Friday, March 30, 2012

The Story of Our Balcony

I love our balcony. Our lives would be much different without it. It's abnormally large for a typical condo or apartment balcony and basically an extension of our our living space. I was looking at some old pictures yesterday and noticed quite a few balcony pictures over the years. Don't worry, I won't share them all. But, here is a photo story of our balcony over the past four years we've lived here and the beginning of the fifth.

First year
Second year-- can you tell I was on bed rest and could spend all day planting one flower?

Second year--  a few months later with broken dryer and spitting-up infants
Second year-- first snow!

Third year-- spring
Third year-- fall
Fourth year-- ball practice

Cal kisses Ava

Summer escape

Nighttime rodeo grounds

Favorite picnic spot

Bubble-blowing lesson

Fall wrestling match
Fifth year-- toy parachute man stuck in tree

The flu aftermath

February popsicles

After dinner drinks

Brief magnolia tree blossoms

We've had an unseasonably early spring this year and so I've been in a gardening mood now for a month or more.  Our magnolia tree lasted only about two days in full bloom and then the angry sun (I think it reached 90 degrees) burned the beautiful pink blossoms away. Nevertheless, I've been dreaming of having a lush, pretty balcony this year. Not that it's usually frightfully ugly, but last year the boys were really into eating potting soil so I couldn't do much beyond the flower boxes. I'm hopeful that we'll get a little more sun this year since two surrounding pine trees died and had to be cut down last fall. So I've planted some veggies and herbs in hopes of having a little more sun and being able to eat some homegrown produce-- something I really miss from growing up. You just can't beat running to the garden for a snack of fresh carrots and sugar snap peas, hosing them off, and crunching on them whenever you want. Oh, and getting lost in the raspberry patch. 

My parents are still big gardeners, especially with much more land at their new house and for my birthday they are helping fund a more bountiful and beautiful balcony. I did some research about shade plants and ordered some. I got two bleeding heart bushes, a fern-ish plant, and some English primroses that should thrive in a partial/full shade setting. With them I'm mixing in some lettuce and spinach, basil and cilantro, and probably some begonias. I have a mini iris plant that was a gift. I also have some peas that I originally thought we'd just watch sprout in a bag with a wet paper towel and throw away, but I couldn't bring myself to toss them out. Now they're huge! They need sun though, so I'm not sure if they'll be able to flower and produce actual fruit. A few years ago I had lovely, big tomato plants that never had any tomatoes. I'll add some more plants as I haunt Home Depot (though I do wish the gardening section was closer to the ceiling fan section.) and keep taking pictures of how much my plants grow because I'm a little garden-dorky. I also want to make a compost bucket for the balcony. I found a model for making a balcony compost bin, but I'm just not sure I'm willing to give up the space and risk the boys getting into it. 

Here are some garden balcony pictures from this spring since you haven't seen enough balcony pictures already:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Free Caps Tickets!

Last Friday we were excited to score some last minute tickets to the Capitals game. For non-locals who don't know hockey, that's Washington's pro hockey team. It's a big deal around here, decent tickets are expensive, and they're actually a winning team who has been to the playoffs a lot the past few seasons. I wrote about our unplanned, spontaneous family adventure today on DC Metro Mom. Click here to read it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Gymlet Gazelle

Dear Condo Clubhouse Gymlet Gazelle Woman:

You know who you are. Or, actually, maybe you don’t. The purple racing stripes on your Nike Super-Duper Optimum Performance Women’s Extreme Running tank top perfectly match the purple racing stripes on your impossibly short purple running shorts. The shorts show off your lean, naturally tanned, freshly shaven legs. The pink ribbon in your perfectly smooth ponytail bounces along in a flawless bow, laughing a silent laugh. Up and down and down and up. There is no tan line on your slender, defined arms. Your pink running shoes and pink and purple socks pull the outfit together in a seamless display of health and beauty. Your makeup is flawless with no errant runniness and I can’t even hear you breathing as you glide along, a soundless gazelle on the best treadmill of the two in our little gym (hence, gymlet). 

Your white earphones don’t budge from your ears and your head barely moves as you read your iTablet or Enotebook or iNook, whatever one of those fake books is called-- as slim as paper and something I would misplace in a heartbeat. Your cheeks are the perfect amount of rosy, enough to show you’re exercising, not so much to make you look like a wheezing tomato. Your fingernails are perfectly rounded and clean. You probably sweat peppermint and lavender. Your sleek perfection makes me consider my appearance—something I don’t do often enough. 

My shoes are gray and off-pink. When I picked them up at Kohls four years ago they were real pink and a little big for me, but on sale. My socks don’t match each other, but I tell myself the color difference between the pale yellow stripe at the top of the right sock and the pale pink stripe at the top of the left sock is barely noticeable. The lighting in the gymlet is harsh and probably no one is looking at my feet anyway. If they are then that means they’ve seen my legs which I haven’t shaved for awhile and whose appearance would be much more of a spectacle than mismatched socks. But I have blonde hair on my legs so you totally can’t see it. 

My shorts are old black mesh shorts from softball from nearly 12 years ago. The elastic at the top cracks when you pull it and doesn’t snap back. Thank goodness for a sturdy drawstring. I never remember to buy new shorts. My T-shirt is two sizes too big—a dull gray Old Navy St. Patrick’s Day shirt from 2001—with holes that are so tiny surely no one can see them, and some small bleach splatters. I have other shirts, but they’re in my drawer under the ones I always wear so I never think about wearing them. Should I care? Nah. My fingernails have glitter glue specks under them.

My hair is at that horrible length that doesn’t stay in a full ponytail when I run so I only put the top part up and leave the back-of-the-neck part down. It probably looks like an awkward 8th grader who’s trying too hard to be peppy. When I left the house I forgot to grab a hair tie but luckily there was a rubber band in the pocket of my coat, so I used that, its elastic ripping my hair as I apply it. I catch a whiff of non-descript crockpot meal on my coat as I hang it up. I turn on the TV, find TLC, and begin jogging. My earphone falls out, distracting me almost enough to do a face plant on the gymlet’s slightly inferior treadmill. I regain composure and start down the road toward wheezing tomato-ness. 

Anyway, all I wanted to say to you was that you dropped your purple sweatband.


That Mom or Whatever

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No Manure at the Farm Museum!

I didn't know what to expect from a farm museum, and was a little leery of manure. Most readers know that I'm not a very farmyard, barnyard kind of gal-- I mean, I could hold my own in a pair of overalls with a bale of hay, but I really do not want to. Nevertheless, when a friend suggested it, I accepted. Today the boys and I took a trip to Heritage Farm Museum with some friends, and had a fun morning. It's in Sterling, very close to Reston. I wrote about our trip over on DC Metro Mom, so go check it out and enjoy the following photo story that goes with it.

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