Farm-to-Fork? More Like Farm-to-Face

Willem is eating FOOD, guys! I’m not sure why I’m so excited about this, but I am. I mean, it was inevitable that the kid would eat food at some point, right? He’s not going to survive on breast milk forever.

Part of it is that, oh, holy crap, he’s already eating food. At this rate, he’ll be learning to drive before we know it.
20140724. I'm ready.

The other part is that so far, his first foods were lovingly made by ME last fall. With every messy bite, I’m brought back to that time, when I was so full of excitement and big dreams for this little creature I was anxiously waiting to meet. And now? Now he is here, and he gets to eat that excitement and those big dreams with every spoonful. How cool is that?

Sweet potatoes (or were those yams?) from the garden last fall…
20131102. Sweet potatoes (or did I plant yams?).

And straight into the gullet. The kid, he likes his sweet potatoes.
20140724. Sweet potatoes are GOOD.

Our annual trip to Anderson Orchard last September:
20130914. Anderson Orchard.

20130914. Annual Anderson Orchard visit.

Apple sauce making:
20130914. Old school is new school again.

Apple sauce eating. Verdict: apple sauce is GOOOOOD.
Apple sauce!

I honestly don’t see us ever buying baby food from the store. This is one-ingredient goodness right here, and it doesn’t get much closer to home.

Balance

So… I was supposed to return from maternity leave to my old, full-time, wonderful job on May 15. I had been there six years and had very much climbed the ladder (and had been given the opportunity, trust, and support to do so from my boss, co-workers, our board, our members… everyone) in terms of both salary and job responsibilities/title. It was an awesome place to grow and learn, and in those respects it was very hard to not go back.

In the I-have-a-Willem-now respect, though, it was very, very easy to not go back. I just… I can’t even imagine working full time right now and am utterly thankful I am not having to make that work. However, being completely focused on a baby and someone else’s needs? That gets old fast, and so I am super lucky and thankful to be working very part-time for Growing Places Indy as their operations manager. I’m writing grants, tracking donations and entering data into QuickBooks, doing graphic design – basically, whatever needs getting done, I’ll do. It keeps me tied to the real world in an awesome way, since I get to work for an organization that is doing some amazing stuff in my city and that I really believe in and am interested in already.

I’m pleased as punch to see my signs around town for our new u-pick farm and farm stand:

Farm U-Pick and Farm Stand, Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center

Growing Places Indy's Urban U-Pick is open for business!

And the other day we got notice that we received funding on the first grant I’ve ever applied for. It seems weird that this is the first grant I’ve actually ever applied for; I’ve worked on grants for other people before but never really been the head grant-applicator. Or something. Anyway, it’s awesome, and it means we will be able to grow produce year-round AND support a year-round urban farmer, which is huge. I’m super proud.

P.S. Backyard panorama, just for scuzz.

Backyard panorama.

P.P.S. Speaking of “balance,” I’d be remiss to not post a picture of my Willem being cute, right?

The cutest.

Resolutions, 2014 Edition (or Can We Just Continue on with the Awesome, Please?)

Last year, I had some kick-ass resolutions. How do I define “kick ass”? For starters, I actually kept them (to be fair, one of them was to drink more juice).

A brief recap: my 2013 resolutions…

  • Drink more juice. Check!
  • Apply for an apprenticeship this summer with Growing Places Indy. So much checking!
  • Take a trip with my honey. So we didn’t end up in Oregon, but our vacation did require passports. Check and check!

More importantly, though, it seemed my mental pump was primed this time last year for some big changes in 2013 (of which there were so, so many). It’s easy to list off the events that happened: got engaged, got pregnant, did an urban farming apprenticeship, learned so very much all summer long, expanded our garden, got married, went on an awesome vacation, had a fantastic baby shower, etc. etc.

20130907. Our Wedding!

However, the internal shifts are harder to quantify or even vocalize without starting to feel like a dirty hippie. But they are really, incredibly important to me. A few of the things I learned this year:

  • View the world through a positive lens.
  • Actively kick those negative, ugly, or self-defeating thoughts out.
  • Get excited about the immense number of things you can do, the things you can learn, the people you can meet, the ways you can move forward and just be better at being you; don’t worry about your limitations.
  • Actually, just kick those (mostly perceived) limitations to the curb while you’re at it.
  • Do it. Show up. Open your heart. Don’t be afraid.
  • Approach the world and especially the people in it with abundance and gratitude and thanks and gentleness. We all need more gentleness.
  • Let people know you appreciate them. Show your gratitude any time you can.

