Let’s try this again: backyard gardening round 3

Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially

↑ This year’s loot included flowers for the front yard because apparently we’re trying to get fancy this time around.

Every year that we’ve lived in our house I’ve planted a small veggie garden out back. Yay! And every year that we’ve lived in our house the small veggie garden I’ve planted out back has gone off the deep end before the end of July – so far that means two unsuccessful years. Boo! Hopefully with this year’s planting, the third time will be the charm. *Holds breath!*

Kelsey, Especially

Two Fridays ago Shannon and I took Briseis to the nursery to pick out this year’s crop. For the past two years we’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves with trying to plant all of the things, which has never worked out mostly because we don’t actually eat all of the things (picky eaters unite!) but also because we don’t have all of the time to dedicate to growing all of the things. So this year we slowed our roll and planted only four different things out back: strawbrrries, spinach, green beans and cucumber. Yum, yum, yum and meh.

Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially

Last year I bought the wrong variety of bean and it ended tragically for the rest of our garden. Instead of buying bush beans for our small planter-box garden, I accidentally bought vine beans, a mistake I didn’t realize I made until the vines had already grown out of control and suffocated everything else in our planter box, which kind of happened overnight. Oops! This year I made sure to get the right kind and am totally stoked because if this year’s crop of green beans turns out anything like our first crop of green beans in 2013, we’ll be eating fresh green beans with dinner at least twice a week. YAY!

Spinach is always a hit with the kids and we adults are partial to it too so bringing it back this year was a no-brainer. We went with starter plants again this time around; we’ve had really good success with them in the past so no reason to switch shit up. Same with the strawbrrries. We’ve always bought them as starter plants and they’ve done just fine so we went with strawbrrry starter plants again this year. The green beans and cucumbers we bought as seedlings in little packets. We planted everything two weekends ago and have already harvested a bit of spinach. Fingers crossed we start seeing green bean and cucumber sprouts soon!

Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, EspeciallyBackyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially

We’re also trying our hand at growing flowers out front this year. Our front yard is really plain and boring but because (1) we don’t own, (2) the yard is tiny (we live in a townhouse) and (3) the yard is more weeds than grass, we’ve been really apprehensive about putting any money into it. But this year we said, “FUCK IT!” and planted some shit because apparently we think we’re both talented gardenistas and fancy pants kind of people. Both are untrue but what the hell? YOLO. Also, did you really expect me to say “no” to those hot pink leaves?

Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially

None of us in the house are botanical or gardening experts, which made finding a few plants/flowers that don’t need a lot of sun a bit of a challenge. Our front yard doesn’t get any sun until the late afternoon/early evening and the space we had to plant flowers wasn’t very big so we had to be careful to find things that do well in shade and that don’t take up a bunch of room. Still not entirely sure if our choices were the right fit for the space, but so far, so good. Unless the wilting from “transplant shock” isn’t actually from transplant shock is actually because we suck at keeping things other than little humans alive. I guess only time will tell. But whatever. We only spent $115 bucks on all of it, and while $115 bucks isn’t exactly chump change, when you isolate that amount of money and apply it to yard and garden stuff specifically, it’s really not all that much money. And besides, Shannon, Briseis and I had fun picking out what to get. YOU CAN’T STOP OUR FUN!

Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, EspeciallyBackyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially Backyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, EspeciallyBackyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, EspeciallyBackyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, EspeciallyBackyard garden, round 3 // Kelsey, Especially

We’re hoping to start seeing sprouts out back soon, and as long as the flowers in the front make it through this summer, I’m happy.

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Related: Building our backyard raised garden bed; our 2013 garden; and our 2014 garden

The Rainbow Park 2015 (AKA: Easter 2015)

I’m not big into holidays – especially religious ones – because I don’t do the Jesus thing, but Shannon and RJ are big into holidays. Shannon because she does do the Jesus thing and RJ because he loves making a big deal over all the holidays for the kids’ sake. So although I’m not a fan of them, holidays usually end up happening at our place. Just without any real participation from me aside from the photo-taking, and without all the boring and frustrating forced all-day-long-you-can’t-do-any-damn-thing-else family togetherness and church. For holidays we lead a mostly normal day, with our own little unique family twist thrown in for good measure. Christmas is usually marked by some sort of active outdoor play. Thanksgiving is marked by homemade pizzas and tacos. And for Easter we trek out to “The Rainbow Park.”

