Sunday, April 12, 2009

2009 Spring on the Vegetable Garden!

4/11-4/12 2009

I noticed it's been a really long time since I've written an update on our family, so here goes. Today was dirty for us. All of us found ourselves outside in the dirt. We've really prepped our yard this year with seeds, seedlings, bulbs, and tubers all over our front and back yard. I'm really looking forward to the summer when everything blooms! Kelly and I have also been vigilant about spraying deer off on a flower bush we've had for three years that gets decimated by deer every year. It's actually taking off. It's my geranium. I've always wanted a big, beautiful geranium in my yard. Anyway, this might be the year if we can stay on top of the deer off spray. The highlight this year is that we're actually planting a vegetable garden. When Kelly was building the box to hold the raised bed for this garden, I thought "isn't this the 3rd vegetable garden we've built?" In thinking about it, it's the 4th. Vegetable gardens have been a sort of symbol that "all is well" with our family when we find we have the mental and physical capacity to build, tend, and cultivate a garden. Our first one was the summer of 1997 at the home we had in Kearns caring for at-risk youth at Utah Youth Village. Our second was at our first rental home in 1998 North Carolina on Rollingwood Drive. Our third, which still stands strong today in potential for use is the 3 tiered garden at the Quest built in 2000, our now our forth, at our home going up nine years later! Yikes, it's been a long time. Perhaps it's a testament to how much standard gardening work this home needed when we moved here, or the other various projects we've taken on which have filled in any time we'd normally set aside to do a vegetable garden.

Preston's went on a 15 mile hike this weekend. They left Friday and returned Saturday evening. It's a nice break for mom & dad as well as a nice break for Preston from us. Preston's active in all sorts of stuff right now. He's preparing for a 50 mile hike in July, a 75 mile hike in August, and wants to re-build his leaking pond in the back yard. He in-line skates the neighborhood almost every day, and spends much of his free time juggling the 6 girls who are interested in him at this time by facebook, at school, and on the phone. He's doing very well lately getting his homework done before heading outdoors, and has been enjoying making his famous strawberry ice cream shakes (extra thick). His deepest frustrations come in our strict adherence to the LDS For the Strength of Youth. He says we're ruining his social life by not allowing him to hang out with girls (even in large groups) without a chaperone until he turns 16. He says nobody else does it this way, so what's wrong with us? When he asks this question, I really have to feel bad for him having a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist resident for a father, and a mom who runs a private mental health practice for troubled teens. Seriously, would you want this? He's also frustrated with our refusal to allow him to have a cell phone until he's 16. That's rough for him too. We always tell him he can do what he wishes with his own kids but that this is how we're doing it with our kids, so he can fight it, or just go along and do it different when he's older and has his own kids. He's been very open about the fact that he's NEVER going to parent like we do when he's got children.

Catriona just finished up her little flower garden Saturday. She planted a really pretty purple columbine in the front. She also dragged loads and loads of mulch to complete her little garden. Saturday afternoon Catriona ventured out in the forest in the back yard with her dad looking for a bald eagle nest. Kelly and Catriona spotted several bald eagles in the sky a few days ago which was quite a site for them. Catriona has been practicing for a chorus concert coming up in a few days; I think we'll all have all the songs memorized by the time she's done practicing and will be able to sing along when she performs. She just got straight A's again and continues to be a sharp shooter with her academics doing her homework every day on her own, turning in assignments on time, continuing to write books in her free time, and being willing to struggle with math when it gets tough. She's a huge example to me on what it means to be an excellent student. Last week, our family attended the carnival at her school. It was an all out carnival with about everything you can possibly think of in a carnival. After the carnival, she came home with her friends Maddie and Breanna to have a sleepover. She loves having sleep overs and keeps track of how long it's been between them. I think it will be a few months before we have our next one.

Tristan's favorite activities lately have been cutting paper, running around the house creating swords out of just about anything he can find (brooms, sticks, logs, etc.), protesting nap time, getting food out of the refrigerator and pantry and preparing it on our kitchen floor, bringing books into our bedroom and stacking them all over our floor, using my books of stamps as stickers :(, coloring with crayons-colored pencils-markers, and eating candy. Preschool had an easter egg hunt, he just got back Saturday morning from the church Easter egg hunt, and got another hunt this morning with our family, so candy's been the preferred past time for him this month so far. We missed our neighborhood Easter egg hunt last Saturday. Tristan continues to do very well in preschool. His best friends are Jack & Hunter,

Kelly continues to thrive as a resident psychiatrist. He's close to finishing up 1.5 years of training the end of June! In talking with his attending, they decided that due to his starting half way into the year, it would be better for the patients he's going to be working with to be able to see him long term if necessary so he's moving his last 6 months of second year internship to the last six months of his training fifth year. That means he's going to be starting 3rd year stuff soon which will give him a more stable schedule and will give him the opportunity to start doing more out-patient psychiatry. It's awesome to think that we only have 3.7 years left. It might seem like a long time, but I don't mind if those years go by slowly because the sad reality is that in about that same amount of time Preston will be 18! I can't stand the thought of my first baby turning 18. That's just the saddest thing in the world. Anyway, I just won't think about that. Back to thinking about spring and happy things.

For me professionally I started out this year dabbling at the idea of trying to get another full time job and hoping to train someone to do my job. Finances continue to be tight but manageable for our family. In my search, I discovered that I could compete for a higher salary at a larger non-profit. This led me to consider employment with agencies like the United Way as the Sr. VP of Resource Development and as the Director of Planning Development & Partnerships for Family Health International which is located in the Research Triangle Park. With time the thought started to move from fantasy to the realities which led me to really delve into the value, benefits, and perks of being my own boss right now; the fact that Kelly and I are still able to stay in our home so far, the flexible schedule I set, the chance to have Tristan in preschool part-time instead of full-time, then lunch and play time with me, and off to nap in the afternoon in his own bedroom allowing me a short nap, or bit more time to work. I've gained a new sense of appreciation for the rich rewards I continue to get from a job I love that allows me to be home with my kids. So, I've changed my priorities back to building up Youth Quest to help it be more independent of me over the next 3 years with the goal to help it perpetuate even if Kelly and I move to Costa Rica or New Zealand in 3.7 years.....just kidding...well sortof. It involves quite a bit of tedium setting up Youth Quest to become nationally accredited with the Council on Accreditation. This process really gets to ensuring that the company is solid in all areas of the business which will ultimately allow Youth Quest to serve youth covered by private insurance and to obtain grants from larger grant giving foundations. It's going to be an excellent learning experience for me.

So this week is Spring Break for the kids and Kelly's taking one of his vacation weeks' this week. We wanted to go to the beach, but the weather is forecasted to be in the low 60's. We're still thinking about it. I'm really looking forward to a wonderful week with him either way.

Love ya'll