3-Month Catch Up!

After my last post I sort of buried my head in the sand for a bit and let three months fly by with no updates. Oops.

Work has been very busy and I’ve become a Jamberry Nails independent consultant, which has been great fun so far and has given me some me time back. It’s been awesome having kick ass nails at a discounted price, too! Makes me feel more human on the bad days. I’ve also been going back to the gym, on days where Vivian’s gotten good sleep the night before, which hasn’t been a lot lately, but the past couple of weeks have been better.

It’s hard to remember what has happened three months ago, so this will be a bit jumbled.

Firstly, Vivian hit a year seizure free! Exciting!

Vivian One Year Seizure Free

 

Sleep (and other stuff) update: In early October we got her MMR vaccine, so she’s now caught up on all of those. That went as badly as you could expect – spotty rash about a week later. A few days after that a fever and just very grumbly overall. She had some good sleeps after that where she slept through from about 6pm to 6am and she was like a different baby the next day. So relaxed and chilled out compared to usual, and so much more focused during therapy. If only every night was like that!

Her first four molars came in around this time, so sleep again went out the window. Currently, only her bottom two molars are all the way through. The top two are taking their sweet time! Ben also was having teeth trouble of his own and was at the dentist every week for about 4-6 weeks straight. Fun times all around!

In late October, early November, Vivian started getting really constipated and having trouble with hard, formed stools that she really had to work to get out. Around this time she started sleeping even worse. Late night parties, crying, kicking, back arching. It was not fun at all. I thought it could’ve even been restless leg syndrome or spasms waking her as she genuinely was upset and not just wanting comfort and she would doze off and then jerk awake by bringing her legs up to her stomach. She was definitely in pain a lot of the time and it was really hard on all of us.

It was so obvious she was exhausted and wanted to go back to sleep but none of our normal tricks were working (singing, rocking, bouncing). It really took its toll on Ben and I, but mostly Ben and Vivian, as he tried to let me sleep because of work, bless him.

We had a check up with our hospital pediatrician in November, but saw one of the doctor’s registrars instead of our actual pediatrician, because she herself was sick. The registrar suggested we up Vivian’s Lactulose dose from 12ml a day to 20ml to help pass the stool. We were concerned about this as Vivian already struggles to get enough fluids in. We are still working on teaching her to drink water from a cup and she refuses water from a bottle. Lactulose should be taken with a full glass of water because it sucks the water from your system into your bowels to soften your stool.

Well, after this, her sleep got even worse. She would bring her knees up to her stomach and just thrash around and cry :( At this point we didn’t realize it was probably the Lactulose causing her to have stomach cramps and really bad gas. Someone suggested we ask our therapy team if they had any continence nurses who worked with them. Normally continence nurses don’t see children as young as Vivian, but when the nurse heard that Vivian was on such a high dose of Lactulose, she was quick to say that amount would cause even an adult to have some really painful side effects and suggested we try a different medication, Movicol.

So we did, and the result was pretty much immediate. Over the past two weeks we’ve had a good handful of sleep-throughs after some early waking for a bottle, which we haven’t had for almost three months. It’s been great! And Vivian’s had softer, more manageable stools. Winning all around.

Equipment update: Vivian got her new bed in the end of September; it’s fantastic. We transitioned her from the hammock over to the new bed pretty much straight away and she took to it really easily within the first night of trying. I got over my mopey feelings about it once I saw how happy she was in it.

We also got a GoTo Seat for Vivian, but haven’t really had a chance to get out of the house and use it anywhere! As soon as we got approved to get this seat, the makers released the new and improved version (that isn’t available in NZ yet, boo!), so Vivian has the older version. It’s basically a portable, high-backed seat with a five-point harness and sides that come in slightly to keep Vivian from slouching to either side.

And we are still working with Vivian to spend time in her standing frame each day. We ended up keeping the second one we tried, which is on wheels and has a removable tray that can be angled towards Vivian. It’s a better model than the first one we had (not on wheels, no tray/work space attached).

Vivian Standing Frame

And Vivian has some new kicks for the summer, a sandal version of the Piedro boots she was wearing over the winter. These are only on loan until we get the pair on order for her in the next size up; fingers crossed she doesn’t wear them down too much in the next few weeks!

