Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Bro!!!!!

Its my youngest brother Greg's birthday today
The one who just got engaged
and was just visiting us
Yep, its him
I haven't called him to wish him happy birthday yet
Cause really, he's not much of a phone talker
and really, this is the first time all day I've been able to sit down
I'm doing one better
A Blog Post
Greg rocks
He's so laid back and mellow
yet really funny and very sarcastic
He does the BEST impression of my dad
and Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air
He always is willing to help out
Even when I'm being a bit bossy
He never complains
and will give you an opinoin if you ask for it
Sometimes he's too honest
But thats only if you ask for it
He's a stand up guy, really. Anne (his fiance) is a lucky girl
Happy Birthday Little Bro!
I love you!
Cause who wouldn't love a dude who goes on a preschoolers
fieldtrip to the beach and makes sandcastles?
And I especially love you because you posed for this picture:
Yeah, we had to wait until all the little kids were done taking their pictures
And Greg was acting like he was super embarassed
and I had to physically PUSH him to get him over there
but he busted out an awesome pose

He also rode the train

oh yes, you're a pretty awesome uncle, too ;)

Again, Happy Happy Birthday Dude!

your favoritest big sister
Kat :)
Steve, Jessica & Izzy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Could make a quesedilla with all this cheese....

I wrote this last week, but its something I've been thinking a lot about recently. Just this morning, watching Jessica explain to me why she wasn't listening, I got all teary eyed knowing that I may not remember this particular moment forever. I love her little voice, the way she reasons, and I hate that I can't just keep it in a little safe to go and look at whenever I want.
So yes, its really cheesy, but so true.

I really wish I could freeze moments and come back to them whenever I wanted. I know its cheesy, but so true. I can take a picture (and boy do I!) but its not the same. Its not the same as smelling, feeling, seeing, being.

Izzy is already growing too fast. And we have all these precious little moments that I want to hold on to and never forget. I've already forgotten a lot of those moments that I had with Jessica. Obviously I remember the important ones, the funny ones, but I can't just go back and experience it again. And there are those everyday moments, that just happen. Waking up in the morning, watching Izzy stretch her cubby little arms. Jessica laying on her tummy reading books, or her big eyes as she tells you a story. Those are the Moments I don't ever want to forget. I wish there was a way to just hold on to them. Until then, I guess I'll try to cherish every second I have with my girls when they're little

A few moments I'm loving now:

Izzy talking to her daddy.

Izzy rocking her "Party at my Crib" Onesie/outfit (that her sister wore at 9 months!)
And all her tunka tubbers!

My view of Izzy's rolls when I'm nursing- count em, 1,2,3,4. Could you die?

Jessica has become SUCH a daddy's girl
Love this shot of her, wearing her "heels" and carrying her purse
at the airport to pick up Greg & Anne

Just playing outside. Love that I captured her expression right after she pulled the bucket off her head. Just perfect

Right before we left for the airport to pick up Greg & Anne
Dressed in their nice dresses
Izzy with a ridiculously big, but oh so cute flower on her head

Oops! Did it twice. Don't feel like erasing it. Its cute :)

Izzy sitting on Daddy's lap so that Mommy can get a break
Eating lunch and reading the paper

Chillin in the sling with Mommy. Look at all that drool! And those cheeks, they kill me!

There are so many more moments, and I obviously can't take pictures of them all (and even then, I can never get around to scrapbooking them all!)
Just realizing how easy it is to forget, and trying to cherish every moment
Ok, cheesiness is done :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cause they're fun........

