Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A photogenic feline

Ballerina KittyBig Bowl of Calla

Good-bye, June

June has flown by. My blogging has been a bit weak, so I may be giving the impression that things are slow in our lives, but the truth is quite the contrary. We have been very busy, but it's a fun and different type of busy. My days aren't filled with lesson planning or teaching. Instead, they're filled with reading, planning, writing, visiting, swimming, cooking, organizing, cleaning, yarding, and erranding. (Yes, I made the last two words up.) I suppose I'll stop there. You may know that this is the type of busy I love. I'm sure I'll be ready to teach again when the time comes, but I am loving these days.

Here's what we've been up in our "yarding" time. (I'm not at the point to call it gardening because there is no garden, but I hope to get there someday!)

Robby planted three dynamite crape myrtle bushes in the front yard. This was their first bloom, which happened right before we left to Oceanside. They're now quite stunning and even a deeper red.
Our backyard crape myrtle tree was supposed to be a dynamite red as well, but it has turned out to be a pinkish-red. We planted two additional crape myrtle bushes in our backyard in the pink tones. Here's a picture of one of them. This is our new favorite shrub. It's called a berberis thunbergii atropurpurea, a type of barberry. We call it our purple plant. We actually put in a number of these to be one of our staple shrubs. They will lose their leaves in the fall, but new ones quickly emerge. They also change colors in the fall, so we're excited to see watch them this year!
We put five vines on the pergala posts. These are mandevilla. They're beautiful and seem to grow well in our summers, but we know they'll have a struggle during winter. We'll just see how it goes.
With all our planting, our brown pergala has some green to it now. There is still quite a bit of dirt in our backyard, but it's just too hot to do much more this summer. Our last main goal this summer is to put the bark in to prevent weeds and hopefully soften up our hard dirt. Come fall, we'll have new energy and new plants to add.

Good-bye, June. You have been a wonderful month. July, please don't be too hard on us. We can only handle so many triple-digit days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


While we were in Oceanside, I noticed that the appliances in our little hotel kitchen were the same as those that we have, just white instead of black. The only difference was that the oven had a neat little drawer/broiler at the bottom. I had wished my oven had this drawer, but I distinctly remember checking months ago only to discover what looked like this was a fake-out. At least I thought. Today while I was cleaning the kitchen, I decided to check one more time. And yep, it opened! I have been living in my home for 6 months now, and I'm still finding things I didn't know existed.

Celebrating Number Four

This past week, Robby and I were able to have a wonderful vacation in Oceanside to celebrate our 4th Anniversary. We did our favorite things: slept in, enjoyed leisurly mornings, rode our bikes, and, of course, ate out as often as possible.

The view from the balconyThe pier lit up every night. It was so pretty.
Last year, Rob and I went to a restaurant at Oceanside Harbor and ate this "bucket o' meat." Yes, I know. It sounds gross. But it tasted wonderful! He had been looking forward to ribs especially, but sadly, when we went there, they no longer carried the ribs. We ended up doing a bucket of lobster tails, shrimp, and chicken instead. It was tasty!
We decided last minute to bring our bikes, and it was a great decision. We rode them everyday, and came to find out that the harbor was only a few minutes away on our bikes. Plus, the weather was perfect.One of the best things at the harbor was a candy shop. I bought taffy, my favorite coastal sweet. Robby thought this picture he took of me was very artsy. (His words exactly.)Halfway through the week, John and Kelly came for a visit and spent a night with us. We spent time at the beach and enjoyed tasty food together.
Rob and I bought a kite our first day, but I wasn't a very good kite-flying partner. I didn't know he had bought a trick kite! Luckily John was willing to be co-kite flyer. Kelly and I opted not to fly the kite and instead took a walk.
We celebrated our fourth anniversary at a restaurant connected to the hotel. For dessert, they brought us a special ice cream sundae complete with caramel popcorn. There's no smile like a smile at the beach.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Week

I realized on Wednesday, which was June 10, that I have exactly two months until school begins again. (Yes, we start on August 10. Whatever happened to beginning school after Labor Day??) Yesterday marked one week of being off, and already I'm amazed at how quickly it's going by. We had a good full week, though. I would have to say my favorite part is the mornings. I love sleeping in a bit (who doesn't?), lounging around, drinking coffee, sitting outside. It's absolutely lovely.

Here are a couple of highlights from this week:

First, as you know, my front door flower (called a ligularia dentata) bloomed. I think the flowers look like a sun, even more like a sun than a sunflower. By the way, the white blur in the bottom corner of the second picture is Calla escaping outside as soon as she saw the door was open.
Robby and I bought a dwarf lemon tree. We love it. This picture is a couple of days old, and the little lemons have grown to be the size of bouncy-balls. (I couldn't think of a better comparison.)Calla likes hanging out by the lemon tree and the little vines growing in pots next to it. She thinks it's her hiding place.Although, she prefers sleeping on her favorite blanket to just about anything.
One of the best highlights of this week, however, was getting a visit from John and Kelly. Kelly is very prego, so it was fun seeing her and being excited about the baby. We had a great time eating out and hanging out, our two very favorite things to do.So, with tears I say good-bye to one week of summer break. Looking forward to next week! The beach!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Backyard BBQ

On Saturday, we celebrated the end of the school year with our local friends, many of whom are teachers. Having just finished the backyard (for now, anyway), we wanted to have a summer barbeque. I did not take any pictures, but Stephanie G. did with her new awesome camera. So, she has once linked to my blog, and I am now linking to hers. Check out the great photos: http://thegimlinfamily.blogspot.com/2009/06/end-of-year-bbq.html


A couple of months ago, Debbie gave me this lovely plant. (Wish I remembered the name!) We had originally planted it in the frontyard but it wasn't happy there. We moved it to a pot next to the front door where it could have lots of shade and water, and it has been thriving. Debbie told me it was supposed to flower, but we weren't sure if it would this year. This morning I walked out to water it and look what I found!

Can't wait to see what it will look like tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009


We have trees now! First, a beautiful maple that says hello right when you walk into the backyard.

Then, three cute redbuds. I just love the heart-shaped leaves.
And three lovely Chinese elms, which will grow into fabulous shady trees someday.

They all work together to make our backyard more complete!

1st Prize DIY

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy. I finished my first school year at Green Acres and helped Robby finish the backyard. I'm pretty sure the backyard was a harder feat to conquer. Here's a little glimpse of our main project: a covered patio in the back corner of the yard.

Here is the week and a half told through pictures:

All done! Don't let these photos fool you. I was very much involved in the process and wish I had more pictures to document it. Robby can vouch for me, though, and I just may have him write a post to confirm.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No more teachers, no more books...

...No more students' dirty looks!

Today was promotion - the last day I see my 8th graders. They actually were quite sweet today, giving me little good-bye treats, notes, and hugs. We have one more work day tomorrow, and then my vacation begins at 3:45 on Thursday!

As always, thank you all for your encouragement and prayers. You will see a much less stressed (and probably much kinder) Candace over the next two months. Enjoy it while it lasts.