Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Veggie Garden

When my husband dug out our driveway, he made a huge pile of dirt in the back corner of our yard. It sat there for years, being dug into by dogs and kids and we always said, this summer we'd get rid of it. Then summer would pass and we'd be back to saying it would have to wait until nicer weather.

When he was in Cuba last year, I decided to get some of those projects that were hanging over his head off his list. Our church youth group came over and it took several loads, but the dirt pile was gone! Yes! Now, what do do with the big dirt oval where no grass was growing? Um, like, totally ignore it. Grass will grow there eventually....or next summer we'll plant grass. It's a vicious cycle for procrastinators!

Instead, this year, I suggested we grow some veggies. I'm not a green thumb, by any means. When my flowers come up in the spring, I'm always surprised they survived another season of my care. So a veggie garden is a big project.

E checked with his mom (who has a lovely garden) and she gave lots of good advice. Before I knew what was what, I had a mound of manure and another of top soil waiting to be shoveled out into our garden spot. My husband turned all the sod, laid down newspapers, and mixed up the top soil and manure. It looks great! A big, rectangular garden space.

And now it's my turn. What to grow? What to plant? What is hardy enough to survive me and my digging dogs? Because as soon as the dogs see me working in the dirt, it's a green light for them to come over and dig too....

We're not growing veggies because of the economy, or the worry that we should all be eating organic, it's because I like the idea of walking outside and getting some lettuce I grew to make our dinner salad. Our kids are excited about the idea of growing their own pumpkins, but booed the idea of zucchini. Plus, I had that big, unsightly area of non grass growing dirt.

We'll see how our garden does. I'm pretty sure it will be a lovely playground for dogs. They've already jumped the decorative fence that was supposed to keep them out, just so they could sit in the dirt.

Did I mention the manure? Yep. Dogs love that stuff. It's going to be a fun adventure!

Friday, March 20, 2009


I was 13 years old when my younger sisters and I pooled our money and went to the pound looking for a small girl dog. No luck on the girl part, but I walked past one dog's cage several times before I asked my parents if they were firm on our dog being a girl. The sign on his cage said he'd just been bathed and groomed, but he still looked a bit ragged. His brown eyes were what got me, so sad, so resigned. He was left tied up outside the pound, with no note. Age unknown. I had to have him.

I had put in the most money for our dog, and he was mostly mine. We named him Murphy and he slept in my room. He had a bed, but I let him share mine. He was my friend, my child, my companion. I took him everywhere with me. He moved from Alaska, to Washington, to California and finally to New Jersey and he never complained. Each new place was an adventure we shared.

He was never quite happy with my getting married. It meant he wasn't allowed in my bed and I felt very sad about that. I know, husband or dog....hard choice! When I was pregnant with our first child I was worried about Murphy. He was getting old, he was a smidge cranky, and I wasn't sure how much time a baby would take. Would I still be able to shower Murphy with as much attention as I always did?

Sadly, I never found out. He passed away before the baby came. I was heartbroken, still am actually, and it's been 14 years this April. We've had two kids, and added two dogs, and there is still a place in me upon which has been carved, 'Murphy was here'.

He made a difference in my life, and for that I am eternally thankful. I am a better person for having loved and been loved by a dog.

And to those who question whether dogs will be in heaven, I have read a quote from Rev. Billy Graham that I love. He said, "I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he'll be there. "

I agree wholeheartedly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wednesday Date Night

I will forever be grateful to my second Mom for inviting my kids to her church's Wednesday night program. D loves the youth group, and has a posse of friends we bring every week, and L is mad for Awana and is making the very most of her year there. Dinner is provided by the church, so I just drop the kids off with Grandma S and they are taken care of for three hours.

Three glorious kid free hours!

I felt pretty guilty how jealously I guarded this night to be with my husband. We don't do anything special (usually!) but even if it's just baked potatoes for dinner and reading books on the couch, it is so wonderful, I hate to loose it.

Last week I went to Awana with my daughter. She'd invited me because she had a thank you card made for me for the work I do teaching Sunday school. I went because I love her, but I was so sad to miss my night with my husband.

I was standing around waiting for L to check in when I saw a mom I know from PTA. She asked if I was dropping L off, and I said no, actually, tonight I'm staying. She started laughing and said her kids know not to ask that of her. Wednesday is date night for her and her husband and she won't give that up!

I felt so much better after she said that! It's not just me who sees those Wednesday night hours as a way to recharge and relax.

I said my second Mom is always so glad the kids love going with her, and it is a gift she's given them, but it's also a gift she's given me. I love Wednesday nights!

