Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baby Kicks

Throughout the day I can feel the subtle tap tappings of the little one, as if she wants to knock on the wall of my stomach and tell me, "Don't worry, I'm still here!" While I sit in class I'll quietly realize she's kicking, that lazy sort of realization kind of like when you're asleep and dreaming and someone is calling your name, trying to wake you up, but only after they've been gently calling and shaking for a while do you realize what they're doing. It's become so common, this baby-tapping, that sometimes I don't even notice it when it's happening, and after realizing that I've become so calloused to it I start to feel bad. I shouldn't ignore these beautiful sings of life! Sometimes they're impossible to ignore though, like when she kicks me in the ribs and for that split second I feel a sensation that's in between pain and discomfort...closer to discomfort, it doesn't really hurt. But it sure doesn't go unnoticed either. Maybe she's doing that on purpose, just to make sure that I don't Completely forget about her, to make sure that her little tappings don't become completely calloused over.

The kicks have gradually gotten stronger and stronger, not in a painful way, but in an I-can-feel-it-and-see-it way. Sometimes when my arm's resting on my stomach I'll see it move, ever so slightly, being displaced by a tiny kick of an invisible limb. Last night I was sitting on the hand-me-down couch in our living room doing homework, and I got distracted watching the little tappings happen. I sat and smiled big to myself as I waited for that silent sign of life and personality. And every little bit, after a minute or two, sure enough, they would come again. A little jab over here, and then another tiny little poke just a little bit over, or just a little bit lower than the last. I'd watch as my middle area showed that itty bitty poke out from her stretching and exercising arms and legs. And I sat there and giggled silently to myself from the pure joy of creating life and being the mother of a little girl.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Wee Little Belly

Here are two images for your enjoyment.

About 24 Weeks.

The Little One is growing growing fast. Since you can't feel the bouncy balls roaming around inside my abdomen, here's proof! It seems like it was overnight during Christmas break that my belly grew - all of a sudden it was there! And it said "I'm Pregnant!" Looking at these pictures again, I really don't feel like I even look that pregnant. But, like I mentioned above, the bouncy ball-like movements and the fact that nothing fits anymore are proof that I really am.

Yes, I've outgrown my wardrobe, but it's been kind of fun to get a bunch of new clothes. Thank you Old Navy for having a fabulous clearance sale on maternity clothes just when I needed it. I purchased 7 items I think, and only 1 was over $10!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Plant Girl

This is one of the ways I've come to view myself, since beginning my job as BYU Grounds Greenhouse employee a year and a half ago. While my limited knowledge of plants and plant care is minute compared to that of my boss and a few others I work with, it has definitely expanded since beginning the job. So much so that I view myself as a Plant Girl.

Due to my training I'll catch myself scrutinizing and criticizing the interior plants of places I visit, whether it be your home (smile) or the mall. And I itch to correct the mistakes I see, like ripping off the horribly ugly flowers on bamboos (which are actually bad and somewhat destructive for the plant - did you know that?) , or plucking out the sticky mess-of-a-bloom from the ags. Not to mention all the yellow leaves that need to be pulled off and thrown away.

I've also come to love and appreciate live, interior plants. While my own apartment does not in any way reflect this (my excuses are: a) We are poor college students and can't afford to spend money on plants, and b) Our basement apartment doesn't let enough light in to keep them alive) I hope to someday own a lovely home spotted with fresh, live, oxygen producing greenery. Just this morning, at work, I was picking up our plant set up from BYU's Tuesday morning devotional (we do this weekly). After driving around for a few minutes to get the truck's cab warm enough to briefly house the delicate plants during this frigid winter until we could get them back into our nice, warm, humid greenhouses, my coworkers and I backed into the tunnel at the Marriott Center to pick the lovelies up. We stuck the seven (scheffs, ferns, and rubbers) in the backseat of the cab and I hopped in with them. The two front seats were taken up by my co-workers so I squeezed myself onto the last free corner of the back bench. And I was in heaven! Lacy, waxy green leaves blocked my vision of the outside world but I loved sitting with the greens, feeling their freshness and vitality. I was at home with the plants and thought to myself, I'm a plant girl - I love 'em! I always enjoy walking into a building and seeing live plants. I notice them much more now than I used to, and realize just how much they can add to a space. I've also learned to recognize almost instantly when a building has attempted to substitute artificials for the real deal. You may think you're fooling us all... but you're really not even close. The plasticy silk leaves, with the horrible looking undersides and the branches twisted and misshapen in all sorts of horrible contortions are really NO substitute for the amazingly beautiful and natural live plants.

Over the course of the past months, I've become more familiar with the following plants through the daily care and attention we put into keeping BYU's interiors alive and beautiful. (All of them will be called by me according to the common, slang names we at the greenhouse have for them - I don't know their proper, scientific names)

The "ags".
These are the ones that produce the nasty, sticky, messy flowers.
I find great pleasure in spotting them before they bloom
and plucking them.
It's such a satisfying pluck!
But care is needed, the young blooms look
quite similar to the young leaf shoots.

The "Scheffs".
These ones are beautiful - so lacy and full.
They are a pain to polish though, with their numerous, small leaves.
(We polish the leaves of the plants before any sort of set up
to remove all the dust and hard water spots
so they look their absolute, sparkling clean Best).

So so lush and pretty when healthy, but a brown, crinkly mess when not.
Somewhat similar to hair I guess :)
Make sure they get plenty of water and they'll thrive.
Avoid moving them around too much
(like we do with all our set-ups)
so the laced leaves don't break off.

(Rubber Trees).
These ones are lovely too, not quite as full,
but sporting big, shiny, waxy leaves
that are a beautiful, deep green in color.
Careful not to bend them too far though, or they'll snap off
and "bleed" a milky liquid... what they use to make rubber?

Also known as Peace Lilies.
Spaths are lovely, like all other plants, when healthy.
I've found that they tend to be over-watered a lot
Making their soil soggy and icky.
But I've also seen them revived after wilting from a dry bout
(usually when left at a set up too long, away from our
careful nourishment)
Put them in a sink full of water, allowing them to "bottom-water", or suck it in from the roots,
(if the pot has holes in the bottom)
and they will spruce right back up. Usually.

We don't use this plant for set ups, but it is all over in the buildings we
water and take care of. I've grown to love it.
Like all plants, it needs good growing conditions to flourish - correct amounts of water, sunlight,
If these conditions aren't met, it can be very sparse
and vine-y. But when it is healthy and flourishing it's one of my favorites.
When it has been in a pot for a while and is established
and full, its leaves begin to grow larger and larger and they
are so beautiful.
You could have a bed of healthy pothos and nothing else
and it would be stunning.

I could go on, but I'm probably boring you.
In addition to the plants above we use a lot of Ficus trees and bamboo,
and leading up to Christmas we care for hundreds
of poinsettias before they're delivered to offices
around campus.
Oh what an ordeal that is. For being the plant symbol of the Christmas season,
in the middle of the winter,
you'd assume they were a hardier plant. But they are the most fragile
I think I've ever encountered! They require a certain amount of complete darkness to put color into their leaves, they are very picky when it comes to temperature, needing always to be in at least 70 degrees F or above. Keeping those greenhouse temps up was a nightmare.
They need careful watering, and can't be bumped or jolted too hard or their leaves will break off---too easily.

We have the traditional red,

or my favorite the creamy white (I Always love cream),
and we also do a few pink every year, which I don't really care for.

Anyways, there's a glimpse into my plant-filled life.
I find it all lovely and fascinating and refreshing.
I hope you didn't find it too boring :)