Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative

One of the exercises that I do in my creative coaching sessions is to come up with a mantra that I repeat to myself as much as I can throughout the week. Everyday, I spend some time in the morning building intentions around that mantra and then reflect on it at the end of the day.

My mantra for my first week was: “I Know the Answer is Here.” This was based on the fact that the reason that I embarked on this creative coaching journey was because I knew I had the answers to the problems I was facing, I just needed someone to help me organize and give me tools to help me clear my head and find them.

There isn’t any formula around how I write about my intentions or reflections. At first, I found it somewhat difficult. I definitely had a few moments of, what the hell does an Intention around “I know the answer is here.” really even mean?! But sometimes, you just have to go with it. I just started writing and it came to me. Sometimes they come in the form of concrete actions other times, just a general approach to my day, or sometimes just pure rambling of almost utter nonsense. But it feels good nonetheless, to just get my thoughts out there.

A gem from this past week was my intention for the last day of the mantra “I Know the Answer is Here” and I felt a little surge of excitement coupled with a big helping of humble pie, when I wrote it – and, yes, I’m going to quote myself:

“I intend to be decisive and focused. I intend to not be overwhelmed by how things initially appear and to not feel as I’ve wasted my time or others but to see that everything is a learning process. I intend to view situations and experiences as a way of growing rather than as a reflection of my shortcoming. I intend to do what I haven’t the past few days and address issues that I’ve put off in fear. I intend to continue feeding my sense of lightness when approaching roadblocks and seeing contrary solutions to my own as ways of learning and listening. Sometimes realizing that I don’t have all the answers, is an answer in itself. I do have the answers in the sense that it is within my capacity to find the answer, but I don’t have to be the one that supplies them all them time.”

This particular intention was very centered around work, but I find that there is a lot of overlap in my approach to work and life. Which makes sense because I’m a creative in my day job, and I can’t separate that creative aspect from my personal life. But not only that, a lot of my creative coaching sessions are not only directing me in how I approach my work at my day job, but how that job itself fits into the life I’m building for the future. It’s all connected.

From here on out, I plan on sharing any Intentions and Reflections in this space. I’m sure you probably don’t care about my intentions to clean the bathroom sink, so I’ll try and spare you some of those mundane details!

{Photo I took of Q + E in our garden, taken this summer}


Photograph  by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tyrrenian Sea, Amalfi 1990

Lately I’ve been floating. Figuratively, not literally. I felt afloat in a sea of familiar things that I sort of watched go by. They would come and go on the currents and occasionally lap against the hull. I felt like I was waiting around for a breeze to come to move me forward toward my destination. It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great. The most I felt was restless. Restless to get going, but also somewhat resigned to my fate. It’s like, well, I’m here and I don’t see a rescue ship in site. Not that I even really felt like I needed rescuing.

Then I realized that I had some oars all along, so I start to paddle.

Ok, so I know this is sort of a cheesy analogy. And probably not entirely accurate. And will most likely get more cheesy as we continue, but I’m just going to go with it.

Earlier this month, as a form of professional development, I started a six-week course of Creative Coaching sessions with Kathleen from Braid Creative. I’m going to consider this my realizing-I-have-oars moment, in the analogy above. I wasn’t as helpless as I thought. There were resources available if I was willing to put the work into it.

So let me just tell you, if making the decision to work with Kathleen were the oars, the Creative Coaching sessions themselves have been the winds in my sails. (I told you it was going to get cheesier.)

Ok, enough with the analogies. For the past two weeks, I’ve been giving a good hard look inwards and it’s been insightful. So much so, that I’ve been wanting to share the ride I’ve been on. I wish I’d had the foresight when I first started my sessions to start sharing the things I was learning and uncovering because now I feel like I want to go back and start from the beginning.

And I plan to (which goes along with my mantra for the week – but more on that later) I’m just not sure what form that will take or how I should even begin to structure it. But I will find a way that makes sense.

