Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wildflowers of Indiana

Over the weekend we made a collection of the flowers in bloom just now in our woods:

1. Jack-in-the-pulpit


3. Henbit (thanks Esther!)


5. Marsh Marigold

6. Blue Violet

7. Dutchman's Breeches



10. Trillium

11. Red Bud Tree


13. Honeysuckle

I'm having trouble finding the names of the others -- I'll have to keep looking. We're having rain, rain, and more rain. A good day for staying inside, sipping tea and reading books (not to mention keeping the kleenex handy for the cold).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Sunken Garden

On Monday Michael took us on a surprise outing to Garfield Park's Sunken Gardens and Conservatory.

I had no idea we had such a place around here. Lilacs were everywhere:

We had so much fun walking around the conservatory -- seeing many things that do not grow in our part of the world. Pomegranates:

The children loved running around and finding things.

So many things reminded me of my childhood garden in Uganda.

And it was all so reminiscent of the Kibble Palace in Glasgow.

Color and beauty were everywhere.

It's wonderful for the children to see banana plants in person!

And a few overgrown goldfish:

Sugarcane -- which I wished the children could have tasted as well as seen:

Orchids hung everywhere. There was even a vanilla orchid, but it wasn't in bloom.

Isn't this one amazing!

And the pitcher plant!! I was so excited to show this to the children since we had just read about it in science.

Another plant which I'm thinking also has special "features" for obtaining nutrients:

We saw a number of citrus trees:
And the incredible-smelling gardenia:

This blossom from the Shaving Brush Tree was probably my favorite of the trip. Isn't it the coolest?! (This picture is especially for you, Uncle Bill)

And a cocoa tree!

Dejavu David?

"Mom, mom, look at this worm!!"

The grounds were laid out as a European formal garden. The inside was definately more interesting to me.

After our flower tour we played at several of the play areas and enjoyed a picnic lunch.
The lovely weather has moved on and we are still having rain. However, the glorious green of May is already showing and I don't mind the rain so much.
David is suffering from a double ear infection -- poor thing. The rest of us are busy with school, chores and trying to fit everything into today. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Yard Sale

We all had fun at the Yard Sale on Friday. The weather was gorgeous (except for some strong wind) and it was a real treat to sit outside with "nothing" to do and enjoy the day with the children.

Andrew made this wonderful sign for us. When people saw our "small" sale they asked if this was the sale connected with the sign at the corner. Yes, it was. :)

I found enough to have somewhat of a decent size sale. It felt great to get things cleared out and to make $30 in doing so! The leftovers went to Salvation Army.

The children had fun selling chocolate chip cookies for 25 cents each. They sold 24!

Our weekend was full and now it is another week already. We had such gorgeous weather over the weekend. It is cooler and raining today, but perfect for settling in the perennials I transplanted yesterday.
I've been wanting to take a picture of my favorite redbud tree. Driving home yesterday I was horrified to find it had been mown over by the road construction going on. How sad. I got the picture, but not what I was expecting. I suppose it had to be done.
Looking at the picture, I should have stopped to "rescue" those lilies by the edge of the road!

Michael took us on a surprise outing yesterday, which I will blog about soon. For now it's back to school and chores and life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Review: Raiders from the Sea

The children and I just finished Raiders from the Sea by Lois Walfrid Johnson. (Thanks to Sean for the recommendation!)

This book tells the story of two young Irish children during the time of the Viking raids on Ireland. The book describes the preparations Irish families made for Viking raids and what happened when the Vikings came.

Bree, and her brother Devin, are the heroes of the story. Both are captured by the Vikings and taken on board the Viking ship, which is headed back to Norway. Can they escape and get back to their family, or will they end up in Norway?

The book has a strong Christian message. From a historical perspective, I feel as though the application of Christianity is a bit modern (not in keeping with the Christianity of the Viking era). However, this is just something I, as an adult history-lover/theology-lover notice.

The next book is on order at the library -- the kids can't wait!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goings On at Our House

This is what the upstairs futon currently looks like: the fruits of my felting labors after my wonderful deal-finding stop at Salvation Army on Monday. Lots of great colors for the fall, not so many bright and cheery ones for spring and summer. Oh well. Maybe I'll find those in the fall.

In between school today I dived into the mammoth task of changing out the seasons. My motivation: our neighborhood is having a garage sale this weekend and I think I might just try to host one. Why we were never alerted about this event until the signs went up on Wednesday outside our subdivision, I don't know! Advance warning would have helped.

