Sunday, August 29, 2010

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Well, it certainly has been a while since i've updated my blog. so much of my time is being taken up, that i don't have much time to do anything more than what is absolutely necessary. that's ok. it won't be like this forever.

so it's been 2 weeks that i've gone through me and kathryn starting school, and me working full time. when i'm not at school or work, i'm obviously being mommy and homemaker... it's been pretty hectic. school has just begun for me, so i still haven't gotten to the "lots of studying to do " phase. i do know one thing tho, i miss my kids. i see them less now, and i know that's not how i really want it to be.

i know working full time (30-35 hrs a week) and going to school full time (12 hrs) and being a mom does not exactly spell success, and yes, it's a lot to take on...but honestly, done with 2 weeks, and i'm not dead. my body is still adjusting, but i think it's going well, all things considered. next semester may be a different story, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

daniel has been doing speech therapy for about 2 months or so now, and although the speech therapist doesn't do anything special with daniel (wow, i can do that) it made me really recognize those moments that daniel is ready to practice talking...and of course he really only does it for me (i suppose) but he'll come up to me when we are at home, and show me something and try to say the name, and then we'll discuss what the names of things are, and how to say them, and he repeats it back to me, or tries to. it's wonderful. be he has to initiate it. if i try to say "daniel say bear" when he didn't approach me, he'll just stare at me. but he can say quite a bit that is mostly understandable. words like: cup, up, dog, bag, doc, duck, please, thank you, run, go, bite, mine, no, yes, all done, more, milk, cookie, juice, team work, word world, etc...and the list keeps growing. yesterday he worked on saying "ice cream" it sounds like "ice peam" but close enough. he is doing really well with trying to say new words. and he has most of his letter sounds down. he just gets really shy around people. and he is not fond of strangers. he'll be very clear and tell them "back" for "stay back" while pointing. which i guess is a good thing? he recently has been hurting himself a lot. he busted his face open while jumping on our bed last week. he bounced right off and into the drawer pull. it healed really well though.

kathryn is very friendly. unfortunately not many people can understand her still, so when she says "wa u name" some people just ignore her. which, is fine. she doesn't seem bothered by it. but she sure gets upset when i get confused because she says "pau vop" and i don't know what she is talking about... apparently that is supposed to be "cough drop" "mimi said i could have one when i get to her house" ah, ok...i only figured this out after corine guessed what she was trying to say. haha. she has such a good memory, and she really understands alot more than i may give her credit for. she is always the one to remember the prayer before we eat. and she remembers the "should be" routines..."we have to brush our teeth before bed" fortunately she is great about going to bed. infact, she'll come find me and tell me she's tired and wants to go to bed. daniel is a different story. he likes to stay up and be right by me. she is doing ok in school. the teachers say that she isn't going well with "listening" and obeying orders...she didn't want to help pick up toys, and she didnt want to stop what she was doing when it was time to be done... so maybe we'll have to work on that some.

it sure is hard to try and find time to work on school work when the kids are up. i am the kind of person that has to focus (especially writing papers) and with kids, no interruptions is impossible. which is fine, but now i have very little time once they go to bed to focus and get the school work done before i fall asleep on myself. work really isn't the issue. even if i werent working, i still wouldnt be able to steal enough time to focus while the kids are up. my body has been sore the last 2 weeks, so i guess that means i'm building some muscles. that is the one thing this job has done for me for sure. i'm getting toned. my legs (inner and outer thighs) are shrinking and the muscles are much more defined now. my arms...i have defined biceps now! kinda crazy. and my stomach...well, of course the "baby pooch" is still there all nice and squishy, but it's shrunk as well. and i don't have much love to handle around my hips any more. my obliques are...acutally visible now. ok, well, i am just amazed, becuase i haven't looked this good since high school. and i feel better about myself. i don't have near the pressure on my feet anymore. my legs aren't in pain after being on them for an hour, and my energy level has risen, even though i suck it all up with everything i do. i've been working at FritoLay now for almost 5 months. and almost 1 month ago, i accepted a full time position. mainly for the paid vacation and holiday, and the fact that i was basically already working the same amount of hours. i am just called full time now. there is no minimum required number of hours you have to maintain, so if i don't hit 30 hrs (2 weeks ago i was at 27hrs) no big deal. and they have great benefits. i will sign up for dental and vision for sure and use it while i can. this full time job for me is definitely temporary. when it becomes too much, i can simply step down, no problems. i didn't commit to stay full time or anything like that, so i'm not worried about it. it's the one part of the equation that i have complete control over.

i am determined to be debt free by the end of the year, so any extra income i can muster...i will do so. i want to give the kids a nice christmas this year. i want to finally be free of credit cards and car notes (the car notes are gone already, but we'll never get another one!) and have a nice savings to fall back on in case something does happen. so that is why i have this job. and it has worked out so far. we have about $2800 left till we can scream "WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!" and we can't wait. it doesn't stop there though, once we are debt free we have to build up a savings of 3-6 months worth of expenses, which is quite a bit. i think we settled on $5000. and of course we will be saving for retirement while building up the savings, and also putting money into an ESA or education savings account for both the kids, so they can go to college. ah, it's so nice to have a plan. and to feel successful. and we already have a family vacation planned, which we can pay cash for once it comes next summer. being able to enjoy life, instead of feeling tied down...

on a side note, we have been in our house for over a year now! it's crazy to think it's been that long. i'm trying to think of the things we've done/changed since we've moved in. we painted the living room, i have vegetable gardens now, we put curtains up, and hung pictures. we have so many plans, but one step at a time.

sadly, the house has certainly suffered since all my time has been taken up. i can hardly keep up with laundry and dishes, maybe some cooking, much less trying to keep the house clean! it's sad because i hate having a dirty house, but i just don't have as much time to clean. it's all about priorities. tomorrow i have a day off, so i'll get to vacuum, and maybe clean the kitchen. john and i tag teamed to mow the grass and clean the outside porch on saturday, so it's not looking terrible. we have however developed a bad spider widows were numerous on the porch and we've spotted some in the garage. we need to move everything, clean and spray... sigh. time time time. we'll get to it eventually.

