Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates - Contest!

Justin and I celebrate our wedding anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, I'm having a contest here on my lil' ol' blog. The first person to answer the following questions correctly, will get a box of chocolates from here. Entries will be accepted through 12am EST today Oops, I didn't even post it before 12 AM! Let's say by noonish Sunday. Good luck!

1. Name that tune. Name the song with the following lyrics? Band name?

"Streetlights, People. Livin' just to find emotion..."

2. Name that movie.

ST: Let me see your identification.
OW: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
ST: We don't need to see his identification.
OW: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
ST: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
OW: He can go about his business.
ST: You can go about your business.
OW: Move along.
ST: Move along... move along

3. Multiple Choice. Which of these names belongs to an engine on the show "Thomas the Tank Engine"?

a. Evan
b. Duncan
c. Miranda
d. All of the above

4. Fill in the Blank. ____ ____ is Miranda's nickname.

5. Jumble. One of my favorite Olympic Events is:

mysstgcina

Feel free to use the Internet, my blog, any other source you'd like to figure out the answers. Have Fun!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Six Random Things

Here are the tag rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Because Sarah tagged me, I suppose I have to do this meme. Dangit! My twist is that the things may or may not be about myself. And I'm not tagging anybody. If you feel the urge to let me know some random things...that's cool.

1. One of my favorite movie quotes (can you guess the movie?):

KK: You know what the imagination is?
Susan: Oh, sure. That's when you see things, but they're not really there.
KK: Well, that can be caused by other things, too.

2. I want to be more like this guy.

3. I really miss playing ensemble music, both flute and especially recorder. (Christmas at church doesn't count!)

4. Justin and I celebrate our wedding anniversary this week.

5. My streak? What streak?

6. I Heart Terry Pratchett.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Thing Revisited



More progress has been made on The Thing. I suppose now that we're actually using it, I could call it the entertainment center or the built-in, or something. I've actually got most of my craft stuff in those baskets. Books and movies are on the shelves on the right. Justin will be making doors and probably some more shelves for those lower sections. Gotta get those electrical cords hidden!



We've moved the sofas in there, so it's nice and cozy. We rather like it.



And this, the biggest room in the house, is Duncan's and Miranda's new playroom. All the room lacks is some seating. Yeah, it's a mess. But who cares? It's the playroom, and they're supposed to be messy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Another blogger described the Crocosmia as fireworks in his garden. I love that description. Although it is a bit of a thug for me, the bright orange flowers really brighten up my butterfly garden. The bees love them, too.


Crocosmia and Rudbeckia "Black Eye Susan"

I've been out of it lately with headaches and just plain laziness when it comes to blogging. My gardens, however, have been busy putting on a show. I could lie and say I've been too busy enjoying the blooms to make time to write. I have been enjoying the blooms, but I am just lazy. I especially love this blue Lobelia. I bought it on clearance at Home Depot Landscape Supply after they announced their closing.


Lobelia

Here are my cartoon flowers, as LaLa calls them. They've done really well in the dry weather and heat. I will definitely use them again.


Zinnia

My yard has provided a smorgasbord for bees this summer!


Echinacea "Purple Cone Flower"

This Heuchera bloom is really delicate and pretty. I've had a hard time photographing it, so you'll just have to trust me!


Zinnias and Heuchera

More color in the butterfly garden.


More Crocosmia And "Black and Blue" Salvia

A few years ago I purchased some Dahlia tubers. I planted them, and threw away the packaging. The first couple of years I only saw some foliage. No flowers. Until this year. Wow! Gorgeous! I wish I knew the name. I wonder if tuber has multiplied by now. If so...I could spread the joy.


Unknown Dahlia

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wrapped Around Her Finger



Don't be fooled. It's Daddy that's wrapped around Miranda's finger!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Here's My Heart--Sleeve and All

