Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Packing Up Blues

Well, after a little help from my friends, I am very nearly finished packing up fourth grade. I believe that closing up my room is one of the huge negatives of a teaching career.
Big news, at least for me, it was my last year in fourth grade. So lots and lots of decisions to be made about what to keep and what to hand over to the new kid in town.  I am tuckered.
 I am looping with these kidlets and moving on up to fifth grade.  I've asked to move for a few years, just ready to do something different. This was such a lovely class, even though it's the biggest one in our school.  I might have had just  a moment's hesitation after spending many hours finishing permanent record and report cards, but not for long.  I'm more than happy to have this group again.
They've all already met 1st. Lt. and I'll be doing a big unit on Afghanistan when we return. It will be good to be busy and have to do a lot of planning this summer.
Can't imagine my concern when learning that 1st Lt. arrived in Afghanistan, but not his final destination and is currently a resident of the sidewalk, while awaiting a flight out that could take seven days.  You know, I think they can't surprise me, but then they do.
A friend, and master teacher in my book, is retiring. Just isn't willing to do it "their" way.  She said they were told not to worry about putting craft type supplies like crayons and markers on the kid's supply list as they won't be having time for those things anymore.
Could someone, anyone, explain to me why you need to tell teachers who have a successful track record years long, how to do their job.
Our staff received a great gift of books from her.
Bean's last game before tournament was tonight. He has really improved in all areas this spring.
First Playdate tomorrow.  It would have been nice to take a week break from everything.  I feel like someone has been shoving me in the back this entire month.  We are moving to a balanced calendar and my summer will be done on August 2, so I just didn't want to lose any time.  Last week it was over 90 degrees and tomorrow is calling for near perfection at 78.  I do hope to have a bonfire, so perhaps the predicted storms will hold off a few hours.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Musings from the Garden

My hydrangeas have lost their minds.  That mild winter must of have been very pleasing to them and to show their pleasure they are putting on an amazing show, not quite like anything I've ever found in a nursery catalog.  I've always understood that bloom color was based on the acidity or not of the soil.  This particular bush was a gift to Handy Many from my family when he lost his father.  The tag said it was blue, but would need acidic soil to remain so. I've tried to oblige, as blue is what the Handy Man likes. First of all, this puppy is now about 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide and  secondly it is popping out all over in an amazing array of colors.  I have a rainbow in my yard.

Would you prefer pale pink?

 Dark blue?
Light blue?

 Dark pink?
 Lavendar, purple, pink, yes we have that too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So Long Fourth Grade

 Well, Friday marked the end of another very successful school year.  State standardized scores are in  and  my kiddos did great, thank the Lord.  Often I'm blessed to receive a few gifts at the end of the year. I was surprised however to see  all these parents walking in with these three big blue bags.  I couldn't imagine what in the wide world could have been in those bags.  I assumed the album was likely pictures of kids, which it was, in addition to many kind notes from kids and parents,  but beyond that I had no idea.  Anyway, they gave me a card and the card said, "All year you have loved and cared for our babies. Now it's our turn to care for yours." The bags were filled to the brim with items 1st Lt. can receive in Afghanistan.  In addition, was a package of notes my students wrote to him and also notes from their families.  The card also contained a hundred dollars for me to mail the stuff to  him. Oh my!  Tears galore.  More than anything I guess was just the understanding of those sweet families that the 31year old who is now on another continent will always be the child of my heart. Such a touching kindness.
This will also be so fun for Bean and Bugg to pick a few things each week for us to mail to him. An amazingly wonderful gift.
 Another friend left me the surprise of a new garden implement and a wonderful book and the water table is out, so I've officially kicked off summer.
 I believe I've given a report on this little water table before, but I will again as this is its sixth year to be rode hard and put up wet and it's still standing and stable and our newest playmates were loving it!
Other Big News- the boy is walking.   Let's see, set your eyes on the goal.
 Hunker down a bit until you get your balance.
 Then off you go!
 Wha, la- arrival at the new chickie baby play yard with a big guy cousin ready to show me the ropes!
 Then, perhaps a little snuggle!
Bean has always loved the little ones.
Last, but most assuredly not least- Happy Birthday to my lifetime love.  We scooted across the river to view the Samurai Exhibit at the Frazier Museum,  then enjoyed a dee-wish-us meal at Morton's.  
What you doing this holiday weekend?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Many More I Wonder

I'm guessing if 1st Lt. were home, he'd be seeing this young man to his final resting place. Prayers for the Fields family.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Midnight Special

For several years before I finished my teaching degree, I worked with autistic children.  I came upon this video through another blog.  My heart was always broken for these parents who were constantly trying to make others understand why their son or daughter behaved in unexpected ways.  I love that this guy doesn't seem the least bit affected by the little boy dancing and wanting to feel his guitar.  Not to mention, I love some good pickin' and folk music-oh, and old hippies.
Praise the Lord for another day of perfect weather for my last field trip of the year.
Sunday, an e-mail from 1st Lt. said he was in Baltimore.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Girls with Curls, or Not

