Sunday, February 28, 2010

Green Thumb

(Above: mid- Summer 06 or 07, Baltimore)

It's that time of year. I found myself thinking about gardening this morning. Specifically, sad that I would miss the growth of the perennials I planted in our Baltimore backyard and trying to decide what flowers to plant here and how best to use our small gardening space. Anyone have experience with "verticlal gardening"?

When we were rehabbing our Baltimore rowhouse, we took a break from indoor work in the spring so that we could focus on the backyard. We had room for a little yard, flowers and vegetables. It was the perfect size, in some way. We didn't spend lots and lots of time doing tedious yard work (no huge yard that had to be mowed again), but we had enough to feel connected to nature and creation.

Above - Digging in Spring 08, Baltimore
Below - bird's eye view from the kitchen roof, late summer 08, Baltimore

Each year I would rearrange the perennials I had. Somehow we worked it out that Dan took care of planning the vegetable garden and I puttered around with the flowers. A great arrangement.

Last year we moved in June, so I got to watch my perennials grow and I filled pots with flowers and herbs and brought them along. We planted a little vegetable garden in our new place.

Now I find myself trying to plan in a new space. We have less growing space, so I'll have to use more pots. Plus, some of the ones (see below) I had put in the front of the house were stolen, so I'm trying to decide what to put there. I'm thinking a really BIG pot that is so HEAVY no one can just walk away with it or quickly load it into a car!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Age Expectations

December 31, 2004

I subbed at a local school today and a conversation with my co-teacher prompted my thinking about age and the expectations we have for ourselves at certain ages. We were talking about marriage and children, and she mentioned that she and her husband got married young. She's is currently 25, so I was curious what "young" meant. She said 23.

That began a discussion of what is considered "young" or "old" in relation to getting married and having children, because where I grew up, 23 isn't young at all - it's a pretty average age for marriage.

If you had told me when I was 15 that I would get married at 25 and have my first child at almost 31, my jaw would have dropped, and I probably would have wondered what was wrong with me.

Coming from Lancaster County, it's not strange for people to marry in their early 20s (and I'm sure some of you have parents who weren't even 20 when they got married!) and to begin a family by their mid-twenties. It's what I expected I'd do. So when I turned 23, I remember having to process the fact that I wasn't married yet and it didn't look like I would be for a few years at least. And putting off childbearing until age 30?? That was definitely something I had to wrap my mind around as well.

Living elsewhere opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of people consider the early and mid-twenties "too young" to get married. A number of these people were pursuing graduate degrees and focused on that, although many were working full-time jobs, but just don't see themselves as "old enough." And just for the record, in Lancaster, attending college doesn't necessarily mean you wait until your mid-twenties to marry. I know couples who got married in the middle of their undergraduate college education. No big deal!

I understand this mindset, but I will forever be influenced by my Lancaster County Mennonite upbringing where it's a perfectly acceptable and good thing to marry "young." Because of that, however, I can't help feeling at times that I'm incredibly "behind" most of my Lancaster counterparts because I'm just now having my first (as opposed to my 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th!).

I wonder what else will turn out to be different than my expectations?

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I only enjoy projects when I'm motivated to do them. I guess that makes sense, right? Usually when I know I need to do something I become motivated to do it (worked well in college, at least. doesn't always work with laundry and cleaning for some reason).

I had decided earlier in my pregnancy that I would prepare things as I felt motivated, kind of trusting my instincts to let me know when it was time to get something ready. I think it's worked pretty well so far. The nursery is mostly ready - just waiting for the rest of the items we'll receive at baby showers (thanks in advance, everyone!). I'm now working on preparing some meals that I'll store in the freezer for after the baby is born and don't want to think about cooking. I have a few unnecessary baby-related projects just waiting for when I'm motivated to work on them.

However, one of the projects I HAVE been motivated to work on recently doesn't have a definite connection to baby preparation. I've been rummaging through my fabric scraps, determined to decrease my store. Here are some of the results. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all of them yet...

Here's the inside of one, just so you can see the cute lining fabric.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Simple Joys

I thought I'd show you a few things that make me smile.

First: The "to do" list above.

Second: Natural peanut butter we buy in bulk from a little Amish grocery store in Lancaster. (Sadly, this container is empty, which means we need more.)

Third: Homemade pancake mix found in the "More With Less" cookbook. I discovered this recipe while in Zambia last year and decided it's better than the commercial mixes. (Whole wheat flour too!)

Fourth: Coordinated tote bags made with "scraps" of fabric I wanted to use up.

And we can't forget this one: The basketball I have hiding under my shirt.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowy Days

I guess it's only fitting that I post some pictures of our neighborhood covered in snow. Dan and I usually like to take a walk on days that snow. This time we waited until it was done snowing, so we didn't have to walk with snow blowing in our faces. It was kind of festive being out and about in the neighborhood because so many people were out shoveling. I also ran into some kids I taught at a local school while doing a long-term sub stint last month and learned that they live just a couple blocks away from us. That was a cozy experience. I like knowing the people who live near me.

Our lovely space-age car.

Our street: plowed, but treacherous. Stay away from the gray areas.

I love the icicles hanging from these eaves.

A little snow creature we met on our walk.

Yes, that is Dan's motorcycle buried in the alley. He decided not to take it to work last night.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Last weekend Dan and I finally painted the nursery, which meant we could finally start setting it up. Dan assembled crib and we moved in the other furniture (changing table & rocking chair)
I thought I'd show you a few of the items that will be in the nursery. When it's all arranged and set up, I'll post more pictures. Meanwhile, here are a few "tidbits."

This rug was originally going to be for the guest room until I realized that the colors would go perfectly with the nursery colors. So I made it larger than planned. I love it.
A little lamp I found at Goodwill. I covered the shade with fabric and ribbon that I also used in the curtains and crib skirt.An antique (or at least vintage) shelf that used to belong to my grandmother. It'll hang near the changing table.
The vintage changing table. My mother-in-law used this when Dan was a baby. We gave the baskets a new coat of paint, polished the chrome legs, and reupholstered the top. It's covered in clear plastic, hence the wavy reflection of light on the newly painted walls above it.

A plethora of photos and frames. We'll see if I get around to hanging them. This is the last thing I usually do when it comes to interior decorating. It's just not high-priority for me!

And here, a mirror, antique potty and cup that says "baby." You can see a peek of the curtain fabric in the mirror reflection.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Journey

A friend asked me recently what I've been learning about myself throughout this pregnancy. It was a very timely question. I decided to post some of these things I have been realizing most recently. Some of these thoughts are not new to me, but they have been brought to my attention again. I could go in depth with each one, but I'm not feeling the motivation to do that at the moment. Plus, it would take a lot of writing. So in a nutshell...

1. I like to be in control and am having to relinquish the illusion of control related to pregnancy, labor, delivery and the health of my baby. The 4 things I am in control of are diet, exercise, sleep and attitude.

2. I really need to trust in God and the ability of my body to do what is needed to care for the baby and myself.

3. I am still a people-pleaser, and this isn't a healthy mindset at anytime - especially when pregnant.

4. I have harbored many more fears than I realized, and it is important for me to share my fears, concerns and hopes with people I trust completely and feel safe with.

5. I need to release myself from living up to anyone's expectations for how pregnancy, labor and delivery will go - including my own expectations.

6. I could use your prayers.