The storm clouds seem to be a permanent fixture in our days lately. We have mornings of sunshine followed by dark afternoons full of thunder, lightning, wind and flickering appliances. The grass and flowers are loving the arrangement and I must say, I don't mind it so much myself (that is, if the storm waits to break after I have unloaded kids and groceries from the car). While thunder growled in the distance this morning, I took a few pictures of the goings on in the yard. The fence line is bursting with color; blue Salvia has taken over the front flower bed; the sunflower Tristan started in a Dixie cup at school is over six feet and blooming; and the Crepe Myrtle trees are like garden fireworks.
All this and I haven't had to do the watering for more than two weeks. Yes, I'd say we are loving this arrangement.
What is a weed? A plant who's virtues have not yet been discovered. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
update: After a conversation with my friend and neighbor who is also watching the pokeweed invade her garden, I thought I should add to my post. Pokeweed's "virtues" actually have been discovered. It is highly toxic if eaten raw by mammals but you may have seen it in a can labeled Poke Salet at your local grocery store. This version has been boiled at least three times I assume as that's what I've read is required to make it safe for human consumption (I'll stick to spinach, thanks). The birds can eat the raw berries when they are a nice, ripe black and then poop them all over my driveway just fine but it would do serious intestinal damage or worse to my children or the dog. Thankfully, my children are not in the habit of picking and eating random plants but still I make sure the pokeweed keeps to it's own side of the fence in the woods where I can safely admire its colorful stages of growth through the summer. I'm sure it will be popping up in flower arrangements in a month or so but I promise to keep it out of our mouths.
Tristan and his buddy Peter tackled level 1 swimming lessons together this week. They did great although there were a lot of stressful moments for Tristan (like the one above right). He's still not a fan of actual swimming, happy to play in the shallow end and holler "look at me, mom!" as he lets go of the wall where he can still stand. I smile and clap and cheer him on suppressing the former swimmer in me that was so sure her kids would take to the water like little fishes before they could walk. Baby steps. We'll be back for more next month.
Kenna and Anna enjoyed being on their own program in the kiddie pool while we moms did our best to keep the babies happy in the shade while monitoring the toddler play while watching the big kid class. Whew. No wonder we drank so much coffee. I think I spent more at Starbucks than I did on the lessons but I think Christy would call it one of those MasterCard moments... *iced coffee: $2.60 *watching your kids laugh and play in the sun knowing they will take a great nap later: priceless
We've had a busy week so far. Swimming lessons, play dates, first food (I forgot how much this hands-on, messy, baby activity adds to an already full day) and all the usual bits of daily life that come together to make a week. The sun is setting and I am sitting at my computer looking through photos from last weekend's sail with friends and listening to the sounds of bedtime with dad going on upstairs. Shawn is playing the guitar and singing for the kids as they drum out their own version of the rhythm (on the walls? the furniture? the floor? whatever it is, it sounds like it's about to come through the ceiling.) It's a beautiful sound and I'm thinking it's time I went up and joined in. I hope you're having a peaceful (if a bit loud) evening too -wherever you are.
Yesterday Tristan told me all about this stuff he calls food. He said it's really good and I should try it. He even gave me some from a bowl with a cool spoon thingy. I like that spoon thingy. But what I like most are my fingers and toes. They're my favorites. I have so many I can't ever decide which one to put in my mouth first and now Tristan thinks I should be putting food in my mouth too. Oh and the spoon thingy. It just seems like a lot, mom. So I don't know if this food on the spoon is going to be like a regular thing or whatever but just so you know, I'm good with milk, fingers and toes. Yep, that's about it. I'll keep being happy and sleeping a lot, I promise. Until I want more milk anyway -like around 4am? I mean that works for you, right? Thanks mom.
When you ask your pilot Dad to make a paper airplane, you can bet you won't get some quickly folded page torn from the newspaper. It will be a carefully and painstakingly detailed, cut and folded work of art and maybe even given a cool name like the T-5. If you're a daddy's girl, you can bet it will be pink.
Finished! The two projects in the bowl are finished! First there was a sweet and soft, crochet edged swaddling blanket for my newest nephew. Yes, the one that was born way back in April -better late than never? Then there were the birds. Oh those silly birds. They came together with Yiayia's help, of course, during her recent stay. I had them mostly complete but thanks to her the stuffing is no longer hanging out of their tails. Now they are hanging out in the girl's room until I can figure out how to perch them on some birch branches, making a cute mobile. The idea and pattern were free here on the Spool blog. The blanket turned out beautiful, if a little frilly for a baby boy? I don't know if he will be needing a swaddler at four months but it is deliciously soft and the edge is very grabby so I'm thinking it will make a perfect snuggle blanket at least. I was just so excited to finally finish it I had to share even though Beau won't be receiving it for a few more weeks when we finally get to meet in Kansas City. Our family will be gathering at Grandad and Yiayia's house in August and I can't wait to get my camera on everyone, this little guy in particular (these photos by his mama, Christie). Check out those eyes! And that hair! And that elfish face! I can't wait!! We will have two grandparents, seven "kids" and seven cousins all under one roof. Sweet! It's going to be a very long drive out there. I guess I need to find a new project quick.
"I am seeing more and more that we begin to learn what it is to walk by faith when we learn to spread out all that is against us: all our physical weakness, loss of mental power, spiritual inability - all that is against us inwardly and outwardly - as sails to the wind and expect them to be vehicles for the power of Christ to rest upon us. It is so simple and self-evident - but so long in the learning!" -Lilias Trotter
(I read and loved this quote in A Blossom in the Desert, a compilation by Miriam Huffman Rockness of Lilias Trotter's beautiful writings and art.)
It's raining a good drenching, thundering rain here this morning. The flowers are saying 'thank you'. So is the gardener who has been spared a day of dragging a hose around the yard. This calls for coffee, library books, maybe popcorn and a movie later on. Yes, we could use a lazy, rainy, summer day.
We have had a bright, full moon this week. Convenient, as I have spent a lot of time awake, groping in the semi-dark to comfort and feed the crying child that refuses to sleep. We moms like to talk about the first time our baby "sleeps through the night" but for some reason we leave it at that. We refuse to admit that sleeping through the night is never really going to happen again consistently. Ever. They may be capable of sleeping all night but inevitably they will get hungry, they will lose the pacifier, bunny will get stuck in the bed rails, fever will strike, they will fall out of bed and bump their heads...so I guess I should just embrace it once and for all. I should try to tell myself (over and over and over...) that a day will come when they are grown and gone and I would give anything to hear a small voice cry mama in the night just one more time. At every age and stage in their young lives there will be something dragging us from sleep to comfort them by the light of the moon. Tired as I may be, there is something beautiful in that.
I mentioned before how my dad always manages to find some little garden project to work at while he's here but I'm thinking the summer spent in that Florida dorm has caused him some major farming withdrawal. He started with a little watering and some weed pulling and then moved on to bushwhacking with hand clippers! He blazed a long trail through that seriously thick Carolina scrub -with little old dull hand clippers! The arrows up there point to the trail entrance/exit. It winds dark, scratchy and a little scary way back around that middle clump of trees and is full of promise for some good exploring and discovering. Thanks Grandad! We're going to work at keeping it clear and hopefully adding some more trails but I think I'll go out and get some real tools first.