Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Santa's Little Helper

Duncan plays with his little red fire engine, and Miranda plays with her little doodle bug. Duncan has already hidden his fire engine so well, we can't find it. I'm afraid he may have inadvertently thrown it away.

Duncan builds a house with his new blocks

The building was the one brief period of order during the day. But then the wall was quickly knocked down by my mini Godzilla. They just don't make toys tough enough for my guy. He's lost one and broken two already.

Work It, Baby!

After a stressful Christmas Eve with lots of family and a really late bedtime, Miranda recovered nicely to do some posing for Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Miranda all gussied up to see the Big Man. Santa, that is.

Waiting to see Santa

I hoped that seeing several other children sit calmly in Santa's lap would help my kids see that Santa was ok. I expected Miranda's face to fall, her lower lip to poke out, and her girly little sobs to ensue. However, she did great! She looked at Santa and gave a smile or two. I really think she had a good time.

Duncan, on the other hand, seemed to try to make himself as small as possible, willing himself to be somewhere else. Santa tried to ask Duncan what he wanted for Christmas. But Duncan sat there, frozen. Afterwards, we gave him cookies and chocolate, and he thawed out again. Maybe next year we'll try giving him cookies beforehand.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

I've been practicing my flute in preparation for a concert at church tomorrow. I grumble about being on the first piece and the last piece, and not much in between. But I do love me some Christmas music. Christmas music, shopping for presents, the fragrance of our cut Christmas tree have me feeling rather in the Christmas spirit. But I haven't had so much fun during the Christmas buildup since I was a kid. I've always loved Christmas. It's always been a magical time for me. My parents made sure of that. I hope that Justin and I can do the same for our kids. Although, I think it's the kids that are getting us into the spirit. During all of my adult life, I always turned the lights on the tree once it got dark outside. Not this year. If the lights are off, Duncan insists that they be turned back on. We have a little snowman that we have plugged in all day, too. With two kids under 3, I'm forced to put delicate ornaments at the top of the tree (some remain in the box.) Duncan admires all of the ornaments, and yoinks on them. His favorites seem to be the bells. He pushes them with his little fingers, and listens to the tinkling sound. If I brush up against one, and Duncan hears the sound, he runs into the room and wants to make his own music. Of course, maybe it's not the holiday spirit, but just a bossy little boy. We're looking forward to taking the children to see Santa tomorrow. Stay tuned for pictures of at least one sobbing child!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping! Yeah, I know. I panicked the other day for no reason. That's assuming Amazon ships everything out in plenty of time, of course. They usually do, so I'm not worried. I've only got a few more things to pick up. I sent out a bunch of Christmas cards. Justin brought the tree in last night. It's standing in our living room, still in the netting from the store. We could leave it like that, and hang the ornaments on the netting for a very redneck Christmas. The lights might make it all melty. And that would ruin the wonderful Frasier fir scent, and we just can't have that.

The kids slept great last night! Miranda has done well this week, but Duncan has been Mr. Screamy McScreamsall. The previous night he was up until 11:30, wouldn't settle down even though we offered to let him sleep with us, then screamed for an hour in his own bed. And then again at 4am. Ugh! At least he wakes up all happy in the morning! Unlike his sleep deprived mommy. Maybe tonight I'll get to decorate the tree. Can't wait!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh My!

I found Miranda looking like this after hanging up the phone with Justin. After cleaning her hands (and taking her picture), I cleaned the rest of her. Then called Poison Control...just in case. He said as long as she didn't have any more than a teaspoon, she should be fine. Apparently, Desitin ingestion is not uncommon. I didn't take any pictures of all the little white handprints and smears all over my sofa and floor. I'm just thankful we have hardwood flooring and leather seating!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Still Have Time

I keep telling myself this, but I've been working myself up into a panic about Christmas shopping. Yes, I know I'm being silly and have more than three weeks left. However, I usually have some sort of idea of what I'd like to get people. And I usually have made more than a couple of purchases already. Especially for the kids. This year, not so much. I have a friend that joked that her 3 month old daughter was getting milk for Christmas. I'm starting to think that's not such a bad idea! Miranda would love it, for starters. She's too little for toys (besides the toy chest runneth over already). I could get her a board book or two. And maybe a couple of winter outfits/sleepers. That's pretty much all she needs. Duncan has more toys than he needs already. We've been thinking about thinning out the toy box, so maybe he'll be less overwhelmed! (Merry Christmas, Duncan...we're taking things away!) I'm thinking I'll get him art supplies. I asked Justin what he thought about gifts, and he suggested some kid friendly seats for the play room. Something Duncan can by no circumstances climb on! (Like everything else!) Bean bags? I think I will feel better once I have a few things purchased and wrapped. So, maybe I'll relieve my stress by going shopping tomorrow.

