Happy (belated) New Year...

I don't even know where to start.  So much has changed since Ethan came into the world that I'm still just trying to find my footing. 

I went back to work about 3 weeks ago.  Since then, I've switched shifts once and my mom went back to work (meaning that we lost our baby-sitter).  Luckily I have a wonderful "second family" who offered to watch Ethan for a few hours whenever we need it.  And the guys at work have been great.  Still, it's been a big adjustment, and we're still trying to get into a routine.  I'm very blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.  I don't know what I'd do without them.

Ethan is growing and changing so quickly I can hardly keep up.  He's grabbing everything (and shoving it into his mouth), starting to roll, babbling a little, and smiling up a storm.  Yesterday he laughed for the first time.  I know all babies do these things, but it's so much more exciting when it's your own! 

Being entirely responsible for this new life has made me want to work even harder towards my "homesteading" goals.  Shayne and I are planning out a bigger garden for this year, 4 or 5 raised beds instead of just 1.  I've been thinking that the entire northern third of our property would be ideal to give over to gardening and chickens.  It gets great sun all day and is currently just grass and an apple tree.  Adding a fenced garden area with flowers and herbs around it would really add some much-needed interest to that side of the yard.  I'm thinking something along these lines:

We have a 40' wide by 218' long area to work within.  The garden will be about 24' wide and about 28' long.  That gives us plenty of room for our 4 planned beds, plus room to expand to 8 beds later if we want.  For this year, I'm hoping to plant potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, peas, spinach, broccoli, and carrots.

Behind the veggie garden will be the chicken coop.  I bought plans for the "Playhouse Coop" and am going to ask our handyman John to build it for us.  I really wanted to build it ourselves, but I just don't think we have the time.  Maybe we can get it done in time to order chicks this spring (yeah, right!).

But the one thing that absolutely HAS to get done this year is the bathroom remodel.  We have the insurance money sitting in the bank, and that plus our tax return should cover all the costs.  I can't wait.  I'm so sick of our nasty, tiny, plastic tub.  And our too-low shower arm.  And the peeling wallpaper.  Ick. 

Other things on our to-do list are shellacking the stairway, replacing the missing woodwork in the living room and upstairs bedrooms, refinishing the upstairs floors, and reconfiguring the new-old hallway closet.

I have no idea how we'll ever find time for all this.  I see lots of hiring-out in the year ahead...