My, hmm, not sure what type of friend- Bloggy/Facebook/Prenatal Yoga friend Robin did this, and I love these (they remind me of freshman year in colleger, the first time I really got into email, and everyone would email these around!)
I am excited to have gotten Izzy asleep in her bassinet and had some free time! (even though I really should be sleeping........) So, here goes!
1. What time did you get up this morning? well, not counting the 2 x's I woke up to nurse Izzy and the THREE times Jessica was was actually 5am when I had to take Jessica potty, and in doing so woke up Izzy, who would not fall asleep until, um, about the same time my alarm clock went off. Guess I have to get used to it if I want to wake up early to run in a few months......
2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I don't remember. How sad! I think it was Twilight or Bolt-the first movie I took Jessica to see in the theater
4. What is your favorite TV show? I LOVE Lost, Sopranos was my favorite series ever, right next to Sex in the City, and also a bunch of crap tv I get sucked into. Gonna try to stop watching most of that junk......
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I'm pretty in love with San Marcos. Super close to the beach, not too bad of a drive to mountains, nice suburban town. Just wish my Iowa family was closer!
6. What did you have for breakfast? Protein shake. First time in over a week that I was able to eat my breakfast before 9am (I get up at 6:30)
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Depends on my mood. I love most of them (but I can't handle spice!)
8. What foods do you dislike? mushrooms
9. Favorite Place to Eat? I really love going out to eat, but never get to anymore! I love fancy smanch resturants where you can get really great steak or seafood and a nice bottle of wine..........can you tell I've been daydreaming about going out a lot recently???
10. Favorite dressing? Balsamic Vinegerettes, Olive oil/vinegar
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
12. What are your favorite clothes? depends on my mood. I live in comfy clothes for work, so I really love when its time to dress up. Which is another thing I never do.....
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?So many places! Italy is one that I've really been into going. I also want to go to Hawaii before my friend Patty moves back to the mainland!
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Usually 1/2 full, unless I'm really thirsty! HA!
15. Where would you want to retire? I don't ever want to move again. So here, in San Marcos ;)
16. Favorite time of day? recently its been early morning when the house is all quiet and its the ONLY time all day I have to myself. But usually its nights, cause I'm a night owl!
17. Where were you born? Denver, CO
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? I'm not a big sports fan, unless its in person- I love going to Petco to watch the Padres play! And the Olympics are fun to watch, too
19. Who do you think will not tag you back? ???????
20. Person you expect to tag you back first? If my find Rachel still blogged.......... but how about Beth?
21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? I'm just curious to see who reads this! (so pssst, leave me a comment all you lurkers!)
22. Bird watcher? Just the ones that come to our bird feeders. But I do kinda get into it.......
23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Usually a night person, but I'm becoming more of a morning person. SO WEIRD!!!!!!
.24. Do you have any pets? The preschoolers think we have 3 frogs, but 1 recently died and the other escaped. I FAIL at raising frogs. And a beta fish
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? I'm excited to start getting back into shape!!!! ............whenever Izzy lets me though
26. What did you want to be when you were little? A mom :)
27. What is your best childhood memory? So many, and a lot of them are visiting cousins in Iowa
28. Are you a cat or dog person? Considering I'm allergic to cats, I'll go with DOG
29. Are you married? FOUR YEARS on August 6, 2009
30.. Always wear your seat belt? Yes
31. Been in a car accident? nothing serious
32. Any pet peeves? A LOT! Not changing the toliet paper roll. Not being able to lose my baby weight. Stupid drivers. Stupid people. People who are a drain on society. People who always think they are right. I could go on and on......
33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? PINEAPPLE! (guess we won't be ordering pizza together, huh Robin? ; ) )
34. Favorite Flower? pretty ones
35. Favorite ice cream? mmmmmmmmm ice cream. Gold Medal Ribbon from Baskin Robbins
36. Favorite fast food restaurant? I dont' really eat fast food except on road trips, but I do occasionally hit up In-N-Out and Chik-fil-A, and Rubios. But does Rubios count?
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Passed my first time :)
38. From whom did you get your last email? Facebook, does that count? And then Steve
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I could probably do that at about any store you put me in
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Our family picnic at the park, my perfect Sunday. Nothing too crazy like I used to!
41. Like your job? I love it!
42. Broccoli? Sure, not my favorite but I eat it
43. What was your favorite vacation? I've never been on a bad vacation! My honeymoon was pretty fabulous though (road trip up the California Coast)
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? I haven't gone "out" to dinner forever! I guess Rubios counts with my family, and brother Greg and his fiance Anne.......
45. What are you listening to right now? silence...... so nice!
46. What is your favorite color? purple
47. How many tattoos do you have? 4, but been tattooed 5 times. I would get more, but Steve says "I'm perfect just the way I am"
48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?anyone who is reading this and wants to do it! I love putting these in my All About ME scrapbook
49. What time did you finish this quiz? 9:52pm- I need to get to bed!!!
50. Coffee Drinker? Nope, I don't drink caffeine.......but sometimes I wish I did!