Is Spring Here, Yet?

Not much going on here. The weather is consistently cooler now, so I haven't been out too often. A few friends purchased a 6 month subscription of plants from Harry and David's for me in memory of Evan. So far, I've received a mum and an Amaryllis. The Amaryllis is on its way to having some fabulous blooms. I'm afraid the mum will end up in the compost. It has definitely seen better days. Like the day before it shipped to my house! I know people have glorious indoor gardens, and keep them all year round. I'm just not one of them. I'm much better with the outdoor plants. I plant them, water them a bit, do some pruning, and let Mother Nature do the rest. I feel a little guilty, since the mum was a gift. But at the same time, in the compost bin it will be the gift that keeps on giving!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Nobody tagged me to do this meme. I just decided to torture myself (and you!) with some random information about me. If you want to play along...that's cool.

1. If I could have a super power it would be elasticity like Elastigirl on The Incredibles. It's mostly because I'm lazy. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I could stretch my arms out to pick up my crying baby, bring her back to my bedroom, and comfort her, all without leaving my bed. I just don't want to have to get up and walk all the way down the hall. I know, pathetic.

2. I use "Golly" and "Gosh" a lot. I sound like someone straight off of "Leave it to Beaver"!

3. I took Duncan to see the Christmas lights at Target before Halloween, because he likes them so much. Just to hear him whisper, "Wow" was enough to keep me going back!

4. If one of the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies is on, I'm watching it. It doesn't seem to matter that I've seen them all multiple times.

5. I'm so behind on Christmas shopping already. Still not sure what to get the kiddies. I'm thinking about buying American again this year. (You should, too!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

You Say To-May-To

And I say...well, I say to-may-to, too. But there are those who do say to-mah-to. When you're born into this world, you're kinda stuck with the accent of those who surround you. Or are you?

My hubby, Justin, and I are both from the South. We don't have the exaggerated drawls that Hollywood portrays. In fact, the only overtly Southernism we use often is y'all (which is so much better than you guys!) When we started our little family, we were excited by those first utterings of our chatty little son. Evan said all of the usual things in the beginning. As he got a little older, I expected him to take on our accent and pronunciation of words.

When Evan started saying, "I see it!" I looked where he pointed his finger and exclaimed, "I see it, too!" Pretty soon, Evan was saying, "I see it. I see it, too!" because he picked it up from Mommy. What he added was his own little Southern boy accent. He sounded like that little girl in the old Shake and Bake commercials, "and I helped." Making "helped" a two syllable word. When Duncan arrived Evan called him "Dooncan." When enjoying a bowl of Grandma and Grandpa's homemade strawberry ice cream, he called it "ice cwame." And when the buffalo on a nearby farm had gone in for the day, Evan sadly announced, "Bufflo gowan."

Duncan is just now starting to get into the talking groove. Now that he's figuring out new words (and better yet, being understood!), he's really making an effort. It's a lot of fun listening to him name objects, count, and describe his surroundings. He told me thank you yesterday. It sounded like "Tan Too", but I knew what he meant, and gave him a hug. Duncan hasn't shown much of an accent as he has begun his new interest in the world of words. Not until just recently, that is.

Duncan loves the outdoors, and gleefully points out tees (trees), fows (flowers), and boids. That's right. He says boids. Evan was my Southern boy, and Duncan is my Yankee! I expect that this is just how toddlers navigate their way through the mysterious world of pronunciation. It takes practice. It makes me wonder how Miranda will interpret the words she hears. Can't wait to find out!

In the meantime...enjoy your boid for Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks for Today

Today marked the second anniversary of Evan's death. It's hard to believe it's been two years already. Two years since I last held my little boy in my arms.

We gathered with friends and a bunch of balloons. The day was rainy and cool.

We wrote notes to Evan on the balloons.

And released them.

We watched the balloons float away, buffeted by the cool breeze. It was really beautiful.

Then we went back to the car for chocolate chip cookies.

Friends, balloons, cookies...Evan would have loved it.

Thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remind You of Anyone?

