Sunday, August 2, 2020

Blogger Changed but I didn't. Black Eyed Susans


We worked a lot around the house this weekend, so by this afternoon, I didn't have the strength to do much besides sit on the couch.  I introduced the kids to Fantasia.  I kept Eric in water.  I drank a gallon of water all by myself.  I ache.  
Then I took a walk to the mailbox. 
Our Black Eyed Susans are in bloom. 

And when I came to post about them, everything on blogger changed.  
Still have a look at these flowers, maybe they will make us all happy and we won't mind that the whole world is still wonky. 


Close up flower. 

Black eyed Susan bokeh.  
I haven't tried some straight up flower photography for a while.  I really wanted just a smidge more sunlight but on the other hand, these guys were glowing on their own. 


I just loved the angle here, so you can see how big the bush has grown. 


One flower made it into the sun. 
This Susan really glows. <3
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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Ice Cream Celebration

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Though we've been off of School for two weeks, it didn't really feel like we were out of school.
It feels no different from all the Rest of this Quarantine. But people around us have been branching out to make the most of summer, so we opted to mix it up a bit.

Shanghai Rummy Time. 
But I taught the kids a game.  We have been learning Shanghai Rummy.  
I love being able to share this game with my boys.  
My sister and I used to play this game all the time when we were younger, and we played with my stepMom and step Grandparents while we were on Vacation together.  
We've been having fun playing online with our friends, but it was time for the boys to learn. 
We played some Shang after the boys got their jobs done in the morning.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Blueberry Boba. 
So Pretty.
I've been experimenting with Boba Shakes from Mandy's Ice Cream in Brownsburg.
So far my favorite was the Chocolate/coconut ice cream with Mango boba.  
But this is a close second, though another successful pairing was Zanzibar chocolate with Strawberry Boba. 

We met the Julius family at the ice cream shop in the parking lot. 
We brought our Camp Chairs and we were able to eat our ice cream together just like the traditions of last days of school past.  Usually we bowl or putt putt or something.  But we didn't do that this time.  This time, it was just Ice Cream. 


My boys were pretty stoked with their Mint Chips and Zanzibar Oreo. 
Eric was curious about these, in the end he chose Spicy Whiskey Truffle, which didn't last long.  I only got to try one bite.  It was AWESOME! 


Social Distance Ice Cream Celebration. 



Chris was cracking us up, because he managed to get ice cream on his eyebrows, all over his hands, and even a nice chocolate mustache. 

It was good to laugh this hard. 


Geranium at Sunset. 
When we got home, the temp was so nice, we opted to sit outside for a few while the kids ran their sillies out.  I noticed some of our flowers were doing Beautiful things. 

Huge Purple Iris. 
These big irises are bigger than my hand. 
I love them. 
We had ice cream for dinner, and ordered pizza for dessert. The kids watched some Star Wars while they ate stuffed pizza from Papa's. I had part of a salad. I couldn't eat any more. 
What a great way to end the evening, and to start the summer. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

First Monday of Summer

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We are officially on Summer Break.  
Daddy is not.  
It's hard finding things to do that don't involve people, that make it feel different from the last three weeks.  I was puzzled about this.  So I decided to start a puzzle. 


Two boys help start a 1000 piece Thomas Kinkade Autumn in New York puzzle. 


Sam takes to doing puzzles very naturally. 
He helped me build the frame. 


After an hour, we couldn't take anymore, we were down by one last border piece. 
We surrendered in need of fresh eyes. 


There were just a few plants left to put into the garden. 
They boys were all acting like they had energy that they needed to get out. 
So I put them all to work planting. 
I did one bag's worth of weeding, and taught them how to put the snapdragons in the ground.  
Then I called it a day. 
They finished putting all the snaps in the ground in a line, and we got all the plants in the ground. 


We resumed piano lessons at Miss Laraine's yesterday. 
She's cleaning between students, but our family just rolled in and took over. 
It was so nice to have this one piece of normalcy back. 


The oldest and youngest playing footsie.  Big Geese. 

I think Mondays are going to be better this summer, with piano and no school than they've been all year. I'm glad school is out.  But we're going to start writing cursive, keep our garden gorgeous and making beautiful music.  That sounds like a good plan to me. 


Saturday, May 16, 2020

First day of Summer?

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Officially, the kids are out of school. So today begins our summer break. But this is the weirdest summer vacation we've ever had.

I got the boys to weed the garden.
We were expecting rain, so before it hit, we opted to do some gardening.  Yesterday I noticed we had some strawberry blossoms in the back garden. While discussing our plans with Eric today, we opted to do as much with the yard as we could do.  That meant doing a lot of yard work, lots of weeding.  I think we may have some room for some other things in there besides strawberries. But first weeds out, and fencing in, to save the berries from the bunnies. 