Me: Hey Babe, Do I look ok? said as I'm heading out the door to a jewelry party, only took maybe 5 minutes to get ready

Steve: Yeah, you look great. Oh, you got a little spit up on your back.............


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Official Announcement

For those of you reading this who know my dad, you know how he gets a little excited about things. He started doing this Ace Bigelow pretend character when Steve and I got engaged and he puts them in the town newspaper. Pretty funny....... just thought I'd share the article that will accompany (sp?) the engagement picture I took.
Anne Maher Engaged to Greg Adams:
Against the opulent backdrop of evening pyrotechnics provided by the local citizens, Greg Adams proposed to Ms. Anne Maher of Cedar Rapids on the 4th of this month in Grand Mound. Accepting Greg’s proposal, Anne was presented with the heirloom pre-Tolkowsky cut legacy diamond, first given by Mathias Adams, Greg’s Great Grandfather, to Great Grandmother Effie Seamer on a similar late summer evening in 1919.
Anne, daughter of Lynne and Dave Maher, favorite granddaughter of Elmer & Dorothy Hasenmiller, and Jean Maher, all of Grand Mound, is a University of Iowa graduate working in Cardiovascular Telemetry at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids. Asked if the proposal came as a surprise, her eyes sparkled when she laughed “He knows it’s my favorite day of the year, but I think my first response may have been Shut UP! Just then there was a pretty loud explosion, so he didn’t exacctly hear what I said. It was just perfect!”
Greg, currently finishing his summer internship with CAPLEXDevice Group LLC, is grandson of Mildred Thompson of Story City, Ray Adams of DeWitt, and son of Roberta and Steve Adams, rural DeWitt.
The fab couple later boarded a flight to a secret Pacific Coast hideaway north of the Baja. According to their publicist, they’re taking a well earned break from an exhausting summer social schedule to hang with pals Kathryn and Steve Post at the beach, catch some of the biggest waves of the summer, and learn to build castles in the sand with Izzy and Jessica.
Nobody has more fun than these two lovebirds, except maybe Matty & Effie that summer in 1919, don't you think?
It looks to this reporter like it could be the next big step in a long and beautiful relationship.
Stay tuned!
This is raconteur, bon vivant and dilettante social reporter, Ace Bigelow, undercover at an undisclosed location in a cornfield near DeWitt.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Personal Fitness Goals

So, I decided to post my fitness goals online, so then I'm held accountable. I'm putting this on all you Post Its readers to keep me on my toes!!!! Next time you talk to me, be sure to see how I'm doing ;)

I am working out with a trainer, a mom at my preschool (and her daughter is BFF's w/Jessica). She just started up her business,
Moms B Fit (check out her website, Jessica and I were her work out models :) Plus, she has some great deals and info for moms! ) and has been helping me. We put together some of my goals:

Obviously the first goal is to lose the rest of the baby weight. Really only 10lbs or so. BUT I never lost all the baby weight from Jessica, thats another 10 lbs. So, I want to lose 20 lbs. I think we said in 6 months, but I can't really remember. At least the 10lbs in 6 month (that would be 9 months after Izzy was born. 9 months on, 9 months off).