Cold Weather Blues

I spent the earlier part of the week at my parents' house (aka Grandma and Grandpa's). It's been a cold week there and here at home. Temperatures have been well below freezing on some nights, and not particularly warm during the day. And the wind really has made the cold bitter. This makes me thankful I live in a place that's not colder! I don't think I could handle the cold that our northern neighbors endure.

Many of those blooms I had last week are gone gone gone! My poor Pineapple Sage is toast! So sad. I haven't gone to check on that clematis, but I don't think it survived. Oh well. That's why we have spring, right? How many more months till then?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Look At This Mess!

There's been a lot of talk about messes here lately. Duncan generally points to some papers, toys, food, or whatever is spilled on the floor, and exclaims, "Mess!" Of course, then he'll find a box of diapers or pile of papers and dump them all over the floor. I think just so he can say, "Mess!" He's proud of it. Maybe not so much after I ask him to help clean up. He used to just stand and manage my cleaning progress, but lately he's been helping.

Just to show you that the kids aren't the only mess makers around here!

We were thinking of using our old toilet as a new planter in the front yard. What do you think? You think our Home Owner's Association will like it?

Evan was also a little mess maker. Duncan saying "Mess" all the time brings back some messy Evan memories. In spite of being a good eater, Evan spilled food on the floor or all over himself at most meals. Like his Daddy, Evan couldn't get the grub into his mouth fast enough. And, unlike his Daddy, Evan often missed the target! He also watched as a grumpy Mommy cleaned everything up.

Just like Duncan, Evan started to help out when he got a little older. When Evan created a mess, he seemed surprised, and said with wonder, "Look at this mess!" or "What happened?" Duncan, on the other hand, seems quite aware of it, knows he did it, and declares "Mess!" with pride. Sigh.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Last weekend my good friend, Kristi, came over to take some pictures for Christmas cards and family photos. It was naptime and some people weren't their usual delightful selves.

Duncan took the opportunity to do some hiding.

And mow the lawn.

While he busied himself by being as far away as possible, we did get some cute poses of Miranda. She was sleepy and chewing on her lip, but with some jumping and crazy faces from Mommy, Miranda cracked a smile or two.

We set up by this tree, where Miranda could explore.

Seeing people climbing up on a tree intrigued Duncan. He came over, and is all of the sudden all GQ.

We were able to sneak Miranda in beside GQ Duncan for fun.

Wonder Twins Activate!

With patience and luck we ended up with a few pictures that would work for a Christmas card. what do you think?

This one?

Or what about this "reality" shot?

Oh yeah, work it girl!

Bloom Day

A Pansy in Evan's garden.

Our bridge and leaf filled creek.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

The hummer favorite, Pineapple Sage, is blooming like there's no tomorrow. And noting the lows for tomorrow, that may be true!

I was surprised to see this Clematis in bloom. I'm afraid the 20 degree temperatures predicted for this week will certainly nip this beauty.

Some wonderfully elegant late blooms from Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Pansies: Everyone's winter favorite (including deer!)

This Goldflame honeysuckle (Lonicera x heckrottii 'Goldflame') is still blooming gracefully on our mailbox.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


After some 17 hours of labor and close to three hours of pushing, Evan finally arrived. I thought the rigors of delivery had made him appear swollen and puffy. But even after a few weeks, the puffiness never went away. His cheeks seemed especially well endowed. And those cheeks were here to stay.

Upon seeing Evan for the first time, my sister in law Sarah said, "Well hello, Cheeks!"

Whenever we took him out to eat with us, the waitresses would ooh and ahh over Evan and his "jowls."

We endured cracks about how Evan, like a squirrel, must be packing food in his cheeks. It became a sore point with me. Evan didn't care, of course.

He just wanted to play. And play he did.

As he ran around the park, from slide to slide, yelling, "Here I am!" his cheeks jiggled.

And we both giggled.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Work on Evan's Garden

I got the Oxblood Lily bulb, the Allium bulbs, and my pansies planted today. I amended the soil for the pansies, cause I hear they like to be fed. hopefully, they'll like it there. Nice reds and yellows...two of Evan's favorite colors. I think I'm done with planting and fall cleanup in Evan's garden now. I decided this time around to include annuals in Evan's garden. The pansies will be replaced by "Teddy Bear" sunflower and probably "Blue Angel" Angelonia next spring. I thought I would like always having a planting task for his little garden. I mean, I know I'll have to mulch, weed, and thin out things, but it's fun to add something new periodically. And maybe even change it up in future years. I like having options.

