Thursday, May 1, 2008

Growing Like Weeds

These past couple of months have been really interesting. As we've been able to get out into our yard and really work, the world we rediscover each spring has unfolded itself miraculously before our eyes. First we loaded up on garden supplies at the IFA store and more than doubled the size of our garden plot. Emerson and Stella dug right in, literally. It never ceases to amaze us how fearlessly a four year-old boy can grab the wriggliest, plumpest worm or the fuzziest, bumpiest caterpillar. And unfortunately for these creatures, Emerson is learning valuable lessons about life and death in the process. After some hard work, some planting (and re-planting), our garden now includes several tomato plants, corn sprouts, cucumber (we hope), asparagus, LOTS of onions, a strawberry patch, and (hopefully) some pumpkins.
We have also dug into our seemingly endless list of home improvement projects for the season. After enjoying the lovely view of our neighbor's orchard through our downed back fence for months (despite Tad's repeated attempts to patch it until the ground thawed), we finally got the fence back up last month. This involved setting the posts in concrete and spacing them closer together to strengthen the fence, but was surprisingly easy. So any of you out there who are thinking of hiring a crew to build a fence for you -- think of us first! We'll bring the kids and camp out in your yard all Saturday and let our chaos spread like a weed.
Fortunately this fence rebuilding project allowed Lisa to assess both Tad's tool needs and his willingness to engage in tool-related projects. So for his big THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY last Sunday, Tad got "Three Saws for Thirty" -- a sawzall, a circular saw, and a miter saw. He was totally surprised due to a lot of sneakiness on the part of many. Thanks to all of you who contributed, we were able to get him some very nice saws and further entice him to conquer the looming projects. And a special thanks to our moms for throwing to nice birthday celebrations.
And on the subject of Tad's big birthday, I'd like to just take a second in this rambling update to express to Tad how truly lucky I feel to be his wife. I fell in love with Tad for two reasons: 1)his sparkling good looks and 2)his ability to really listen to and understand people. To this day, I am constantly amazed at the fact that all of my deepest, best conversations happen with this man I fell in love with over my deepest, best conversations to that point. The conversations just keep happening! And he's just so incredible at everything he does, from his job to his church service to his interaction with his children. He balances it all so well, despite pressure from all sides.
We really got to celebrate Tad's birthday well this year because there are also several May birthday's in Lisa's family. Kim and Kasey's little twins, Diesel and Elle, had their first birthday May 15, Kasey's birthday was May 17, and Lisa's mom's birthday was May 23, so we all had a huge combined party at the Baker compound. With the twins setting records for cuteness, we all gathered round to stuff our faces, open gifts, and beat a poor, helpless donkey pinata to death.
This month also included some fun firsts. Emerson got his first real bike, thanks to Aunt Kim's nephew, Harrison. The moment the training wheels were on, Emerson was off! He could spend hours pedaling back and forth in our driveway on his yellow "faster bike", pausing only occasionally to hop off and look for bugs, worms, and other "specimens" with which he is endlessly fascinated.
We also had our first yard sale, and while it wasn't exactly the blockbuster affair you may all expect us to report, it helped us achieve our yard sale goal of buying a new couch for our family room. Now we know that those of you who have sat on the dark blue Ikea loveseat that more closely resembles doll house furniture than real person furniture may wonder why we would ever part with such a gem of comfort and luxury. For those of you, we invite you to come over and test out our new, adult-size loveseat (yes, we can only fit loveseats down our stairs), and sinnk into the heavenly comfort of the plush microfiber cushions. It's so nice to actually have our bodies feel comfortable at the end of the day.
Tad also took a day off work to spend with the kids (giving Lisa the day off -- yahoo!) and take them to ride the Frontrunner Trax train. It's the commuter express that now runs north along the Wasatch Front from Salt Lake City. For Emerson and Stella, it was like being inside Thomas the Tank Engine's world, and Emerson continues to ask all of his friends if they've "ridden the Frontrunner yet".
Stella's important first was that she had her fingernails and toenails painted. It was also the first time Lisa painted her toenails in nearly a year, so there was excitement all around. Stella loves to show everyone her "pretty, white sparkly toes." And she has plenty of opportunity to show them to everyone because she insists on wearing only sandals at all times, which goes well with her strict standards regarding clothes. She prefers to only wear bloomers and a t-shirt with her sandals, whether it's forty degrees or eighty degrees outside. And sadly this is quickly becoming a scenario Lisa is more willing to accept because the alternative is that Stella wears her true outfit of choice -- her birthday suit. Every time she turns around, Lisa finds Stella naked running through the house, the back yard, wherever. Tad and Lisa comfort themselves with the thought that at least Stella is proud of her body and confident in herself.
To all of you and your children, be they clothed or be they naked, we send our love!