Thursday, May 30, 2013

Garden Tour

Mom went out of town this week.  I know (gasp) she never left when she lived with me.  Anyhow the previous tenants had dug out this little bed by a small retaining wall in front of the house and it was just bare dirt.  The house has a REALLY bad case of ugly so I thought I would use the opportunity to plant some hardy stuff over there because I'll be looking it for the next 20 years or so.  I split a couple of hostas and put a couple of nice chunks on each side of the walk and planted little yellow moss rose flowers in the bed.  I also sprung for a couple of el cheapo solar lights in hopes of keeping Mom from breaking her neck on the two steps that are there.  I had a little mulch left in a pile on my driveway from the 5 cubic yards I'd had delivered a few weeks ago so I put that down.  It's going to be up to Mom to keep it watered but I don't believe it will be too high maintenance.  I'd like to put some sort of low growing perennial there since who the heck knows who will live there next and it would be nice to have something there besides overgrown grass.  I'm not sure what to put since perennials have such a short bloom season and I don't really want to spend money.  Then again I'm the one who looks at it the most.

A year or so ago Sonny Boy built this little birdhouse for a scout project.  Last year we had a House Wren move and hatch a brood.  This year he came back and lured himself another baby momma.  Open the lid....

 and there are two tiny little eggs each about as big as the nail on my little finger.

It seems the first peony bloomed today.  Looks like I have a lot of old fashioned varieties as they don't have all those pretty ruffled petals.  It could be I just have some stunted plants.  I don't know.
This doesn't look like much (ignore the pile of tulip debris please) but someday I hope to have this bed filled with a large assortment of hostas and ferns.  It's a REALLY big bed so to plant it all at once would likely send Hubby into sticker shock.  In order to keep him from having a financial crisis I buy one or two hostas a year, divide some from my larger chunks around the yard and add to it.  This year a put some coleus in - honestly they are really there, just too little to see - to try and fill some space.  The bed starts looking better as all the tulip foliage goes away.
I found this cute little hummingbird feeder at the garden center.  I put it up and had birds already the next day.  I couldn't believe they found it so fast.   I'm sitting on the porch writing this and watching one at it right now!  I really have a crush on hummingbirds.
On each side of my front porch steps I have these big wall things.  I don't really like them overly much, but they beg for plants.  This is this year's trial.  I'm not sure how that sweet potato vine is going to do and the grass in this pot sure seems floppy, the other pot actually looks a little better.
The wooded area behind the house is in full bloom with this wild phlox.  It's pretty invasive and I usually let some it go in my big bed and pull it up once it's done.  Seems to be the only thing with big color this time of year.
...and then there is this.  Hubby dragged it home a couple of weeks ago.  Isn't it lovely with that blue steering console?  We will add to the red-neck-ification this weekend when we go get the camper out of storage and the following week bring down FIL's old truck.  I'm thinking at least one vehicle is going to get parked over at Mom's place just so we don't look so junky.
Well that's spring tour 2013.  Things will grow, things will die, and I'll mow, weed, and drag the hose around a lot in the meantime. 
Happy Growing

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Oregon Trail

Currently my obsession is planning our big trip to Oregon this summer.  Hubby and I haven't had more than a long weekend without kids since..... since going to Ukraine to get another child.  I'm excited for it and while Oregon wasn't my first choice I'm beginning to see why families packed up their covered wagons and feared the great unknown to get there.  Thankfully I only have get on an airplane.

This is "use up all your miles / points travel" at it's best.  I wiped my frequent flyer account that had been hoarding miles since going to Ukraine.  I don't fly that much, but much of the adoption expenses were paid for with a mileage credit card.  Honestly I'm surprised the miles were still there.  Alas with all the flying around Hubby does, he for some reason doesn't have frequent flyer miles and he flies somewhere at least once every two - three months.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he just hasn't signed up for all the frequent flyer things as he bounces around airlines a lot.

The other wipeout the rewards is with Hilton.  Hubby does tend to stay at Hilton properties when traveling for work and has earned enough to pay for a good chunk of our trip.  We will have to cough up one possibly two nights lodging as there are no Hilton properties within a reasonable drive of where we will be.  I'm eyeballing a couple of kitchey little motels that look like something from 1955.  I can't decide if I should do that or go with a chain that might have more quality control and bigger prices.  I guess I'll flip a coin.  It won't the first time I've stayed in divey joint so I'm kind of leaning toward the mom and pop place.  We will also stay at some relatives homes while there too.

The hardest part has been figuring the rental car conundrum.  If I get a car at the airport it's $55 a day.  If I get a car in downtown Portland it's $25 a day.  Sounds like an easy figure out, however cab fare from downtown to the airport runs about $40 and returning the car would be a major pain in the butt.  Last night I did figure out we can take the light rail system to downtown and walk only half a block that cost a whopping $5 for both of us.  The worst will be schlepping luggage onto public transportation.  We still have the car return problem though, but I'm hoping the relatives will help us out with that and we can return it a day early and bum a ride to the airport from them.  (Probably not a problem)  But I need to contact them and confirm before I book the rental car.