We’ve gone every year on Easter since I was pregnant with Madden, and the kids LOVE it. This year, the weather was pretty decent. It was a bit windy, which made it kind of chilly, but for the most part it was a gorgeous day. Not as gorgeous as last year, when the grass was all-the-way green and the cherry blossoms were already blooming, but pretty damn nice nonetheless.

The kids lasted for over 90 minutes, which I’m fairly certain is a record. Emma spent at least 45 of the 90 minutes on the tire swing (seriously, no exaggeration), while Briseis and Madden spent the entirety of our trip racing each other from end to end and pretty much bouncing around the entire 2-acre playground. Halfway through we enjoyed an Easter feast of goldfish, pretzels and apples because eff all that stress that comes along with fancy meal-cooking. Also: #SNACKS

Easter is the one day a year that we for sure visit The Rainbow Park, but we visit a few other times throughout the rest of the year, too. Even so, I think we’ve only done the carousel once or twice before. This year, all three kids were old enough to be interested in it, so obvs we had to take a spin around. Madden and Emma were beside themselves.

After The Rainbow Park all the kids took a looooong nap. Shannon and I ran some errands and worked on some homework, and when everyone was awake, we gave the kids their new outfits. I absolutely will NOT buy my kids ridiculous Easter outfits to wear to a once-a-year church service that we will never attend, but I will always gift them something practical that they can use and that they will love, hence regular fucking clothes for Easter.

“Close your eyes, reach out your hands,” is the prompt in our house for “You’re about to get some cool shit.” 

“1-2-3, open your eyes!”

(They don’t look particularly thrilled here, but both Madden and Emma loved their new clothes so much that they slept in them that night, and Briseis kept prancing and twirling around and dramatically gushing over how byuuuuuutiful her new dress is.)

While the kids changed (right there on the table, PS), RJ headed to the school playground at the top of the neighborhood to hide the eggs. It was a gorgeous day out and other families were playing at each of the school’s few playgrounds, so RJ hid all of the eggs in and around the baseball field. He read the kids his list of egg hunt rules, the number one being “HAVE FUN,” to which Madden had the most adorable reaction ever (!), and then sent the kids off on their way.

Briseis has long been a pro at Easter egg hunting, but this was the first year that Emma and Madden were able to find most of their eggs on their own. I think Emma ended up with the most eggs overall, but Madden ended up with the most golden eggs overall, which means he was the Big Super Special Winner (his own self-given title) of the Easter egg hunt.

After the egg hunt we took a shit ton of timer-cam family pho’os. There seriously are like, 20 of them. These were the best ones.

And, of course, Madden’s priceless face upon learning he not only found THE MOST golden eggs (which means he ‘won’ the big ticket prize) but was allowed to hang out in the front seat!

I’m still not a fan of celebrating Easter, but the kids had a lot of fun hunting for eggs and it was the first family-oriented holiday that Shannon and I have had the chance to spend together, so I guess it was worth it.

(Oh hey, Bri!)

I’m back, bitches

I'm back, bitches // Kelsey, Especially

‘sup, bitches? I’m back! After my little rant last week I hid from the world for two days, spent a few hours at work on Friday and then headed out of town with Shannon. We were on the road by noon on Friday for a trip to BFE, Virginia that we planned way back in November. It didn’t quite go as planned, but it was really nice to get away for a bit. Mucho more details (and pho’os of things besides our faces) to come!

For now, here’s a shit ton of #ksselfies to reassure you that I’m very much still here even though sometimes I want to punch life in the face in a not good way. Yes, these are all from our weekend. No, this isn’t it. Yes, there’s more. A lot more. Stay tuned.

