Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Feet, Small Feet, Feet, Feet, Feet!

Today Duncan has wanted to be outside as much as possible. Perhaps because he was couped up in the house so long during the latest bout of the stomach flu. I do know that the new scrub brush Mommy bought recently works very well as a car scrubber. He set up his own little car wash in the backyard! When Duncan asked to go out for the third time today, he brought his shoes over to Justin.

"Daddy, will you put my shoes on?"

Justin said, "Duncan, These shoes won't fit me! My feet are much too big!"

Duncan thought for a moment and rephrased his request, "Daddy, will you put these shoes on my small feet?"

Quick learner!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

World Meningitis Day

Join Hands against Meningitis today in memory of all those who have been touched by Meningitis, including my son. Evan died from Bacterial Meningitis in November 2006 at age 2. I pray that one day soon Meningitis will be eradicated from our planet.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Everything Book

I worked in a public library for a few years before Evan was born. I was often asked by adults for book recommendations, but I have to admit, it was more fun when a kid asked, "What do you like to read?" We had training throughout the year where we had to read children's and adult books from various genres. During this period I learned about a book called, The Read Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease. Mr. Trealease lists out books that are great to read to your kids, from birth through 12. And he comes out with a new edition periodically, so it's pretty current.

When I became pregnant I checked out a copy to get some ideas for books for my firstborn. Some of the selections I found in there have become family favorites. One of the first books I bought for Evan was The Everything Book, by Denise Fleming. It is for the littlest reader. It has fun, bright pictures, and the text covers, well, everything! Shapes, colors, the ABCs, seasons. All three of our kids loved this book, but especially Evan and Miranda. Miranda has recently started reciting bits and pieces from the book throughout the day. It sounds like, "Shapes!" or "Spring!" and especially, "Bases!"


She means Faces. There's a little two page spread with children's faces expressing different emotions. This has been the favorite page for all three kids. There are eight faces expressing eight different emotions. Each of my children picked out their favorite face, but they weren't the same. It still fascinates me which face each child chose. Evan picked out the laughing face. Under the picture are the words "Ha ha," so naturally, I gave a great laugh when I got to that during storytime. Evan pointed to the picture and wanted me to laugh again and again. And he joined in with his own, "Ha ha ha." Duncan's favorite picture was the little boy who looked mad. The word under this picture is "Hmph!" So, of course, I "Hmphed" with gusto. And, he too wanted me to do it again and again. I was so surprised he didn't want the laughing boy. Partially because it was Evan's favorite, but I thought surely my little laughing Duncan would like the laughing boy best. Nope. And along comes Miranda. Her favorite face is the worried little girl who says, "Oh no!" We read the book, and before we even get to that picture, Miranda is already turning her head towards me saying, "Oh no!"

I love seeing her run over to find the book and giggle with glee as she starts turning pages. I love that they are interested in reading. But I really love the things I learn about them in the process.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Duncan's Smiling Eyes

I have plants in my gardens that are special. Their cultivar names have my childrens' first names in them. I have a Coneflower called "Evan Saul," a Hydrangea called "Miranda," and a Bearded Iris called "Duncan's Smiling Eyes."

When I started looking for named plants, I found "Duncan's Smiling Eyes" and knew I had to get it. Because Duncan is my little smiley guy. He got us through those first few months after Evan's death just by flashing his sweet little grin.

But lately, he's looked more like this:

Two stomach viruses in the period of a few weeks. Duncan's little body has been through the ringer. And those little smiles...the ones where his cheeks dimple and eyes crinkle...we haven't seen very many of those.

However, we got a whole afternoon of smiles today! So, I'm hoping that the worst is over and my little trooper is finally recovering and back to his happy self (and in this picture: rockin' self!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Evan's Garden and Spring Flowers

I've had limited time to get out and plant, because we've all been suffering from a stomach virus. The kids had one Easter weekend, too! Just the non-stop ickies. But when I have been able to get out there, I've been pleased, and honestly, overwhelmed by all of the plants that are coming back! It seems like almost every time I look, I see something I thought had surely died in the flood. Once we're all feeling better, I can't wait to get some more work done.

Hardy Geranium and Columbine

I had a tough time getting Blogger to upload my piccies, so I just limited myself to whatever. The Geranium and Columbine are in my Butterfly Garden. They are flowering beautifully, although they tend to wilt in the dry weather we're having. Rain is in the forcast, so hopefully we'll get caught back up for the year soon.

Deutzia gracilis "Chardonnay Pearls" or "Duncan"

My Duncan Deutzia is putting on quite a show! In fact, it seems like the plants in flower are really going for it this year. It's strange. Major rain. Long, cold winter. Some brief really hot temps, and then back to spring. And no rain. Is that the formula for good flowers?!

Iris cristata, Crested Iris

A cute little native Iris. Iris cristata is in the area that was flooded, and it's come back looking great. Iris as a species seems to be pretty tough.

Bell Flower

I know this isn't a great photo, but I did my best. This is the first time I've had a bloom on my Bell Flower. Another little native that likes the woodland setting. The Hepatica in the background also bloomed for the first time.

