(Last week)
My wisteria is almost five years old and this year it finally bloomed! I was SOOOO excited, absolutely beautiful!
(This week)

Take it down the field!

Eliza started city soccer this spring. She plays on a 3/4 year old team, the green jaguars, and while I personally think soccer is probably the most boring sport on the face of the earth, tot soccer is hysterical to watch. The first five minutes of the game is full on mass chaos with a swarm of little bodies go for the ball....the last twenty-five minutes are filled with the defensive line picking flowers and the occasional kick.
It took us two full practices to get Eliza onto the field (she is really shy). But she finally caught on and this last game she even got the ball and dribbled it down the field. Thanks to Erin E. for the photos!


Spring Break!

We picked strawberries, canned jam, played and play and played at many playgrounds, had several play dates, late night parties, dinner dates and lots of backyard outside time. Ike swing, swang and swung, currently he is very possessive of the horse swing.

Project 6 & 9....Expansion across and up!

I have spend the last few weeks out prepping the yard, spring is here (and almost gone!). Some of our good friends were taking out their garden and returning their yard to sod and had several loads of excellent soil, free for the taking. So after several van loads (yes I use my Kia Sedona just like a 1/2 ton truck) I was able to expand my plot by several feet! I also decided to box it in this year. After pricing out materials, I decided just to go with non-treated pine ($25.00). It will probably only last about three years, but I was not ready to spend $100 plus of concrete blocks and didn't want treated lumber encasing what I eat.
I also wanted to build up this year. I started using my fence as a trellis for green beans and last fall we cleaned out the boy scout shed at church. They had a bunch of old 2x4's that were warped and going to the trash so I grabbed a few to make a trellis.
I planted tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash and cantaloupe (front yard) and peas. The trellis is for cucumbers and squash. Everything is in a growing and I am excited!

Project # 19 - Stick it to Schwinn; Project #15- Sold

My kids were messing around on my double jogging strolled and tipped it over, breaking a hinge on the handle bar. Since it was under two years old I figured I would call Schwinn, pay $20, they could send me the replacement part, drill out the rivets and wa-lah!
However I was kindly informed that they do not make "individual" components and I would have to spend $130 on a whole new frame. WHATTTT!! So miffed I went to the local bike shop and he was sure he could call as a supplier and get me one, his luck was not any better.

So there was no way I was spending that kind of cash on a stroller I paid $80 on ebay.
Because of the stress load of pushing 50-70 pounds it could not be epoxied. Thanks to a great home teacher with a drill press, I spent a whopping $5.60 at Ace Hardware to create the bionic stroller. Works great! Then my neighbors had a garage sale and I was in my minimalist mode and I sold it....but the project was completed!

And Project 15, the headboard, also went to the garage sale. We are looking at getting a new bed in the next year (hopefully a king) so I didn't think it was worth spending time on a queen headboard.

Dip Dip & Swing

(Pre-race, waiting to port in)

Brittany and I decided to dump our hubbys for the day and compete in the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, a fifteen-mile canoe race through the center of Houston...and for some reason we both thought that we could easily paddle 15 miles without training.

The Regatta is the largest canoe race in the State of Texas, this year was no different with close to 450 boats. There were several classes, but Inflated Expectations, my two person inflatable kayak landed up in the unlimited class (which was a good portion of the entries).

Our morning started with me walking back to the registration area and yelling to Britt “Hey you want a breakfast taco, some random guys jumped out of a moving truck and chased me down in the parking garage gave them to me”. And that is when we both stopped and just realized what I had said and then shrugged and took a bite...that’s what I love about outdoor events. In any other situation in Houston there are so many red flags in that short phrase, but on a day like today its really just a group of nice guys offering you non-dangerous food in a dim-lit musty parking garage.

Our boat was stamped “sea worthy” by the Navy Seals and we were ready to get started.

