Friday, October 29, 2010

Garden reflection

I cut all my pepper plants, herbs, and tomato plants to stubs today.  Last night was our first hard freeze.  I picked all fruit whether it was done or not and snipped all the herbs I could get my hands on.  This is my second gardening attempt since I've been married.  My first was at our first home in Lee's Summit, MO.  I have no idea how well that one turned out because it was severely neglected do to morning sickness.  I couldn't even bring myself to look at it for the entire summer and leading into the fall. This is the first time I have ever did container gardening and I am reflecting now on what I learned.  Here's what I came up with.

1.  Miracle grow is a miracle and container vegetables will die without it..
2.  If your container drains well, always use more fertilizer than what it says to use on the box.
3.  Even if your pepper's leaves are curly, don't fret.  It will still yield an impressive crop. 
4.  Spiders like to build thier webs in pepper plants.  Don't fret, it will still produce fruit. 
5.  Plant different types of herbs in different containers, not in the same container.
6.  You must water EVERYDAY if your container has good drainage.
7.  You are not ready for a big garden on land until you have children who are old enough to help and take care of themselves (or at least until the water spout on your house is actually accessible from ground level).
8.  You can have the biggest, most beautiful  tomatoe plant, but if it is not pollinated it will not yield any fruit.
9.  Shake your tomato plant to pollinate it so it will actually produce fruit
10.  Make sure you have plenty of people to share your herbs with.  It'll produce more than you could ever use in a year.
11.  Having a garden isn't the most vacation friendly thing to do.
12.  Having fresh produce on hand at any given time is pure joy.
13.  You really will save money on produce with a little time and dedication.
14.  Watching things grow is just fun.

It was a fun year to learn how to container garden.  Next year I plan on adding a few other vegetable containers.  I dream about being able to can tomatoes someday. Now that I know about the whole pollination thing (which I didn't find out about until late August), I might actually get a good harvest of tomatoes next year.  I'd love to make a bunch of salsa and can it.  As i speak I have gobs of green tomatoes I picked yesterday; they didn't have enough time to ripen before the freeze.  Probably wishful thinking, but I hope they ripen so I can actually feel like all that work watering them was worth it.  If only I could grow an orchard in containers too.  Then I'd have it made.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They change

I realized it's been quite some time since I've discussed the girls and how they are doing.  I know I tell a few stories here and there, but for my own memory it's nice to write these things down so I never loose them.  After all, they change.  What once seems like it would be part of their personality forever sometimes changes overtime and in the blink of an eye, at times it seems as if I have an entirely different child than I did 3-6 months ago.  This is long, sorry.


Brennan has hit her language explosion.  She is trying to say new words everyday.  There was a time when I was quite concerned that she was behind.  We fought so many ear infections last winter that she wasn't even saying Mama when she turned one.  I no longer worry.  In fact, she has even started to put two words together here and there.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stage.  It is so endearing, cute, and funny to hear how she say's things and to watch her try to communicate things with such enthusiasm. 

Last winter she was very challenging.  Perhaps it was the teething.  Perhaps it was the language barrier. Perhaps it was adjusting to me babysitting,  Perhaps it was that we were ALWAYS sick.   I don't know, but it made me wonder what kind of person she was going to be as she grew up.  Now I have a much different child on my hands.  If I could describe Bren in three words it would be happy, goofy, and soft-natured.  She squeals with excitement the moment I walk into her room to pick her up in the mornings.  She LOVES to be loved on and loves to give lovings back.  When she gets her feelings hurt, it is written all over her face; the girl loves hard.

She wants nothing more than to be "one of the big guys" and actually fits in better with the older kids than with the other little gal who has less of an age gap. I love watching her tag along trying to mimic everything the "big guys" do.  I get a little sentimental and think of my own mother and how that must have also warmed her heart to see me do the same thing. 

Brennan still has a healthy fear of falling. She's slowly getting better, but even Daddy swinging her around freaks her out a little.  I haven't had the heart to give the swing at the playground another try.  Last time she shook and had a look of sheer terror in her eyes.  It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

We have been working very hard on identifying animals and the sounds they make.  The dog is her favorite.  Now whenever she scribbles with crayons on paper she declares it, "dog, wf wf wf." The church nursery always sings her praises and often comments on how they wish other children were more like her.  I think that must mean they have some real stinkers in there.  She LOVES to be read too and will sit on your lap FOREVER to hear stories.  She even sits through the big kid books.  She has a rather large attention span for a child her age, much like her sister.

