Saturday, December 15, 2007

O, Christmas Tree!

Two of the cutest things ever: a fresh tree and my hubby.

Yes, it is that "Most Wonderful Time of the Year", where "Silver Bells" are ringing, neighbors "Wish you a Merry Christmas" and where, at our house, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" (plus, with all the snow we've been receiving, we just sit by our windows, warmed by the fire and think, "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!"). Who doesn't adore Christmas? From the songs, so cheery and bright, to the breathtaking Christmas tree, with the smell of freshly cut pine and the twinkling white lights. This year our tree is lovely as always. However, we have found a wee bit of a dilemma with said tree. Unfortunately, it now blocks our view of the television from our dinner table. For you this may not be a problem, but for us, it is a very, very serious predicament, for you see, at our house, come dinner time, we like to sit around the table and bond together all the while watching "Jeopardy." We even add up our points at the end to see who won that night (fortunately, we don't subtract points for wrong answers, otherwise we'd always be in the hole and never make it to Final Jeopardy). Sadly, though, this nightly ritual cannot now continue because the view of our television is blocked by the beautiful tree. A few nights ago, while trying to watch "Jeopardy" at dinner, it was quite frustrating since I couldn't press mute with the remote (the tree was blocking the signal) so that we could say our prayer for our dinner. So frustrated was I, that I broke out in song, expressing the tree vs. TV dilemma. And since I thought this song so funny and clever, I now will share it with you, sung to the tune of "O, Christmas Tree!"

O, Christmas Tree
O, Christmas Tree
We cannot see our TV
Our favorite thing at Christmas time
Is watching Jeopardy at dinner time
O, Christmas Tree
O, Christmas Tree
How can we answer Final Jeopardy?

Yes, at our house, we love Christmas--just as long as it doesn't interfere with "Jeopardy". So, this Christmas, "All I Want for Christmas" is not "My Two Front Teeth" or a "White Christmas" or even the chance to say "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (because I won't be), but all I can really ask for is to sit with my two beloved men (Josh and Alex Trebek), eat a good meal, and watch a rousing game of "Jeopardy"--oh, and, of course, beat Josh at Final Jeopardy.... Is that too much to ask for?

The view of the television from our dinner table. As you can see, there is no beholding Alex Trebek from this angle.

Our fire place mantel all decked out for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

That Bites.......

I have a little riddle for you. What's two-and-a-half feet tall, barely thirty pounds, cute as a button and has razor sharp teeth that can pierce through heavy denim? That's right, my friends, the answer: little Jackson Palmer. While babysitting some of our favorite people, Kaylee & Jackson, little Jackson, not quite two, snuck up behind Josh and feasted upon his inner thigh. Suddenly, when Josh felt a sharp pain in his leg, he screeched, only to turn around and find Jackson's jaws clamped down on his leg. Wrestling away from the sharp-toothed child, Josh was astounded that such a small thing could cause such pain. Josh quickly forgot about the incident, though, and the pain, until two days later when he was getting in the shower and I saw this over-sized, dark purple, oozing bruise on the back of his thigh. I asked Josh if he had gotten hit with a hockey puck at his last hockey scrimmage. He replied no and then asked why. I pointed out the bruise to him, to which he responded, "Jackson. Grrrrr." Yes, below you will find the damaging injury incurred from a two-year-old child and his death-like, jagged-tooth jaws.

The picture does not do the injury justice.

In reality, though, Jackson loves Josh. When the kids came over, the first thing Jackson said, with his limited vocabulary, was, "Josh, Josh, Josh." Since Josh wasn't home from work yet, we called Josh at work, so Jackson could say hi. Then when Josh came home, they were sooo excited. He chased them around in circles until they were a bundle full of giggles. This is just proof positive that Josh is going to be the best dad. All children prefer Josh to me and this is because, as his niece Beth says, "I like Josh. He plays fun games with me." The entire weekend that Beth was here, she and Josh played some bizarro skunk game that he made up (he even made up a song to go with it). When asked who her favorite uncle is, Beth's response is always, "Josh because he plays fun games with me." When asked who her favorite aunt is, it is always, "Kara. She makes me sandwiches" (Kara works at Blimpie and gives her free sandwiches. How can I compete with that?). I can't wait until our little Willy gets here, to see the bond that will surely form between my two boys. And, as will be inevitable, I am sure that Willy will prefer daddy to me because, after all, he'll play fun games with him.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving: A day late but not a dollar short.

