Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rainbow Chard!

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

Here's a photo of Yoav holding the chard he harvested. He loves pruning and harvesting ;) And watering - he's very gentle about moving back the leaves a bit to water on the roots.

It was amazing today with the chard - first we got two leaves and stems and cooked them (sauteed in olive oil and garlic powder and salt). At first, I thought Yoav didn't like it, but he ate it all and then said he wanted more!! Then we went out and got four more pieces and he ate all that too! I have some Fordhook Giant Chard seeds I'm going to plant tomorrow. It's supposed to be very hardy and tasty too!

I found lots of great info about growing chard here.

The other day, Jackie and Phoenix came over and we ate bread with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. The basil was from our garden and was so delicious, you really only had to smell it to enjoy it! I can't wait until we get our own tomatoes - then it will really be amazing!

I'm loving the garden. The only thing I don't like is that I want more! I wish I could have a few more boxes, some fruit trees, etc. I'm also trying to figure out what kid activity to put outside. I'm leaning toward a sandbox, but most playsand has crystalline silica, which is, of course, carcinogenic and the safe sand is $60 per 50 lb bag! I found some through Oregon Decorative Rock that is much less, so maybe I'll do that. Still trying to convince Jeremy...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Bummer. Yoav just said the word "nice". He saw a pic of two orangutans hugging and said, "That's nice of them?" I've been avoiding the word completely since I read Unconditional Parenting. Oh, well. Too many people too often referring to people as "nice".

Friday, July 25, 2008

Yoav stories

One of the stories Aldort told me during my personal session is that when she was about 6 years old, her mother was kissing her baby brother and saw Aldort watching. The mother said, "Are you jealous?" And Aldort said, "Yes, I want to kiss him too!" This was an example of how Aldort was old enough to relate more to her mother than to the baby (ie, no sibling rivalry). This morning, Jeremy was tickling Elie all over his body and I saw Yoav watching and smiling. Then Yoav said, "Can I do it?" And he did it!

Yoav is so funny - we planted some seeds in the garden (carrots, lettuce and radishes). Before we went out I said something about how we're both learning about gardening at the same time (since I've never had a garden before) and he said, "I'm not learning about gardening because I'm just thinking about girls." Jeepers! I wonder what's in his head when he's "thinking about girls". This morning he woke up and said, "Aba, I'm thinking about Leila and Yakira." That was the first thing he said when he woke up.

We harvested some chard today - our first harvest, albeit very small ;) Yoav cut the leaves off himself. I have some pics to put up. A lot of our plants are getting quite large - one of the tomatoes is almost as high as the 2' cage I'm using for now. I have a 6 tomato tower to put up, but we need to get some clamps to attach it to the sides of the box.

This is what we have planted now:
BOX 1 (Closest to house, pic above with Yoav):
Row 1: Double Apricot Hollyhock (1, MVG) / Little Finger Carrot (16, NG, seeds) /x / x
Row 2: Genovese Basil (2, Jen, 2 seeds) / Red Grape Tomato Seedling (1, NG) / Big Beef Seedling (1, NG) / Cherokee Purple Tomato (1, Jen)
Rosita Eggplant (1, Jen w cage?)
Row 3: Celery (4, Jen) / Queen Sophia Marigold (2, NG) / Lipstick Pepper (1, Jen) / Ace Pepper (1, NG)
Row 4: Sage (1, MVG)/ Cherry Belle Radish (NG, seeds) / Summer Bibb and Green Salad Bowl Lettuce (NG, seeds) /Rainbow Swiss Chard (1, MVG)

BOX 2: (Furthest from house):
Row 1: Sungold Cherry Tomato (1, Jen)/ Charentais Melon (1, Jen) / Charentais Cantaloupe (1, Jen) / Arava Melon Seedling (1, NG)
Row 2: Rosita Eggplant (1, Jen) / Fairy Tale Eggplant (1, NG)/Sugar Baby Watermelon Seedling (1, NG)/ Maraschino Cherry Salvia (1, MVG)
Row 3: Thyme (1, MVG), Chamomile (1, MVG)/x/ Chocolate Daisy (1, MVG)
Row 4: Alpine Strawberry (4, MVG) / Alpine Strawberry (4, NG)/x/x