We have also been working on colors.  She grasps that things are different colors but when asked the color of a certain object she always declares it "wewoh" (yellow).  I guess we still need to work on that.  She has almost mastered her shape sorters, loves stacking blocks, and can make a line of blocks if I tell her too. She loves to play pretend.   Just yesterday she was running through the house making flying sounds in her superhero cape I made her.  And of course, she loves to feed me food from her kitchen.
Brennan is almost ready to potty train.  She's got the terms down and she seems to understand the concept.  I think we may give it a go in another month after she turns two. I hope she gets it as quickly as her big sissy did.  Having carpet this time around is making me dread this process.  I'm not really into the whole pullups thing, so this could get messy.  It worked the first time.  Here's hoping my luck holds out the second time around.  Good thing she likes chocolate as much as her sissy.  That was a BIG motivator.

I've been very lucky that Brennan has been very responsive to time outs.  She doesn't throw fits or have crying spells.  She goes in to her time out a little miffed and comes out smiles and happy to oblige.  Lord I hope that stays that way, but the experience in me remember what age 3 is like.  We shall see. She is such a gentle natured child.  She is NOT a fighter.  Unfortunately that makes her an easy victim when daycare is in session.  I've had to coach her in how to stick up for herself without being physical. 

Brennan is really such a joy and light in my life.  I can't wait to see her personality blossom as life goes on.  Her vigor for life is contagious and she is such a blessing to our family.


Kadyn continues to be my girly girl.  Painting toenails, fingernails, dressing in princess dresses, putting her hair in piggies, you name it, she LOVES it!  If it were up to her, she'd probably wear a dress everyday.  She continue to be bright as can be.  She gets new concepts and absorbs things into that tiny head of hers so quickly it continues to amaze me.  I imagine what she will become some day and what God has planned for her as it feels it must be something big.  He has given her such a gift.

Kadyn has been biten by the art bug pretty badly.  Her activity of choice in her boredom is to draw, color, doodle, just create, create, create.  She has declared that she wants to be an artist when she grows up.  I'm constantly cleaning up art messes off the table so we can eat.  She gets these ideas in her head of something she wants to make and just goes at it until she finishes her masterpiece.  To me, most of it is so impressive.  I have no other children her age to compare it too, but I'd like to think it's advanced for her age.  She, of course, likes to share her talent and is constantly making things for others.  The daycare parents are often sent home with artwork from more than just their child. 

If I had to describe Kadyn in three words it would be bright, creative, and leader.  Kadyn LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to be the boss of things.  I often have to get onto her about being bossy to her friends.  She just has that take charge attitude.  On a typical day you'll see Kadyn leading the playtime with her ideas and most days she has willing followers.

She loves the company of other adults and so like Brennan, she is a real joy for other adults when they get to watch her.  She is a TALKER.  She will talk to anyone despite my pleads to her to exercise caution when talking to strangers.  Strangers often comment on how much she talks and that she isn't the slightest bit shy.  When we play outside she is often heard yelling "Hi!" when she sees anyone moving all the way down the street.

Kadyn is getting more and more responsible with age and we don't butt heads nearly as much as we used too.  She has certain "chores" that are all her own now and she does a pretty good job at them.  These include brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, making her bed, getting dressed, and taking a bath all by herself.  I am so proud of her for being so independant. It is a real relief and load off of my shoulders.

Kadyn is the BEST big sister a little sister could ask for.  She rarely fights with her little sis and treats her with so much love and affection.  She includes her in play, reads to her, snuggles with her and makes sure to tell her daily that she loves her.   Brennan, of course, ADORES Kadyn for all of this.  They are two peas in a pod.  To see them keep a close relationship throughout life would be a dream come true for me.

I just adore Kadyn and sometimes I have to force myself to close my eyes real tight and remember that tiny baby that I once held in my arms; it's almost surreal how she's just become her own little person.  It's getting to be more and more of a distant memory.  She has really grown into this beautiful, talented, spirited little person and she is a blessing to our family.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family photo shoot 2010

I've posted a lot of the good ones to facebook, so if you want to see more and haven't seen them already, feel free to check them out.  Here are a few more that I thought were good.  It is going to be hard to only choose a few to put up on the walls.  I must say, it wasn't always easy getting both girls to smile, even with the ice cream bribing that was going on.  So some shots were as good as it gets.  Oh well.  I think we got several good ones.



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me and my thoughts.... thoughts and me.  Want to know what goes through Darci's mind during a run.  Let me give you a taste of what it's like to run with myself.  Granted it's not always like this, but this particular run was one of a kind.

"O.K. here we go.  I really don't feel like doing this right now . I should have went ahead and did this yesterday so I didn't loose my momentum.  Oh well.  I bet I'll get into it once I start going.  I sure wish I could just start out running.  Nope not a good idea for your muscles.  They need to warm up.  Besides, do you really want to run up those first few hills.  They're the WORST.  Yea, you're right.