Thanksgiving: a day in which we give thanks. Though this year we celebrated a day late, due to Nate's work schedule, it was still a day worthy of much praise. And this year I have much to give thanks for.

First off, I am thankful for FOOD. What a dreamy meal Thanksgiving is. This was our third annual Brothers Madsen Thanksgiving Feast and, if I do say so myself, we got it down--thanks to Martha Stewart. Turkey, brined in dry white wine, veggies and herbs: perfection. Stuffing, homemade with chestnuts: mouth-watering. Creamed-corn: it's creamed, what more need I say? We also had lots of other treats to make it just right: cranberry sauce, jello and homemade pies for dessert. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmm, m!

Secondly, I am thankful for FAMILY. This Thanksgiving consisted of spending time with some of my favorite people: Joshy, the best hubby ever; Willy, the baby-boy-to-be who loves all things made of sugar; Nate, Josh's older and more wiser brother; Amy, his wife who is very handy in the kitchen and Beth, their little Bean Girl who makes everything more entertaining.

And though the list could go on and on, lastly, I am thankful for CLOTHES, that is maternity clothes with a stretchy waste-band that allows you to eat to your hearts' content without feeling the strain of buttons or zippers. This year, it quite made my Thanksgiving. I think every year, regardless of my status, will be a maternity-pants-wearing event. Thank heaven for stretchy pants!
Josh cutting up the turkey. He makes a MEAN turkey. Nice work, Joshy!

More turkey-lurkey, as Beth would say. The table-setting, complete with the name cards that I insisted we make, thinking Beth would enjoy it, though Beth, at age three, didn't quite enjoy it as much as me, at age 28.
The participants in the Third Annual Brothers Madsen Thanksgiving Feast: Amy, Josh, Nate and Beth. Not pictured: Jessy and Baby Willy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surprises, Vacations & Vomiting House Guests!

It's been too long, my fellow bloggers, too long. I am certain that due to my long absence you were beginning to fear the worst, wondering if I would ever blog again. I am even more certain that many tears were shed and even more hearts broken at this tragic thought. But ne'er you fear, my friends, ne'er you fear, for I am back and all is well. And I have good reasons for my long departure, reasons that can be summed up in these few words: surprises, vacations and vomiting house guests.
1. Surprises
For Josh's parents' 60th b-days, we, being the Madsen children, decided to give them the best present possible: the gift of us! Yes, all 5 children, plus spouses (minus one), and grand kids flew out to the Great Salt Lake to surprise Bard and Adelee on their happy day. And what a happy day it was. After sneaking into the parental units' bed in the wee hours of the morning to surprise them (and boy were they surprised. You would be, too, if you awoke to ten extra people in your bed), we had a fun-filled weekend packed with: yummy homemade breakfasts of crepes, french toast and eggs, trips to the temple, authentic Mexican food (Cafe Rio), and celebrations Madsen-style. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures to document these good times. You'll just have to use your imagination).

2. Vacations
Since I was already half-way cross the country, I decided to continue on home for a week-long vacation with my family. Oh, and it is always soooo divine going home: getting spoiled by my mom and my granny, playing with my cute niece and nephews, eating home cooked meals, celebrating Halloween Spear-style at my grandma's, visiting with old friends, playing "The Amazing Race" as a family and just having good ol' fashioned "bonding-time" as my dad likes to say. Thanks Spear clan for a great trip home!
My nephews and niece all dolled up for Halloween. Tanner was the perfect Harry Potter, Katie a flapper and Garret, of course, was a pumpkin!

While I was home, my sister Emily, my sister-in-law Michelle and my friend Taraka threw my a baby shower. It was such fun and as you can tell by the look on my face, I LOVED getting presents (hint, hint...). It was great to see many friends and family. Thanks for the shower, gals!