Hips update: Back in October (or was it September?) Vivian was examined by the “hip lady’ – a physio who specializes in orthopaedic health (I think?), to see if her hips were developing correctly. She wrote a letter about her exam…which explained how Vivian’s hips flex and at what angles and a lot of stuff I don’t fully understand. She didn’t seem too concerned with Vivian’s range of motion, but because Vivian isn’t walking or crawling, referred her for hip x-rays.

Apparently a letter was sent out to us with a date for said x-rays but it never arrived (surprise, surprise) and thankfully the hip lady followed up on Vivian missing the x-rays with our therapy team at the Champion Centre. If you miss an appointment here, nobody calls you. You’re labelled as a ‘no show’ and it’s up to you to get referred again and rescheduled for a future appointment! Pretty awesome, considering we had no communication reach us about the appointment, right?

We mentioned this to the registrar at Vivian’s pediatrician appointment and she was able to pull some strings and get us in for x-rays that afternoon while we were at the hospital. They came back fine, from what we’ve heard (no news is good news?), so it sounds like Vivian’s hips aren’t shallow or at risk for dislocation right now. Given how many times we’ve fallen through the cracks in the system, I’ll be requesting copies of the notes to see anyway, for my peace of mind.

Weight and height: I think I mentioned previously that we were still working hard at getting Vivian to gain some good weight – we’re still working on this, but the dietitian is happy with our progress.

Longlegged Vivian

I can’t remember how much she weighed at the doctor appointment, but I think it was just under 9kg (so she’s finally doubled her birth weight!), and she is 80cm tall. Half my freaking height, and not even 2 years old. Ridiculous. Thanks, Ben’s genes! So she’s in 18-month sized clothes right now, which are loose on her but tall enough for her. A string bean, she is.

Eyes update: At our last ophthalmologist appointment, the doctor downgraded her lenses to a weaker prescription. We got transitional lenses because Vivian’s eyes are still pretty sensitive to sunlight. I really hate them because they’re dark even indoors and we usually put her in sunglasses outside anyway. He also said she most likely wouldn’t need surgery to correct her strabismus but it’s not always very apparent, and I’m wondering if it wasn’t really on the day he saw her. When she’s tired, very excited, or focusing on something very close to her face, there is still a strong inwards turn to one or both of her eyes. Another thing for me to follow-up.

Vivian Reading BLENNZ Book 2

BLENNZ sent some really awesome, handmade books made especially for Vivian from the Jellybean Club (I’m guessing it’s a group of lovely individuals who volunteered their time to make the books for kids with vision impairments).

They have lots of textures and just one main image/item on each page, which makes it easier for Vivian to see in comparison to regular books. She adores them and will spend up to an hour exploring them with her hands, but mainly her tongue.

Vivian Reading BLENNZ Book

Eating update: Vivian is still going strong on eating soft solids and we’ve mastered the art of eating soft lumps in her food as well, as long as the food itself is pretty wet. She still doesn’t like to really touch her food or bring it to her mouth on her own, but is pretty accepting of almost anything on a spoon.

Vivian Eating Al Fresco

On Christmas she tried her first taste of turkey, and scalloped potatoes (with ketchup, of course). She definitely loves ketchup! Turkey she could take or leave. With foods like that, we have to actually give her a very tiny piece and shove it past her tongue, into the side of her mouth, or she’ll just spit it out when she thrusts her tongue.

She’s started liking oatmeal for breakfast, with finely chopped dried cranberries (it’s what I could find in the pantry). No cinnamon though! It’s the only thing we can peg down that she dislikes in store-bought baby food.

Therapy updates: Vivian is rolling both ways like a champ now. Shortly after my last post she really started going for it! Sometimes she still gets her arms stuck behind her when rolling from front to back and I fear she’ll dislocate her shoulder because she just keeps trying to roll over on them. I think we need to work on this while I’m home this week. Here’s a video from the week after she decided she wanted to roll both ways:

We’re still working on sitting up unassisted, but Vivian is making some good strides there. Last week, she sat unassisted for about 15 seconds, which is her current record. We’re also working on getting her to open her right hand and bear weight on her right arm while sitting, and working on developing her protective reflexes that would mean she could stop herself from falling over while sitting. It’s been slow going in this department but she is bearing weight more and more on her left side. We hope her right will follow.