I'm choosing not to think about summer break!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pass The Ketchup

It's entirely possible that about half of the food I eat is an excuse to eat ketchup.

Every time french fries, onion rings or tater tots come towards my mouth, they need to have a cap of ketchup on them. Hashbrowns need a topping of ketchup, as does meatloaf, so every single bite is covered. Scrambled eggs used to require a lot of that red stuff, but since my daughter started making cheesy eggs with a splash of milk, I don't need the ketchup.

Things like hot dogs and burgers that need ketchup on them, still need to be dipped in ketchup before every bite. If there isn't a puddle of that red liquid gold sitting on my plate with my dog, you better believe something has gone terrible wrong in the world.

Like, say, there's only enough ketchup for the kids. And by only, I mean by our standards. Regular people would look at a bottle of ketchup 1/3 full and think that's plenty. We look at it and get a bit panicky about how little there is. That is a true testament of my mother's love for them...when we're almost out of ketchup, I will forgo it to let them get enough. The kids have inherited my love for ketchup.

Although I've never seen them drink it as I once did. That was mostly to shock and awe the kids and it worked.

I tried the ketchup potato chips in Canada, but those tasted nothing like ketchup.

And do not try to pass "catsup" off as ketchup. I can tell the difference, and I do not approve.

Yep, there's only one brand of ketchup that makes my heart sing and that would be good old Heinz 57. It's pure goodness.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sarah's Handiwork

I got home from work yesterday and spent quite a bit of time putzing around the kitchen and dining room. I must have been home for 30 minutes before I walked into the living room and saw this:
At first I wasn't sure what all those bits of things were.....then I took a closer look at the doll and it was freaky.
Our wonderful puppy Sarah is not to be trusted. She must be in her crate when we are gone, otherwise she chews furniture (in her defense she only does it to one chair, her chair) or toys that belong to the kids, or I have even found puppy chew teeth marks in clean underwear (I hadn't shut my drawer all the way and I guess it was a temptation she couldn't refuse)....So she can't be left out.

My son sort of disagrees. I'm not sure if it's because he gets caught up in the moment of leaving and forgets or if it's because she's only chewed up one of his things versus many of his sisters things and it's not that pressing of a concern for him or if he truly believes each time that Sarah has changed her chewing ways.

Regardless, Sarah is a chewer. She went upstairs, dug around in the treasure trove of a mess my daughter calls a room and returned downstairs with her prize, where she chewed off the doll's hands, feet, legs, arms and somehow also undressed her (the dolls dress and jacket show some dog chewing, but not much considering the mess the doll is in).

I was a smidge worried about the state of the dolls hair. Either my daughter had cut it, or Sarah had also eaten most of it off the back. When L came home, she said was shocked, but also said that was okay. Ever since she cut that dolls hair, she had not wanted to look at it.....I told her that was her guilt and shame for having mucked up the hair in the first place.

The best part is we just bought Sarah new chew toys three days ago. Three of them in fact. One is in the trash because it is ruined, one is missing completely, and this is all that's left of the last:

It used to be a stuffed dog, complete with squeaker. Sarah is a bit fierce when it comes to toys. She goes for the kill every time. This is why we can't have a hamster, no matter how much L begs!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Pain Worth Doing

There are only two things I've done that were terribly painful, but I would gladly do them again, and again, and again.

The first is childbirth. It was like nothing I've ever done, although my gall bladder attack was pretty close, and it was so totally worth it. As soon as I held my son I knew I was going to love him for the rest of my life. I was also ready to do it again! After my daughter, I knew we were not having anymore, and that allowed me to treasure her even more. Both times, wicked painful, but I'd do them again just to have my two great kids.

The second thing thing would be tattoos. I love tattoos! My thistle on my lower back was by far the most painful. It was pretty excruciating actually! But I haven't regretted one of them, and I love seeing them. The problem was I have three on my back (hard to see and enjoy) and two on my ankles, which are hard to view in the winter time.

What to do?

Yep. Get one on my arm, my left forarm to be exact. I thought about it for months, and when the idea of a dandelion loosing it's seeds came to me, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. It reminds me of being a kid during the summer time, and of watching my kids during the summer, of sitting outside in those lazy hot summer evenings for birthday parties or playing in the sprinkler. What kid hasn't picked a dandelion and blown it to bits?

It did sting to get, and it took an hour and half of needle work, but it's awesome. When he finished, I was at a point where he could have done my whole arm and I would have just smiled.

It has opened a whole flood gate of longing for more though! Unfortunately my husband has made it very clear, it is his turn next. I guess that's fair. I have six tattoos, and he only has two.

But I'm ready to do it again!