Landscaping the Front

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Well! Since I talked yesterday about my container gardening I thought that it was probably worth updating about the landscaping I’m doing in the front yard too. I have honestly wanted to redo the front for years but have been too overwhelmed or exhausted to spend much time out there. But this is the year I finally decided to change all that! And it started with me bringing home those pansies I felt were doomed to die under my “care.” 😂

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It was humble beginnings but it was a start! I had set up those bricks the year we moved in and placed the pots I’m now using for container gardening behind them. The idea was good in theory but ugly in practice. And it just got more and more depressing every month that passed, especially when I gave up even planting anything in them. I was encouraged to try pansies because they plant them in the front of the neighborhood and they seem to do well without much tending. Still — I had doubts and didn’t expect them to live more than a week. Izzy told me they just needed some hugs and love. 😂 But unfortunately that’s never worked for me in the past. 😉 But I amended the soil a bit hastily (we have very heavy clay and rock), planted, and hoped for the best.

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I also tested out laying some white rock between the planter boxes my father built for me a few years back. As you can see, I never did much with them, which I also regret. But that’s what happens when you have three kids in two years. 😛 I really wanted a way to walk easily between the boxes and figured rock was the best bet. I read that pea gravel was slippery underfoot so I went with a large white granite.

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I also got some hanging baskets finally put up! Only to learn as they weeks passed that they were actually more difficult to keep alive than the plants in the ground. 😂 But they look pretty here so appreciate it!

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Miraculously that pansies did really really well! I still can’t believe how they’re holding up. But they were rocking it a few weeks later here where I had laid some more stone and decided to complete a second tier of bricks above it. I really need to go back and make the lower ones more even (as this picture clearly shows) but I’ve got so many projects that one is getting backburnered. 😉

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Korey also got me another bird feeder for the front yard, which made me so unbelievably happy. I absolutely love birds and we had so many in the back that I missed feeding. (More things that go by the wayside when you have two infants!) There is nothing like getting to watch them out the playroom window now. 😁 I also started planting in my boxes out front, including trying to resurrect a lavender plant that has been here with me since the beginning. He is doing very well, just so you know. 😉

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I got stuck on the second tier of bricks for a long time because Home Depot didn’t have them in. I honestly thought they had stopped carrying them until I checked the website and it said there were 999 of them in stock. So I went back intent on raising hell but there they were! The problem isn’t even the color, they are literally smaller than apparently any other bricks like this. So I’m happy to have found them and finished that bit! I’m amending the soil there to plant succulents. 😊

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I also found some awesome dividers on my brick quest! I finally got them all laid out and hammered in. I just need to finish filling in the rocks, filling in the mulch, and then I intend to amend the soil along the side of the house, transplant the neglected and pitiful azalea bushes that are there now, and plant roses. Not the finicky kind. I’m not sure exactly what they’re called but I know them when I see them. I’m going to have to find out! But they’re at the front of the neighborhood too as well as in many people’s yards so I hope they’ll make it! 😂

It still feels like I have a LOT of work to do, and honestly I’m losing a little bit of steam on it as I near the “end” of my landscaping plans for the year, but I’m really thrilled with what I’ve accomplished so far and I intend to stick it out to the end. Fingers crossed!!

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Porch Plants

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So let me just say, I’ve tried container gardening before and lost interest and motivation quickly. Mostly because I just had more stuff going on in my life at the time than I could handle. Plus my tomato plants got destroyed by these awful insidious horned worms?! Anyway… I had literally no plans to ever try it again. Until my friend Jessica at Happiness Beyond Riches visited and pointed out how much sun we get on the back porch. That combined with the fact that I have a lot of expensive pots from the front yard that I’ve removed to landscape, I decided what the hell!

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Growing up my father always had a garden. He’s like the patron saint of plants I swear. He can grow anything, anywhere, and bigger than anyone else has ever seen. It’s ridiculous. Also ridiculously discouraging when you tend to just kill stuff. 😂 BUT I always grew up with the idea that you could grow your own food and I understood inherently how and I think it’s a very important thing to teach our children as we get further and further removed from the earth.

So long story short I let Izzy help me pick out some seeds and some seedlings and we got to work planting them.