Last night, I was attempting some light yoga (because my wrist has been bother me, ugh, side note) and the instructor said something that really resonated with me. She said something along the lines of “There are still so many things you can do, even if there are some things you can’t.” It sounds sort of like a ridiculous statement to make. Like, duh, of course. And even though she was talking about yoga poses, in that moment, it struck something. I have a tendency to focus on the things that I can’t do, things that just aren’t possible within the current situation I find myself in – be it financial, physical, mental, whatever – rather than focusing on the things that I can do now. It’s a really slight change of perspective, like looking through one eye, then the other. Just a subtle shift in movement that can completely change what you see.

I find it somewhat refreshing to be taking stock of the things that I have going on in my brain. Becoming a parent forces you to look less at yourself and more outward because your focus is on these little lives that you are now responsible for, and also fascinated and captivated by. I realize that creative/life coaching isn’t for everyone. I’m sure there are people who don’t see the point, that anything you could possible uncover, you could have uncovered on your own. Which may be true. But I’m not too proud to admit when I need help. I’m not above seeing value in other people’s experience and advice. Personally, I believe there is great value in just finding someone you’re on the same wavelength with.

So, I hope to start sharing my journey through my Creative Coaching session, and maybe they’ll motivate and inspire you to take a look inward and maybe shift perspectives once in awhile too.
Kathleen Shannon is co-owner of Oklahoma City based Braid Creative. She is a storyteller, designer, adventurer, and creative coach that helps other creatives find their voice.


A little while back I read, “Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” put out by 99U and have been trying to implement some of the things I learned. Here are few thoughts and ideas that have resonated with me and the ways I’ve tried to adjust:

1. Routines helps us make time to be creative by “setting expectations about availability, aligning our workflow with our energy levels, and getting our minds into a regular rhythm of creating.”

Now that the kids are getting a little bit older and a little more set into their own routines, it’s getting a tiny bit easier to squeeze in my own projects. It’s pretty much guaranteed that they will be asleep by 9:30pm (except last week when we were all a bit under the weather), but I’m still trying to figure out my own routine after they are in bed. The main issue being that by that point my energy levels and brain power are almost non-existent. On good nights, the most I can usually manage is yoga, which I consider a success!

In regards to my energy levels, I’ve realized that blogging at night just doesn’t work for me the majority of the time. Or doing anything that requires brain power for that matter. It takes me twice as long to formulate sentences at that point in the night than if I would just wake up early to do it, which I’m working on trying to do more often.

2. Frequency makes starting easier, keeps ideas fresh and keeps the pressure off.

This is right on the nose. I don’t know how many times I’ve had ideas that withered because I waited too long to get them down. Also, after a long break in writing, I do find it harder to come up with the right words to communicate my thoughts the way I want. This is why I have a million notebooks. I’ve also started getting my ideas into digital form as soon as I can (I’ve been using Evernote) But I still need to try and set a regular time aside to just DO.

3. “Conditions to produce one’s craft are rarely ideal, and waiting for everything to be perfect is almost always an exercise in procrastination.”

They should have just tacked on “especially when you have kids.” Conditions are never ideal when your family and kids are the sole focus of your free time. So, I try to take advantage of any bit of solo time I have. Driving to and from work is good for thinking through problems – though not very good for documenting those thoughts. (Unless you use voice memos!) A lot of projects get made during the late hours of the evening (if they don’t require too much problem solving) or early morning or squeezed in during naps on the weekends. Usually with me just standing at the kitchen counter or sitting with all my stuff sprawled across the dining room table. Gone are the days of the designated craft area and table with all my supplies readily available within reach of a curious and naughty 3-year-old!

4. Perfectionism hinders productivity.

This one was a big one for me. It also relates to the tip mentioned above. Waiting for the “perfect conditions” or avoiding projects for fear of not doing it “perfect” – this is me to a tee. Sometimes you just need to put things out there and worry less about it being “perfect” and take pride in the fact that it got done. I’ve learned to let go and just go with the flow when it comes to a lot of things but I still struggle with this daily.