Grandpa Willman's irises finally began to bloom. 
I love these.  
We've had them for a couple years, hand me downs from Eric's Uncle Dean, who got them from his Dad, Grandpa Willman.  Grandpa Willman loved to Garden.  He gardened up until the very end.  Grandpa had told us he would give us some splits before he passed away, so it didn't quite work out.  I thought I'd missed my chance.  
But then we were given some splits of Uncle Dean's, and I planted them a couple years ago.  They needed some time get comfortable.  Eric says I planted them on the very edge of the border of our property. Well, they like it there now.  This year was the first year that they bloomed. 

I loved the angle on this one. 
Traditionally they have 6 petals, and are hard to get all views, but the way one of these petals flopped makes it look like there are only 5.  5 is a lucky number for this family. <3



My lilacs are still going strong, and stinking good. 
I love a good smell.  
Speaking of not good smells, Christopher's laundry needed to be done again. 
I've been trying to instill in him, that he needs to wash his bedding weekly. 


So he and I went to Grandma's to do laundry. 
Initially it was a bit of a punishment, he was in a dark place.  He needed to get away from the screen privileges of his brothers.  So I took him to Mom's to do his own laundry. 
Have I mentioned that his temper has been growing about as much as he is?  His voice is dropping, his feet are about to outgrow my shoes, and his temper just goes right along with it.  It's a constant battle to get him to do his laundry, or do his bedding.  We've set the law that his bedding gets washed weekly.  He hasn't been ok with that.  It gets explosive.  Add in there that it's inconvenient to go to Mom's to do it, and it's just been really rough. I killed the dryer by telling Jacob it was ok to wash his winter crocs and put them in the dryer.  It didn't go well.  The combo has been awful. Honestly, I've been enjoying going to Mom and Dad's by myself to do laundry, because it guarantees me some quiet.  I just don't like to do his stinky laundry.  It's a battle.  But after a couple hours there, he was calm, quiet, happy, and cute. 



Monday, May 11, 2020

The Last Monday of the School Year

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I used to enjoy Mondays. When I had a Bible Study group coming to my home.  After 2 months of this insanity, we don't meet anymore. We barely chat.  We only supported each other for a month.  It has pretty much fallen apart.  That's ok.  I guess I've come to grips with it.  It wasn't the right fit, and though they told me I wasn't going to have to "Be a Leader" that's exactly what they needed.  And it's not me.   I didn't want to Lead a Bible Study. I wanted to be a part of one. 
Now I'm a Teacher.  I didn't want to be that either. I don't like having to gripe at the kids to tell them what to do all the time, to get them to do their schoolwork, or to get them to lay off the screens. 
This was a decent day.  It's the last Monday of the school year.  We're almost done with all the hideous e-Learning.  Even I can get excited about that.  The kids have finally figured out, if they get their day's work done early, they can play.  It's taken them 6 weeks to figure it out.  Ugh. 

Meanwhile, 

Princess goofed up her leg again. 
She dashed out of my room yesterday, and tried to corner like she's on rails, to go downstairs.  It didn't work.  Her bionic knee didn't work.  She squealed, squeaked, and ran to hide.  She thinks she's in trouble when she hurts herself.  I don't need to yell at her when she overdoes it and hurts herself. Pain is punishment enough. 
And she was hurting yesterday. 
There have been a few times where she's tweaked her bionic knee, but within 24 hours she's back to herself.  Today she wasn't.  After limping outdoors without even touching that back right leg to the ground, she returned indoors, took one look at the stair, and decided Nope.  
And she didn't come up.  
She didn't sleep with me last night. 
I tell you , this was worse than  a tweak.   
So I fessed up and called the Vet.  Her doc asked if it was swollen, which it is not.  So we decided to Drug Her instead.  So he took my money over the phone, and then gave me drugs when I pulled up. "Curbside Service".  Well, it seems to have worked.  Although funny thing, Princess is now on the same drugs as Eric: Big hearty Ibuprofen (Vetprofen) and Gabapentin.  
They seem to relax her about as much as Eric, but they don't knock her out.  
She prefers the essential oil blend Panaway, but we were getting low, so I ordered more. 


When I came back from my doggie drug run, I noticed my lilac bush was still happy, even though we're in the middle of a cold snap.  It's been dark and chilly for the last couple days.  50 degrees is nice when it is sunny, but it's cold when it's dark and cloudy. At least my lilac looks pretty.


Lilac blooms. 


I got a little closer to the blooms. 


I love the ways there are layers to the petals, and they stink so good.


Also, the irises that I got from my Grandmother started blooming too. 


