Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today was belt-promotion day! But not for A...G was promoted for the first time to gold-white.

G has been interested in starting karate for a bit- he has been practicing at home with his brother for ages, and really has fun with it. We have to be careful - with his asthma issues, being exposed to cold & flu viruses usually is really rough on him, taking him down for weeks and often including nebulizer, inhalers, steroids and ER or urgent care visits to get him breathing again. So, we all thought that this summer would be a good time to try it out and see how it goes with all of that since it is not the peak virus season and he has had a pretty clean year so far - and so for the past two months he has been in karate!

Today was his very first belt promotion. He is quite shy compared to his very outgoing brother, and was very nervous about today. We sat right behind him during his promotion, cheering him on. Of course his brother cheered the loudest when he was given his belt! :)

And his brother was the first to hug him when he came off the mat.

He was so happy to get this belt - he has been talking about it all week, and was so proud of himself today. Way to go G!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We found two little guys on the dill we picked last week.
The boys wanted to be care-takers for a while here...until they are ready to fly!

Monday, July 26, 2010

utter chaos.

I have an admission to make. While I show images of colorful flowers and abundant fruit from the garden there is a seamy underside. No, not aphids or slugs (yet), but instead benign neglect. Yes, it is utter jungle chaos out there. My back went 'out' right at that exact time that the heat and rain came to spur the big summer growth, and I would have normally been out there daily weeding, pinching off, tying up or down. But all I could do for several weeks there was...water. And now it is just too late. By the time my back improved enough to do more, it was over! Overgrown, that is. There is no untangling what nature has accomplished. And she has accomplished.

It isn't as though my neglect means that the garden isn't growing - that things are wilting or dying off. In fact, with all of this heat and record rain, well, it is growing really well on its own. Without my pinching and tying off it has developed impenetrable areas of mass growth. Vines and leaves, flowers and fruit. Cucumbers and beans are growing up the paste tomato teepee. Or, in another spot the cucumbers are growing right up the bush 7' in the air along with malabar spinach. Tomato plants are the size of European cars. Beans are up into the bushes. It is a jungle out there - a beautiful jungle.

I don't know if I will get a record crop this year - while some things are benefiting, some probably are not. While I planted things with height/sun/shade/space in mind, it has gone a bit beyond that. ;) While some things may be slower going with all the extra greenery, I am still getting greens and peas in July with all of the cover they are getting. And I may very well have a bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers (if I can reach them!). But the squash is probably not getting the sun I intended when I planted it among the beds, thinking that growth would be more tamed and controlled, allowing more sunlight to penetrate. And some of my interspersed herbs are just plain covered by rampant growth from the plants above. But I do still have many growing fine - lovage, parsley, stevia, dill, parsley, lemon bee balm, fenugreek, borage and many others. I also have many volunteer plants that I would have pulled had I been able to get out a few weeks back. I have ground cherries and wonderberries! I think the red raspberries are poised to take over the entire alley side of our yard. The peppers have been loving this heat and have plenty of sun on the low-height side. And of course there are flowers - lots of colorful wonderful flowers.

So while I am doing much better back-wise and can wander the garden again, I do so at the edge, peeking in and under, swatting at the mosquitoes, plucking beetles, watering when it doesn't rain -- a bit at a loss to what more I can do at this point, but in wonder at what it has done without me.

So, I admit it. The garden is a luscious chaotic jungle. And I'm OK with that.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

catcher of dreams.

G has had an interest in Native American craft, dance, and folklore of late, and we have been reading some of the trickster fables as well as reading about costume (oh, he loves the beadwork) and craft. One thing that caught his eye is the dreamcatcher. The Ojibwa believed that a dreamcatcher protected sleeping children from nightmares. "Only good dreams are allowed to filter through . . . Bad dreams stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day. Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper."

Well. When he heard that he had to make one. He had found a 'kit' for making one, but of course didn't like the plastic beads and garish feathers. He had his own idea. We used a metal ring base, and wrapped it with leather. He then ("I'm doing it all by myself") carefully threaded waxed raffia around and around and around for his web. He used beads from his box of homemade clay beads he created awhile back, and red feathers - his favorite.

As soon as it was done he had to try it out::

Works perfectly, he says.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today we were so happy to get to a pool for the first time this summer, and we were spoiled to have it all to ourselves almost the whole time we were there. That gave A a chance to relax and just swim (he has a hard time if it is crowded). He had brand new snorkel gear that he has really been wanting to try -- outside of the bathtub, of course.