All the essays in this book have great suggestions and tips – though some of them are just hard truths that most people know but don’t want to admit to themselves. For example, the fact that social media is a time suck and distraction (you don’t say?) when you are trying to create.

So, here’s to new routines and finding balance.

For more inspiration on managing your time and creativity, check out these links:

&Kathleen is co-founder of Braid Creative and specializes in coaching for creatives

Elizabeth Saunders is a entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “Time Coach”

Leo Babauta is a creator and writer who focuses on “finding simplicity in the chaos of our lives

How do you manage your day-to-day and find the balance between work, family and side-projects?


On Family, Uncategorized

My Loves

We’ve all been hit with a bit of the sniffles this week in our house. Which has resulted in missed work, kids with runny noses, babies that are thrown off their sleep schedules, a Mama who can’t sleep because her nose is so stuffed up (I even tried those breath strips thingies. Didn’t work.) lots of crying and whining and a return of a feeling I had when our little ones were newborns: dread for the nighttime with its unpredictable events. A baby crying, someone waking up thirsty, someone is hot, or cold, or a 3-year-old is in our bed who is like liquid, filling up every space you vacate as you happen to turn onto your side, resulting in not being able to flip back.

But at the same time, have you ever in your life been this comfortable? The kids have taken to making “nests” in the middle of the living room floor.

Days like these remind me of this poem that I saw on a Cup of Jo awhile back:

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ― poem by Mary Jean Irion


If any of you are on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve come across at least one person posting yoga pictures. If you aren’t into yoga, you might find these annoying just like when someone posts too many photos of their kids. Another thing I may or may not be guilty of!

For the month of October I’ll be partaking in the YogaFlightFest challenge on Instagram, so if you’re looking for some motivation and want to join me click here for details.

There are a million yoga challenges on Instagram every month and a few months ago a co-worker decided to do one and I figured, why not? I’ve followed a few yogis on Instagram, most of them I found through following BexLife, and had already been inspired to practice more, why not join in a challenge while I was at it? I had already been doing some yoga on my own at home through my subscription to, so I wasn’t jumping in blindly. I’ve practiced yoga off and on for a few years, but never anything consistent and unfortunately haven’t gone to many classes due to my schedule. But I found that doing a yoga challenge helped me be more consistent in my practice, even if I wasn’t able to do all the poses yet.

The photo above and the ones below are photos from the first challenge I did called YoGratitude back in August

Let me make one thing clear, I’m no yoga expert. I wouldn’t even consider myself intermediate. I enjoy doing yoga and I know my limitations. I know there are some yogis out there of the mind that yoga challenges on social media are not safe or healthy because it does not necessarily encourage regular practice. You see all these super advanced yogis doing amazing feats of strength and flexibility and if you try these things without knowing what you are doing, without being properly warmed up and without knowing how to listen to your body, you could end up injured.

I definitely see that as a valid standpoint, and I completely agree with the notion that people shouldn’t jump into a yoga challenge as an ego boost. However, I do think that yoga challenges can be a source of motivation and inspiration. I don’t like the notion that I’ve seen people bring up, that people who do yoga challenges are somehow doing a disservice to the practice itself as if yoga is only to be practiced by people who are “serious.” To me, if someone is inspired to get up and move and is motivated to do it because of an Instagram challenge, then more power to them. I also don’t think there is ever any harm in spreading the goodness of yoga to the masses and possibly changing anyone’s preconceived notions of what yoga might or might not be.

With that said, I will post occasional updates here on my progress throughout the challenge. And also, if any of those photos I posted seem deceiving, well they are. Because this is really what doing yoga around our house looks like:


I’ve been seeing a lot of these types of social gatherings it seems, in the past year or so, popping up all over. Maybe it’s something that’s been around for awhile and only came onto my radar recently, or maybe for someone who went to art school and lived amongst a lot of creatives, these social gatherings were just called “hanging out” and didn’t realize this was somewhat of a novelty for the general masses.

