Monday, July 22, 2013

Accessory selected by Hostess

My mother is coming tomorrow; my father and grandmother and brother arrive on Thursday. They stay for over a week! I'm so excited to see my family; I'm especially excited because I have something VERY SPECIAL for them to wear. Here's the interesting thing: when worn, it's quiet-ish in the house. When taken off, beware!

[many photos of me wearing Trixie in a wrap]

...Wow. Seeing all these photos together makes me think that my mother might be right. Maybe I DO need some more color in my wardrobe.

Eh. Or maybe not.

Photos are chronological, left to right then down, beginning about mid-May and ending today.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Mystery Seed Mix Experiment

This year I decided to minimize my gardening and planting. I thought it would be too stressful to keep pace with last year, given the newborn in the house. Then, I met a new neighbor at the playground and she recognized our house because of the flowers we've put on the front railing the last two summers!

July 2012

It suddenly seemed important to at least find something to put on the porch!

Fritz decided to try his hand at it. The last two summers, he's been rather grumpy about the cost of the flowers. I am a little ashamed to admit that I spent about $300 on the flowers last summer. I bought most of the flowers at the nursery, already as little (what do you call it?) plantlets (??)  I knew it was a lot of money. But, I reasoned, I'm learning; I made some mistakes in purchasing! I'll get better at this.

Fritz thinks – well, like the money-saving scientist he is, I suppose – so he bought several packets of seeds: some tall plants, some hanging plants, and some in the middle. Then he dumped all the seed packets in a bowl and stirred them up. He evenly distributed the seeds across the dirt, and evenly distributed a little dirt over the seeds. (And he threw away the seed packets.) Which yielded this:

July 2013

Umm. Hmmm.

In May, feeling discouraged by the progress, I added sweet potato vine and shasta daisies (from the nursery). But they have been totally and completely overtaken by Fritz's Mystery Seed Mix this month. And you know, I'm not opposed to the idea of using seeds, but it would be nice to know what's growing in there. If something works well, I'd definitely repeat it.

I think there might be sunflowers. Fritz assures me that IF there are sunflowers in there (he doesn't remember what he bought) then he bought short ones. What's short for a sunflower? Three feet? Four feet? The sunflower-like plants are currently two feet tall and budless. Should I just cut out the sunflower-like plants? It seems like they are stressing all the other plants.


This particular pot seems to be doing a little better. It only has one short sunflower-like plant. At least there's a little color in this arrangement.


Well, the porch this summer is not exactly what I had in mind.

But nobody knows that unless I tell them. The secret can be just between us, okay?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let them make cookies!

This summer I didn't enroll the boys in any camps. There were a number of reasons: saving money, lots of out-of-town guests that seemed to make the calendar look full, swim lessons that (with 3 kids now) suddenly seemed to be a dire necessity, AND the fact that (knock on wood) Noah and Mattias play well together.

I mean that last part in all sincerity: I really can't imagine two brothers getting along better. Like any siblings, they have their moments, but mostly there's minimal referee-ing on my part. My biggest concerns tend to be the scale of the mess and lack of brains that their play can summon.

Last week, they made a "puddle" in our unfinished basement to drive their push toys through. The "puddle" was more like a pond, 10 feet in diameter, with toy car tire tracks splaying out from it in all directions by the time I discovered it. On Sunday, someone mistakenly stepped on a blueberry on the kitchen floor and laughed. Someone else thought it was a game to play. By the time I entered the kitchen, there were 20 odd smushed blueberries smeared around the kitchen floor.

So even though there's not a lot of fighting around here, I still wonder daily if I've made a big mistake by not sending them to camp. You know how there's always this group of people calling for kids to have more unscheduled time, more freedom to be bored? Well, at our house this summer, between unscheduled time and me (hands full with a newborn), we're REALLY getting the chance to see just what that looks like. And it's messy. Camp might have been a smart thing. At least a week here or there, so that I can legitimately scrub the floors. (The floors are always bad...)

Today I decided to give their creative play some direction and let them make chocolate chip cookies by themselves. Without me standing beside them, doing the work, as I'm normally prone to do. I stepped back. I sat on a stool and nursed Trixie. I dictated the instructions as they went...

"Mattias, take the paper off the butter and cut it in little pieces. Now, Noah, get the mixer." Pause. " Do you know what the mixer is?"

"Yes, Mommy!" Noah's tone indicating I'm asking a dumb question.

Al-righty then. Children who are able to bake cookies. We may not be swimming yet, we may not have clean floors (or a clean house!), but at least we'll be eating cookies.