Vivian Sitting at Champion Centre

Now that she’s rolling both ways, she’s spending a lot more time on her tummy than before, and is starting to bear weight through her left arm and push her torso up. She has been opening up her right hand a lot more than before when on her tummy and reaching with her right, which is great. We also want her to bear weight on her right arm here, too. She’s also been bringing her knees up every once in a while, but never while she’s bearing weight on her arms. One day, we hope! Then she can start rocking and that leads to crawling.

Vivian has started seeing an occupational therapist (OT), who is really lovely. Vivian adores her and I think the way she approached Vivian initially has a big part in this. She wore the same top every time she came over, and always approached Vivian from the same side, and never ever got right in her face, taking into account Vivian’s CVI (corticol vision impairment). She is working with Vivian to get her to understand her own body and to explore new & different toys, and is also completing a sensory profile on Vivian.

Vivian’s speech language therapist (SLT) has given us Vivian’s very first switch, which we can record messages on. We are working on Vivian calling us using the switch; so we might record Ben saying, “DAAAAAD!” and if Vivian is playing on the floor in the living room and she hits the switch, he’ll come in and see her. This is only a week in so we haven’t seen much to report back with but will keep you posted.

Other fun stuff: 

Vivian likes to finger paint! She tried it for the first time at the Champion Centre back in November, to make some Christmas decorations, and we’ve done it again at home with her once. Will be doing a lot more :)

Vivian First Fingerpainting at Champion Centre

We went and saw Santa for the first time in early December at a special ‘Sensory Santa’ session. They booked appointments for kids like Vivian before the mall opened, so no crowd, no mall music, and no waiting in line. She had a hellish night before so I was going to take her by myself and let Ben sleep, but he joined us and it went really well.

Vivian's First Picture with Santa

She was a bit of a wiggle worm and although Santa had her on one leg at first, he ended up having to hold her pretty securely in the middle of his lap to keep her from arching backwards. His beard was pretty funny and it looked like it was tickling her so she had a bit of a grin without us needing to get her to smile, which was great because I had to stand so far away from her I couldn’t even get her attention. The sounds were bouncing around the open area of the mall and she would’ve had a really hard time hearing us trying to get her attention.

She fell asleep immediately after getting her picture taken and we walked around the mall while she slept. Ben and I grabbed breakfast together in the food court and it almost felt like a date. It’s the first time we’ve actually been out and about, like a normal family, instead of going to and from appointments with Vivian. It’s hard to believe we’ve never taken her to the mall, or even into a grocery store before that day.

We had a quiet Christmas at home with Vivian; we’ve just been focusing on making every day a good day while I have time off of work. Ben’s parents came over to exchange gifts and brought us some really yummy food and then headed to Ben’s brother’s for Christmas lunch. We would’ve gone, but our car is in the shop and Vivian’s car seat is in our car. I got to catch up with my family back home via Facetime on Boxing Day, which rocked, and Vivian and I have been taking walks every day. It’s good exercise for me while I can’t get to the gym and it’s great to get Vivian to sleep :)

PHEW. I think that’s it. I’m sure there’s heaps I’ve forgotten.

Wishing you a very happy New Year! Much love and drooly kisses from Viv ;)

11 Months Old

Ack, two more weeks have gone by. Vivian is now 11 months old! We have been floating through with no major upsets. Still no spasms. Less than a month to go till her birthday, and inside I’m silently freaking out about it. It has been the longest year of my life, and the shortest. I am dreading it because it is bringing up all sorts of memories of her first month in hospital. But I also want to celebrate it.

The Christchurch Women’s Hospital finally sent us their serious incident report of the events that took place when Vivian was born, and recommendations that have been made based on that report. I’ve only read it once and it was not fun to read. I should probably reread it but I don’t have the energy.

They believe  that Vivian would have suffered from some degree of HIE (lack of oxygen) already when she was born, but that their mistakes during her birth contributed to her injury being much more severe than it would have been had they made no mistakes. I am calling bullshit on that, because who wants to accept responsibility for giving an infant severe brain damage, but we will never truly know.

