Monday, March 31, 2008

A Tidbit- For all of you..........

Hi there guys.
Howdy ladies.
Just a tidbit for my pals and my blog buddies.
A simple poem is all I can muster-
Guess I am a feather duster.
Headache and spelling quells not my mood,
with 8 windows open, vicadin and dwts- I'm doin' good.*
Therapy and love from blogs and boards- real or real not they may be.
But they are swell for chicks like you and little round turtles like me.

........for all you are to me.

*And I do have a migraine- all y'all know you wouldn't have passed up the chance to use the verb quell.
Insert Smilies and Hugs,
aka Needleroozer

Monday checkin

Hi. It's Monday, and I am down with some sort of flu yet again. This time it is body aches, a migraine-type headache, and severe dizziness. The Boy has the same symptoms. I will try to post later- it is hard to think enough to write at the moment. This has been a hard winter for me physically and I am looking forward to the warmth and health of spring.

I can tell you that the Girl did amazingly well at her adjudication on Thursday, and her Piano Teacher was just gushing with pride at Piano Girl's progress and her performance. Good stuff.

As Tigger says in the adulterated Disney versions of Pooh,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tidbit: SNOW in March!

Oh. My. Goodness. It is SNOWING!!! At the end of March!! The latest snow I can remember was in 1989, when it snowed on my birthday in early March. This has got to be some kind of a NW record! I will let you know if it is still here in the morning. I hope it doesn't stick, as Piano Girl has her last adjudication of the season tomorrow. Good thing we put the chicks in her room instead of the garage! Way too cold for 2 day old baby peeps.
Edited at 7 am to say that although the snow was particularly beautiful last night- big fat flakes falling in the dark, it thankfully did not stick. So we can safely get to piano lessons and adjudications today.

Wordless Wednesday- Bonus round

Tidbit: Oh man! It's lost! And then found!

I cannot find my camera anywhere. I am pretty sure I had it after the tournament on Saturday- I remember it being in my coat pocket. Only I think I took it out as soon as we got home, and now I can't remember where I put it. Story of my life. Sigh. I just hope I am remembering correctly, and it is in this house somewhere! I have something very cool to take a picture of to show you, not to mention my new haircut, and of course I have misplaced my camera. I will keep looking.

Updated to say I found it, sitting on a chair in the living room- Yeah. Right where I left it! Pictures are being taken as we speak!

Wordless Wednesday

Snowshoeing cousins

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Tidbit: She had the baby!!!

Dy had a beautiful baby boy yesterday, on Easter! His name is Jason Thomas. He weighed in at 7lbs 4 oz, and was 22 inches long. And in less than 6 weeks, I will be able to hold and cuddle him, and smell his sweet baby head! I am so excited!

Go to Classic Adventures and scroll down a bit to see amazing photos of each of Dy and Zorak's big kids lovin' on their new baby brother. And while you are at it, say a little prayer, and wish them well, because when I talked to her earlier tonight, the big kids were all barfy and sick.

That's all I got. I am off to bed.
T.T. F. N.

Just a note:

To the young man from out of town who rang our doorbell 4 times last night beginning at 11:50 p.m.: I am glad you picked our house with the porch light on instead of the one belonging to our gun-toting neighbor. You must have been very tired and a bit scared to be lost in a strange city at that time of night after riding the Greyhound all day. I am also glad that all you wanted was to find your mama's house, and not to hurt anyone in ours. I hope you found your Mama's house.

But you should know that you did freak us out, and make me glad you rang our doorbell on a night when my Man was home- if he hadn't been, I would have had to call the police instead of answering the door to you. You should also know my Man was holding a huge walking stick with a metal cap behind his back, and was prepared to beat you to a bloody pulp if necessary. After you left, it took us quite a while to get to sleep, and it is going to be hard for me to go to sleep tonight, when my Man *is* away.

And I have a tip for you- in this city, it is probably best not to tell folks to call the police to help you if they are a tad reluctant to help, because the police may not have given you the type of help you were asking for- I'm just sayin'. I am also sorry that our world is such that we had to think twice (thrice, actually) before we opened the door to you.