#blizzard2015

Snow day // Kelsey, EspeciallySnow day // Kelsey, EspeciallySnow day // Kelsey, Especially

Whaddup Internet people? Who else woke up to weather this morning? If you’re a stateside reader living anywhere east of…well, basically anywhere ever in the entirety of the United States, then you probably woke up to weather this morning (*ahem* Catherine *ahem*). It’s not bad down here in DC, but it was enough to send everyone into a panic just in time for the morning commute, which would’ve definitely been a shit show had life not been delayed by 2 hours for everyone today. Both Shannon and I work for employers that follow the federal government’s inclement weather policy (takes the guesswork out on our end) and were pretty stoked to wake up at 4:30 this morning to a 2-hour delay. Except that we both decided that a 2-hour delay meant we should go in extra early.

Shannon was out the door before 5:00, and I started getting ready to leave on time too (the kids and I usually leave by 5:30), but then daycare sent out an email just after Shannon left stating they weren’t opening until 8:30 today. Oh, joy.

This morning worked out well for the kids. They got to sleep in, have waffles for breakfast while watching cartoons, and play in the snow…finally. They’ve been waiting for snow for weeks now and were really, really excited that weather finally happened. True story: when I woke Emma up for school yesterday morning she didn’t want to get out of bed so I tried to coax her out with an excited, “It’s going to snow today!” But she just rolled away from me and gave me a straight up #notimpressed answer – “But not enough” – and kept on sleeping. Girl was stoked this morning that the snow this morning was “enough”. And about that pro mask, don’t ask. Weird/cool shit like that is one of the kids’ perks of having both parents in the military.

This morning was a shit show for me. I got no time to do homework that I’d planned on catching up on, had the recycling knocked out of my hand and strewn all over the front yard by a gust of wind as I walked out the door to take it to the curb, and had my driver’s seat piled in snow after I opened the door at the same fucking time the wind whipped into high gear. Plus, Madden fell on his face in the parking lot at school, which didn’t phase him at all but completely mess-ified everything he was carrying with salt and muddy, slushy snow. Awesome.

Tonight: beer. Lots of it.

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Related: A snow day last year

How to weekend with kids in the winter

Pool days // Kelsey, Especially

The (indoor) pool, duh.

…nuff said.

Pool days // Kelsey, Especially Pool days // Kelsey, Especially Pool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, EspeciallyPool days // Kelsey, Especially

We’ve had a good run with the indoor pool thing this month. We’ve found our way to one of the two local indoor pools on three of the four weekends so far this month (so yeah, these photos are from three different weekends and randomly ordered), but sadly I think our swim days in January have come to an end. Unless we squeeze it in some time on Saturday (doubtful…other radtastic plans), we won’t make it this upcoming weekend because like every other God-fearing, freedom-loving American, our Sunday this weekend is booked solid with the Super Bowl and everything that goes with it, which is pretty much just pure gluttony (AKA: copious amounts of food and alcohol). In an attempt to be at least quasi-healthy and productive on Sunday, we plan to hit up our local farmers market first thing (which is an outdoor market that has apparently been open since December?!) and then hunker down for Game Day.

Because best believe there are exactly zero minutes available this Sunday to dedicate to anything other than finding fresh ingredients for salsa and guac at the farmers market, making said fresh salsa and guac back at home, and pigging out on said homemade fresh salsa and guac on salty tortilla chips while watching the Seahawks shit on the Pats, with our feet on the coffee table, our pants unbuttoned, and a beer in both hands at all times. Are we ready for some football? Are we ready for some football?! FUCK YEAH, WE ARE. It’s an exciting time to be an American, people, albeit also bittersweet since after this weekend football disappears for six months. Boo. #football #forever

What about you all? Are you ready for the Super Bowl? Has #deflategate seeped into international news (#leavebelichickalone…who can pull the reference?!)? Have you been swimming at all this winter? Or to a farmers market? Did you know they hold outdoor farmers markets during winter?! Whaaaaa?

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Related: more winter weekending (but outside), some warm-weather weekending, and fingers crossed that the weather forecast for this evening/tomorrow morning brings the kids a Tuesday filled with some of this.

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