Team Renshaw ported in on a steep wooded slope, which was not really even a port area. We were luckily enough to be in a class that allowed an in-water start. The corporate competitive class (the big aluminum canoes) required bank start, which was hysterical. Imagine 100 large canoes being cast down a steep wooded banks, probably half capsized trying to get started.

(Long Kayak Division start)

The day was beautiful, but windy (and windy in the wrong direction). We had a strong headwind almost the whole race. Brittany saw the first banner and exclaimed “There is our half way mark (which in reality, much to Britts dismay was our 3.5 mile mark)”. By mile three our shoulders burned, by mile six, without current and the wind at our head our arms ached and by mile 12 we were having to put everything into it, my knees and back were killing me. The whole race we trailed a quad boat and our goal was to overtake them and we did in the last half mile. We crossed the finish line with a time of 3hours and 20 minutes (I thought it was 3:40 but they just posted the race results, yay!). It was all we could do to drag our battered bodies out of the canoe and onto the dock.

(Britt still looking strong even though we both wanted to die)

The run itself was beautiful. The thick vegetation drowned out the roar of the city and there were dozens of beautiful mansions that lined the bayou (may who cheered us on and played music) and lots of beautiful retaining walls (and some not so nice ones).

(Approaching the skyline)

The last three miles we approached downtown and my favorite part was rowing under I-45, weaving through the bridge pilasters. We went past the aquarium and crossed the finish line at one of the downtown plazas where they had live Zydeco music and lunch.

(Maneuvering under I-45)

(Lunch party on the plaza, we made it!)

Britt stayed and packaged the canoe, while I got to ride the city drunk bus back to the parking garage. It was 30 minutes of bad drunk entertainment, it reminded me of riding Cyride home on a Friday night in college, expect these guys (same ones that offered me the breakfast tacos) were like in their mid 30's (and cannot sing Lady Gaga for the record). They even invited me to a keg-er that night, a kind gesture to a mother of three :) What a way to end the day.

Notes for next year...1. Get a real canoe (I love my inflatable but its not race material), 2. no more pretending I have the body of an twenty year old, 3. legs require sunscreen even in March!.

Thanks Britt for being my partner in crime!


Project #25: The New Pet (x183)

As parents what lengths do we go to to feed the needs our children's curiosity? Their minds are so open, so willing to lean. The question is can mine be the same, can I look at ideas with the same simplicity and excitement as a six year old? This week I am trying and because of it I would just like to say I deserve the Mother of the Year Award.

Erin has been begging for a worm farm for months now. I kept thinking it would be a passing fad, distracted by something covered in pink and glitter, since you know, she is a six year old suburban girl. But I soon realized this idea, wherever it originated, was here to stay.

After some research we decided if we were going to have worms, there might as well be some secondary benefits (besides entertainment???). We decided on Red Wrigglers since they are a composting breed (its like having a living garbage disposal). They can eat their weight daily in food scraps. Worm castings (also known as worm poo) has a highly beneficial organic fertlizer for gardens and beds.

After thinking about it for a while this is a win-win situation. The kids get a pet, I don't have to pay anything to keep it, there are no vet bills, and if (when) I get sick of them, I don't have to take them to the pound, I just dump them in the garden. And if they do take off, both the worms and casting sell for a high price, so Erin can pay for college by selling worm poo :)

So Friday evening we started E's Worm Ranch. While most worms farms start at 1000 worms, I didn't feel comfortable with that large of a starter kit.....We started with 183.

We made our barn out of a three gallon frosting bucket from Shipleys Doughnuts (ironically Erin's favorite place). Erin had her first try at drilling holes and she did an excellent job. The holes provide oxygen to the worms. The bucket was filled with wet newspapers and a handful of dirt and a few apples slices to get them started. Most people actually keep them in their kitchen. I was not sure how I felt about that, so right now they are living in the half bath we rarely use.

So far Erin and Eliza are deeply concerned about the welfare of their worms. They check on them four or five times a day and Eliza even sang them a song last night.

For those of you looking to start you own worm farm, its simple, thank you google for one more completed project!