Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear Baby Gilliam,

I know I have only known of you for the last few months, but I am already so excited for you to enter this world! Your daddy and I can't wait until we can see your beautiful face and touch your tiny hands! I thank God everyday for the opportunity to grow you and help you become big and strong.  I can promise you, even though I don't really have an experience yet, that I will love you with every aspect of my being. I will protect you when I need to, and let you take steps alone when you need to. I hope to be able to teach you everything that I have learned from my mom and more! It is my dream for you to grow up free to do whatever it is you love.

I know that I haven't met you yet, but I can't wait to get to know your personality. I know you'll probably be a little stubborn, since we both are :), and I hope compassionate.  I want to teach and inspire you to see the world through the eyes of the Lord. I want you to see the beauty and happiness in the world, not just the bad.  I want you to experience all that you can and whatever you can't experience, to dream about.  I pray that the Lord gives you a heart for the people around you and to love all.

I pray that you grow up with a strong relationship with the Lord. I know that it's always a journey, but I will aim to push you and encourage you towards a love and passion unlike any other! I pray that God will protect you and keep you safe and use your life to bless anyone around you.

You know, I'm a little scared though. This is something I have never experienced and I know that I will do some things wrong, and when I do, I hope you forgive me.  I know that I won't always have the answers when you ask, but I promise that I will always listen to you when you need it the most. Although I don't yet know what joys and hardships you life may bring, I continue to pray that the Lord will give me the peace and patience to handle any situation. I can promise you that I'll mess up, but I can also promise you that I will always be here to clean those messes up.

I can't wait to meet you, my love! My love for you grows with each passing day and I know that will continue as you grow. I know I will always want to protect you from the world around you and at times, it will be hard to let that go, but I pray that I will make the decisions that will best help you become a part of this wonderful world.

I continue to pray for protection and strength as you grow. I pray that I will know the right decisions to make each step of the way and for clarity when needed. I thank the Lord that I am surrounded by amazing women to learn from and look up to! I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up learning all the things I have and for the foundation I have been given. I know that I don't know it all and I realistically never will, but as I learn and grow I will work to help you learn and grow in this life as well.  Thank you Lord for this amazing addition to our family, and I pray for the strength and safety as the next few months progress!

Not too much longer until I will get to meet you, and I seriously can't wait! Your daddy and I are preparing and getting everything ready for you. We can't wait til the day we get to see you for the first time! Until then, I will love, protect, and care for you, and pray the Lord will continue to bless this pregnancy.

With mountains of love,
Your mommy, Erica


Monday, March 5, 2012

This years gardening adventures!

This year I decided to significantly expand my container garden! Although I can't actually plant in the ground (since we rent our place), I didn't want to that stop me from having lots of veggies and herbs these next few seasons.  I did do a few "experiments" as far as how many things could go in a pot, and figured I won't know til I try! If I lose a few plants, in the long run, I'll learn a lot more in the future!

I am going to try to update you guys every week or so on how everything is growing and what kind of yield we are getting!  The best part of a container garden is that anyone can do it! You can't have to have a ton of space. I've even seen videos of people who grow veggies inside near windows and get great yield.

This year, I tried really hard to plant things that I know we enjoy! I also wanted to try different variations to see which type grows best in pots.  We also got a few new herbs that we haven't really had a chance to try without growing them ourselves. I'm really excited for my garden this year and hop that everything works out well!
Above: This is my entire garden.  We have it on the side of the yard that will get plenty of sunshine, but it's also a little more protected from environmental factors.
Above: 3 Cauliflower plants.  I've never planted them before and didn't know how they would do in a container, but I figured I would "Go big or Go home" So I put three plants in one pot.

Left: This is the "Better Boy" Variety of a tomato plant.  They are supposed to grow large tomatoes.  I also have two small Kale plants in the container with this tomato plant.
Above: Here are the "Beef Master" Tomato Variety. These are also supposed to grow very large tomatoes. Last year, I had a plant that was supposed to do large tomatoes, but instead they looked like cherry tomatoes.  I'm really hoping that doesn't happen again this year (Hence the difference varieties!). I also have some Spicy Globe Basil in this container.

