Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's gonna be worth it next year.

Quick baby update:  JJ will be seven months old on Monday.  *blinks*  He's getting heavy, over seventeen pounds now, and you can see it.  On both of us.  I'm putting on muscle from toting the little monkey around all day.  We've started in on the solids, and most things so far are going over just fine.

The broccoli was a big hit. :)

So... on to wider things...

When I was a kid (like, four), my mother had this really extensive fruit and vegetable garden.  Raised beds, separate asparagus and strawberry patches, trellis setups for peas and green beans and cucumbers, sapling fruit trees along the driveway, the works.

I had this little 3" deep section at one end of one bed, where I grew giant sunflowers and zinnias and radishes.  It was fun.

Twenty-five years later, I'm finding out just how much WORK went into establishing that garden, because I'm trying to put a similarly sized one in at our current home.  Not doing raised beds, since the soil is pretty good as it is, just planting straight in the ground.

That's the plan anyway.

See, right now, the yard looks like this:

My adorable son in the foreground...

... and grass, all the way to the fence in the waaaaaay way background, except for one strip of flower-bed about three feet deep that took a solid month to rescue from hip high weeds because I had to work around half a dozen peonies and several burdock plants.  The flower-bed is finally cleared, and I've gotten started on the grass.

THAT, my friends, is putting up a fight.

I don't have a sod-kicker, and can't afford to rent one, so my only real option (because I am so not soaking close to a thousand square feet in chemicals) is to actually dig out the grass.  

With a shovel.

One.  Square.  At a time.

This is grass that was laid as sod over twenty years ago, when John's grandmother got past where she could keep up with the garden.  Over the last two decades, it's gotten itself nicely incorporated into the underlying soil, and managed to get invaded by dandelions, three different kinds of clover, and even the occasional thistle.  So when I say digging, I mean that getting a foot-square chunk loose takes about ten minutes.

I can't do long strips or mats like you see sod in at the garden center, because I have to be able to manage them by myself.  Means I'm limited to about 18" wide and 24" long, max.  

So every day, once JJ goes down for a nap, I slather on the sunscreen, pin my sun hat to my hair, and head out to sweat some more.  

I've settled on a process of cutting the squares and flopping them grass side down onto the next row.  In about a week I'll start circling back to knock off the loosed dirt and toss the (by then hopefully) dead grass into the composter.  

Then, of course, I have to get the in between rows.


Here's what it looks like now:

By the end of July I want to have the grass cleared out to where the composter is standing.  I've pretty much given up on getting anything planted this year, just going to get rid of the grass and focus on building the soil now that I have my ComposTumbler back.  Also ordered a few pounds of seed to put in a green fertilizer crop that will keep the weeds down, capture all that lovely nitrogen I'm stirring up, and loosen up the deeper layers of soil.  That way next spring I can just till the whole mess under as soon as the ground thaws, and have a nice big garden ready for planting as soon as the weather gets decent.

Big job... but it's gonna be worth it next year.

Right?  *whimper*

Friday, June 15, 2012

My favorite things...

Admit it.  Every last one of you is singing the song.

But no, I'm not going to inflict a video of my personal rendition upon you.

I'm just popping on between diaper changes to gush a little, and vent a little, and wowzers, have I really almost made it through seven whole months of parent-hood?

My favorite thing about JJ's recent developments has GOT to be his newfound ability to entertain himself in the cosleeper for half an hour in the mornings.  This affords me the unbelievable luxury of waking up slowly, rather than being yanked into consciousness by the shrieking banshee child.

There's also introductions to the puppy-dog, which are going AWESOMELY well.  John was a bit worried about how Lady (our Malamute) would respond to JJ, so he's been very cautious now that we have her back with us.  She is, I am happy to report, being a wonderfully behaved goggie around teh babbeh.  (Yes, I'm speaking lolcat/babytalk, sue me.)  She has shared Mommy-lap with JJ and given him his first doggie face-washing.  The look on his face, y'all, was priceless.  One of those "I need 24/7 video coverage of my entire house and yard" moments.

Despite teething issues, JJ is continuing to sleep decently most nights, thank God.  It's interesting, I can tell how comfy (or not) he is by how many times he wakes up at night to nurse.  Once = comfy baby.  Twice = iffy, might be teeth, might be just wanting to snuggle.  3x or more = Not. A. Happy. Camper.

Kiddo is getting HEAVY... haven't popped him on the scale lately, but I've had to let the waist on his diapers out another notch.  Kid's getting him a little belly.

The other day I ran across some pictures of me at this age, and now I can see how he looks like me.  It's nice, because mostly I think he looks like John.  Oh, he definitely got the red hair, but it's already as dark as mine, so I don't really hold out hope for it STAYING red as he gets older.  Dark dark brown with red highlights, though... that's gonna be some niiiice hair.

