Tuesday, May 28, 2019

All Things May

Greetings faithful blog readers,

It's been a long time since I've checked in, mostly due to end of the semester mayhem (get it mayhem?), but rest assured, we're all good over here.

As of two and a half weeks ago, the 2018-19 school year was complete, and Brendan and I left Willa with her first non-family babysitter to celebrate the start of summer and a friend's birthday (Willa slept the whole time, and we learned the hard way that recovering from a party is truly hard when you cannot sleep in!).

Truly, making it through our first school year as parents felt like a major accomplishment. Having a child changes everything and the work/life balance is no exception. I definitely was concerned about how I'd get everything done and be a mom, but I found I worked more evenings and weekend hours to be able to spend afternoons with Willa. I also found I had less time for myself in general and have to really prioritize things that are important (working out, writing), which means cutting back (almost completely) on recreation/downtime (Netflix, reading, resting, and blogging too, sadly). Now that summer is here, I am trying to work some "me time" back into my schedule, though that will be easier once my three week interim class is finished this week. I'm really proud of both Brendan and I. I feel like we are still thriving, despite having so much on our plates. Brendan even finished out the school year by winning the Jerry Mills Professional Development Award, which will help with fall conference funding. Plus, we both wrote letters of recommendation for students that won scholarships, and our Sigma Kappa Delta president won a national scholarship and was able to attend the national convention to receive her award.


Willa is still in the infant room at school, but she has changed so much (check out her first day of school for comparison)! Since there's no option to discontinue with childcare in the summers, Willa will still be attending "school" (which also keeps her in the routine), and we will be using the time to write and tackle necessary household projects. Currently, we are also both teaching online interim courses. 




I had a fabulous Mother's Day with Willa and Brendan. We picked up my favorite (sushi bowls!) and had a relaxing day at home. 


Two weekends ago, we were able to catch my cousin Colton's baseball game (Willa's first baseball game!), see him bat excellently, and see his undefeated(!) team advance to the semi finals. They have since won the semifinals and will be playing in the finals at the end of this week. If you love baseball or just want to cheer for Colton, you can listen to the games here (next one is Thursday at 6PM, and you can bet we will be listening!) Go hawks! 


This past weekend also included cousins! Amanda and Matt drove in from Austin on Saturday, and we had an amazing visit. Highlights included double the playmates for Willa (pretty sure she was in heaven), enjoying the spring opening of our patio, playing so many games (I'm still on a high from my Ticket to Ride win), visiting the beer garden, and checking out the opening weekend of our community pool. 




Plus, I took advantage of Amanda's visit to work on perfecting my mimi's waffle making skills, and Willa was a big fan of her first taste of the good old Austin waffles (she couldn't get enough!). 


All in all, we've loved our May days so far, and I'm sad to see them coming to an end because we've also had gorgeous weather (highs in the 80s and lots of rain, unlike last May which was 110 everyday). 

Here's to the start of a much needed summer break! We hope to fill it with family time, productivity, and great memories. What are you and yours excited about this summer? Tell us in the comments. 
<3 


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Backyard Beautiful

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Spring has sprung in our backyard, and as promised, I owed you a post on our progress.

If you've been reading this blog for a few years, you know that I once referred to landscaping the yard as "a weekend project." I think I was serious. Brendan has spent the last four years showing me just how wrong that statement was. Our yard is a never-ending project, and one that Brendan takes on the majority of the work for. I'll get out and weed and plant some, but mostly, Brendan is our landscaping man. We put in everything by ourselves (except the trees), and to appreciate the progress, please start by looking at our first backyard building posts here and here to see what we started with (seriously just dirt). Keep in mind our goals (drought resistant plants that require little water and plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies) and our challenges (we live in a desert...it is literally 112 here all summer, and we don't want to use pesticides). If you have any questions about specific plants, please comment, and I'll make sure to get answers from Brendan.

Without further delay:

This grass is called "legacy buffalo" and we put it in plug by plug (using a drill!) three years ago. It comes in really green, stays green, almost never has to be mowed (maybe 3X a summer), and gets watered 2X a week or less in the summer.


Remember our little herb garden? Does anyone need oregano or rosemary or mint? The herb garden is a bit out of control (probably my fault, but I was a little busy last spring).


The other bed will look fuller as spring turns into summer.
 

My favorite part of spring is seeing all our flowers bloom: soon we'll have hummingbirds and butterflies.


If you want an ocotillo, learn from our mistake: you need to hardly ever water it, or it will die come winter. 


Here are some good photos showing the side-yard pre-grass. Last spring, my dad and Brendan put in grass plugs just weeks before Willa was born. The fruits of their labor:




And in the front yard, the drift roses are in full bloom (note: this was after pruning them!) 


All in all, I'm very proud of Brendan. I look back at where we started, and I can't believe how far we've come. He's built us a yard that we really enjoy in the summers, and one that is pretty to look at too. I can't wait to get our patio set up and start enjoying dinners and cribbage on the porch once summer is here in one more week. Plus, I'm excited to set up Willa's baby pool and water table in the grass. 

Happy Spring, dear readers. I hope to check in more frequently once school is out. 
<3 
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