The other day I wrote about how things seemed to go awry when ever I decided to wax poetic about my successes. I had some commiserators, kind words, and prayer offerings. All welcome. I should have known, however, that that day was going to fall short. Mostly because the first word I uttered that morning was a curse word. Miranda woke up all ready to go at 6am. This is early for me on a regular day. But recall that Duncan was up until 11:30 the previous night. It's like they're conspiring against me. Of course, if they realized that sleepy mommy=cranky mommy, maybe they would conspire together to get mommy to bed earlier. My mommy meet up didn't really work out to my satisfaction. I had to leave early so Duncan wouldn't trash the bookstore. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I don't cry about Evan every day anymore, but I cried that day. A lot. I never know when a wave of grief is going to take me down. So many different things can stir up my emotions. I saw a program on PBS earlier in the week. It was a fictional mystery that takes place during WWII. The character had lost both sons in the war, and had just recently lost her husband. She said she couldn't grieve, because she was dead inside. Wow. I also saw an Oprah program recently about loss. The parents of a girl who died as a result of a drunk driver basically said they haven't had any happy days since she died. They kind of said, "What's the point?" They had at least one other child who survived. I thought to myself, "I don't want this to be me." But I'm having a hard time seeing beyond the pain. I'm crazy about my surviving children, but it still hurts so much. How can I grieve and heal, and be a good mommy?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rain Barrel

Well, my rain barrel has seen better days. Like when it transported olives or garlic across the ocean. That was probably pretty exciting. The contents, so important, were probably treated ever so gently. And nary a nick or scratch dared mark the container, inside or out. Then it got retro-fitted to be a rain barrel, and has sunk to be in the possession of a very abusive owner. That would be me. You may recall that it tipped over after some rainy weather recently. I righted it...at an angle, so that it would be easier to pour the water out of the spigot. The angle was the problem last time. It got top heavy and tipped. And I'm guessing that's what happened this time. I haven't had an opportunity to pour water out since Sunday (and not much then), because of little kids, and the rainy weather we've had. I just went outside, and saw it lying across the strawberry bed. At least the strawberries got a drink! There's more left inside this time, but there's a nasty dent in the side. And still, I haven't bought the cinder blocks to put underneath (as I was told to do when I made the purchase.) At least, today I placed it on flat ground. So, maybe the barrel will stay aright and live to see better days again.

Jinxed?

So, I like to share good news. But it seems like every time I do, something bad happens. Not very bad, just kinda bad. Or makes the good news defunct. For example, I was going to write a post called "Jumping off the Plateau." It was going to be about how I had lost a couple of pounds and I was no longer plateau-ed at that same weight. Then I put back on those couple of pounds.

It seems like every time I brag about how well Duncan is sleeping, that night he is a little terror. Of course, the last few nights he's been up really late (11:30 last night!!) We're thinking we're being manipulated (I know, duh!) We also think he's getting a molar in. Those suckers hurt.

I think somebody told me once that girls are not as bad at spitting up as baby boys. I was looking forward to a break with Miranda. Turns out, she's the worst of all three of my spitters. Two words: projectile vomit. Do I need to make it any clearer?

I was going to write a post about my recent exercise success. Then I turned my ankle, and haven't done any running for a week.

If I have a good day and I start to think, "hey, I'm a pretty good Mommy!" The next day I'm screaming my head off.

I try not to say "never" or "always" anymore. I substitute "usually" and "sometimes." Miranda usually sleeps through the night. I'm so paranoid that by saying Miranda always sleeps through the night I'll end up with a wakeful baby that night.

Is it just me, or does this happen to you?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ready...Set...Roll!



When we go to the park, Duncan likes to sit at the top of the slide, and wait for me to say, "Ready, Set...Go!" Then he skoots down the slide. Inside we say, "Ready, set...Go!" and then run around chasing each other. But today was all about the rolling. Today we had family rolling time. So, naturally I said, "Ready, set...Roll!" Duncan and I rolled around on the floor together. And giggled.

Miranda decided she had to get in on the rolling.



She's been rolling from front to back for a while now. But today, after several days of practicing, she rolled from back to front.



We don't really think about all the effort it takes to roll ourselves over.



You gotta tuck those elbows in, and shift your weight around.



Almost there...



And she gives up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Toughies


Purple Coneflower

I love the plants that thumb their proverbial noses at the heat and humidity that is summer in the South. Coneflowers do start to look a little peaky in the heat, but they perk back up in no time. And the flowers are magnificent.


Salvia guaranitica "Black and Blue"

Salvia blooms off and on throughout the summer. "Black and Blue" has the much sought after true blue flower. It is a real standout, especially with my new yellow salvias. I have it wedged in between orange Crocosmia and Solidago "Fireworks." If I luck out and they all bloom together, it really will look like fireworks!


Crocosmia

These orange blooms of Crocosmia (they also come in yellow and red) really brighten up my butterfly garden. It is a bit thuggish. I'll need to thin them out this year. Unless I want a Crocosmia only butterfly garden. Very exclusive.


Calla Lily

Calla lilies are so elegant. They also look kind of tropical. (Or maybe they are tropical.) They are just beautiful.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Duncan Slept in His Big Boy Bed!