But ultimately, I am glad you rang our bell- at that precise moment, both my Man and I needed a reminder of what truly is important in our lives, and how important we each are to each other, and you provided us with just that reminder when you scared the crap out of us by ringing our bell 4 times! Thank you, young man.

The lady willing to let her Man open the door to you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tidbits: Life is good.

Well, the Boy took 3rd in Washington state! He took 1st, 1st, and then 2nd in his 3 rounds, then took 3rd in finals! Woot! Woot!

Other amazing things for today:

I am very proud of all our kids- In addition to my Boy's 3rd place in H.I., we had a first in state for dramatic interp., and 3 finalists in H.I., as well as one in duo. 6 out of 7 of our kids went to finals.

I stretched myself and judged a humorous interp round, and a duo round- my first time judging. A bit stressful, but good to learn a new skill. His coach has been wanting me to judge for 2 yrs and I am glad I finally gave in.

I have to acknowledge my Fine Young Man here- I was sort of grumbling inwardly to myself that I thought he should have at least gotten second place, and was not feeling very gracious about the girl who took first place. I asked Boy what he thought about taking third, and he said he was so glad that the girl got first, as she is a senior and has really worked hard to improve her piece. He was so gracious it made me get off it fast and realize that he was right- she has really come far since the beginning of the year, and her piece really was very good. Is he not a Fine Young Man? He is actually capable of thinking of someone other than himself! He does listen, and I am not a lousy mother.

Another good thing: The High School Principal showed up for the final H.I. round, and stayed for the final ceremonies. The reason this is good? We are in danger of having the S & D program either cut completely, or the funds for it cut drastically next year. He was very impressed with the caliber of competition, the comraderie of the kids from different schools (very different than how competitor schools are treated in sports programs), and the commitment of the parents and teachers. This bodes well for the program continuing next fall.

I drove a total of 4 kids today, and one of them confided in me, and asked my if I would be her "mother figure". She and her brother lost her mother to a combo of MS and suicide when they were 10 and 12, and their dad is, well, tough. She has asked if she can come over and play in the studio with me. It made me feel good that I could be of service to her by simply listening.

All in all, a good day, but I am pooped. I think I may attend the church of the warm flannel sheets in the morning- I know it is Easter, but I am so tuckered!

Thanks for reading, and letting me brag on my Boy, and all my S & D kids and their coach- now we all get a break until it is time to start preparing for Nationals in June.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tidbit: Clutter and cleaning

I just clicked to enlarge the photo of my cluttered kitchen table in the last post- don't look too closely folks- you can see my recycling that needs to go out, bags of groceries that still need to be put away, piles of school books, and clutter, clutter, and more clutter. Sigh. My whole house looks this way. I just realized that this week I have been focused on resting and being good to the kids, but none of us has focused on the house much. Why does it always seem that if we have schooled well, then the house is a pit? Meaning I can get some of it doen, but I never seem to get all of it done. It's okay, I won't panic, but it is frustrating.

So for today, we will get chicken feed, then come home, put the never-ending laundry around, and start on the living room. If the living room is tidied, and I can get my bed changed (yes, with help from the kids), I will call that good. My Man won't mind, as long as the kids are still alive.

I have some more photos to get up, too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Various tidbits

Happy First Day of Spring! It was really a lovely day. It was supposed to rain, but barely did, and not till this evening. My neck was hurting badly last night, and then again this morning, but it is much better now. We had our usual toddler/piano day, got quite a bit of school in (We are doing well with that this week!), played the Dragonology game, listened to music, and started reading aloud the Easter Story in our worn copy of the New Testament. I had them in bed by ten pm, and you know what? The Boy actually went right to sleep! Yay! I have been sitting at the kitchen table working in my art journal, getting photos on the computer, and checking blogs.

The Dude called tonight and is very sick. Nothing like having the flu in a hotel room hundreds of miles from home. He should be home tomorrow night, late. I am actually pretty pleased with how the kids and I did while he was away this week. It has been a challenge, what with my sore neck and all the raging hormones, but all in all, we worked together well, the kids have been integrity with their schoolwork, and I haven't killed anyone or said anything nasty that I would later sorely regret. As Dy says, it's good stuff.