Evan's Garden

And here is where I've spend much of my recent planting time. And I'm very, very pleased. I love the color combinations of the foliage, and look forward to blooms. I planted a few more things over there today. Because our situation is uncertain (hubby's job), I decided to wait to move Evan's Garden to a different spot. I'm keeping it here for the moment. It still has the animal theme, plus some extras. I think it's lovely.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Gun Debate

No, not that one.

I keep reminding myself that Duncan is a little boy. An almost 4 year old little boy (ack!) And no matter how foreign little boys are to grown up little girls (that would be me), I am learning...

Ever since watching Wall-E some 30 times last summer (and more since then), Duncan has taken to using various toys as guns. I mention Wall-E, because Eve the robot is a tad trigger happy. Duncan also sees gunplay on Justin's video games, and even Wallace and Gromit's "The Wrong Trousers." But even before this exposure, Duncan was pointing his finger and saying, "pshoo pshoo." I asked him not to point his "weapon" at people or animals. (Not something I thought I'd be telling my 3 year old son.) But now it's his toys. And he holds them up and shoots them at me or Miranda or a stuffed animal. I feel a little silly telling him not to shoot at people or animals, because it's just a toy drill. Am I teaching him any real lesson for later, "I remember my mom telling me not to shoot at people or animals." Or is he just being a little boy? After asking him multiple times to stop shooting at me yesterday, I took the drill away. Today, he got the drill back. He still did some shooting, but he would look at me, then shoot in another direction.

What do other moms do about their little boys and cops and robbers games?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Feeling Better!

After a rough weekend last weekend with vomiting and poopoopalooza, a visit to Urgent Care, and several sleepless nights, the kids finally are feeling better. The worst was over by Monday, but Duncan was still not quite his usual ecstatically happy self until later this week. We had a few periods in the car when he told me, "I'm not feeling very well." I'd keep an eye on him, wondering if he was going to barf all over the car. I'd ask him if he'd like to go home. "No." And a little while later, "Duncan, how are you feeling?" And he'd say, "I'm not feeling very well," or "I'm feeling better!" with a little lilt to his voice. It's back to school next week. I hope Duncan can stay well. I've had enough sickness around here for a while!


It finally feels like we're making progress in the Back 40. Justin proclaimed today that we are at the point where we can put the stone in the drainage ditches! Woohoo! I had lost patience already and started planting Itea around the proposed Patio area last week. I finished those today, and...

Planted lots of new planties in the garden formerly known as Evan's Garden. I have Heuchera "Autumn Bride," Ligularia (not sure which cultivar, but with purple foliage), Dryopteris filix-mas Undulata Robusta - Male Fern...

Plus Itea "saturnalia," and "Henry's Garnet," Aesculus parviflora Buckeye, and some other stuff, too.

Here's the Spring Veggie Garden! There's one lettuce that keeps getting nibbled.

The Azaleas are finally in bloom! About a month later than usual, but as spectacular as always.

Now, we just need to get the rain falling again. It's rained only half an inch here this month, with no more in the forecast. I'd hate for all my new plants to die, because we're headed back into a dry pattern. It would be nice to have a normal year instead of all the extremes we have been experiencing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Deja Vous?

It's starting to warm up, so naturally, we're all sick. Hey, wait a minute. I think I said this already. Oh yes, here. Easter is tomorrow, and Spring Break is next week, and both kids are throwing up, and...uh...other stuff. It's been a very messy last couple of days. And I'm praying hard that Justin and I can avoid getting sick, too! I'm supposed to play flute at church tomorrow, and I really don't want to be sick. Besides the fact that no one likes to be sick, right? I've been sanitizing today, thinking all the while that I'll probably be sanitizing again tomorrow. I'm also thinking that we'll observe Easter when the kids are feeling better. Easter baskets and egg hunts can wait, thank goodness. Miranda's super adorable Easter dress will just have to be her super adorable Spring or Summer dress. Sigh. Here's hoping for a normal day tomorrow!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Eye

This week I keep thinking to myself that my eyes feel like the Eye of Sauron, because they're burning and open all the time. haha. A little Fantasy/geek humor for ya. But seriously, the pollen has been really bad this week. The kids and I played/worked in the Back 40 each day, and my eyes, nose and throat were all feeling the effects of springtime allergies. That said, I have had a busy week back there. I loaded up 12 bags of soil amendment on a wagon (3-4 per trip), and towed them down the hill (read: chased down the hill by the wagon! Gravity can be scary!), across the creek, and jumped over a drainage ditch to the point of destination. Of course, then Duncan scoops the dirt into the drainage ditch. Nice, new, expensive dirt literally down the drain. I've moved the stones for the patio around to see where I want them to be. I've lugged slate tiles down there to see if they'd look good as a walkway along the creek. I carried plants over today (including leaping over the creek with 2 shrubs in my arms!) I've definitely gotten many gardening workouts in this week! And for all the excitement I've had about my plans, it seems like each time I start laying things out to see what it really looks like, I'm disappointed. So, the "plan" seems to be fairly fluid. Which is ok. Frustrating, but ok. In good news...perennials are coming in here, there, and everywhere. I'm hesitant to put in new stuff, just in case that coneflower really is coming back. But at the same time, I am so antsy to do some gardening and get my hands dirty!