My Mom used to say that Orchids look like little faces sticking their tongues out.  
I think irises make similar faces. Blah. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

May the 4th Be With You

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Today started off gangbusters! 


My new Sleeping Beauty ears arrived in the mail.  A birthday present to myself. 
They are Pink and Blue, just like Sleeping Beauty's dress, with a bit of her tiara. 
Perfectly me. 



I finished Christopher's scarf late last night, and he was so happy to receive it this morning. 
He wore it around most of the day. 


Mondays mean a new week's worth of school work, and Jacob has a Zoom Call with his class at 10. 
I peeked in on his class call, just as his teacher told him to jog in place for 30 seconds.  
So he did.  
Look at those little fists go, and those legs, just a blur.  
Moving is Good for him. 


Sam rocks his Math out online by taking over my computer. 


Then it occurred to them that today is May 4th. 
Sam drew a green lightsaber on the driveway with 
"May the 4th be with you."

Sam plays Star Wars theme. 
And we had piano lessons.  
The boys did well, but Sam was my favorite, because he rocked out his lesson with the Main Theme from Star Wars, and got his sticker of completion.  Perfect Timing. 
There were some low lows with regard to Chris's Percussion Audition, he had a ton of anxiety, and with that comes a ton of anger, but once he calmed down, we were able to order pizza and watch the last episode of Clone Wars, together.  It helped to end the day on a good note, but it doesn't cancel out the level of low of those lows.  

Quality Time

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A quiet Sunday. 
I am becoming quite fond of our Church's Zoom Calls each week. 
It's the only time we make it to Church on time. 
We had over 100 people listening in on the call live this week. 
It's Comforting to watch it, and with us on muted, I can relax, because I can tell the kids to walk away or jump on the trampoline if they have too much energy to sit through the whole service, and call them back when it's time.  Communing and Singing together just us is really neat.


Did I mention that we have also had a weekly Zoom call with my inlaws?
We almost missed it this week, we were almost late. It's at 4, and I'm usually napping on Sunday afternoons at that time.  And while I know that Mom and Dad just want to hear from the boys, I love seeing my nieces and nephews every week.  Cole likes to tell cheesy jokes.  This week Jacob told one too. I wish I could remember what it was.  Bryce is 3, and he tried to tell one, but I didn't get it.  Kaylee brought a Bakugan toy on to show the little ones, and they were enthralled.   
I'll miss this.  I think we've seen more of them, and more of Mom and Dad than we get to do while they are in town. Sometimes I roll my eyes, and sometimes we laugh, but just being together is just Good.


The theme today is "dreaming of" and seeing this makes me dream of what this little mini-deck will become. 
It all started because I asked Eric to move the piece of plywood so I could get out of his car.  
I'm not thin, and I don't like having to suck it all in when I exit the front passenger seat of his car. 
This time, I asked him to move the plywood, and it started a huge new project.  He was 'saving' that wood for a new platform (deck) to expand the little landing we have. When we built this temporary staircase, it landed right into the grass, but then we decided a little extra space so the dog could wipe her feet would help. So he built the landing, and put a rug on it for cleaner dog toes. Then the rug got moldy, and we probably ought to buy a new rug if we're going to expand the landing, which is what he was saving that extra plywood for.  Plus we could get the ramp for Princess off the front porch, if we took the legs off, now we can put the grill out there.  He's building a deck. He won't admit it's a new deck. But there have been 2 trips to Lowe's, online ordering of course, and we're banging on wood and putting things together.  Yes, we're building a deck, because I asked him to move the plank of wood.  This reminds me of the time we had to overhaul the pantry and put up entire shelves because I asked him to put away shot glasses that we had received for Christmas. 
Yes, very similar.  But hey, at least we should get a pretty new deck, and a bit more space to birdwatch outdoors.  So I'm dreaming of all of that. 


Meanwhile, while the boys did yard work this weekend, I did a splash of laundry at my mother in laws, and worked on this scarf I'm making with a yarn that Chris chose.  It turned out a little bit curly, but charming.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The New World

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It's a Quiet Saturday.  I will miss these days when the Quarantine ends.  Our calendar has opened up, and Eric has had a chance to get productive things done.  Today he mowed the lawn, and continued working on a mini-deck for the backyard.  So I didn't see him much during the day.  


I got a present. 
A few weeks ago, my friend Kathy A. posted about music albums that have made a difference in her life, and she chose this one.  On this CD are two pieces, The New World Symphony from Dvorak and the Moldau by Smetana.  I love both of these pieces.  In fact, I keep trying to get my echo dot (Computer) to play them on Amazon Music. It used to be great at name that tune, but lately has been overwhelmed by advertisements, and it wants me to pay for Amazon Music Unlimited.  Whatever. 
I'm not doing that.  I just bought this CD instead.  Now I can play the Moldau or New World Symphony when I want to. They calm me.  New World Symphony was Christopher's song when I was pregnant with him.  Moldau has been keeping me sane during this Quarantine,
 I play it repeatedly. 