Oh well, the work's all done now -- every one has their summer clothes in their drawers and the closets are all so organized! Cookies for a cookie table are baked and tomorrow we'll see how the garage sale goes.

Many thanks to my friend Ruth for awarding me the Uber Amazing Blog Award! Ruth lives in Ireland and I have enjoyed her blog for many months now. I do dream of meeting Ruth in person some day -- I think it is a dream that very well could turn into reality -- we'll have to see.

The week has been lighter than most -- just soccer and ballet to attend to, along with school and keeping the house running.

Our weather is picking up and we are scheduled to have 80-degree weather all weekend! Yay! I'm thinking hard about our garden -- how big we should make it, what to plant, etc.

I've been trying out a new pilates dvd and a bodyring -- to complement my exercise bike routine. It's nice to have a friend in the neighborhood who has expertise in this area. I guess we'll all know the results in a few months. :)

I'm reading Alison Weir's newest book on Katherine Swynford -- I do love Alison Weir!

The little boys are in the bath after an escapade with sidewalk chalk (I have an aversion to that stuff) and I'm feeling like I need to watch an episode of Monarch of the Glen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baby Cakes at the Park

It is so much fun to take pictures of David. I collected quite a few at the Art Museum Gardens last week.

He insisted on sitting close to Grandma to enjoy his lunch:

All the while making very cute faces and playing to the camera:

Eating chocolate cake was definately fun:

It was a bit like scooping up dirt and eating it!

Fortunately, there were plenty of wipes.

The most fun of all was playing in the little pond:

Who can resist?As a mother, I try to ask myself before acting, "Is this really dangerous? What would be the worst thing that happens if he really did fall in?"

My mothering instincts told me that any damage would be worth the fun. "Look at my fish, mom," says David:

Yes, the damage was worth the fun.

Try to imagine how hard it was to jump up and run to rescue my baby all the while choking back hysterical laughs and wishing I could have caught it all on video. Let's just say the other adults were having a hard time covering up their laughter too -- picture Baby Cakes falling into the pond, large stick in hand, terrified, but then immediately discovering it was only 6 inches deep and therefore able to stand up right away. The only problem was his hat, which somehow became lodged over his face. Poor thing stood in the murky water in a panic, stick in hand, scared more from the loss of sight than from the fall into the water. He really did look like a Marshwiggle.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review -- Lenten Lands

I just finished reading Lenten Lands by Douglas H. Gresham (step-son of C S Lewis). I was surprised at how captivated I was by this book, to the neglect of everything else I am reading.

Douglas tells the story of his early years in America, his parent's difficult marriage and subsequent divorce, his mother's aquaintance with C. S. Lewis and the eventual move to England which he made with his mother.

The book goes on to describe Douglas' and his mother's relationship with C. S. Lewis and how it unfolded over the years. It continues on through Douglas' mother's terrible illness, her death, and eventually the deaths of C. S. Lewis and his brother Warnie. All the while it tells the story of Douglas' life and how it was affected by all this.

Why was I captivated by this book? There was nothing really spectacular about it on the surface. I think it was the realism it portrayed. Douglas did not hide the ugly or the sad and I found it strangely comforting that someone so well known as C. S. Lewis and his family went through such a normal life with normal griefs and trials.

The book had an unexpected ending in the Afterward which made all the hardships of Douglas' life worthwhile. I won't spoil it for you.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Says Yellow -- #3

Today is a very grey sort of day (sometimes "grey" feels more expressive than "gray"). I feel in need of a "yellow post". :)

I tried to collect as many yellows as possible on our trip to the Art Museum Gardens last Friday.

Seeing the variety amongst the daffodils is inspiring.

Sometimes one can't help seeing something else -- like Fried Eggs Easy.

Others seem so delicate and lady-like:

These seem to communicate joy and energy:

I'm always impressed when seeing a "double":

Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils" comes to mind, looking at all these flowers. I would love to see thousands upon thousands of these flowers all in one place.

Some sweet little primroses -- I'm wondering if these are becoming more popular over here....

I saw these tiny little things and thought their tiny intricate-ness was adorable, but didn't catch their name.

Another bright splash of yellow:

And creamy yellow:

I hope you all have a good day enjoying, in some way or another, God's beautiful creation.