birthday boy!

Today is Nate's birthday! The big 2-9. I remind him how close that is to 30 which sounds old to a 25 year old. :) I know it's not too long before I'm there.

Nate had to open at Sbux this morning (at 4:30). I got up with him and dropped off a couple of our friends at the airport at 4:30 this morning. I love the city when it sleeps. Driving when it is still dark: no traffic, streetlights flashing yellow, building lights shining. It's beautiful.

After the airport, I drove to Nate's store and waited for it to open at 5 a.m. Nate made me a hot chocolate and sausage breakfast sandwich, and I headed to work early. I'm dragging a little this morning … thankful for a standing desk so I can't fall asleep!

Nate and Miles :)

Nate worked on his preaching homework last night, and Miles kept him company for a little while. :) Nate also has a Hebrew class this evening. Not much time for fun on his birthday, but his family (mom, grandma, and sister) is arriving tonight for a few days.

I've got to get home after work and do at least a week's worth of dishes that have been piling up. I've been putting them off for several days. Oh, what a wonderful day it will be if we ever live in a home with a dishwasher. A luxury! :)

Happy birthday, Nate. Here's to a week full of fun. To many more birthdays. To time with family, time to rest, and time to celebrate you. I love you! :)



Ah! The last two days in Nashville, the temperatures have been in the mid-70s. I had to scrape ice off my car windows Friday morning before work, but things quickly warmed up and I could hardly stand to work in my windowless office all day while it was warm and sunny outside. As soon as I got off work, I went to Home Depot and got some shrubs, flowers, mulch, garden soil, and a garden hose.

Then Amy James (a friend from church ... I always refer to her by her full name; I'm not sure why.) asked me if I wanted to meet her and her toddler, Hudson, at the zoo. So I met up with them and it was fun. We stayed until the zoo closed at 6, so it was getting dark and I didn't try to do any yard work Friday night.

Before picture.
Nate was away Friday night and Saturday morning at ITG, so I slept in Saturday until 9 and then got some tools together to get started. All the overgrown grass had to go. There were some weeds and lots and lots of wild onions. I think we have wild onions clumps all over the front and back yards; eh, a problem to deal with on another day.

raking up dead grass
Once the big stuff was out of the way, I used a shovel and a trowel to loosen and break up the dirt. A tiller would have been faster and easier, but I don't have one or easy access to one, and also I was working around those daffodils and didn't want to transplant them. So this was the hard, tedious part. I pulled out lots of weeds and roots by hand. Then I mixed in a bag of Miracle Gro garden soil and lightly sprayed weed killer. While I was at it, I sprayed the rest of the front yard for weeds.

Pulled more weeds after loosening up the soil
Finally, I started planting. Oh, and I decided I like this warm weather, but I also liked the bit cooler temps last weekend and the weekend before because there weren't many bugs out yet! I can handle anything slow that doesn't jump on you, and at least spiders generally run quickly away from you. I was startled by a couple crickets and a beetle, and I pushed some worms out of the way, but some little buggers kept landing on my arms; maybe flying black ants? They are super annoying. Though not as bad as mosquitoes, I guess.

making progress
I put on two bags of brown mulch. Spread it by hand. (I'm glad I didn't have a bigger area to work with!) I probably could have put on two more bags; it's only an inch or two deep now. I'll probably pick up a couple more bags whenever I get back to Home Depot.

Ta-da! Finished.
(plus Otis photobombing in the window)
So the taller yellow plant at the back left is a shrub—a swamp jessamine. It blooms in the fall and is a climber, so I want to get a tall, thin trellis to put between the shutter and downspout for it to grow up. The tag says it gets 10- to 20-feet tall and 10-feet wide, which is gigantic, so I'll keep it trimmed to a reasonable size.

Then next to that in the back is another shrub—a golden euonymus, which is an evergreen. It's supposed to get 4- to 6-feet tall and 3 feet wide. It's such a little guy now! I like the yellow and green leaves.

Then spaced around those and the daffodils, I have eight more plants of three varieties. I have two pincushion flowers that will bloom in summer/late fall with "pink mist" flowers; three tickseeds that bloom yellow flowers in the summer, and then I have three more pincushion flowers that have "butterfly blue" flowers.