so if there is one thing i have learned during this busy time, it is to take the time to prepare the night before. so kathryn and i have school tomorrow, i will make her lunch and mine and get my books ready and lay out her uniform so everything is ready to go in the morning. if i have to go to work right after school, and maybe bring daniel to a babysitter while we are in school, then i will be sure he has a lunch and snacks, and he has a bag ready, and i have everything ill need for work...cup for water, lunch/dinner, clothes to change into, etc. all prepared the night before. it is so easy to wake up and know i've got everything together all we have to do is get dressed and get out the door with all the things i prepared. lately i've been forgetting my phone...ugh. so aggravating. but the preparation the night before has been a life saver. i can go to sleep knowing i have no pressure in the morning. except for hoping traffic isn't bad. so i'm glad i'm doing things the smart way. i'm sure i won't get to post another blog for a while, so until next time...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

june 13th

wow it's been a while since i've posted anything! I think i need to catch up!

well, working at Frito Lay has it's ups and downs... and that has taken up a good bit of my time in the 2 months i've worked there. It's a great job, the only drawback is having to work on sunday. i think they are fixing that (they just hired 4 new people) by having later shifts on sunday, that way i can still go to church. we shall see. i really miss going to church and having that constant spirit as a guide. i have noticed a change in my thoughts, and actions since i haven't been to church in 7 weeks. it suddenly becomes harder and harder to do the things that nourish the spirit like reading scriptures, praying frequently, FHE, etc. but i noticed, and now i am working to correct the problem... focusing on what is important, being more Christ like, remembering my family, and being pure.

today was a good day for me, it was a day that i decided i would work on cleansing the bad, and keeping focused. unfortunately i didn't get to go to church, but i the Lord heard my prayers. i was feeling friendly today and got to have a few conversations with some of the co-workers... Kevin is one guy i got to chat with. he's so nice. always says hi to me, asks me how i'm doing today, and has a unique taste in music...he introduced me to the "neon trees" a few days ago, and i just recently really got into their song "animal" and i mentioned that i had the song stuck in my head and that i really liked it! he mentioned that he had a dashboard confessional song stuck in his head at the moment... WHAT?!?! you listen to DASHBOARD! hahaha. only my all time favorite band! that is GREAT! who else has even heard of them? not many people. so that was cool to find out he was a fan of them like i was. that made me happy knowing that i wasn't alone in loving Dashboard. maybe i was too distracted, cuz i loaded a truck wrong after that, and had to go back and reload the whole thing! ugh!! it's always this one truck that is annoying to load, and i usually try to avoid filling the order for it, but today, that didn't happen. oh well, all that frustration did me good on my next and last order for the day...i sped through it! singing along to dashboard confessional on my ipod all along. i got to leave early (a 7 hr day vs a 12 hr day) and went to the store to get some groceries, and even struck up a conversation with the cashier at the store! haha.

but by far the biggest thing that made my day was selling my friend Amanda's cuddlebag! it has been sitting in our living room waiting to be sold for the longest time now, and i finally brought the price down on it and someone scooped it up in less than a day! woohoo! now my living room looks so much bigger! and now Amanda is that much closer to being able to afford to come get her stuff!

so i get home and the kitchen is a mess, dinner needs to be made, and John wants to spend the rest of the day playing video games now that i am home...haha. its great how he feels that way. that he can "check out" for the day. sigh. so i start the dishes a washin while i make some zucchini and mushroom spaghetti (still have the zucchini's from the garden to eat!) and even though negative thoughts are going through my mind (i tend to take a subject and "talk it through" in my head, i.e. have a made up conversation with someone that never actually took place) and so i "told john how i felt" about his attitude,(conversation in my head) and even with my snappy comments that were a "in your face" type response, i still had a good laugh about it all, knowing that i never actually talked to john about this issue. :::sigh::: i'm not going to let that ruin my day! i made a yummy meal, the kitchen started to get clean, and i feel like i did a heck of a lot today!

so i got to look back on this day in history, and June 13, 2004 was when my dad passed away. it's crazy to think it's been 6 years since i haven't had the privilege to hear his voice and his "goWAH"s at all crazy things i'd tell him... i miss him. he was a great man with a lot of spunk and he had many talents. i think i am of his blood for sure with how my interests are similar to his! every time i walk in my room i see the amazing furniture he built, and every time i build something i will think of him. with every picture i take i think of how much he loved capturing every memory in a picture. i wish i could see his reaction to my kids, my life. cuz i know he can see me and my family and my choices and my life. i'm sure he walks with me. when he first passed, i remember thinking about every choice i made, and that he was watching, and how i didn't want him to be disappointed. he was on my mind a lot, and i suddenly realized how Heavenly Father sees all our thoughts/actions. i sure did screw up since then, but i hope i can fix any future blunders so i can see him and walk with him again. i sure miss you Dad. i wish i had more time to learn so much more from you. but alas. i'm glad i got the 17 years i did get. (pause) wow that made me quite emotional. a flood of memories, and a gush of tears.

on to something less emotional. my garden. i've been meaning to post an update... i offically hate trying to garden in Louisiana. HAHA! key word is trying. i love gardening, but hate all the bugs that have since destroyed my zucchini was the first to go thanks to the squash vine borer, and then it was my broccoli and cauliflower thanks to the cabbage looper worm and another silvery caterpillar...never got to see the florets =(. now i think something is attacking my cucumber and honeydew plants, and i suspect the squash vine borer is the cause. my pea plants started dying off for no good reason, im not sure what the problem was there, but my bean plants have yet to produce anything, i suspect it's because of the bird population that hangs out in our yard...then there is the ants that attack the okra, and the beetles on my bell peppers...and it must have a bacterial problem cuz black moldy spots are popping up on peppers growing on the plants. but i have gotten to harvest 2 bell peppers and use them in my crawfish fettucinne last week. unfortunately my lettuce bolted as soon as the temperatures reached above 85... it became bitter and started growing as stalk to produce seed. my corn is doing well, although i only got about 2 ears per plant...i haven't taken them off yet. on the good side, my cherry tomato plants surprised the heck out of me with how big and bushy the got! i'm gonna have hundreds of tomatoes! they have started turning red so i am getting to enjoy that. i have a sunflower that made it's head and now it's full of seeds so much that it droops over! so i'll have lots of extra space in my garden for heat loving plants... and i'm thinking about doing lots of corn! and probably more sunflowers. things bugs can't seem t o harm. now i can't wait for fall/winter when the bugs are gone! haha.

well, last but not least, my weight!!

when i started on April 14 i weighed 143.
it is June 13th and last i weighed myself it said:

i just couldnt believe it! never in my wildest dreams did i ever think i would be below 130 after having 2 kids! it's craziness, and i am still loosing weight ever day i work! that is how strenuous it is! haha. but i am so glad for that cuz i feel great. i am glad that i get a work out at the same time i am getting paid. it really has toned a lot of areas! my arms are the most noticable! i've gained some muscle back in them!