I've still been lazy with the photos. I've got the following still in bloom: Pineapple sage (love it!), "Goldflame" honeysuckle, sage, pink muhly grass, a tomato plant(!), and some coneflowers. Plus pansies, of course.

The last couple of months have been jam packed with transplanting, planting new stuff, digging up, thinning out, and watering (which is a task when using rain barrel water in a bucket!) It's nice to feel like I've accomplished so much, but I'm a little concerned about lack of gardening activity over the winter months. Hmmm...hopefully, I'll be starting some seeds from Santa after the new year. And there's that little edible garden project I've been thinking about. That means building a bed. Which means dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. And some sort of border, like concrete blocks or something. And then planning. That's the fun part! Besides doing the work and reaping the rewards. Ok, maybe I'll be busy after all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Evan's Garden and more

I picked up some more pansies today. I plan on putting them in Evan's garden where the sunflowers will go next year. I thought it would be nice to have some color over there in the colder months. Besides, most of what's there is deciduous. I still haven't planted my bulbs. I guess I better get them in the ground while I still know where the perennials are, or I may accidentally dig something up! Mom brought me my Oxblood lily bulb the other day. They're pretty small, so I haven't decided what to do with it, either. So many decisions to make before it gets cold-ish. At least in the Southeast, we don't have to worry about the ground freezing. Just doesn't happen. So, I could delay planting bulbs for some time. Except for that accidentally digging up something thing. Mom also brought me several Allium bulbs. I love Alliums. They're so whimsical. I'm thinking about putting them in Evan's garden, too. But I don't want it to look bad. I need to do some research on designs that incorporate bulbs and perennials. And maybe I'll even get the ground broken on my Veggie Garden project this winter. Hee hee! We'll see. Right now we have an enormous pile of wood chips in the front yard that we need to disperse before our HOA has a hissy fit. Don't want another Nastygram!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


This is one of Duncan's favorite words now. Whether he's stuck, or a toy is stuck, or sometimes it seems like no reason at all, he'll say, "Stuck!" He may climb up onto something, and need a little assistance to his goal. What he means to say is: "Help!" And occasionally, he will say help, but usually it's stuck.

It reminds me of Evan when he got stuck. If he couldn't figure something out, or if he couldn't reach his goal, he would say, "I caN'T DO IT!" The frustration evident in his voice. And, of course, Mommy or Daddy went to offer calm assistance or reassurance. There were a couple of times when Evan really did get stuck, however. The first time Evan was probably 15 months old. He was playing in what used to be the family room (it's now the play room.) Somehow, he wedged his little chunky leg under the TV armoire. He was stuck. I tried pulling, pushing, and a little shimmying. Didn't work. I wasn't sure what to do, and started to panic. I called Justin for ideas. I don't even remember what he said. I do remember having a brainwave...Vaseline! It's slick, and will get that leg outta there! But for once as a mom, I couldn't find the Vaseline. After some frantic searching I did find some lotion. I lubed him up, and his leg slid right out.

A little over a year later, Evan got stuck again. He was a toddler now (2+), and had a new baby brother. Evan was feeling like that new, noisy kid was getting an awful lot of Mommy's attention. And, of course, the best way to show his displeasure, was to act up while Mommy was breastfeeding Duncan. Then, I can't really do much about it. Naturally, I was nursing Duncan in the family room, when I heard Evan cry for help. I wasn't sure if Evan was being serious, or just pushing my buttons.

I said, "Come in here and Mommy can help you."

"I'm STUCK!" he said, clearly on the fast track to Panic Town. I ran in there, Duncan still attached, and saw Evan's leg stuck between the slats in the kitchen chair. I knew what to do this time. I put Duncan down on the floor, where he immediately began crying, and I took off running to get some lotion. Evan started to cry. "I'll be right back, honey!" I said. This time I had to run upstairs for supplies. I was back in a jiffy, and lubed Evan's leg up once again. He scooted out and continued to play as if nothing had happened. So, I scooped up the bawling Duncan, and we got back to business.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Day Madness