20130801. Growing Places Indy Summer Apprentices.

Speaking of showing gratitude, I am so thankful for so many people over this last year. My parents (gratitude times a million, this year and always, really); Chris, who got me through the worst days, supported me unconditionally as I came up with new schemes and dreams, and cheered me on through the best; Laura, Tyler, all of my Growing Places Indy peeps, and my inspiring, thoughtful, hilarious fellow apprentices this summer; Amy at South Circle Farm for so graciously opening up her farm to us on what turned out to be one of my favorite days this year, our wedding; Maggie at Fall Creek Gardens for being generally awesome and letting me help out with the new demonstration garden; our good local friends, fellow knitters, and neighbors; all of my girl friends scattered across the country, who listened during some damn dark days early this year; and my amazing, generous, loving extended family, of which I’ve always been so thankful to be a part and which expanded even more this year.

20130512. The whole clan.

So my resolutions for 2014?

  • Keep working to live all those hard to quantify, sometimes easy to forget life lessons I picked up in 2013. 
  • Approach motherhood and our soon-to-be expanded family with humor, joy, and adventure. Oh, the places we’ll go.
  • Go on a real vacation with my husband and my baby. Maybe this year will be our chance to roam the Oregon coast, expand our micro-brewery horizons among the Portland-hip, and introduce our baby to a starfish or two.
  • Continue to put myself out there and open my heart to people who make it easy to feel gratitude, thanks, and positivity.

Happy NEW YEAR! Here’s to lots of goodness in 2014.

20130928. New onesies for the sprout.

20131231. Chris' favorite Christmas present.

What. A. Year.

This year has been, without a doubt, one of my favorites so far. Perhaps my favorite. Like, of my whole entire life. It has been life changing and perspective shifting. On January 1 last year, I could never have imagined where I would be today in so many aspects of life.

I feel like it’s been one constant positive feedback loop, which is a pretty amazing place to be living. And I can’t wait for 2014.

So without further ado, let’s take a walk through memory lane and hit just a few of the many highlights:

January – Birdie’s first hotel room and snowy, cold day snuggles.

February – Surprise Valentine’s Day trip to Chicago with this guy and Birdie (the first one was from Revolution – amazing beer, amazing food, amazing beer bottle chandelier).

March – Dreams of summer gardens and our famous chickens.

20130309. Peppers and tomatoes.

20130330. Indianapolis Monthly collage.

April – Upping the ante with our new garden fence (backyard time lapse, 2011 to 2013).

20130415. The backyard - year 1, year 2, and year 3.

May – Celebrating my parents’ 40th anniversary with the whole fam-damily. What a great weekend.

20130511. Mom and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary.

20130512. The whole clan.

Oh – and we’re engaged!
20130517. Engaged!

June – Pregnant! Garden is growing. Apprenticeship starts. So many new, really fantastic things all at once.

20130608. Pregnant!

20130607. Garden jungle.

20130530. The sexiest top shelf of a fridge ever - completely local or homemade items.

20130530. What ever could be hiding in that over-stuffed bag?

July – Apprenticeship with Growing Places Indy is in full swing, and my world is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic place to be.

20130709. Front page of the Indianapolis Star! Er, well... the D section.

20130709. Sky Farm at Eskenazi Health.

20130613. Asparagus dreams at the Near Eastside Legacy Center.

August – It’s official – we let people know we’re having a baby! And summertime is in full swing, as evidenced by a trip to the state fair and our garden.

20130807. First baby gift!

20130807. I got every kid to try a husk cherry, and only one spit it out. Success!

20130810. Indiana State Fair. Deep fried Oreo.

20130810. Indiana State Fair. Ferris wheel.

September – Our wedding at South Circle Farm.

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

October – Honeymoon/babymoon to Jamaica!

20131028. Amazing storm clouds.

20131028. First time in the water.

20131028. Chris and his thematic reading matter.

November – Our wonderful baby shower, thrown by my mom.

