Vegetable Garden : A New Season

See previous garden posts here
After last year's mediocre garden season, I've been doing a little more research and planning in regards to vegetable gardening. One thing I needed to work on was the timetable of when we plant since we waited until late May last year to get anything in the ground... so we started a lot earlier this year.

Mid-March, we worked on germinating our kale, lettuce, bean, and tomato seeds. Cora sweetly sang her beans a goodnight song as she tucked them into their damp paper towel bed.

Once the kale and lettuce sprouted, we moved all the seeds to a shallow bin of soil. Just a couple days after putting them in the soil, we were already starting to see the plants poke through. Cora is so enthusiastic about each step in the process and cheered when we saw our little kale babies poking out.
A couple days later (about a week after putting them in their paper towel beds), we planted a couple beans into egg cartons and kept a watchful eye on them. I have since learned those are best to start outside (see a great article about starting seeds indoors here), but we're more trial-and-error people so we'll see how it works out.
We don't have a lot of counter space and I didn't want to put all these bins of dirt on the dining room table (those little curious hands would make a huge mess), so I currently have our whole seed setup on top of our fridge. I just climb on a chair to water or check on them and can take one bin down at a time if Cora wants to check them out. She loves to see the progress and will often say something like "Oh my! That Kale is really growing!"
We decided that we should build real beds instead of using old scrap wood like we did last year. While we were starting the seeds indoors, I started working on tearing down the previous owners bed. There were a lot of bricks in that area grown over with grass, so the raised beds are necessary since I'm not really sure what all lies under the surface. I recovered as many bricks as possible so I can use them for a future project (small patio? potager garden paths? we shall see). 
As far as building new beds, I'm starting with two raised beds about 3'x6' (a little longer than our old one) and we can add more in the future as we expand our garden. I purchased basic cedar fence planks (getting four cute in half for the shorter ends) and a 2"x4" cut in one foot increments. We simply screwed them together in a rectangle. Cora loved helping out for a bit and cheering me on when she was over the helping part. It was hard to build by myself, but satisfying when it was completed.

We're looking forward to get all the plants outside and really working on our backyard this spring/summer. I can't wait to enjoy our little slice of outdoors and make it a little bit nicer on the eyes.


A Trip to Our Old Neighborhood

Last week, we took a little trip to our old stomping ground, Oakley. Cora and I used to walk up to this park nearly every Saturday morning. We'd watch as Ben played basketball and we'd play on the playground. Ida was just a little fetus the last time we visited that park, so it was fun to watch her run around and play. Cora quickly made friends and they made up a game where Cora was the spider and chased the boys all over the playground. Ida enjoyed running around trying out every feature of the playground, but still made sure momma was following her closely.

We also had a quick trip to the doctor for Ida's 18 month checkup (can you believe she is already 18 months old?!).  She is still a tiny little peanut measuring between 20th and 50th percentile in different categories...which is basically unheard of for our family and a good reminder to me that every baby is different.

I've been missing our old neighborhood and it seems like Cora's memories of the area are quickly fading away, so a little trip back there was much needed.


Life With Ida : 18 Months

While 6 months is my favorite 'newborn' age, 18 months is for sure my favorite becoming a toddler age. They're still kind of babies and need help with stuff and give lots of cuddles, but they are better at communicating and start to do things for themselves. Life feels more like adventuring and memory-making rather than the just-trying-to-survive newborn years.
We've been doing a lot of family adventures (I shared our trips to Ault and Bellevue parks earlier) and I'm loving getting out and about with both of our girls enjoying our time together. It's warming up and shee loves to get outside on our walks and chasing her sister down the sidewalk. Ida is a wild one, so she loves to climb on the neighbor's walls and just stand there. We were visiting our neighbors and Ida was loving playing in her planters full of dirt, so I'm anticipating that she will be a big 'helper' when garden season comes around.
Ida is getting more and more chatty. She has a decent amount of words that she says, but they're such a low whisper that I can barely hear what she is saying. It's always a surprise when she says 'yes!' loudly or she when she is loud out of nowhere, but it's always a fun surprise
Ida loves to run around the house by herself. She'll check in on us or play with her sister, but you can always find her up to something. Ida loves to carry around books and flip through them whenever there isn't a lot of action going on. I love watching her gain independence and see what kind of things she decides she wants to do.
Lately, the girls have been FaceTiming me while I'm at work. Ida loves to steal the phone away from her sister or dad and run away like a wild woman. There are lots of giggles and shaky camera, but I love little glimpses of my girls throughout the day.
I love this sweet girl and her giggles and cuddles. We are so lucky to have her and I'm loving watching her grow. I can't wait to watch her personality flourish in the coming months and watching the many changes that come before the two year old milestone.
It is fun to look back and see Cora at 18 months to see their differences and similarities. I love seeing them wearing some of the same outfits, doing some of the same things, and seeing how they even have the same little top-of-the-head curl. 


