Monday, July 26, 2010

The Goodness of Gardening

Hubby and I are both longing for a garden these days. (Am betting our neighborhood deer and black bears would love it too.) This desire is born out of so many things, from a desire to feed our family and others around us fresh and healthy foods, from the rising cost of produce especially organic stuff, from watching too many movies like Food Inc, from a desire to teach our kids about where our food comes from and how to work the land for it... etc.

Today we visited Mimi's community garden plot, where roughly 30 members of the local community have applied for and earned the right to plant and care for a small spot of soil. The plots were only about 5x10 feet yet beautifully abundant - it was amazing to see what all is being grown on this loved land.

Among the wonders of being outdoors and caring for land is the positive affect it has on the boys. Not only is it always a great opportunity to learn, but put them to work and give them a mission ("Let's water the plants and find the fruit and veg that is ready to be picked!") and I rarely see conflict, arguments, or pestering. They are too busy watching a half dozen butterflies land on the flowers, delicately picking up the carcass of a molted cicada, checking out the droopy sunflowers to see if they can see its heavy seeds, looking at the baby watermelon growing in the neighbors plot, and searching for biggest cucumbers ready to be picked.

I love the "outdoor curiosity" and wonder of my kids and would love to give them a garden of their own to care for and watch grow! Maybe someday. First I need to work on my "green thumb"....

Herb Hope

I may have some talents but growing anything green is not one of them. When it comes to keeping plants alive, I fail miserably, time and again.

Because I absolutely love to cook, I have always, always wanted an herb garden. Periodically I get inspired to try again, so I purchase a half dozen herbs and lovingly take care of them for approximately 10 days, when they inevitably begin to look like this (actually, this is probably the most success I've ever had; I think these lasted 3 weeks):

Enter my Master Gardener mother-in-law, and my inspired little gardeners who are convinced that if Mimi can grow an herb garden, we can. Last time my MIL visited she and the older boys bought and planted these lovely, gorgeous herbs. I couldn't help but look at them sadly, knowing that this is the greenest and healthiest they'd ever look.

But with reminders from the boys to water the garden, lots of cutting back of herbs, and the help of some organic insecticide stuff, I am happy to report that my herb garden is alive! The dill died and the cilantro succumbed to the Florida heat (or something like that), but the basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme are thriving! We've also got a tomato plant, being taken care of by my husband, that is growing tall and nearly ready to produce our first tomatoes! Yeah!

You can tell I'm nutso about using all the herbs, because as excited as the kids are, Tadpole did see me head out to the herb garden with my scissors a few days ago and said to me, "Mom, are you cooking with basil AGAIN tonight?"

I love my fresh herbs!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toothbrush Time

Toothbrushing time at the end of the night is like the final (sometimes) chaotic hurdle before bed. If nothing else, it is comedy and complete "boyness" as the kids start getting wild using their toothbrushes as weapons, spitting everywhere (they finally have a legit reason to spit), and flooding the floors. I must must must video tape this one night.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Had to take Quatro to the doctor today, so Hubby and I conquered and divided, and I took the younger two while he worked at home supervising the older two.

He may have had the easier job. :)

Quatro had woken at 5am, napped briefly on the 20-minute drive to the office, and was clearly tired... and wouldn't you know, it was the morning that the doctor was running not 15, not 30, not even 60, but NINETY minutes late.

Ninety minutes in a small waiting room with an active 2-1/2 year old toddler, and a newly-walking, can't-hold-me-down one year old.

I really, really wish I had started snapping photos early on in this adventure. I would have photographed Quatro accidentally pulling over an oversized one of those wire rollercoaster moving type of toys (pictured right) on top of himself and crashing to the floor (he giggled; he wasn't phased, but everyone in the waiting room gasped and held their breath)... and lovable Cubby repeatedly trying to embrace a guy in the waiting room who clearly was NOT amused... and Quatro picking up the in-reception phone and babbling into it (I honestly could have sworn it was an unplugged dummy phone, but later realized it was not)... and Cubby throwing a mini tantrum when I took away the baseball book that he kept chucking across the room... and Quatro high-tailing it to the main office door so fast that I didn't have time to move him away before, wouldn't you know, that second the door flung open as another patient came in, thus bonking him squarely in the forehead... and Cubby trying desperately to lovingly "whack" a calm little seven month old baby...

By the time we finally got ushered to our own exam room, the boys were still being good, but were understandably beyond restless. At least we had a change of scenery.

And speaking of scenery, the exam room boasts ceiling to floor windows that moment- arily take your breath away when looking down from five floors up. My kids LOVED them and showed no hesitation or fear, but decided to pound repeatedly on them. I could not keep them away. It drew them like magnets. And it had me completely nervous the entire time.