This was weeks ago I ordered the CD, so what a great surprise that it arrived today. I popped it into my computer upstairs, as I potched around the craft room. I've been working on reorganizing up here.  It doesn't look like much, but we now have room for two chairs.  Yesterday, I received a nice lumbar supporting desk chair for my Birthday, and today, I have it all set in here, with room to swap out as I can.

I'm sitting in my craft room, on my happy pink chair. 
I printed off some things, blogged a bit, and I haven't done that in weeks. 
It felt good to be productive. 

I feel like things are going to open back up in the coming days.  I'm not sure I feel good about that. I'm a homebody now, and I don't want to start full in to my old schedule.  I feel like I've only recently gotten a grasp on this new schedule.  There's a part of me that doesn't want to change it again. 
I like having my family safe and sound at home with me.  
When things open up again, life will be different.  I think I'm afraid of that.
All the more reason to have some good calming music to listen to, I am thankful my new CD arrived.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Art Therapy

It was another day of E-Learning today.  
When doing this times 3, I have trouble.  
They weren't very good at taking turns today, so I had to separate them out, and rotate.  
Sam had computer trouble, then Chris did.  Then Chris and Jacob had meltdowns.  
I recall at one point, Jacob stomping off screaming, "How can I have a meltdown when I don't know what a meltdown is?!"  
Umm...that was one. 


Chris looked the part while using his ipad for German on an app called schoology.  
He's gotten a bit behind due to technical difficulties and tantrums, but today he got caught up. 
We should be on time and have everything turned in tomorrow. 


One of Jacob's assignments was "Read in a Monster Voice". 
I told him his monster sounded nice, and he lost his mind.  
He was going for Scary.  I kind of liked this monster.  
Apparently, that wasn't what we were going for. 


One of his assignements was to pick a book and read for 30 minutes. 
He read Ivanhoe, kind of an abridged version, for an hour, and read the whole thing. 
Getting him to 'write a journal entry' on it took 4 hours and pretty much the rest of the day. 


Sam worked on music, but sharing with us a game he played in Music class at school, "Musical War". He taught Jacob to play, and the two spent most of the afternoon at it.  
Fine by me. They learned whose beats are the longest, and because the whole note conquers all. 
I think the current situation teaches people we can't go without music therapy and art therapy. 
I've been trying to incorporate music, art, and something physical into every day around here. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it's a Battle. 

I am not a Teacher.  
God Bless Them. 

It was a rough day, Jacob had multiple poo issues, after 3 great days of cleanliness, I was heartbroken, sad, and angry.  By the 2nd mess, I had to leave the house.  Fresh air is good for me.  I remember being on bedrest with him and smelling fresh air on the people who came to visit me.  It was heavenly then, and now I just go for a ride.  I have a pile of stuff to deliver to people on the table in the front hall, and sometimes I just have to pull something off the table and Go. Today my friend Kelley was the recipient of Chocolate and Kumon work, and I got to step away for fresh air. 

My friend Suellen posted a picture yesterday that said something about her daughter doing something for "Chalk Art Club" and I thought to myself....
That's what we need!  
We need a Brownsburg Chalk Art Club! 
So I started one.  

Then I put my children to task, and hopefully others in the area, by sending them outside to color something Blue. 


Jacob created this elaborate story about this robot hero who did something, and was over here, then over there, and I didn't really understand it.  
But he let me take his picture. 
Let me just say, there was plot and multiple graphics, and he was covered in chalk. 
It must've been Good. 


This was our hero, the blue robot. 


I happened to luck out with this picture.  
His smile with teeth, and covered in chalk. 


Sam came out to color. 
He made a great large sun, and the waves of the sea. 
I think this kid wants to go to the Beach. 
Me too. 


The last of my cherry blossom blooms in the wind. 


There's a beauty in a dandelion. 


Looks like we might have a new family of ducks taking up residence in the swamp in our backyard. 
Another fun spring. 



Christopher drew this beautiful window, and in it a view of a street, and a house across the street. 
It was fantastic. But for some reason, I didn't get a picture of the finished product. 


Probably because I got distracted with this.  
I kind of love how he puts his whole body into drawing. 


Peace. 
He chose to simply write Peace. 
There's something good and beautiful about that. 
I wish I didn't have to argue so much to get them to go outside, or get them to do their schoolwork. 
I suspect that once this quarantine ends, they won't want to leave then either, except maybe to eat at Golden Corral.