WOOHOO! i can do things at work that guys think i can't do. that's just how i am. i hate feeling weak. so i'm glad i took the job.

an update on the kids:

kathryn is a constant talker now, and half the time i can understand her. i hope she grows out of the speech thing. she is getting smart. she always remembers to say prayers before we eat and go to sleep. she wants to help do everything now. one day i told her i had to go to work and she said "oh, well i will come and help you!" haha. she already knows how to work my iphone and play her little games on it. she knows when she is tired, and will put herself to sleep now. its great not having to fight with her (most of the time) she however has learned this annoying thing i have termed "flip flopping". i haven't seen any other kids do this, but maybe its a phase...she gets in these grumpy moods and suddenly nothing can make her happy. "i'm hungry!" i made a PBnJ for you "i'm not hungry!" ok, fine. "but i hungry mommy!!" then go eat your sandwhich! "but i not hungry!!!" and back and forth she goes until i finally just have enough...she does this with everything, what movies she wants to watch, what game she wants to play, puzzles, if she is tired, if she is thirsty, going outside, etc, etc. it is beyond me how to break her of this. and when i finally draw the line and say that was your final answer, you lost your chance to blah blah... she throws a tantrum. yeah, time out for her. but it doesn't change anything. ::sigh::

sadly enough, daniel knows how to work my iphone too! haha. he posted a comment on facebook the other day and i didn't even realize it! when he is done eating now, he announces it to everyone "all da" and he loves the suspense of movies...always saying "OHHH NOO" over and over at the appropriate times. haha. his motor skills are simply amazing! he jumps off the arm of the couch and straight onto the floor more cuddle bag. he swims all by himself now, with arm floaties of course. he can jump off the side of the pool into the pool with no problem, and kathryn still is afraid to do this. he is very organized with what he wants to be...haha. he plays with his cars like he sees in the movie, and eats like a 6 yr old! haha. he loves stacking blocks and playing rough with his sister! kathryn hates that. haha. he even bullies on his almost 6 yr old nephew Zeke! he holds his own with the older kids...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

i need a vent

today has seriously not been my day. not that it has been bad? just annoyingly frustrating... and somewhat self-inflicted.

so kathryn has speech issues, and ever since she had her surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids, she has not been able to say the "p" sound and "b" sound. so her speech therapist really urged me (it being 5 months after surgery) to go back to the doc and make sure there isn't anything causing this speech issue.

so i scheduled an appt...we went today and of course the doc barely looked inside her mouth...(kathryn wasn't very cooperative, she was a bit scared) and said, "everything is fine, have you had her hearing tested?" "last year twice and everything was normal" "well, why don't we do it again?" i should have just said no...a 2 min test cost $125 for them to tell me what i already know..."it's fine" great... so all the doc could say is, she should grow out of it...give her time. which is what i kinda suspected, but, when you have ppl pressuring you to "make sure" there is nothing wrong... and you don't have a lot of money to begin with...well, there goes $250. geez.

so yeah, when we went to check out, somehow they said i only had to pay $75 for now, and they were billing the rest to the ins. for me...but... i don't have $75 to my name... so i pull out the dreaded credit card... declined. WTH!(i know it had at least $75 available) pull out the OTHER dreaded credit went through...ugh. see we have a health savings account through our insurance company...but for SOME reason, they want to be difficult, and the way OURS works is the bill goes to the ins company, they process it determine how much the patient is responsible for, then send the doc office the payment. the little twist is that we have a deductible to meet as well. so all the doc offices think we have to pay till we meet the deductible...but in actuality, we only pay towards the deductible when the HSA runs out. office believes us and unless i pitch a fit, i usually have to pay and submit it to our FSA where we will get reimbersed from the money we have set aside... it's just annoying to spend this money you don't have and wait weeks to get reimbersed... when the health ins. should be billed and pay it from the HSA... ANYWAY!~

the other annoyance...i got a job with frito-lay, and they have the option to do direct deposit...but you have to get your first check to be able to do that...well, the checks get mailed to you, then you have to go online to set it up...i tried doing this after i got the first check and it said it couldn't process my request, the server was down...well, my brain isn't always remembering to try again soon, so i got the 2nd check mailed, and meant to go cash it then, but put it off till work the next day...then since my brain can't keep track of what i need to do (in 2 seconds it can forget why i headed down a certain road) so it never got deposited...yet. well, john and i were FINALLY sitting down to do the budget on sunday, and we found out somehow the van note came out twice...and i know i only clicked to pay it i can't figure out how the 2nd payment happened (a day after the first) and i don't have time to check the account everyday, so i didn't notice it until we did the budget. well, almost $300 coming out of our account that shouldn't have REALLY threw everything off...and that is why we only have $2 in our account (when i get the check in the bank it will be better) and all our bills aren't even paid. as it stands, if we were to pay all our bills due (including tithing) we would over draw by $150! ugh!

so my goal after her appt was to get the check in the bank so we could buy groceries (we had no milk, no cereal, no oatmeal, no pancake mix that just requires water, no bread, no fruit, pretty much nothing quick) and so i go to the bank to put the check in our acct, and put on their to get some cash back, but they tell me, they can't give me $60 (what i asked for) since i don't have $60 in the acct. that i would have to wait till tomorrow for the check to clear, or cash it at the bank it is from (chase) i also had another check from my granny for dan's b-day, which i was trying to cash as well from hancocks...there was a hancocks right across the street, so pull in to the drive through, and no, i have to go inside to cash it...pulling the kids out and everything...UGH! why do they have to make it so difficult!!! just for a freakin thumb print! but what was cute is once she handed me the cash dan (who was in my arms) said in an excited voice "tan da" (thank you) so that made me smile... but we still had to go all the way to denham to cash my bigger check at chase...i pull into their drive through only for her to ask me for my acct # and i tell her i don't have one, she said "come on in and open one up" uh, no thanks, just want to cash it "well then since it's over $50 we charge a $6 fee for non-acct holders..." WTH! NO YOU MAY NOT TAKE $6 OF MY HARD EARNED DOLLARS!!! GIMME THE CHECK BACK" ok, at least that was how it went in my head. i told her forget that, i'd put it in my bank. and being as how i'm trying to conserve gas cuz our gas spending has been was really annoying that i had to make the trip all the way to chase in denham for nothing!! (that's about a gallon of gas right there!) so i was determined to not go home without milk and cereal (my staple for breakfast) and since all i had was the $20 from the check cashed at hancocks, i would see what that could get me at the walmart in denham. it was enough for a loaf of bread 2 boxes of cereal (gv brand), 2 gallons of milk (skim, 2%), a canister of oatmeal (the backup when cereal runs out), and a few bananas. that should hold us over till we can get the rest of the groceries... and what was sick to me was only having $20 and seeing how little it bought...the prices on even off brand cereal has jumped 50 cents or more. ugh.