We just walked the kids to sleep. Yoav made a really mature comment. Jer had a problem at work - a car was late and Yoav was asking about the details of the situation. Jer told him about the calls he'd made and said the client was mad because he had to wait. Yoav said, "Why was he mad? Everybody waits but." (He still says but instead of though) It's so interesting - he seems like he has a decent sense of reality even though he still has occasional tantrums (and might get upset himself if he had to wait and didn't want to!). He loves when I talk about the "problems" of all of his girls. I make up stories (or he tells me what sort of problem to talk about) for his girls. Like he'll have a problem where we had peaches and nectarines and ate the last nectarine and he was upset. So I'll tell a story later where Isabella was eating peaches and nectarines and they ate up all the peaches and she was upset because she wanted another peach but not a nectarine. Yoav said to that, "Why was she upset? They had nectarines but. They're juicy too."

I just went in to check on the boys and this is what I saw. They are too cute in bed together. They both sleep better when they're together before we get in bed. I've been in when one has woken slightly and whichever one stirs always moves to find a warm body, which is how they always end up sleeping close together :)

I also just noticed that some of my clothes that Yoav dumped on the floor today as part of a game of train were all cleaned up and put back on my shelf in their baskets! Probably not sorted right, but all cleaned up!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yoav's Faux Pas

Today Yoav asked me if I have a baby in my tummy. I said, "No. Why? Does it look like it?" He said yes. LOL.

We had an okay day today except that Yoav didn't want to go outside, so I got a little tired in the afternoon. Yoav played with his blocks and wooden animals for most of the day.

Jeremy has a work event tonight, so I made my full dinner to eat with Yoav. We made shnitzels, corn on the cob and kasha. Yoav shucked the corn, which is always a fun activity, but he said he didn't like it :( Usually he eats it at Safta's house. I thought it was good, although her corn is usually better because she gets it at a local farm and mine was from FreshDirect... oh, well. I don't think corn is so great for kids anyway because it's so hard to digest. I enjoyed eating a full meal with him, though. I forget if I've posted this before, but he does all the breading for the shnitzels completely by himself.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On Manners

We've always gone the way of *not* teaching manners. I've never said to Yoav: "Say thank you/sorry/hello/good-bye/etc."

An explanation much better than I could ever give, is here:

Today I was playing blocks with Yoav and I asked him for a few of a certain size and when he handed them to me and I said nothing, he said, "Say thank you." Hehe. I do actually say thank you to him some, but not too much because I don't want it to be at all manipulative.

Grilling Out

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

We had a great day today! Dave, Nahama, Yonatan and Alex and Eitan, Elka, Leila and Yakira came over. We grilled outside and then went to the playground when everyone was finished eating and the kids started getting antsy (and were congregating around the garden ).

I wish there was something back there that was fun for kids other than the garden. We did water the plants first and I let all the kids take turns, but towards the end, they started digging in the dirt...

There's a little space in the back where we currently have a compost pile. I was thinking about a sandbox there, but it would be so messy and I'm afraid sand would get into the garden and dirt into the sandbox and we'd end up with sand all over the house :(

The playground was fun, too. The kids played with balloons for a long time - throwing them around, popping them, filling them with water, etc.

And the best thing was that both kids slept SO well! Yoav woke up once and said he wanted to nurse, but he fell asleep on his own in a few seconds before he even tried to. I think Elie nursed during the night, but he didn't need to pee all night. Yoav fell asleep at 7 and woke at 6!!! YEA! So we're all relaxed and happy today :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun Day - EC Meeting and Playdate with Haakon

We had a really smooth day today. The night was horrible - Yoav went to sleep at 7PM and woke up at 2:30 for OVER AN HOUR! BLAH! Then he woke up around 6AM. So he was pretty tired in the morning and Jer had to go to work early so it was a somewhat unpleasant morning, although I think I dealt with it pretty well, validating Yoav and letting him lead.

We went to an EC meeting at 12:30PM, so we left around 12. As I was finishing getting ready, Yoav said he would turn off the lights and asked me where the switches are for the lights in the living room and kitchen :) It's so cute to see him growing up and starting to take care of things. Yoav was really excited to see Abby, but there were two other girls at the meeting and Yoav stayed closer to me.

