Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
When the days get this hot (and buggy), we spend a little more time inside. I love seeing how the boys just play and play and go from one thing to another - always together.
I hurt my back last week. You know, that can't stand up, can't sit down, can't lie down, can't get out of bed, can't bend over, can't walk, can't sit in the car, can't put on your pants, hurting every moment kind of back thing? Yeah, that. So for me the best and only thing is to be doing something - distracts me from the back hoopla. And with the heat and mosquitoes, the boys are happy to be inside with me puttering away making things, writing, drawing, painting, playing.
The past few mornings I have just been putting out all kinds of supplies on our table so that we can just create and play with whatever catches our interest as the day goes on. Markers and sketchbooks, clay, chalk and chalkboards, paint supplies, glue and paper - all kinds of stuff. The boys will wander off to play robots from space together, read books, or play on the deck, but always come back to make something again.
Today G started rolling clay into balls. He had a few "pirate coins" from a museum store but wanted to make more. So he rolled little balls and pressed the coin imprints to the clay.
We are letting them dry and then he wants to paint them silver like quarters. Love it!
We also painted today. The boys have been wanting something more than just watercolors, so we have been drawing with sharpies on watercolor paper first, and then painting over that. Both boys have also been experimenting with splattering! They were excited with how their paintings turned out, so we framed them.
I love having kids art in the house as we would hang any art. Just because a 3 year old created it doesn't mean it should be relegated to a cork board. If I can hang my art, then they can hang theirs. We have art by all of us throughout the house - and we can rotate it, change it, or add new things whenever we want. Makes a house feel like a home, livens up the room, and makes us all feel good! (Too bad it doesn't work on backs!)
Monday, July 28, 2008
Superheroes work together as a team and strike cool poses.
They make swooshie sounds as they do fancy yoga moves.
They leap off of tall things and they run super quick - they are so fast that they are a blur and their capes flutter!
Of course superheroes have sensitive fingers too - which hurt when banged against a corner while running in circles at superhero speed.
The mosquitoes have been bad. Swarming clouds bad. The boys wanted to have a backyard camp out this weekend - and we were a bit intimidated by the idea. But we found that if you have a big enough fire with a lot of smoke, it is all good...as long as you keep the smoke blowing right in your face. :) Actually, it was nice. We sat around the fire, cooked camp food, told stories, and sang songs.
The boys spent time in the tent reading, playing and listening to music.
We all had fun, and it felt like the first time we all sat still to enjoy a summer evening. Those are the things I like most myself. I am not much of a running around with 50 places to be kind of person. I love nothing more than sitting outside near a fire, watching the stars come out, and listening to the sounds of the night.
The boys didn't sleep in the tent - our yard is small and so there is too much noise for them...dogs, cars and trucks, garage doors, open windows and televisions. But that is OK. It wasn't about sleeping in the tent. It was just a warm summer evening spent relaxing and enjoying being with each other right here at home.
Hope you all had a nice weekend!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I planted a few tarragon plants a few years back which I grew from seed. Of course over time they are now the size of small cars and take over the front garden area (which before was the 'came with the house' generic landscaping). It grows fast, doesn't need much water, and I can cut it down a few times per summer and make infused vinegars and oils, dry it for culinary use, or ... make a wreath?
I clipped a lot this week and it is bunched and hanging from the gazebo to dry. I also had some massive woody stalks which were flowering, so I cut those and made them into a wreath. It is drying with the other herbs - we'll see how it works!
Monday, July 21, 2008
After all of this hot weather and sunny days my garden is finally a tangled dense chaotic lovely place. I have been drying a lot of herbs, and we have eaten a LOT of swiss chard, radishes, parsley, beets and greens so far, among other things. The big stuff is almost here - cucumbers are finally popping out and climbing like crazy. The pumpkins and squash are long with massive leaves. We even have pumpkins and squash growing up our deck and gazebo! And of course the peppers, carrots and tomatoes are *so close*. Once those start, there will be much more work, getting everything frozen, dried, or made into sauces for the winter. Yum.
I was looking through photos from late May to see the before/after...here are a few shots. On the left is late May, on the right is this week. I just love seeing how much has grown ... for those times when I think in a panic:: !!I should be growing MORE!!! It reminds me how much we have expanded our growing space this year, and inspires me to do even more next year!
There are a few places opening up as I harvest the beets and soon carrots, so I am planning to plant some more vegetables for fall harvest. I love when everything gets to thick and green. I also love seeing things growing that nourish us in spaces that contained only lawn and that most people would think is not usable. While it is not the perfect space, we work with what we have, experiment, expand, learn from our mistakes, and keep trying!
I have also been sketching and planning for next year. I am planning to expand growing space again, and hope we can add some cold frames or a lean-to mini greenhouse. For me, now is the time to think of everything as I have it all in front of me, see the sun and shade, see (and therefore remember) where everything is and what is or is not working. And by sketching ideas and taking lots of pictures NOW, it will help me a lot in February when I am attempting to plan!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I have been a bit burned out lately. Too much work and not enough fun! Friday I was pretty tired - and the boys were asking for a vacation. So we dropped everything, found a hotel room in town, packed up and headed out for a one night getaway.
After checking in, we first went to the pool.
We found a new park to play in.
We walked to a restaurant for dinner.
And at 6PM we decided - hey, lets go to the county fair. So we got ready and headed over.
