Sprouting time!

This is Vera’s new bear. She was totally stuck to it at the thrift store while I was looking for fabric scraps and stuff, and I couldn’t resist getting it for her- plus it was only a couple bucks. When I asked her the bear’s name, she told me it was "Tolly". I love the names she picks! (Other examples are Lee-lo, Chicken, Dani)

I also got her this great retro memory game for a dollar. I love it- the pictures are so great! Oh, and the hat is my floppy garden hat, but Vera has to get a sampling of all the hats in the house it seems, regardless of if they actually fit or not…

Oh, so here’s a dilemma: We don’t buy things new. Well, with the exception of a few things like plastic freezer bags, rechargeable batteries, wood (but we’re trying to get out of that- Jeff’s building a wood storage shed off the back of the garage and we’ll start collecting scrap wood for projects), oh, and things like underwear. Otherwise, if we want something we try to wait it out until it comes our way- and it usually does. Now, with presents and things, while we haven’t made an official announcement, people generally are pretty thoughtful about this stuff and get things that meet our standards. Like, for my birthday I got a new high-quality composter bin for the counter, and also a tomato juicer- things that help me conserve! Vera (for her birthday and Christmas) got books, hand-me-down toys, and some really nice wooden toys that will last through many kids. I mean, we aren’t going to be big sticklers about it, but we appreciate it if people are thoughtful about it and get things for her/us that are still in line with our values.
Anyway, not that long ago Vera was passionately admiring her older cousin’s Tinkerbell socks. She wanted to wear them and was really into them the whole time we were there. My SIL said "That’s it, we’re getting her some, I don’t care what her mom says!" This was all said in fun, but I lightly protested and rolled my eyes. She talked about how cheap they were at Target, and the whole thing just left me hoping she’d forget, or that she wasn’t serious. I mean, we don’t go to those big stores usually, and definitely not for clothes branded with Disney princesses… So I talk to her today and she bought them! I said "You didn’t!" and she just chuckled. All I could think to say was "She’ll love them…" I mean, it’s a 2 dollar pair of socks. But I have issues with it- it’s something she doesn’t need or remember, and it’s setting her up for the envy of those things that all the other kids have that she doesn’t. I honestly want her to accept that she won’t get what everyone else gets- and I plan to explain why. I don’t need other adults slipping her the good stuff and thinking that mom & dad just suck and are overreacting. My SIL’s original statement makes me think that she knew I’d take issue with it- or at least that she knows I wouldn’t buy them myself for her. So… what the heck? I mean, I don’t think it’s fair to set me up for a) a child who resents me because she knows that the other adults in her life will get her the things she wants and/or b) an awkward as hell conversation where I have to turn down a silly little gift on principal. I mean, where’s the line? Regardless of whether or not everyone else in the family wants to adopt our values, I still expect them to back me up- or at least not interfere. Thank goodness she’s only 2 years old, but at some point it’s going to make a difference. She’s smart, too, so maybe it matters now. I don’t know.
So I’m not sure what to do about it. On the one hand I don’t think it was fair of her, and while of course it was well-intentioned and sweet, it’s just not something I want happening in the future. On the other hand, I’m totally stifled by the gift-giving/receiving etiquette I was raise with (which is good stuff) and don’t know how to handle this kind of thing graciously. I was talking to Jeff about that part of it, and he said "You know, there’s just no etiquette for this kind of thing yet…" Yeah. You mean the "thank you so much but your gift is contributing to consumer culture, the destruction of the planet, and the allover illusory notion that we can have whatever we like without consequences, and therefore is crossing our ethical boundaries… so no thanks!" rule of etiquette? Yeah, there’s not a great way to say that yet. I should probably write Miss Manners or something.
On top of that, we’re hypocrites. I’ve gotten loads of new books for Vera from people that I happily accept because… I don’t know. They are better for her development and we can use them longer? I mean, it’s still destructive. But I don’t have a problem with a high-quality book or toy, or a little sweater or dress- but for some reason some tinkerbell socks on a random occasion from Target just seem different. Maybe this is a call to be more consistent. I don’t know. If it is, how the heck do I go about setting these boundaries without it being really uncomfortable? I may just end up doing nothing about it for now. Maybe this was meant to just challenge me to think more about it and figure out what’s next. I’m not upset with my SIL- she wasn’t being malicious at all, I’m just uncomfortable about the clash here, and I don’t want to come off as being scolding or judgmental (if I do confront it). Thoughts?


On to more fun things. Garden!

Onions.

Potato baby!

Lettuce that is definitely going in a salad tomorrow.

Garlic.

Baby greens! I forget what kind they are (maybe chard?), but we’ll find out soon enough. So much is sprouting now! I love this stage. 

Our little cherry tree. I’m looking forward to munching on little bitty cherries again this year.

Overview. It really came together. All that’s left to do is cut down the picket fence to 3/4 the size it is, and line the garden with it. I’m excited about this because Maya still romps through the beds and it drives me nuts. At least she out grew the puppy digging. That first year gardening with her was interesting… I found carrots everywhere. Also, at the end of the garden in that corner will be our clothes line.

So all that’s left to do, planting-wise, is to plant the tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and eggplant. Starting seeds this year has definitely been a learning experience. It’s tricky! We lost a bunch of stuff, and are likely going to lose more. Our tomatoes look pathetic- transplanting them took its toll. We definitely will do some things differently next year, so worst case we’ll just have to buy some plants and the money we spent on some of the seeds will be the cost of a lesson in seed-starting. We’ll also have the greenhouse up next year, so I’m hoping that will help. It’s a good thing I keep my expectations low!

I’ve had a real soft spot for this sweet puppy lately, which says a lot considering that she keeps running through my raised beds and mucking up the house with her constantly muddy paws. I have to keep our bedroom door shut now so that we don’t have to brush off the bed every night before we go to sleep. Soon the mud will be gone, and then there will be the shedding… I really love this dog.

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"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it." (Abraham Lincoln)

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