Saturday, July 26, 2008

Time to weed and play in the garden

Well, I finally decided it was time to clean out the garden. After the rain we had, the weeds took over and my garden went from looking like a "little patch of heaven" to an abandoned garden with overgrown weeds, half eaten vegetable plants and some other goodies growing along the way. I figure the healthy weeds were taking all the nutrients from what little is left for me to enjoy so it was time for them to go.

I worked tirelessly for over 2 hours pulling weeds, grass that was attempting to find a new home by sneaking its way into the garden, excess branches from tress not in my yard, etc. I initially wanted to go to the gym this particular morning but I think after all this work in the yard, I'm done exercising for the weekend. This was hard work I tell ya!!

In the mean time, my daughter cut the grass and the two little ones attempted to help me with my weeding issues. It was sort of fun and educational for them, above all, it was a great workout for everyone. Taking a lemonade break in the afternoon was well deserved and truly enjoyable after all that work.

Now my garden is clean, well almost, the tomatoes have been fed, the grapes and herbs are doing well and untouched by the critters. The watermelon vines are still struggling but there are some buds in the making.

It is such an adventure and a learning experience for the kids when we get outside, even though we all had to work hard for a little while, it is much more fun to enjoy our back yard when we do the work ourselves.

I am now working on making some dishes with tomato because I have more than I can eat-- yellow pear, orange, yellow and regular red tomatoes. I think I will attempt to make salsa tomorrow. I just need a good recipe to follow and I should be OK.

Photo Credit: The Great Beast

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A day of fun.....

We live about six miles from Busch Gardens Adventure Park, Europe. Yes, this is a good thing. My older son works there and the rest of us get to reap the benefits of going to the park for a few hours or for the entire day if we so desire. Since I promised the kids we would do a fun activity once a week during the summer and I really didn't want to go to the gym this morning, I figured pushing a stroller through an amusement park would take care of both, the entertainment for the kids and a workout for me. We packed up the car with water, snacks, baby's things, camera and cell phones and off we went. We still hold season passes which also comes with VIP parking--sweet stuff.

One of my biggest pet peeves, and I have many, is when people walk side by side along a path that is obviously not wide enough for the one's who are traveling with them and those going in the opposite direction. When I go to a park like this I want to get the kids past the main gate as quickly as possible. They do not have the patience to stroll from the parking lot to the gate, only to have to stroll some more just to get to the first ride. Mind you, this park has plenty of hills which can tighten anyones booty in no time flat. However, the last thing I want to do is take my time, pushing the stroller up a hill--that hurts.

So I pick up speed and head up hill, sure enough, a family of five decided they want to walk hand-in-hand in front of me. Now I can't go around them, I can't go through them, I can't go under them...maybe I'll go over them...grrr...(Yes, me and the girls were chanting the tune here but I left out the part about running them over with the stroller--I didn't want them to think mommy was loosing it already). A loud EXCUSE US PLEASE did the trick, they parted and let us through, I smiled and said "Thank You very much! Have a nice day!"

The second issue I had at the park today was in the games area. I don't usually do games because the last thing I need in my house is, yet another stuffed toy. But today was a day of fun so I gave the girls some money and we figured if we only compete against each other we had a 100 percent change of winning something. My issue was with the young employee whom really didn't look like she wanted to be there today. That, of course, is not my problem. Anyway, I asked her exactly how the game works so I could explain it to my 6 year old, she was snooty and said "you pay and then you play," like, for real, I have to pay. What do I look like, a five year old. Once again, I gave her a big smile and a big thank you and just before we left with our new dust collector, I mean, stuffed toy I asked the girls to say thanks as well and wish her a day filled with customers.

It's hot out and we've been walking, waiting, and riding for over two hours now. It's fine time for a slurpee or some form of frozen treat. We spotted the nearest frozen treat kiosk in Italy where the girls grabbed some cups and just as they were about to decide on a flavor a woman and her two kids walks up, grabs a cup and starts pouring herself and her kids a slurpee. I started to say something, but, for the sake of my girls, I resisted (I was really trying to be patient). This lady is so ignorant and she is trying my patience. Would it hurt her to wait her turn in line. Where do people learn these bad manners and what was she teaching her girls? Geeezzzz! Just as my girls were about to collect their straws, the woman, once again, cut them off and started digging in her purse for change. I reached in front of her and again, used my authoritative voice and said "Excuse me please, I need to get some straws for my girls before their slurpees melt away, Thank You!" She couldn't be mean to me because, although my voice was loud and firm enough for all to hear, I was polite and I was nice. My mom taught me well.

In between all these little happenings we managed to eat some delicious BBQ chicken, play in Dragon Land's water park (it's all for kids under 8), the girls went on a few rides while the baby and I took in the nature side of the park and watched the wolves, eagles and parakeets. We really did have a good time and thankfully, there was plenty of time in between the annoying people that the aggravation never had a chance to build up.

The kids were exhausted, they even fell asleep on the way home. I felt like I worked out for hours. It was a fun day after all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gardening for the rabbits...grrr

I was eagerly awaiting for my zucchini to finally reach the point of harvest, which wasn't too far away. Along with that I have a few plants filled with tomatoes promising to ripen any day now, green beans with little sprouts, corn with a least one ear and bunches of grapes. I go out every day to check on the fruits of my labor and proudly sit out and check email, drink coffee or tea and take in the early morning peace. We had 100 degree weather recently, which worried me, but then it started raining or storming and I was OK with that.

