Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween, Here We Come!

We've got Halloween on the brain here. We've been discussing costumes for a month. "Duncan, what do you want to be for Halloween?" has been asked more times than I can count. Of course, after getting blank stare after blank stare, I decided Duncan probably didn't know what the heck I was talking about.

So, I tried terms he might understand, like "dress up" and more importantly "candy." That seemed to peak his interest. I still don't know what Duncan wants to be for Halloween. And I'm not telling what he's going to be (yeah, we decided for him.) That will have to wait until he's dressed up, and I have a camera!

We made the pilgrimage to the Pumpkin Patch on Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and I was hoping for some good pictures for the kids' scrapbooks. Last year Duncan had a blast. He bobbed his head to the rock and roll music, posed for some excellent pictures, and jumped on the bouncers to his heart's content.

This year he did explore the pumpkin patch. And we got some interesting poses. But my little jumper, didn't want to jump. We had purchased 10 tickets just for jumping. I carried him to the little kid area, took off his shoes...nothing doing. Justin took him to the Giant pumpkin. He looked in the windows and watched other kids jump. Considered it. Nope. Not for him.

So, we loaded them up in the wheelbarrow for this super cute picture.

This is what happens, when Mommy tries to get in there-pandemonium!

I tried to prop Miranda up against a pumpkin for a nice shot, and she just fell apart. I had to walk her around for 10 minutes before she settled down. It's as if she told me, "And don't even think about getting me near that scary orange thing again!"

After lots of hugs and kisses, Mommy finally gets a picture with her little pumpkin.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brothers and Sisters

We're all about learning experiences around here.

We encourage exploring new educational outlets. Like the Internets.

We support our children if they want to think inside the box.

If you want to play with big brother's toys...

Don't be surprised if he puts something on your head...

And maybe some kisses, too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Green Balloon

In August 2006 my good friend celebrated her birthday. Actually, she celebrates her birthday in August every year, but that's beside the point. A few of us decided to meet at the local Mexican restaurant to celebrate. We brought our kids, of course, because that's how we knew each other, and the kids were friends, too. There's nothing better than good friends and good food. To make things more festive, someone brought along balloons of various colors. After eating and cutting up, it was time to get the kids back home. The birthday girl decided to share her balloons with the kids. I asked Evan what color balloon he would like. I knew for certain he would choose the red one, because that was his favorite color. But he said, "The green one!" We took the balloon, said our goodbyes, and headed home. I told Evan to hold on tight to the balloon, or it might float away. It bounced on the ceiling of the car all the way home. When we got out, Evan let go of the string. The balloon floated silently away. "Balloon gone!" he said. And we watched it rise higher and higher into the air. He wasn't distressed. But maybe a little disappointed.

About a month later I took Evan to get a big boy haircut in preparation for his first day of school. The stylist always cut it short and he looked quite dapper. Evan didn't cry or fuss in the salon chair. He didn't cringe when the scissors or razor came his way. Instead, he named the implements the stylist was using, or he would watch the movie. He often got a really serious expression on his face like he had to use all his powers of concentration to stay focused on the cartoon. Afterwards, as a treat, we went next door to Party City for a balloon. I thought I would have to buy one, but was pleasantly surprised that they gave out freebies for kids. We got in line and waited. When it was our turn, I asked, "What color, Evan?" He excitedly said, "Green!" I was surprised. I knew toddlers had better memories than babies, but I thought he had long forgotten about the green balloon that got away. This time, however, the balloon made it all the way home. Evan held on tight to the string, and didn't let it go until we were inside.

We still have that balloon.

A month from today we will mark the second anniversary of Evan's death by releasing balloons. We invite you to get a balloon on November 24th to remember Evan, too.

