Building a Garden

A Day in the Life, Farm Book, How

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A couple weekends ago, we joined a team of volunteers at the Muse to put in the boxes for our vegetable garden and clear out an area that had been fenced off and grown over. I knew there weren’t a lot of kids coming but I think it’s healthy for the Huckleberries to feel a little ownership and responsibility. More importantly, gardening is our favorite!

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Daddy brought the truck to help bring in fresh dirt. Rory brought the wheelbarrow.

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Edie brought get shovel and she knows how to use it.

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We had to rent a trailer to move a ton of dirt to school and then wheel it up to the garden site on the other side of the yard.

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But there’s nothing wrong with wheel barrows.

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It took a long time to get the garden boxes put together and moved up to the right place.

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Now we have a beautiful garden spot and a play forest as well. As soon as the little kids get bored of digging in the dirt, it will be safe to plant seeds!

Building a Garden

A Day in the Life, Farm Book, How

image

A couple weekends ago, we joined a team of volunteers at the Muse to put in the boxes for our vegetable garden and clear out an area that had been fenced off and grown over. I knew there weren’t a lot of kids coming but I think it’s healthy for the Huckleberries to feel a little ownership and responsibility. More importantly, gardening is our favorite!

image

Daddy brought the truck to help bring in fresh dirt. Rory brought the wheelbarrow.

image

Edie brought get shovel and she knows how to use it.

image

We had to rent a trailer to move a ton of dirt to school and then wheel it up to the garden site on the other side of the yard.

image

But there’s nothing wetting with wheel barrows.

image

It took a long time to get the garden boxes put together and moved up to the right place.

image

Now we have a beautiful garden spot and a play forest as well. As soon as the little kids get bored of digging in the dirt, it will be safe to plant seeds!

Self Portrait, Grown up Lady

Art Book, How

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I’m a judge. I’m a princess judge and I have a never stop glowing rose in my hair and I have curly hair, very curly hair, and my best fruit hat. I’m carrying a grocery bag and it has two loafs of bread and two cherry pies and two cakes and I have blueberries and strawberries in my basket and candy and watermelon and guess what I have? Everything in the whole wide world that you could possibly eat. It’s a huge bag.
-Edie, 4

Edie has been drawing a lot of picture sets lately, four princesses in a row, or five similar garden scenes. As four year olds usually do, she developed a quirky shorthand for human figures. One evening this week she showed me her work and I asked if I could have a turn. She watched intently as I drew. I made a big point of feeling and noticing the elements of my face, adding them carefully to my amateurish drawing, from the top and working down.

When I handed the pen back to her, she paused. She felt her own face. She counted out eight curls, drew the face outline, and added two big eyes. Trying my best not to giggle at the big spider, I transcribed most of what she said. She continued to feel her own face and add details, many of which she had never depicted before. For the first time, she illustrated teeth, the shape of lips, ears, eyelashes, and fingers.

I don’t know what is a princess judge or why she needs a fruit hat.

8 Ways NOT to put a Preschool kid to Sleep

A Day in the Life, How

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Edie was what they call an easy baby, sleeping well, gaining weight quickly, and usually cheery and alert. Rory has been just as pleasant, already sleeping long stretches at night and growing like a moose.

But babyhood doesn’t go on forever- right now I’m afraid we’re in transition to lose Edie’s nap forever. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve worried about it and nothing is sure yet. It’s a bit disheartening, as I have always had this fantasy of all the children sleeping at once. Right now, my dreams are actually coming true, but that last round with the girl was hard won, like most of her sleep this week. While Rory crashes out all through the day and night, Edie has come into the age where being put in bed is about equivalent to being tossed in a dungeon.

It’s feeling less predictable which might work at any given time, but I have a few tricks I’ve been rotating through. The biggest trick is maintaining intentionality: setting the stage for sleep with a gradual transition, soothing routine, and having all the obvious physical needs- water, potty, snack- handled before the final lights out notice. Beyond that, we’ve tried out evening baths, gentle remedies, essential oils, massage, and guided imagery, each of which have felt positive and would probably work better if used consistently.

Here are some things that don’t work:

1. Get totally distracted by grown-up conversation and fail to move toward bed for an hour into target sleep.

2. Put kid in bed without water, potty, or Helen (or doll/stuffy of choice).

3. Get smacked by exhausted child, and reactively throw kid into dark bedroom.

4. Aggressively hurry child through bedtime routine, threatening cavities to children who miss their chance to brush teeth.

5. Travel to see exciting family members, arriving at bedtime.

6. Read bedtime story in triple time in order to quickly return to other child, now screaming.

7. Read bedtime stories you enjoy too much, especially with vivid voice acting and sound effects.

8. Successfully put child to bed, then remember vital accessories for evening chores stored in closet adjacent to child’s bedroom.

But you know, if Internet advice really worked….

Book Nook

A Day in the Life, How

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I had been meaning to deal with the book situation for a long time, and with a Christmas money and a new years resolution about the play room, we packed up Grandma’s car and headed to IKEA.

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Before: a repurposed mail sorter fit behind the playroom closet door, but failed to showcase the books or attract Edie to the titles I visually “suggested.” Meanwhile, adjacent low shelving constantly exploded books into a walkway, and the awkward, tight vertical arrangement ensured she could never put them away properly on her own. It was a disaster, and most of last year I just left it like that. But no more: it’s time for fresh starts and good intentions to blossom!

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These picture display rails make perfect bookshelves for this funny little space. I also moved the rest of the book storage to a top shelf, freeing up play space and allowing me to rotate through the book collection. This can help to emphasize a theme, limit repetition of the most annoying stories, and protect great older stories from competing directly with flashy holographic scratch-and-sniff pop-up books for attention all the time. Also, the bottom shelf will be easy access for the littlest book worm when he starts scooting around this summer.

While we were there, we picked up some other stuff to perk up the play kitchen, streamline bath time, and provide a work space for playroom projects. Our other great find was a simple, sturdy red plastic table with screw on legs for storage, which came with two benches for only fifteen dollars! We bought two sets, so we’ll have plenty for play dates or for outdoors in the spring. They have already become the best Tea Party Doctor Office I’ve ever visited; Edie’s cupcakes will trigger diabetic shock, but she also has the syringe to revive you.

Yay for simple solutions! And a big Thank You to Grandpa Bill and Nana, the great-grandparents who sponsored a post-Christmas shopping spree to get our play room all set for the New Year!