Hammering a Screw

Last night at bedtime, Justin decided to put Duncan's big boy bed together in the new and improved Big Boy Room.



He positioned the Thomas canopy/tent/thingy over the bed and, of course, Duncan was thrilled. Too bad Justin didn't have this idea a little earlier. Duncan wanted to stay in his Big Boy Room and couldn't be persuaded to go back to his Little Boy Room. So, we thought, "Why not?" We cleaned up the tools and put the boy to bed. He fussed a bit (not unusual.) After a brief period with us, he went back to his new room. And slept. He woke again briefly in the night. Kind of one of those, "Where am I? Oh yeah!" And then slept till morning. The whole putting the bed together and Duncan willingly sleeping in his Big Boy Room happened so quickly, it kind of caught me unawares. I wasn't quite ready. And I was, admittedly, a bit sad. I'm glad that, so far, it's going well. He's in there tonight. In the bed. Sleeping. It's all good. Now we just have to clear out the little boy stuff from the Little Boy Room, and move in the little girl stuff. And we can move Panda Bear into her own room. I think that'll make me sad, too. Growing up is hard. Especially on the parents!

Rain Rain Come and Stay!

Here's what our creek normally looks like (click on the pictures for a bigger image):




These picture I took today during a nice downpour.



We got about an inch of rain today that resulted in a swollen creek.



It swells outside of its banks a little away from the house in a good downpour. Just once has it rained so hard and so quickly that it flooded the back half of the yard. It has never flooded towards the house, since we've been here. Although, the people that owned the house before us said it does happen.



I'm secretly afraid to see a person or animal in the rapids one day. Thankfully, it's usually just sticks, branches, and trash.



No, I haven't done up the rainbarrel. Yeah, I know. I'm a doofus.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things, They are A-Changin'


Evan's Garden

Or, at least, they will be. I planted a little garden in memory of my son, Evan, last year. I planned it all out based on a partially sunny space. I picked out plants that could take a fair amount of shade. You know...Hydrangeas, Hostas, native woodland plants. Well, by the time summer rolled around, I noticed the sun's path was a bit different, and this bed was actually in full sun. In spite of the sun and in spite of the terrible drought last year, most everything survived. As the drought continues this year, however, things are starting to look a little ragged. Oh sure, the Hydrangea blooms are enormous.



But they look at death's door when in direct sunlight. Particularly, around the noon hour. So, I have decided to move the shade lovers from Evan's Garden to another shadier locale, and find some sun lovers for Evan's Garden. I won't move things until fall, so they may actually have a chance to survive, even though that means babying several things throughout the summer. So, my question is: what should I put in Evan's Garden? I currently have things with fun flowers (Hydrangeas...I'll keep the oakleaf hydrangeas there, and an Annabelle nearby) and things with fun names (Christmas fern, Toad Lily.) I think it would be a great spot for some sunflowers. What little kid (and big kid) wouldn't love sunflowers? Maybe another "Evan Matthew" Dahlia. What are some other neat perennials that would be good there? Evan loved those pom pom Marigolds, so those would be great, too. Any suggestions? Oh yeah, and drought tolerant is always a plus! Thanks!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weather and Barrel Woes

Just so you know, just because the weather channel has a green blip on the radar, it doesn't mean it's raining. At least, not here. I was all excited to see the green mass pass over my part of the county. Except, when I looked outside, all I saw were clouds. Oh well. Maybe someone else got some rain. In other somewhat related news...I found my rain barrel tipped over on Saturday. I have it on an inclined surface, and I think it got top heavy with AC water (I hadn't watered in a few days, plus I added water from my collection buckets) and it just fell over. Or some meanie pushed it over. I don't really see that happening, though. I guess I'll have one really green area of grass where it all spilled out! What a waste.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's in Bloom


Calla Lily...yes

I received numerous plants when Evan died. There were, of course, the bouquets of cut flowers that only lasted a week or so. There were several baskets of houseplants, most of which I gave away. I'm not so good with houseplants. Although, I do have one basket still, and almost everything in the basket has survived! I also received a few plants that I thought might make it in the ground. What my mom called a "hot house" Azalea. Didn't make it. A Gardenia given to my sister in law has made a miraculous recovery. A small Japanese maple from some moms of Evan's classmates. Recently died. I also lost a Japanese maple from my inlaws. The Calla Lilies came with the Azalea and a Norfolk Island Pine (also dead.) I planted them in Evan's garden, and hoped for the best. They didn't bloom last year. After seeing all the blooms on my mom's Callas already this summer, I thought I was out of luck again. I was very pleased to go out yesterday and find blooms on both plants! I was afraid after all of these losses, that my green thumb had tarnished.