Update on Sleepless Kids

I took the kids to the doc today. I thought Duncan had an ear infection for sure. Nope. He does have his last molar coming in, and it must just be a doozy. However, poor little Panda Bear does have an ear infection. On top of the ear business, something mysterious happened while I was in the bathroom after we got home. When I came back (I wasn't gone more than 6-7 minutes), Miranda had two goose egg bruises on her head! She wasn't crying, but it looked like she had been. I asked Duncan what happened, and he didn't say. his vocabulary is limited, but I was hoping for details. I suspect that he may have bonked her on the head, but I just don't know. She's doing some cruising now (walking alongside the sofa), and she's still unsteady, so she may have fallen. Needless to say, she'll be coming with me to the bathroom from now on. I feel like a terrible mommy. :(

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Things Weird and Wonderful

We had some other weirdness last week and into this week that I didn't mention in my previous post. Mostly it was the "Name That Smell" Game that I played for a few days. There was a less than pleasant odor in the family room. I kept asking Justin, "What is that smell?!" He didn't smell anything. It made me a little concerned that my birth control wasn't working (you know, pregnant girls have a great sense of smell.) After two days of wrinkled noses, I finally found the source of the stink. It was my bag! I had accidentally left a small bottle of chocolate milk in there, and it exploded. I washed the bag and the contents, but the odor remained. So, I have a new diaper bag!

After all of the sniffling and sneezing and coughing from the kids (and congestion and headaches for me), I felt like I deserved a break. Instead, I got two kids who wouldn't sleep well. Two nights in a row Duncan and Miranda were either up late or up early. By Wednesday everyone was sleeping again. Me included. Sleep is pretty wonderful. But the most wonderful thing that happened in the last week is that Duncan said those three little words that every mom wants to hear. No, not "I went potty!" He said, "I love you!" It sounded kind of like "I wuv you." And my reaction was about as enthusiastic as you might expect. I probably scared the little guy with all of my kisses and hugs and giggles. But he's already gotten over it and said it again!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Rain!

After doing all that weeding, digging, and transplanting, we were fortunate to get another good rain. All of my transplants are looking like they survived shock. I wasn't sure they would all make it, but I'm pleased with what looks like 100 percent survival. When I dug up those weed trees, and some volunteer azaleas, however, I think I may have messed with my Daphne's roots. Either that or she's decided to commit hari kari. She's drooping like I've never seen before. I watered and we got that good rain. I haven't done any pruning. I'm not sure that that will do anything. Any ideas? I've heard that Daphnes sometimes do great in a spot, and then all the sudden die. It's too bad. It's a beautiful plant and has some special memories for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Weird Week

The week began and ended with the sniffles. Miranda still has double barrel green worms, but the rest of us are feeling much better. And she seems to feel better, too. Just snotty.

Early in the week someone asked me for the symptoms that led up to Evan's meningitis, so she could tell her friend what to look for, because her son is prone to high fevers and double ear infections. This email got me all upset and uncomfortable. I always thought I'd share Evan's story, and maybe help someone someday. I just figured it would be something I did in my own time and in my own way. I never thought a person would just ask (this has happened twice, actually.) So, I thought about it.

In the meantime a neighbor told me her marriage was on the rocks, she's moved out, and she blames another neighbor for her interfering ways. And then a mom who "didn't know what to say" to me about Evan, just kept talking and talking and making me more uncomfortable (and left me a little note to boot.) It's funny, because I had told my SIL, Natalie, recently that saying the wrong thing to a grieving parent is better than saying nothing at all. After this encounter, I wanted to edit myself!

I did end up sending the symptoms along to that mom, and found out the boy was sick this week. So, I stressed out for a couple of days, hoping and praying that the little boy didn't have meningitis. I was blaming myself for not getting back in touch with her sooner. Thankfully, he's ok. No meningitis.

And then our little family was sick. So, on top of feeling physically miserable, my emotions were stretched to the limit this week. I felt like I had a tattoo on my forehead that said, "I'm a good listener!" Ugh! So, maybe this week will be less interesting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sick-quick update

We're all sick with a cold. Duncan seems to be on the tail end of it. He slept great last night. Poor Miranda, on the other hand, was up for a couple of hours. I won't give you all the snotty, feverish details, but hopefully we're on the road to wellness soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Better Weekend?

