Springtime for Hradek

The grass grows tall, the sun shines through the clouds more often, and the heating system kicks on much less frequently. Apart from the fear of being irradiated by the fallout from the Fukushima reactors, we have been getting acquainted with life outside the home. Playing outside, yard work, planting things; this is probably one of the more enthusiastic springs in recent memory. Of course, who can blame the fact that we had been cooped up in an apartment!

Crystal has quite a green thumb which has inspired me to try my hand at a little project growing herbs in the kitchen. My meager pint sized pots numbering in six are surrounded by an army of 36 or so tomato plants, peppers, and flowers. We’ve started quite a growing operation upstairs. All our seedlings have started and soon we’ll be transplanting plants outside. With our short grow season, however, some things may stay inside like the tomatos.

Our 9 chickens, except for the runt, are all growing quickly. We’ve moved them outside onto the back patio. This weekend I will be visiting my mom and dad to pick up a chicken coop. They eat, drink, poop, and pee at a phenomenal rate.  All expected I suppose. Soon we shall be enjoying the fruits (ahem - vegetables and eggs) of our labor. We found some local farmers and a dairy we’re trying out for produce and milk. This has added to our enthusiasm to learn some artisan crafts and skills. I would like to share some of these exploits and adventures in more detail some other time.

This last weekend we had my mom and dad out for some visiting. They kindly remembered my birthday and brought me some Landbrot and Hungarian Salami. Nothing like remembering years gone by the reigns of the palette. I roast a nice lamb and it turned out delicious. I tend to shy away from “gamey” tasting meats with lamb being the exception. We used the rotisserie and it came out perfectly. A medium with a nice flaky and flavorful crust with some potatoes and a Italien styled salad.

The Kids

Harrison has become more rambunctious. He climbs on things, opens the oven door (!), throws PS3 controllers in the toilet. He has quite a sense of humor about him. He is precious in every sense except that he continues to keep us (mostly Crystal) up all night. He is teething which is most of why we’re going through the sleepless nights. He’ll toss and turn and sometimes cry. Usually by 18 months (if the experience with the other two children are any guide) things settle down and we finally get to sleep through the night. I admit that it frustrates me. I sometimes, though not often, resent him being so fussy.

Helen is quite a character. She’s careful but in her carefulness also sly. Testing her boundaries more than Henry ever did, you will tell her something and she will purposefully do the reverse. She’s recently started back talking. On a positive note, though, she often disappears in imaginative play taking her dolls or other toys and playing as the other two will let her. She will often sit and cuddle and is the first to go to bed. Sometimes she’ll even ask to go to bed an hour or so before bed time.

Henry is learning and observing Crystal and my nuances and reactions to things so for him how we handle frustration or difficult situations seems to be more important. He loves to remind us of the rules especially when we’re driving. We joke about him being our “hallway monitor”. He is kind to Harrison but he and Helen will often times compete for the same toys. To be expected I suppose. He is my buddy being excited to see me when I come home and sad to see people he loves leave.

They are all great kids. I often think about how I can be a better daddy for them. Crystal and I remind ourselves that even though teething babies, tantrum throwing 3 year olds, and 5 year olds with attitude will one day all move out and we’ll look back and yearn for these moments. It is true. It brings tears to my eyes. I love them all so very much. I didn’t understand how much I can love until I have had them to love.


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One Response to Springtime for Hradek

  1. Crystal says:

    This is such a sweet blog entry Mike! You really have managed to capture what life around here is like these days. From the first peeks of Spring, to the growing of plants and animals, to the stages of the kids, this is wonderful. You are doing a great job of cataloging these times, much better than I. I love reading your insights. Love you!