Speaking of Dy, she is in labor and has been for over 24 hours. It's moving slowly but she is hanging in. Think good thoughts. I cannot wait to meet this little person, and all her other little people in a few weeks! I am so very excited to get to finally meet her in person after talking on the phone almost daily for the last 6 years.

The Boy (and I, sigh) has the WA State Speech and Debate championships this Saturday. I am planning on packing lots of art supplies to keep myself busy, as we are pretty much gone from 6 am to midnight. Wish him luck, and me patience. Actually, this really is a fine group of kids, and they seem to have made me their honorary S & D Mom, so it's all good. After that, he will just be preparing for Nationals, which are in Las Vegas (Whose idea was it to let a bunch of teenagers loose in a city like Las Vegas- I need to ask if they need another chaperone!) at the beginning of June.

The Girl found out today that she received a gold seal and an SMTA musical excellence reward at her adjudications 2 weeks ago! This is pretty cool, and means that she is already accepted into the Octoberfest recital later this year, so won't have to audition for that. TBPTOTP was doing a happy dance in excitement that one of her students got a seal. Very cool. We have just one more adjudication for her a week from today, and then a recital in May. Then the season is over for a while- whew! I can use the break! Having the S & D and piano seasons at the same time was a bit stressful and tiring to me. Now that I know to expect this, it will be easier next year.

Tomorrow will be errand day as we are out of both chicken feed and cat litter. I also need to thoroughly clean the house. And especially the kitchen table- we have been having issues with people being on the computer in the kitchen supposedly to do their online writing class, and then playing online games instead of working, so today I worked at the kitchen table. It was messy, but fun.
Gotta clean and tidy up, have the kids help me change my bed linens (Nothing says "Welcome home, Dude, like clean sheets, but my neck is still to sore to do it myself, sigh.), etc.

Talk soon,

toddler love

Here is my borrowed toddler, Abe. Look how big he is getting! He is two and a half now, and is becoming such a little boy! Now before I show you these pics, you have to promise me that you will picture him saying "CHEESE!" every time I aim the camera at him, lol. Here he is doing a puzzle. Here we are talking and singing in the big blue chair. We spend a great deal of time here, reading, reading, reading; singing, singing, singing; and talking, talking, talking. And yes, I am wearing my Dude's tie-died shirt while he is out of town- who cares if it is flattering or not, it smells like him!
When PianoGirl heads down to the studio to practice, Abe likes to go with. We bump down the stairs on our bottoms, and he dances around the studio while PG plays. Today he sat on her lap and played for almost half and hour. I must have taken 30 photos just of the two of them playing.
He really got into it today, and PianoGirl was so very patient with him.
And even though this isn't the best quality photo because the sun was shining in the window right behind us, I love it. Abe had just given me the biggest open-mouthed toddler kiss, and was really enjoying being snuggled. He has been so very affectionate lately, wanting me to "carry you" and "hold you" much of the time. I am not complaining!
Abe is now tall enough to stand on a stool in the kitchen and "help" me make our lunches, and load the dishwasher. Sniff. Where did this little boy come from and where did our little baby go?!

Hope you enjoyed the Babyfix photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Medley

Had a hard time picking just one today, so I didn't. These photos were taken just over a year ago, on a nature study group field trip I led at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. One of my favorite places to take photos and draw.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Backyard layout