My biggest goal though, is to run a 5k! I signed up for the
Turkey Trot in Oceanside on Thanksgiving. I have never, ever done any kind of race before, but I did used to run on a regular basis. I haven't ran since I got pregnant with Jessica, though, and I started to crave it when pregnant with Izzy! So I signed up, and I want to run the whole thing! Don't care about my time (though my problem when running is pacing myself- I always want to run too fast!) Just want to finish. Its about 3 miles. I should be able to do it, its just finding the time to train!

I also want to be able to do my "man" push ups again. I can still do a few, but not as many as I used to be able to!

Oh- and to get new running shoes. Thats not really a fitness goal, but it is an necessity. Its actually really sad that I lost them. I had them when pregnant, and wore them when I worked out. But they got lost in the chaos on non-use that was the weeks after Izzy was born :( And really, as much as I love shopping and spending money (that I don't really have), running shoes is not something I want to spend my money on. Bummer.

So those are my small fitness goals.
I'll keep you all posted on it ;)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Izzy's first trip to the beach!

We went to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas with the preschool for a weekend fieldtrip to the Beach. Izzy busted out her fabulous string bikini, the only covered half of her diapered booty.
If you got it, flaunt it! ;)
Steve did some body surfing, but the surf was WAY up so he only did that for a bit.
Jessica loved playing in the sand with her friends, and for the first time really really loved playing in the waves! So much fun!
I had a great time, too-but realized that even though I'm really on top of getting sunscreen on the girls, I'm notsomuch so good at putting it on myself =/
Sunburns are no fun!
We're off to legoland this afternoon- 'twill be fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Engagment Pictures!!!!!

So, since my bro just proposed to Anne, my dad asked me to take some "Engagement Photos" (the unofficial ones of course!) so that he could put it in their town's newspaper.
Since I've been getting back into photography, I was happy to practice on them!!!!
So much fun, and more fun since it was my baby bro and I'm good at bossing him around ;)
I'm really happy with how the turned out, especially since we didn't have much time to take them and its a miracle I found the time to edit them! (I'm also super stoked on the editing job Picasa 3 did! Woot!)
I did these in the 20 minutes Izzy let her dad hold her,
while Jessica and 2 of her friends ran around.
(One of the little girls kept following Anne around- she's actually in a few of the unedited pics ;)
My back yard isnt' the ideal backround, but we made it work
These are my top 5 favs!
Look, I even had them watermarked! Not because I think anyone would steal them,
but because it looks cool ;)

This is the one they chose for the announcement

Congratulations Again, Greg & Anne :)
Welcome to the family

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm getting a sister!!!!

No, my mom is not having another baby. Thats ridiculous. BUT I am FINALLY getting a sister!
My youngest brother Greg proposed to his long time girlfriend Anne on the 4th of July.

Myself and my family could not be happier. It takes a very special person to put up with our family, especially my brothers, and Anne is perfect!

Not only does she put up with my brothers, she listens to my dads stories, loves her soon to be nieces, and never hesitates to tease/torment my brothes back!

So nice to FINALLY not be the only girl!

Anne and Greg are coming to vist us for a long weekend this weekend. Neither of them have met Isabella, and I cant' wait to show her off ;) Anne hasn't seen Jessica since last summer, or was it even longer? Needless to say, Jessica has grown in to a little person and is no longer that cute, squishy toodler she was last year. I know they'll get a kick out of all her stories and her non-stop talking. Love having my brothers around, and now a future sister. Love my family, and I wish they lived closer! (Come on guys, how could you NOT want to live in San Diego???)

Can't wait to see you guys!

I'll have lots of pictures to post after their visit, I'm sure ;)

(wait till you see the engagement cupcakes I got them. Ah-Mah-ZING)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Can anyone out there in the internet world, Please PLease explain to me why anyone would ever paint there beautiful suburban home's roof BRIGHT BLUE?????

Its been this way a few months now. So its not a temporary thing. And now, we don't have an HOA. I just don't get it. Can anyone help me out?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A few favorites.......

A few of my favorite pictures this past week or two:

Izzy's first fieldtrip! We went to the Legoland Aquarium and she did really well!

This was actually taken on Fathers Day on our point and shoot. Forgot to upload it. Too cute!

