These last few months with Jack have been a lot of fun. He’s finally walking all over the place, he’s picking up new words every day, and his little personality is just sparkling.
His physical therapist comes every week and he loves her. She helps him do fun things that will also make him stronger, like climbing steps, carrying things around, and walking over the old sidewalks in our neighborhood–they’re riddled with tree roots and the extra challenge is good for him.
He is so sweet these days. He says please and thank you and still loves to be held. He wants to read books and play outside all day.
He’s really into opening and closing doors of all kinds. He loves walking out to the sidewalk and closing the gate to our picket fence behind him, then continuing on his mission to make it to the neighbors’ yard before I reach him.
He’s also still a big fan of his swing. His PT told me that this kind of stuff–swinging around and even going upside down–is actually really good for developing his sense of balance. Something about fluid in the inner ear. And those bucket swings in the park are even better because they work the core muscles. I’m really enjoying getting to pick her brain every week while she works with him.
I’ve got to say, I am loving the toddler stage. My personality is much better suited to chasing after a toddler than tending to a demanding infant. I can see little bits of both Nick and myself in his personality–he’s stubborn and bookish like me, cuddly and sports-loving like Nick. And of course every kid has that certain je ne sais quoi that is theirs alone.
So after writing yesterday’s post about my garden I went a little crazy pinning rosemary recipes left and right. I’m so excited to try some of these out! Rosemary is really easy to grow in a container if you have any outdoor space available and adds a really delicious touch (plus I love the look of it. So sculptural!).
I love using natural home deodorizers to fight back against my three stinky pets (and I guess us three humans don’t always smell like roses either). I’ve done oranges and vanilla before but never lemon and rosemary. I’m putting lemons on my grocery list so I can try it this weekend.
If you don’t like rosemary, sorry! I can’t find the recipe right now but I’ve also put it on roasted chicken before and it was DELISH. I’m not sure I ever met an herb that I didn’t like. I love cooking with lots of flavor. I use so much garlic in so many dishes I cook that I can barely even detect the flavor anymore; and even though Nick isn’t crazy about them onions go into everything as well (he’s fine with them as long as they’re cooked down and no longer crunchy).
I love growing edibles. The past few years I’ve had a small vegetable garden and last year I added an herb garden. I am not great at weeding or watering and usually everything gets out of control but it’s so thrilling to walk out in my backyard and pick something that I can use for dinner. I’ve become accustomed to starting from scratch every spring, so I was thrilled to see that my rosemary and thyme had come through the winter quite nicely with absolutely no attention from me (besides a bit of weed pulling last weekend).
I mean seriously, look at how much smaller the rosemary was last year!
Last year I had spicy globe basil and I wasn’t crazy about it, so this year I went for just regular ‘ol plain basil. So excited about my pesto prospects!
New this year: cilantro, parsley, oregano, and chives.
The whole herb garden gets dappled sunlight all day so I’m honestly kind of surprised that it’s done so well.
My mint overwintered nicely as well, though in its minty way it’s migrated to the perimeter of the pot. I’ve got two strawberry plants that my sister gave me right next to it. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money setting up a garden this year so the only other thing I’m growing is cherry tomatoes (Jack loves them). I put one of them in the pot with the mint. Should be interesting.
The other three tomatoes are in containers nearby–two in a galvanized pail and one in a paper bag planter. I just put one paper grocery bag inside the other and rolled the sides down until they were the right height, then filled it with soil. We’ll see how it works!
This is why all of my tomatoes are in makeshift containers. My old veggie spot is completely overrun with weeds and half-dead grass. I pulled off the wooden frame last weekend but haven’t figured out how to knock the grass down to ground level.
Even though I’m not growing as many veggies this year I’m so excited. I feel like herbs are so versatile and low maintenance–if they’re in a good spot you can really just ignore them and yet they’re always there when you need them. There’s no pressure to harvest at the right point like fruit and veggies and fresh herbs are so expensive in stores that it’s super cost effective to grow them at home. I need some recipes to use up all that rosemary!
