Saturday, January 26, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow

I am not a master gardener. I'm not even a very good gardener. What I am is a dedicated gardener. I keep the plants alive to the best of my ability. I give them time and the minimum water and nourishment and sometimes I get inspired and really go all in. And other times my plans completely fail because deer or drought or frost or bugs or I forgot to turn the hose off. Oops.

Its sort of like my parenting.

I'm keeping us alive. Our heads are above water, but you guys...these are not easy.

Yes, yes, you over there. With the two sweet babies who occasionally cry because their balloon got lost even though you told them they should tie it to their wrist or might *gasp* push their brother because he toppled their block creation. I'm not talking about you.

You see, while every child is unique and wonderful and an adventure to raise, I was gifted the other kinds of children. The children you see out in the world and you think to yourself, "well at least it's not my kid." I got the plot of land that's a combination of limestone and clay. It's as hot as the black tar in the summer and you've got pests. Those kinds of kids in that kind of garden.

You see, in the last year we've had diagnoses of ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism. Some of them have more than one of those 'labels' and all three of my older kids is in speech.

I'm not telling you this because I'm complaining, and I think that's where ya'll might get a little confused.

I am so freaking proud of our kids. I was blessed with these crazy, genius, atypical little brains to raise and we're in it for the long haul guys. These aren't no annual pretty little petunias I'm raising. I'm raising  perennials. I've got a prickly little blackberry bushes, hardy grave vines and sturdy persimmons. Raising these kids could go south.

It's terrifying, to tell ya'll the truth. They have awesome potential and its more than a little scary. They could choke the life out of another plant. They might grow in such bent and twisted ways they may crack in the middle of their trunks.

But what if they don't? What if I can get them off to a good start? What if they provide shade and support and nourishment to all around them for years to come?

Then, perhaps, I will look back and call myself a master gardener.

Friday, December 21, 2018

On the Cusp

As Chanukah comes to a close we look forward to our next holiday, Tu B'Shevat with...irreverence. Traditionally, there's a tree planting and a 'seudah', if one can call it that.

The truth is, even as an observant Jew I never really got into it. But I'm cultivating a new version of myself. Tu B'Shevat, which takes place in the winter, isn't just a time to plant new trees, it's also a time to consider which branches need to be trimmed. What growth occurred in the last year will increase productivity and which could create problems down the line.

This is the time to consider our reserves and plan for the new cycle.

So, here's a list of five things we're hoping to prune from our lives this year:

We're working on a capsule wardrobe for the boys. I've already been working on my 'modules' for my own clothes, but now I want to do it for kids too! I'll update when I do!
    Less toy clutter, more toy inspiration. I'm not enthusiastic about Montessori, maybe I'll tell that story some day, but the take away is that I believe that the bigger the mess, the more has been learned.  Additionally, I really want to veer my kids outside. For my two (so far) diagnosed ADHD kiddos, it's so important that they're able to exercise and expend they're impressive gross motor energy. Fiddling with tiny toys inside generally only creates stress, frustration and fights in our household.

    one of these days I'll figure out a meal plan that's both specific and can happen, right? Right?!? Since we've moved to Texas we've been in varying degrees of crisis mode. We're in our own home now, but we're still building our house and we're always shifting. This results in crisis-mode shopping and we end up with a random and unplanned surplus of foods.

    giving in 
    I love my kids, but I fear them more sometimes. The truth is, I often excuse my emotional retreat in tricky parenting situations with the idiom 'pick your battles,' but I use this as a crutch way, way too often. In order to let my little shoots grow in a healthy way, I can't let them bend. It's on me to steadfastly guide them, even if they start to wander.

    I love school supplies. I have serious soft spot for journals. I fawn over colorful, gliding pens. And then I buy them. I write in them for a week. Or maybe two. And then I return to my laptop, where everything is neat and my brain doesn't have to slow down to match my hand...This is the part of me that's not a millennial at all (I'm on the cusp anyway) and it's time to embrace this century. On top of that, I'm adore magazines and I prefer paper bills. I know. I'm pretty much just sixty year old living inside of a thirty three year old body...but it's time to live my age!! So, no more useless paper. It's in the computer!

    What are ya'll doing to improve your growth this year?

    Monday, August 22, 2016

    Oh Deer. Gardening in Texas

    Well we've moved from the fertile land of Kentucky to my home state of barrenness, Texas. Land to a million pests, the biggest being deer.

    The good news? They hate herbs! So that's what I've been growing and it's the only thing that's safe.

    Also, the fig tree that was here has given us many figs - a fun new fruit for the boys. Again, though, the deer eat any of the lower ones.

    Inside the gate where the dogs are, however, my brother and I grew about 100 cucumbers and pickled! I was surprised that the cucumbers didn't mind the heat and grew straight through July.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    I May Never Arrive, but I'm Here

    Looking back an old post, there was a time when I didn't consider myself a gardener. And the truth is, I'm not a green thumb. And I'm not organized and I wasn't ever a 'baby person', but GUESS WHAT???
    I'm awesome with little people, my home and my life have never been more organized and I can make things grow. From seed. In pots. Inside. I AM A GARDENER! So I may not be a master gardener. I may not ever be a fairy from Fern Gully and be able to breathe on a seed and make it sprout, but gosh dang it, I'm still here and I'm going to keep on cultivating.

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    Lessons in Laundry

    This is how we prepare our outfits for all four boys every week. The kids pick and make their own outfits.  Then we put them in bins and they pick them out and get themselves dressed thoughout the week.  No mess, no stress! We do this once or twice a week.

    Products to Grow Your Own Kinder Garden

    Saturday, December 12, 2015


    Young seedlings are so fragile and temperamental. You do your best to give them the best start you can. The right type of soil, not too acidic or basic - though every species has different needs.  Enough water, but not too much. Some sun, but not too much sun. They have to be hardened, but gently. You don't want them to go into shock. And then we have to decide when it's time to repot or if it's still to early. Too early and their little roots can't take the move, but you don't want to stunt growth by limiting the root's movement either.

    As a family we have been contemplating a move, a repotting. As our family grows and the boys have different needs, we've been trying to decide to if a move to Austin would be right for us - more family, more educational opportunities, more cultural opportunities and a more cohesive Jewish community that includes a Modern Orthodox synagogue that seems just right for us. It seems like a no brainer...but our young family is just not ready to be repotted. A series of obstacles (mostly revolving around Dad's work situation) have shown us that it's just not time to move back to the friendly state.

    Kentucky is fertile soil for our little seedlings. It's comfortable and safe. It's economical and we've made good friends who are supportive and kind. Our little house still has room for our roots and we're not too cramped yet. We still think a move back to Austin is in our future. If we want our seedlings to grow, they'll need to be repotted, but it's not that time yet.