Biology lesson

We live in an old house, in the woods, in the south. It’s like a trifecta for creepy crawlies to be a presence in my life.  And I’m not just talking about the dirt dauber that just landed on my arm when I went to get a plate. Oh no. We have armadillos that like to dig up our yard. There is our friend the awesome possum who likes to get into our trash. Every once in a while you’ll come across a crawfish that came out of it’s hole, or a lizard who has decided to sun himself on the side of our porch.  Oh and snakes…but I’ll get to them in a minute.

I have a love/hate relationship with all these, plus the ones I haven’t mentioned. I love the ability to teach my girls a lesson in biology, to teach them about respect for living beings (except spiders, those buggers get squished). And as long as they don’t invade my house (I’m looking at you giant snake in the ceiling) I tend to leave them be. (This is true unless it is a danger to my girls. We tend to dispatch the venomous snakes to keep our girls from getting bitten.)

To this end, I have not fixed the torn screen on the window in my daughters bedroom because for a few years now, birds have been nesting there. What better way to teach my girls about the cycle of life than to watch a clutch of eggs hatch and then thrive before leaving as fluffy little mini Wrens off on adventure.  A few times now we’ve seen it from beginning to end. A happy slice of birdie life happening before our very eyes. There hadn’t been an issue until the other night. The girls check on their birds (yes of course they named them) every couple of hours, and the other night when they went to check on them there was a snake in the nest.

It was horrifying on multiple levels. A snake, only one pane of glass away from my girls bedroom (yikes.) The type of snake (hello rattlesnake…again, yikes) And the fact that my girls were completely distraught that it was eating their birds.  Now I had to drag crying girls away from the bedroom so super hero daddy could rid the nest of the snake (it was a rattlesnake, that thing is not going to live, sorry not sorry) and I could explain about predators and prey and the natural cycle of life. I did everything I could not to quote Lion King. It wasn’t a terribly long episode, over in just a few minutes and only one baby bird was lost. But it was a lesson. Not only in the cycle of life, but in how important it is to tell us if they come across a snake, as well as what kinds of snakes we are willing to let live in really close proximity to us. It won’t be but a few days and the baby Wrens will be flying away, and I’m again left with the decision to fix that window screen.

I want to, but then again, that nest that has been used for a few years has been a great teaching tool for my girls, and a pretty quirky addition to our house. So for now, at least, it stays unfixed. And we continue to watch the growth of four babies. And we continue to learn. And how cool is that?

 

** The image is a picture I took of the nest. It’s not a great picture, but if you look really hard you can see a bit of yellow of one of the babies beaks.

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Summer is early

It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation. I mean, not mine, as I don’t really get a vacation. I’m mom 24/7/365. My oldest daughter however, she gets a summer break. And she gets it early. Today is her last day of school and it’s not even a full day. In a few hours I’ll head to the school to watch her end of year program, snap a pic or two as she crosses the stage for whatever award she is getting and then I’ll check her out early and we’re off to home. And then….then it’s two months of my girls squabbling (it’s what they do), of swimming, of trips down to the creek, of trips to the library, and basic mischief.

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The signs are already here (in truth, the signs have been here for weeks now). Signs of happy kids that is. The pool is up and full. The skin is tan (and a little pink where I wasn’t as great at the sunblock), the wet clothes are dropped over the old bouncy horse, and the towels hang on the line. This year there will be no big trip, just a sequence of days lunging around the house and driving each other insane. It’s a good life, and one I wouldn’t change at all. Even if summer comes early and doesn’t last long enough.

The joy of Spring

It’s Spring here in the south and that means, oh well, it means time to work. Time to clear all the fallen limbs from the end of winter wind storms. It means clearing all the leaves from the flower beds to be sure the rain hasn’t washed away the bulbs. It means planting flowers, fruit, and veggies (and maybe a new tree or two).  It also means playing outside as much as we can before it gets too hot to do so.  Yesterday the family went to the park to let my daughters ride their scooter but instead we ended playing in the sandbar near the creek that had gotten washed down by the rain. It was a fun half hour in the middle of a day that had us doing all the yard work. It also netted me my first sunburn of the year. In April.

April brings my youngest daughters birthday, which is hard for me, cause I really want her to stay a baby forever. And this April brings the release of a new book. Which brings me to, ah books!! Writing gets harder to do in the spring and summer. So much to do. So much fun to be had. Time at the creek. Time at the park. Time playing with the hose in the front yard. Writing and marketing get pushed to the back burner. And I’m mostly okay with that. While writing is my chosen career, the way I hope to someday earn enough at to afford to maybe take my kids to the movies on (yes, yes, I dream big..lol), my kids are my world. My girls are the reason I get up every day. (well, coffee too) The are also the reason I keep writing, I want them to see me work hard at my dream.  But now that it is Spring, I’ll write really early before the day starts, or late at night after my girls have gone to bed. Tired from playing hard, maybe still a little sandy from the creek. It means a little more laundry for me, but it’s worth it.

So that is my Spring. What does your Spring look like? Smell like? Sound like?

Doing as I say, or, We’re off to see the wizard!