On to Vivian updates:

Vivian still has two top teeth coming in, and they’re taking their sweet time making a début. I can’t figure out if they’re her incisors or not, but they’re not the front two teeth. Yay for still no sleep! But we’re all handling it pretty well considering.

Vivian First Sugar Taste

Still experimenting with solids. Savory stuff is not passing go and not collecting $200. It’s heading straight to jail, via dripping off Vivan’s tongue or being scraped off because she would rather eat sweets, like yogurt, or butterceam icing (we’re doing a photo project and wouldn’t normally feed her that, I promise). We didn’t think this introducing new flavors thing through very well, did we? Take it from us, hold back on the sweet stuff!

Vivian is eating out of the hammock now, and having all her day sleeps in the cot. Awesome progress there. Just need to build up our resolve to get her night sleeps going in the cot. I have no idea how to do this. We do not believe in the cry-it-out (CIO) methods, so I think it will take some time.

Blind & Low vision Education Network NZ came out to meet us last week. They will be returning a few more times to fully assess Vivian’s sight to see if she’ll fall under the criteria to be accepted into their program/membership/not sure what they call it.

The two ladies who came out were really lovely and saddened as much as we were about nobody mentioning their organization to us from the hospital or eye department. Apparently they have approached the hospital several times and tried to educate them on what their criteria are and have asked them to send cases their way if patients meet the criteria, so they can be assessed early. Big thank you to Stacey (Thomas’s mum from Minding Thomas) for sharing information about CVI and BLENNZ. Without her blog I never would have researched it myself.

Aviator Vivian

We have an audiology appointment this week, to get new molds fitted for Vivian’s hearing aids, and to continue familiarizing Vivian with the audio-visually determined reaction evaluation test I mentioned a few posts ago (where they play a noise and if she turns to find the sound, she sees a puppet move).

We had a visit from Vivian’s ACC-provided speech language therapist. She is stoked with Vivian’s progress on not eating in the hammock. We have her propped up on pillows on the floor to eat at the moment, and she suggested continuing to add pillow height until Vivian is sitting up more. Sometimes I sneakily feed her while she’s leaning on my legs, sitting up. She won’t let me do it every time, but some is better than none.

We’re to also continue with “turn taking” behavior – where we do things Vivian likes and then stop to see if she’ll tell us to continue, and then we’re supposed to state what we are doing, and what Vivian is doing, so she gets used to hearing the words more. And to also encourage her to differentiate her vowel sounds when she’s babbling. We haven’t really heard her do that at all. I’m not sure if that will come. I hope it does.

And we’re also supposed to read her books, which is something we haven’t really done before, because we are so busy trying to do Vivian’s physical therapy every day and getting her feeding and sleeping sorted. The SLT was very adamant that books are meant to be fun. And they will show Vivian things that she wouldn’t otherwise see in our house (but we’re not sure what she can really see at the moment, so it was hard not to point that out).

So I will be hitting up thrift stores and kids buy-sell Facebook groups for some more books. Pretty books and old books, books that can be slobbered on and books to keep. Because anything is worth a try, if it helps even a bit with her communication, or if it brings a smile to her face. Whether it’s because she likes to hear us read her stories or if she just likes touching the books and playing with the textures of the pages, I’ll do my best to give her that opportunity.

Mom Cuddles

Hugs from us to you. <3

Golden summer days

Hello again.

I know it has been far too long since I last posted.  Work has eaten me up and I haven’t had much time to garden or do much else, aside from catching up on housework & laundry on my days off.  I also left our old faithful digital camera outside during a fine, misty rain a few months back and my phone’s camera is not as good as that one.  So my photographs have all been very fuzzy and not post-worthy.

On the garden front, not much is happening because I have no time!  It’s been a tad disappointing to have let my veggie garden get completely overgrown, but one day I’ll have it weed-free again.

Finally caught up on laundry today so I harvested our two tubs of Agria potatoes.  They are so golden.

Picture of this year's Agria potato harvest

The summer is flying by- we’ve been to the beautiful beach a few times and have had very lovely sunny days here.