Activities planned while there is a trip to Crater Lake National Park, whitewater rafting the Umpqua River, a leisurely drive up the Oregon coast, visits to two cousins and an uncle (Hubby's), Multnomah Falls, Mt. Hood (from afar - not going to climb it of course) and general oohing and ahing over the scenery from a girl born in a place that is table top flat.

I wish it would hurry up and get here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Tornado and The Old Lady

Children born into their biological families of course have their own personalities.  Even twins often  vary personality wise to quite a degree.  Not being an experienced mom with a baseball team of my own, I often ponder the nature vs. nurture question when met with the polar opposites that are my children.  Mixing in those four capitalized letters of A-D-H-D plays with the chemistry of the beast as well.

The Tornado (Sonny Boy) hits the floor every morning leaving a wake of mess and destruction behind.  It's go, go, go, go, go until we chase him into bed, he's forced to be horizontal and still for 45 seconds and he passes out from exhaustion.  Like a  real tornado, my Tornado often moves through life without forethought or malice but often leaves hurts, and tears behind him.  A tornado is a complex weather pattern that is difficult to predict and hasn't really been figured out yet by scientist.  My Tornado is a complex kid, brilliantly smart and funny one minute and yet prone to take wild detour into crazyland at a moments notice.  It's difficult living with a Tornado in the house.  I am in awe of it's unbelievable power, it's unique beauty, and zest for life.  On the flip side I fear it's destructive power to tear my material possessions apart, and sometimes my sanity.  My biggest fear for the Tornado is that they often tear themselves apart with self destructive behavior.

The Old Lady (Igor) is just that. Really, it's such a good description in two words I have a hard time expanding the metaphor.  Igor worries and frets about things to come.  He MUST have a plan for the day and it is unwise to vary that plan or the Old Lady get's crotchety.  The Old Lady likes things neat and will often tidy things without being told to, though often has messes of his own about that don't bother him at all.  The Old Lady likes to be helpful and is often underfoot offering to help and voicing his opinion about the project at hand.  Like an old lady, Igor often forgets himself from time to time and acts like a kid (thank goodness).  Hubby and I often joke that if ever there was a personality perfect for military service it would be Igor, as he would thrive in a regimented environment - too bad his health issues will exclude him from taking that route.  My biggest worry for The Old Lady is that he will become such a stick in the mud he will forget to have fun in life and not sweat the small stuff.
Igor's first pack meeting as an official Cub Scout 
For all of the boy's differences they balance each other well.  Two Tornados or two Old Ladies would be way more than I could ever handle.  I guess it proves the fact that God never gives you more than you can handle - though certainly He makes your load difficult at times.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mow, Mow, Mow, Go, Go, Go

Seems like all that we ever do lately is mow the lawn and run from one appointment / activity to another.  I have a sneaky suspicion that the summer is going to play out mostly like that.  We got the estimate back for cabinets for the kitchen remodel and after we picked ourselves up off of the floor, decided we needed to wait on FIL's estate to be settled out so we would have a better grasp on what our financial situation is.  Honestly this suits me fine, as I really wasn't gung ho to live in a construction zone for the summer after finally getting my house back to myself again.  We will still likely remodel the kitchen as the plans have turned up a very practical (maybe not magazine worthy) but attractive kitchen.

Mowing has become a full time sport.  The grass is growing so fast one can practically watch it from the windows.  Not only the amazing speed with which it grows but the entire corner of the block we are now mowing.  We have a relatively large lot, we have Mom's postage stamp of weeds (that I've sprayed with killer) and our neighbor's medium size lot.  Why the neighbors?   Neighbor had abdominal surgery 3 weeks or so ago and is unable to mow.  Neighbor's wife is working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week and his adult children aren't worth spit.  Neighbor has helped us out of a pinch so many times that it's really not a problem, just the fact of keeping so many yards presentable at once has meant a lot of time pushing the mower around.

We are in the final countdown before school lets out and summer begins.  Currently I've been trying to either do everything appointment and task before school ends or pushing everything into August.  FIL clean-up, camping, camps, vacations and the like are filling the calendar quicker than I could imagine.  I still need to squeeze swim lessons for Igor in as well.  Thank goodness Sonny Boy has opted out of baseball, I don't think I could contend with that as well.

Well I must run - as usual.  The boys are putting on a Memorial Day concert at school and since I missed Sonny Boy's spring concert and a little show put on by Igor (because I plain forgot) Mom and I are planning to go. 

Enjoy your Memorial Day and remember our fallen soldiers.

Hubby's Grandfather U.S. Navy WWII - South Pacific
FIL, U.S. Army 1st Cavalry, Vietnam
Hubby U.S. Air Force (thank God no war service)
Don't you think Hubby looks a lot like his Grandpa?  He doesn't favor his dad as much at least in these pictures but there is an occasional picture of his dad where the same genes are very evident.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ohh, the Horror

A couple of weeks or so ago Sonny Boy started reporting that all the girls at school hated him.  We probed a little deeper, and according to him every time we walked by all the girls (with exclusion of three) they would jump back, scream, tell him he was weird, gross and just be generally overdramatic little witches.  We gave him the general advice of ignore it, because they probably like you and are trying to get your attention.  Sonny Boy gave it some time, and I'm sure he did his best to ignore the crazy behavior, but it wasn't improving. 

