The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 10 May 2020

Mother’s Day 2020

When planning when we would get married, Matt and I didn’t really think about anything other than getting married as soon as we could swing it, which meant getting married the Saturday after taking our college finals for the semester. What we didn’t realize was that having May 7th as our anniversary would mean that our anniversary, my mother-in-law’s birthday (on the 6th), and Mother’s Day would always fall right next to each other. It basically guarantees a really busy week every year, but it also guarantees a really exciting one!

Here’s how that week looked this year.

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IP Tandoori Chicken

In the Kitchen

The warmer it gets outside, the more my motivation for cooking seems to plummet. This week I only made three dinners: The other nights we made something quick/easy (like cheesy toast for the kids and nachos for us), Matt and I went out to Texas Roadhouse on Thursday for our 9th anniversary, and then we got takeout from Cafe Sabor on Friday (mostly because I felt bad that Texas Roadhouse’s gluten-free options were not great and wanted Matt to have a restaurant meal he’d actually really enjoy).

We still have a ton of food in the house from my monthly grocery haul at the first of the month, so I should definitely be okay not to go grocery shopping until late next week as planned (and even then, that will only be for milk, bread, and probably bananas). One of these months, I’ll probably try challenging myself to literally just grocery shop on one day (and freeze enough milk and bread for the whole month) and see what I think. Just the simple act of staying out of the stores saves us so much money, since I can’t make any impulsive purchases if I don’t enter the store to begin with!

We haven’t busted out the grill officially yet (aka, it’s out on the back patio but we haven’t used it this season yet), but I think this next week would be a good start. We should really start bringing back our Friday night grill nights eating alfresco in the yard, since the kids would totally love that (and Matt and I would too, naturally). Guess that means I should probably start looking at good gluten-free recipes for the grill instead of just Instant Pot stuff all the time 🙂

On the Menu this Week: Instant Pot 3-Bean Enchilada Casserole, Weeknight Beef Tacos (from America’s Test Kitchen Baby + Toddler Cookbook, Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken (again)

In the Yard

My mom has always taught me to plant all my annuals, vegetables, and non-hardy plants over Mother’s Day weekend (since we usually don’t get any hard frosts after that point), so Thursday night as part of our anniversary date, Matt and I went to the local garden nursery to pick up the vegetables and flowers we’re putting in this year. We would have considered putting them in the ground that same night, but the nightly temperatures were predicted to be in the mid-30’s, so we decided to wait until Saturday when the temps got a bit warmer. Even with us probably moving this year, we will likely be around for the next 3 or 4 months at least, so we figured we were good to plant some vegetables with maturity dates less than 90 days away (we tried not to go above 80), and we only picked up a few annuals to fill in some bare patches rather than stock up on yet more perennials and bulbs like we normally would.

In the raised beds, we planted six different tomato plants (half funky heirloom varieties and then an Early Doll, Yellow Brandywine, and Rapunzel Cherry), an eggplant on accident (it had the same name as a zucchini plant we were eyeing–Black Beauty–so we thought we’d gotten a zucchini plant instead, which necessitated Matt having to make a second trip back the next day), the zucchini plant he went back for, two pole bean plants, two different varieties of cucumbers, four mild yellow sweet peppers and one green bell pepper, and four red cabbages (mostly because Matt thinks they’re cool-looking). We also planted some salvia and bush (non-tuber, annual) dahlias in our front pots and in a few other areas that needed some filling in.

We have at least three (seemingly) well-established snap pea plants coming up that we direct sowed the other week, and we noticed this week that our peony transplants from spring 2019 have buds on them this year for the first time (hooray!) and that our hostas, which we didn’t think had made it, have both come up again. The verdict is still out on the big fern we planted in between them in that shady bed on the north side of our house, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed, especially because the delphinium, foxglove, and hollyhocks that we planted in the same place are looking great.

Other things on the chore list that finally got done (pretty much mostly by Matt): mowing the lawn for the first time this year, repotting the indoor spider plant we bought the other month, cleaning out the chicken coop, and a decent amount of weeding.

Blooming This Week: More tulips (yellow, white, more pink + purple); all the lilacs; a couple of the columbine plants (pink, purple)

In the Playroom

My one-on-one goals with each kid were a bit hit and miss this week. However, the big goal was to start sleep training Hyrum, which we made a TON of progress on! He’s been sleeping in his bouncer since he was born because it helped him with his reflux enormously, and then Matt and I have taken it in shifts to sleep out on the couch by his bouncer so that the other spouse can get an uninterrupted stretch of sleep while in our bedroom. Hyrum had just been waking up once per night (usually around 3:30 a.m.) for awhile, so we wanted to see if we could push him to go the full night. And with only a few little hiccups (like needing to rewrap him in the middle of the night a few times at the beginning of the week), we were able to do it! The next step we’ve attempted over the past two nights is transitioning him to sleeping flat on his back in the pack ‘n play in our room with both of us in there with him. The first night (Saturday night) was a little rough, but last night he did pretty well!

My original one-on-one goal with Hyrum was to start him on solids this week, but with the sleep training, I didn’t feel like starting two major things at once. So we’ll be waiting a bit on that! (Hyrum is officially 5 months old as of today (5/11), so if we need, we can still wait a month before doing this.)

