Saturday, August 30, 2008

Time Well Spent

We are lucky to have our kids' grandparents in easy driving distance. Both Justin's parents and my parents live about an hour away. When we've needed help, like when I was on bed rest, they were not too far (and thankfully, available.) But even more importantly they are close enough to have a relationship with our kids. When I was stuck on the sofa during the last portion of my pregnancy with Duncan, Evan got to spend extra special time with Grandpa and LaLa. They took him to the park and shopping. While riding in LaLa's car, Evan became obsessed with the moon roof and insisted on having it open, then close. "Again!" he would say to LaLa. When Grandpa, Evan, and I watched part of the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, we explained how the players were trying to get the ball into the little hole. The next day when we were watching baseball, Evan scanned the ball field and then asked, "Where's the hole?"

When Justin and I needed a break, the grandparents were always willing to keep Evan for an overnight visit. He always had a great time and came home with new toys and books, and sometimes new phrases. After a visit with "Gammaw and Gampaw," Evan was industriously pulling every cushion off the sofa, a favorite activity. He took one of the big cushions away from the back, took a peek, and exclaimed, "There's stuff in there!" Sure enough, there was all kinds of "stuff" wedged behind the cushion.

Special visits almost always included special food. Fudgesicles, "ice cwame," cookies, everything yummy. Poppyaya (Evan smooshed Pop and LaLa together, to make his own name for them together) took Evan and his cousin Beau to get coffee from Starbucks. Evan's coffee was actually hot chocolate, but he came home talking about how he wanted his own cup of coffee.

There were also other kinds of treats. Evan fed the goats with Poppyaya, even though he wanted the Goldfish crackers all to himself. When Gammaw and Gampaw took Evan to see the Buffalo on a nearby farm, they found that the Buffalo weren't out that day, Evan said, "Bufflo gowan." Maybe they went to see about the "sheepy sheeps" instead.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lady Bug

More Rain!

The other day I joked about how we only needed 2 or 3 inches of rain to catch up to our August deficit. I was snickering when I typed it, because I figured that we were almost certainly not going to make it. Well, as it turns out, Fay decided to camp out over our area, and dump a nice 3 inches. So, we are now in surpluss for the month! My husband looked up our rainfall average for this year compared to this time last year, and we're a foot better off this year. If we could have a couple more tropical storms come our way, without the severe flooding in Florida, we'd be doing great.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chatterbox? Not So Much

Duncan is a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to language. He's got some words, but not the vocabulary that he's "supposed" to have at his age. We took him for a speech evaluation recently. After talking with us and Duncan, the therapist suggested getting him in a preschool or Parent's Morning Out program. There, he would hopefully be around better talking kids his age. She also thought speech therapy might be in order. Not that he's got major issues, but to catch him up. One method we're supposed to be practicing at home is encouraging two word sentences by repetition. When Duncan points to a light that is turned on and says, "Light!", we say "Light on." Five times in a row. He looks at us like we're idiots. It's like he's thinking, "All of a sudden these people have gotten really stupid! I just saw the light. That's all. Geesh!"

You may be surprised by the joy we feel when we finally do hear a two word sentence from our little guy. Duncan hasn't said "Light on" or any of the other sentences we have been endlessly repeating. What he did say was even cuter. He and Miranda were in the back seat of the car as we drove to drop off the van (again) at the shop. Miranda sneezed. And Duncan said, "Baby achoo!"

That's my boy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Woohoo Rain!

According to our rain gauge we got 1.3 inches of rain last night! Woohoo! Now we just need to get around 2.5 more inches, and we'll be all nice and caught up for August. Of course, we're still behind for the year. I haven't been out to take any pictures because of the rain. And even though it hasn't been that hot, it has been sticky. The kind of weather when you stand for a couple of minutes, not exerting yourself or anything, and still start to sweat. Nice, huh? It's just me and the kids for a few days, so I don't have a lot of time when I could sneak out to take pix anyhow. The most exciting thing about to get going is my Solidago "Fireworks." One of my faves. Can't wait to see it with my Black and Blue Salvia. I'm thinking I may divide the Salvia, and spread the joy to other parts of the butterfly garden. Mom picks on me for digging stuff up, and dividing it, but it's a great way to keep a plant's size in check, put more color around the garden, and more often than not...share!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


