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Gardening with a toddler is no walk in the park

We faced some garden challenges to say the least.

First the resident squirrels saw the new garden box as a great place to start hiding their acorns and peanuts. Their digging dug up a few of my seeds.

Then some birds thought the corn seeds might be good, but as it was sprouting roots already, it must not have tasted good and they left my seedlings drying in the air.

Followed by Obiwan who found the newly sprouted leaves to be pretty neat so he pulled a few up.

I resorted to stabbing sticks and hanging mesh around the garden box to deter animals for a while so my seeds would have a chance to sprout and take root. With Obiwan I showed him the sprouts and said, “These are babies. Don’t touch them or they’ll be hurt.”¬†And so far so good.

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But then I missed watering the garden for two days when the weather was nice and the more tender seedlings dried up.

And lastly we kept seeing rain in the forecast so I kept holding off watering but three days later there’s still no rain and more of my seedlings have dried further.

I’ve also determined that this location just doesn’t offer enough sunlight for half the veggies I’m growing. What’s growing has gotten quite thin and leggy as they try to reach for the sunlight. Apparently the rule of thumb is vegetables where you harvest leaves can tolerate some shade; vegetables where you harvest fruit/roots need full sun.

My green onions and kale looks good though. That might be all we’ll have this summer.

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My dried and scraggly veggies

The kids like to come, squat by the boxes, point at bugs crawling around, point at the little shoots that have survived so far and repeat the names of the vegetables. Nessness is particularly helpful in instructing Obiwan, “Didi these are peas. Don’t touch or mommy will be very angry.” So not all is lost yet.

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Where do carrots come from?

My kids are starting to think our food somehow magically comes in bags and boxes from Costco or Superstore. I’d like them to see how our vegetables actually take a while to grow, how they need care, and how birds and squirrels can dig up your seeds sometimes. So I threw myself into making a couple garden boxes from old fence boards while they napped the last few weeks. The large box took two hours to build and set into the ground. The smaller boxes took three hours total to build and install. Leveling them when installing probably takes as much time as building them.

It’s physically quite taxing but it’s also invigorating to labour away in fresh air and long-awaited sun!

Some technical info : In the large box, I didn’t line it with anything other than cardboard at the bottom because I read plastic next to wood keeps the moisture and warmth in, which causes the boards to rot sooner. My dad insists the plastic lining is necessary to protect the boards, especially since I used 1x6s instead of 2x6s, so I’ve lined the smaller boxes (but only half way up). I also stabbed a lot of holes into the bottom of the lining for water to drain. We’ll find out in a few years which box holds up.

Another caution when using old boards is knowing the age of them. Pressure treated wood from before 2003 are unsafe for vegetable gardens because of the chemicals used. Lead paint was banned after 1978.

What am I going to grow? I’ve picked vegetables we eat, of different heights and that will involve the kids for harvesting. In the large box there will be corn, cucumber, zucchini, pole beans, peas, spinach, leaf lettuce, Kale and green onions. I’m also growing nasturtium flowers because they’re supposed to attract the bugs that would otherwise eat my vegetables. In the taller, small box, I’m going to grow cherry tomatoes, carrots and basil. In the lower small box I’m growing herbs and maybe garlic.

We’ll see how we do!

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I get a little bit sad…

When my kiddies were infants I marveled over their little hands and feet. My fingertips delighting in touching their soft and perfect skin. (Apart from the cradle cap, baby acne and mild eczema anyways.) The palms of their hands and the bottoms of their feet were beautiful. Nibbling on their backs to get some baby giggles was the best. These perfect little humans were ours. That itself boggles my mind sometimes.

Then they get a little older. They start rolling, crawling, toddling, walking, climbing, running….and with that comes tumbling, tripping, crashing, falling, smashing. I see torn nails, cuts, raised bumps on their heads, bruises, scrapes and scratches. And I get a little bit sad that they’re growing up. With growing up comes the owies that mark up their skin. Which makes my heart ache little bit more knowing one day there’ll be owies that won’t be seen because it’ll be hurts of the heart. Or of the spirit.