3. Vomiting House Guests
To top off great two weeks of vacationing, my best friend from high school Taraka and her little guy Tucker flew back with me to NY. We had a great week of sleeping in late and giggling in our jammies all day, visiting the surrounding sites of Palmyra and Boston, eating yummy food, playing with Tucker and reminiscing about old times. And I bet you can't guess who the vomiting house guest was? No, not Taraka, but Tucker. It seemed as though Tucker could not control his bodily functions. Every time we got in the car, Tucker either decided to vomit or pee through his diaper. My favorite lapse in bodily function was on our trip to Palmyra. Tucker was a little squirmy so Taraka kept feeding him to calm him down. She commented, "Poor guy. I keep feeding him, so he'll be quiet." Well, it turns out, he did eat a bit too much, as the vomiting proved. When this happened, Taraka, distressed, cried out, "See, I told you he eated too much." It was all quite entertaining and the rest of the week we kept saying, "Oh, I eated too much" or "I told you Tucker eated too much." Oh, Tucker, you are too cute. We miss you, your mommy and your "gog".

Josh, Tucker and me at the Sacred Grove in Palmyra.

Josh and Tucker on the Hill Cumorah. Tucker loved Joshy and Joshy loved Tucker.

Tucker ON the Freedom Trail in Boston. We were determined to always have a part of his stroller or a part of himself on the trail AT ALL TIMES and AT ALL COSTS.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Brown Paper Packages...

Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail? Well, I most certainly do. In fact, brown paper packages tied up with string truly are some of my favorite things. It's such fun: ripping into the mounds of packing tape, scrambling to find the hidden treasure inside, then squealing with delight once you finally find it. And this week was a good week for packages because, boy, did we get us some packages! So, I thought I'd share the joy of package week at the Mad house with you, my faithful blogging viewers, courtesy of my lovely, first-rate blog.

Package #1:
Baby bedding for little boy Madsen. After scouring the Internet, searching in stores and even contemplating sewing (yikes!), I finally found the best bedding for our baby boy: on sale (yeah), no animal prints (don't GET me started) and lots of blues, greens, and, of course, REDS (the perfect colors for a baby boy). Now all I need is curtains, sheets, crib skirt, crib, wall decor and changing table. And that's just for the nursery......Who knew babies were so extensive and expensive?

Package #2:
Old Navy Maternity clothes. Yes, after another fiendish search through stores and Internet (though, fortunately, no sewing was contemplated. I sewed myself a dress in Home Ec. in 9th grade that I could never even get into due to such poor, poor sewing), I found the perfect maternity jeans. They, too, were on sale and even Josh noticed how good they looked. In fact, he even said, and I quote, "Those jeans look so good on you, you should wear maternity clothes all the time." And I agree, what is better than a stretchy, comfy waist band that requires no zipping or buttoning, thus allowing much more speed at the innumerable bathroom stops?? Below is a picture of lovely jeans, taken in our basement since I couldn't peel Josh away from his table saw long enough to go any where else. (P.S. What do you think of the shirt? I just got it at Target but am thinking of returning it......)

Package #3:
Maternity clothes from Kathyrn, my very generous sister-in-law. Moments after giving birth to her baby boy, I called her, told her congrats of course, and begged her to send me some maternity clothes on the double since she no longer had a need for them. And, boy, did she deliver! Whatever would I do without Kasey? I suppose I would have to wander the streets clothes-free. So, Kasey, not only do I thank you but the people on the streets thank you!

Package #4:
The most exciting one of all: Josh's table saw! Yeah! For years Josh has been saying he wants a table saw so that he can build me all sorts of fancy furniture, including our baby's crib. And for years I have been designing said furniture in my mind. Now, finally, this dream can come true (hopefully in time for the baby) since Josh's 430 lb. table saw arrived this week and landed safely in our basement. Here is a picture of Josh putting the saw together. Keep your fingers crossed that baby's crib will be done in time for baby!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Wait is Over......