My undergraduate studies took me through a wide range of the social sciences and liberal arts. I was an English major with a concentration in Secondary Ed, but I took sociology classes every chance I got and I even took five semesters of German (guten Tag!). Anyway, in one of my sociology classes I learned about the broken windows theory of criminology. It’s controversial and I’m not sure I agree with its implications, but the gist of it is that petty crime and disorder create an atmosphere conducive to more serious crime. One broken window that doesn’t get fixed leads to more broken windows, which leads to a sense that nobody really cares and that it’s okay to treat the neighborhood and the people who live in it with disrespect. This theory is great when it motivates people to clean up blighted neighborhoods, not so great when cops start cracking down on petty crime in the hopes that it’ll scare away the big fish (but that’s just my opinion). Anyway, I broke this pane of glass on our front door on Christmas Eve as we were rushing out of the house. We taped some cardboard up over it and figured we’d deal with it after the holidays.
We put off fixing it for three months and in that time:
our washing machine broke
our new washing machine broke and we waited more than a month for the part to repair it
our pipes froze and sprung a leak
unrelated to the freeze, the pipe that drains from our kitchen sink corroded and the plumber had to cut away a section of our exterior to replace the whole operation (which was really peculiarly installed and prone to clogs, so it’s much better now but that didn’t make it any easier to drop $700 on something we can’t even see)
The good news is that this is a part of the house that nobody ever sees. I actually had to walk around to the alley and between two fences to get here. Literally nobody can see this unless they are in this difficult-to-access spot on purpose. The bad news is that the plumber just temporarily put everything back in place and it’s up to us to actually repair the siding.
Two different types of siding meet just a few feet away from here. Note additional chaos: weeds and filth (algae? mildew?). And I see another spot of messed up siding over there in the corner.
Old houses are so charming and full of character, but you’ve got to stay on top of them. One neglected problem can quickly snowball, just like disorder in a troubled neighborhood. Things seem to have been getting away from us lately and to distract ourselves from the expensive new roof that’s looming in our future we decided to finally tackle the front door. It was actually so much cheaper and easier than we’d anticipated! The glass was only about $4 and cut to size for free at Lowe’s. Not pictured: a hammer to help us use the flathead screwdriver as a chisel and remove old nails.
Step one: use a utility knife to score the paint over the moldings. This is about as far as Nick got before I kicked him out and took over.
Next, I used a screwdriver and a hammer to gently, carefully chisel the very old wood molding loose. I tried not to let it get too torn up but a certain amount of damage was inevitable. I’m pretty sure these doors are original to the house and thus nearly a century old.
The nails holding them in stayed in the frame even after I’d tugged the moldings free. I waited until I had all the moldings and glass out to use the claw of my hammer to pull them.
Bam. Moldings gone and we could carefully remove the broken glass. This was surprisingly satisfying.
I could lie and say that I popped my new glass in and replaced the moldings and it was so easy! But actually even though I’d told the lady at Lowe’s “Well, I measured the opening to be six and a quarter by twelve and a quarter but it probably needs to be a little bigger to fit properly,” it turns out I should’ve been more specific because she cut it to exactly 6.25″x12.25″ and it was too small. I had to go back to Lowe’s but luckily they let me return it with no problem and I was back home in no time with a new piece. This time I asked them to cut it to 6.75″ by 12.75″ and it fit so perfectly that I had to carefully coax it into the frame, diligently removing any splinters or scraps that stood in its way.
Also, a piece of molding near the bottom right had always been missing (disguised previously with paint on the glass) so Nick cut a tiny piece of scrap beadboard to length and it was just right. I used some caulk and my brad gun to carefully tack all the molding to the frame and then filled all the gaps and cracks with caulk.
After the caulk had dried I touched up the paint (luckily I just painted this door last summer) and still had the paint on hand). Now it looks not good as new, but old and charming and not broken.
So, now that my front door no longer screams DISREPAIR maybe the rest of the house will get its act together? We’re working on the kitchen currently but next is fixing up the deck, then cleaning and repairing the siding, replacing the roof (gulp), and hopefully if things go well repainting the exterior trim. Home ownership is bittersweet.