20131130. Our baby shower.

20131130. Our baby shower.

20131128. Me and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

December – Just a whole lot of thankfulness and happiness going on. I started working with the amazing team at Growing Places Indy, doing operations stuff for them. My parents came to visit for Christmas. We’ve got some ambitious house projects before the baby comes. And Chris and I both took two full weeks off work over the holidays. Life is sweet.

Can you tell how super excited I am to be part of the amazing Growing Places Indy team? #whatayear

Boombox wishes you a Merry Christmas Eve.

20131214. Chris made a snowman.

20131214. Nursery "mobile."

20131207. Birdie hugs.

Giving Thanks, the Wrap-Up (in Which My Family Is Amazeballs)

Right after Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite. I mean that in an Elf sort of way. Actually, I generally relate to this clip perhaps a little too much this time of year.

Chris and I went up to Chicago and had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house with my parents, aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins and their kids. Food, family, football: the Thanksgiving trifecta. It was a warm glow kind of afternoon, and I’m not just talking about the weather.

20131128. Me and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

On Saturday, my mom threw us the best baby shower ever. For real, the best. It was at a tea house near their place, complete with your choice of 50+ types of tea, personal tea pots, mismatched (gorgeous) China cups and saucers, and delicious itty bitty sandwiches and desserts.

20131128. Grandma, Amy, me, and Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

The women in my family are pretty rad, too. They are down to Earth, funny, silly, loving, generous, REAL ladies who inevitably have a serious hoot any time they get together. Our shower was no different. I think my favorite part was getting to spend the morning with them all.

20131128. Shawna, Braelyn, me, and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

That beautiful “little” girl standing next to me? I was her nanny when she was 6 months old until she was 13 months old. It’s hard to believe that was 11 years ago!

I also feel like we are so ready for this baby – at least, as far as “stuff” is concerned! Between my parents’ astounding generosity and these amazingly generous ladies, I am overwhelmed with gratitude – and BABY STUFF. I don’t know how they managed it, but we didn’t even have any duplicate gifts. Well done, family!

20131128. Bibs from Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

Wait… we’re going to be PARENTS?!

Of course I don’t have a single photo yet of my mom and me! (Hint, hint, Chris – you need to upload your shots stat). I got a wild hair when we got back home Saturday and managed to unpack and put together almost all of our goodies. Here are a few outtakes from the office/nursery (heavy on the “nursery” part):

20131205. The office is giving way to the nursery.

My desk gets more and more interesting every day.

 

20131205. Baby's got the goods.

An army of sleepers, the most amazing chicken hat, and tiny baby booties knitted 34 years ago by my grandmother, now for our little one.

 

20131205. Baby's got the goods.

A blanket my aunt Beth embroidered for me when I was a baby, art I made for the kid, and the most ingenious storage idea ever for tiny baby things.

Thanksgiving weekend also meant another four weeks of BUMP WATCH 2013. We’ve learned the kid now weighs 3.5 pounds, which puts it in the 80th percentile for weight. No wonder I feel so rotund!
Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 26-29.

Giving Thanks, Days 16-18: I Have a Bit of a Christmas Problem

Confession: I’m one of THOSE people. You know, the kind of person who loves the fact that the grocery store was playing Christmas songs the weekend after Halloween. Who has a Nutcracker Ballet Pandora station that gets frequent play between early-November and late-December. Who gets so sad at the thought that Thanksgiving and Christmas are close together this year, thus minimizing prime Christmas-tree-enjoyment. Guess which one of these I am?

DAY 16: THANKS FOR THE SMILES, NEIGHBORHOOD. I’m a sucker for streetside senses of humor. This adorable little guy makes me smile every time I’m stopped at the light down the street from my house. Which is often.

My hood.

DAY 17: WAY TO GO, CHRISTMASTIME, WITH ALL YOUR GLITTERY LIGHTS AND GLASS GLOBE ORNAMENTS AND NUTCRACKER SUITES. So what if it’s not Thanksgiving yet? Our tree is now decorated, and it makes me exceedingly happy to have those lights all aglow each night. Every year around this time, I think I’ll want to keep it up until February, but every year I somehow come to my senses around New Year’s Day and get the tree back into the basement, ready for next year.