This morning, I woke up, took a shower, got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast. The menu today: sugared Frosted Flakes, apple juice and Mountain Dew. Fortunately, this is not my normal meal, but today was special--today was the day I was going to find out if baby was a girl or a boy. Since last time baby was dead asleep and uncooperative, I was determined to have a fully awake child. After eating my highly nutritious and sugar-filled meal, I climbed into the car and drove to the doctor's office. By the time I met Josh at the office, I wasn't feeling so hot. I would not recommend pure fructose for any one's morning feast. But the sugar paid off. As soon as the ultra-sound tech placed that cold probe on my belly, she asked, "Did we find out the gender last time?" After a resounding, "No!" from both Josh and me, she said, "Did you want to know?" Again, another unison cry of "Yes!" and then she showed us a clear shot of baby and all THREE legs (well, one of them wasn't actually a leg). Sure enough, our baby was proud to show us that he's A BOY! Unfortunately, I had a little too much sugar and the ultra-sound tech was none too pleased since she had a difficult time continuing with her measurements due to one squirrely baby. He wouldn't even stay still long enough for a profile shot. At least we got some good profile shots last time, which I will post below:

We're beyond thrilled, relieved and excited to know that all is well with our little baby boy and that he finally decided to reveal himself (literally). Now, let the shopping begin.........

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Boy or Girl?

Well, if you're wondering whether my baby is a boy or a girl, let's just say that makes two of us. Unfortunately, the little baby just would not cooperate today. He/she was just nestled in and comfy, refusing to move from its little niche. We even got to see the baby yawn, reinforcing the fact that he/she wasn't going anywhere; clearly, it was nap time! The baby was resting along my spine, his/her little feet scrunched into my hip bone, and the darn hip bone was impeding the view. Everything looked healthy with the baby thus far, though, and he/she is a hefty 10 ounces! We did get some great profile shots and, if I do say so myself, my baby is pretty darn cute, whether boy or girl. At least we don't have to wait too long to take another look--I'm scheduled to have another ultra sound next Wednesday. Let's hope this time we can find out. I'm dying to know! I'll post pictures of babe's profile soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tour de Vermont!

Josh, on our bike path, preparing for the big tour.

(It is crucial when pronouncing this title you say it as though you were French, "Tour de Vehr-moh!"). That's right. For some crazy reason we, being the Madsen family, have the disillusioned idea that we are now somehow Lance Armstrong and the Discovery team. Though instead of racing throughout France and the infamous Pyrenees, we are racing on the back roads of Vermont. When I initially heard this idea, I immediately had visions of me, being lithe and fit, riding through the hilly Vermont countryside with ease and grace, the cool, crisp fall air blowing through my hair--all the while wearing the yellow jersey, mind you. Now that it is getting closer to the actual bike tour, reality has set in and these are the new visions (more like nightmares): me, larger than normal, puffing and huffing, walking my bike up all forms of hills, no matter how mediocre, and then asking incessantly the age-old question, "Are we there yet?" Josh tells me not to worry--we'll only be riding thirty miles a day, which he thinks should only take me three hours. To this I reply, "Three hours? Three hours? Have you ever actually sat on a bike for three hours? That will wreak havoc on my crotch bones!" In order to better prepare for this ordeal, we have been going on daily hour-long bike rides for the last few days and, let me tell you, ONE hour is enough to wreak havoc on aforementioned crotch bones. Ah, well. I am still looking forward to enjoying visions of the beautiful New England trees changing colors and the crisp, cool fall air (not to mention the great company and staying in fun, New England towns). Only, I fully intend on riding far less than thirty miles and letting the "relief car" (Josh's mom in a mini-van) come and pick me up along the way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finally, a Bundle of Joy!

Some of you may already know, some of you may not really care, but most of you, I'm sure, will be ecstatic to hear the following good news. Yes, after three plus years, an entire team of doctors and nurses spanning the state of New York, thousands of needles, billions of dollars and an unending number of emotional roller coaster rides, we are finally so thrilled to announce that we're having a baby! (Josh likes to say: "After three years, Dr. Kiltz finally knocked up my wife." Though not very tactful and perhaps a bit misleading, it is, nevertheless, so very true. Sad but so very true).

