Saturday, June 23, 2012

Turn the Page

Things are always changing around here. Every walk I take is different than the one before.  We are overrun with dragonflies and damselflies.  They're just everywhere.  Plants are continually blooming, exploding with color, surprising us.  They dance in the wind, beautiful. And then they are finished for the season, gone as quickly as they came.  Right now, we have raspberries, tons of them, and day lillies, trumpet vines, and the vegetables in our garden.

Michigan Lilly


Orioles, on a date

As the weather changes, so do the animals we come across here at Moraine.  Baby deer and racoons have been making appearances every so often.  Orioles passed through for a few weeks, hummingbirds are still visiting regularly all day.  We have a million frogs.  Driving down the driveway at dusk is a feat in itself, avoiding all of the frogs and chipmunks is tricky.  We have turtles, snakes, and a few really beautiful warblers, too.  In fact, Big brother and I saw this big guy during a bike ride:

Northern Banded Water Snake
 Yeah.  In one of the ponds.  Just hanging out. Waiting to eat an unsuspecting 9 year old boy if he gets too close.  Not cool.
Painted Turtle
Blue-Tailed Damselfly
Big brother's baseball season is coming to a close.  He worked so hard.  He played with heart.  He tried harder than I've seen him try at anything. Summer has so far been spent around home when we aren't at baseball.  He watched a sub-titled kung fu movie this evening (He watched the entire movie in Mandarin before learning from D that he could change it on the DVD settings.   hahaha!). He's been playing wii and catching critters and reading comic books.  He has stilts and a badminton net from his grandma that keep him occupied outdoors when he isn't hunting critters. He keeps pretty busy between sporadic complaints about being bored.
D and I have been trying hard to stay on top of our small veggie garden.  Pulling weeds and watering twice a day.  It has been very rewarding so far.  Tomorrow we'll harvest our radishes and spinach.  I didn't expect so many to grow so well, and now I am filled with pride and cannot wait to taste the fruits of our labor (literally).

One of our bathrooms has been under construction for several weeks.  It is finally starting to take shape.  Piece by piece, we are getting closer to a completed project and I will be so - SO - happy when it is finished. 3 a.m. shuffles across the house tripping over cats to go potty are not fun.

Friday night, D's parents babysat for Big and little brother and we got to go on a date.  It was our first date since little brother was born.  It was so wonderful.  We ate Olive Garden and talked over our wine about how blessed we are.  We get emotional sometimes when we talk to each other about our kids. It's a lovely bond to have with someone, sharing the intense love of your children.  We ate slowly and laughed a lot.  Then we went to the beach.  Where we live is very near the water, and I think we're lucky for that.  We talked more about our kids and remembered days before being parents of two.  We watched the sun go down, and decided to come home because we missed them.



Grandma and Grandpa put little brother to bed, so we came home to a quiet house.  We ate the brownies they brought for us and went to bed feeling full and happy. I love my husband.  I am so thankful for him.

little brother is 7 months old now.  He is growing and developing a little personality more each day.  He rocks on his hands and knees and scoots across the floor easily and quickly.  He has been sleeping better at night now that he is a little older and we are a little more consistent.  He says 'da da' all the time.  He is the most easygoing and pleasant baby I have ever seen.  He eats a lot, laughs a lot, and really likes to read books.  He travels really well and thinks his Big brother is the most amazing person ever.  I love them so much, you guys.

 Something I have learned since being the mother of two children is to be nicer to people.  You never know how much or little someone can tolerate. You just never know what is going on in their heart or their head or their life.  I don't ever want to be the person responsible for pushing someone right over by being unpleasant.  I know that my level of tolerance has really changed since having little brother.  I am more tolerant of some things - like sleep deprivation, for example - than I was before.  I am much less tolerant of more things - like negativity or criticism - than I was before.  Taking care of a family changes you.  There are just too many things to take care of.  Sometimes you have to change your limitations. I know I have.  My kids need me to. They deserve all of my emotional energy.  That's important for me, and I have learned that it is for other people, too.

 So, take it from me, it doesn't hurt to be nice, or to bite your tongue sometimes.  It's okay to say nothing instead of something hurtful.  The moment will pass and you'll be glad you did. Eventually it will be second nature. Take it from me, you really don't know what someone else may be battling - no matter how well you might know them.  It is always better to be a thoughtful supporter than a negative force.

"A fellow who does things that count, doesn't usually stop to count them."  -Albert Einstein


Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Big Brother had a great baseball game this week.  He had two of his best hits in the same game.  His first hit went over the right fielders head which turned into a double.  Swing away Big Brother!

Pachydiplax longipennis - Blue Dasher

Pachydiplax longipennis - Blue Dasher

Pachydiplax longipennis - Blue Dasher



Celithemis eponina - Halloween Pennant

Celithemis eponina - Halloween Pennant

Euphydryas phaeton - Baltimore Checkerspot


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mahna Mahna

Dear Friends and Family,

The women at church are fans of Little Brother.  They wanted to tell Sweetheart and I how close he is to crawling.  Little Brother can get into the push-up position and he can rock back and forth on his knees.  Big Brother's baseball is coming to a close next week.  This summer he is to work on his circus skills.  He has some stilts named "Crazy Legs" and a juggling set.  Sweetheart has begun the restoration of the yard pond.  She is determined to beautify our lives here on the Moraine.  I am so thankful for my wife.