Crazy, my legs burn even walking up this hill.  Maybe running up the hills is actually easier because you have a little momentum; it's not a slow burn.    I want to stop and take a break.  Are you nuts?  You're only WALKING!  You run up other hills and don't stop.  Yea, you know you can't let yourself do that.  Good thing you have a lot of will power.  Wow, they really have decorated for halloween.  I wonder which house my hair dresser lives in?  I wonder if she would run with me. That would be fun.  Wishful thinking probably.  She's a walker. 

Why does it feel so awkward to walk on the opposite side of the street?    It almost feels.....harder.  Weird.
It's gotta be because it's the opposite side I drive on.  Still...very weird.

I wonder when my butt will start looking perkier with all this running.  Don't kid yourself, it's always going to be saggy.  It's in your genes babe! Seriously, you've been running for a month now and have noticed barely any difference and even gained a pound. So why am I running?  You know it's good for you.  Yep, I know.  You better just be happy with the body you've been given.  It's not bad.  I want to be proud of it.  Can you live with it? .....Yea, I can live with it.

Oh, I'm almost there.  Almost time to start running.  Once you get going you'll feel so better about this, it goes so much quicker once you start running.

I hope I never get the runner's trots.  Man, what would I do?  Would I try to make it back to the house?  Oh Darci, stop it!  Don't worry about that.  Geeze my thoughts are really overtaking this run. I think I need some new music.  It used to be just me, the road, and some good tunes.  At what point did my thoughts take over.  This is really driving me nuts.

OK the hills after this one get much easier.  Do they really, or is it just that I've gotten into my rhythm by then?  Nope, I definitely think they get easier.

Awesome, glad I don't have to do those again.  I love going downhill.  If running always felt downhill, then everyone would run.  But everyone's knees would be shot to he** too.  It's always going to seem weird to me that the first half of running up hill doesn't even feel like you're running uphill and then BAM!  You think you're going to die, but you're so close.  You can't stop now.

What's the shame in walking really?  Man, I really screwed myself when I pushed myself to run this far without stopping.  Now that I know I can do it I have NO excuses. I really would enjoy this more if I walked.  Nope, that would take F O R E V E R to get 4 miles in. Can't do it.  Besides, once you get to the last leg it's so much fun.  Thank GOD I live at the bottom of a hill!

I think I would freeze my butt off in the dead of winter walking.  No walking for me, running is the way to go.

Ugh!  Will this hill get any easier.....EVER?!

Oh there's those yappy dogs again.  Ugh!  I almost didn't hear them over my music this time.  Darn!  At least those dogs are penned up unlike those other little yappers last time.  I like these hills so much better. They almost don't even feel like a hill. That was easy. Am I going faster?  I think watching my shadow just gave me a second wind.  Pace yourself Darci, you're going to push too hard and then give up.  You DON'T want the feeling of giving up do you?

OK just listen to the darn music and this will go by much quicker Darci.  Yes, that's it.

Oh there's that left knee again.  Felt fine most of the run, why now?   It's not bad just....annoying.  Well....I'm not stopping now, I'm almost done anyways.  I love when my feet just keep plugging away and I actually forget they're moving.  Now that is running.   Awesome, my GPS is still working.  It must of just needed the battery jiggled like I thought.  O.K. time to check the GPS.  It says 4.30 miles.  Wait a minute, if I do the math that's....let's see I walked  I actually went 3.55 miles running!  I've been doing 3.5 miles running this whole time and I thought it was only 3.25 miles.  AWESOME!  Now too cool down and walk a little more.  Oh, I love the moon in the starry sky over the Ozark Mountains.  I never feel alone.  It's like God is right....there.  O.K. another GPS check....4.55 miles.  Awesome, that's a rap.  There's another run down."

Needless to say, that run was not as good as others. I have decided it's time for new music.  I need to zone out, not listen to my mindless jibber jabber.  I can really drive myself nuts sometimes.  Sometimes I wish I had a partner to run with.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall at the Bilberry house

Most of these were taken just outside our front door and back door.  A couple were taken walking a couple yards down a little side road right on the other side of our house. I don't think I'll ever get over how beautiful the Ozarks are in the fall time.