We had a nice soaking rain last week, and all of the planties are happy. Well, all the planties in everyobody else's yard. Mine would be happy if I would leave well enough alone. But no, I have to go and dig stuff up and move it around or give it away. And there's really nothing wrong with that. I mean, somebody's getting a plant from me, and I'm making space for something new. and getting some exercise to boot. And for those of you who don't garden...gardening is exercise!

Today I was thinking about the past week. All of the boohooing, the feeling that I can't get anything done, the frustration I'm having with my Evan garden do over. But today was different. It was different because the ground was soft. Unlike the last time I dug something up a week ago, it didn't feel like I was digging into solid rock. Today it was nice and soft. So, I decided to do a little more digging than planned. I dug up a bunch of weeds and weed trees, volunteers, and ivy that seems to want to take over the world. It was great to be outside doing some work. And feel like I'm making progress! I planted a new Elderberry bush.

Mostly I'm excited that I have a direction for Evan's garden now. I plan to do a zoo garden. I'm not positive about what I'll put there, but it's a good feeling to finally have a concrete plan. The bummer about this weekend is that Duncan and Miranda both seem to be coming down with a cold. Which might explain all the boohooing. Here's hoping for a good week...although, with two sick kids, I won't be holding my breath. At least, I can start my Evan's zoo garden plan. Mmmm...panther lilies....

Productive Week

In the last three weeks I've dug up at least 16 plants, transplanted and/or divided at least 9 plants, and planted a handful of new items. This week in addition to more digging and transplanting, I've yanked up a garbage can full of weeds, including numerous "weed" trees. We got more than 2 inches of rain last Wednesday, so it made the ground soft enough to make digging substantially easier. I kind of wish I'd waited to transplant all of those other plants after the rain. It would have been so much easier! Oh well. Live and learn, right? I did learn that digging into the ground during a drought can be back braking. So, when I went out today to do some more work, I wore a back brace. And gloves! I was beginning to be afraid I might have permanently dirty hands! I got a new pair of gloves with my Sambucus nigra "Black Lace" order from Greenwood Nursery. This was my first online live plant purchase. I've purchased bulbs and tubers online before with success. hopefully, this Sambucus will do well, too. I planted it back in the Shrub Island behind my Duncan Deutzia. I also moved my Snowflake Viburnum over there from Evan's Garden. It's in shock. I have to water regularly most of my transplants, so hopefully they'll make it!

I'm thinking about the Panther lily and Tiger lily for Evan's garden. It's so exciting to be planning again. I have hopes for better rain next year to support this new little animal garden! Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Evan's Garden

Evan's garden is in limbo. The annabelle hydrangeas and snowflake viburnum are moved, the hostas and astilbes are gone, the fairy wands, forget me nots, and others disappeared (I think it was just too dry.) I have moved some "anchor" sort of shrubs over to join the dwarf oakleaf hydrangeas. I transplanted two gardenias and a non-native (I think) Beautyberry. There's probably space for a couple of shrubs on either side of the Beautyberry. I'll have to think about what I'd like to do. I plan on moving the Evan Saul Coneflower and Evan Matthew Dahlia over there, too. After checking out some gardening books from the library, I've decided that Evan's garden is going to be Evan's Zoo Garden. So, I'm going to incorporate plants with animal names. What I'm considering so far: fritillaria meleagris (snake head fritillary), Lagurus ovatus (Bunny or Hare's Tail Grass), Mimulus (monkey flower), either Tiger Lilies or something a book calls Leopard Flower (also called blackberry lily; Belamcanda chinensis.) I still plan to have some dwarf sunflowers. There will be lots of yellow, purple/blue, orange, and red. I am really excited that I finally have some ideas. I can't wait to get started!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Is this week over, yet?

