May 10, 2015: Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day—that day of the year when I get to be pampered and given massages and fed gourmet chocolates while I lounge around in my pajamas all day. Just kidding—really, it’s the one day of the year when I’m not the first one up with the kids, which is a luxury in and of itself. This year, Chris woke the boys up early and snuck out to Safeway so they could surprise me with some daisies and a yummy Starbucks iced mocha for breakfast. Bliss!

After that, we headed up to Sacramento and spent the day with my mom, as well as my sister, bro-in-law, and two of my nieces. It was a nice, relaxing day. We had some tasty Mexican food for lunch and walked to the park late in the afternoon. Lovely!

Saturday, though, was a bit more hectic—but no less fun! Theo was invited to a friend’s birthday party, so I took him while Chris stayed home with napping Sam. What a fun party! It was in the family’s backyard, and they had rented a bouncy house for the kids. There was lots of yummy food and margaritas for the parents—hey, how can you go wrong?! 😉 It’s so nice that Theo’s now of the age where I can sit and chat with adults while I keep an eye on him—past the age of me having to be within arm’s reach all the time. I was able to spend a couple of hours talking to some new friends who I had met through an online community group who were also at the party.

Later that evening, we walked over to the park for the first Saturday night concert of the season. What fun! We’ve been to a couple in the past, but this was the first year both boys were really old enough to have a lot of fun. These concerts are held in the park in the town square, and a huge segment of the community turns out for them two Saturday nights a month during the summer. So Theo found a couple of friends from school and played with them, while Sam ran laps around the playground and then spent a lot of time dancing. (See my post from last night for a cute video of Sam in his crazy glee.) The band was actually quite good (in my humble opinion) and played a ton of rock songs from Chris’s and my era, so we really enjoyed it. Plus, we met up with the same new friends I had talked to at the birthday party earlier in the day, and they shared their blanket with us so we were all able to sit and chat. They have a son just a little younger than Sam, so when Sam tired of racing around and dancing, he was happy to play with his new friend’s trucks.

Halfway through the night, I felt so happy that we bought our new house. Our rental house was also walking distance from downtown, but this one is even closer—we step out of our front door, walk five minutes, and we’re in the center of town. It makes it so easy to walk down there for the Saturday morning farmers’ market (which we did Saturday morning) or for the evening events they have throughout the year.

Another thing that I’ve discovered I love about our house is the kitchen. It’s actually a little bit smaller than the one in our rental house, I think, but it has more cupboard and pantry space—seriously, we have a bunch of unused cupboard space! It’s awesome! And I just really like how it’s set up. Our kitchen in the rental had an island, which I liked, but it made the work area a bit narrow, so Chris and I would bump into each other. This kitchen doesn’t have an island, and there’s plenty of space for us to both be in there working at the same time. It’s great! (And yes, eventually I will post pictures of the kitchen. Our new stove is due in this week, so I’ll take pictures after it goes in.)

Much of the week was spent working (back to the grind…) and unpacking (we’re getting close to being done, and the entire house is now habitable!). I did sneak out on Friday and go to Sam’s school for a Mother’s Day tea. So cute! We got to dine family-style at the long tables with the kids, and they had all sorts of little treats cut into heart shapes: sandwiches, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. Much to my surprise, Mr. Extremely Picky Eater sat right down at the table and ate a sandwich. Will he touch a sandwich at home? No way. But apparently at school he eats them. Go figure.

We also had a local tree guy come out and look at our yard. We have to trim the trees away from the wrought-iron fence so it can be replaced, and we’ve done just about as much trimming as we can. What’s left to do is mostly very thick branches that need a chainsaw, which we don’t have. (And even if we did, I’m not comfortable operating a chainsaw right next to a wrought-iron fence!) While he was here, we asked him about pulling out some stumps and removing a couple of other trees, and he gave us a very reasonable quote.

So here’s the thing: I hate removing trees. I absolutely hate it. I always feel like I’m killing a living thing (which, really, I am), and I hate doing it. But I realize that sometimes it must be done. I emphasized to the tree climber (that’s what he calls himself on his business card—HA!) that I want to retain as much of the trees near the fence as we can, so I’m hoping we can do that. There’s one tree in particular that’s growing around the wrought-iron fence, and I fear it will have to come down…but if it does, we will lose a good bit of that late-afternoon shade that makes our backyard so pleasant on warm nights. So we’ll see what happens. Cross your fingers that we can keep the tree….

The stumps he’s pulling out are part of the “impenetrable bramble” that we hacked out. The stumps are a tangled mass of heavy roots that would be nearly impossible for us to get out without better tools, so he’ll grind them down for us and remove them. We’re also taking out a small palm tree that was put in a very odd spot right in front of our living-room window. And we’re taking out a liquid amber tree that is growing in a very narrow area between our deck rail and the fence—I don’t think it’d be long before it started causing some problems to the deck, the fence, or both. And we’re probably going to take out a couple of shrubs that went untended for so long that they turned into 30-foot “trees.” They’re not bad looking as trees, but they’re growing awfully close to our roof and eventually will cause some problems, and they also happen to be very messy “trees.” Plus, we won’t lose any shade by removing them, as there is a giant liquid amber and a giant carob tree behind them that will continue to provide shade.

While he’s here, he’s also going to pull out a pyracantha bush. It’s an okay bush but very prickly, and I’d rather replace it with something that won’t stab the boys all of the time. And he’s going to haul away our giant pile of trimmed branches. This all takes place a week from Friday, and I think our yard will look very different! We should still be left with about a dozen trees and several bushes, and we’ll see what happens with the “lawn” when everything is cleared off of it. We’re kind of curious to see whether the grass will eventually grow back. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what we’ll do. With the drought, we shouldn’t put in a lawn, but it’s a small area, so I think the water impact wouldn’t be very great. We definitely want a vegetable garden, but there will still be more space, so we’ll either see about reviving the lawn or just put in some more plants. So many possibilities….

One sort of happy accident: When I was trimming back the trees from the fence, I ended up taking a ton of dead branches out of one. Seriously, a ton! About half of the branches seemed to be alive and producing foliage, and the other half were dead, spiny sticks. The thorns were kind of wicked on the dry, dead ones—one fell on my head and lodged in my scalp, which I don’t think I could do again if I tried! Anyway, when I finished, I thought, “Gee, the poor tree looks totally lopsided now. I hope I didn’t ruin it!” But when the tree climber came, he said I had in fact not ruined it—that removing all of those dead branches was the only way to see if it will start growing normally again, and we just have to live with it lopsided for a while as it starts to grow more. So I was happy about that—but even happier when he said it appears to be a citrus tree of some kind. He thinks a lemon or an orange because those are the only two he knows of that occasionally have thorns, depending on the specific variety. I’d be happy with either one, and I do hope it eventually produces fruit!

Anyway, that was our relatively uneventful week. Before I bid you goodnight, let me introduce my best friend. He makes my life so much easier! I adore these plank-vinyl floors we put in—but they do indeed show all of the dog hair. So once a day I hit my good friend Roomba’s On button, and he spends the next hour or so zipping around the entire downstairs, vacuuming up all of the accumulated dust and dog hair. Really, could it be any easier?! He even zips into the carpeted den and does a pass over the carpet. Bliss!

Seriously, if he dies, I’m replacing him immediately. He may be the love of my life. 😉

I'm not ashamed to admit how much I adore this gadget.
I’m not ashamed to admit how much I adore this gadget.

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