My succulents on the porch are all very happy and low maintenance, which is awesome.  Finally found the name of my favorite one!  It’s a sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’.   Very happy flowers :)

Secum rupestre 'Angelina' bloom

Also, the first tree in our backyard that flowered this spring is a plum tree.  I’m not sure what kind though, but  the fruit is small and sweet, with red flesh.  Unfortunately it’s up on a ridge so I can’t really get to it.  I’ve only eaten a few windfall plums that the birds & bugs didn’t get to.  The back yard smells like fermenting plum wine at the moment, and I have to clear them in order to get to my clothes line.  YUM!

There are also heaps of blackberries taunting me from up on the ridge.  I wonder if I can talk Ben into climbing up there & picking some.

Hope your gardens are going well if you’re down under!  And if you’re up North, stay warm!  Lots of snow pictures circulating through my Facebook feed at the moment.

How is your season going?

Snapshot sort of Sunday

Hey again!  Slowly getting back into things.  Two posts in one week is an improvement, at least in my mind.  Blessed Ostara to friends here in the southern hemisphere and happy Mabon to you folks up North!

Even though I haven’t been posting much, I’ve still been taking some snapshots here and there over the past few months.

One of the lions at Wellington Zoo.  I was lucky enough to go twice last month, as they had $5 Wednesdays in August.  It was nice, but I couldn’t help feeling bad for some of the animals there — some of the enclosures were pretty small.

There are so many honey bees here in compared to our last house.  I stood very still beneath this tree at the top of our driveway and could hear them buzzing away.

Does anyone know what kind of tree this might be? We have two like this on the property.

This is one of my favorite plants — our friends Anthony & Alicia gave Ben and I this planter full of succulents they picked out as a wedding present.  Unfortunately the largest plant in the middle of the planter was damaged during the move, but I think part of it will recover.  Succulents are amazingly resilient!

Random garden update:  I’ve popped some spinach, lettuce, and kale seedlings into the back garden bed.  The days are getting warmer here, and although the nights are still pretty nippy, they haven’t died yet.  First time growing spinach or kale, so I hope they go well!  I read that you can grow them in spots even if it doesn’t get full sun.  The placement of the garden bed is on the south side of the house, so it doesn’t get full sun.  Hopefully it gets enough to give me some salads!

How are things going in your garden?

Another beginning

It was around this time last year that I began my blogging  journey that led me to meet all of you.  I thought about not renewing my domain, but I’ve decided I need to make time for myself, and I want to spend that time blogging.  I want to get back to posting daily.  This could prove to be slightly boring for you readers, but it’s more of a therapy for me, so deal with it!

I know the past few posts I’ve made have mentioned my lack of posts, and my intentions to write more.  I have to say that sometimes life gets in the way.  The last few months have been a whirlwind.

Ben and I have landed in the North Island and are settling into our new home and trying to find a new routine.  We absolutely love it up here.  The neighborhood is beautiful, and the people up this way are even lovelier.  Ben was very surprised, on his motorcycle ride up, at how friendly the locals were to him.  At that point, he looked like someone out of Sons of Anarchy — bushy beard, leather jacket, black beanie, sunglasses.  He had three people in the supermarket ask him if they could help him find things on his first trip there.  I know that Christchurch folks are just as lovely…but honestly I think they’re all a bit tired, and they’ve been through hell.  It’s been a long two years in Christchurch, and that sometimes showed.

It could be that I’m looking at things from the eyes of an outsider up here at the moment.  Only noting the differences.  Although I really do like it up here, my heart is still in Christchurch.

The cats did really well with the move.  They had to go into a cattery while we emptied the old house and then I flew up with them after Ben drove up from Christchurch.  Moose decided to pee in my empty suitcases the first week we were here.  I realized that he didn’t want to use the litter box, so I made the decision to let the big cats outside earlier than I wanted to.  I was afraid they’d go missing, but I guess with the lack of aftershocks this time around, I didn’t have as much to worry about.  As soon as I let them out, Moose stopped peeing in the suitcases.  I really expected at least one of the cats to end up with a urinary tract infection (Leon was the most prone) after all the stress from the cattery and the flight and then the new house, but luckily nobody developed one.

I admit to completely underestimating how stressful and tiring this move would be.  Almost all of the plants I brought up got badly damaged during the move, and more than a few household items broke. There are still a few boxes left to unpack in our spare bedroom.  I’ve been avoiding them.  I didn’t get my office set up in a way I liked until last week.