It was actually a great time to go, as it was cooling down and not too crowded. We ventured into the carnival part for a moment to pick up some cotton candy but then we went to see the animals. The county fair is all about the kids showing their animals. We met lots of kids of all ages - all so nice and willing to chat with the boys, talk about their animals, and let the boys touch, snuggle and visit. We visited horses, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, llamas, sheep...we were there at a good time too, as many animals were being fed dinner, kids were camped out in the buildings near their animals, and many larger animals (cows, horses) were getting cool showers or out walking around with their owners. I was too busy conversing with each animal we visited to take many photos. ;)
Leaving for 24 hours means that there was a lot of catching up to do today, but it was worth it!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I think performing must run in the family. When I was in Kindergarten I was (repeatedly) in the Principal's office due to my penchant for getting a bathroom pass, locking myself into a stall, and singing Aretha Franklin songs at the top of my lungs, echoing through the entire building (lovely acoustics). From there on out I was always performing something... So I'm not surprised to see the love of performance in both of the boys. Daily they are putting on shows for anyone who will listen. They sing, dance, tell stories, put on puppet shows. Heck, they pop out their yoga poses for perfect strangers walking down the sidewalk.
We picked up a wood puppet theatre over the weekend for them and assembled it today. They were so excited - much better, it seems, than the make-shift stage... So today was a day of shows. Many shows. Lots of shows. We had boys singing and telling stories, heads shoved through the hole. We had puppet theatre - stick puppets, soft animal finger puppets, dinosaur hand puppets, and any and every figure they could think of. It was awesome.
I have a feeling there will be many more shows to come. I don't mind being the audience. I get to clap and cheer, and watch their amazing creativity just expand exponentially. And sometimes they let me sing along.
Monday, July 14, 2008
This is how he dressed to ride his bike today. He just couldn't decide if he wanted to be a rock star or the winner of the Tour de France. I haven't seen anyone in the yellow jersey who is quite this stylish, but perhaps that is what the Tour needs. A little 'o' this::
Do you hear that sound? It is the sound of me sinking! After well over a week of sick kids and being sick myself, I'm so behind on work it is almost comical. Deep breath. We did manage to get out for some fun over the weekend - to kick out the cobwebs and re-enter the human race.
Here are some photos from our weekend. I always take so many pictures - and do have a lot of the boys doing interesting things, but when downloading everything from today, I liked how many of them are colorful and dynamic. So, ...
Friday, July 11, 2008
This is one of our new favorite games. It is wildflower bingo. We found it a few weekends back at a local kids store. Each playing card is filled with the plant squares, and the selection cards have the image and name on front, and info about each plant on the back. The boys always insist I show the image, read the name, and read the back info each and every time. We played a lot of wildflower bingo this week while we were all sick.
On our pretty rural drive back from picking up our CSA box this week, A started yelling that he saw purple clover - you know, from the game! The rest of the ride home they looked out the windows scanning the roadside for plants they could identify - chatting with each other about each new thing. Since then the both boys have continued to point out MANY different flowers that they now recognize - wild bergamot, horsemint, sunflowers, goldenrod, butterfly weed, violets, and cattails. I admit, sometimes they identify something that does surely resemble what is on the card, but we might not be entirely accurate...but they are indeed identifying many things accurately (and enthusiastically). How cool!
There have been many new plants that they want to know about now too - and for those of you in the area, we found a nice easy to use online resource of what is in bloom here. And, of course, now that they are interested in plants in the area, they want to know what EVERYTHING is, and A was excited to find that there are wild things just growing out there that you can EAT. So, on to a new fun adventure!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Oh, I went from not feeling well to being completely out of commission in no time flat. The boys are still a bit under the weather, but definitely better than me - wow. You all know how hard it is to be sick when you have little kids who also need care and attention. Lucky for me, the boys are both so affectionate that they have happily sat or laid ON me a good portion of every day as we read their favorite books, made up stories, or watched a movie. They are getting a little antsy though too, after being cooped up sick since last week, so I have been trying to do some easy things with them a little bit at a time. We have had tea parties, painted, baked lemon pound cake, created big ramps to shoot little cars down, and pressed flowers...in between me wanting to just lie down on the floor and rest. :)
Last year we pressed flowers using a notebook and tissue paper which worked great. This time, we used a small child's flower press which we found at a local kids store.
Next week we will have pressed flowers which we will use for some sort of craft! Here is what we made last summer.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I was downloading images from my camera and saw this recent photo of A (above). He makes this face a lot when being photographed. I was scrolling back through photos from last July comparing garden shots (wow, things are sure behind this year with all the crazy weather) and found this (below). Taken July 9, 2007 - so one year ago.
The same facial expression (and the same shirt color). Sweet boy.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
I knew something was up when G dragged a sleeping bag and pillow out onto a warm deck and fell asleep - at 11 in the morning. Sure enough, high fever, major fatigue, and body aches followed within a few hours. After 24 hours of sick little boy #1, A started crying that his body hurt and had a high fever. We changed our weekend plans and instead snuggled on the couch, read books, kept cool cloths close at hand, and watched a few movies. G felt a bit better by Saturday afternoon, but A was hit a little harder.
After several days spent at home, the boys wanted to get out. Today was a very windy day, which meant we could get outside without being eaten alive by black swarming clouds of blood thirsty mosquitoes! Yay! We went for a walk at a local park and I saw something I rarely (if ever) see::
A walked slowly up the rock steps.
Both boys sat on the bench.
The boys sat on the ground and just looked out at the view.
G threw a few rocks into the pond, but then stopped. A didn't throw any rocks.
The boys are both usually go go go high energy kids, so we could definitely tell that those are some worn out little guys. I sure hope they feel back to their spunky selves soon.
Now as for me, I think I escaped the mystery virus, but have been hit with intense allergies. So bad that I pinched a nerve in my neck, cannot move my head, and have a big muscle spasm in the back of my neck every time I swallow. I feel ridiculously out of whack! Rain is here tonight, though, and hopefully will wash away all that pollen.
Looking forward to a new week!