My goal with Mathias was to do some drawing with sidewalk chalk with him, but he wanted to do that for all of 60 seconds before wanting to go try something else. I’m thinking that I’ll probably alternate my goals with Mathias to be more structured things (like teaching him a skill or working on a particular activity) with just having one-on-one free time that he dictates.

With Raven, my goal was to get back into the habit of doing our read-alouds of longer books together, since we’d kind of fallen out of doing it over the past few weeks. So last week we finished Magic Tree House #1, and then we also started Magic Tree House #2. I also checked out some books from the Frog and Toad series from the library to read together when we’re done with the second Magic Tree House.

This last week was particularly fun for the kids since Grandma (my mom) came up on Thursday to watch them so Matt and I could go out for our anniversary (and try out socially distanced restaurant dining!), and then we all went down to see two of their sets of grandparents (my mom and stepdad and Matt’s parents) on Sunday for Mother’s Day, and they LOVED being able to play with a few of their cousins again.

I’ve been reading the book Free-Range Kids over the past week, and as a result, I’ve been consciously trying to relax the reins a bit, especially with Raven. Basically if she asks me for something and it’s something she can reasonably do herself, I’ve been having her do it, including pouring things like milk or syrup by herself. (Or, if I need something while tending to one of her brothers and she can help, I’ll ask her to, even if it’s something I normally wouldn’t ask her to do.) Sometimes she gets frustrated and just wants me to do it because she knows it will be faster, but I’ve been pretty firm and have had her try multiple times before stepping in. Once she gives her full attention and effort, she’s usually able to figure stuff out. I feel like it’s been a big confidence boost for her, and it’s also started to save me lots of time and effort as well!

In the Home

As I mentioned, my mom came up on Thursday so Matt and I could go out for our anniversary that night, but she also stayed overnight and then watched the kids in the morning on Friday so I could get some sorting done that I needed to. We’re fortunate to both have older siblings who are done having kids, which means that we get a LOT of hand-me-downs. This is awesome on so many levels, but it does mean that at almost any given moment, I have bags and bags of clothes that need to be sorted by size and then put away into bins. At the beginning of last month, I believe we had 12 bags or bins of clothes from other people that I needed to go through, and I only managed to get to one in the whole month of April. On Friday, I managed to power my way through four more with my mom here, which at least made a sizable dent.

Since the likelihood of us moving is high, I’m trying to go through and sort things in general to try and get rid of as much stuff as possible before we would need to pack everything up. I currently have five big boxes in the garage ready to be donated to the local thrift store (whenever it reopens again), and I anticipate that the pile of boxes to donate will only grow in the weeks to come, especially as my energy levels will overall be higher once the baby is consistently sleeping through the night.

Matt and I on our 9th wedding anniversary – 5/7/20

In the Soul

My heart was glad this week, and I felt grateful for so many reasons—grateful to be celebrating 9 years of marriage with my best friend and perfect (for me) partner, grateful to have the social distancing guidelines in the state eased up enough that we could spend time with our families (finally!) this week, grateful for the little victories, like that I was able to put down an extra $200 this month to paying off our van early.

Mother’s Day or not, I’m always grateful for the blessing of being able to be the mom to our 3 beautiful children, but it’s always nice to have an extra reminder to really soak it up and consciously give thanks for the blessing of motherhood. We have hard moments and hard days and slogs through spit up and poopy diapers and tantrums and lots of interrupted sleep at night like anyone else, but we also have countless joys mixed in each day, like baby smiles and cuddles and coos, and Mathias starting to play the same “Hug Game” like his big sister used to and bringing his toys and stuffed animals to make the baby feel better (without being asked to), and Raven endlessly being my reliable helper, my source of hilarious (and insightful) commentary throughout each day, and the most empathetic 5-year-old you’ve ever met.

And I’m so thankful every day for Matt, who is truly one of the greats. Did you know that for every single anniversary (as well as for multiple birthdays and Mother’s Days), he has written me a card, letter, or poem? Other people may prefer flowers or breakfast in bed or some other gesture, but for me, those written words of love are really all that I want (though I never say no to chocolate!). And Matt’s the kind of guy that doesn’t just save all those words of affirmation and love and gratitude for the Big Days of the year. Nope! This man tells me EVERY SINGLE DAY that he loves me, that he appreciates me, and that he is grateful for me and all I do. Marrying him was the best decision I ever made, because it’s led to all the other greatest blessings I enjoy.

Our life together isn’t always easy (because that’s just how life is!), but it is always, ALWAYS good.

Hope you had a good Mother’s Day weekend, and I wish you all the best in the week ahead!

2 Comments on “The Homestead Weekly, 10 May 2020

  1. Happy very belated anniversary! I love that he writes you notes and cards. I’ve told Jerry on a few occasions that all I wanted was a letter, and he’s done it. Words and food are my love languages. Lol.
    Can you guys move your raised garden beds when you move, or will they stay there?

    1. They have to stay here (insert all the sob emojis!!). They don’t have a bottom on them or anything–they’re just a frame built in the location we wanted and then the weight of the dirt keeps them in place–so they’ll be basically staying put for a loooong time unless the new owner wants to do a TON of work to remove them. (Of course, I’m assuming that anyone who was interested in our place likes gardening, so hopefully he’ll appreciate them like we have!)

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