So I pray. I want to pray they’ll be protected from all of that but I know that’s not how life is. Life, this fallen life with fallen and broken people, will bring pain. So I pray for strength, for courage, for bravery, for perseverance, for patience and ultimately for assurance that they are secure in Love. God’s love and our love. May they always be able to rest and trust in that. But I’m still a little bit sad thinking about it.

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I Love…

3 yrs 6 months, Nessness

  • The quirky things she says that reveal her personality a little more, like “this is my hand, you don’t move it for me”
  • When she expresses appreciation without being prompted, like “Mommy, thank you for making scrambled eggs today”
  • Her laugh when we have a tickle fight
  • Her love for places like Costco and Ikea
  • The way her eyes and face light up when she’s excited about something. I hope she will always find things in life to be excited over.
  • When she entertains Obi-Wan and they are laughing together. I hope they will always be good friends to each other.
  • When she says, “Mommy give me a hug!”
  • How she offers to kiss my or daddy’s owies better and pray for us
  • Her eagerness to have a turn at saying Grace at mealtimes
  • Watching her run and scream to the door when Baba comes home from work
  • Looking at “Where’s Waldo” books together. She notices interesting things as she searches for the different people or objects.
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I Love…

15 months, Obiwan
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  • that he still smells sweet (I hear little boys get stinky eventually)
  • when he rests his head on my shoulders
  • the way he reaches for my hand or arm in order to hug it, or grabs my shirt to pull his face into it
  • his developing sense of compassion. He’ll cry if his sister cries and will go try to hug her.
  • that he’s so chill
  • how he gets hangry and yells for more food, faster during meal times
  • his determination. If he’s set his eyes on something, I can’t distract him from it easily
  • the way he walks like a little drunk man, teetering, stumbling and recovering
  • his big smiles with all eight teeth showing
  • his hearty laughs
  • how he giggles when he farts and says “booot” (boy thing?)
  • how his early vocabulary is so different from his sister’s. First words are “boh boh” (ball), mama, baba, booot (when he farts)
  • the way he pats his own chest when he coughs or chokes on something
  • how he points to himself when we ask “who is Ji Man?” (his Chinese name)….and how he also points to himself when we ask “who is mama?”…and how he points to his mouth when we ask where is nose is. We’re working on it.
  • how he run/waddles and lauches into my arms
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If I have to do this one more time…

  • Sweeping the floor
  • Doing dishes
  • Laundry
  • Figuring out the next meal, right after the current meal is eaten
  • Answering Nessness’ endless “why?” questions
  • Keeping the living room rug visible
  • Wiping sticky faces/hands/chairs/toys/tables/floors

And I DO have to do it one more time…every day. To not do these things would make my surroundings too chaotic for me to be sane in. Alas we can’t afford to outsource these tasks yet. It’ll take a few more years before the kids can do it themselves too. So, I must just KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON…ONE MORE TIME.

What’s on your list of never ending things to do?

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Got my answer

I was mulling and wrestling with whether or not to go back to work. Last Friday, I received my answer. From the end of March until last week I hadn’t received any sort of reply from my manager, director or the HR coordinator for my department. And then I received an email to phone in regarding my employment at the Company. It felt ominous.

Well, in short, I got laid off. In part because policy changes no longer allow for remote workers, and because there really wasn’t much left for me to do. Even before going on this mat leave, 85% of my work was getting automated. Which is why I asked for part time, but I guess it’s cheaper to give the little I had left to someone already there.

It feels…..weird…for lack of a better word, to have this decision made for me. As I mull over it however, I realize it’s a gracious answer to prayer. It’s a clear answer. And, because this comes with a severance package, I’m getting much more than I would’ve if I made a decision to resign. It’s bittersweet though. Last Friday was also my 12th work anniversary date with the Company. I even received a card congratulating me on my years of service from the CIO. Haha. I’ve come full circle. Twelve years is a good run.

What’s next? Not sure yet. It’s a whole new chapter.