We've had good weeding weather lately. It's been overcast, a good deal cooler than average. The excuse "It's too hot!" I've been making all summer, just didn't hold water. So, I've been ripping out weeds all over the place. Too bad there are so many around. And a lot left! We didn't get much rain out of Tropical Storm Fay last week. Maybe a sprinkle or two, but the clouds and cool breezes sure beat the 90s of the previous week. And this weekend, we've actually had some rain. And rain is predicted through most of the week. I'm not sure we'll make up our 3+ inches of rain deficit for the month of August, but right now any rain is good rain. In spite of the dry weather, I haven't been using my rain barrel all that much. It's been hooked up to the AC all summer, so we've had plenty of moisture in there. I think I've just been lazy. My poor little plants have probably wondered what happened to their friend. I can just imagine them thinking, "She's so sweet when the weather is cool. Where is she now that it's hot and we really need her?" Little guilt trippers!

"We Gotta Job To Do!"

One of Evan's favorite shows was Handy Manny. Manny is the Handy Man in the town of Sheetrock Hills. He has talking tools that assist him on each project. Evan loved everything about tools. He had a Little Tykes toolbench that Santa brought him for Christmas. It had a hammer, a screwdriver, and a wrench for him to play Tool Guy with.

When he didn't have pretend tools, real ones would do! Evan was always happy to help out on any project going on around the house. He would tuck a pencil behind his ear (just like Handy Manny), and say, "We gotta job to do!" When the project was done, he would say, "We did a good job." Then, he nodded his head appreciatively.

The weekend before Evan went to the hospital, I got him his very own toolbox. We thought he had a bad cold, and I thought a little pre-Christmas gift would cheer him up. I was only going to give him the little drill, and save the rest of the toolbox for Christmas. He had been playing with his Daddy's drill a lot that day, helping on another project. He found the drill, and immediately starting to pretend to work on a project. "Do you wanna work on a project, Mommy?" he asked. Evan also found the toolbox. He pulled each tool out, and named them. All the same names as the tools in Handy Manny's toolbox. "Here's Turner and Squeeze and Pat...."

Evan had so much fun playing, he wanted to take his drill to bed with him. Night night, little Tool Guy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So Tired

I've been glued to the TV watching the Olympics for the last week and a half. Most everyone else is complaining about too many events being shown on tape delay. I have heard that people on the West Coast are seeing things on tape that would be on at 8 or 9pm there local time if it were shown live. They delay showing it until 10 or 11pm. I don't understand that at all. On the East Coast, we have had some live events, mixed in with taped. They show the taped gymnastics individual events at 11pm, when they could have shown it at 8. What's up with that? When did "Prime Time" get so late? I would be ok with tape delay, if they actually showed it at a reasonable time. So anyway, I said last night, "No more!" Yet, here I am watching Kerrie Walsh and Misty May-Treanor compete for the gold in beach volleyball. I feel a bit pathetic, too. I'm watching all of these magnificent athletic feats on TV, and neglecting my own fitness. So, tonight I watched Usain "Lightening" Bolt (because he is so fast!) get the world record in the 200m sprint and I cheered him on (and the Americans, of course), while I walked on the treadmill. So, yeah Usain and yeah me! Did I mention I'm almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight? Double yeah me!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Late Summer Blooms

Echinacea "Purple Coneflower"

I actually gardened today! My thirsty Hydrangeas needed a drink, so I decided to utilize my rainbarrel water. It was awfully weedy there, so I just started pulling weeds while I waited for the buckets to fill. I also pulled weeds in my front garden beds. There's still a lot of work to do, as always.

Dahlia Dark Angel "American Pie"

There are still a handful of Echinaceas in bloom. "Evan Saul" hasn't bloomed in a while, but the foliage is looking better. I need to do some late Summer cleanup of flower stalks and dead limbs. Fun fun! I'm excited to see these Dahlias finally start to flower.


My mom told me earlier this summer that I needed a pink garden in honor of the birth of my daughter in March. She acts like I have no pink in my yard! Silly.

Salvia guaranitica "Black and Blue" and Solidago "Fireworks"

When I first typed the above caption, I actually typed Saliva guaranitica! HA! I'm so pleased that I have some perinnials now that bloom most of the summer. Salvia is such a work horse. It's going to look fantastic with that Solidago, one of my favorite natives.