Friends and some family members had started going to drink-and-draws, where you usually go to a drinking establishment and do life drawings. With the exception of the drinking (since I don’t drink alcohol) it sounded right up my alley! Luckily, for my sister’s birthday this past July, one of her friends set up a little surprise get together at a place called Uncork the Artist, where for a fee, you go (and drink) and paint a (rough) reproduction of a famous piece of art at the instruction of what I assume is a local fine art major, or something.

I really had very little expectation of what the atmosphere would be like. But I surprisingly had a fun time. I say surprisingly, because the place was packed with ALL women getting drunk and flirting with a young, male instructor. It was slightly hilarious and I think our table was probably the quietest and most intent on actually painting! The painting itself was fun and very relaxed. We did our own renditions of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and you could pretty much just do whatever the hell you wanted.

I came away with a painting that Quil really enjoyed and it now is in his and Ellis’ bedroom. Plus, I got to surprise my sister, which was the best part!


[Image via Flickr]

After my long breastfeeding post, I thought it would be a good idea to start a tip section on nursing. I realized afterwards that there were so many other tidbits that I had forgot to mention. Breastfeeding is a learn-as-you-go type of journey, with different things popping up at different milestones. It’s hard to remember everything, especially after you’ve settled into it and it becomes second nature.

This tip actually came to me after seeing a post by BirthRoots on Facebook about nursing and the importance of a foremilk and hindmilk balance.

So, just a brief description: Foremilk is the thinner milk with a lower fat content that comes out first during a nursing session (usually blueish/clearer in appearance). Hindmilk is the high-fat, creamier milk that follow and comes usually during the end of a nursing session (usually white/cream colored and opaque) If you pump, you will be able to see this distinction very easily. In my mind (which might not be completely accurate) but I see it as Foremilk being like a beverage – used for hydration- while the Hindmilk is the food that is used for nourishment and weight gain. Below is a photo for comparison:

[Image via Wikipedia]

With both my kids I had issues with a fore/hind milk balance when they were very young because they had a tendency to fall asleep at the breast before fully draining it. This resulted in gassy babies that didn’t gain as quickly as they could have in those early weeks. But with that said, it’s something easily remedied if you can read the signs.

For me, a good indicator on whether my babies weren’t getting enough hind milk was their diapers! If their poop was greenish rather than the normal seedy/yellow, I could tell they weren’t getting enough hind milk. Another indicator was if they were gassy, or fussy, or seemed unsatisfied shortly after nursing. If these things seemed to occur in tandem, I would be sure to not switch breasts during feedings and to continue nursing longer on each side.

The first time I saw the green poop, I called my sister Maria and was like – ack! what’s going on? She was the one who mentioned the foremilk/hindmilk thing, which I had never heard about! And, sure enough, after nursing longer on each side it went away.

Anyone else have issues with foremilk/hindmilk imbalance with their babies?


[Photo: Mother and Daughter, Yushu to Serba Road, Tibet, by Raul Gutierrez via Beautiful Breastfeeding]

In honor of last week being World Breastfeeding Week, I thought it would be fun to do a post about my adventures in nursing.

So, breastfeeding, yeah. It’s can be daunting topic to discuss. Mainly because I know that among some parents, it can be a hot button issue these days. I don’t want to come off as preachy or holier-than-thou. And I definitely don’t want it to seem like I’m judging anyone who hasn’t or doesn’t breastfeed. I also don’t want to brush it off as something that is trivial or unimportant. Because it is important and I want this to be a happy post to celebrate this wonderful thing that a mother’s body is capable of doing.

