Friday, May 22, 2015

A List for Friday


  • Signs your children are growing up in the age of technology:
Caedmon loves to draw pictures, but he will often ask if you want just a picture, or a picture and an audiobook.  If you go the audiobook route, it means you are possessed with infinite patience and/or have twenty minutes of your time to sacrifice to a meandering story about super heroes and lightning coming out of fingertips and hot lava.  There is always hot lava.

Recently when he posed this choice to me, I went the audiobook route.  I don't really remember why I did this to myself, but I'm fairly certain guilt was involved.  Caedmon drew his picture full of swords and lightning and stick figures with disturbingly large fists.  He wrote a bunch of random letters and a few short words on the reverse of the piece of paper; this was the audiobook portion.  Then he brought the paper over to me, allowed me to view his masterpiece, then flipped it over and prepared to recite a tale of lava and derring-do.

Before he began, however, he said, "Oh, wait, there's an Ad before the audiobook can start.  But you can Skip it if you want to."

Methinks we've been watching too many YouTube videos.

Caedmon loves audiobooks, but will still deign to listen to a paper version.


  • Signs your children have fantastic teachers:
In Atticus's kindergarten class they have this thing called "magic words."  There is a list of a few magic words every week, and every time the kids hear or use one of these words, they are to tug on their ear.

Atticus thinks this is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  I think this is pretty much the greatest thing ever, because it has him using words he didn't previously, all while wiggling his earlobe with his fingers and looking meaningfully at me with a smile:  "He is such a RASCAL," *smile wiggle wiggle*, or "I was FRIGHTENED the frisbee was lost," *smile wiggle wiggle*.  

I love the way he says these words in an announcer's voice, enunciating each consonant, but there was the week I learned I overuse the word "finally"; I worried our son's ear was going to fall clean off from all the tugging he had to do.


Atticus also has a fantastic coach, although it isn't his ear that sees plenty of action during soccer- it's his tongue, which evidently must bask in the light of day for him to successfully kick the ball.

Click to embiggen all these to see his Soccer Tongue.

Two Soccer Tongues!




And here's Atticus and Derek, looking very... coachly.  I say if "kingly" is a word, "coachly" can be, too.



  • Signs your family has faces more suited to those strange mugs with faces than to a glossy magazine cover:
You know, this kind:

Looks like a Crisler

These are the faces our family makes whilst playing mini-golf together:




Neither Adelaide nor I are able to remain composed when we make a bad putt.  And when you ask Caedmon to make a "pirate face," because we were playing at Pirate's Cove?


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Should Frame These Anyway

All I wanted was a nice photo of Adelaide smiling with Table Rock lake and a slice of the Ozarks in the background.

Instead she found a big bug on her arm.






Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Thursday List


Newly unearthed bricks basking in the warmth of the long-hidden sun.  

Adelaide recently came home with a stick that her school optimistically called a White Oak tree.  While I was out back digging a hole for the white oak stick, about ten inches down I began to unearth bricks.  I fished three out of the small hole required for the stick, but hit more around the perimeter of the hole.  I thought about widening my search to see how many I could find, but figured Derek would frown upon arriving home to find half the backyard being excavated for the sake of old bricks.

Why, Suspicious Previous Owners?  Why all the buried nails and bricks and faux dead bodies?  Someone please explain this to me.




  • Derek and I made a whirlwind trip to Milwaukee a couple weeks ago so he could accept a few awards he won for his work.  

This is my favorite of the pictures I took while Derek was giving his "Thanks for reinforcing the fact that I'm amazing" speech.  I like the way the Master of Ceremonies behind him there is gazing adoringly at my husband.  It's like he's been taking lessons from Atticus and Caedmon.



  • There have been more soccer games:

Derek showing Atticus how to... throw the ball back into the game... probably?






Atticus with the ball, there, doing something fancy.  Pretty sure it involved kicking of some sort.  (Three games in and I am a veritable soccer savant, friends.)