Echinacea purpurea "Purple Coneflower"

Most of my unusual Coneflowers (Evan Saul, Razzmatazz, Harvest Moon) have bloomed, and are starting to look a little frazzled. The Purple Coneflowers, however, are just beginning to start their show.


Zinnias

My mother-in-law called these Zinnias "cartoon flowers." I thought she was making fun of me at first. They were newly plated, and tiny. She said they reminded her of the flowers you always see in cartoons...tiny little plant, with a perfect little flower. These have done very well with the drought. I hardly ever water them.


Lysimachia...I think?

I got this Lysimachia from a plant trade. I put it in a pot, because I've heard about other Lysimachias taking over. I'm in constant fear of plants taking over my yard! When the lady at the nursery told me "it spreads real nice" about a particular plant, I smiled and hot-footed it outta there.


Dahlia "Alpen Diamond" with Echinacea "Razzmatazz"

The one Dahlia that survived last year's drought and the winter is blooming like crazy. I've flicked a couple of fornicating Japanese beetles off the blooms. Shiver.


Veronica "Sunny Border Blue"

Another plant trade item. One of these days I'll figure out where to place things so that they'll bloom together. This Veronica is actually near some yellow Salvias. So, maybe once the Salvias are more established they'll bloom together.

The Hydrangeas are past peak now. There are a few scattered blooms that still look good. The Daylilies are done. I'm excited about some newly budding things, like Crocosmia and a second flush of Gerbera daisies. Oh yes, and Black Eyed Susans! Can't wait.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Little Mommies

Every time we go to the park, there's a bevy of little girls who come over to see the baby. Some just look. Some pull back the little sun shade for a closeup. They look at me and smile and usually say, "Baby!" Their mothers usually tell them to "leave the baby alone" or "let the baby sleep" or even "yes, it is a baby!" It's very sweet to see the nurturing side of girls at such a young age. The boys mostly just run on by, but some little guys take a peek, too.




Duncan and Miranda on the "Caddy"

Duncan takes all of this attention in stride. He's actually pretty popular, too. Little kids just come up to him and want to play. Now that he's becoming more interested in other kids, he'll sometimes make himself available. But sometimes, he just wants to do his own thing.


Stylin' and Profilin'

His "own thing" usually involves climbing. Duncan is a climber. He likes the swings and slides, but he mostly enjoys anything that involves climbing. Monkey bars, firefighter poles, swinging bars, you name it. If it involves monkey like activity, he's there.


Our Little Monkey on the Monkey Bars

Occasionally, Duncan seems to attract as much little girl attention as Miranda, but from the slightly older set of females. We've had girls that are probably in second or third grade follow us around the playground. They play with Duncan. They call his name. "Come play, Duncan!" They help him on the monkey bars. This is actually very helpful for me, when he chooses to not listen to his mommy (I know, shocking, isn't it?) and climb the highest set. His little mommy is up at the top waiting for him and helps by taking his hand. Some girls "mommy" him by telling him he's not supposed to do whatever it is he's doing. With all his mommies, Duncan turns on his selective hearing when he's focused on his playing (aka naughty behavior.) Maybe it's wrong, but I'm glad it's not just me!

More on Bugs

Yesterday evening I decided to put down some more newspaper and pine straw. Since the previous day's little boy wanderings and rainfall halted my work. I got started by checking the bale that had ants on it. Still there, unfortunately. I let it be. Of course, this meant I had to cross the creek and go up the hill for another bale. This is why gardening is considered exercise! I noticed a couple of yellow jackets around. I thought about my in-laws and how they have to carry an epi pen around when they exercise, due to severe allergies to yellow jackets. I thought, "Well, I'm not allergic. But I sure don't want to be stung." As I put down the straw I saw more yellow jackets buzzing around. They didn't look too pleased. I figure I covered an entrance to their nest with newspaper and straw. Oops! I continued to work, giving them a very wide berth. Thankfully, I was able to finish up without incident. It does make me think about how many yellow jackets I've seen this year. I feel like every time I'm planting something, here comes a yellow jacket. I knew of a definite nest in the front yard. There must be at least one in the back. It makes me very nervous for my son to play back there now. Shoot, I'm nervous to play back there! Darn bugs!