So, in order to show you some of what we have been doing (ok, what Papa Dude and the kids have been doing) in the backyard, I thought we should start with some shots just to show you the whole backyard, so you can see how it is laid out. I took all these shots from the back deck of the farmhouse. (Feel free to enlarge the pics by clicking, Auntie P) We will start with the far left (south) side of the yard. You can see the cedar tree (the treehouse tree) branches at the left top, and part of the play structure in front of our NDN's (Next-Door Neighbor's) fence. You can see how we are trying to do a curved terrace here, following the lay of the land. Down in the curve, there are some stumps and rounds from where we took down the old plum tree (don't worry- we have about 6 more in there), but we are hoping to add more fruit trees here and make this part of the yard the orchard. So far, we have several plums, green and Italian, 2 apples (though not very healthy or of a good variety), and a peach tree. In the bottom right of the photo (where the round sled thing is), you can see just the corner of my biggest garden bed.
So here is the rest of the big garden bed; you can see that I am keeping it real by showing you that I never even pulled out all the dead tomato plants from last year. There are three little green plum trees that we took as starts from the old green plum tree at my mom's before we cut it down 10 yrs ago. They are finally settling in and doing well. You can see piles of wood yet to be stacked, and our interesting industrial view. In the summer, all we see is green trees, and then in the winter, we have this view. I actually enjoy watching the activity down there. You can see barges, and hear train whistles, etc. Along the little wooden fence are several honeysuckle plants that are just beautiful and smelly-good in the summer.

We have just a half acre here, but not all of it is usable. Where the trees start in the back there, the yard slopes down to a major road, and then the Interstate is right behind that. We are slowly terracing this hillside, there are trails down about halfway, and over the last 5 yrs, the Dude has cut out many dead trees, which the three of us then hauled up the steep hillside. We figure we have gleaned over 4 cords of wood from the hill behind our and the NDN's houses.
Then we have the chicken yard (with a very huge, old apple tree), what is left of my clothesline, and the shed, with a smaller garden bed in front. You can't see my asparagus bed well, but it is there, too. And yes, that is my dead water heater in the bottom corner. Just keeping it real folks.
Here is the blueberry bed, the old birch stumps, the herb beds, pear tree, etc. The white tripod is where my grapes are- they have done horribly the last 4 years, and I am worried about them. The sidewalk there at the edge of the house leads to the basement door and my studio.
Okay. Whew! Look for more backyard photos in the next post.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yay! Art Content! Assignment complete, and ATC's

I wrote in this post, about a journaling assignment (watch the video) from SuziBlu, wherein we were to draw our "power animal" in the Mola style. It only took me two weeks, but I finally finished one of the two turtle pieces I am doing for this assignment.

This piece is done with my koh-i-noor woodless colored pencils, which are very different from my Prismacolors or the watercolor pencils. Both the background and the base of the turtle were done with Twinkling H2O's. I like the combination of these two mediums. They kind of make the design look like it is glowing. Very cool. This (of course) looks much brighter in person. I am doing an ATC swap with Tami over at 101 Fairy Lane. I took these photos and will post them, but I would rather you went and looked at them at her blog, because her photos are so much better than mine! They show the colors so much better. Here are the ones I made for Tami. Our theme for this month was a tribute to Lemons and Lemondrop's world, so the one on left is for that. I also sent her a belated Valentine- on the right.

Here is the one Tami sent me, of a sweet lemonhead girl in pretty purples. Really- go look at these at Fairy Lane, ok? I am not sure why mine came out so blurry.
And just because she hasn't had hers taken in a while, a photo of Sparrow, our other kitty-toddler.
That's it for now.

Tidbits: New Car, Hens, and Self-portrait-Before

Hey folks, How was your Monday? Hope it went well.

I have been asked for photos of my new (to me) car. Here he is, in all his glory. His name is Almanzo, and I call him Manny and Manly for nicknames. Y'all know how much I like nicknames. And yes, it is straight out of the Little House books. You can see the old van in the background. I need to get it ready to be sold. Sigh. Something else on my to-do list today. (I did make my to do list for the week, and it is long!!)Here I am, posing. This is it- if you want a sexy, leggy blond slung over the hood of a car, you will have to look elsewhere.
And here is a closeup- consider it my before photo. I am keeping it real here folks, thus the bags under the eyes, the little mustache I have going, brows that need to be plucked (unless you like the Freida look), and that hair- oh the hair. It is so long! It is starting to curl up over my collar in the back, and is starting to bug me around the ears. And those dutch-boy bangs. Ick. Like I said though, this is the before photo- not sure what the new haircut will look like- I am at the point where I just may take the scissors to it myself, or hand the clippers to a kid. But by the end of this week, it will be short again- the way I like it! One thing I do like about this photo is that it shows my thinner neck and my lack of a double chin. Losing that 20 pounds really shows in my face (before the camera puts the weight back on). I am starting to look more like myself. Now if I can just lose another 20 pounds before my vacation in May.
And this next photo has nothing to do with cars or makeovers. Our version of The Chicken Sisters were apparently starving this afternoon, and were following me around as I was taking photos outside. I gave them some feed and then snapped this photo. From left to right, we have Chickie-Boo, Goldie, and Lucy. Annabelle, our adopted red hen, was in the coop at the time.
There ya' go- photos and everything!