well, i thought to myself, i was going to deposit the check in the capital one in denham, so i head there, and instead of pulling into the bank i was too busy looking at the walgreens on the corner and wondering when they were going to open it and when john was going to get out of that stupid store he's at now, that i passed up the bank and headed home! (the thought about walgreens was on my mind for a while) and i didn't realize my mistake until i was taking out the groceries to put inside! UGHHH and the kids were already quite done with being in the car for the last 2 hrs... and my poor garden needed watering bad... so i took a break and deposited the check after watering the garden.

and my garden....yesterday i went to water the broccoli...and there were little holes on some of the leaves... only one thing does that...besides grasshoppers, caterpillars... yep!!! all over the underside of the leaves! UGH!!! i hate bugs! so i cut the leaves that were badly damaged and plucked the rest of the stupid cabage loopers (thats the name of these caterpillars) off of my plants...took a while. well, i found more bugs today on other plants and it is really frustrating.

but i did get to harveest my first zucchini! it was 9 inches long! 2.5 in diameter! a huge one!

and this is how i found daniel this morning...keep in mind, we have no cereal oatmeal or pancake mix, so nothing quick and we didn't have much time to cook an elaborate breakfast (homemade) since we had to hurry to the doc office. so he decided to rip open a mox of mac n cheese and eat the raw noodles. wow.

the good news is, i fed the kids when we got home, and we have milk! yay. and i forgot about the GV ice cream i bought for dan's party, and so when they finished their lasagna, we all had some yummy ice cream cones.

sigh, i guess it all stems from our tax refund being delayed... see b/c we were going to claim the first home buyer tax credit, apparently this year they changed it to where you have to mail in your return. we didn't know, so we filled it out online, and we did electronic signatures but then it told us we made to print it and mail it. so we did. i was in such a hurry to get it in the mail that i forgot to sign the dumb things, and it took them 6 weeks to tell me that. so i send in the signature page, and now another 6 weeks later, we still have no refund. (it was going to be direct deposit) so if we would have gotten it 6 weeks ago, we could have paid the van off and not had to worry about the note coming out twice. ugh. we are supposed to finally have our refund by the end of may... wow, only 4 months after they recieved it.

and this weekend, my phone (which was being stupid before) suddenly decided to go wacko again, and every button pressed multiple keys or something. i would press the w and instead i would get wkt6rgt pop up...and now the track ball (i have a blackberry) doesn't work. it scrolls but doesn't press down to select anymore. ::sigh:: so it's been even harder to work with it. and i don't want to switch to a different phone cuz all the phones i have are just as bad with issues, and all my # are on the phone not the sim card. so i'm still holding out to get an iphone. i really think i have earned that much. ugh. maybe by the end of may i can have it (as a mothers day/bday gift).

oh yeah, and lets not forget the laptop that suddenly decides to not turn on. (long story short) and after trying to communicate that to the HP tech,(it WONT turn on no matter what i do) he tells me the motherboard is bad and that will be $440 to fix... ugh. its a DARN good thing i managed to figure out how to fix this pc and will know how to fix it in the future... but the laptop. i don't think it will be any cheaper to install the motherboard no biggie since i have my desktop, but still. a very expensive piece of electronics is not functioning. that's depressing.

to make a long venting short...i have decided i need to be uplifted today so i am going over to my MIL's house and we are gonna maybe talk about a conference talk or something...that's always the answer for me (the gospel/scriptures/prayer)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

rambling. pictures.

funny story, yesterday morning instead of coming to tell me she woke up, kathryn decided to do something i was woken up by the sound of children shouting outside my window and the hose making it's whinning noise everytime it gets sprayed...wait, what day is it? what time is it? and why are the kids outside??? it's 7:30 am, friday, kathryn has school and WHY ARE THE KIDS OUTSIDE!!! i run outside to find them in their jammies playing in the water of the hose and all the toys dumped and scattered...the door to the house is wide open of course... ah least they were in the backyard and not the front right?? so i guess all the knobs really are going to have to be childproofed...

and so this morning i decided i would make pancakes, and of course they wanted to "help" and watch, so i add all the ingredients as kathryn argues that i need 2 eggs not just one... (she helped make cookies a week ago and remembers it needed 2 eggs) and daniel is munching on some cheese nips he found...i turn around to the fridge to grab some overripe bananas to mash them and add them...and when i turned back around bananas in hand i find daniel dipping his cheese nip in the batter! hahaha!!! ew! he got it in his mouth before i could tell him no... too funny. they both thought it was funny when i stirred the batter really fast.... and couldn't wait to taste the pancakes.

so they both are sick with runny noses and a cough...and primary had a little carnival today, but i thought since they just got this sickness it would be better that we didn't spread it. so we went outside and i admired my gardens while they played in their house (that got relocated to the porch...the grass was taking it over!) and i trimmed all the tall grass around th edges that the lawnmower didn't get (i mowed the grass yesterday yay! it was getting so tall that "you could loose one of your kids back there" according to Mr. Guy) and then i went to water the gardens...of course the kids wanted to they got their watering cans (thanks aunt jenni) and i filled them up with the hose while they watered the was really cool for kathryn and I (she talks and dan doesnt) cuz i showed her what all the plants were and then would tell her "the corn plants are thirsty can you give them water?" and she remembered what the corn plants looked like...then i would ask her where the cucumber plants were and she could show me. I got to show her the zucchini's we were growing and she got to touch them and said "that's really tool mommy, but i don't like them" i said "well i do!" and she said "well then you can eat them all, that will be ok" HAHA she's hillarious. and daniel was of course right behind sissy doing everything she was...watering the same plants and being gentle. that was good. i want him to show the garden respect instead of trying to destroy everything.