After the other girls left, though, we walked to the subway with Abby and Yoav was in heaven, laughing it up with her.

Dara (and Zuzu) ended up coming over because she was waiting for her husband and Haakon. When Niels came to pick them up, Haakon said he wanted to come inside to have a playdate with Yoav! Yea! Yoav and Haakon haven't played together much before (maybe three times) and have never connected well. Today Dara read some books to them both and they ate sandwiches and at the end were playing with some cars together. Yoav is such a host. When Haakon said he was hungry and wanted a sandwich, Yoav told me to make a sandwich and when it came to drinks, Yoav asked Haakon if he wanted a large or small glass. He says, "Do you want a big or little cup?" I feel like I give Yoav too many choices, because everything with him is, "Do you want x or y?" "Do you want z? Yes or no?" He says, "Yes or no?" a lot because I guess I say it when he doesn't respond to me. Anyway, at the end, Yoav said to Haakon, "Do you want to take one of my toys home? Yes or no?" Haakon said yes and picked a little alligator. Then Yoav asked if he wanted to take something else and he picked the police car. Then Yoav asked if he wanted to take something else and either Haakon picked or Yoav suggested some poker chips. Yoav wanted to give him a little whiffle ball, too, but Haakon's hands were full . Yoav likes to bring something home from other people's houses, so that's why he did it, but it was interesting to see that he was really willing and happy for Haakon to take *anything* as far as I could tell. There were no limits (not the word I'm looking for, but I'm too tired to think of the right word) to his offer - like he didn't say, "You can have anything except this, this or this." I think he would have been happy with Haakon borrowing anything we have.

Afterwards, Yoav and Elie took a bath with our great new wood bath toys we got to replace the few plastic ones we had. We got the new ones from North Star Toys - we got a few ocean animals and another little boat. The kids had lots of fun. Elie's been bathing on his tummy so he can move around easily. He mostly moves around the tub choosing different toys to bite on :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Elie's First Feeding

Elie ate his first food today! We (Jeremy and I) were eating rotisserie chicken from Union Market with kasha and roasted carrots. I put Elie on the floor to play, but he fussed a little. I thought carrots were safe for a 7-month-old, so I checked the Dr. Sears book to confirm and then cleaned off the table near me, mashed up some of my carrots and put it on the table for Elie to eat (pureeing food reduces fiber content and supposedly is generally less healthy than mashing with a fork). He sat on my lap and devoured it! He even grabbed my fork from me to lick some off the fork :)

With Elie, we're going to follow Aldort's advice of simply holding the baby in your lap and letting him/her eat foods from your plate (assuming they're safe for the baby). She says that doing it this way (rather than spoon or finger feeding) puts the baby in control of the eating and tends to lead to a "better" eater and even, she says, generally a less-messy toddler. We'll see how it pans out. Certainly makes sense to me!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Laundry and Brooklyn

What a glorious day - our new washing machine is WORKING!!!! Finally, after five years of living without, we have a washer/dryer IN OUR APARTMENT!!! What luxury! We originally ordered the LG Washer/Dryer combo, which was referred by a friend, but it arrived on Monday with a big dent in the front, so we refused it. We couldn't find another one to come in short order and didn't want to wait the four! weeks that we waited for that one, so Jeremy found a Haier HWD1000 (which is a bit smaller and a lot cheaper) at a store in Brooklyn that would deliver in two days! It then took us a few days to get it installed, but I'm now on my fifth load of laundry (we have a lot of catching up to do!) and all is well!!!

It's a 2.5 hour wash/dry cycle, so I've done two full wash/dry cycles and two washes and then put the wet clothes outside on a clothesline. I did the clothesline for towels and jeans (which I thought might take even longer to dry). It's nice using the clothesline - I've never had the pleasure of having one before. It's so quiet and calm out back - I enjoyed hanging clothes out there by the garden. Very calming. And saving energy is always a good thing.

I also planted Yoav's chocolate mint and lamb's ear in small containers - they are both invasive, so I didn't want them in with the veggies.

