Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Miss Personality

For those who have been around kids all their lives, child development probably comes with a measure of wonder accompanied by a level of expectation. I, however, have spent the majority of my life around people at least my age if not older, and had zero expectations entering in to parenthood. In fact, I had no idea what to expect. To some degree, this has made things a bit difficult, as every normal little hiccup, heartache, and hardship has sent me fleeing to the phone, bookshelf, internet, or emergency room. However, it has also made every little milestone seem amazingly significant and extraordinary.

Audrey seems to develop on two planes: she has her normal pace of growth and development, and at the same time she seems to turn pages in the span of a week with her little personality. It's subtle and at the same time very abrupt. One day, you just realize, 'Wow, she has become so interactive, and she understands what I'm saying!' Or, 'She just made that game up!' Or, 'She is so funny, and she knows it!' Even, 'She looks so much like a kid today!'

This weekend, one of our bistro-style kitchen chairs finally gave in and came apart. Kyle took the chair part off the leg part and was assessing the extent of the structural failure when Audrey noticed the change in her little world. All of the sudden, one of the tall tall chairs Mommy and Daddy sit in was accessible! So what does she do?

All on her own, she grabs a book, walks over to the sized-down chair, and makes herself comfortable.

THEN she starts 'reading' it out loud...

...and even pauses to tell me about it!

Whatever the story was that she was telling, it was quite amusing.

She probably sat on this half-chair for ten minutes or more, just enjoying the fact that she could sit on this half-chair.

Kyle and I watched her with amazement- where did our baby go? Where did this little kitchen gnome come from, with her book and her knowledge about how to sit in this grown-up chair properly, reading a book right-side-up? What will she be doing next weekend? I know we will never stop being amazed by her, and I hope she never stops being amazed by her world.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potager Building

In February, I got a wild hair up my toe and decided I wanted- nay, needed- a backyard kitchen garden. As the cold rain fell and the blustery wind blew, I jumped online and spent a week researching opinions, history, style and design, developing a plan for what I wanted. In the end, I decided what I really needed to build was a potager garden. I turned my researching energy to the potager, and made short work of a final design (after several rejected sketches). The next step: ordering topsoil to replace the rock-like clay in my backyard. Little did I know, this would be the biggest hangup in the project. I ordered the dirt (7 yards) in mid-February, and it was delivered on April 3rd. Awesome. I sat around, twiddling my thumbs through the weeks that should have been spent planting...

Once the dirt was delivered, it was time to start working! I had debated whether or not to do wood walls around the raised beds, but I ended up deciding on stone. It was, after all, all over the front yard, and thus free. In hind sight, I am glad I did stone, but man was it a lot of work!

Step one: choosing the garden sight... well drained, lots of sun... check.

Step two: marking off the area... 11x11' for 4 raised beds, 4x4' each, with about a 2' path (and room for the stone walls).

The next step was chiseling off the grass and clay topsoil layer in the garden space. This step kicked my butt, took me three days, and didn't leave me in a photo-takin' mood, so use your imagination :)

Once the grass and topsoil was outta there, on to the next step: the first layer of stone for the walls.

I filled the squares with the new topsoil/sand mixture after each layer of wall was laid, so the stones would be supported and stay put!

Finally, all 4 squares have a layer of stone... the hardest part was keeping them square and level.

Filled in and ready for stone layer #2

Completing the stone walls

The back two squares were lower (due to the slope of the yard), and I had to start doubling the second layer of stones to keep the walls level.

One more square to go!

Finally ready for planting! Walls completed- check! Squares filled- check! Compost added- check! Paths graveled- check! Plants and seeds ready- CHECK!

Finally, the work and sweat produces results: clay and weeds turned in to a potager garden!

It took almost a month from start to finish, but we now have 4 raised beds in the backyard, built, worked, and planted by yours truly! Our potential garden (and surrounding area) will hopefully yield the following in a few more months:

Yellow Squash
Sugarbaby Watermelons
Celebrity Tomatoes
JalapeƱo Peppers
Bush Beans
Sweet Yellow Onions


Friday, April 16, 2010

The 20-Pound Milestone

Today was another scheduled weigh-in at the pediatrician's office. I was prepping Audrey all week, telling her to eat up, and think heavy thoughts! One day shy of her 18-month birthday, Audrey walked herself in to the doc's office, sat on the scale, and passed the 20 pound mark! Passed? Yes! Passed... well, by .2 of an ounce, but still! Finally!

With a sigh of relief, we chatted with the doc, and she told us that Audrey, although still in the 3rd percentile, no longer needs weigh-ins, because she's in the clear with her growth and development. She's out of the danger zone for growth/development disorders, and we can contribute her small size 100% to genes. She's just going to be a petite girl, and that's OK with us! We have also been informed that, despite her peers passing her up in the teething department, she's well within the normal dental spectrum, too. Clearly she can make those 6 pearly whites work, as she is gaining weight like she should!

So, we are off the every-2-months weigh-in visits and back to the once-a-year well-baby exams, and in the clear to relax and do what we do! Whew! ...now what will I worry about?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cleburne Park

This past weekend, we took Audrey to the Cleburne park for some fresh air before bedtime. She got to see ducks and geese up close and personal and, after some exploring, we wrapped up the visit with the swings.

Daddy and Gramps walk down to the river

"Duck, wak wak wak wak."

Checking out the ducks and geese

"Oooo, pretty!"

On to the swings, and excitement!


What is Audrey staring at?

It's Dada! Push!

Walking back to the car

Hanging on for dear life

Headed home and to bed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter 2010

I can't believe it's already April, and even more unbelievable is the fact that Easter has already come and gone. This year, as with others, we went down to Cleburne to attend church with Kyle's family and partake of Easter supper at Nanny's. The weather looked iffy, but held out, and we had a great Sunday with our loved ones.

Easter morning: Audrey awakes in her Christmas pajamas (ironic?)

While waiting for Daddy to put on his shoes, Audrey jumps the gun and starts collecting Easter eggs

"Oooooooooo, egt!"

Rolly-polly eggs under the couch

Audrey clings to one of her Easter egg prizes on the ride down to Cleburne

Easter basket and bunny from Grammy and Gramps

Making faces

The Easter outfit

Smelling Nanny's Easter tulips

Bubbles outside with Gramps, Grammy, and Jake

When we got home from the Easter activities, we had our official egg hunt in the living room, wherein Audrey found all 12 eggs almost all by herself, and munched on the prizes inside (vanilla goldfish crackers) till bath time. What a happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Evening Digging

Daddy brought sand home Thursday night, and after dinner, the sandbox was finally filled! It was a windy, pleasant evening, and it only took a few minutes for all 15 50-pound bags of sand to be dumped into the box. Then, Audrey played and played, until it was time to dump the dirty baby in the bathtub!

Audrey waits with containers at the ready

Finally the sand is high enough for her to reach, and she can't wait a second longer!

"Ooo, pretty doort!"

She dips her toes in while Daddy continues to unload the sand

Almost filled

Finally, a sandbox all her own!
Audrey makes a couple of laps in appreciation