Baby Bookworms : March

Love Monster - was a gift for the girls from my cousin. A cute little story where a monster doesn't quite fit in where he lives and goes on a journey to find love... then finds love where he least expects it.

Quick! Turn The Page! - This one was a garage sale find. The character will have a problem like "Sarah is sick of winter. Quick, turn the page!" then after a quick page turn the character has solved their issue. Cora loves to quickly turn the page and see the different scenarios.

The Napping House - a cute little book of a napping granny and her grandkid and pets. The girls love reading this one and there is always something new to find in the illustrations.
Wolfie The Bunny - A bunny family adopts a baby wolf. The bunny daughter can't stop telling everyone that the wolf baby is going eat them all. After some adventure she eventually loves her new sibling.

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes - I know there is a whole Pete the Cat series, but this is the first one I've read. This one is about some missing cupcakes and Pete the Cat and his friends work to solve the mystery. Cora loves to count the amount of cupcakes on each page and both girls love to pretend to eat the cupcakes.

The Story about Ping - This is one my mom used to read to us when we were younger. It's about how a duck named Ping gets separated from his family and the adventure that follows.
Someday - I love this description "A mother's love leads to a mother's dream -- every mother's dream -- for her child to live life to its fullest" this is a sweet little book for both the mother and the child to read (kind of like I Love You Forever)

The Story of Noah's Ark - I love Helen Dardik's illustrations on Instagram, so when I happened upon this book I was so excited to see her illustrations. The book is the basic story of Noah's Ark, but I loooove this one for it's illustrations. It is so freaking cute and I want to buy it for every kid I know. It's currently on sale at Sam's club if you're a member.

Sunny Day Point 'n' Match - I shared this one in February, but I wanted to share it again since it has stayed in our read pile for quite a while (pictured below). Both the girls love it and it's an "easy" i spy book for younger toddlers.


Bellevue Park Family Date

Another weekend means another family park adventure. Saturday, we set out for a trip to a park without knowing where we would go. We ended up in Clifton and decided to head towards Bellevue Park. Ben and I came here a couple of times while we were in college because I lived within walking distance and in hindsight I'm surprised we didn't come here more. The girls played around on the playground for a couple minutes, but were more interested the hilly grass near the overlook.

The park was followed by a driving tour of all the apartments I lived in while in college and a mexican dinner in Oakley at a restaurant we used to go to a lot. We haven't gone out to eat really since Ida was born, so we quickly figured how difficult it is dining with two kids (queso and salsa everywhere). It was a fun trip down memory lane and a perfect little day date.


Ault Park Family Date

Cora is constantly asking to go to the park, but the park closest to us is a little high on the skill level so it's not the best for Ida. Over the weekend, Ben and I decided we'd like to hit up our old stomping ground and enjoy a trip to Ault park.
Last time we went to the park, Ida was barely walking so we weren't sure what she would do this time around. She surprisingly just jumped right in climbing up the stairs and enjoying lots of trips down the slides. Ida was also really into the mulch.

Cora loved being the big sister and going down the slide with Ida on her lap. She was so encouraging of Ida trying out new things and was loving having her sister playing with her.

We were pushing the girls on the swing and I was suddenly realizing how big Cora is getting. I was remembering the days when Cora was the same age Ida is and we'd make evening trips to Ault Park. Giggling to myself remembering the time she fell off the swings... then a couple days later she wouldn't even dare to move while swinging. She loved the swings this time (as always), but was mostly interested in whether Ida was enjoying herself or not.

Ida ended up loving the swing. She got a little fussy if it went to high or fast, but overall she was a fan. She kept going back to it a couple times, so Ben spent a lot of time pushing her in the swings as I remembered all the times I'd bring Cora to the park and the only thing she'd want to do is swing.

It was a fun family outing and I love our slow weekend days together. It was fun watching Ida run around and explore... and it turns out watching Cora flourish in her role as a big sister has been even sweeter than I ever could have imagined.
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