Atticus is on the left, there, turning on a dime to run toward the ball.  Do anyone else's knees kill just looking at this?


It's very strange to watch one of my offspring play a sport with such enthusiasm.  And- hey, sisters of mine, get this:  When there's a gaggle of children fighting and kicking at the ball, Atticus enters the fray with gusto.  And when a ball comes flying at him at indecent and possibly harmful speeds, he runs toward it.  There is no screeching, no ducking, no closing of the eyes.   How are we even related to this kid?


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

No Blood Sacrifices Performed in the Making of This Post

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed a successful weekend, in large part because I continued my Mother's Day tradition of buying myself a plant (or three), something I was practically forced to do because a local public garden had their annual sale (not to be confused with an Annuals Sale, haaaar har har) and when they have tomato and strawberry plants that are already big and healthy with blooms for $4.50, it feels criminal not to buy a couple.  As for the aster plant, well, it was $2 and lonely.


I think this is my happy/sheepish face:  "Gracious, who bought all these plants?"
Plus there were some Iowa State students giving out free seedlings to attract pollinators, and the brown paper bag there contained marigold seedlings from Atticus (aka Atticus's lovely kindergarten teacher) for Mother's Day.  I may have also accidentally planted a dahlia tuber or eight; please do not think this means I will have a vista of gorgeous dahlias this summer, as thus far our yard has proved to be a bloody dahlia killing field.  Planting them was less, "Doo-dee-doo, watch as I grow and nurture and garden," and more "ANOTHER SACRIFICE TO THE DIRT GOD."  It felt like I was playing Aztecs and Huitzilopochtli, and before you go thinking that's weird and maybe a little sick, consider that it makes about as much as sense as generations of children playing Cowboys and Indians, mmkay?  Besides, whose mind doesn't go to ritual killing when Mother's Day is mentioned, amIright?!

I also got to have delicious, delicious Mexican food for lunch on Sunday... which brings me right back around to the Aztecs.  I tried to get to a more motherly topic, friends.  I tried.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Drinking From the Well of Wisdom; or, How I Pronounce 'Lawyer'

The people have spoken and they- you- said the word "lawyer" is pronounced "loyer."  I wish I could give you a compelling reason to say it my way (LAW-YER.  LAW-YER LAW-YER LAAAAWWW-YEEERRRR.), but I wasn't able find one during the initial debate with Derek.  At one point I thought I had a credible example backing me up, as I pointed out that there was a movie where the lawyer in it pronounced the word "law-yer," and wouldn't a lawyer know how to pronounce the name of his own profession?  But then I realized the movie was A Time to Kill and the actor in question was Matthew McConaughey, and anytime you're looking to Matthew McConaughey for wisdom or to back up your argument it's probably time to review your life choices.

Our culture is so misguided we hear this guy string random phrases together and call it profound. Here's the first MM quote a simple google search netted:

"There's a man I met 20 years ago. He escaped Russia. He was not even a carpenter, built a 17-foot boat and sailed across the Atlantic for decades he held the world record for smallest vessel single-man sailed across the Atlantic. He told me this, he said, 'A genius can be anybody he wants to, but a genius is always one person at a time.' So to that I say, that's what we get to do, isn't it? One man, one woman, one human. At a time. When we do it well. Just keep doing that. Just keep living."-  Matthew McConaughey

What?  Is that supposed to mean something?  Anything?  I thought Marilyn Monroe quotes haunting Pinterest were bad, but at least she's dead.  This guy could have decades yet to infect us with this brand of communicating.  Watch, I can do it, too.

"It's just, it's just about being amazing. If you walk, you will be amazing.  If you just keep walking.  You'll get somewhere.  Utah.  Enlightenment.  Applebee's.  Those all start with vowels.  So that's meaningful.  Start when you're a baby.  And never stop.  Just keep walking."  -Me, turning off my brain 


Or how about this gem?