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And I am happy to report I’m doing so much better this time! I don’t know if it’s what we picked to plant or where we live but omg. There are only two weeks between pictures of that cherry tomato plant (that I’ve named Enid 😉) and it’s already taller than Izzy! She is so excited to see them growing. Every morning we look through the window and she says “look mom! It’s growing!!” 😁

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Even my seeds are doing really well?! I’ve never successfully grown anything from a seed. But I’ve got basil started there on the right and parsley in the back. I’m seriously beyond excited. The other plants pictured were started from seedlings and are a sweet pepper in front and a spearmint plant behind it (for tea and mojitos. 😛)

Honestly I’m so thrilled with these herbs I am probably going to go make some dollar store containers and plant a bunch more. I know Izzy will just as pumped as me to plant some more. And that makes me even happier than the plants themselves. 😊

Porch Playland

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Oh my goodness what a day we had yesterday! As I messaged my friend — I created a kid’s heaven and a mother’s hell. 😂 Thankfully I try to keep it in perspective and only give myself the kind of mess I can handle on that particular day and yesterday was a good day where I exuded patience and good humor. 😉

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This water and sand table were gifts from my grandma for the kids for Christmas and the weather has finally been consistently nice enough to set them up. I waited until the babies were napping and had Izzy set them up with me. Sometimes it’s better to let her have first dibs and explore a new toy before letting them all go full throttle on it. Then she gets her inspection out of the way and is excited to show something new to the babies. 😛

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They absolutely had so much fun. It kept them occupied for an hour and a half until I forced them to come in. I also had that slide from Izzy’s second birthday as well as a little table for them to sit at (not that they did much sitting — ha!) Somehow pretty much everything managed to get covered in sand, but it’s cheap and sweeps away easily enough. 😉 They got to knock down sand castles and splash each other and dig and slide — it was pretty much a perfect afternoon. And best of all? I didn’t have to leave the house. 😂

Izzy’s Speech Therapy Evaluation

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As her birthday was last month, Izzy had a four year check up. Alongside some other minor concerns, I brought up the possibility of speech therapy with the doctor because despite me mostly understanding her, it had become increasingly apparent to me the was not the case with everyone, including my own parents. Until now I figured, she was just a late talker, it didn’t matter, but as she’s facing pre-k in the fall I don’t want her to get discouraged or frustrated with learning if teachers struggle to figure out what she’s trying to say. Izzy is naturally very inquisitive and eager to please so I expect she’ll LOVE school — but then she also gets easily embarrassed and has a stubborn streak a mile long… (No thanks to her parents. 😛)

I knew she had a tongue tie but it never seemed to affect her so the pediatrician suggested we get a speech therapy evaluation first. And I’m very glad I did! The speech therapist immediately told me that was not her problem at all — in fact, her tongue is too often outside her teeth. 😂

Izzy was so great for the evaluator — saying everything requested eagerly. I just love her spirit! But the evaluator eventually told me that her speech issues were pervasive, pretty much all the blended sounds were affected (like “CH” and “SH”), and that she pretty much speaks on the level of a two and a half year old. Which, honestly, didn’t really bother me to learn — we were clearly in the right place and I know it’s no mark of intelligence. Heck, Korey has some pervasive speech issues from his childhood still and it’s clearly not affected him negatively even in a professional capacity. But it did prove to me something definitely needed done about it, where I was on the fence as to whether it was really even an issue. 😅

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Because we wanted to be sure insurance would pay for sessions at that location, we went ahead and scheduled an appointment the very next day. It was really cool to be able to sit behind a one-way mirror and watch the appointment (as seen above.) I had actually done this done in college, so I knew what to expect. Super helpful though that I can bring the babies with me and they can play in a separate room and not distract anyone. 😂

Izzy did perfectly at her appointment too! She is very eager to please and loves one on one attention. The therapist had them play games that encouraged the repetition of certain sounds — this time it was all about the “beach” and playing “catch.” Since we’re going to the beach this month and she loves to play catch it is easy for me to work on these concepts at home too. 😊

I can already tell that she’s being more conscientious of how she says the words — the trick is trying not to make her feel too self-conscious. Personally I know that I shut down when I’m embarrassed and she is similar so I try not to call her out on it all the time, especially not in public.

Our next appointment isn’t until the middle of the month but I’m excited to see how her speech slowly starts changing. And to see her not have to repeat herself a thousand times to kids on the playground any more!