Jeremy and Yoav are having a brilliant day themselves. They left this morning on the bike and I think Jeremy said they did a paddleboat ride at Wollman Rink, then a pony ride somewhere and when he called, they were at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden! WOW! Yoav must be in heaven!

I'm SOOOO glad we moved to Park Slope! I love it here!!! :)

One more thing I really like about Park Slope - you can just put used items on the sidewalk by your house for people to take. People just know the drill - you don't have to include a note or anything. So far today, I've put out a phone, curtain hooks, stainless soap canister, a transformer toy (don't tell Yoav) and an old floppy toy basket. It's all gone! So much better than Salvation Army, since it all goes directly to someone who wants it and I only have to take it out to the stoop!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Elie's First Feeding

We just gave Elie some avocado to eat. Yoav and I were eating mashed avocado with chips so I put a little on a bamboo cutting board for Elie (he was sitting on my lap). He ended up just getting it on his hands and smearing it around. He and Yoav both enjoyed it, though.

Garden Update - Yoav's Transplants

We just planted a bunch of Yoav's MVG transplants. He dug the holes, put the plants in, and did some watering. I'm trying to figure out how to keep him away from the more sensitive plants like eggplant and tomato - he knows not to water the leaves or touch the leaves but he does it some accidentally. I'm trying to just steer him toward the hardier ones without actually saying I don't want him near the less-hardy ones that I care more about :)

Anyway, this is what we have now (we planted the Hollyhock, Salvia and Chocolate Daisy):

BOX 1 (Closest to house - on the left in the photo):
Row 1: Double Apricot Hollyhock (1, MVG) / x / Cherokee Purple Tomato (1, Jen) / x
Row 2: Genovese Basil (2, Jen, 2 seeds) / Lipstick Pepper (1, Jen) / x / Rosita Eggplant (1, Jen w cage?)
Row 3: Celery (4, Jen) / x/x/x
Row 4: Sage (1, MVG)/x/x/Rainbow Swiss Chard (1, MVG)

BOX 2: (Furthest from house - on the right in the photo):
Row 1: Sungold Cherry Tomato (1, Jen)/ Charentais Melon (1, Jen) / Charentais Cantaloupe (1, Jen) / x
Row 2: x/x/x/ Maraschino Cherry Salvia (1, MVG)
Row 3: Thyme (1, MVG), Chamomile (1, MVG)x/ Chocolate Daisy (1, MVG)
Row 4: Alpine Strawberry (4, MVG) x/x/x

The first box needs to be moved about a foot further from the house so it'll get sun earlier in the back, but I'm not sure it's movable :( If not, we'll just have one set of vertical foods in the further box.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garden Update - MVG Plantings

I just planted a few things I got today from Mountain Valley Growers and put in an order for NaturalGardening for a few more transplants and a bunch of seeds. I'm getting thoroughly confused :) This is what I have planted so far:

BOX 1 (Closest to house - on the left in the photo):
Row 1: x/x/ Cherokee Purple Tomato (1, Jen) / x
Row 2: Genovese Basil (2, Jen, 2 seeds) / Lipstick Pepper (1, Jen) / x / Rosita Eggplant (1, Jen w cage?)
Row 3: Celery (4, Jen) / x/x/x
Row 4: Sage (1, MVG)/x/x/Rainbow Swiss Chard (1, MVG)

BOX 2: (Furthest from house - on the right in the photo):
Row 1: Sungold Cherry Tomato (1, Jen)/ Charentais Melon (1, Jen) / Charentais Cantaloupe (1, Jen) / x
Row 2: x/x/x/x
Row 3: Thyme (1, MVG), Chamomile (1, MVG)x/x
Row 4: Alpine Strawberry (4, MVG) x/x/x

We have a few more transplants that I'll plant with Yoav tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Today Yoav asked me if I was stressed. I said no because I wasn't overly stressed, but I was thinking about whether or not the meat I was making for Yoav was thawed enough to cook and I was also thinking about something else that I've now forgotten that I was a bit anxious about. Yoav said, "It seems like you are." or something close to that with the "seems like" in there. I meant to post it immediately so I wouldn't forget, but I guess I was too stressed and forgot LOL.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Garden Update