Tidbits: Feeling Better, Traveling Dude

Happy Monday, and Happy St. Patrick's Day. I am feeling much better today, thank you. I don't have much strength in my right arm, and will have to keep my neck and back warm today, but I am definitely on the mend. I need to make a to-do list today, and just slowly work through it this week.

The Dude left yesterday evening for a week-long training session in Colorado, so I am going it alone in the parenting world this week. Wish me patience and grace. I am gonna need it.

Will try to post photos later today, gotta go teach the kids a bit, get the Boy to classes, and then start on that to-do list.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tidbit: Ouchie-boo-boo Entertainment

Well invisible friends, I almost made it through the winter without my neck/back going out. Those who know me know I have a 20+ yr old whiplash injury plus the injury from our hit-and-run almost 2 yrs ago. The scar tissue from the old injury really affected the healing of the newer one, and it took over a year of physical therapy this last time around just to have full mobility of my right arm and my neck. Because of these injuries, it is really important that I keep my neck warm and not catch any drafts over my shoulders during the winter.

Yesterday morning when I first bundled up on the couch, I wasn't wearing a sweater, and caught a chill. I can tell because at 5 am today, I woke up with terrible spasms in my right shoulder. So now after resting for two days, I get to rest again. I am dosed up on Ibuprofin, have a water pitcher nearby, and my failthful heating pad on my neck as we speak. Over the years I have learned how to manage this pain, and that if I take care of myself properly as soon as it starts, how to make it last as short of a time as possible. So I will get off this thing in a minute and go back to sleep if I can. If not, maybe my phone will ring, and I can spend some time chatting with one invisible friend or another.

To keep you entertained while I am away, here are a few links. First off, is a wonderful lesson on drawing with pastels from Lisa at PercyTruffle's Place. Lisa has a wonderful blog with lots of wonderful art to look at. She does double duty as a homeschool mama as well, so there is fun stuff to read about that topic as well. Search for Pysansky eggs on her blog, or look at the polymer chess set her son created. Pretty and inspiring.

Next up is the Quilting Arts Blog. QA is one of my two fave magazines, and always has pages of interesting things I want to try. The blog is just as interesting. I really want to order the first season of the QA tv show. See if it is available to watch on your PBS station.

And, because it is starting to be warmer and I can see the buds popping from my bedroom window, here are some wonderful ideas on how to incorporate Nature Study into your life. Many of these ideas seem like they are just for mothers of small children, but honestly, any human being on this planet can benefit from being out of doors and being in nature. Enjoy.

For your viewing pleasure, I give you two art journal technique videos, both from Millande. The first one is how to make different backgrounds for journaling, and the second one is journaling with circles. I had a lot of fun working with circles in my journal this week, maybe you will too.

Last but not least, is one of my fave inspirational blogs, Shades of White. The pictures alone are worth the trip (click).

Have a great weekend, and I will do my best to take care of myself. Give me a call if you get bored- you know where I will be- and I will most likely be bored.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tidbit: Fairy Name

Your fairy is called Bramble Rainbowglitter
She is a fortune bringer.
She lives in leafy dells and bluebell glades.
She is only seen in the light of a shooting star.
She wears bluebell-blue dresses. She has multicoloured wings like a butterfly.

I found this over at 101 Fairy Lane.

I am feeling a bit better, my muscles are still tight and sore, like I had been exercising hard or something, but I feel better than yesterday. Still seem to have the fever though. No art happened today, just rested on the couch with the laptop on my lap.

