Monday, May 31, 2010

The Year of Our YARD!

If you know us or have been following our blog at all, you know that our house has gone through some MAJOR renovations in the almost 4 years that we have had it. If you need a refresher on some of the work that has been done, just take a look at this post or this one or this one. I love looking back at the journey. My, oh my, how far have we come!

We are done all major work. No more paneling to rip down; no more going right down to the studs. Only small-ish odd jobs are left, like the closet under the stairway and the mudding and painting upstairs. Of course, these little jobs often have a way of taking the most amounts of time, but we won't worry about that right now...

I decided rather suddenly in March that I wanted - very badly - to have an enjoyable yard this year. Kaiya is two now, and very busy and mobile. We need a backyard we can really play in. So I finally caved. I told Jeff that yes, this was the year I would finally agree to us spending the bucks to get rid of the tree. I'm referring to the massive Catalpa tree that was in our backyard. We're usually very pro-tree people, but this one was certainly an exception. For one, it had ants. Loads and loads of ants that would randomly drop onto you if you were sitting under the tree (ie. anywhere in the yard. The tree was that big, and our yard that small). For another, it was dirty. Giant pods that would dry up and fall, and giant leaves that would rot every autumn. We had to sweep constantly to keep up with the mess. And even the blossoms were gross. Beautiful when they bloomed for um, about two days, but a sticky, rotting mess once they were done.

So very suddenly in March, the tree was taken care of. Good-bye, Catalpa. We will not miss you.

I knew that I'd be happy to see the tree go, but I had no idea HOW happy. Here we are now, with a beautiful, tree-less yard. There's space to play, garden, sit, relax. (The ants have unfortunately relocated themselves all over the yard and in the house, but at least they're not dropping on our heads anymore!)

We're outside all the time now. Kaiya's got a pool, sandtable, and sprinkler, and we've got a new patio set and loads of gardens. It's great. I spent this evening sitting alone, sipping some wine, watching the bats fly and the trees sway until it got dark and the mosquitoes buzzed in my ears.
I admired the work we've done. The grasses Jeff planted, the bricks we both laid around the gardens as borders, the bit of yard I dug up, and the veggies and herbs I planted where there was once sod. And of course, the fence Jeff is putting the finishing touches on. And I sat in thankfulness for all the fun times we've already spent in that little yard, and I imagined all the fun times to come with family, neighbours, friends.

I'm so excited that I took pictures today while Kaiya was napping. So here it is: our work-in-progress, our yard.

Here's the front porch, a very favourite people-watching, neighbour-chatting, book-reading, wine-drinking, simply-relaxing place of mine. (And we finally got hanging baskets that will thrive in the shade.)

Here's the gate Jeff finally decided on and built last weekend. The tops of the fence/gate still need to be sawed off and finished.

A part of our new veggie garden. We've got tomatoes, cukes, spinach, peppers, zucchini, arugula, and mesculun mix.

I also planted a few herbs. My favourite herb by far is cilantro. Just a whiff can get me imagining yummy Mexican and Asian dishes.

And a massive pot for the rosemary. I loved planting the herbs. I love their wonderful smelliness.

A garden ornament that the camera refused to focus on. But I still like the shot anyhow, with the fuzzy roses in behind.

A random bluejay that perched on our fence while I was trying to focus on the garden ornament. I hear bluejays are trouble, but I think they're so beautiful.

More rosebushes. The picture doesn't do this one justice. It is absolutely massive and blooming like crazy. I love it.

Our new set! You can also see the rosebush better in this one.

The fantastic grasses we got from my parents and Erika. We have them lining the laneway side of the fence.

And one last picture, just because I like it. Hmmm... should probably wash the table...

And there you have it. We're officially ready to enjoy the summer. I'm hoping to have lots of dinner guests this season, and we're kicking it off with a small barbecue with a couple of neighbours this Friday. I'm excited. Summer is good!

Another Great One

So I'm stealing another great quote I found on "Enjoying the Small Things." It's yet another bang-on marker of where my mind has been lately. And man, the author of that blog (Kelle Hampton) has a seriously God-given gift for inspiring her readers to dig deep into their hearts for the strength and joy that is there and to embrace life and the everyday beauty all around them. Reading her posts makes me want to skip around the house. Yes, skip. And her playlist is all I've been listening to lately. It's been helping me connect with all the wonderful but sometimes scary parts of me that I've been needing to connect to. Reading her posts and listening to the music is my soul-time. And I've been introduced to a lot of fabulous artists I had no idea about. That never hurts!

I digress.

I'm going to include her pre-amble regarding the quote:
In perusing the comments the other night, I came across one from a reader, Sadie, who shared that her 83 year old mother has a yellowed, curled clipping stuck to her bathroom mirror with the following quotation:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

It's so true.

More thoughts to come soon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take a deep breath.

Let the realization wash over you again, as it does each month.

Embrace the cranky mood. No, this time it's not due to the rainy weather. Embrace the caffeine cravings. Go ahead, have a second tea. Denying it won't make it go away. Embrace the yearning for junk food. But don't give in if you can help it. You've been trying to eat healthier. Embrace the slight bloating and cramping. Take a nap if you need to. Tell your nearest and dearest that you need to have space to be left alone. For just one day. I need just one day, please. I promise I'll come back soon.

Let the tears fall and let all the dark thoughts come in. But don't let them stay for long. The doubt, the anger, the sadness, the hopelessness, and most of all, the fear. Ask God again what it is that he wants, or that you're doing wrong. Shake your fist at him if you need to. He can take it.

And then, surrender it all again. Surrender the dreams, the dashed plans. Re-arrange the future ... again. Admit again that you're not in control, that it's no use trying to plan it all out. Somehow, hold on to hope, though you're mostly convinced it will never happen again. You are a pessimist at heart, after all.

Finally, once it is all confirmed, go on and open the bottle of wine. Pour yourself a glass or two. Invite friends over again, engross yourself in good conversations and other people's lives, and just . move . on. Because life is still very, very good.

Yes, another month is done.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today (and last Friday)

This morning my heart just opened up. I felt so light and airy, I actually found myself singing along and bouncing in time with all the songs at the grocery store. It was one of those mornings where time slowed down, and I got to enjoy all the strangers smiling at Kaiya and her little ways. For that bit of time in the grocery store, I felt really present and connected. I was where I wish I always could be: in the moment.

And tonight I've finally sat down and done what I've been meaning to do for a while: edit photos. I had fun playing around, making them nice and bright, enjoying the flutter my heart made in that sudden moment when I got the adjustment just so, and Kaiya's eyes would suddenly pop out at me.

It's been a good day.

These are simply shots of us playing at the park, but it was a good night, and I had fun mucking around with the pictures.

(For the full effect, you should really click on each individual picture. They're that good.)

Don't anyone go telling "Miss Lisa" that Jeff let's her do this! Okay, ya, sometimes I do too...

Oh, my love. My heart is full when I look at this picture.

Where did this big girl come from?

Funny girl. She was making eyes at another girl's daddy here...

Getting a little daring, holding on to the bar at the top.

Angel hair.

Do you think she had fun?

I love surrounding my baby in blue. Oh, blue eyes!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's Mine!

We all went to the park Friday night, and I, yes, non-photographer I, got the best picture of the night.

That's right. I win! :)

More to come....

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday Night Distractions

Found this on another blog tonight that I spent far too long reading and crying along with!

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."
-Dawna Markova

I'm looking forward to another full, full week. Take care, everyone.
(Oh, and if you're in need of some good soul-time, you can read the blog too: just click on "Enjoying the Small Things" on the left.)