oh! speaking of daniel, he was evaluated this week for his speech by the speech therapist, and she was amazed at his coordination, balance, motor skills, and cognitive levels... but his speech definitely lacked... she said he knows what he wants to say and he hears and understands what we say, he just can't verbalize it for some reason. he is very precise when he was stacking blocks and made a 16" tower which in a second was knocked down (no surprise there) he made sure the block he was placing was steady before he let go...i never noticed he was like that...probably cuz he was never the one stacking only the one destroying! he jumped off the chair with both feet and landed on both feet and stayed there....(stuck landing!!!) i am amazed at that! and he drank from a cup he showed me that he wanted water by saying "wawa" and grabbing my hand pulling me to the cup basket and then back to the fridge and pointed... smart cookie. he knows which button to press to get the tv on although we don't even have cable only movies... but i'm not going to let him load movies until he can value his dvds better. like age anyhow...basically he should qualify for speech for sure and when he starts that, they go until age 3 then at 3 the school system takes over... and apparently they work closely so that there are no gaps... nice.

oh, i also had kathryn's IEP meeting with her teacher yesterday to see what the goals are for this coming year and the rest of this school year... they said kathryn has done so well she reached most of her goals for this year...she still needs to work on articulation although she has good language (she knows how to form sentences she just isn't understandable). the speech therapist also told me that since her tonsils and adenoids were removed, she hasn't been able to make the P and B sounds (they require the pallet to block the nasal cavity to blow air out of the mouth) and apparently she hasn't improved. her issues now are different from before. the speech therapist has recommended that the doctor look and see if there is any issues that could be causing that, like a shortened pallet...anyhow, i will definitely schedule that and see what is going on...i sure hope the doc didn't cut out more than he should or something...

oh, and before i forget, i put a movie on for the kids yesterday and told kathryn i was going to be in the backyard to mow the grass and they were not to come outside (i locked the doors to be sure of it) and i would be done soon, they could watch from the windows, and i emphasized DON'T do anything you'd get in trouble good watch the movie, cuz if you're bad and make a mess, i;m gonna find out and i'm not going to be happy. i was outside for maybe 45 mins mowing the back yard (i borrowed my FIL's mower which is self-propelled but i found myself not using it...and it was that strange? lol. it's a workout ya know?) so when i get back inside i see that daniel has brown smudges on him and kathryn is being good watching the movie...i asked kathryn what daniel had and she said "chocolate" i thought where could he have gotten chocolate from, the pantry was closed...but i remember there was a chocolate pop tarton my side of the bed that i took a bite out of and never finished...i went to see if he found it...nope, still there. i finally ask kathryn "what chocolate?" and she said "the chocolate for milk" ahhhh, chocolate syrup...wonderful...she showed me where she put the bottle when she took it away and sure enough, it was a then she showed me where he had the syrup and it was all over one of the doors to the entertainment center and subsequently on the carpet too... great. well, looks like kathryn was good, maybe i need to lecture daniel now! so after i cleaned up the door and scrubbed the carpet (i'll still have to shampoo it to get it all out) i said i was yucky i needed to take a quick shower, BE GOOD! (i should've known better right? but i was covered in sweat and grass stuff...anyhow, when i got out, i went in the kitchen to find kathryn's "noise maker" she made at school ripped apart and the beans scattered all over the floor (beans were on the inside) and also pretzel sticks broken and scattered all over the kitchen as well...geez. can't win here... but alas, this was much easier to clean up...and i made daniel help...and sweet kathryn helped.

so my job has been going really well. my efficiency has increased from 43% my first day (doing just bags of chips) to 70%. and in the go-betweens (dips, salsa, nuts, cookies) i was clocking 103%!!! i had to take a picture to prove it!

the picture sucks cuz i had to block the flash from my phone... anyhow... i really like my job and my boss is very pleased with how i'm doing. i am slowly learning the product and where it goes, how many are in a box etc. this all matters cuz SOMEONE (i will assume it is the RSR's (route drivers) that get the wrong product on their truck from someone picking the wrong thing) puts boxes/bags randomly through the warehouse and they are in spots that aren't even close to where the rest of the product is located... and it clogs up the isles having boxes randomly laying now that i am getting to know things, i can put it in the right spot! the numbers of how many bags come in each box matter cuz if the cart tells you to get 38 bags of location 182, and you know there are 34 to a box, you grab a box plus 4 and go! makes it quick versus grabbing a box, having it not be enough, going back to get more etc. it's all about getting the bags in the box as fast as you can and being accurate! lol.

so i found some funny pics on my phone and wanted to share other pics while i had the chance! (to sorta catch up!)

so back when kathryn had her b-day party, and once everyone left, i made the kids chicken nuggets for dinner (kathryn asked for them) and daniel, having not had a nap, was so hungry but so tired, that he fell asleep mid- nugget...HAHA! so classic.

one of kathryn's favorite things to do when we come to lowes is play on the tractors...and of course daniel wants to do everything sisssy does, so they get to go from one to the other to the other for about 10 mins...and if i don't have the time...i make sure i don't pass the tractor area! haha.

so last friday (4-23-10) kathryn's class went to the zoo! luckily it was paid for otherwise it would've been $15! and after 25 mins of running daniel got a big blister on his foot from his shoes rubbing (right over his arch) and it busted, so after that we didn't stay much longer...i'd say we were there for maybe an hour, so $15 is a bit expensive! lol. and the zoo is something like 35 miles away from our house! one way! ANYWAY! (don't mind my cheapo self, it was for the kids enjoyment!) the kids did enjoy seeing what animals they got to see, especially daniel. he had never been to the zoo. only saw videos of animals. but he got to see just how big everyting was! and they had a new tiger exhibit that was REALLY nice... the tigers were actually coming right up to the glass it was so cool! i think they were hungry tho, they kept circling seemingly trying to figure out how to get one of the kids behind the glass...

daniel liked this bird. lol.

i love giraffees! they had one walk up to the other and they turned to look at each other then put their facees together, then another giraffee came walking fast up to them and (the male) started walking away as this new one approached! it was hillarious! it was like the 2nd one was like "get away from my woman!"

this was the tiger that kept pacing around in cirlces around this lil pond of his...

he was walking toward all the kids...

then he turned around to do it all again! he was right next to the glass! so cool

kathryn was trying to get past the fence to see the fishes (Koi) better. this was a new area and it was beautiful!!!