Today there we had a break from the rain and the wind felt nice, the rain had stopped and it just felt like a good time to go out and see what was waiting to be picked. Much to my surprise I found that the bunny rabbits or some other vegetarian critter from around the neighborhood had a party in my garden. I felt sick to my stomach, literally. I mean, I wanted to cry, then I wanted rip every plant out of the garden and throw it in the trash. Yes, every zucchini and the flowers that come before them--all gone.

What was I thinking? Why didn't I protect my hard work. You have to understand, I don't have a green thumb, well, it's a little green, I got this far, didn't I? I took a few minutes to just assess the situation and realized that this was no one's fault but my own and ripping out my garden was not going to help anyone. I chose to spend a few hours putting up sticks and mini fences around my plant and I added a black netting that is supposed to protect plants. I also put my chime and some other noise-making items back there.

I don't ask for much, just one harvest, only one or two plants, they can have the rest. I am thankful that the tomatoes have not been touched....yet! The grapes need to be protected from the birds and all the other plants need protection from the critters. Maybe my cat needs to sleep in the yard more often. She seems to like catching moles and bringing them back as a gift to me--how sweet--gross!!

I hope my efforts worked. I'm over it, now I know better and next time I'll protect my plants before the rabbits decided to go to the market. Maybe next year I will just grow some flowers and keep the tomatoes in a pot near the house.

Photo credity: Baby Rabbti by foshie

The sweetest thing...

Today, at around 5:30 am, I heard the baby (20 months old)crying for about a minute. I thought "why is he up so early, I need more sleep...ugh." I got up to check on him and as I approached his room, which he shares with his 6 year old sister, I saw her holding him on her lap, sitting on her bed, just rocking him and patting his back saying, "it's OK baby, you are with sissy, don't cry."

I almost cried, it was so sweet, such a tender moment deserved a photograph, however, my camera was not within reach, so I stood there and watched. I tried to take it all in so that I could remember this very precious moment. They are few and far between but I think that's why we appreciate them so much.

On the other hand, sharing a room also means that he'll cry to be taken out of the crib. When he's alone in the room he plays and entertains himself for a while before he even makes a peep. So at the wee hours I stepped into the room to remove the baby and give his sister a chance to sleep a few more hours. He spend time jumping on me while I laid on the family room floor, occasionally feeling like I could easily go back to sleep if this cute little bundle of joy wasn't pulling my ears, sitting on my back and trying to smear his sloppy kisses on my face.

I guess sleep could wait a bit. These moments don't last for ever.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Time to challenge myself, yet to join me?

I finally decided that I am ready to start this program. I am going to start my hundred push up challenge on Monday, July 7. I did the test just to see where I was and I did 12 well formed push ups. My workout wont take more than 10 minutes each day and each set will have a 60 second rest period in between. So starting from that point forward here is what my first week will look like:

Day 1; Monday

7 push ups (rest) + 7 pu's rest + 5 pu's (rest) + 4 pu's (rest) + Max 5 pu's

Day 2: Wednesday

9 push ups (rest) + 8 pu's rest + 6 pu's (rest) + 5 pu's (rest) + Max 7 pu's

Day 3: Friday

10 push ups (rest) + 8 pu's rest + 8 pu's (rest) + 5 pu's (rest) + Max 10 pu's

At the end of the week I get to determine if I'm ready for week two or if I need to repeat week one until I can do the set on day 3 easily.

I don't know if my goal is to actually do 100 push ups as much as it is to strengthen and define my upper body, strengthen my abdominals and back and test my abilities, feel strong and be stronger. You can come back again to follow my progress or better yet, join me and see how far we go together.

If you want to learn more about how the program works visit to test yourself, start the program and see who else is participating. Keep in mind that although this is a six week program you can go at your own pace and repeat weeks you don't feel ready to leave behind.

My tip for this week: Challenge yourself--push a little harder to do a little better!

"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it." ~Plato

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A day of rest or not...

Finally! A day for me to do nothing or something but it will be my choice. Crazy as it may sound, I will be cleaning my house today, top to bottom. I feel I have neglected my home over the past week due to our volunteering in the Vacation Bible School program at our chapel. Boy that was a real adventure. It was so much fun, exhausting, but fun. I had my 20 month old in tow the entire time and he was a real trooper. He was well behaved, he played in the playroom, we visited the classrooms and while I took pictures he entertained the crowd. It seems everywhere we went someone was at the ready to scoop him up into their arms and give him hugs and kisses.

I was worried at first not sure how he would behave for three hours a day but it turned out great and he took awesome naps after. I was busy with school work, transporting other my other children around and keeping up with laundry. It was a crazy week but it was a very rewarding week as well.

My first born, now 17 was selected to attend the Governor's School of Richmond for a month. I dropped him off on Sunday. It was like a precursor to the college drop off which will happen next year--God willing. It was an awesome experience as a parent. I was so proud that he was one of 400 kids in this state chosen to participate, one of 28 vocalists--WOW! I miss him but I don't miss him as much as I thought I would. I was actually OK leaving him there. I felt he was in a safe and nurturing environment. Not to sound uncaring but he was hardly ever home. He worked long hours or was at school, with friends or a school function so yes, dinner times and Sundays he was home and he is missed.

So now I sit here taking a break, studying, listening to the news and planning my day of cleaning. That will be my workout for today. I will be much more relaxed and enjoy my quiet time once all that is done. For now, I'll just take advantage of the next few minutes of my early morning peace.