Most of you know where babies come from, but our baby isn't like most of yours. He/she came from a tube labeled with our names on it, containing three little embryos retrieved, hatched and inseminated at CNY Fertility in Syracuse, NY. Thankfully, only one of those little embryos decided to stay, so we're relieved to say that we're only having one baby at this time. We've experienced many stumbling blocks along our path to parenthood, so many that it would fill an entire novel. We don't know why it took so long for our baby to come to us, with both of us being quite fertile, but we do know that we have been blessed to finally reach this point. Thus far everything looks great, except for the two-minute scare today at my 17 week check-up (the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler, so she immediately took me to the ultrasound machine where we saw a perfectly healthy baby, complete with the cutest fingers, who WOULDN'T STAY STILL. I was holding my breath throughout the entire ultrasound, I was that nervous. After, the doctor said, "Okay, you can breathe now!"). Now all we can hope and pray for is a happy, healthy baby born on or around the date of February 21, 2008! Stay tuned to find out the sex; we find out on September 25! Any guesses???

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who Wants a Clean House?

Finally, I cleaned my house--I mean really cleaned my house: the oven, microwave, fridge, pantry, bathrooms, and even dusted everywhere:) I thought that since this was so rare, I would take advantage and post some pictures of our house (also so that I could document that at one time my house was this clean). For those of you who don't know, Josh and I have lived in upstate NY, about 20 miles northwest of Albany, for a little over two years now and we bought a cute new house two years ago in November. We LOVE our house. I love so many things about new homes: the closets (tons & HUGE); the cleanliness (knowing I have been the first and only person to use my toilet); and the opportunity to choose the carpet, tile, cabinetry, etc. There are a few things that I don't love about new homes: no window treatments anywhere (we've spent a fortune on blinds, curtains, etc.); the yard--our yard has been and probably forever will be a royal mess; and the sometimes lack of character that new homes have--no old architechture or hard wood floors. To make up for that lack of character, we've had fun painting EVERY room in the house, most a different color. Josh hasn't really had fun, because he despises painting, but we've enjoyed the finished product. So, now for your viewing pleasure, you too can enjoy the finished product.
Above is the living/family room! This is my favorite room because it's really one of the few I've actually decorated.

Another view of the living room. This was the first room we painted and this is the second color...I found it so difficult to choose paint color! In fact, I have so many paint samples that I could have my own paint shop!Yet another view of the living room.
The living room as seen from the kitchen.

The kitchen: hooray! Notice the lovely curtains my mom and I made. Nice, eh?
More kitchen....I, clearly, am obsessed with red. I found that red phone at Pottery Barn and just had to have it. I waited for it to go on sale, then bought it for myself for Christmas. Merry Christmas to me!
The dinette, complete with the table and chairs from Josh's kind grandpa.
The entryway.
This room is technically a dining room and, unfortunately, the first room you see when you walk in the house. I say unfortunately because unfortunately we have NO furniture. I want to make it into a beautiful study/den/library but I want the perfect furniture. Well, the perfect furniture is far too expensive, so I'll just wait until I strike it rich. I do, however, love the paint in here. Of course, it is red and we (by we, I mean Josh) put up the chair rail a little higher than usual to add a fun little flair of style. Now, stayed tuned for the furniture to fill this room (that will be quite some time, but I'm sure you can wait if I can!).
My camera died before I could take pictures of the upstairs, but I'll post pictures soon. Hopefully, you can stand the wait....

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Lovely Lake Roosevelt

I know, I know. I've been gone for a while. I have an excuse. I flew cross country to see my family in WA (where we went to the lake and had a ball); went to VT for the Labor Day weekend to visit Josh's brother, his wife and their daughter (I forgot my camera but we had a blast eating hot dogs and s'mores around the fire pit, going raspberry picking and making yummy jam, eating out at Flatbread Pizza, making fresh fajitas with fixings from the garden and having a mountain bike adventure where I only biked for one mile but am still feeling the effects of a sore bum); and then last night I had my Personal Progress Kick-off for the year (which, after FAR too much work, actually went off spectacularly! I had 12 girls come! That, in the Schenectady Ward, is a MIRACLE). So, I sincerely apologize that I have been absent from the blogging sphere. I am SURE most of you have been waiting with bated breath to read the next installment of the lives of Joshy and Jessy. So, without further ado, I present to you pictures (most of them stolen from my siblings' blogs) from the lovely Lake Roosevelt, my favorite place on earth.