so this past monday was daniel's birthday and i called a party together last minute...we had pizza and i made a lego cake...somehow my battery in my camera must have died cuz i didn't get to take a picture of the cake that i did, only daniel's personal cake that he was SOO not interested in! we opened presents first... grammie got him a cool car/truck wooden jigsaw puzzle...very nice!

auntie Jenn got him a bowling pin set and some cute Dr. suess board books of which kathryn wanted to read immediately. lol. (good thing kathryn was interested in everything daniel wasnt)

a few days later he and i (while kathryn was in school) had fun putting up the pins and rolling the ball to knock them all down...

mimi got him a Cars rug

and Filmore, Ramone, and Doc Hudson die cast cars from the movie Cars...that was what captured his attention!!

this is him taking his cars mimi got him and sitting down...he was done, he didn't care what was in any of the other presents...

until kathryn opened them and showed him they had cars in there too! lol. (mimi also got him a stuffed cookie monster, elmo and big bird, and he had no interest in it at all! kathryn however was soo excited!) so my battery died before i could get a picture of him with Aunt Mel's present...nothing but more cars from Cars...he was in heaven! but then i realized i hadn't done the cake thing...haha. wrong timing mommy! he barely blew out the candles before he was back on the floor with his cars...

this is his personal lego cake... i made a big one with 8 knobs on top... but managed to not get a pic... next time i will know to freeze the cakes before icing them! i am NOT anywhere close to being good at this is what happens...
i tried.
so this was daniel today all dirty playing in the house, which is on the back porch now...i cleaned up the porch finally and i think i like it here...the cars park in the "driveway" and kathryn (in the corner of the pic) is about to pull the car into the driveway...

this is my first zucchini that is growing fast! this was 2 days ago, and it is much bigger now! can you see the other 3 soon to be zucchinis? you kinda have to know what you're looking for...

week 5 cucumbers...going crazy! note to self:only plant 1 plant per foot... or two at the most...and give them their own vertical frame...they are taking over all the space!

week 5 box 3 broccoli is huge!

week 5 box 2... the zucchini has literally taken up all 4 feet of the box... time to trim back some leaves... i cut 2 so my tomato could grow...

ahhh, much better.

last week i planted onion sets (mini onions that cut out seed sprout time drastically) and they are doing well! i stuck them in between the tomato and cucumber plants...they are supposed to wart away pests...nice. they don't need the trellis so it worked well. i also planted 48 carrot seeds in box 3, they just started coming out today. but are too small to see...

look how awesome the lettuce and spinach look! week 5

that's it for now! i am needed for a game of hide-and-seek!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

picture overload

as it took me the whole day to finish this, be aware that the title is accurate on this one!

since i have a few days off in a row and the kids were cooperating (for the most part) i decided to mix in blogging my most recent photos that i am so eagar to share, with all the house work that desperately needs to get done!!

Daniel's new thing is hitting... he loves to walk up to you (kathryn has been his favorite lately) wind his arm back and whap! smack the crap out of you! lol. sometimes its worse than others, but last saturday! oh geez, every time daniel disappeared in the back i would hear kathryn start to cry and yell "don't hit me!" (is this payback for all the times she was mean to him??) i felt sorry for her after witnessing his attacks on his sister, and since he is being REALLY stubborn and hard-headded lately, of course he doesn't listen, so i told kathryn to start hitting him back. maybe he would get the message? until right in front of me dan hits her on the head, she says "OOOOW" and hits him on his head and he pops her on the arm and back and forth! AAAA! how do you get boys to stop the hitting? he used to be so sweet, now he's becoming a monster! lol. i don't even know where he picked it up from... ah, oh well... i gotta think of something, cuz time outs have NO effect on him. he gladly sits and once he's done he goes right back to the bad that is my trial as a mother at the moment... and this saturday (today) he has learned how to tackle kathryn...and if she doesn't go dow easily, he'll hang behind her and run forward or backward till she falls this is really comical and hard not to laugh when kathryn is so annoyed by it...and half the time on the way down daniel ends up hurting himself! i tell him it's his own fault, brush it off! well, he has been doing this all day to her, so finally i taught kathryn a few tricks...keep a wide base (feet apart, and staggered) and if he's pulling her back, she has to learn forward...and so he went up to her to do it again, and i coached her in and it worked! and she was so excited that she could defend herself against daniel's moments...hahaha!

kathryn is beginning the imaginative play's so cute. she's playing with the beanie babies alot too. i haven't decided when i will get the rest of them down! but that's good. i'm trying to figure out what stuff she should be doing at this age...but it's hard to try new things when dan always wants to be involved. she's been saying funny things like "oh, well, thank you mommy that's so nice of you to let me play at the park!" and stuff like that. it just makes me giggle. her new thing is "you remember the rules?" she'll say that as i say something or suggest something that is "against" mommys "having a piece of candy for picking up toys is not ok, we have to eat our healthy food first mom! remember the rules!" i can't seem to think of the other cute things she says, but she is cute. and as we were about to say a prayer i asked daddy to say it and she says "i don't like how he says the prayer" but we tell her daddy needs a turn, and she says she wants to say it, so we tell her she can have a turn after daddy says his prayer, and ends it with "in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, amen" and she says "no, i don't like how you say that, it's in the name of Jesus Christ" so i tell her there are many different ways to say a prayer, and they are all fine as long as we are making the effort to talk to Heavenly Father, he's ok with however we choose to say it. so she goes on to say her prayer, and she says in the middle "please bless daniel to not hit me anymore, and bless me not to hit daniel. bless us to be kind and love each other, in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, Amen" i just had to laugh...she always says how she doesn't like that daddy says it different, and then she goes and says it herself. funny little girl. and that she said a blessing for daniel to stop hitting her. she really understands what to pray for!

without further ado, here are my pictures, in no particular order...

so one morning i recall the kids coming in to wake me up around was a sat. morning, and i was still i told them to go play i would get up in a bit. they left alright... and when i got up by 8, and i didn't hear anything, i knew they were doing or had already done something wrong, and when i walk into the kitchen, i find this:

all 4 bananas split open, the 2 you can see were devoured the other two he didn't get all the way into...let me remind you that Kathryn doesn' like bananas... but being as how daniel is a monkey...yeah, he would've had all 4 gone if he'd had more time! haha...

so a few weeks ago John's grandparents from Utah were visiting and we went to Lafayette to go see them...i dressed kathryn up all cute in her new clothes, and even had hair bows to match... as soon as we got there she went down the slide head first and into the dirt she went...she thought it was hilarious, and all i saw was dirt stains... haha. this had to be me as a child.

so we were at Juniors house and they were BBQing...all the guys were congregated around the grill...haha. i had to catch this. oh, and at least our grill (behind Junior) found a new home besides the trash!