Gotta get to bed- Piano Girl has a group voice lesson tomorrow at the studio of TBPTOTP (The Best Piano Teacher On The Planet).

Tidbits: Sick Me, Toddler-Boy, and Mola Assignment

I have been under quite a bit of family-related stress this week, and it seems to have caught up with me. (I won't go into details about the specific issues, but have you noticed how stress can do this??) I noticed Thursday morning when I awoke that I was a bit sore in my lower back and hips, and my joints felt a bit stiff. This achy feeling grew through the day, as I carried, lifted, cuddled, chased, sang to, and played with my toddler buddy Abe. (I will talk more about Abe in a minute.) I stopped by the grocery on our way home to pick up a pizza or three so I wouldn't have to cook, and it was all I could do to walk through the store, and I was so C-O-L-D in the freezer isle!! By the time we were home, it was all I could do to move, and I was so exhaused I was yawning constantly. Being with a toddler is not usually this physically draining for me, so I knew something was up. So I have been laying in bed, or on the couch, with a heating pad on my lower back, wrapped up in all the afghans and quilts I can find, trying to rest, and directing the kids from here. We watched "For Your Eyes Only" last night, and then I actually got 9 hours of sleep.

My goal today is to only get up to go to the bathroom, which I plan to do often as I am going to drink so much water my eyes float- gonna flush out the toxins that are causing me such achiness. I have my art journal stuff still packed from yesterday, so I may work on that for a bit to keep from getting bored or getting too sucked into the internet. I will have to take the Boy to the High School, but other than that, they can take care of themselves and me today.

I did have fun with my sweet toddler-boy yesterday. When we started this relationship with the BPTOTP (Best Piano Teacher On The Planet), I had no idea that one of the perks for me was going to be having a special relationship with her baby. I love being "Nanny" again, and teaching, learning with, and loving this special little fella. Abe is getting so big now, and doing so much more fun stuff. He is now tall enough to stand on a stool in the kitchen beside me (instead of on the counter with my arm on his chubby leg, making sure he doesn't topple off) as I make our lunch, recognizing letter sounds and shapes ("Nanny, draw a diamond for Abe."), etc. His language abilities have really grown in this last month, and he has grown so tall and thin I can't believe it! He is becoming a little boy now, leaving so much of the toddler traits behind, although he still has those wonderfully chubby toddler hands and feet (I still love to nibble on his toes and hear his little giggle.). He referred to himself as "I" yesterday instead of "Abe" several times. Abe is also so very 2.5 lately. He is discovering whining, hitting, demanding, and the word "NO!". It is good that he keeps my inner preschool-teacher on her toes! I do love Thursdays with Abe.

In the art area, I haven't been doing much, but I have been working in my art journal. I will take photos of my journal work when complete- I am working on a specific asignment, one I got from SuziBlu. Her work is a very different style than mine, but her video challenges are very inspiring. This assignment is to do a journal entry on your"power animal", mola style. I am working on two different renderings of my totem animal. Bet you can guess what animal I am working with. Bet you can. I have actually been quite inspired by a number of artists doing YouTube videos on art journaling- not all of them are as wacky and fun as Suzi, but inspiring none-the-less.

Okay, off to get a handful of Ibuprofin, a pitcher of water, and maybe another quilt.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Picture of the day: Pyramids for PercyT.

Okay. This photo is for Lisa, over at PercyTruffle's Place. Lisa, other than the fact that there are three pyramids in each of our photos, there really aren't too many other similarities to them after all. Your photo is much more artistic, with the beautiful water in the background, and lack of feet in the background. But, I did find it!