So, I'm a few days late, I know. The day started with guitar throwing and a time out, as previously mentioned. Mid morning was looking up. Miranda was napping and Duncan was playing, so I decided to do some laundry. Duncan was annoyed that I didn't let him come downstairs with me, but I figured I'd make it up to him by some playtime outside. I got the laundry started, and with a full basket in hand, I climbed the stairs. I turned the knob. Locked. Crap. I didn't think he could reach that dead bolt, yet! I knocked. I begged. I pleaded. I could hear Duncan on the other side of the door for a little while. And then he went back to playing. I had a key to the back doors. I tried them, but the U-type locks were engaged. I didn't have a key to the front door, but tried it anyway. Duncan came and looked at me. I went to the neighbor who has a key for the front door. I think she was probably voting. The other neighbor's were home, but didn't have the key. I did use their phone to call Justin, though. While I waited for him to drive the 30 miles back home, I tried the doors again. I watched Duncan play through the window, then ended up going back into the basement to fold laundry. Finally, after what seemed like forever, but was only an hour, Justin arrived. And by some miracle, Miranda had slept through the whole ordeal. We got lunch, and took the kids to stand in line at the polls. It took about an hour. Needless to say, I'm glad I didn't vote early and stand in line for several hours!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I got that Clethra alnifolia into the ground yesterday, and it looks happy so far. I'm thinking of spreading out (or maybe digging up) some of my Crocosmia and have a line of it throughout the butterfly garden. It has a tendency to spread, so I may end up with a lot everywhere instead of a lot in one spot. Hmmmm. I still have a couple of plants I got from the mini plant trade that I haven't planted, yet. I keep forgetting I have them. So much work to do before it gets cold. We're having a warm spell, so I feel like I need to take advantage of it. Now, if we could only get some more rain!

Still unsure about what to do about my Daphne. I've watered her regularly, and she looks bad. I may cut her back by a third or so, and see if she recovers. Fingers crossed!

Great Way to Start the Day

I'm trying to cut down on Duncan's naughty behavior. He's already in time out for throwing a toy at Miranda. It's going to be another great day. Can't wait to take these two to vote! Fun fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm a Terrible Garden Blogger

I never post, even when something is going on. Maybe it's because I'm gardening, and just not blogging about it!

The weather has been much more pleasant lately, so I've been out there working hard. We did have some close to freezing temperatures, and some actual frosts recently. I've mostly been transplanting things to and from Evan's Garden. Almost everything went to the Shrub Island. Of course, I just realized that everything in the Shrub Island is deciduous. So, I'm thinking I'll plant a small evergreen tree or shrub at the back of the bed. It's at the back of the property, and overlooks a neighbor's yard. So, it would be nice to have a little privacy plant back there.

In Evan's Garden I now have these "backbone" sort of shrubs: 2 dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangeas, 2 Iteas (1 Saturnalia and 1 Henry's Garnet), 2 Gardenias, and a Beautyberry. I also moved some Pink Muhly grass over there for some nice texture. The animal and Evan named plants will be my perennials and annuals. I currently have and have in place: Toad Lily, Turtlehead, Evan Saul Coneflower, Evan Matthew Dahlia, and some Calla lilies I got at Evan's funeral. Stuff recently received in the mail: Tiger Lily, a whole lotta Snakehead fritillary, Oxblood lily (maybe). Mom got me some white Swan coneflower. And I plan to start Teddy Bear Sunflower and Bunny Tail Grass from seed. And for some purple I'm going to get Blue Angel Angelonia next spring/summer. It's a lot of plants for not a huge garden. Hopefully, it will all pull together and look pretty wonderful. If not, I'm not afraid to dig it up.

My Daphne is still looking peaky. My other transplants look healthy and happy in their new homes. I dug up my Clethra alnifolia "Ruby spice" yesterday, so I need to get her into the ground (or give her away!) sometime soon.

Today we got pansies and some kale for the front beds. I got the kind of pansies with the big black spot in the center. I think as a kid, I always thought of them as panda flowers. Seems appropriate, since we call our 8 month old daughter panda bear.

I hope to take pictures soon, as I still have things in bloom.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rock and Roll!

Or Wock and Woll! as Duncan would say. Duncan was a rock star for Halloween this year.

Are you ready to rock?

And Miranda was his groupie.

We went to only five houses on our street, but that was enough.

Duncan rang the doorbell, said his version of trick or treat (more like chee chee!), and snuck in the neighbor's house. Out of the five houses we visited, we entered four. Our little explorer had to go in and check everything out. He mostly just embarrassed his parents.

Band on the Run

Thankfully, unlike a real rock star, he didn't wreck anything!

We couldn't find his trick or treat pumpkin, so he took his drum. I was his roadie for half of our adventure, but by the time we were headed back home, he wanted his own instruments.