Sunday, May 24, 2009


The garden is almost 100% planted! I ran out of room in the bed I prepared at the back of the house so I have decided to create more beds using the square foot gardening method.

I am already freaking out at how much this gardening adventure has cost us; Ian doesn't care by the way (about the money that is). This house and this garden are most likely mine for this summer and next; I don't feel that it is long enough to justify huge expenditures on the yard. Alas, these are the perils of a nomadic lifestyle. I can choose to not have a garden and spend no money on the yard in anticipation that the yard will only be mine for two seasons or I can live in the moment, go all out and rock this gardening thing. Besides, we could be here longer than anticipated and choosing no garden would suck.

Having chosen to rock the garden I am going to go all out and make four beds by the square foot method. Two large 4' x 8' and one or two small beds 4' x 6'. The wood and the soil will be the biggest expense but since I went dumpster diving today, the wood is free( also free was some sidewalk chalk, planters and a cool little cart for G)

I think I might be a crazy person. I started this gardening adventure back in March with the intention of joining the community garden for $20. When the community garden fell through but my seedlings were sprouting I made an 80 sq ft garden bed. Now the one bed has proven to be too small; I am planning 4 more beds. I put an herb garden in the front yard and since I can't decide which of the 8 mint varieties to plant, I am going to make a mint garden on the south side of the house. The seedlings are all dead so I had to get starter plants from the greenhouse,which is why I ran out of room in the garden; all those veggies were just too tempting.

Howare your gardens coming along? Any tips for me for starting herbs and veg from seeds for next year? Help me develop my green thumb.

*I'll post some pictures of the beds at the end of the week.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Before and After" Amanda's Garden Plot

Oooh, makes me feel all Design Sponge .

I didn't get a garden plot so I had to make my own in my backyard. FYI it is totally against the rules but I figured that since the grass was dead anyway it isn't going to be a big deal. It took me a week of digging and raking a few hours every day but I did it and I present you with the results.

I know it looks like 80 square feet of dirt with a yarn and stake fence but it will be my 80 square foot organic garden. Already planted in that heap o dirt is two types of onion, shallots, and carrots. By the end of next week it will contain beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, leeks, potatoes and fennel.

Don't get all impressed or anything; I didn't grow any of it from seed(except the carrots) and everything should be assumed to be on death row until it lives through midsummer. I tried to impress you all growing from seed by staring some thyme, basil (seeds saved from my Ottawa basil) and mesculun in March but things did not go as planned.

As of today all that remains is one pathetic basil seedling and some really tiny thyme. The mesculun took a dive off the front stairs and I don't have any excuses for the rest. Everything sprouted brilliantly but either stagnated or died.

Help me seasoned gardeners! How do you grow from seed? When do I need to start? Do I need special equipment?

At this late date I am still going to attempt to grow some herbs from seed and I bought some mesculun seeds again but just in case I bought $40 worth of potted herbs so I can turn the front garden bed into a herb garden.


Monday, May 18, 2009


I turned 30 years old today. It has probably been my most laid back and reflective birthday ever. I was reflecting on where the last decade has gone and realised how full and charmed my life has been for the last ten years. There have been some ups, downs and some outright grief but my life has been full and interesting and has helped me grow. I think I might finally be a grown up. I feel like a grown up.

Inventory of a Decade *the highlights*

- met, dated and married my soul mate
- graduated from University
- got hypothermia in an Arizona canyon
- owned 3 cars and crashed or been crashed in them all
- lost a loved one to AIDS
- had 4 careers/jobs (none in my field :) )
- been married for 7 plus years 19 months of which was long distance
- travelled almost the entire country
- lived in two provinces
- took up yoga
- developed my spirituality
- travelled to Belize
- made some amazing friends
- birthed a baby at home in my bed
- embarked on the journey of parenthood
- learned French
- a ton of other things I can't think of right now

Those are just the highlights but I feel like I have done a lot with the last decade. I cried when I turned twenty; I felt like I was losing something. Today I look back and I am proud of myself and what I have done with my twenties, I am excited and looking forward; what will life and the universe present me with next?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Social Woes

Ian and I don't now many people here. My social life consists of G and Ian, or me and a book. It is impossible to get a date with Ian because we don't know anyone who can/will babysit. A lot of people here use young teenagers for babysitters (who charge $13-$15 per hour!) but I just don't feel comfortable leaving the G-man with a 12 or 13 year old; he is too young and I still remember being 13.

It would be nice to get a date but since G is sleeping well, Ian and I get a lot of hang out time at night and when he is a bit older, Ian can take a vacation day, we can put G in the base daycare and get a "day date"; parents need to be creative.

I really want someone to go out for coffee with. Not just anyone, I have criteria. I want to have an easy flowing conversation, maybe a slight difference of opinion but knowing that no judgement is being passed and even if we disagree we are still friends. Basically what I want is Bridget, Karen, April, Heather, Cate or Melissa to pack up and move around with me. I would rather have coffee alone with a book than struggle to create a friendship.

This month I have attended a few parties that led up to a wedding. The person getting married is someone with whom I have a struggle relationship. I don't like it and would avoid it if I could. I admit things are getting easier in our interactions but I still prefer my lonely book to struggling conversation.

At the wedding I got to chatting with one of the guests; we seemed to have a lot in common and conversation was easy and silences weren't awkward. I started thinking "this could be the start of something" then I found out.... she lives in (get this) OTTAWA. Arghh! I am doomed to be friendless in Alberta.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Went to a Parenting Lecture and now.....

I feel like a screw up.