 [Photo by Käsebier Gertrude (1852-1934) via Historic Photos & Prints of Breastfeeding]

I’m here to tell you my personal experience and how the people in my life have helped me. And that’s what it comes down to – I hope that my experience can, in turn, help another Mama out there make the decision to breastfeed her babies or help her power through what can be a very difficult time.

I have a number of friends and family members who are pregnant, or have had babies recently. Some who have nursed, some who haven’t, some who are currently trying and other who tried their best. I think the one thing that most of us can agree on is: breastfeeding is not easy. (Though I do know a few who had no problems whatsoever, the lucky ducks!)

And though I had a rough time getting started, I have to admit, I am lucky. I have three older sisters who, combined, have nursed and pumped milk in some capacity for seven kids before I even had my first. Some nursed better and longer than others, some hardly at all. But for each of their babies, my sisters gave a fair shot at nursing. I also am lucky that when I was six years old, I was able to witness my own Mom nurse my brother. Also, during my first pregnancy, one of my co-workers was also pregnant and we delivered a month apart. When we both were back at work, it was great having someone else who was sharing a similar experience and was also dedicated to nursing. (Thanks, Andrea!) So, basically, I had great role models and support, women who had forged the path before me and along side of me, who understood how I felt in those early days when nursing was the hardest.

There are also a lot of interesting things about nursing that I had no idea about until my sisters and friends enlightened me and which I got to experience first hand. Things like:

  • Your nipples can crack and bleed and it can be painful (yikes!)
  • Milk creation can burn hundreds of calories a day (like 500+!)
  • Nursing helps keep your baby from getting sick
  • You can get infections in your milk ducts (ouch!)
  • Milk supply is dependent on demand (nurse more, produce more. nurse less, produce less.)
  • Nursing makes the uterus contract in the early weeks post-pregnancy, which in turn allows the body to heal faster and get back to normal quicker
  • Hormones in breast milk can cause baby acne (which goes away once the post-pregnancy hormones die down)
  • It may take a few days for your milk to come in (and even longer if you’ve had a c-section, like I did for both my babies)
  • Once your milk comes in, your boobs get rock hard (engorged) and can squirt milk like a crazy milk fountain
  • Milk comes out of many ducts in the nipple like a spray, not just one (this totally surprised me the first time I saw my sister pump)
  • You can feel your milk filling in your breast (my best description of what “letdown” feels like)
  • If your baby cries (or any baby, for that matter) it makes your milk come out. Sometimes just looking at a photo of your baby will do this.
  • Nursing delays your ovulation after giving birth. I didn’t get my period back until Quil was four months old, and not until Ellis was 11 months old. Note: This is not a reliable form of birth control!

I can honestly say I love nursing my babies. It hasn’t been without its hardships though. With our first, I had a way harder time than with our second. Being a first-time mom, a bad first latch coupled with a c-section and a low milk supply made for a very stressful first couple months. I almost gave up. I cried many times. It seemed to take weeks (even months) before I felt like I could nurse with ease. The bad first latch caused blisters and cracks in my nipples that made it super, super painful to nurse and the low-supply just made it super frustrating. I’m pretty sure I had either a baby or a pump attached to me for the first two months.

But once my supply was up and I was healed, it was so wonderful! I stopped pumping around two months and nursed exclusively until I went back to work at three months. And that month was the best. No pumps, no bottles, no washing and sterilizing pump parts!

 [Image: Madonna and Child, Orazio Gentileschi, c. 1609]

Fortunately, it only took about a week of nursing before I was pain-free with Ellis, our second baby (again, due to a bad first latch).

I think the thing that made me really stick it out through everything was the fact that we didn’t give ourselves any other options. For Andrew and I, formula just wasn’t in our plan. Which was stressful, but at the same time, it just forced me to do it regardless of the circumstance (like nipples that hurt so bad from being cracked, it was unlike any pain I’d felt before.) We just knew that if we made it an option, in those hard times, we were going to do what was easiest and not necessarily what we thought was best.