Quatro, who is proving to dislike any time of confinement, found that he could reach the door handle exiting the exam room, which naturally I would not allow him to do. Pictures are better than my description here. The sweet love, he was just so antsy, I wish he could have understood that he simply had to stay inside the room to play. Sigh.

The boys also found the doctor's swirly whirly chair to be immeasurably amusing. Round and round and round, until Cubby flung off in a dizzy twirl and the legs of the chair rolled right over Quatro's bare feet. At some point during this swirling the doctor FINALLY walked in, apologizing profusely (I do love this doctor, he was just attending to some especially sick kids today), and since his chair was occupied, sat in a little patient chair to chat with me.

Thankfully, in all seriousness, the health reports for Quatro were generally positive and showed some improvement, and I would gladly sit through hours and hours of waiting rooms with any number of my children if it meant good health, a priceless gift.

Still, I DO wonder if I was being punk'd.

Mini Entrepreneur, Part 2

After the whole "I'm charging you for leaving your shoes out" episode the other night, I picked up my each pair, put them away, and thought it was all over.

How silly of me to think my Tadpole would forget. That kid has an AH-mazing memory.

Tonight as I snuggled up to him before bed, he said, "Mommy, after we are done cuddling, look on the table. I left three tickets there for you." [Remember, I left three pairs of shoes out.]

"Here's what you have to do. Take the tickets, put them on my desk - mine is the one in the fun room, where I do all my art projects - and leave money on them. You can either leave a penny, or a dollar bill."

I don't know what's funnier to me, the whole entrepreneurial thing, him not letting it go, or the tickets themselves, complete with four-year-old spelling and drawings of my shoes on them:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

High Strung, Anyone?

Noise. I live with a lot of beautiful noise from beautiful boys. But, as anyone would feel, it grates on me after awhile. Often times in the evenings I don't turn the TV on or call friends because I want to enjoy the quiet and stillness.

The other night Hubby and I escaped for some beloved sushi, leaving the kids with my MIL. We walked into the restaurant less than 30 minutes from leaving the house, so I suppose I hadn't quite decompressed yet.

While waiting to be seated I heard this loud, regularly patterned "bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk bonk" noise and immediately the hair stood up on my arms and I thought, OH MY, where is that supremely annoying sound coming from?!!

I turned to see it was simply the sushi chef chopping food.

Yeah, I think I need to just chill out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mini Entrepreneur

When Hubby was around eight, he changed his name from his given name to a nickname. In order to force his parents on board with this switch, he decided to charge them for every time they called him by his given name. So relentless was he that they finally adopted his nickname. I'm not sure how much money they actually lost in this process. Ah, a persuasive young entrepreneur at eight, and the man is still an entrepreneur. And the man is still called by his nickname by everyone he knows except his grandma.

Seems that Tadpole is following in his Daddy's footsteps.

First let me say that while I dislike clutter and chaos in the house, I have a terrible habit of leaving my shoes all over. Everyone probably has something they spend ridiculous amounts of time hunting down in their house - keys, a purse, wallets, their watch... mine is shoes.

Often times I'll find them hidden in the kids' closets, lurking in the little-used living room, peeking out from under bean bags in the playroom, etc. And I'm lucky if I find them both.

Tonight while corralling the kids into their respective rooms for bed, I couldn't locate Tadpole. I finally found him in the Fun Room (that's what we call the play room) with these on his little drawing table:

I'm the only girl in the house so I guess I can't say they are someone else's shoes. Figuring he was up to something funny and harmless, I gave him five minutes to get into bed, and left to go cuddle with Tigger.

He arrived in his top bunk with several white slips of paper, which he explained to me when I crawled up to say goodnight to him, were "tickets" that I would be receiving tomorrow.

"Mommy, you will get tickets and I am going to charge you for every shoe of yours I find."

As an aside, where does he get this? Sure, the boy has always been on the neat end of things and is rather organized, but he's FOUR. And you should see HIS room. Stuff all over, and certainly his shoes are not all paired and lined up in HIS closet. Hmmm.

He went on to tell me, "I am going to charge you a quarter for the first shoe. And the second. The third one will cost you a dime. The fourth one will cost you... what's another kind... um, a nickel. And all the rest will cost you a penny."

I'm quick at math, and I knew how many shoes he'd lined up already, so I was busy calculating how much I would be out when he added, "I don't really care if you give me round money or you pay in cash!"

Needless to say, before crawling into bed with my laptop tonight, I have cleared the house of all of my stray shoes.