20131122. Christmas tree goodness.

DAY 18: Finally, I’M REALLY THANKFUL WE LIVE EXACTLY WHERE WE DO. Seriously, we somehow found the perfect house for us. Like Chris said yesterday, “Things just seem to work out for us.” He’s right, they really do.

This little place was the second of many that we visited back in spring 2011, and it quickly became the house against which we measured all others in our price range. “This one’s all right…. but it’s not as nice as that second one we saw.” We’ve made an awesome home, and I never want to leave.

The latest step in house evolution: we finished the nursery closet, just in time for our upcoming baby shower!

20131123. Finished nursery closet!

20131123. Finished nursery closet!

20131125. The beginning of a library.

Our baby library begins, thanks to gifts from my brother and sis-in-law and my own bookshelf. I’ve never noticed how CREEPY that picture of Shel Silverstein is on the back cover of “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

Giving Thanks, Days 13, 14, and 15: I Love YOU and YOU and YOU

I am a lucky, lucky girl in lots of different ways. I’m so thankful to so many people, most of all my parents, who will get their own extensive entry one of these days. I’m thankful for my circumstances and, in general, luck. Things have not always been fantastic, but when I think about how many opportunities I have had, thanks to the help of others, dumb luck, and my own efforts, it’s staggering.

So this post is going to be all about three amazing people in my life.

DAY (LUCKY NUMBER) 13: THANKS TO MY LOVE, MY COMPADRE, MY PARTNER IN CRIME, MY DUDE, CHRIS, FOR… WELL, FOR EVERYTHING. I’m so glad you decided you wanted to marry me. You bring out the good parts of me and make me want to be a better person. Maybe it’s the hormones speaking, but I am just overwhelmed lately with all the feels re: you. And me. And you and me together. And that’s a very nice thing.

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

DAY 14: SHOUT OUT TO THE INSPIRATIONS IN MY LIFE. I had dinner with one of my favorite inspiring lassies, Sally, on Tuesday, and I love that I have a Sally in my life. It is amazing to grow with your friends, to be inspired by them (see: the Sally Project), to share the awesomeness that can happen when you decide what you want in life and just start DOING it. It is intoxicating when you start seeing positive results just from focusing yourself and making small, simple step after small, simple step, and even more inspiring when you get to hang out with cool people living through similar realizations.

100703. me and sally.

DAY 15: THANKS FOR BOXES OF BABY GOODIES FROM LOVED ONES FROM AFAR. My friend, Nikki, made my week – she sent what she had said would be “a few things” for the baby and turned out to be a box absolutely loaded with pretty much all the clothes I think we’ll need for the kid for at least the first several months. Seriously, this is amazing on so many levels – I no longer have to worry that my baby will have no clothes, I don’t have to go out and be a dirty consumer, the stuff she sent is beyond adorable, AND I’ll think of her and her little one every time the kid wears something from her. We’re talking a GIRAFFE CARDIGAN, sweet little rattles and teethers, the most amazing fleece lined baby parka thingie I’ve ever seen, and so many onesies and sleepers to make you swoon.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki - GIRAFFE CARDIGAN.

20131120. Baby clothes from Nikki - you've got to be kidding me with the cute.

Like I said, I am a damn lucky girl. Thanks, universe, for being so good to me and bringing these wonderful people into my little world.

Giving Thanks, Days 10, 11, and 12: Bands from Half a Lifetime Ago and More

Day 10: THANKS TO MY ROCKSTAR BOYFRIENDS. I’ve now been in love with many of you for almost half my life, and you still pull me right back in every time I hear your dulcet tones. (Someday, I’ll have to give thanks to my “guilty pleasures” bands and songs. YouTube is apparently aware of all of them).

Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach: his lyrics made 15-year-old me and 34-year-old me feel all the feels.

Cursive’s Tim Kasher: This super old, amazing video of two of my old favorites is making me very happy.

Day 11: THANKS TO MY FREAKING AMAZINGLY CRAFTY HUSBAND. Yesterday, he spent the day building out our nursery closet (you know, the one for which I had drawn a really amazing, I’m sure super helpful diagram). He brings our hair-brained ideas to life and, I’m convinced, can do just about anything: rewire electrical outlets, run cables through the crawl space, build garden beds, design and create a chicken run extension, level a rain barrel, build a compost bin system, create awesome closet systems, etc. You get the idea. I’m so glad I married him!

