miss meals. We eat too much junk. We are dedicated. We are professionals.

We are nurses.
We wouldn't want any other job.

This week, I want you to thank a nurse for his or her care. If you are a nurse, I want to to thank your colleagues. We have to lift each other up, to support each other in the good times and in the bad.

Happy Nursing Week.
(And feel free to repost)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Green Dreams

Our early burst of spring weather has gone a long way to lift spirits around here. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and little green things are poking up through the soil. For a gardener, this time is sacred. For me, this time is a much needed tonic.

Last fall, before we gathered the leaves for mulch, I planted a few bulbs. Daffodils, grape hyacinths, tulips, gladiolas... and a few more that have escaped my memory. I am awaiting the results with a mixture of reserved anticipation and wiggly-puppy delight.

My seedlings are behind schedule already; Tuesday I finally sent in my Veseys order. I laid out the vegetable garden on paper a few months back, but with everything that has happened since then I've been unable to work on it until now. This year I'm planning more variety, a more complex layout, higher yields and some special attention to the beautiful details.

2009 was my first year out in the homeowner/gardener category. I tried to grow quite a few different things; some worked, some did not. Some vegetables, such as corn and squash, I planted just so I could say "I grew that". This year's plan is a bit different...

The tomatoes (both beefsteak and cherry/grape) were a big success. I plan to continue that this year, expanding the tomato crop to include both vine and roma tomatoes. With one plant per square foot, this summer's layout will be two beefsteak plants, two vine tomato plants and three roma for sauce/canning. I'm also going to try my hanging baskets again, this time with vine tomatoes that will (hopefully) be less weighty than the beefsteak and allow the plants to develop better. I also read the instructions (harrumph!) this time around and will use the proper soil mix for the hangers. From Veseys, I chose Roma VF and Sweet Cluster to add to my tomatofest. I will also be growing leftover Tiny Tim and Ildi Cherry and Grape tomatoes in planters. Those were fantastic.

Other leftovers that will reappear this year include Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce (3 squares), Fat n' Sassy Peppers (4 squares), Sweetness III carrots (5 squares), Parade onions (2 end pieces and interspersed amongst the larger plants) and Salad Bush Cucumbers (2 squares). All did pretty well for such an awful growing season. I want to try them again in a hot dry summer... which I am convinced this year will be. I've added Stonewall cucumbers (3 squares) which I plan to use in salads and for homemade relish (yum!).

The next purchase was completely on a whim. Red Zepplin onions. Seriously? How could I not?? Those 2 squares will be strategically placed amongst the more tastier greens to keep the bunnies over the hills and far away.

My layout is a bit different this year as well. Since the physical garden is slightly larger than two feet wide, instead of making over sized squares and leaving a lot of (potentially) wasted space, I will instead ring the outside of the 12"x12" squares with a strip a few inches wide. In this space I will plant my aromatic herbs; not only a welcome addition to my kitchen but they will also aid in animal control. On the list this year are cilantro, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill.

The rest of the yard will also benefit from my recent splurge. To delight the eye, I've indulged in my weakness for dahlias. For the various pots that I plan to strew about the place, I've chosen Karma "Prospero" and a very unique variety named Edge of Joy. They are both very striking.

Karma "Prospero"

Edge of Joy

I've also ordered some calla lilies. Two varieties, both lovely in their own way. Crystal Blush is a classic white calla with a kiss of pink, while Majestic Red is a rich burgundy which will add a lovely splash of colour for the years to come.

To finish the order (ostensibly to get my $25 discount, but also to add some colour to my front garden) I purchased some Begonias. Lovely, ruffly, shade loving and (supposedly!) dirt-simple to grow begonias. Of course, I chose red from the Non-Stop variety.

Non-Stop Begonias

I won't forget some old friends either... Once the bulbs have bloomed and I am working the soil, you'll find me flitting about the yard sprinkling lobelia, nicotiana, mirabilis, sunflower and morning glory seeds into any bare spots. Sometimes the best results are totally unplanned.

We will see what happens this summer, but it will prove an interesting journey. With a little bit of luck and some half decent weather, it should create the oasis of calm that it is intended to be, while providing some much needed nourishment for the soul.

"Garden writing is often very tame, a real waste when you think how opinionated, inquisitive, irreverent and lascivious gardeners themselves tend to be. Nobody talks much about the muscular limbs, dark, swollen buds, strip-tease trees and unholy beauty that have made us all slaves of the Goddess Flora." ~Ketzel Levine's talkingplants.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Once again, I find myself overcoming a long stretch between blogs. It's now March and I've been staring at my Christmas cookies on both Blogger and Facebook for far too long now. (They were delicious, btw).

It's not from lack of trying... I simply have not been able to put my thoughts in order for some time now. The usual winter fatigue, in itself, has not been solely to blame for this; how can it after a winter as mild as the one we have just experienced? There have been a lot of little things and a lot of big things as of late. I guess it's just taken me this long to process them all.

Work, well, is just that. Work. It challenges me daily and can lift me to the stars and throw me back down to earth within minutes. I honestly can say that I am in the right place. It is tiring and I've been trying to take some time off for a while now. That in itself is a bit tricky as it is such a small place to begin with, there just isn't oodles of staff to choose from. The politics and the workings of the corporate machine I can also do without... but we'll put that on a Post-it and come back to it later.

I guess the biggest thing to come my way lately (if not ever) is my Dad's illness. For those of you that don't know already, he was diagnosed with lymphoma recently. Diffuse Large B cell, for those of you keeping score. He has already been through two surgeries and a barrage of tests in the last month and a half; he starts chemo next week. We still do not have an idea of what stage he is at, so we do not have a prognosis, a timeline, etc. It's been so very frustrating for all of us. This nasty disease has managed to permeate every aspect of our life. Every waking hour, even when I'm not thinking about it, I'm thinking about it. I've gone through the grieving spectrum at least twice now and am currently flipping back and forth between acceptance and anger. It has thinned my skin, yet still brought me closer to my parents. We'll write "lymphoma" on several lime green Post its. Maybe draw a little ribbon...

The problem really with all of this is the amount of mental post-its that I've been accumulating lately. I'm at that point again where I feel like they are stuck all over me, flapping in the breeze as I walk. A few come off on the sheets at night and get found, all folded up and dirty, on the bottom of my foot later on. Mental clutter. With the mental clutter comes the physical symptoms, the IBS, the aches and pains, the PVC's, the headaches...

This past weekend, I turtled. I chose not to go visit my parents and instead stayed home and did a few things around the house. I organized my pantry. I cleaned the kitchen and living room and sorted out all the toys. I fixed loose cupboard doors. I also drank a lot of wine and Jack Daniels while listening to good music. That managed to rinse off a lot of the residue.

So, dear readers, if I haven't been rabbiting on about the various things in my life, this is why. I talk when I need to those in my immediate circles. I haven't been inspired to write, photograph, create, do a craft or anything like that in some time. My gardening is also behind schedule, but I have some grandiose plans that will come to fruition.

I am very thankful for many things and for the wonderful people I have in my life. Please be patient...