New Baby? No Problem

Sometimes it's difficult for a big brother to adjust to life with a new baby around. Everyone oohs and aahs over the newbie, and the toddler gets almost ignored. Many toddlers revert to more babyish behavior (or sometimes naughty behavior!) to get more attention.

In our house the older sib doesn't revert. He just wants all of baby's stuff. We pulled out the swing to soothe fussy Duncan. But it was Evan that wanted the first swing. We let him get in the little seat, and cringed when it started to make ominous cracking sounds.

After a round of breastfeeding Duncan, Evan jumped up and said, "My turn!" I've heard that some moms let the older child give it a try, but I decided to fix Evan a glass of his favorite (chocolate milk) instead.

Newborns have frequent poo poos because of their liquid diet and immature little digestive systems. So, I was calling for Duncan's briefcase a lot in those early days. After changing a teeny weeny big monster poo poo and tidying up, Evan would again say, "My turn!" So, I let him hang out on the pad right next to his little brother.

When little Panda Bear came along, we got the Moses basket back out for the third time. The little basket was a favorite napping spot for all of our little ones. It's also a popular place for toddler Duncan to squeeze, apparently!

But at the end of the day, it's all good!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

I seem to always seem to forget Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. On the 15th of each month garden blogger's share pictures of what's blooming in their yards/homes. I may remember late on the 15th, or more likely the 16th or 17th. And then promptly forget again. I haven't gotten this garden blogging thing down just yet, apparently. But today, I remembered!

Lonicera "Goldflame" Honeysuckle

I fell in love with Goldflame Honeysuckle last year before Pike's went belly up. I passed by this particular plant (there was only one) two or three times, and decided I had to have it before someone else came along and got it. It's been a steady bloomer this summer and it kept its leaves in our zone 7b winter. It does have powdery mildew issues, but it seems to recover well.

Lagerstroemia "Acoma"/Crape Myrtle aka Evan's Tree

My parents have purchased trees in honor of each of my children's births. My mom and I found this little Crape Myrtle at Lowes. It was probably only 12-24" at the time of purchase in 2004. It's pushing 6' now! It's one of the slower growing varieties, and I believe only reaches 12'.

My Little Flower and Her Gerber Daisy

Who doesn't love Gerber Daisies?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good Eats

Miranda Gets Her First Bite of Big Kid Food

Miranda just started eating cereal recently. It's gone rather well. She seems to really like it.

She Comes Back for More

If you ever try baby cereal, you may be surprised how much it tastes like cardboard. I guess they want babies to ease into the hardcore stuff like mashed bananas and steamed mushed carrots. She does look longingly at our pizza, pasta, grilled chicken, etc.

Oh Boy!

She's growing up so fast!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The At Home Olympics

Olympic Little Piggies!

The Olympic Mulch Toss

Olympic Weight Lifting

Nice Form, Duncan!

Ready, Set, Lift!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Catching Up

I haven't had much to write, because I've kind of holed myself up inside the house. It's been hot and dry. Lots of drooping due to low humidity. Me included!

My First Tomato!

There are some plants that seem to handle the heat and humidity better than others. These are the ones I need to write down on a list to remember for next year!

The Blooms are coming in on the Garlic Chives

I have a "formal" herb garden that I had planned on keeping neat and pruned. I should have known better! It's grown wild and woolly. It's hard to get motivated to do constant pruning in the summer heat. Add two kids under the age of three, and forget about it!

Butterfly Garden

I've had lots of lovely blooms in the Butterfly Garden this summer. Bees aplenty. I've seen fewer butterflies this year. I wonder if the drought has taken its toll on the prettiest insect.

Hydrangea aborescens "Annabelle"

These Hydrangeas do not like the heat and humidity! They look like they're on the verge of collapse by midday.

Rudbeckia "Black Eyed Susan" and Dahlia "Alpen Diamond"

I've been pleased with the blooms on my Alpen Diamond Dahlia. My "Evan Matthew" is still pretty small with no blooms. Sigh. I hope I don't lose it again over the winter months.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Things We Say

Do you sometimes stop and think to yourself, "Well, I never thought I woulda said that!"? I know we all come out with some lulus from time to time, but it seems since becoming a parent, I've done more than my fair share of strange phrases. Here are some of our favorites (be advised: it seems like we talk a little too much about poo.)