The house is still a bit empty in some places because this house is the biggest we’ve ever lived in and we don’t have a huge amount of furniture.  I’m not in love with everything about it, but I don’t hate it. Some parts just look funny to me.  It really could be worse, considering we didn’t even do a walk through before we moved in!

I didn’t think I’d have the energy or time to garden this year because I’m back working in an office now, with a long commute to and from work. I’m not home as much.  That contemplation was part of the reason I haven’t made any posts since June.

I was just so overwhelmed with everything, and I think part of me was mourning the garden I left in Christchurch.  I spent so much time and money getting that how I wanted it.

But, with the lack of rain today on my day off, I managed to get the garden bed on the side of the house weeded finally.  I’ve decided to begin again, and am now ready to see what I can make happen here.  It’s a totally different climate here, though.  And so much windier than Christchurch.  Even if it’s not windy during the day, the nightfall always seems to bring strong winds.  I’m trying to work out where I can plant things so I won’t lose them to those.

On the bright side,  I have no doubt that I will be able to enjoy the full glutton of my courgette plant this year.  There will be no plantnapping happening in my garden!  I’ve already got one waiting to be transplanted.  Ben made sure I bought one on our first trip to the gardening center.  It’s not quite big enough to withstand the wind here yet

I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things now that Spring is finally here, both in the garden and in blogging.  I’ve missed reading your blogs and writing here.  I hope I haven’t missed too much.

Expect to see more of me!

Snapshot sort of Sunday

I finally got all my pictures on to one computer — having a bit of computer dramas here and having to reformat!

I thought I’d show some of the small end harvest I had at the end of this summer and this autumn.

Some of the pictures were taken on my phone, so apologies for poor quality!

My purple dragon carrots were awesome.  I will be growing these again.

Still orange on the inside! :)

A couple of the pear tomatoes that were in my tomato mix

Harvested scarlet runner beans and green beans to dry out

Crystal apple cucumber (this one was pretty bitter and it was early on in the season.  The last couple I harvested were really nice, but the skin is a bit thick and they have so many seeds.  Probably won’t grow them again.

The raised garden bed next to the fence still has plenty of spring onions left in it — I try to use them as much as I can when cooking, but there’s still a lot! I’ll have to give some away to neighbors this week.  I’ve decided to let these marigolds go on their own for a bit so I can save some seed heads to take with us when we move.

Yep, we are moving.  To Wellington!  More on that in a future post.

How are your gardens looking?

A snapshot sort of Sunday

It’s raining again, but I’m not complaining! :) Less water I need to use, I guess!

The past couple of weeks have been really mild — so much so that I’m not sure I’ll ever get ripe tomatoes!  There are plenty growing now, but none are anywhere near ripe.

These photos have been taken over the past month (usually they’re photos from the last week, but I’ve proven to be a slacker this month at posting).

I ordered the rainbow mix of tomatoes from someone on Trademe, who I’m sure orders her seeds from Kings Seeds…and it looks like at least three of what should be full sized tomato plants are turning out to be some smaller variety.  Either cherry or small roma? Time will tell!

Scarlet runner beans are finally catching up to King of Blues.  I really like King of Blues beans better — even the smaller scarlet runner beans are a bit furry. They taste wonderful when cooked, but I think I’ll be better off letting them get really large and then shelling them, like lima beans.

Ignore the rogue weed in there!

Funky rock plant pictures!  I could photograph these all day.  Especially in the bright afternoon sun — the result is awesome.

And the lemon blossoms finally opened!  The day after Bloom Day, of course.  They’re so pretty.

Hoping you’re having a wonderful weekend! :)

January 2012 Bloom Day

It’s the 15th!  For some folks, it’s pay-day.  For me, it’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, kindly hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens :)

This is the most exciting Bloom Day I’ve ever experienced!

Some things are coming to an end in the raised garden beds — the peas look like they’re about done, and the marigolds are being heavily deadheaded, but other things are still on the up and go.  It’s been pretty warm here (for New Zealand, anyway) so trying to keep on top of the watering with the water restrictions we’ve got in Christchurch have been hard on everyone.

Fiery marigolds

More marigolds

Lemon blooms

The new lemon tree Ben’s parents gave me has so many blooms on it! They smell so good!  I’m not sure whether to leave them or to pinch them off though.  There are so many, and it already has fruit as well.