Parening lectures, I always sign up for them even if the topic doesn't apply to the age of my child because I am totally clueless about how to raise G now that he is a little beyongd the "eat, sleep, poop" stage and I have no patience for parenting books. Usually, I leave the lectures with one of several trains of thought.
  • That lady was nuts.
  • Seriously who parents like that?
  • I want to parent like that.
  • Oh my God(s) am I screwing up my child parenting the way I am?

Is this child already doomed?


The last thought came to me after I asked a question at a parenting lecture last week. The lecture was about misbehaviour, what causes it and how to deal with it. I was really enjoying the lecture and was affirmed in many of my parenting beliefs. I enjoyed the lecture so much that I intended to write somewhat of a review here on my blog, that is,until the lecturer answered my question about routines.

I consider myself to be a very laid back parent for a "type A" person. I don't want a hyper scheduled child who is so dependant on his routine that he can't cope with a deviation from it. My life is not organized enough to need a crazy schedule, in fact, ever since marrying a military guy eightish years ago my life has been anything but predictable.

I feel at this point I may need to give a disclaimer as I am about to assail you all with our non-schedule or non-routine.

Disclaimer *** I am in no way judging people who have a schedule or routine for their child(ren) no matter how loose or strict. I am a lazy rambling hippie an you should probably pay no attention to me***

Before attending the lecture I had no real serious doubts about my day to day with G. The purpose of going to the lecture was to gain insight into non-punitive and non-corporal discipline. I figure once G forgets that he is a living Buddha, I am going to need it.

During question period A parent asked a discipline question specific to her child and the speaker gave her some strategies. The speaker seemed finished but then stated "you need routines and lots of them".

Uh oh, my brain flies into motion, over thinking over analysing. I started thinking of what routines G and I have and I am realizing we don't really have so many routines as we have daily traditions. I am curious and I want to know do our daily traditions constitute routines?

So... I ask. I don't know if I really got an answer to my question, she just said "You need routines and a lot of them, you need to stick to them because children do well on routines."

Crap! I guess I am messing up. Maybe I should have read more books. Maybe I should try for more routine. Ack! I lived with all of this swimming in my head for a few days and then I enlisted Ian to try and either talk me down or confirm that I am a huge screw up and I am indeed screwing up our kid. Where is Bridget when I need her?

Ian doesn't think there is anything wrong with our routine or lack of it. He thinks that G is doing just fine and he enjoys that G is a flexible little dude. Sort of a why fix it if it isn't broken idea. I guess it seems like that should have talked me down but it really didn't. I am now thinking things like "just because what we do is easy doesn't mean it is good or right" and "maybe I should find a crappy job and put G in daycare because I am obviously not qualified to raise my own child". Then there is the more rational me that just wants to raise him the lazy hippie way and hope for the best.

So if anybody has made it this far into the most recent adventure of the "Reluctant Nomad and her Toddler Sidekick" please go a bit further and tell me what you think of our unroutine/daily traditions. Tell me if I am screwing up my kid. I won't promise I won't obsess and cry but I do promise to read and be thoughtful about it all.

The Daily/Weekly Traditions of Amanda and the G

Everyday we wake up when we wake up, we have breakfast and sometimes shower, sometimes Ian comes home and eats with us. We usually have one daily activity planned and it is usually in the morning. Mon playgroup , Tues yoga with day care, Wed salsa tots, Thurs yoga with daycare and playgroup, Fri playgroup. The rest of everyday is just stuff, we play and read and get things done in the garden or the house, he naps if he needs it and eats when he is hungry. When Ian comes home we all hang together or I go out or we go out as a family. Weekends we go to the market, zoo, for bike rides or swimming.

The reason I say we have traditions instead of a routine is that we always eat at the table, he always naps on the couch (usually in my lap), every night he usually nurses to sleep in my arms etc. So there are constants in his life an I think they are good but we fall short of being in a routine because nothing we do , except timed activities, has a time structure.

I know parents who time everything; wake up time, snack time,meal times, reading, art etc. I always just thought it was a difference in kids or a difference in parents but today I am a bit paranoid that it is the way we are "supposed" to parent to raise normal kids and that my being a lazy hippie is forever screwing G up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On the Road Again!

On our bikes that is. Having finally purchased our bike trailer, we installed it and took it for a spin. G was in a super cranky mood and hated the helmet but once we were rolling he didn't mind. After our first spin I started to doubt our choice and worried that I had just paid $700 for something I didn't really like. It was after all not the trailer we had originally decided on.

March 2008, Ian an I researched and chose a bike trailer. The Chariot sidecar seemed to fit our needs perfectly so we started saving for it and planned to buy it come the summer. My dear Aunt held a party for baby G the following month and everyone contributed to the trailer and we had enough to buy it. I was so excited to get back on the bike.

In April we visited the pediatrician and learned from her that it is not recommended to put babies under one year old in a bicycle trailer. Resigning ourselves to walking for the summer we put the money in a savings account to keep it for the next biking season.

March 2009, enter fellow cycling friends and a bike mechanic who give us serious misgivings about our choice of trailer. They are not so sold on the side car as I am; since they are well seasoned cyclists who use trailers my ears are open. They recommend a pull behind trailer and vote for Burley over Chariot.

Now we own the Burley D'lite two child bike trailer (just in case we add another sidekick or need lots of groceries) and our first experience was terrible. G kept slipping down in the trailer and was not having such a good time.

Back at home Ian discovered that the bike shop had installed the harness incorrectly and given us incorrect information on using it with one child. Maybe, I just expect too much but I don't think it is ridiculous to expect expert service, at a small high end store, selling top of the line trailers. I am going to pay the shop a friendly visit to let them know so the next person won't start their biking journey with their child disappointed.

We haven't taken the trailer out since but the modifications seem like they will fix all of our complaints. Now all I need to do is stop thinking about how cool Bridget's bike seat for A is and I will be a happy, baby towing cyclist.