Daniel loves rolling cars all around on the ground. he is boy thru and thru!

kathryn gathering up leaves in a cute wheel barrow...i would get her one of these, but i feel it would encourage her to dig in the dirt! and we kind want our grass to fill in...

it took me a second to figure out why Mimi is so happy...notice Kathryn's hand...yeah, Mimi just got her to say the Pledge of Alliegence...that is Mimi's thing... and Daniel is checking out his new boe boes...

funny story behind this one...kathryn has a Sobe Life water in her hand in this pic, but just before i snapped it, she came to me with a can of sunkist...i told her she couldn't have any of that until she finished her food (she would drink til she threw up if you let her!) well, she decided to be clever and give the can to Pop who unknowingly opens it, and i catch her right before she takes a sip as she smiles at me (with that naughty "whatcha gonna do" grin) and i of course take it away telling her once again she has to eat her food...and if she is thirsty she can have the Sobe bottle...she was very upset and starting fussing back immediately, "but Pop opened it for me!!!" like Pop trumps what mommy says...heheh... she is clever, but i'm tha boss! of course Pop felt bad for making her sad, but it's not his fault...he had no idea what was going on and what i had told so kathryn is looking at him defeated...

this is a cute one of Lily (Kelly and Mickey's oldest) who just turned 4 and Zeke standing right next to her who is almost 6! and they are the same height! poor zeke! he'll shoot up there one day.

i love this one...kathryn and Dan riding bikes...Dan followin kathryn wherever she goes.

this is a cute one of Jake and his Mom...the way they are grinning at each other... precious.

Zeke was trying to eat his food but the wind was kicking up the table cloth so much that he gave up and slouched down to eat under the table cloth...

daniel staring at the target: cupcake. how many bites does it take to finish this thing off?

well, he's going for 1... shoving with all his mite to get it in there...

mission accomplished! WOW...that kid is serious about eating! and we couldn't stop laughing!

they are getting started on the expansion of our subdivision... yeah...waking up to construction work and beeping trucks at 6:30 isn't so exciting. but Daniel is certainly attracted like a magnet to all the scooper trucks... yeah, he just isn't allowed outside in the front yard anymore.

so Kathryn had an easter egg hunt at school, and her teachers were telling me about how lately she has been "performing" for them with this boom mic...she sings all kinds of crazy things! and dances too. haha!

taking the tape off after the, she wasn't supposed to get that off!

the cute bunny cake her teacher's mom made for them!

coloring on the dry erase board...

climbing through the tunnel! yay!

i just love this face. i could kiss that face all day!

so this is saturday before easter. we went on an egg hunt at Corine's and had a group of kids over. Daniel and Kathryn came to play outside before we had the hunt... daniel has tried this jungle gym thing in the past with no success...i mean his not even 2 he shouldn't be able to anyway right? not this time! he watched kathryn and soon he had it!

oh but that's not the farthest he got, no, not daniel...
but still. that's not all! and he figured this out all by himself! this freaked me out!
then he would jump through! WOOO, that is amazing. in this pic i think he looks just like Zeke...when he was 2.

now for the egg hunt! the first egg daniel found he wanted to stop and open it! he didn't understand that the more eggs you had, the more candy! lol.

this is how he put them in his bucket...its just funny

he did good with finding eggs, although he was the youngest in the group so, he may have gotten 10 eggs before the rest were found...

kathryn stretches out to reach an egg in a tree... haha. guess all those games of "hide the toy and find it" paid off... she is good at finding those hard eggs.

well, since Zeke and Jaiden were the older two and much more aggressive about getting all the eggs, they had to let the younger kids get a minute head start... and when the door finally opened...they were bookin it out the door!

kathryn finding eggs that Jaiden and Zeke passed right up!

finding eggs, zeke was telling Jaiden how he just found a bunch of eggs by the shed! (they compete with each other about everything)

group of kids...

and kathryn being the last one in the previous group...everyone passed up this egg! haha.

everyone climbing fast to be the first to get those eggs on top! i think Braleigh won...(wearing the dress)

daniel finding one really hidden...after some help of course.

and he said, i'm done, i just want to eat them now! i love the little squat!

yummy candy...(next year we'll only put candy in a few!)

the group of kids that enjoyed the easter egg hunt...(L to R) Braleigh, Nevaeh, Isaiah, Kathryn, Zeke, Daniel, Jaiden

eating pizza... Braleigh's pizza! lil food snatcher!

lining all the mini skateboards up... haha. too bad he can't be this meticulous about all his toys.. i.e. cleaning them up!

kathryn found this hat and took braleigh's purse and was walking around like a miss priss with her hand up that was holding the purse and the other on her waist! now she is drinking...someone else's caprisun...not unsual at all for kathryn!

Daniel and Jaiden climbing! he was even better this time than a few hours before! Jaiden says "how'd he get up here so fast!" as she was trying to make it through the hole before her credit, he did zip right up there!

they went at the same time...AHHH!

and he survives!
i just like this pic of kathryn...the sun hits her just right...

daniel finally pooped out...while trying to finish his chicken nuggets! he is too funny!

on game night jake decided to bring Amanda's cuddlebag out of the garage and into the house... and it was an immediate attraction for the kids... Jake is tickling Daniel here.

and Kathryn tries to give Kourtney some of her water! haha.