Not only did I get a little snuggle with our new baby girl, but big sister Buttercup wanted to come home with me from Mom's last Sunday, Mother's Day. It was such a treat to be able to spend some one on one time with her.  First she wanted to pick the eggs.  Then it was time for some swinging.  She was not in the least deterred by the gentle misty rain falling, so I decided I wouldn't be either.
I so wish I had a video of this particular swing experience.  I grabbed an umbrella for me and put a towel on her head and a plastic bag I found in the car around her shoulders.  It was a long clear bag and when I started swinging her it came undone and looked just like she had a set of big, translucent wings. She laughed and laughed and laughed at her fairiest self.
 Next, we needed a change of clothes and some play dough fun.  A little beauty shop here.
 By this time she'd worked up an appetite and felt the need for one of the eggs she had picked. Which she scarfed right down.
It was a fun time.  
On Thursday Miss Swee-tee came back to my classroom to find the eggs she's put in the incubator transformed.  She was so gentle with them and this yellow one was her favorite.  She held it for the longest time.  So cute.
Ahhh, that's a big part of the reason I keep this egg/Chickie girl thing going. And well, another reason are these amazing eggs.  The yolks looked like you colored them with a deep orange crayon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Caution-Long Post
I am not much of a squealer and, traditionally, not a lover of surprises, but today was an exception.  As I've mentioned before, May is so incredibly full, busy, crazy and stressful.  Add some unusual things, like lots of folks I love going through some tough times, my kid leaving for a third world terrorist country and some things I don't even know how to classify,  and it just hasn't been a lot of fun being me.  It seemed as if I have just slogged through this week, trying to keep my emotions in check and my head above water.  
Tuesday was my big fourth grade  field trip to Indy, which includes a long visit at Conner Prairie.  Somehow it was so bittersweet, as that is where 1st Lt. did his training and it was the day of his more official deployment.  That means for a time now, as they actually leave the country, he's off the grid for us.  No more texts, his truck is sitting in my drive, Ceece adrift on this new sea.  Anyway, I got into a conversation with a woman there (volunteer at Conner Prairie), and we got on the subject of 1st Lt.'s deployment and she asked his name and how long he would be gone. She told me, "I will pray for Adam and his family everyday all year."  Ahhh, sweet.  Then I actually got to the talk to the blacksmith that trained him.  Earlier, at the Indiana History Museum and the Capitol, there were military reminders everywhere.
Field trips are always so exhausting for me, without the missing.  I didn't get home until 9:30. Then back to school Wednesday for another full day, all day and then more of the same today.  I was so tired, I had no idea how I was going to get through the evening entertaining the poopies and still have some energy to prepare lunch for the Sisters coming to visit tomorrow.
Anyhoo, I waltzed in this afternoon and there on the table lay a package for me. Hmmm, did I order something?  Airmail?  What is that exactly?  Funny, my next thought was, "Oh, oh, it's from 1st Lt." until I realized, he isn't anywhere to send something airmail yet, duh.  
Wait, wait, could it be the pattern from that nice Australian artist I met through her blog?  Squeeal!  Is that it, she really sent it? I mean, I know she said she would, but people are busy and it's soooo expensive to send packages these days.

But wait, that isn't a flat package. Would a pattern be lumpy?  Let's open it.  Yes, here's the pattern of the lovely little gnomes I so enjoyed. Squeeeal! And this adorable little box. With a tiniest gift card with a wee felt heart and bitsiest felt leaf. Squeeaal! And inside the card, in the loveliest, tiniest writing, a note that read, "A friendship offering, which I hope will be enjoyed."  Be still my heart, such sweetness.

What, I don't believe it! SQEEEAAAL!!! Inside was the family, the cutest ever gnome family, made with the tiniest stitches and the most detail I've ever seen. SQUEEAAAL!

That little basket is full of fall goodness in such minute detail and each piece so perfect.

 Lastly, a beautiful postcard.  Wow! Wow!  Looking back at the package it noted the worth at $20. Wow!  I couldn't even put a price on it.  I have already looked at all of it ten times and every time it makes me smile so big and delights my heart.
I have always been weird about gifts, because I'm weird about things I like.  I do not mean to be, but I've never been into purses, or shoes, or jewelry. It just doesn't do much for me.  I have however always been into woodland lore of fairies, gnomes, elves and am endlessly fascinated with detailed stitchery.  Hence my having to find an audience around the globe, because I've never found anyone close that shares my interest and fascination.
So, I most humbly and gratefully accept the gift of friendship, kindness and thoughtfulness from my "Fruits of the Heart" friend.  Thank you!
But hold on, that wasn't the end of surprises.  I got a second thing in the mail. Can you believe it?  The precious mama of a dear friend sent me a card with the most touching sentiment that melted my heart.
I love, love, handwritten notes and I got two in one day.
So, now it's eleven o'clock, so obviously such lavish surprises energized me for the evenings activities. It's surprising to me sometimes who extends their love in a tangible way that I can carry with me for days. I was truly blessed today.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Crazy Mayzie

A busy day.  No matter how many times I observe this, it never fails to fascinate.

