Category Archives: Family

Summer doings

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This illustration is from Beatrix Potter’s book Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes. 

Here is a quick hello and an almost-summertime update. The crush of the spring semester is over, so we are all relaxing a bit – except that mom is rushing full tilt into organizing mode now that there is more time. The picture above struck me as perfect for the boys’ activity these days; they have been planting seeds (apple and kiwi, and others, I believe) and watering them, and digging holes to the center of the earth, and digging up treasures in the driveway. I have been keeping out of the garden this spring but I did promise the boys that we could ask Gramp if he would help them to plant a few things when he and Granny come to visit soon.

Snow and ice and vipers, oh my!

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I got “grown up” markers for Christmas:)

“Stay away from us if you don’t want to get sick! We have a viper!”

“A virus.”

“A virus!”

The day before the snow came, two of the boys came down with a “viper.” Poor boys; I found one draped motionless and silent on an armchair, and another fast asleep and rosy cheeked on the sofa.

“Dad says this viper is really catching.”

As usual, Dad was right – the next day, when the snow hit, three of us fell one after the other, like dominoes. However, two of the boys were already better, and two of us weren’t sick until the evening, so we got some good sledding in on the first day. The snow was too cold to pack to make a snowman – that was the very first thing our four-year-old wanted to try. But the sledding was awesome.

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Mostly awesome

Our back yard is a hill of four tiers – that is, it slopes, then levels out briefly, four times before you hit the woods. I wasn’t sure whether a sled would stop at each tier, or just keep going – it turns out it keeps going, and fast! It was fun, for the oldest and I, but not safe for the littlest ones, so they sledded down the side yard.

The littles reacted differently to sledding. I brought the two middle ones on a ride down the hill and into the driveway. The smaller hopped out ready for more, but the other was silent and a little solemn.

“Did you like that?” I asked him.

“Y-es,” he said uncertainly. Then he looked at me with a troubled expression, and said, “But I wasn’t having fun.”

“Oh! Was it too scary?” I asked. He nodded. “It is a little scary,” I said.

That little one left to set off stomp rockets (a wonderful invention, and a present from Gramp and Granny for Christmas) in the back yard, while the littlest ones and I kept on.

They loved it. Both spilled out once; and another time, the bigger boy in front spilled out, leaving a pile of snow and his two-year-old brother in the sled. I looked at the latter, to see how he’d taken this latest ride. He beamed up at me.

“We crashing!” he said happily.

While the boys were busy in the snow I took a ride or two solo down the big hill. The first time, I ran into a couple of briars that had looked more harmless than they proved to be. But I thought I’d smashed them down pretty well, so that they wouldn’t hurt me the second time. What I didn’t reckon on was that the second time I went down, I’d go much further than the first time, since the trail was packed; and I ended up in a much worse briar patch (see above.) Ouch.

We were snowed in for five days. When I told my brother in Minnesota how many inches of snow it was that shut down our fair city in the mountains, he laughed loud and long. We hardly ever get snow here, so when we do it’s a big deal. As a North Carolina parent pointed out to me when we first moved here, “They may laugh at us in Minnesota. But there, if you slide off the road, you aren’t liable to fall very far. That isn’t the case here.” A good point.

Now the warmer weather is back again, and we don’t need to light the stove anymore. The warmer weather is nice, but it really is lovely to build a fire and feel it warm the house – and to smell woodsmoke outside from the neighbors’ chimneys and our own.

 

Astro

This is Astro, our pet bunny.

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Astro, drawn by our nine-year-old

Or at an rate, this is what he looks like some of the time. Ordinarily, he appears as a mild-mannered rabbit. But by night, (and on occasion by day, as needed), he is Astro, the Crime-Fighting Rocket Rabbit! Defender of Liberty! Opponent of Oppression! Baleful Bane of Purveyors of Perfidy!

That’s what Daddy says, anyway. The boys are intrigued, but a little skeptical.

Every so often someone will look toward the rabbit’s enclosure and remark, “Where’s Astro?”

“He’s out fighting crime, of course,” Daddy will calmly reply.

The children watch, and within a few minutes the bunny comes into view.

“No, he’s right there!” they cry.

“Looks like he’s back. I told you he was quick. He goes very fast with his rocket jet-pack.”

The children still aren’t sure. It’s fun to have a rabbit with a secret life.

 

Teenager

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Mom serving pizza for dinner, drawn by Little Man, age 4

“Mom,” said my 4-year-old son, “You look like a teenager.”

“Why thank you!” I said, tickled, but surprised. ” Why do you say I look like a teenager?”

“Well, you are small. And teenagers are small, too. But not small like me.”

Some days ago he said suddenly, “Mom, I like you. But,” he added, “I don’t like it when you are grumpy.” (I don’t like it, either. I try to remember that, as I heard it said once, “The mother is the emotional and spiritual center of the family.” Or, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”)

Little Man is a funny, happy, very imaginative kid; I love to hear all the things he says.

Breakfast conversation

The scene: two brothers at breakfast, one with his face in his eggs.

“He is eating with his mouth. Maybe he’s going to turn into a beast.”

“I would like to turn into a whale.”

“Most definitely not. Most likely you’d turn into a pig, because pigs eat with their mouths.”

“Mommy, what do whales eat?”

“Pigs eat mostly vegetables. Squished up vegetables.”

“Mommy, may I have honey on my toast please?”

“Stop eating with your hands! Stop eating with your mouth! Maybe we should sign him up for polite class.”

“With a collar on my head.”

Busy

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Although it is summer vacation, things seem busy, but partly that is because things are a little disorganized without a school schedule. It is hot, not dreadful, but we are indoors more, and the boys are doing lots of drawing. Gramp and Granny (that is a portrait of them, above) came for a wonderful visit last week. My husband and I got to go on a mini vacation. We sat by a lake in rocking chairs – I did nothing but look at flowers and geese and clouds and trees for simply an age. I haven’t done that in years!! It was lovely. Gramp and Granny, you are the best.