I told a friend the other day to make sure she was reading to her two year old. “It’s where they get their vocabulary” I told her. When my oldest was young I read to her everyday.  It never failed. It was our time together at the end of the day, or our time before nap to calm down. But something happened after I had my second daughter. My oldest was able to read to her. I let her. Good sister bonding time I thought, and I haven’t read a bedtime story since.

And you know what? That’s crap. It really is. I want them to bond, I really do, but it’s not my big girl’s job to do that. It’s mine. So in an effort to do as a say, I bought a copy of The Wizard of Oz to start reading to my girls. Because it is important to read to your children every day, even when they’re old enough to read to themselves. Also, I’ve never read it, only seen the movie and that needs to be remedied. I can’t wait to sit them down tonight and start to read it. To do funny voices. To look at the really cool illustrations.

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Do you still read to your kids? I can’t believe I let it slip. I still remember my oldest daughter’s face every time I read her The Spider and The Fly, which is still one of her favorite books, 4 years later.

The walk

There is something about a path you know so well, that you could walk it in the dark. A path that your feet has traveled so many times that you know when to avoid the satellite pole, or the pile of downed limbs that have been there for more then three weeks.  When it’s so dark out that you can’t really see more then a few inches in front of you, but you know where the small bridge over the empty rain run off is. When you know which of the wobbley boards on that bridge to step over. When you feel comfortable letting your kids walk ahead of you because you know this path. You trust this path. This is the path that always leads you home.

It might sound sappy, but it’s true. In a world that is increasingly getting more and more uncertain, the certainty of this path grounds me.  I walk this path probably a dozen times each week. It goes from my house to my in laws house. I sometimes let my oldest daughter take the path by herself. At some point my youngest will get there too. It’s a good path. It takes me where I want to go, whether it’s bright and sunny and I’m on my  way home to see my mother in law for lunch or to play outside with the kids, or when I’m on my way home after family dinner, our Sunday ritual.

A rambling sort of post.

When you begin to blog, really commit yourself to it, you never realize there are days when you’ll not have a thing to say. Either your mind is too full, too empty, or too preoccupied; it happens. Today is one of those days. It’s another rainy day (day 4) here in the south. I have a huge list of things to accomplish today and I have strong coffee to help me get it done. But…and here’s the rub, I don’t really want to do anything. I sort of just want to sit on the couch and cuddle with my youngest. Watch cartoons all day, eat popcorn and just be the two of us. She won’t be home with me much longer, only two more years til she starts school, and I don’t want to waste any time with her. It’s times like this that I remember why I am doing this. I want her to be proud of me. I want to write stories that I know she’ll read one day and be able to say “My momma wrote this!” So that’s my inspiration to spend time here on my laptop rather than coloring with chalk with her. I need to keep writing, keep putting out books that she’ll read, that maybe one day she’ll read to her children.

Some days my oldest daughter is my inspiration, bu today it’s my youngest. Before I sign off on this very short blog, let me leave you with some of my favorite things about my youngest daughter.

  1. Her deep love for coffee. This morning it was, “you’re making me coffee milk momma? Aw thank you, You’re the best. Coffee milk is my favorite.”
  2. She tells me I’m the best at least ten times a day. I know this will change one day, so I’m storing them up for later.
  3. Every Sunday dinner with my in-laws she has to say her own prayer after everyone else is done. It goes like this. “You are all not douchenozzles. Not Momma, not Daddy, not (sister), not Nana, not Pooh, and not (uncle). I love you.” Yes, douchenozzle is one of her favorite words, no I don’t care. It could be so much worse.
  4.  She sings everything. Highly inappropriate songs, what she’s doing, and commercials. It’s seriously endearing. You’ve not lived until you’ve heard her sing Sugar by Maroon 5
  5. She needs a stack of books on her bed to fall asleep. I tuck her in and then she lays in bed looking at pictures and “reading” to herself. I cannot express how happy this makes me. I can’t wait for to actually be able to read.

So that’s my youngest daughter in bullet points. She’s so much more, but that’s about all I’m ready to share. So that’s all from me today. I’m off to watch cartoons before I tackle my next to do list item.

Movie Monday

I’m still feeling a bit weird coming off vacation, not back on schedule yet, so I wasn’t sure what to write about today. Then I thought again about the amazing movie I had just watched and I figured this would be a good place to talk about it. So this is my first ever #MovieMonday

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Not long back I saw a trailer for the most adorable looking animated film, Song Of The Sea, out of Ireland. Now I love animated movies, I have two daughters who I so conveniently use as an excuse to watch a multitude of them. But this one was all me. I was looking for it streaming and finally found it on Amazon Prime, I said a little Woo Hoo, and called my girls in to sit down and watch it with me. The youngest girl didn’t last but a few minutes, but my oldest was hooked. So was I. I knew it was going to be beautiful and it did not disappoint. Completely different than any other animated movie I’ve ever seen, it sucks you in with the immediate magic that you feel watching this pair of siblings. You go an adventure with them, and at points you will get frustrated, sad at others, and then finally, happy.

I could go on and on, but really I just hope you find the movie and let it speak for itself. It’s lovely. Magical. Both my 7 year old daughter and I gave it five stars.

(if you click on the movie poster it should bring you to the trailer.)