I took this one when we were camping with another family late last summer. It was a lovely day. Makes me wish it were much warmer than it is right now, so we could go play on the beach. Soon, soon, soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bye-Bye Birch Tree

During our first winter in the farmhouse, a severe storm took down several branches from the big birch tree just behind the house, near my blueberry and herb beds. Papa Dude topped it, knowing that it would probably have to come down soon, but we both love birches so much we tried to save it. Well, my little pear tree, which is behind the birch, and had produced a bumper crop of pears our first year here, has done very badly the last two years, producing a total of 3 pears in that time. So we decided to take the birch down. Here is the Dude, taking off all the big branches before cutting the trunks. (As usual, feel free to click on the photos to enlarge.)
Here is what was left when he finished. He is planning on building a table-top on top of the birch stumps, and enlarging the little deck. The bridge, on the right in the photo, is broken (a branch landed on it, and it was breaking up anyhow) will be removed. The white tripod is where my grapes are planted. I am hoping they do better with more sun this year. To the left of the little deck is my blueberry bed. No blueberry bushes were harmed in the dropping of the tree, but my clothesline is toast. I do hope the blueberries do well this year. I am going to have to fence in my entire garden area this spring so the darn chickens don't eat my sprouts- if they eat my blueberry flowers this year, they will end up as Sunday dinner! (Probably not, but it really made me mad when they did this last year- you know how I love my blueberries!)
Here is a view from as close to the back door as I could get. You have a better view of the stumps, and the broken bridge. So the deck will come around where the bridge is now. See that apple tree directly behind the stumps, down in the chicken yard? It is very tall, very old, and the few apples it produces are not very good. We are trying to decide if it will come down, or if it will be pruned severely and turned into a treehouse tree.
Here is my sweet baby pear tree. It is just starting to bud, and looks so pretty. I am really hoping that sacrificing the birch will have been worth it, and that it will be covered in big green pears this summer. That is the neighbor's garage behind it.
This is my herb garden. It needs a lot of work. This is basically a "before" photo for you- I plan on building some raised beds, and putting in some raspberry canes behind the pear tree there. And yes, that big pile of brush from the one day I weeded the herb bed is still there.
We would like to get another birch, and find a good place for it, but for now, we are content with having an extra bit of sun here. Wish my pear tree luck.

Random photo catch-up

How about some random photo miscellany tonight? I have a bunch of photos that don't really go together, so will put them all in this post.

This is one of my favorite photos of the Girl, with a trumpet flower for a hat, taken at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, last year. I have about 200 photos I took this day- I guess I need to learn how to use PhotoBucket so I can put more than 5 photos in a post!

I was fortunate to be visited by my Fairy Cardmother last month. This is the pile I am still sorting through. Lots of art materials and inspiration in these ten boxes, which are now stacked up against the design wall- the theory being that I will find spots for them in order to use the design wall. It has been 3 weeks and the boxes are still in front of it. Sigh. Is there a prize for procrastinator of the month? If so, it's mine- hands down.
The Boy, the day after he got home from his Stanford tournament. He looks so serious here- well after all, he is the King.
This is the Girl, doing this thing she does where she moves her eyes independently. I hate it when she does it, it makes my eyes hurt to just look at, and I worry that it is bad for her eyes. Of course, this just makes her do it all the more! Sigh. Teenagers!
And last but not least, this is Catkin playing with some plastic flowers a friend brought over yesterday. Is he not the most precious thing?! I don't have favorites when it comes to the cat-toddlers, but this guy is really the sweetest cat I have had in a very long time. Me loves him.
That's it for this post. How is that for random?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tidbits: Art Playdates, Graffiti, and the WASL

Hi all,
It was a low-key weekend here at the Homestead. I got to spend time with the Dude, which was nice, even if all we did was go to the market together (and of course spend waaay more money than I would have alone), and head to Target to return some Christmas gifts that didn't fit.

I rested a lot, and we cooked a lot. Not much yard work, or studio time, or housecleaning- just some good family time.

Today, two of my former Nature Study students along with Piano Girl and I, had our first Art Playdate. It isn't really a class, more of an excuse for the Girly and I to see two of our fave kids every two weeks. Keeps my foot in the door, so to speak, when it comes to teaching, too, but in a nice, low-key way. Today we started making stuffed fabric beads. This involved all three girls using my sewing machine for the first time. They all did great, and are looking forward to our next get-together. We also talked about what things they might like to work on in the future. They want to draw, paint, collage, work with polymer clay, and sew doll clothes and quilts. Works for me.