Love this picture of Jessica and Izzy looking at each other. Such a sweet sisters picture

I played around with it, the color and everything, but uploaded the wrong one. =/ Sorry!

Could I have captured a bigger smile??? I LOVE this picture. I had to put the camera to the side of my face, so she's looking at me, when I took the pic. She gets confused with the big lens in her face and won't give her Big Izzy Smile

I'm going to just print this out on 8 x 11 and just pop it in her scrapbook! Simple!

Click it to read the journaling I wrote on it.

I was just tripping out over how well she's holding herself up all of the sudden- she's growing up too fast already!!!!

This was taken on our Perfect Sunday. Love hand holding pictures. I need to put it on a page with some Daddy Quote or something. Any suggestions, scrappy friends?

Love her tubbers! I'm going to be doing a post on Cloth Diapers eventually, so I've been trying to get more pictures of her just in her dipes. Cute!

Playing around with the settings on my camera. Just figured out how to change things thanks to my friend Marisa

I know that she's going to find a finger eventually, don't you think?

oops, posted it twice. Sorry. Cute sisters pic again ;)

Just hanging out on the couch. Love capturing these moments. Izzy feel asleep nursing and Jessica came over to check it out. Sweetness. Especially when Jessica doesn't wake Izzy up......

Check out how Izzy holds herself up! I was impressed......

Love how it looks like she's laughing. And I swear I've heard the beginings of laughter....

Another double post, but this time w/out the black border. Hmmm, which do you prefer?

Cuteness! And don't you love the diaper she has on? One of the only girly girl diaper I got. Love it!

Perfect Sunday

My idea of a perfect Sunday.
My family- just the 4 of us
Couple of sandwhiches, some fruit, a blanket, and shade at the park.
Oh, and feeding the ducks
Just a lazy Sunday

Friday, July 17, 2009

Swim Lessons

Jessica started swim lessons last Saturday with two of her best buddies. I was nervous with how she would do, especially since both of her friends had a lot more time clocked at the pool than Jessica ever had!

Jessica did awesome. She LOVED the water and was laughing and giggling and splashing with her friends the whole time. She listened really well to her teachers. Which was great, I want her to do well for others, but I was kinda sad that she didn't even look back at me when they walked off to get ready for the class. I actually kinda wanted to cry. I have an in-home preschool because I wanted to stay home with my children and be their preschool teachers. So I'm with her every. Single. Day. And I love it. So seeing her with another teacher made me sad and happy and confused and proud and a big jumble of emotions. My baby is growing up!

And this is just for a 45 minute swim class I get to sit and watch the whole thing.
What am I going to do when she goes to kindergarten???

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Best Invention EVER (for a new mommy who's making baby food that is)

find it at williams sonoma here

Best thing since sliced bread. I got it as a baby shower gift from a few friends- it was one of the four things I wanted for Baby Dos. And I got it. And I LOVE it.

That was a few months ago (whoa, does time fly or what?!) I wanted to try it out when I got it, but was too pregnant and toooooo tired.

So now, even though Izzy won't be eating for a few more months, I decided to take advantage of all the apples we have growing from our apple tree: Fresh, homemade applesause. I opened up my BabyCook, read the instructions, diced up 2 apples (super fasy & easy with an apple slicer), poured in the water, steamed it, then blended it and viola! Best. Applesause. EVER. And SOOOOOOOOOOOO easy to make!!!! Only one thing to wash up, and enough applesause to last a week for a baby.

Yummy, homemade baby food :)

I love making baby food. I love the idea of, I love doing, and most of all- I love that I know exactly what my baby is eating. I made all of Jessica's baby food using this:

find it on here

It really was So Easy. And fun. And I felt like super mom when I did it ;) It was an easy idea of cooking food in the microwave, then blending it up, then freezing it in ice cube trays. It really only took a little bit of time, and I loved it.