Our creek dried up after one year of running.  Boo!
It blows my mind how flowers just grow randomly up here.  We collected a bunch so we could make a bouquet and bring fall inside.  The pictures really don't do the beauty justice.  Much better in person.  Sigh!  I know I've said it a thousand times....I love fall!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Land that I love

We had a very busy and exciting weekend.  Babysitting children of local performers has it's perks I must say.  We were given free tickets to go see a Friday night performance of  Noah the Musical.  The theater was AMAZING.  The acting and music was great.  I have seen quite a few performances in Branson, and this one was right up there with Vegas quality.  A must see, in my opinion.  Our favorite part was after intermission.  Suddenly the walls on the sides of the theater open up and you feel as though you are actually on the ark.  You are surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of animals.  Some were stuffed, some were robotic, and some were real.  They even took live animals through the audience.  The girls were really excited and thoroughly entertained.  A perfect way to spend a Friday night.  We are now very pumped and excited to see the Christmas show on Bren's birthday.

Saturday I got to go off by myself to the Rec and get my run in before the big date night.  It was the first time since I started exercising a month ago that I actually got to do my routine on flat ground and in the day light.  I thought it would be a nice break from the hills and be kind of nice to get it out of the way during the day hours, so I could enjoy my evening. I was actually kind of surprised that I didn't like it at all.  I had trouble getting through my run.  It was not because it was too hard.  On the contrary.  It was too easy.  My mind began to get very bored.  Since it was during the day, it was much warmer than what I was used too as well.  I guess I didn't realize, but running up and down those hills has required quite a bit of focus. I spend my time in my mind coaching myself through them.  It makes the time go much faster.  Every time I get up one hill without stopping, I spend the next 5 minutes praising my accomplishment. It is much more rewarding than going in circles on flat land in the middle of the day. 

After my workout it was back home to get ready for date night (a rare luxury for us).  Our kind neighbors have been telling us for a year that they want to babysit the children for us.  We decided it was time to take them up on that offer.  They are a wonderful Christian couple and the kids enjoy them.  Since Brennan is older I don't feel as bad about leaving her for awhile.  About 4:30 we set out to go on the first part of our date, a helicopter tour of Branson.  Jeff had won a gift certificate for a helicoptor ride at a silent auction. It was a fund raiser for the Boys and Girls club here in Branson. So we thought the cost would be very minimal.  The gift certificate was unclear as to which ride were were getting.  When we showed up it was confirimed that the ride was for one person only.  The cost of this ride was 60$ and the ride would only last 10 minutes.  In order for me to go we would have to dish out 60$ for one more ticket.  They were unwilling to let us cash our gift certificate in for 2 cheaper tickets for the 5 minute ride which would have totaled the same amount as the one ticket for the 10 minute ride.  I offered to just stay behind and let Jeff go by himself, but it was our date night.  He insisted on us going together.

The ride was fun but WAY too short.  I swear it didn't seem like 10 minutes, more like 5.  We had to snap photos quickly and didn't get nearly the amount we wanted.  I thought the colors would be better, but the leaves were barely starting to change.  Bummer.  Here are a few.
After our helicopter ride we decided to really treat ourselves and go to Olive Garden.  We RARELY go out to eat so this was a big treat for us.
After the Olive Garden, we headed out to catch a show called Shephard of the Hills.  Jeff, once again, scored free tickets to this (he always seems to score free stuff).  The show was a love story that I believe was based on a true story.  It was supposed to give it's audience an idea of what Ozark Mountain life was like years ago.  There were live horses, donkeys, sheep, wagons, rifles, and an old Ford car.  They also lit a cabin on fire (we spent much of the show wondering how they pulled that off).  The entire show was outdoors.  The language was very relative to the time, so it was hard to understand at times for Jeff and I.  Neither of us are big fans of cowboy shows, but we felt like it would be a waste to let the free tickets expire, and one can't really complain when it's free.  I didn't get any pics of the show, but I did get a pretty picture of the sunset on our way to see the show.
Sunday we woke and just lounged around in our PJs most of the day and watched football.  We were scheduled to have our family pics taken by my nieghbor at a park by the Branson Belle boat.  I knew Brennan wouldn't get a full nap in if we went to church, and I thought it was important for her to get that nap in so she was good for the pictures and so she wasn't run down.  Both daycare kids have been showing up sick lately, and I know from experience that run down kids are more prone to illness.  I really don't want a repeat of last winter.  Needless to say, I'm hoping God can forgive us for not going to church Sunday morning.  The picture shoot went as good as to be expected for two children younger than 5.  There were a ton of different backgrounds to take pictures by.  It will be hard to pic just a few to print out and hang up on our walls.  I'll be posting these later.  Afterwards we treated the girls to icecream for trying hard to be good during the photo shoot.

All in all, it was a fun and exciting weekend.  I am so happy we moved to Branson.  It seems ever since our move, there is never a lack of fun things to go do.  Sometimes I feel like I am on a nonstop vacation.  This is the land that I love.