I didn't think about putting on sunscreen in early March. I worked in jeans, boots, a ball cap, gloves, and sunglasses, but thanks to my T-shirt, I'm sporting the start of a farmer's tan. Pink forearms and triceps which hopefully will tan out.

Nate got home from ITG just as I finished up and I wobbled into the house feeling like an 80-year-old woman. I took a shower and got some food and water and a nap. Nate wasn't home for long before he had to leave for a closing shift at work. I said, "Be sure to appreciate the landscaping as you leave!" :)

I've still got half a front yard of bushes that need trimmed up, but I am done for this weekend. We have people coming over for lunch after church, and then Nate's mom, grandma, and sister are coming next week for his birthday, so I've got a lot of cleaning and laundry and dishes to do tonight and maybe a trip to the grocery store tomorrow. But right now I'm watching basketball and the widows are open. I'll clean when it gets dark. I love spring!



I love spring. We're still about a week away from the official start, but we enjoyed high 60s/low 70s here in Nashville this weekend and I've decided that spring is my favorite season.

As soon as I got home from work on Friday, I put on my old jeans, a pair of rubber boots, one of Nate's baseball hats, and some work gloves and I went outside. (Nate was working fervently on a sermon for his preaching class Saturday morning.)

Our bushes and hedge and lawn (mostly weeds) was a little out of control. Not enough to need mowed, but I used the weed whacker to trim up along the sidewalks, and on Saturday I used loppers and hedge trimmers to shorten up the bushes. I only did half of them because it was a lot of work picking up the trimmings. I'll finish next weekend. Sunday afternoon I went after the backyard and felt like I barely made a dent. I gave up on that for now. Metro brush pickup doesn't come until the end of May and I can only throw so many branches behind the shed.

Next weekend I want to finish up trimming in the front yard and add some plants under the kitchen window where my azaleas and mums and basically everything else there have died. It used to be mulched but the grass (read weeds) has grown in and I suppose the mulch has blown away. It's kind of a mess; I just cut it real short with the weed whacker. I need to buy a garden hose and spray for weeds. We have purple deadnettle and/or henbit everywhere. Maybe this fall we will overseed. Probably need to kill everything and reseed, but that seems like a lot of work …

Anyway, we're a bit cooler today but looking at 70s again this weekend. Nate has ITG this weekend and lots of work for his classes. He says if he can survive March he'll be good for the rest of the semester. Nate's birthday is coming up next week and some of his fam is coming, so we are excited for that.

Oh, also this week I bought an ice cream maker! I used some birthday money for it and it is awesome! The first recipe I made was mint chocolate chip. It was better than store-bought! (It is dangerous how easy/quick it is to make. I have already eaten too much!) My only real problem was that it leaves a waxy residue on my spoon and I guess kind of in my mouth but I googled it and I guess if you let it churn too long, some of the heavy cream starts to turn into butter. So I'll try to adjust my timing for the next batch. Nate has requested cookies 'n' cream.

Our friend Sam of the duo Samne was back in Nashville for work last week. It was fun to meet up with him and let him stay on our couch. We wish Anne could have visited too! They are fellow Kansans who lived in Nash for a year, and we miss them. We went with Sam to Sweet Cece's in Hillsboro Village and Nate and I were driving separately since I met up with them after work. Well we didn't see the signs about getting a parking receipt from the booth for free parking and both of our cars got tickets. For a total of $52. It's debatable whether private lots can really enforce tickets. (They do have the right to tow you.) But I emailed the lot owner and nicely asked if he would consider forgiving our violations. And he did. Boom.

Also our AT&T U-Verse bill was too high ($51/mo) so I called them and agreed to a 12-month contract, and they lowered our bill to $36/mo and gave us a $25 instant credit for being loyal customers. (I played "happy customer" who didn't want to switch providers but it was just too expensive, rather than unhappy customer. I think agreeable people have more weight when it comes to bargaining.) So that saved us over $200 for the year. And that's why Nate calls me his money savin' maven.

I know I've been terrible about blogging this year. Once a month, eh? I want to write more often. I'm reading a book about being a church planter's wife so maybe I will share some thoughts here about that. It's very good and convicting.

That's all for now. If it's still cold where you are, my advice is move south! haha, I love this weather.
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