Hubby decided to be proactive (I had promised not to call the school since the "gay" incident) and called the counselor without Sonny Boy's knowledge.  The school counselor in her conversation with Hubby remarked "those third grade girls are something else this year."  Ms. Counselor had lunch with Sonny Boy that day to get the scoop straight from the horse's mouth.  Sonny Boy told her that it was really mostly two girls - a far cry from ALL the girls - and named the ring leaders.  Ms. Counselor called the ring leaders in and talked to them and the only reason they could come up with that Sonny Boy was weird or gross is that at their spring concert - where all the girls were dressed up - he told several that they "looked pretty".  Oh how horrible!  My son handing out compliments makes him "gross"!  The counselor talked to the girls and it seems the shrieking behavior has stopped.

In the middle of all this drama, the local high school was putting on a performance of Les Miserable.  I'd been to several of the performances of other plays;  the kids do a really impressive job and figured it was a cheap night out for Mom and the kids.  When I told Sonny Boy that we were going the night before he was excited, as it seemed one of his classmates (one of three non-shrieking girls) was also in the play. I asked Sonny Boy as I picked him up at school if he wanted to take flowers to the girl at the end of the show, as I was hoping to foster some positive interaction with one of the nice girls.   Sonny Boy was all for that so we picked up some carnations on the way to the play.  After the play Sonny Boy darted out of the auditorium and found the little girl from his class and gave her the flowers.  Little Girl was thrilled he was there and reportedly hugged him like five times.  I was later told those were the "best hugs ever". 

Sonny Boy now reports that he LIKES Little Girl, and he's pretty sure Little Girl LIKES him but she won't admit it.  Ahh, young love.  Thank God school is over in couple more weeks.

All the boy / girl drama is worrisome for third grade though.  My scout mom friend and I had lunch the other day, and she reported some of the same antics from the girls towards her sons (twins in the same class as Sonny Boy.)   Boyfriend/Girlfriend relationships are so pushed on kids so young.  Watch any of those silly shows on Disney that draw in the pre-teens and you'll see crazy antics designed to get the opposite sex's attention.  I don't blame it all on TV of course, but I'd bet a good chunk of it comes from there.  I'm pretty sure I was still pretty interested in Barbies in third grade.

With all this drama before puberty is even really close I don't even want to imagine the middle school years.  All I can say is that I hope science comes up with some sort of implantable birth control for men by the time high school hits or I'm afraid I might become a very young grandma.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yes! I'm still alive (somehow)

To do a quick list of all the busy we've had going on here:

Flew down to Arkansas with Mom, rented U-Haul, loaded it, and drove it back in a three day span.

Unloaded U-Haul into Mom's rental (right next door) and moved the heavy stuff around for her and have left her to do the rest.  Mom is adjusting well I guess, I know my stress level went dramatically down.  I still go over and drag her out to walk around the block and she comes over and eats 2-3 times a week.  The best part is her craziness and nosiness are not right in my face all day.  Grant it she's still nosey, calling me the other day when I'd gone to a appointment and running errands " I see you've been out today" but at least she's not rummaging through my grocery sacks and mail before I get to it.

Sonny Boy had a spell of nastiness.  I requested his pediatrician up his ADHD medicine and he wouldn't since his grades were still good, a few days later shit hit the fan with him and after another trip to the pediatrician, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and now ongoing therapy with the psychologist and an increased dose of meds (that I said we needed in the first place) he's getting back to his normal self.  The psychologist tested him both on and off meds and seems to think he needs an even bigger dose.  I may hold off on the bigger dose until school starts back in the fall as long as we can keep things calmer around here, we'll see.

Spring has finally sprung and trying to get things done in the house is very hard when gorgeous weather and sunshine beckon me.  Therefore the yard looks very good - the interior of the house is embarrassing.

We are debating the merits of me flying up to MN and working a week and then Hubby bringing the kids up for another week and we will have a giant yard sale and try to clean up FIL's property.  Really it's such a mess that a month's worth of work probably wouldn't be enough.  The overwhelming bit of that mess sends Hubby, SIL, BIL, and I into stress overload.  Frankly I think we just need to dive in and get it done so it's not constantly hanging over our heads.

I've kept myself really busy and I'm loving having the house to myself during the day, I wish school would last another month as honestly I get so much accomplished when I don't have to stop and referee kids, feed kids and clean up their messes faster than I can get anything done.  Honestly I'd love to be able to get a good spring cleaning done before school is out but in reality it ain't gonna happen.  I'm going to settle for somewhat organized, not disgusting, and presentable.

My summer calendar is filling up so fast it makes me ill.  Vacations, camps, camping trips, etc etc are all on the books and I still don't have one good camping trip planned for the boys and I which I really hope to squeeze that in sometime too.

So yes, I'm still alive and so busy, but it's good.  (I'm not saying that too loud because you know how it goes)