In the Garden

May 6, 2015

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Aside from pulling weeds and planting a few flowers, we haven't done much gardening this year, but back in the first week of April, just before the baby came, we decided to take a trip to the garden center to see if they had any tomatoes. It was too early in the season, but the weather around here has been so warm that we thought it was worth the risk, so we brought a few varieties home and planted them deep in our garden boxes out front where the sun shines the brightest.

It's been a month now, and despite the close calls (a few nights where the lows dropped into the 30's), our tomato plants are growing well. I'm even seeing some blossoms! We might get an early tomato harvest this year after all.

We've also got some edibles that are returning from last season: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and herbs. I may even get some beans and cukes and a few other things planted this weekend since it's supposed to be warm.

What's going on in your garden?

welcome home little one

May 1, 2015

Ella and DadElla and Ma

It's true what they say, there really is no amount of research you can do to fully prepare yourself for first-time parenthood. Not in our case, anyway, which is to say that we have very few people in our lives who have had (or are planning to have) children. We're so new to this baby thing that I found myself shyly asking one of the nurses at the hospital, "Can you teach me how to hold a baby?"

The nurses taught us all sorts of new tricks, like how to swaddle, change diapers, breastfeed, soothe... I don't love the hospital birthing experience, but the nurses do help to fill a void that, in my case, is lacking in women who feel comfortable passing down their knowledge of the nitty gritty baby-raising details. There is so much about pregnancy and childbirth that I didn't know about until I was months and weeks away from the actual event. It's almost like entering a secret club, and I'm shocked that there's so much we don't openly discuss about it.

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Our birth plan didn't quite pan out the way we had hoped it would. Nature has a way of defying expectations, and, control-freak that I am, I had to learn to scrap my grand plans and take a more moment-by-moment approach. It was rough at first. I shy away from dealing with hardship in such a public way, but there is nothing private about giving birth. I had to shut down my Facebook timeline for a couple days and ignore my phone to stay sane, but in the end, I'm grateful to all our friends and family members who were there to support us.

And, ultimately, none of it really matters. She's here and she's perfect. I understand what it means when parents use the word "perfect" in reference to their babies now. You go through nine months of carrying for a developing human being, which is short enough of a timeline that you never quite feel 100% prepared, yet just long enough that you drive yourself insane with worry over all the things that could go wrong. And then at the end of those nine months, the baby arrives, everything intact, beautiful, a head full of hair (thus the heartburn), and hot damn if she isn't whole and perfect with her blue eyes and her ten little fingers and toes.

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When you're in the hospital, everything is a blur, but I knew we were going to be fine the minute we finally pulled up in our own driveway as a family of three. The sun was behind the clouds, but there was a whole new batch of spring flowers that had bloomed in the five days we were gone, and they were beautiful. It was a stop-and-smell-the-roses moment. Literally.

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As for the fur-babies, they've taken to baby Ella just fine. Little Wren was a bit put off to the crying for the first week or so, sensitive creature that she is, but she isn't much affected anymore. As for the fluffy feline, he's taken on his post as guard kitty.

And for the details: Baby Ella, born April 10th, 7lbs, 3 oz, 19 3/4 inches long. She's officially three weeks old today.