Last week I turned 31. A full DECADE has gone by since 21. A full decade. How in the world did that happen? While I’d be lying if I said that aging and the cycle of life don’t frighten me a tad (okay, a lot) I know that I am so much healthier and happier than I was at 21. 21 was the year that I moved to Arizona (a couple weeks before my 21st birthday). 21 was the year that I got my heart broken by a boy. A boy I thought was “the one”. 21 was the year I struggled BIG time with depression, being over medicated by doctors trying to help me feel better when what I really needed was to just heal and allow myself to settle into the things that made me feel alive. So much has happened since I was 21. I’ve married, lived on three continents, finished two degrees, become a mama, bought a house, started ultra running and marathoning and so much more. I’ve also began the journey of saying “No” to things that do not feed my soul (even doing the dishes feeds my soul since I LOVE a clean house). I’ve learned that I can create the life I want to live and that even when something doesn’t go the way I planned or something I perceive as negative happens, something good will come back to me.
What did I want for my 31st birthday? I wanted to build garden beds with my dad, eat my favorite foods with people I love, and have my house professionally cleaned. All of those things and more made my birthday very special. Let me tell you a little more about these garden beds I built with my dad.
Usually when I get a project idea in my head, I over simplify it and underestimate the time needed to complete it. These garden beds were the opposite though. While I’m glad my dad helped, this is something I probably could have done on my own (it would have taken much longer and maybe not come out quite as square). It really was simple. I used Pioneer Woman’s tutorial and she made it very easy to follow! Even for someone like me who is pretty clueless when it comes to tools and what have you (I’m learning though!).
Leif and I hit the hardware store in the morning. I loaded my purse with snacks and tried to play the perfect balance between “I belong here, dammit” and “I’m going to need a helping hand” and by that I mean, the lumber department was overcrowded with contractors, I didn’t really know what I was after, I couldn’t find a lumber cart, and Leif was being his normal wild man self… I flagged down an employee who got me a cart, we loaded the boards on and then I sweetly said, “So, these won’t fit in my car, can you please cut them into 5 and 3 foot pieces.” And just like that, all my cuts for the day were made while I went and grabbed some wooden garden stakes and browsed the plants.
My dad, in his life as a retiree is pretty much always late these days. So, while we waited on him, I marked all the boards and pre-drilled them. Then my parents showed up–1 crazy chocolate lab puppy and my brothers basset hound and my niece Lily in tow. It was quite the crew in my back yard. There was also a small kitten taunting the dogs turning my parents’ dog into a crazed monster. It was a little bit of a circus but two raised beds were built and a yummy lunch was had. I spent the day after my birthday shoveling gravel to fill in between the beds. I’m so fed up with the crazy weeds. I splurged and purchased weed block and pea gravel. I know, I’m pretty wild.
The only changes we made to Pioneer Woman’s tutorial were the dimensions and we decided to screw the garden stakes to the bed before hammering it into the ground. We used 24 inch stakes which we found to be way to long. Hammering them in was a HUGE pain. With the second bed, we about 6 inches off the stakes before screwing them to the bed. I feel so empowered now! Like I could just build garden beds all day long!
In addition to building raised beds (I built a third using some scrap wood I had Josh cut up for me over the weekend), I also painted and redecorated both our bathrooms and moved 3 yards of gravel. I suppose it was a pretty productive week! I’m not sure what inspired all the painting but I love how it turned out.
It was also an emotional roller coaster in terms of who we will be sharing our home with this coming school year. We had planned on two exchange students. We were working with a local organization and had planned on hosting two girls–one from China one from Korea. The Chinese girl decided she did not want to live with us due to our vegan lifestyle. The Korean gal was scheduled to come next week. I contacted another organization our mutual friend of ours had mentioned to me. They wanted to to host a boy from China. They said it wasn’t a concern that we were already hosting a female. We rapidly went through the process of being hosts for them. Leif had a full on melt down when I attempted to take him to the orientation at the University Place library. I got yelled at by a man telling me to control my child. We had a home visit and everything was set to go. That night, I got a call saying we wouldn’t be getting the Korean girl because her parents decided last minute they didn’t want her living with vegans! “Well, at least we’re still getting the other kid! Glad I did that!” I thought. Then, on Monday, they called to tell me it wouldn’t work because Stadium High School was full. BOO!!! So, it appears that we will be renting a room to a med student doing a rotation at St. Joe’s for at least a month, maybe three. WOW. Within a matter of days our house dynamics changed about 8,000 times. I’m fully enjoying this time with just us. Wandering around in my undies at night and not worrying about having the house as tidy as normal.