My dear, dear son did something very weird today- he spray-painted a design on my bedroom door with olive oil cooking spray. Sigh. He isn't four, he will be 16 in 6 weeks. Go ahead and laugh at my son painting graffiti on my door. I will join you in that hearty guffah maybe tomorrow. Tonight, however, I am still being just floored that a child of this age could be so unthinking! Of course when I was his age, I was responsible, and would NEVER have done something so stoopid- nope, not me. Anyhow, I have a feeling he isn't likely to do something like this again, once he repaints the door (Which will involve taking it off the hinges, and won't be easy as it is a bi-fold door.) Unless of course you can think of something that will clean the oil up- Mr. Clean Magic Erasers didn't even touch it. Sigh.

Speaking of the Boy, he is partaking in the WASL testing at the high school this year. I have never made him take it before, but for a myriad of reasons, he is this year. He has to be at the school at 7:20 every day this week, as well as a couple of days next week, and two weeks in April. He is getting a taste of how early he would have to wake daily if he were in public school full time. This is good, and I hope will help him to appreciate how good he has it at home.

The Dude just walked in, so I will go now. More later,

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tidbit: Happy Thursday!

It is one of our early Thursdays. The Dude left before 5, I ran the Boy to the high school by 7 am (as he had some basketball championship at which the band is playing), and we leave for Piano Lessons at 8 am. Piano Girl has adjudications today, after her lesson and a quick lunch. Of course I am content just knowing I get some toddler time today. The kids and I apparently left my camera in the Dude's work car, which is sitting down at the airport, as the Dude is in Boise today, so I can't take photos of PG in her finery, or of Abe, who has lost so many of his baby-like qualities, and is getting to be such a little boy.

Ok, that's all I have time for, but wanted to update a tidbit or two. I have been in the studio a tiny bit, and will update (minus photos, I guess) on that soon.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tidbits: Birthday update, tournament news, housework,

Hi! I have so much to tell you! First off, The Fine Young Man came in in the top two at his debate on Saturday, and will be going to Nationals in Las Vegas in June! Yay!

Second, thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. First off, when the Boy and I got home late Saturday night, waiting for me was a huge lemon meringue pie the Papa and Girl had made while we were at the tournament on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, I woke up before 8, lay in bed for a little bit, then headed down stairs. I was treated to breakfast in the bath, and took a nice long soak. The kids gave me my gifts, and then we headed to the East side. First stop- Gramma's, to share a lunch the Dude packed of ham, fresh homemade bread, bean salad, and pie. Delicious, tart, sweet, lemon pie. Mmmmm.

We then headed to the nursery, where we picked up some seeds (vines for the picket fence), some little plants to put in an old jar we have (it's terrarium time again), a hanging jasmine plant, and a beautiful miniature weeping willow tree. This is the first year in 5 years I haven't received blueberry plants for my birthday- I have been eyeing these little willows for a while now, so it is a wonderful gift!

We headed home, and Papa Dude packed- he had to drive down to Oregon Sunday night for work. Once we had kissed him goodbye, we put in a movie, and the kids and I folded laundry. I was in bed by 10 p.m., but it took me almost 2 hours to get to sleep. So hard to sleep when my Dude isn't snoring beside me and stealing the covers.

This morning, I got up early, and had my morning phone call with Papa, and a nice hot bath before I got the kids up, also early. We cleaned the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. By the time my doorbell rang at 11:00, my house was nicely clean- including mopping of floors (Thanks, Girl.), scrubbing of toilets (Thanks, Boy.), and sorting of much laundry. My sister had stopped by and picked up Mama, and brought her down to see me. She brought a beautiful homemade gift- it is a gorgeous piece of needle-felting. We four Girls (I dropped the Boy off for his classes) sat around the kitchen table, drinking tea and eating (more) lemon pie, and talking about art. It was wonderful.

The kids and I are going to work on the terrarium tonight, after they do a bit of school work. I plan on getting down to the studio tonight as well (as I most likely won't sleep well with the Dude gone) and am hoping to have some photos up soon.
T. T. F. N.

This morning.