Right: This is the "Black Cherry" Tomato plant.  I've never seen these before, but they are supposed to be a variety of Cherry Tomatoes that are supposed to have a deaper color, almost a purply-black. 

I also have "Cowhorn" Cayenne Pepper plant in this container.  I didn't know if these who would grow very well together, but I figured it was defintiely worth a try! I dont' know what will use the Cayenne peppers for yet (besides salsa), but I'm excited to try some new things!
Above: Here are my lovely Sweet Basil plants! Last year my basil did incredibly and I dried a ton of it! I'm hoping that this year I can dry extra to keep for the off seasons.  I also have a Grape Tomato plant in this container as well.
Above: I was getting creative with my containers (These are free after we eat the strawberries!). Here I have some Romane Lettuce plants.  I didn't know exactly how they would do in the smaller containers, but I figured it was definitely worth a shot!
Above: Here is one of my two Strawberry plants! I planted both Strawberries in strawberry containers from the store! I'm very excited for them as they are already starting to get little buds!
Above: MMMMM Chocolate Mint! Every time I go over to water them it smells so good!! I don't yet know what to do with it, but I don't care! It was a MUST in my garden!

Left:  This is actually my oregano plant left over from last year! I did great through the couple frosts we had down here! I ended up transplanting it into it's own container this year as it likes to take over whatever world it lives in.  This year it's in the bottom of a milk jug!

Right: This is the beginning of a chives plant. I have never seen a baby Chive plant, so I don't really know if it's doing well or not, but I am really hoping this one works! Kendall and I both LOVE adding chives to our meals!

Also, you can see that I planted this in a milk jug as well! Gotta recycle those plastics!
Above: Here is my Swiss Chard plant! I absolutely love the bright colors of these plants! I also have another one planted in a strawberry container as well! I can't wait for these to grow big and strong so we can eat them!

Left: This is Curly Parsely.  I also have two regular parsely plants as well in milk jugs.  I have never grown this variety before and am very excited to use it in some fun cooking!

Right: This year I also did a German Thyme plant! I haven't planted Thyme before either.  It's not something Kendall and I typically use in our cooking, but I think it's about time to add it to some of our recipes! Suggestions on how to use it would be very welcomed!
Above: Here is a Sweet Green Bell Pepper Plant! I am very excited for these as they are great to eat alone and to cook with! I'm really hoping that it will yield some fantastic fruits! I also have some cilantro here. I haven't grown this before, but we love to use it in guacamoles and salsas we I thought we might as well have some in our garden as well!
Above: This is the only plant that I didn't plant anything with. This is my "Bush Goliath" Tomatoes.  This is a bush tomato plant and since it is supposed to be more thick and bushy I didn't want to plant anything else in the pot to avoid things being over powered! From pictures I've seen these have great yield in containers, so I'm hoping that I get something very similar!

Left: Here is my rosemary that is leftover from last year as well! It has survived this winter really well and I am hoping that it will perk up again as the weather gets warmer!

I also have two broccoli plants in this container as well! I haven't done broccoli before, but I am really excited as they have almost doubled in height over the last 2 weeks!
Above: Here is my Bok Choy plants! I am so excited about these because they are doing so well already! I planted them about 2 weeks ago and they have definitely grown really well. I can't wait until they are ready to pick! These go great with stir fry and in salads!
Above: Here are four more broccoli plants! These were planted about a week ago, so they haven't really perked up like the other ones, but I am hoping that they will grow well this spring! I am also planning on replanting these this fall for some more broccoli later in the year!
Above: Last, but certainly not least, is my Thai Basil plant! I am very excited about this because of the gorgeous colors and a new use for basil that we don't already do! In this container I also am trying some Crewneck Squash plants. I'm not totally sure how they will do in the container, but I figured it was definitely worth a try!

I hope my little garden as encouraged you to try something of your own, whether it's large or one small plant, there is something about growing things yourself! I can't wait to see how everything does this spring!

What are you planting this year? Anything new that you are super excited about? I'd absolutely love to hear about it!
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