My brother Ryan and his son, Cody, walking down to the beach. It was quite the hike. As Jon said, "It's a 5-minute walk down and a 35-minute walk up."

Ryan, Brandon, Katie and Kathleen building sand castles on our gorgeous beach. It was beautiful, private (for the most part) and HUGE! Perfect beach!

Our daily ritual of wiffle ball! After lunch, we'd return to the beach and play some hard-core wiffle ball. When it got a little warmer, we played out into the water. And, I don't like to brag, but in one particular game I was totally awesome. I got back-to-back doubles, one even bringing in 2 RBIs. Basically, I am the next Big Papi!

Josh hard at work doing his infamous "drip castles".

Tanner and Kathleen watching Josh give the final touches to a sand castle that eventually baby Cody plowed over.

Josh preparing to wakeboard off the back of the boat. This was only his second year wakeboarding and he was pretty much awesome. He got better daily and my entire family (well, mostly me) was quite impressed with his mad skills.

Josh in the water, preparing to board.

This is me taking a picture of Josh wakeboarding. No one ever told me how difficult it is to actually take a shot while the wakeboarder is behind the boat. They're constantly moving. So, we have a thousand pictures looking just like this: absent one wakeboarder.

Finally, I begged Michelle, Jon's wife, to take a picture. She's a pro and thus she got a beautiful picture of Josh showing his stuff! Present, one wakeboarder.

This picture just cracks me up! We got all the little kids to try out skiing on this sweet ride called the Ski Skimmer. Here's Brandon, barely 3, skiing behind the wave runner. He looked so TINY out there. Though the kids screamed and cried initially, they LOVED it in the end.

There was a fire pit where we had yummy s'mores one night. Yum, yum. Does it get any better than s'mores, I ask you?? I think NOT!

Josh and me looking over the view of Lake Roosevelt. Man, do I look good. I guess that's what happens when you spend a week at the lake, sans make-up, hair-dryers or more than two working bathrooms for 17 people (yikes!). We did have a grand time at the lake, though! Thanks, Mom and Dad and all Spokanites who prepared for and planned our big trip. And I didn't even get pictures of some of our grandest times: watching Tommy Boy outside on a big-screen projector, playing lots of card games & other activities late at night, and, of course, EATING. Boy, did we eat and then we ate some more. But what else can you expect from the Spear clan? Can't wait for our next adventure--hopefully, sometime next summer and, hopefully, at the lovely Lake Roosevelt. I do love that lake. It's my idea of heaven!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mad-Time in Maine with the Madsens!

Originally, on Josh's b-day weekend, the East Coast Madsens (Nate & Amy, Jane, Josh & I) thought we'd get together in Maine for a quick celebration. Well, once Adele caught wind of it, she just had to come (she hearts Maine). Then, when Kasey found out, there was no way she would be left out and then lo and behold, before you know it, the entire Madsen clan (minus Kasey's husband Steve) were on board for an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places. We stayed just south of Kennebunk Port and though it was a short, unplanned trip, it was filled with mad fun times, Madsen-style. Some of the highlights: shopping at the best outlets ever (plus, the huge L.L. Bean store) in Freeport; devouring plenty of helpings of Ben & Jerry's ice cream; staying up late to play "Murder" (I have to give props to Adele for her fine acting ability--ha!); giving ourselves (manly men included) micro-derm abrasion facials; playing woofle ball at the beach and just enjoying one another's crazy company. Luckily, Kasey took lots of pictures and I stole them off her blog to share with you. Thanks Bard and Adele for our Maine adventure; can't wait for more mad-times with the Madsen clan!

The grandkids, Sarah & Beth, outside L.L. Bean's famous boot made out of sand.