Oh, dear.  I'm gonna have to watch out for the little girls with this one, aren't I? *facepalm*

The progress toward crawling is a little scary in its pace, the little bugger is desperate to be mobile by any means fair or foul.  There's a lot of army-style belly-crawling, lots of wiggles and scoots, and rocking on his hands and knees, but he also pulls up to his feet if he's got parental fingers to hold onto.  Still thinking he might (mostly) skip the crawling stage and go straight to cruising.

He's fascinated with the handset phones, he figured out how to make it go "beep!" and hasn't allowed me a peaceful call since.  The little green light that says my computer is charged is also a source of obsession, and he's constantly trying to get his little hands on the cord.

So, I'm actually really glad that this post sat unfinished overnight, because this morning JJ wiggled his way over to Mommy, just so he could lay his head on my shoulder and snuggle.  *melt*

Oh yeah, and one more thing... this right here:

This is my favorite time of day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

So here's the deal.

Warning, Mommy-Wars annoy me, so this is kinda rant-ish.

My son schedules himself.

If he's not maintaining his usual pattern, it's because something is wrong.

Nobody believes me.

I have friends all over the spectrum of parenting styles, and everybody thinks I'm doing it wrong.

The more mainstream types are convinced he's never going to sleep on his own because I nurse him to sleep, and any disruptions to his naps or night sleep are laid at the door of "You must not be maintaining his schedule consistently" or "Could you be feeding him too much?"

The more AP-leaning sorts say things like "It's normal for a six month old to still be waking up multiple times a night, you know," and "You know it's really hard to make a baby stick to a schedule."

Now, I'm pretty crunchy.  We cloth diaper, babywear, cosleep, baby-led weaning, homemade toys, sensory play, yadda yadda yadda.  I'm breaking ground for that garden so I can grow our veggies instead of buying produce that got sprayed with God knows what.  I'm learning to make sourdough bread from scratch, including my making own starter.

Some things, we do more mainstream.  Vaccinations and baby-entertainment gear, mainly, because there have been pertussis outbreaks here recently, and it's really tough to cut sod with a baby on my hip.

But scheduling?  Nope.  He really is that predictable, as long as he's comfy.  Everything's right with his world, JJ takes two naps during the day, of 90 minutes to 2 hours each, and conks out for the night between 6:30 and 7.  He rouses once after bedtime to top off his tummy, then sleeps until 6:30 or 7 in the morning, with one wake-up during the night to nurse, anywhere between 1 and 3am.  Takes 15-20 minutes, and he never really wakes up.

Now, if he's having a growth spurt, his gums are super sore, or his reflux is acting up, all that goes haywire in extremely short order.  But that's the point.  If he's a happy baby, he sleeps like an angel.  If he's waking me up more than twice a night, something is wrong, and because I'm sleep-deprived at that point, I usually require a little help figuring out what that something might be.

I know that most babies aren't nearly that predictable.  I get that.  I am aware that I was blessed with an incredibly easy baby for my first time out, quite likely I'm using up all my free passes on this one, and his next sibling will probably be one of those all over the map babies that's perfectly happy with random naps and being wide awake at 3am.

I can hear my mother already.  It's your turn, dear.  I hope you have a child JUST like you.

Thanks, Mom.  'Preciate it.

But honestly, folks... it seems like a thoroughly unpredictable child is considered some kind of AP badge of honor, like if your kid is sleeping through the night "too early" you must be forcing the issue, and baby being off their routine is really nothing to worry about because it's normal.

By the same token, the far end of the scheduling school of thought has a predictable baby that sleeps through the night, takes regular naps, and has planned out meal- and play-times followed like clockwork as its Holy Grail, leaving very little room for a child's individual needs or personality.  If your kid isn't meeting that standard, well, you must not be doing your job!

Lucky me, JJ does six of one and a half dozen of the other, so they all think I'm nuts!

Don't mind me, I'm just going insane over here.

Okay, enough ranting, time for baby cuteness.

A couple of days ago JJ was seriously bored and I was a little tired of entertaining him, so I improvised.

Pimento jar (baby food sized), Parsley jar, Meat Tenderizer jar.
All with a dozen or so red kidney beans inside and the lids glued on.

Little dude was FASCINATED.

They all move differently and make different sounds.  The pimento jar is glass, so it's louder and kinda musical.  Plus the pop-top lid makes it drum-y, which he loves.  The parsley jar, he mostly rolls, and the meat tenderizer jar... heh.  It's his favorite because it's just small enough around for him to get a grip on, and you should have seen his face when he worked out how to make it make noise.

*shake*  Those little eyebrows start to lift.

*shake shake*  His eyes pop and his mouth does that surprised "Oh!" thing for a second, and then he flashes me this huge wide-eyed open-mouthed grin and proceeds to make with the maracas.


It also apparently makes a really awesome chew toy.

I love my life!