Potty Training (or I give up!)

My girls have (wisely) forbidden me to use the “h” word.  Therefore, I declare I strongly dislike potty training.  At 2 1/2, I thought I would give potty training a go with my son since my girls were that age when they potty trained.  After a miserable day, I decided I would wait until he was 3.  Certainly it would be easier then.  Well, 3 came along and we were smack dab in the middle of a super busy year.  Not to mention, he had no interest whatsoever in using the potty.  3 1/2 didn’t seem so bad, plus school would be over… I decided to wait until then.  Occasionally, I would have him sit on the potty, but he strongly disliked it, so I didn’t force him.

Two days ago, my son turned 3 1/2.  Exactly.  Yesterday we finished school.  We got home late from a friend’s house.  My boy woke-up exhausted and I had no desire to start; but I did.  In total, he spent about 4 hours on the potty today, (including during an entire movie).  4 hours!  Seriously!  Twice he peed in his pants within 10 minutes of getting off the potty.  Twice I took him outside to go on the grass like his buddy does when he comes over.  Both times, he went in his pants a few minutes after putting them back on.  We had zero success today – not a drop in the potty!  So… do I go to church tomorrow or do I stay home and have another go at it?  The laundry is going now, so at least I will have clean shorts and underwear for him if we decide to stay home.

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On the bright side, watching his sisters fight over who gets to read him books was pretty sweet.

End of School!

Today I should be breathing a sigh of relief… the last day of school!  (And, we didn’t even “do” school; we had a birthday party, and now the kids are swimming.)  But, it has been a busy few weeks and I feel like a zombie.

 Below are a few pics I never got around to posting.  To conclude the year, we had our piano recital.  Also, Allison brought home her AWANA projects, including her first diorama.  (Now that it is pictured and blogged, I can throw it away!)

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Now that the weather is warming up, I am excited for more afternoon swims.  I am also anxious to get some projects started and my life organized for the fall… but first, I am off to make an afternoon cup of coffee and clean!

Garden Update

Should I start with the good news or the bad news?  Gardening can be so frustrating, can’t it?  There is just so much to learn.  In the past, I was content just planting things, letting the sprinklers do their thing, and then enjoying a few garden goodies.  It seems this year, after doing a lot of research about soil, building more planter boxes, and choosing our plants more carefully, we have run into even more trouble!  I’m trying to look on the bright side, knowing at least I am learning something and it will get easier every year.  On the other hand, we have definitely made a huge investment of time and money, therefore making all “mistakes” more difficult to accept.  None-the-less, I am more committed than ever and have no intention of giving up any time soon.

All that to say, let’s start with some good news…

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We have our first zucchini!  The leaves are getting huge.  Sadly, we’ve also had several flowers look beautiful and then just shrivel up and fall off.  There are a few leaves with holes and browning around the edges.  I’ve been spraying with neem oil every other day and that definitely helps.  I read you are not suppose to spray every day, but I may give it a try if I still am having problems.

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Our lettuce continues to grow quickly, and is consistently good.  It is the least of my worries, though I do spray with neem oil as well…

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Our tomatoes… at the time I took this picture, (about 3 days ago), I was SO happy about them.  Tons of flowers, green tomatoes, and looking’ GOOD!  Then yesterday I noticed one branch of leaves was curled up.  Huh?  Today I noticed several more branches are beginning to curl.  I spent some time trying to figure out the problem online this morning, but alas my kids wanted me to make breakfast.  From what I was able to read, it does not look good.  Boo.  I am going to try a little more research tomorrow, and then I may pull them out and start over.

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Our Santa Rosa plums are AWESOME!  I counted 16 this year… our first year with fruit.  We bought this tree 3 years ago, and it was literally a tiny stick.  These plums are so delicious and taste just like my childhood plums.  All 4 kids give them a thumbs way up, and I have yet to finish one because someone will catch me taking a bite and asks for it.

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I thought this lettuce was dead.  It kept getting eaten by something, and looked awful.  I pulled off all the leaves, and have been spraying with neem oil.  Hooray for successful comebacks!