The entire Madsen clan (sans Steve, sadly) outside of our favorite Freeport shop: Ben & Jerry's (notice little Beth holding tightly onto her ice cream cone). Top left to right: Kasey (with her daughter Sarah), Jane, Josh, Nate (with his daughter Beth), Annie, Ryan, Adele & Bard. Bottom left to right: me and Amy.
The ocean!!!! (Not the ocean, ocean, but little tributaries that would ebb & flow with the rising tide).
Jane, Annie & Josh applying their micro-derm abrasion. Nice face, Josh!
Josh and Ryan, Annie's hubby. Their skin looks better already!
Yeah for Madsen facials! And, boy, were they much-needed. My skin felt better for days.

Monday, August 13, 2007

This Ain't No Garden of Eden!

Behold, the beauty of our largely overgrown, shamefully neglected, and ridiculously fruitful garden. Though our garden is no Garden of Eden, it, too, has a story. Back in May, Josh's mom, Adele, came to visit, with the intent of helping us on a yard project, since she herself is a lover of the great outdoors. Josh and I had contemplated growing a small vegetable garden, so we thought we would put Adele's expertise to use and plant one in our backyard. Well, Adele, of course, would hear nothing of this small, simple garden. What she envisioned was two 8'x20' garden plots, terracing out of our backyard hill. Catching her enthusiasm and vision, I thought this was a brilliant idea.

While Josh was at work, Adele and I traveled to her favorite store, The Home Depot, in her tiny, two-door rental car and bought the necessary supplies: planks of wood at least 10' long, plenty of nails and, of course, 8 patio chairs (4 for us and 4 for Josh's brother in VT. When I mentioned to Adele that she might be able to purchase the 4 chairs for Nate & Amy at The Home Depot in VT., she insisted that they were all out of the chairs in VT. So, after lugging the chairs three hours to VT. on the top of her car, it turns out they weren't, in fact, out of stock. Hmmmm.....). So, imagine loading all this into the tiny rental car: lots of rope, more patience, three offers from 3 different truckers to give us a ride home, an abundance of time spent on the roof of the car, more than enough strange looks, mounds of embarrassment, and a 30-minute drive home. Once home, we unloaded our spoils and got everything prepared for when Josh would arrive and he could start the drilling, hammering and constructing. Adele, only there for the weekend, just knew we could finish this project before she departed. Little did we know......

Well, after three and a half-weeks, millions of wheelbarrows full of rock-solid shale, hours of sweaty work, and a large supply of drugs to heal the back aches, Josh FINALLY dug out the two 8'x20' plots (he wasn't as thrilled at Adele's and my grand vision) and created the terraced garden boxes. Now all we needed was some dirt and manure and, of course, some vegetable plants. Dirt we got delivered on a large truck (mind you, to fill these two plots it took almost $300 worth of dirt). Manure was delivered on a small red truck--our red truck. Fortunately, a family in our ward has a farm and they offered us manure free of charge--we just had to get it ourselves. Then came the vegetables--oddly enough the easiest, cheapest part of the entire endeavor. Now, come the spoils. Since Josh and I claim this is our "practice garden" we've learned a few things: don't plant everything so close together, never plant pumpkins or else they will take over the garden (and the whole world for that matter), and never, never plant 7 tomato plants or 4 cucumber plants! We have so many vegetables that they're growing out of our ears; we can't give them away.......Like I said, our garden may be no Garden of Eden, but next year, I'm sure, it will be. Enjoy the pictures, Adelee! Thanks for all your help and expertise!

The right garden plot: tomatoes and cucumbers.

The left garden box: corn, pumpkins, basil & onions. (Ignore our hill and yard; they need much work, money & time to make them presentable. Perhaps next summer--what do you think, Adelee, are you game?) The lawn chairs. Try fitting 8 of these on the roof of a two-door car. You better be enjoying those chairs, Nate & Amy! Our first spoils! Lots & lots of cucumbers, some green peppers and a few tomatoes (though we don't know what kind since we planted 7 different types of tomatoes. They look like cherry tomatoes, though I am almost positive we didn't plant any of those).