It also helps that Andrew holds me accountable and expects a lot from me as the mother of his kids. He feel breastfeeding is best for our babies, so wanting to respect his wishes as a parent gave me even more incentive to not give up. For the sake of full disclosure: we have had extremely fortunate situations for both our kids. Andrew was home with me for my entire maternity leave. I realize that in our country, this is extremely rare. It would have been infinitely more difficult had I been trying to do it alone, which I know is the case for a lot of breastfeeding Mamas.

[Photo by Dorothea Lange]


For both kiddos, I went back to work full-time after 12 weeks on leave. I pumped at work for both (and am still pumping for Ellis) but when at home I nurse – so mornings, nights and weekends. Ellis will be one year in a few weeks and doesn’t seem to be weaning. Quil started weaning around this time. He just lost interest. Our approach to weaning is pretty similar to how we approach most things, we just go with it and see what happens. Ellis eats a ton of food but hasn’t gotten any milk other than breast milk yet. We’ll start introducing other dairy products in the next couple months, then see where things lead. I’m in no rush to stop nursing, but damn, am I ready to be done pumping!

Nursing in Public

I know this is also another hard aspect of breastfeeding, which is unfortunate because it shouldn’t be. I completely blame it on our society’s notion that bodies should be private and hidden from view, not always for the benefit of the person “exposing” themselves, but to not offend the viewing party. I think the thing that helped me overcome this was nursing in front of people I know and love and who I know respect me and my choices. I think everyone in my family and Andrew’s family (and many friends) have seen me nurse, and I think that’s helped me to feel more comfortable in public. As much as I am a supporter of being able to nurse in public freely – I still cover up most of the time because there is a part of me that doesn’t want to make others feel uncomfortable no matter how comfortable I may be. Though, if I don’t have a cover-up for some reason, I don’t hesitate to just do what I gotta do!

Nursing Gear

You really don’t need anything but boobs to do the job, but these things did help make my journey a bit smoother:

Nursing pads

You will definitely want something to protect from embarrassing milk stains across your chest – imagine huge pit stains but right over your boobs – especially in the early months; though I still have to use them occasionally if I go a long time without nursing or pumping. I’ve used disposable ones in the past, but the cloth ones are the better option, in my opinion. You can wash and reuse them over and over. More cost effective in the long run and better for the environment. I bought a set of Rebourne Nursing Pads on Etsy and they are super soft and comfortable.

Spit up cloths

I use Gerber cloth diaper/spit up cloths pretty much for everything. Obviously good for spit up, but also good to have on hand if you are engorged and the milk is just… flowing freely.

Breast Pump

If you are going back to work and planning on pumping, a good-quality, double pump will help speed things up. I use the Medela In-Style pump, and it’s worked well for me. I didn’t try other kinds so I can’t tell you if others are better. With the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now required to pay for breast pumps, at least in part. Definitely worth checking into since those suckers can be pricey! Also, I got one of these crazy looking pumping bras by Simple Wishes. Strange looking, yes, but worth not just sitting with your hands tied up for 30 minutes.

Nursing Bras

I tried to get away with just wearing a regular bra and it’s a pain in the ass to nurse in. You can get nursing bras anywhere these days, even Target. They also have nursing camisoles that look like some sort of strange bondage outfit. Andrew can never figure out how to fold them, they are like the fitted-sheets of clothing.

[Photo Credit: Southworth & Hawes/Courtesey Buhl Collection]

Also, neither of our little ones have ever had to take antibiotics, have never had diarrhea, and have only had fevers from teething – maybe we are just really lucky – but part of me feels that, in part, it’s because of breastfeeding.

Even after nursing two kids, I still don’t consider myself any sort of expert on the topic. All I know is my experience and that it’s been one of the most beautiful and rewarding things I’ve been able to do for my kids. 

Did you or your partner breastfeed? Would love to hear about your experiences!