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Our peas… this picture actually doesn’t look that bad.  All new growth seems to have brown spots on the leaves, and more and more holes are showing up every day.  Even the wonders of neem oil haven’t totally “fixed” the problem.  Hmmm… any thoughts?  They did SO well last year, and I love garden peas.  I am pretty bummed about this.

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I was shocked to discover a bunch of mushrooms surrounding one of our marigolds the other day.  Apparently it means there is too much moisture, (they appeared right after our rain), and that we have super organic soil.  I guess that’s a good thing!  I pulled them out and added them to my compost.  With the weather warming up, I doubt we’ll see any more in the near future.

Last few tidbits:

*  Our green beans completely died.  It was weird.  Then I read that you are NOT suppose to plant them with marigolds, which we had on both sides.  Ugh.

*  I have noticed slugs on the marigolds, which I guess is a good thing?  They are hopefully attacking them and not our veggies?

*  Is mulch a good thing in the garden?  We have a million tiny bugs, that may be flying ants or termites or who knows what… we had them when we had the black cover on the garden, and they are still there with the black cover gone and the mulch there.

Cousins

There is something so special about visiting with family… even if you don’t really know them!  Last week we had the honor of spending a few days with my cousins, who happen to be much younger than me, and who I have only met a few times in my life.  The last time I saw them, they were about the ages of my girls… Now they are young adults, and spending the summer hiking the PCT.  Lucky for us, they made a stop and it was a wonderful couple of days.  My kids were counting down and could hardly wait to meet them.  While they were here, they blessed us with lots of game playing, park playing, walks to the horses, ice cream eating, and piggy back rides.  I debated kidnapping them all summer, but decided I better take them back to their trail with the promise that it won’t be another decade before we see them again.

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Caught eating leftover salad… I suppose there could be worse things. 🙂

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Let me interpret for you; Allison’s face says, “Mom, please stop talking and let us play our game!”  Fair enough.

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This girl was so happy to meet the girls that mom says are where she gets her curls from.  She was especially fond of Marie, since she is also the youngest sister of three girls!

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I wish I had taken more pictures!!!

We are so blessed!  Happy hiking, cousins!

Gray.

I think I speak for most Californians when I say, if it is going to be cold, dark, and gray, at least let it rain!  We’ve had such a crazy cold spring, yet very little rain. Here’s our ode to an overcast spring:

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Umbrella eggs in the nest.

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Playdough.  Always.

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Hot chocolate.  (with marshmallows, of course)

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Fireplace roarin.’

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Legos.

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Sewing date with dad.

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I know in about a month when I am dying of heat, I am going to look back at this post with envy.  But, for now… I am ready for the heat!

To Jam…

Remember the question?  Well, I had an answer… not to jam.  So, we decided to use peaches for everything; snacks, ice cream, and of course breakfast!

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Then last night I was walking outside to turn on the grill for dinner and noticed we still had quite a few peaches… and they were falling to the ground!  My heart sank a little.  There is no way we could have eaten that many ripe peaches, and they were so ripe it would have been hard to give them away without them getting icky.  Immediately I began to pick them, totally forgetting the grill was on and dinner was soon.  I walked into the kitchen with a basketful only to hear, “I’m hungry.”  Gulp.  Dinner?!?!?  I let them snack o peaches while I quickly made dinner.  After dinner, we got right to work.

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I was shocked to open my cupboards and find a brand new pack of canning lids along with “new” (expired) boxes of pectin and my old jars from when I made apricot jam.  I’m not going to lie… the thought of making jam still scares me to death.  But, having done it once before, I was slightly more confident.

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The kids helped, though they should have been showering and heading to bed!  Some things are worth staying up for.  🙂

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And… success!  It turned out wonderful, despite the expired pectin.  I even printed off some labels I found on Pinterest.  I am SO glad I decided to jam; even when I really didn’t have time.

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I think I am finally more confident to do this again… we will see!