The last several days have been filled with Boohooligans, new choppers, rain (that was a really good thing!), digging, moving plants, hurting back, needy kids, VERY LOUD DRUMMING from Duncan, flute practice that I couldn't hear because of drumming, thumb shredding (in our dinner, no less), Duncan stealing and loving on Miranda's pink dog (should I get him a blue one, or just not be so uptight about the pink?), the possibility I have given birth to another climber (I thought families were limited to one), stressing about the economy, a very cool gift of plants from three wonderful friends (got my mums yesterday!), I'll be getting a plant in the mail today, Mom's ornamental grass decided my skin needed a thorn, friends losing their jobs, early awakenings, missing Evan.... You get the idea. So, I think the world and I need a happy, relaxing, low stress (more plants would be ok!) weekend. here's hoping.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Recent Blooms

I know the pictures are bad. The batteries are dead in my nice camera, and I keep forgetting to replace them. I was so excited to have a bloom on my Ginger (Hedychium coronarium "White Butterfly"), that I had to get a photo, however crappy. Unfortunately, I didn't get as close as I should have, so I missed out on the scent. Wah!

Ginger "White Butterfly"

The Pineapple Sage is getting started, too. I've heard that this is a perennial for some folks in my zone. We'll see!

Pineapple Sage

And the Solidago is starting to wind down.

Solidago "Fireworks"

I attended a plant swap this weekend. It was a very small turnout this time. It was still fun to talk to other gardeners and get some new stuff. One thing that was a disappointment to me was that I was the only person to pot things up in advance. I dug up everything 1-2 weeks ago and potted them in compost (I didn't have any potting soil), so everything was looking pretty good. Some folks dug stuff up that morning, and put it in trash bags. That works if you're going to plant right away, but not everybody can. I did get a few things in the ground today, and hope to get everything else in before it dies.

I've also been taking more plants out of Evan's Garden. I removed two of the Annabelle Hydrangeas a couple of weeks ago. After watering regularly, they look very happy in their new home. I will either move or give away the last Annabelle. I've left the dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangeas. I dug up the hostas and astilbes. I have to decide what will stay, and if it will stay put or move. I'll also have to decide whether I want to remove anything else. I sat down tonight to do a new plan. And pretty much just got frustrated. I don't know what I want to do. Something cool that Evan would have liked. Something with fun flowers or cool names. Nontoxic and child friendly would be nice, too. I want it to look nice, too. So many things to consider. And the fact that Mother Nature is not cooperating and giving us rain isn't making planting/transplanting/etc. decisions any easier. hopefully I will get some ideas soon!

She Loves Him

Look out, Duncan! She's gonna get ya!

Too late!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cutie Patootie

It's Potty Time!

We've had an interesting week. Both kids have teeth coming in, so they seem to just fall apart for any old reason. I was baking cookies today, and Duncan cried the whole time they were in the oven and until they cooled. Once they were on a plate and ready to eat, he calmed down. They see Mommy, and just lose it. So, I've had a great week.

Duncan has started to show an interest in learning to use the potty. He takes his diaper off and sits down on the potty. He doesn't usually accomplish anything besides being cute, but it's a start!

The few times I've let him run around without a diaper, he has peed on the floor. The first time I said, "Duncan, if you go pee pee in the potty, you'll get some candy." Then I said, "If you go pee pee, you'll get some candy." I suppose I should specify every time, because he did go pee pee. Just not in the potty. And honestly, those little potties do only give a guy a small target area. He still got the candy. And now he can say, "M&M's."

Miranda has gone mobile! She was scooting fairly well all over the place, but now she's officially a crawler. She can follow big brother around and loves it! She thinks Duncan is the sun and moon. And, I'm pleased to say, he's a really sweet big brother. Miranda is also getting into a sitting position on her own. She has this very feminine "side saddle" sort of way of sitting.

And just this week after loads of push ups, Miranda has finally succeeded in pulling up to a standing position. She gets this look on her face that says, "I can walk, Mommy. You just wait. I'm so close." With Evan and Duncan people kept telling me they would be early walkers. Evan walked at 11 months and Duncan at 13 months. Pretty much right on time. I'm wondering if Miranda may be the early bird. She's so determined. And dangit, the girl works out constantly. We'll only find out when she's ready. And then I'll really be in trouble!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Vinegar on my shirt.
My Milk on the floor.
Soy sauce everywhere.
A dozen eggs in the pitcher of tea.
Who am I?