I continued to make baby food purees to hide in Jessica's food a la Jessica Seinfield, but started to get weirded out by doing my cooking in my microwave with saran wrap (all the BPA stuff, and really, it just doesn't sound like the best idea). So when I saw the BabyCook by Bebea I knew I had to have it for when we had Baby Dos! (by the way, I played around and you can still do the cooking in the microwave, but with papertowels instead of saran wrap).
I still use the So Easy cookbook for the recipies, and also reccomend it to any parent who wants to make their own baby food. A combo of the cookbook and the BabyCook (which doesn't come with many recipies or info on what to cook) is perfect! Throw in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook and you're set.

So right now I'm pretty stoked to start making baby for for Izzy. I already know that she loves her food- being 17lbs and all. ;) I swear whenever she's awake all she thinks of is eating/nursing. Can't wait until I can introduce this baby food to her!

I need to send a HUGE thank you to my friends Courtney, Alexa, Rema, & Danielle for getting the coolest gift ever to me. THANK YOU!!!!!

And sorry for no pictures of me using it. Maybe another time. Stupid computer/camera problems again! As much as I love technology, it really drives me crazy..........)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Jessica sitting on her portable potty. You know she is going to be so embarassed one day, but for now, I love that she just plops down in the back of my suburban. Love the look on her face!

Me: "Should we ask Daddy to get us some chips?"

Jessica: "You don't call him Daddy! Kids call him Daddy!"

Me: "What do I call him, then?"

Jessica: "um.......... Babe"

LOVE it :)

You Know you're a Mommy when............

This post is inspired by my bloggy/scrappy friend Darcy. She recently did a "You Know You're a Mom When..." and it made me laugh. It also reminded me of a list I did when I was about 22 called "You know you're an adult when" and at the top of that list was "when you get excited to buy new appliances." ;)

Anyways, Darcy is an awesome scrapbooker, talented photographer, and most important- an amazing mom. She is also a hilarious blogger. She has two gorgeous daughters the same age as Jessica and Izzy- we only wish we lived closer so we could have awesome playdates and scrap sessions! Check her out here: More Left Unseen

Now, here is my list:
You Know You're a Mommy When:

You get really good at doing things with one hand (typing, cooking, dishes, etc) while nursing or holding the baby in the other
You fantasize about what you can get done when/if the baby falls asleep; Laundry, dishes, cleaning………
You take longer showers (even though we’re in a drought) because it’s the ONLY. TIME. ALL. DAY that you are 100% child free (this includes going to the bathroom)
Seeing your child laugh is the best thing in the whole world
You have to remember that not everyone wants to hear about every. Single. Cute thing your babies do
You are so happy to have digital cameras now, ‘cause otherwise you’d be broke with how many pictures you take!
You’ve never found your hubby sexier than when he is being a dad
You don’t mind being pooped on, peed on, or spit up on. Eh, a day in the life……
You find yourself spending enormous amount of time and energy on ridiculous things just to make your babies happy
You could stare at their sweet little faces all day long
No one knows how to frustrate you more than your babies- and you’ve never had as much patience for anyone else
You get up early on your day off so you can get stuff done- and you like it!
Late is 11pm (man, in the college days thats when we went out!)
You start quoting cartoons, and know the theme song to Dora & Elmo
You don’t think its weird when discussing poop with your hubby (about your baby’s poop, of course)
You start to think that a mini-van may actually be pretty cool……….
and Steve's contibution:
Your wife starts a “you know you’re a parent when” list
Anyone else have some good onesI should add?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Right Now

Posted by Picasa

Steve's Garden

So, I had tried to do this blog post on our old blog, but it didn't turn out they way I wanted. And, I realized, I shouldn't be the one describing our garden since my only part in it is the eating. I have been getting the gardening itch- yet another thing on my list of things I want to get done when I no longer have a baby attached 24/7!
SOOOOOOOO, I invited Steve to blog. I also made more of the collages on Picasa 3 so that I wouldn't have as many pictures to upload. Click on them to make them bigger. Be sure to leave comments and tell Steve how fabulous his garden is (and his bloggin skills), because then he'll blog more. And he is a much better story teller than me. So it would be a great thing if he did more blogging ;)