"Let's see if there's something going down in Stinky Town."

or, "There's something brown going down in Stinky Town."

"He's on the fast train to Sleepy Town."

"It's Cutesy McCutesal, mayor of Cutey Town." "It's Stinky McStinksal, Mayor of Stinky Town." "It's Tooty McTootsal, Mayor of Tooty Town!"

Someone toots, so we say, "Are you poppin' corn?"

Being called "The Milk Truck" or the "Booby Lady"

"That's Mommy's toy!"

"Try it with some Wow Wow Sauce" (stolen from Terry Pratchett)

"Agh! I got poo poo on my hand!"


Describing a recent diaper change: "What did it look like?" "Like peanut butter."

A new one tonight..."Duncan, put your penis in your pants!"

Overheard at a restaurant when a toddler grabbed something from his dad, "Look out, Snatchy McGrab!"

I'm glad we're not the only ones!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Favorite Curious George Quotes

"That guy's skateboard, is like, made of dog!"

"It's a Miracle of Carrots!"

Mrs. Pescetti to chef hubby: You're garden is not magic, but your cooking is!
Pescetti: That's right! I'ma great!

scientist giving a speech, "...and if an apple traveling at the speed of light hits a static banana...."

That's what I'm watching right now with Duncan. I hope you're watching the back of your eyelids!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Last year Justin took me here for our anniversary. This year was just a tad different. Last year...fancy hotel. This year...tiny mountain house (thanks Pam and Bill!) Last year...tropical island. This year...foothills of the Appalachians. Last year...plentiful rest, because it was just Justin and me. This year...Justin, me, Duncan, Miranda, and my parents. It could have been a restful trip, if Duncan had been more cooperative. Justin and I went out for our anniversary dinner. We came back to two screeching children. Duncan wouldn't go to bed. He finally gave in to exhaustion around midnight. He woke up again at 1am, and I held him until he went back to sleep. Duncan snoozed in my arms until 2:30, when I decided I had to get some sleep, too. We got up at 6. Duncan did go back to sleep until we headed out to our destination.

Here we are on a school bus to go to "A Day Out With Thomas"!

Duncan joined the throngs of preschoolers playing with Thomas train sets.

Miranda and her Daddy had fun watching Duncan play.

There were lots of tears and hurt feelings when kids grabbed engines from each other. Parents and grandparents tried to keep the peace. There was a little girl near by who started to cry when Thomas started down the track. Her mother tried to console her, and said that Thomas was coming back, and they would be able to ride the next time. The little girl kept crying and saying, "Come back, Thomas."

Here's the Duplo (that's big Lego blocks for you non-parents) Thomas. Very cool!

Do you see Duncan peeking through the window?

Here comes Thomas!

Thomas, up close and personal.

Finally, the train ride. It was just a 25 minute ride, but it was a lot of fun. It was nice to sit in the shade in a comfortable seat!

Duncan, enjoying the view from the window.

Grandma and Grandpa not even trying to look like they're having fun, even though I know they did.

A quick handshake from Sir Topham Hatt. (He was a little scary.)

Duncan loved his balloon Dachshund and covered it with little kisses.

So, in spite of the lack of sleep, we all had a great time. Evan would have loved it. I hope to see Thomas again in the future. I wonder how we'll spend our 10th wedding anniversary next year.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rock Star

Duncan with his butter churn microphone and pan guitar.

The van was behaving in an alarming manner earlier this week, so we took it to the garage on Monday. They were so slammed that they said they wouldn't be able to even look at the van until Tuesday. So, instead of being stuck at home all week (because it ended up being in the shop almost that long), we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, where they have lots of interesting doodads to fuel a small boy's imagination.

This Time with Some Emotion, Duncan!

At home Duncan often sits in his Daddy's lap and pretends to play along to Guitar Hero. He strums the "guitar" and watches while the video rock stars perform on stage. He uses his Elmo guitar and the video game guitar in his pretend play. At Grandma and Grandpa's house, however, he opts for every kids' favorite musical instruments, pots and pans. He went as far as banging on different size pots to find the one with just the right tone.

After rocking on the pot guitar, he takes up the butter churn microphone and belts out his own version of a song. It goes kind of like this. "Sing, sing sing!" Over and over again. Notice he is standing on his own small stage.

We finished off the week with a bang on a toy drum at a toy store.