Peaceful Garden Spaces

05/04/2016

I’m thankful for a husband who loves gardening and landscape designing in his free time. His idea of rest is yard work, mowing, weeding, planting, watering, arranging plants. My idea of rest is sitting in these beautiful spaces and enjoying the fruit of his labor. My absolute favorite space is the courtyard in the front of our house. The trickling fountain echoing off the walls. The comfy cushions on the low bench. The beautiful plants. Jason built all of it and all of us love to sit out here. Even the frogs and skinks love it, at least I assume, since we have several living out here. Sometimes after I put Zay down for his morning nap, Ali and I sit out here to read books. And when both kids are napping, I love to sit here for some solitude.

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The courtyard is my favorite but the backyard is getting better every season. We had a huge leap year of bamboo, which is enveloping this space in a thick green screen (and giving us more privacy from our neighbors from inside the house, too, since we have big windows). We love to eat lunch and dinner on the back patio, under the pergola. We also love toasting marshmallows and making s’mores around the fire pit. Jason recently planted a bunch of herbs for me and I’m looking forward to using them for cooking. My dad also blessed us with a potted tomato plant. We have several fruit trees and bushes (pear, cherry, blueberry and raspberry) on the other side of the fence and eventually I’d like to have a couple of vegetable garden beds. Maybe next year. (That’s what I said last year when I was pregnant with Zay.)

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Easter Family Photos

04/13/2015

I wanted to get some photos of our last days of a family of three. Easter was the perfect opportunity since we were together all day, dressed up and it was gorgeous outside. Between church and lunch we went to Centennial Park and took turns taking photos of each other. After lunch, we went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden with Jason’s parents and took a boatload more photos. Ali took quite a lot of these. She’s pretty impressive as a three-year-old with that big DSLR! She took all of the ones of me alone (or my belly!), and of Jason and me.

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Oops, that first one should say 2012, not 2013. 🙂

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Forzinnia

04/01/2015

“Forzinnia” … that’s a combination of forsythia and zinnia. A couple weeks ago Ali helped pick out and then plant some zinnia. Last week our forsythia started blooming and she helped me clip some to put in vases. It’s no wonder she was getting the names mixed up! I love, love, love Spring in Nashville. Achoo! The allergies are a small price to pay for the beautify of this time of year.

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Our zinnias should hopefully start blooming this month. Hooray for April! It’s a great month to have a baby.

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Swinging into Spring

03/17/2015

On March 5 we had a snow storm that brought 2-3″ of the dreaded white stuff. I don’t ever recall getting snow accumulation in March in the 10 winters we’ve lived in Nashville. On the bright side, I got to work at home more than usual this winter. And of course, Alianna loved it and was sure it was Christmas all over again.

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It was too stinkin’ cold to play outside that day so Ali brought a bucket of snow inside and played in the tub until it melted.

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One week later the temps were in the 60s and we were playing outside with no coats. A few budding flowers have been spotted. I can’t wait until everything really bursts into bloom. Spring is so breathtakingly beautiful here. And of course, I’ve been looking forward to Spring for another little/big reason this season. AccuWeather already has the extended forecast up for my due date. It’s currently looking like April showers and upper 60s. (Seriously, how can they predict the weather a month in advance? Crazy…) I’m so thankful for the longer daylight hours in the evening brought by Daylight Saving Time and I’m trying to get some more exercise with evening walks, lots of playing outside with Ali and eating meals on the back patio whenever possible.

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Feeding the chickens one of their favorite treats: black oil sunflower seeds (birdseed).

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Homemade Orange Julius popsicles. Mmm!

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Look! Dresses and no socks!

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Snow Day in Nashville 2015

02/19/2015

Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of real snow. I would have been happy to hide indoors all day but Alianna was so excited to make a snow angel. I couldn’t resist her enthusiasm, plus the chickens needed water, so I bundled us both up in lots of layers and we spent about 20 minutes outside playing.

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She could have stayed out much longer but I was worn out! Our buddy Jaron lives right around the corner and his mom was under the weather so I took Ali over to play with him. I lasted 45 minutes until my toes were frozen and it was time to head home. As much as I despise this weather and want to pack up and move to Florida, I really did enjoy watching Ali playing in it.

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Iced In

02/17/2015

We’ve been iced in since Sunday night. The forecast was originally for 3-7″ of snow. Instead we got 1/2″ of ice and sleet. The trees look beautiful and also pitiful. I’m concerned about the number of plants we’re going to lose. We’ve had ice storms in Nashville before but in the 10 years we’ve been here, we haven’t had one that lasted this long. Usually it’s melted within a day but the temps are not forecasted to go back above freezing until Saturday. Yikes. I’m trying to enjoy being stuck at home and not go stir crazy. I will not admit to the amount of cartoons Ali has watched in the past 24 hours.

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Fall Family Time

10/28/2014

My summer-loving family has been thoroughly enjoying fall this year. Friday evening we went to a fall family festival at a church down the street from us. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Ali jumped in the bouncy house and got her face painted. We did a cake walk until we won a pumpkin cake. I love the change of seasons in Tennessee.

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The Pennsylvanian Cousins

10/23/2014

 

Alianna, my mom and I took a trip up to Philadelphia to visit and celebrate my niece Iris’ third birthday. Ali and I had not had a chance to meet my newest nephew Jack and niece Tahlia in person yet – they’re 9 and 8 months old respectively – so that was a big highlight for me. Ali’s highlight was playing with her cousin Iris and all of Iris’ toys. She also got to spend a morning playing with her cousin Eli. My brother and sister and I haven’t been together since last Christmas and I can’t remember we took a photo of the three of us. The morning before we flew home we went to a local farm with a pumpkin patch, hayride, fabulous muddy puddles, lots of farm animals and fields and fields of beautiful zinnias.

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Pumpkin Patch 2014

10/20/2014

We recently spent an afternoon at the pumpkin patch with a couple of Ali’s besties and their parents. Jaron is our friend and neighbor and Eliza is Ali’s cousin. These three have been friends since birth—and we’ve been friends with their parents for much longer—so it’s always special to see the three of them together. They had a great time picking out pumpkins, exploring the activities and going on a hayride. I remembered to get out my good camera for a change. (Jason was on the road that day.)

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Dollywood & Pigeon Forge 2014

10/16/2014

Every fall Jason plays a series of concerts at Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge with Guy Penrod. Everyone brings their families and we have a big time exploring the amusement park, watching concerts, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and eating lots of yummy food. If you know anything about my experience of pregnancy so far you know I was most excited about the food! Ali was most excited about the rides and the concerts. She’s a huge fan of her Daddy and of Guy. We went to one of the three concerts each of the three days and spent the rest of the time playing, eating and sleeping. Ali took a nap in the van each afternoon (praise the Lord!) and we even snuck in a little time to swim in the hotel pool one evening. One of the biggest highlights for me was getting to meet up with my foster mama friend Nicole who lives in nearby Knoxville. We were able to get some extra tickets for her and her girls for the park one day. Her youngest is the same age as Ali. The girls hit it off and danced together through a concert (Guy even came off stage to talk to them during the concert, which Ali is still talking about!) and rode all of the kiddie rides together. I can’t show photos of her face or share her name but I did get lots of photos of them together. Ali’s favorite ride was the little roller coaster that she called “the pretend train.” As always it was a wonderful time and I came home completely exhausted.

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