So my tech genius wife has totally reprogrammed our blog to bring it to the cutting edge of all bloggyness. I actually like it a lot, because its just one blog for our whole family including the girls and me, which makes a lot more sense than starting a blog for each person in our family. (if it was up to kat we would have 7 or 9 blogs, but don't worry that just aint gonna happen)

As for my garden, its always a work in progress but its come a long way since we moved in about 3 years ago. We had to totally remake whole portions of the yard because they were overgown, cut off from water, filled with bees, etc, you know...the usual. We actually took out three huge eucalyptis trees and a big old shade tree, as well as a ton of ivy that was harboring rats....don't even get me started on the anti-rat campaign of 2006. Long story short, I had a lot of areas that were open for redevelopment and screaming for a drastic makeover.

One of the first things I had to do was figure out how to put in a garden in an area with little or no irrigation. Half the sprinklers in the yard were totally screwed and we were not about to dig up the whole thing and fix up an out of date traditional sprinkler system that promoted non-native water hogging plants. One of my long term goals was to reduce water consumption and promote a beautiful native or native-like garden that fits in a drought prone southern california microclimate. My other major goal was to create a totally organic garden free from nasty chemicals for the sake of the backyard ecosystem, which includes our family and our preschool. We knew we would be eating delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from our garden, and hosting a preschool in the same area so the best way to promote health for everything and everyone was to go organic.

I have some organic training from my studies in college and internship in a native restoration project on the UCSB campus so it would be just silly to ditch all my knowledge and experience to take the synthetic way out by spraying chemical crap all over the plants every time a bug looked at me funny. So with this in mind from the start, I planned out the regions of the garden to host fruit trees, herbs, roses, native plants, butterfly and hummingbird plants, and of course our raised beds for vegetables. I put together a plan for mostly hand-watering once a week supplemented with some drip hoses in the vegetable beds and began planting one area at a time.

Lots of digging followed, along with lots of frustration because our garden soil is not soil at all....its equal parts rocks and clay. I realized each hole for each new plant would have to be an afternoon project, not just a half hour of labor like I had expected. Removing rocks became priority number one, then ammending the soil with compost and gypsum to break up the clay became second nature. I had some success with my new plants, quite a few failures, but once I realized I had to really plan for the location, water needs, and aweful soil realities I got a lot more growing quickly.

Once I had some success I was confident that I was ready for my raises beds for vegetables. I bought raw redwood planks, designed the boxes, put it all together and plunked them down in place. I filled them with some nice loam I bought (clay, compost, soil, nitrogen mix) and tons of compost and manure. It was the exact opposite soil of all the surrounding areas and I loved it. That first summer was a bonanza of growth and I was loving every inch of it. I got tomatoes taller than me, zuchhinis for months, carrots, peas, peppers, cucumbers, you name it. This marked my peak of confidence and I knew that the garden would forever be successful while I had my hands on it and in it.

What you see now makes me very happy, but I am always planning for the next steps. I have put in a few new plants every season around the garden, and of course the vegetable beds get totally re-planted every spring and fall. I feel like a few years down the line I will have the plants grown to the sizes I really want them at (like really big dude) and it will be a full garden experience everywhere you look. Of course I have big plans for the future, like full sized orange trees and what the heck am I gonna do with this avocado tree? Its a lot of fun, very rewarding, keeps me busy and connected with nature, is right outside my doorstep, its perfect for a family, its delicious, and its my artform.

I don't get to draw, paint, sculpt, surf, or practice most other art forms I used to practice so gardening has taken the place of those needs. My favorite mediums are now organic vegetables, sages, dwarf citrus trees, and of course clay and rock. I will never have a blank canvas, its an ever evolving art form that looks different every day, and thats just fine by me.

view from our house

click the pictures to read what Steve's been growing

Yay! So hopefully that will be the first of many posts from Steve :)