Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's a good thing I'm a slow weeder

While weeding around one of the maple trees, that's going to have to be moved since it's planted much too close to the house, I came across this flower and decided it was so adorable I needed to look it up before removing it. It's a recumbent plant so the flowers on their delicate stalks look rather more graceful than the picture, courtesy of "Bramblejungle" on Flickr, shows and when the flower is closed there is just the tiniest hint of coral at the tip of each bud. I counted the petals and looked it up at this site which is a visual search engine and one of my new favorites.

It turns out that this is the scarlet pimpernel, which strikes me as being very cool for no reason that I can really explain. Although A Modern Herbal says that pimpernel are found in all temperate climates, my best guess is that it is not native to our yard as the only other place I've found it is another flowerbed and all the native/volunteer plants have a much more even distribution throughout the yard.

I survived the 4th 7-5-11

Don't get me wrong, I really like the 4th and certainly want my children to enjoy the celebration. The survive part is that this is our first Independence Day "on our own" and that was a little harder than I'd expected it to be since I was just thinking in terms of it not being the first one since John's death.

Christmas and Independence Day were always John's favorite holidays, I think because they gave him a chance to share both anticipation and a certain amount of pageantry with the kids. Last year we went to the house of one set of friends for fireworks on the 3rd and then to lunch and watch the municipal display with another set of friends on the 4th so we didn't need to think about much except what to bring to add to the snacks, which is probably just as well as I'm sure we were still in shock since it was only a couple of weeks after John had passed away.

I do think this year went well. I read the Declaration of Independence to the kids, we listened to patriotic songs on the computer, had a strawberry/blueberry trifle for dessert, watched the municipal fireworks with another family in the neighborhood, and then walked home and set off our own. All in all a successful day an done I'd like to see repeated in the years to come. I'd just not realized until about half-way through how much John's excitement about the holiday had always supported my own and, with the fact that I'm kind of focused on getting things ready for our up-coming trip, how much quieter I needed the whole experience to be.

We have roses! 7-3-11

We have bright, wonderfully scented roses now.

This is a more mature example of the type of rose Son and I planted about a month ago. The image is from and is of a hot pink "double knock-out" shrub rose.

We ended up removing the two original rose bushes next to the garage as one was a non-blooming climber and the other had some sort of blight that was destroying the buds.

I had only meant to get three bushes, one for the main flower bed and the two for the garage but apparently there was a two-for-one sale in the catalog that I hadn't noticed while purchasing. We found places for five of the bushes by putting three in the center bed, instead of the intended one, and the sixth one we ended up giving to the neighbor across the street who is adding to their landscaping as well.

Sunburn! 7-2-11

I took the kids to the river yesterday after VBS and let them wade/swim for nearly three hours. Everyone got a little pink but for some reason Eldest Kidlet and I got rather more sun than the others. I suppose the fact that we're the two most likely to stay in doors may have something to do with it as the others were all a light toast color to start with while this is the first time I've had my swimsuit on in almost two years and the younger kids like to tease Eldest Kidlet that she must be a vampire since she avoids the sun so much.

I'm also going to count the trip as an hour of science since we did much observation and discussion among the playing. We observed and identified a female black swallowtail, the iridescent blue bands on the lower wings being the indication of gender. Watched tadpoles in a boggy area as well as competition for a burrow between two crawdads, the challenger being the winner and claiming the burrow from the defender. We also discussed how the bed of a river impacts the rate at which the water flows, as was demonstrated by various fast shallow or slow deep stretches we came across, and how a tsunami is formed at sea by the same general dynamic.

The change in the children is dramatic. Before if they had a question and I said, "Well let's go look it up" their reply was almost invariably,"No, that's okay." Now, they make absolutely certain I don't forget to look up the things we saw as soon as we get home. They're also pulling out the various informative books that they've gotten at book fairs and such but never gotten around to reading and going through them of their own free will. I'm so thrilled to see an excitement and hunger for learning that I have long enjoyed but feared my children would never know

Now I'm nervous! 6-30-11

I just handed in the kids withdrawal letter to the school administrators and we are now officially homeschooling. Everyone at the office was very nice and relaxed about the whole thing, so that's not why I'm nervous. Also, I seem to be unusual among homeschooling moms in that I have no doubt of my ability to teach my children, so that's not the cause of the nerves either. I do know that I have a lot to learn as I teach them, but am looking forward to the opportunity of understanding as an adult concepts that eluded me as a child. Honestly? I'm at a loss as to the cause of the butterflies. Even so, they're quite emphatically making their presence known.

Where to start?

There are at least half a dozen post I've started to write in my head over the last week and none actually made it to the keyboard. It's not even that I wasn't sitting here. I was. I just didn't write things as they happened and then the moment seemed to be lost.

I'm mostly writing this post to alert the reader that the emotion or ideas expressed in any of the following posts are the product of the moment in which the given event occured and I'm no longer anxious, glum, etc.

I've also decided to put the relevant date, as nearly as I can remember, in the title line just for this post dump.