As soon as we got to the pool he put on his new gear, got into the water, head in and just swam off! And from there he swam for over an hour. I guess he knows how to swim now (and snorkel!)! Back and forth, back and forth, head down, no problem. He even figured out how to chat with the mouthpiece in, and not surprisingly he chattered away the entire time his head was underwater - he is A, after all. ;)

With A showing off his swimming and snorkeling skills, G was next to me, trying his out. He wasn't as much a fan of the snorkeling, so he instead floated around happily, basking in the sun, chasing his brother, playing their edited version of sharks and minnows.

I love seeing how quickly kids learn new things, how focused they are when they really want to do something, and how much joy they have from accomplishing whatever they set out to do! Oh, it fills my heart to overload.

And of course we just love spending time together, having lots of fun, and enjoying a beautiful summer day in crystal blue water. Ahhhhh.


When going through the garden to pick flowers for our flower press (we have been using all of our pressed flowers in some great crafts this week), G said "Our garden has all the colors of the rainbow" and then walked through pointing to each flower, in color order. Love!

Monday, July 19, 2010

monday, monday.

I have found myself pretty lucky to have my back flare up in the midst of a heat wave. It hasn't taken much convincing to stay in side and close to home. We ventured out a bit for our CSA pickups , library visits or karate classes, but have otherwise been happy at home while I hobble and heal. The searing hot and humid days combined with very hungry mosquitoes means the boys have mostly ventured out in the (slightly?) cooler evenings, to ride bikes and play in the shaded alley with neighbors while I water the garden.

Our days have been filled with a lot of LEGO building, sorting, organizing and re-working. I don't mean a little LEGO here and there, but marathon builds (they decided to re-build a dozen or so things from instruction booklets-whew!) which are probably just as rough on my back as gardening, but infinitely worth some soreness when paired with super happy engaged boys.

In between LEGO builds we have had plenty of time for crafts, books, music, indoor trampolining, fort building, a movie or two, and lots of silliness.

The weekend was no different in the heat (or my back, although doing much better), but with my husband home we wanted to venture out a bit to get the boys out of the house! We played mini-golf in a wonderfully cool indoor spot, visited close-by small towns for ice cream and people watching, and went out for dinner in the boys favorite 'diner'. I even had a chance to play catch-up on some small batch canning and fermenting - with several jars of garlic and beets on my counter, as well as fresh stock and currant jelly in the fridge. Not too bad. :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


"Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us
to lay our eye level
with her smallest leaf,
and take an insect view of its plain. "

~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 12, 2010

getting back to normal...

(weekend trip one year ago - july 2009)

Thank you for all of the well wishes and emails last week. I did finally visit the spine clinic and have been taking a powerful anti-inflammatory for a few days now. While we must stay close to home since I'm not quite ready to drive (and am not supposed to be exposed to any viruses while taking these) the boys have been happy to hang close to home with me. I am feeling much more mobile every day, and am optimistic that this is helping get everything back to my 'normal' so we can move on with our summer! We have several projects we are looking forward to, and I hope to share and post more frequently again as I can sit a bit longer.

Happy Monday! :)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

in the garden.

This week I have not been out in the garden as much as I should. My back went 'out' last weekend and I am not really able to walk (or sit! or stand!) much - not to mention the mosquitoes are crazy. Luckily, this is the time of year where the garden doesn't need me much. Sunshine, heat and rain and it is good to go. I send my husband out with a bowl, tell him where to pick, and he picks until the mosquitoes drive him back in the house!

We have been getting a lot of peas, chives, spring onions, golden raspberries and (mountains of) greens along with different herbs and edible flowers. Perfect for summer salads.

The peppers and tomatoes are getting really close.

The herbs are starting to get nice and full, and the melons, squash and cucumbers are *finally* starting to vine and flower.

This week, though, we do have one big harvest (the first picking on Saturday morning is what got my back) - white currants. I was able to only pick one super size mixing bowl, but have hundreds more just now ripe on our bushes. (If I can find a full body net perhaps my husband will pick them all for me?)

I definitely see white currant jelly in the future - yum. What is ready in your garden this week?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

tor, tor, tor!

As some of you know, my husband's mom is from Germany, his father is a german teacher, he lived in Germany a few times as a child, he grew up speaking only german in the home, and so of course he is also a die-hard German Soccer (Deutsche Fußball-Bund) fan.

So it comes as no surprise during the World Cup that this is what our living room looks like when Germany is playing.

And playing they are - my boys were just doing the Germany crushed Argentina dance. Go Germany! Tor tor tor!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

lost & found.

lost - he lost another tooth! and 2 more loose

found - hundreds picked a day now