I went back and read this post again today and wanted to add in an afterthought. I don’t feel like I give enough credit to those Mamas who tried to nurse only to have it not work out or to those Mamas who chose not to nurse at all. Being a Mama can be hard business regardless, so let’s hear it for ALL Mamas! They deserves to be commended for bringing a beautiful life into this world.


The groundhogs must have been lying in waiting to get into the garden. Today, I left the gate open for 10 minutes while I went inside and in the meantime a little groundhog snuck in. Andrew looked out the window and there it was grazing in our garden like it was nobody’s business.

Of course, in the short amount of time it was undetected, it was able to eat 50% of our salad greens. Andrew went out and it got scared and ran under the small space under one of our lettuce beds that is against the side of our porch. Andrew’s Dad always has groundhog traps on hand because they are quite a nuisance around these parts. We set the cage in the path to the garden gate, in hopes that it might be enticed by the watermelon that we set as bait.

We had to wait awhile before it would even come out again. We tried to scare him out of the hole so we could get his into the trap, to no avail. By chance, Andrew and I were standing inside the house by the window and we saw it start making its way out but it walked right past the trap right into our flower bed. It then proceeded to ravenously eat everything in it’s path. I mean, it was going at it like it hadn’t eaten in weeks. Andrew was like “We need a plan and we need to make a move NOW.” I held Quil inside the house because when quietness is of the utmost importance, he’s like a bull in a china shop. Apparently, Andrew had some sort of weird plan because he grabbed these two things: the Bumbo and the Bilibo.

He went onto the front porch and had the wherewithal to at least wait for a car to go by to muffle the sound of his footsteps so as to not scare the little guy back into his hiding spot. But that seems to be the only part that goes according to plan. All the while, I’m inside the house watching the groundhog feast on our garden. I can’t see Andrew because he’s on the front porch and I’m looking out the side window into the garden. All the sudden, I see the Bilibo fly by and the groundhog darts toward his hiding spot behind our lettuce bed. Next thing I see the Bumbo go flying by, narrowly missing the critter before he burrows back into his hiding spot. Andrew comes back in and I’m like “What happened? Did you panic?!” No, he didn’t panic. He just missed.

Needless to say, the groundhog hasn’t come back out since. We finally did the smart thing and cornered him in there with the only opening, going right into the trap. So when he finally gets over the ordeal and decides it’s safe to surface, if all goes according to plan, he will get trapped in the cage with some watermelon to keep him company until we can take him elsewhere.

If anything, we totally blew that groundhog’s mind. A shovel, a broom, a stick, a rock. These things, yes. But a Bumbo and a Bilibo? Probably the very last things it could have ever imagined having to encounter in this situation. And he’s most likely the only groundhog in the world that has ever seen a Bumbo or a Bilibo since I can’t think of any other instance these two things would intersect with its life.

We will see in the morning if our little trap worked. Updates to follow.


The deer fence that we finally installed after four years of deer issues. So far so good, but we’ll see if it keeps them out for good.

My birthday gift from my Mom. A fig tree! It’s desperately in need of a larger and better-looking pot.

Butternut Squash

Cinderella Pumpkins

Strawberries, Pac Choy, Acorn Squash, Sugar Baby Watermelons and in the far distance, Tomatoes.

The side of our house that faces the garden. Not the ideal place for maximum sun exposure, but it saved us from having to fence in all four sides of the garden.

Potatoes, Kale, & Carrots



Pac Choy

Acorn Squash

Herbs & Amaranth

This was an offshoot of my Dad’s Thornless Blackberries that he gave us to plant.

Mini-trellis and wood stumps for bed edging.

Flowering early Potatoes (Chieftan)

The owl found a more prominent spot. You can see the tomato trellis in the background. We finally got that up today, but we need to get some hardware to finish securing the lines.

Lettuce and Salad Green Beds

It’s getting there! We put up the bean and pea trellis’ today after I took these photos. Will post more photos soon.