20110520. chris making the bed.

20130504. Chris finishing up the hop trellis.

20120123. an example of our actual notes to each other.

Day 12: The day is still young, but I have a sneaking suspicion I need to give a SHOUT OUT TO THE BACKYARDS OF THE WORLD (especially mine). Dearest backyard, you continue to feed us, even though I have been occupied with many, many other projects this year and not paid proper attention to you. If I’m hungry or thinking about what to make for dinner, all I need to do is walk outside, pick a bunch of greens, run to the basement for a garlic head, and voila! We have some green goodies to add to eggies (thanks, chickens!) or throw into a homemade pizza alongside some backyard sweet potatoes.

20130622. The garden.

As I stare out at naked branches and fallen leaves, it seems like a fitting time to thank the garden. It’s been a great summer, and now it’s time to rest.

Giving Thanks, Days 6 and 7: Now with Maternity Space Pants!

Day 6: THANKS FOR THE INTERNAL BABY KICKS, BABY.

As I went through my day yesterday, paying only passing attention to the now-common bumps and thumps emanating from my mid-section, it struck me that soon – really, REALLY soon, actually – I’ll no longer get to feel them. The jabs and pokes, the uncontrollable mini-thunder rumbles I waited so long for are just a passing phase. According to my calculations (aka the internet), we are now in double digits for the countdown to my due date – 95 days, to be exact.

I felt a little sad at this. I’ve gotten used to the hyperactive little creature who is quite literally sharing my space, invading my sleep, and generally making himself/herself known.

I told Chris this, and he said, “Yeah, but then you can see it kicking! And you’ll be able to pinch its baby cheeks, too! And it will probably be pretty adorable once it’s on the outside.” (Yes, he actually said we’d be pinching cheeks. I just fall more in love with him every day).

20131110. 26 weeks.

26 weeks with my giant baby!

Day 7: HOORAY FOR BOXES OF CHRISTMAS YARN AND ALL YOUR WARMING POTENTIAL

I finally got around to planning out my Christmas knitting projects, queuing up patterns for mitts and scarves and beanies and dinosaurs and sheep pillows. You know, the usual. The only thing missing? The yarn.

So when the postman stopped by with a box this morning, I ran to the door: my Christmas project yarn had arrived! What a beautiful sight. Am I the only one who enjoys burying her face in a pile of wool? What? Yeah, I am? Oh well.

20131112. The Christmas knitting yarn has arrived! Oh, happy day.

Bonus Thanks: MATERNITY SPACE PANTS!

20131112. Maternity space pants, wha-WHAAAT?!

Giving Thanks, Day 4 and 5: Slugs and Grandparents*

*Not necessarily in that order.

Day 4: Giving Thanks to the Creepy Crawlies

Yesterday, we took a trip down to the Bloomington Handmade Market, which is sort of like a regional, in-person Etsy. In other words, AWESOME. I had wanted to scoop up a few unique things for Christmas presents, and I had no problem doing that. I also had no problem finding a few things for our own wee babe.

While perusing the wares, we found these adorable stuffies. I was enamored with this bug-eyed monster, a platypus, and a slug and wanted all three of them. Thankfully, Chris helped talk me down. I am thankful for handmade goodies, slugs, and husbands who encourage the selection of the most odd/unique option.

20131110. A stuffie slug for the sprout.

My alma mater’s official mascot is the lumberjack; however, the unofficial mascot is the banana slug. Go, slugs!

Day 5: Giving Thanks to Crafty Future Grandparents and Handmade Gifts

Between both our sets of parents, I think this kid is going to have things well covered in terms of grandparents. Chris’ parents visited this weekend and not only brought us a signed copy of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s latest book, but they also gifted us with an absolutely amazing, barnyard-themed quilt for the babe. Seriously, I think I squealed incoherently for several minutes when my mother-in-law first pulled it out to show us.

20131110. Baby quilt from Grandma Lynn.

Chickens, goats, pigs, horses, sheep – all the major barnyard players make an appearance.

20131110. Baby quilt from Grandma Lynn.

Goats and chicken wire and swirlies. Everything a baby needs.