Here's a pic from today of Yoav watering the celery. We have the grid down and all the transplants from Jen planted. Tomorrow all the MVG ones are coming. We're going to monitor the sun today to think more about where things should go before we finalize the plan.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yoav and Stella

This morning, Yoav said he wanted to give his babies tzi-tzis. I said only Mommies can do that and his wife will give his babies tzi-tzis. So we talked about getting married and he asked who I was married to, we talked about how Saba & Safta are married and how Grandma & Grandpa are married. He then said he wanted to marry me. I told him I'd be too old to make tzi tzis by then. So then he said he wanted to marry Stella and he said he wanted me to ask her :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Garden Update

We finished most of the gardens yesterday. We (Jer) made two 4'x4' Fir beds. All we have left is to add the grids and plants, which we should be able to get done today.

This is my current plan for the layout of the boxes (Row 1 is the one closest to the house and is the north side; Row 4 is furthest from the house):
BOX 1 (Closest to house - on the left in the photo):
Row 1: Sungold Cherry Tomato (1, Jen) / Sun Sugar Cherry Tomato (1) / Cherokee Purple Tomato (1, Jen) / Cherokee Purple Tomato (1, MVG)
Row 2: Genovese Basil (2, Jen, 2 seeds) / Lipstick Pepper (1, Jen) / Cal Wonder Bell Pepper (1, MVG) / Rosita Eggplant (1, Jen w cage?)
Row 3: Celery (4, Jen) / Queen Sophia Marigold (2) / Little Fingers Baby Carrots (16, seeds) / x
Row 4: Crispino Iceberg Lettuce (1, MVG) / Lettuce - Summer Bib (4, seeds) / Lettuce - Salad Bowl (4, seeds) / Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard (4, seeds)

BOX 2: (Furthest from house - on the right in the photo):
Row 1: Sugar Baby Watermelon (1) / Charentais Melon (1, Jen) / Charentais Cantaloupe (1, Jen) / Arava Melon (1)
Row 2: Burgundy Okra (1, seeds) / English Thyme (1, MVG) / Transylvanian Sage (1, MVG) / Black Eyed Susan (1)
Row 3: Catnip (1, seed) / Cilantro (1, seed) / Flat Leaf Parsley (1, MVG) / Greek Oregano (1, MVG)
Row 4: Alpine Strawberry (4, MVG) / Cherry Belle Radish (16, seeds) /Flowers for Yoav to pick and grow

The ones that say Jen are seedlings from Jen that she started from seeds. The MVG ones are from Mountain Valley Growers and the rest I'm ordering from Natural Gardening.

Evening update: Jer finished the grid today and I planted all but the Sungold tomatoes. They have three sprouts and I want to check with Jen to see if there's a chance that I could successfully separate them.

On the parenting front, Yoav was such a pain in the neck today. He probably just had energy to burn. But he had a few unresolveable issues that I guess he lays out as an excuse to cry or show upset:
1. He said he wanted me to put his shoes on outside on the first step (which was the only wet step) AND he didn't want to get wet.
2. When we finished the last of the nectarines that we got at a farm in CT, he said he wanted a nectarine but refused a peach (which was amazingly juicy as well). Later, I told him a story about a girl who ate the last peach and wanted more and her mommy only had nectarines, plums and cherries (the fruits we have). He said, "But nectarines are juicy (or something to that effect) too. Could she eat those instead?" So I guess he'd processed the event and obviously even knew at the time that the other fruit was yummy too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Square Foot Gardening

So we're getting ready to set up our Square Foot Garden (SFG). Finally! Jen gave us a bunch of starter plants (eggplant, two varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupe, celery, and basil. We have all the wood and dirt (we got compost in CT when we visited and had to order the vermiculite online). Hopefully the weather will be nice tomorrow and we can get it all done. We still have to order more plants - we'll get a few more veggies and fruit and a bunch of herbs. We're going to do two boxes.

Also, Elie has the funniest stance where he puts his tush way up in the air almost in the downward facing dog yoga position. I can't figure out why he does it. He seems to just like doing it, although a few times when he's done it, I've peed him and he's peed, but it's not always a pee signal - sometimes it seems to be just for fun.