"A man should always have his diary on him. That way he's guaranteed to always have something incredible to read." -Matthew McConaughey

That's right, friends!

Nah.

Pass.


Aw, yiss.





And that is why I forgive you if you pronounce the word 'lawyer' differently than I do.



Now- I want to hear you comment like McConaughey.  All you do.  Is break up what should be a normal sentence.  Into pieces.  Use periods.  With abandon.

Oh!  Or tell me what celebrity is quoted hither and yon and propped up as some kind of shaman that drives you craaaaazy.   Because I can't be the only one who puts on sackcloth and ashes every time she sees an actor used as True North on people's life compass, right?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

State of Our Yard Address

Yesterday after school, the kids and I arrived home to find our front porch was the scene of a terrible crime.


At first glance, it appeared that the Command hook I'd attached to the siding for the purposes of hanging a Christmas decoration had finally given up the ghost.  I was really pretty impressed; that thing had endured major temperature fluctuations, including winter temps well below zero, along with wind, snow, and rain, when I really hadn't known if it would stick at all, as the pictures on the product package showed a pampered indoor life of holding up umbrellas and cleaning supplies.

All this to say, I was not surprised to find that six months later, the thing had finally given out.

Upon closer inspection, however, all was not well here.


I actually gasped when I saw this.  Let's just say my life is not abounding in drama and variety.

But look!


We have four survivors!

We'd all noticed increased avian activity on our front porch this spring, especially in the vicinity of the wreath hung by the front door, but I had assumed the birds were using the faux yellow berries to liven up their nests.  I'd never thought to look on top for a nest!  (Nor would I have been tall enough to see it up there- but I could have asked Derek to check.)

So here's my question:  Do we leave the nest where it is, perched atop the fallen wreath?  Do we try to position it in the tree a mere twenty feet away, in front of the porch?

These branches are the usual home of nests.

Or is it too late, all folly, folly, folly at this point- that mother bird is gone forever and her eggs are doomed?  (I am only passing on the language of our daughter, here; she became instantly invested in the fates of those probably dead baby birds.)


In other outdoor news, the last of my tulips are still going strong.



These are new this year, and when they first bloomed I couldn't figure out why the heck I'd planted them; they were a creamy yellowish color at first with the tiniest bit of purple, and not all that pretty, but the longer they bloom the more lovely their colors become.  I took these pics at least a week ago; now they're more purple with white streaks, and they're one of the longest lasting tulips I've had this year, right after my Royal Jubilee tulips:


Yes, I've shown you photos of these already this year, but they're still going strong weeks after first blooming, with the more orangey tulips becoming more pink every day.  

All the tulips were more successful than my crocus bulbs I planted last fall:


Do you see what I see?  Because what I see is ZERO BLOOMS.  The nice variegated leaves came up, but no flowers.  I'm wondering if this is related to my daffodil problem; I have right around a dozen narcissus plantings around our yard, and got one single sad daffodil this year.  I think our soil is too high in nitrogen, and need to figure out what to do about that, but I'm also going to move these crocuses to a sunnier location, because the level of angst I felt at ZERO CROCUS BLOOMS was just the tiniest bit outrageous.  

Thankfully my variegated Solomon's Seal didn't let me down this year:


I planted it two years ago as a Mother's Day gift to myself, and it began as a single, arching branch, and stayed that way all last year, too.  This year it's finally begun to naturalize and spread, even displaying these little white bell blooms.


Along with the columbine, it's providing some welcome height and variation to the bed of snow-on-the-mountain that surrounds our giant pine.  

And finally, lest I give you the idea that all is green and flourishing in an Iowa spring, here are the rain lily and Boston fern I carted out of the basement yesterday:


They're looking a little worse for wear, because Iowa winters are harsh, indoors or out.  I'm hoping the spring air will perform some kind of magical rejuvenating powers on them.  A 10-day forecast featuring rain every bloody day probably won't hurt, either.