Meyer lemons

My coriander’s going to seed! Will plant some more shortly.  It’s so easy to grow, and even easier to eat! :)

I spotted the first flower on my capsicums!  Exciting.  I wonder what kind it will be — I ordered a ‘rainbow mix’ of tomatoes and capsicums.

I know he’s not a bloom, but I thought he was pretty, so Sir Jumpsalot gets to be in this post.  I thought he was going to jump on me several times — he kept following my movements and then turning towards me lol.

Some kind of cute bug in a rose! :) Some weird things have been popping up in Ms. Chameleon’s foliage lately…

And that’s why today has been so exciting! :) Ben finally asked me to marry him.  Or in his words, “make it official,” because he’s considered me his wife for quite some time already.

What’s blooming in your garden (or life)?

Summer holiday

I’ve taken some annual leave, so I might not post as much for this week & next week!  I know I haven’t posted horribly much yet this month, but I’ll get back into the swing of things very soon, I swear :)

I want to use this time to establish some new habits, like making use of the Wii Ben got me for Christmas, and walking everyday, if the weather permits (when it doesn’t, I can use The Beast instead).

I’m also taking some time to notice the small things again — it was much too easy in December to rush around trying to get a million and one things done.

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses.

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Ms. Chameleon is in her third batch of flowers now, and putting on a spectacular show.  I could take pictures of them all day.

Have you noticed any small things today? I hope you have! <3

New Year’s wishes

I can’t believe this year is over.

It’s gone amazingly fast (most of it), except for when I was waiting for seeds to grow and moaning on here about that!

We’ve had some awesome things happen in our lives this year, for better and for worse.  I’m hoping 2012 brings more happiness for the now & gwen house, and that the ground stops moving in Christchurch.  I already have new ideas for the garden next spring if we’re still in this house by then.  I guess only time will tell :)

Starting this blog is probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself in ages.   I never really expect people to read it, but it’s always a blessing to receive lovely comments from you, and it’s been awfully therapeutic for me.  I’ve needed an outlet for a while and gardening, while quickly becoming my most favorite hobby, is quite a solitary experience for me.  It’s been wonderful reading so many blogs and (e)meeting so many lovely bloggers out there!

Things are still full steam ahead outside!  I picked my first King of Blues beans today and blanched them in some salt water.  They tasted amazing, and were longer than my hand — I wasn’t expecting them to grow so long!  The kittens had to inspect them before cooking, of course.  In the picture, I’d snapped all of then in half, so picture them twice as long as that.

I think this variety of beans would be really great to grow if you have kids.  Watching them turn from a dark, purple-black to green while they blanch is lots of fun!  The magic happens very fast. :)

I also tied up the peas a bit more today, and pushed them over the top of the fence so they’ll grow in that direction instead of flopping over.  Some of them have started to yellow.  I’m not sure why exactly!  I’ve always read that peas don’t need much fertilizing/feeding, so I haven’t really feed them in a while.  I’m wondering if it’s a deficiency or if they just really dislike being so close to spring onions.

I picked a bunch of sugar snap pods and lots of huge snow peas that I’ll be eating for dinner tonight!  I’ve found that the pea pods have a really sweet smell when you pick them, even though the flower has dropped off of it days before then.  It lingers on your fingers like marigolds do when you’re deadheading them.

I moved the red sail lettuces from bed #2 to bed #1 to make room for all the tomatoes and capsicum plants.  They were touch and go for the first day, but they’re settling in nicely and look like they’ll be bolting this week.  We had some really hot days last week that made my green lettuces bolt, so I pulled them from bed #1.

I spotted our first tomato today as well and let out a little cheer!  Nearly all the full-sized tomato plants and pear tomato plants have flowers on them now.  In a few weeks I think we’ll get a lovely first crop!  I can hardly wait :)  We’re going to attempt making our own chutney & tomato sauce with what we harvest in 2012.

The nemophilia is looking as lovely as ever, with the white snowstorm poking up through the baby blue-eyes.  I think this flower will be a keeper for me.  I’m going to look forward to growing them every year.

Best wishes from now & gwen to you and yours! :) See you in 2012!

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