Mamo visited last weekend.  There are so many great moments to celebrate but my favorite is taking her photograph with Little and Big.  Every time she visits us, she tells me that this life was meant for me.  Thank you Grandma!

Everything is protected except the house mice.  Alley Cat is earning her keep.

Barker Woods Nature Preserve
Epargyreus clarus - Silver-spotted Skipper
Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipe
Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipe
Asclepias purpurascens - Purple Milkweed
Castilleja coccinea - Indian Paintbrush
Everes comyntas - Eastern Tailed Blue

Myosotis laxa - Small Forget-me-not

moth attacking our window

Cirsium pitcheri - Dune Thistle
Dunes Nature Preserve
Lathyrus japonicus var. glaber - Beach Pea
Heterodon platirhinos - Eastern Hognose Snake
Heterodon platirhinos - Eastern Hognose Snake


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'll Follow The Sun

Summer is starting.  Big brother's last day of the 4th grade is tomorrow.  I can't believe it.  He is grown. Playing baseball and doing chores and having an opinion about things.  He states facts now.  Things he has learned, tricks he has picked up in his travels.  He has hilarious jokes.  He rolls his eyes. He eats everything in sight until it's time to sleep.  He plays hard and sleeps deep.  He hates mornings. He has messy hair, dirty nails.  He hates mushrooms. He likes brussel sprouts and apple juice.  He says things like "it's not probable, but it's possible."  I always check his Google history.  He has been Googling some pretty awesome stuff:

"How to be a real ninja in real life"
"What is the distance between the bases in minor league baseball?"
"What is the distance between the bases in major league baseball?"
"Spiderman games to play online"
"How much do whales weigh?"
"How do you weigh a whale?"
"Pictures of all the venomous snakes in the whole world ever"

He's so cool. He knows lyrics to songs and who sings them.  He really likes being a big brother and he's really great at it.  Sometimes he gets bored just holding the baby and making noises so he lets little brother pull his hair or twist his nose. I think that's really nice of him.

The faster he grows, the more I miss when he was little.  He was my best buddy, my only buddy, for so long.  He was such a great little kid. We went on so many adventures. He was so sweet. The sweetest.  I am so proud of who he is growing up to be.

Oh, little Big brother, you were so so snuggly.  Now I have to tackle you for a hug and I love you so dearly. I hope fifth grade is kind to your compassionate heart. I hope this summer you finally get freckles on your baby skin face.  It's so un-freckly.  It's unfair because I'm so darn freckly. I want you to be freckly too so we can be forever freckle friends.  (This is something we talked about often when he was 3 or 4.  He wanted freckles too because I had them and I would tell him "when you get older, in the summer, you'll have them and we'll be forever freckle friends"  and that was good enough for him.)  I think you're wonderful.  I thank God every day for who you are.

little brother turned 6 months and I didn't really document it here.  We were on our little family vacation when he turned 6 months.  He is learning really fast now.  He says 'Dah Dah' pretty much constantly.  It's nice for me, because I get to pretend we're blaming DahDah for things, even if he's not responsible.  Our daily dialogue is certainly getting better:
Me - "Hey, little, wanna eat something?  Let's get a bib!"
little -  blink.blink.stare.drool.
Me - "Oh no! No clean bibs! What happened?"
little - "Dah! dah!"
Me -  "gasp!  Dahdah didn't wash the bibs?!  Bad dahdah!"

It's a fun game. And usually Dahdah is at work and can't defend himself when we play it. He hasn't said Mama yet. I try to help him, but he just laughs at me.  He is getting more mobile and it's pretty amazing to watch.  He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, flings his body forward, and flops on his stomach.  He slowly inches toward his destination and it's just remarkable. He doesn't have teeth yet, but he is drooling quite a bit. His sixth month on this earth has been a joyous one. He is such a happy, sweet boy. A truly joyful little person, making the world so much brighter.  He is more curious now, reaching and grabbing and tasting things.  He is so delicate and sweet and pink and lovey.  Baby bear.

lake michigan
I'm mentally getting things in order for summer with the two boys.  Planning little activities that will keep both boys happy and satisfied and entertained.  There is such an age gap that it is difficult sometimes.  If we could just teach little brother to play Wii...

can we do this ALL summer?
I made a roasted chicken for the family a few nights ago.  Making roasted chicken brings me a lot of joy.  Something about turning this cold, pink, ugly thing into a beautiful, delicious roasted masterpiece is a good feeling.  I like getting the skin crispy and the meat just a little juicy.  I feel like the mom of the year when I place a perfect roasted chicken on the table for my family.  We carve it with our hands sometimes and eat with our fingers and I am filled with pride.  I want to do this more over the summer.

I also want to make more desserts at home.  Less going out for milkshakes and junk.  One my biggest culinary weaknesses is a pan of boxed brownies.  I feel like I have had a lot of delicious, delicate, beautiful desserts in my life on birthdays and various weekends and trips and celebrations, but sometimes I would just ignore all of it for a warm 9 x 13, a tub of frosting (vanilla), and a fork.  It's embarrassing and disgusting. I accept it. 

I had a dream last night that I saw Johnny Cash perform at a diner while I ate eggs Benedict with my dad.

I got chased to the front door, full speed, by a German Shepard who was in the woods two nights ago.  It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life.

I made it through both of those oddities and today our new dryer was delivered.  It's wonderful.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I don't want to forget.

"You build on failure.  You use it as a stepping stone.  Close the door on the past.  You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it.  You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space."  - Johnny Cash