After a long day, cuddling with Daddy is the best.

you'll have to excuse the diaper blow out seen on daniel's shorts! the pantry had no light when i saw him and i quickly snapped the picture before getting him down and noticing it... but this little boy never ceases to amaze me... he figured out where the candy was...on the fourth shelf! and he climbed up there to get it!

so we really needed to water our grass one saturday, and so we had a fun day outside... the kids going to investigate the sprinkler going around in circles....

kathryn aiming it at daniel...haha...he went running and giggling...

on Easter Sunday we went to Grammie's house and ate dinner...Daniel puckering up fishy lip style to give Grammie kisses

and a sweet kiss! i hope he stays that way!

we also visited Grannie later on Easter Sunday and the kids wanted to play outside, so we let them play. i bent down to smell Grannie's amarylis, and they actually smelled good! so daniel mimicking me, bent down to...but i didn't quite catch that picture...

grannie has a little bench that they love to sit on...i need to get one! that is so cute

we were sitting on the swing... Daniel has his hand on Jenn's leg...she thought that was precious.

my adorable little daniel. he could be a baby model for that shirt huh? haha.

i love how chesy this smile is...he reminds me of john at his age...

so now, i will show pictures of my projects... i am proud of what i accomplish and want to document it =) so a few weeks ago, i pulled the van into the garage, and didn't pull in all the way cuz i thought i'd be leaving soon, well, long story short, john went to close the garage door, and CRUNCH the opener ripped itself from the door... via this angle wire (or whatever it is called) since it wasn't attached very well to the door... which i suppose is a good thing? since our sensitivity settings weren't set right...otherwise it would have ruined our door which is $700 to replace...yeah. well, after fidgeting with it for a bit, john got it back on...but it was sure to come loose again...and it did... a few weeks later...

this is where it ripped itself from the door... our door is so cheap there isn't much to attach the angle wire to... so it was asking for trouble... but we don't have money to get a better door, so... how to fix it...i asked john and he wasn't in the mood to even think about it... so i got to figure it out... and i came up with a plan...

with no help from anyone except the informative retired contractor at Lowes (thanks!) i put my plan into action...i got the bolts, new angle wire, snips to cut the angle wire, and got to work...the guy said it would be hard to cut the angle wire since it was so thick... yeah well, it wasn't so hard when you're determined to get this done! here is my finished product! and the best part is... it was under $10 to fix! much better than $700 for a new door! and it works!!! look out John!

now for making my vertical garden frame... i used aluminum conduit 1/2" $1.87 for 10 ft and some rebar pounded into the ground to slip the trellis frame over... anyhow, i bent the top myself! WOO HOO! it was fun. i decided the next time i needed to bend this i would do it in the store...
that is the top ^^
and below is the pipe bender and the angle wire...
so the top attaches to pre-cut (i cut them to the size i needed ahead of time) conduit via little connectors that are 50 cents a piece... they screw into the pipes to tighten... and voila! vertical frames! i think i needed about 3 10ft pipes for these two frames that sit 5 ft and 6 ft tall... i ended up boosting the 5ft one to 7 ft cuz of what it was going to be supporting... so all and all... these two frames including the rebar (1/2" dia x 18" long, or 24" long...$1.18 ea) that the frames sit on top of to keep them in place... this was a $13 investment because they will last forever...and when you are done for the season, you slide them up off the rebar, and put them in the shed! HA! awesome! they are missing their trellis netting which i seem to not have taken a finished picture of, but the netting was $5 for 15 ft and i still have enough left for a 3rd frame... and the netting will also last for years! so i'm excited to see everything grow!

i also took down the "fence" around my old garden, took apart the 2x4's enclosing the garden and disposed of them! then mowed everything. now i just have to distribute the extra dirt to all the low spots in the yard.

now for my garden pictures!!! so this is week 2 box 1... i have beans in the far corner, snap peas next to them and tomatoes next to that... in the middle is bell pepper, left side is okra, and basil on the right...the other herbs have decided not to grow!
this is week 3 box 1... the vertical frame is up and the peas are trying to climb! everything looks a little bigger!

still week 3 just a better look at the trellis first of all, and the beans, peas, and tomatoes...

week 4! WOW! the beans a climbing now, and the peas are taking over everything! poor tomatoes! next time i will put them by themselves...(tomatoes and peas) now you can see that the ones in the middle are bell peppers, and okras in the back, basil at the bottom...

so this is week 2 box 2 (when i say week 2 i mean the seeds were started 2 weeks ago) this box has honeydew melon and cucumbers along side tomatoes (which i don't think sprouted yet) zucchini in its 2x2 ft square and corn in the back with a baby sunflower...

week 3 box 2...the zucchini is by far the fast growing plant i've ever seen!!! they suggest spacing them 3 ft...they were right!! a 2x2 square isn't enough space! (you'll see why in week 4) so now you see the corn at the bottom doing great, and the sunflower coming along nicely next to the corn... cucumber and honeydew at the top next to the trellis... the empty 2x2 was supposed to be a yellow squash but it didn't germinate...(good thing!) and the other tomato didn't germinate either (empty square at top) they didn't germinate b/c the wrath of daniel digging in the garden destroyed the chances...

just the zucchini! i love watching this thing grow!

the mammoth sunflower plant...i am anxious to see this bloom!

week 4 cucumbers and honeydew (cucumber taking over!) and starting to climb

sunflower... check out the leaf on the left side... (picture to come in a bit)
corn! (needed support from the WIND of this past weekend...)
and of course you can't miss this GIANT zucchini plant! look at how it is taking over the tomato and corn!!

week 2 box 3 broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower
i managed to forget to take a pic for week 3, so week 4 comes next! look at the growth!! amazing what 2 weeks can do! so broccoli is in the middle, lettuce at the top! (real sized this time!!!) and spinach...
apple trees...they grow slow.

i love the way broccoli leaves do this with water!

leaf defect on sunflower... two leaves grew together as one on top the other!

leaf size of zucchini compared to my hand...
a baby zucchini soon to come next week!!!

the stems of the zucchini leaves are as thick as my thumb!

real sized romaine lettuce!!!

spinach! this stuff is sooo good!

this is how big the broccoli leaves are! they are giant too! now i will know what size the plants get to!

this is the lil cauliflower plant. i have only one. the other one was getting eaten by bugs... i am anxious to see just how big the head turn out to be on the broccoli and cauliflower

so to sum up the garden venture...looks like this soil works great! i have had VERY few weeds i mean i've pulled maybe 10-15 total out of all 3 beds since i started. so that is a drastic improvement from my other garden that had so many weeds i couldn't keep up. i think it helps that the boxes are 10" tall, and it also helps that the plants are "crowded" in the box so there isn't much room for weed seeds to get started... but i am seeing these plants thrive and i haven't fertilized them at all. i do water them every morning...a good shower from my hose, no soaker hose...i think you really should put that in before your plants start to grow otherwise, you'll risk damaging the plants. i dont mind getting out there for 10 mins watering all 3 boxes and making sure they don't have bugs all over them etc. i have gotten into a routine and it seems to be working well. i water them before the sun is too hot and so they are sure to get through the day without wilting. i don't know about the location yet...i wanted the boxes to be close so i didn't have to walk so far to harvest and care for them... anyhow, till next time!