 I never tire of the excitement generated in the classroom by these tiny babes.  It was touch and go with a couple of them.  I've never had this problem before, but two of the eggs were dry and I had help those wee chickies out of their wee shell.
Lots of frenetic activity between chicks, preparing Mother's Day gifts and a Spring Fling to round out the afternoon. 
Then it was time to turn my focus to my sister SuZQ's granddaughter's pre-prom activities. Once I waded through downtown horrific, everyone in the universe showed up, traffic, it was a fun time.

I'm ready for some weekend!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Tub Side View

Where did you spend the weekend?  I spent it tub side with my sweet babies.  It was time for Baby Giddy-ups pictures, but first he needed to meet his sweetest little new cousin.


Hmmmm, is there something more interesting out there.

I'll just stay put and keep splashing away!

When one gets in, they all follow.

Can't think of a better way to spend my time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

In the Garden

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley 

A sweet family blessed me with a garden center gift card when Kaye passed away.  I wanted to wait until I had time to walk around and think about how I wanted to use it.  I have a Pussy Willow someone had given me for Daddy, as well as a front garden bed overrun with vinca from a one of his baskets.  I like having things to watch grow and change, and to remember.

 When you have the behemoth yard I have here, you wouldn't think it be challenge finding a place to put another garden spot, but it causes me some stress.  It can't be in the path the wee folk take in their fleet of motorized vehicles, because careful drivers they ain't.  It can't be where additional parking is needed when we have 40 people for dinner. Can I keep a 5 gallon bucket of bubble solution from accidentally falling over in it? We do some serious bubble making here.  It has to be far enough that the chickie girls won't be dust bathing in it, or close enough for me to shoo them out.  Why would I put it somewhere out of my general line of vision if it's for remembering and smiling?  I am very careful, or try to be, about another spot that Handy Man has to mow around.  Oh fuss and bother. 
 Finally, I returned to the closest bed that was overrun with, well lots of things-vinca, daffodils, Lily of the Valley, peppermint and even though I kind of loved the crazy wildness of it, the truth dawned that really, it just looked bad, so out half of it came to make room for the "Kaye Patch."  I chose several perennials and annuals in coral (which she loved) and bright blues. This picture doesn't do it justice. I love it and it will make me smile a lot.

Have you ever bought these?
You know, just roll them out and in two months you have a beautiful Old English Garden. Right.  I know better, but I still love these.  I only buy them when they've been shipped to a place like Big Lots or Tuesday Mornings for way less than the price on TV.  That probably means they are old and perhaps seed viability is diminished. That's okay. I mean what would you do if all 2000 seeds came up anyway?  I love them because you never what you are going to get.  It does create a weed barrier for a time, so you can easily move some of the seedlings out.  Between the two of these there are 25 different kinds of seeds, Many I will recognize from the seeding stage, but I love discovering a new flower and having to figure out what it is.  My summer entertainment.

Do you know what this is?  Ahhh, my garlic.  We keep trying to grow garlic and haven't had much luck so far. I read an interesting thing about garlic. If you can just get enough to keep planting, it will, over time, adapt to it's environment and perform well. This year we have it in three different places and will mark it and plant it back in the same place in the fall. 

So, in addition to the above, I've planted corn, zinnias, dill, basil, cumin, okra for Mom and Aunt Lois, squash,beans and nasturtiums, cosmos, marigolds and love in a mist as well. I so love the hope dropped in the soil with each tiny seed.
Happy Birthday Aunt Bett. I hope you and Aunt Lois are having a big ol' time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Loving It

The Kentucky Derby has never interested me much, but I sure love being off for Oak's Day.  I spent some of the morning shopping, the afternoon planting, and the evening fixing dinner and enjoying the company of a couple of special friends, who are retired teachers that come and help me in my classroom.
Remember this:

Well, it looks a little different now.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I used it to make a delicious salad with warm bacon dressing for a couple of other friends lunch, also teachers in this case, only not retired. 

 Fresh as fresh can be, along with a few lilacs, roses and clematis for the table.

Tonight I used the spinach to add to my kale, chard and mustard greens and the lettuce for a wilted salad.  I am in love with that little herb box.  The weather was quite warm this week, but I'm glad cooler temps are returning, as I hope to enjoy several more salads before these greens bolt and the herbs move in. Lands, gardening is infinitely easier when it is at waist level.
My cold seems to have turned the corner at last. I felt pretty lousy after working outside for  a couple of hours this afternoon, but my head hasn't been throbbing for quite some time now.  Such a lovely feeling.
I'm so excited about the little flower bed I redid today.  Pictures to come.  Happy Weekend!