Friday, April 18, 2008

Memorial Tree

DH and I decided a few months ago that we wanted to get a male ginkgo tree as Grace's memorial tree. They are slow-growing, but they have neat fan-shaped leaves, and the trees can live hundreds (even thousands!) of years. Ginkgo trees are also unique because there are both male and female trees (but you don't want to get a female tree because the fruit has an awful smell). I'd called a local nursery on Monday to see if they had any, and they did, so when DH came home from school Tuesday we all went to the nursery to buy it.

DH came home from school a little earlier than usual Wednesday. I showed him where I wanted to plant the tree in the front yard, and he dug a big hole for it. I think all of the kids took turns helping dig, too. After supper, once the tree was in the hole, I poured Grace's ashes around the tree. Then we all helped fill in the hole with the rest of the dirt.

Rest in peace, sweet one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trying to keep up...

This is the time of year that things get hairy with my five. There are 4 in soccer and 1 in softball. It is also time for Science Fair AND we have a major school fundraiser coming up in a few short weeks. Throw on top of that ONE more training for one of our kidlets. Jordan is training to be an altar boy.

This is what last Saturday looked like...We woke up and had a quick breakfast and got the 2 older kidlets dressed along with the tiny one. Jordan had training at 8:30, Marisa had softball practice at 9 and tiny one had a game at 10. Well, since we could not find tiny one's shoes, he had to stay and look while I showered and got the 2 in the middle dressed for their games. Met Dh at the church at 9:30 with tiny one and two in the middle. He took the three stooges to their games while I stayed with Jordan and Marisa was at practice with a trusted friend.

Jordan's practice ran over and he had to dress in the car on the way to his game. We get there and realized the clock in the car is fast and we had plenty of time, lol. Dropped him at his game and ran in the car accross the street to Whataburger. I parked at the fields and ate and then relieved dh with the kids so he could grab some grub. Neither of us had eaten and we were starved by 11am. Dh had enough time to eat before having to run off and coach two in the middle's game. We didn't get home before 1pm.

The tiny one lost, two in the middle won and Jordan lost his game. Marisa had a "bad" practice because, as she whined, there was a girl who whined and complained about everything...has she listened to herself at all. I was near telling her about it, lol. It made for an interesting day. Next Saturday shouldn't be that bad. Jordan will have to miss his game because he has altar boy practice at the same time.

I guess this is the busy time of the year for most. I cannot wait till all of this is over and summer is here and we can just hang out and be a family. This is the time of year that I really miss homeschooling.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Frogs, Toads, and Turtles

You wouldn't know we are related. We neither look nor act alike. I love soft garments in muted colors. Faith calls to mind Joseph in his coat of many colors. She wears trendy, flowing clothes...each piece a kaliedescope of brightness. The clothes on her bottom half do not usually match her top half. We don't sound alike either. I sing bits of Sara Groves or Nicole Nordeman while I work. She sings “I am going outside!” “Can I have some more carrots?” and “I finished my math” in her best operatic alto.

We work side by side in the garden. “Be careful, Mom, you are going to hit that toad with your trowel.”

“Where?”

“Right there, under that flower. I wonder what kind of toad it is? I wonder what kind of flower it is?”

Her wondering makes me wonder. We get out the Frogs, Toads, and Turtles (Take Along Guide) and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers. We learn that the toad is an American Toad identifiable by a faint yellow stripe down its back. The flower is Daisy Flea Bane.

“Why is it called Flea Bane?”

These questions open my eyes to the wild flowers lining the road on my walk the next day. “Hey kids, get your shoes on. Let’s go for a wildflower walk.”

A half hour, ten shoes and three trips to the bathroom later, we are ready. We set out carrying one pair of scissors and two plastic glasses.

“Mama, look! Let’s put that one in the vase.”

“Charlie, don’t pull up the flowers! Let Mama do the cutting.” A plant with a blue flower drags on the ground behind him…roots and all.

“Careful! There are ants’ nests all along the road. They like to build their nests right on the edge so watch your step.”

“John, look out. John! John!” Too late. A nest has been slashed open by a scooter tire. Ants work frantically to restore order. We watch mesmerized as the larvae are moved deeper into the nest. We forget that these ants bite. Soldier ants use their powers of persuasion. We move on, toes smarting.

“Claire! Stop screaming! You are nowhere near that nest. They are not going to bite you! Stop!”

A truck approaches from behind. I put a protective arm out. Faith, look out! You are going to walk in front of that truck.”

Eagle Eye Nature Girl’s small hand flies out simultaneously. “ Careful Mama! You are about to step on a turtle!”

I look down. I am about to step on a turtle… a little one, no bigger than a half-dollar. The truck passes and we all hunch down in the middle of the road.

“Charlie, don’t poke him in the eye with that twig!”

“Can we take him home?

“Look at those yellow lines around his eyes and on his head. I wonder what kind of turtle he is?”

“Can we take him home?”

“He might be a painted turtle.”

“Can we take him home?”

Later, research on the Internet indicates that he indeed might be a painted turtle. Painted turtles make comical and entertaining pets. Or, he might be a musk turtle. The nickname for a musk turtle is Stinkpot. As the name implies, Stinkpots are not ideal pets. I am glad that we let this little turtle continue his trek across the road. Faith is not.

We return home with our plastic cups full of wildflowers. One specimen of each variety. We lay them out on the table. We consult the wildflower field guide and learn that we have collected Spiderwort, Mouse-ear Hawk Weed, and Lyre Leaf Sage. There are a few species that still remain a mystery to us, as we cannot find their pictures in our guide.

I am glad that Faith and I don’t see eye to eye. Separately, we would miss valuable sights. Faith sees that a glass of milk is about to spill, the fridge door is left open or that she is standing in the path of a speeding missile through my eyes. I see little rocks with sparkles, butterflies sipping nectar, and spiders protecting egg sacs through hers. We need each other. I keep her alive and she keeps me young. It's an even trade.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fresh Paint

Oh, I love it! OK, so I don't love the clearing out the rooms, taping off the trim, etc. But, once it is done, I love the way it brightens up a room and makes it fresh and new again. We spent this weekend painting into the wee hours of the mornings, and there is still some finish details to do, but it is beautiful.

The girls' room is bright with a soft lavender on the top, a mint green stripe around the middle, and a robin's egg blue on the bottom. We rearranged the furniture, and hung white paper globe lanterns from the ceiling. It wasn't my first choice of color scheme, and is a little funky for my tastes, but I wanted them to have their say too. They said that they have gone from a little girl's room to a big girl's room. :-)

We had plenty of the green paint left to paint the girls' bathroom a solid green. We added new green and blue "frog" bath accessories to complete that one.

The boys' room is a rich red. Their bedding and decor is "Country Americana" and with a blue carpet, and white trim, the red is a perfect match for their quilts and such. We have to finish a second coat of paint down there tonight, then we can put the room back together tomorrow. The red is warm, and cozy. The boys (and Mommy) love it.

Finally, the new guest room (used to be Joesph's until he decided to move in with his brother), is a butter yellow on the top, and navy on the bottom with denim and multi colored bandanna accessories.

We will add new molding in all of the rooms to really make the colors pop and give them all a finished look, but the painting was enough for one weekend. Who knows, I just may get motivated by how good those rooms turned out to paint the whole house. :-)

Hmm. Fresh Spring breeze coming in the window and the sun is shining on fresh new paint.