~Shannon, being an airplane outside after dinner at The Homeplace, in Catawba, VA~
Spring is always crazy. Or maybe life is just always crazy, I'm not quite sure. But now it is Summer, so I thought I would share a quick glimpse into our world, of the things that are buzzing about in our lives: 1) Thanks to recent rains, the garden is growing like crazy. Justin doesn't know it yet (he will within the hour though), but tonight's task it to get out and finish staking the tomatoes before the become a maze in the garden. The peppers aren't looking too hot (pardon the pun), I don't think they're too wild about the weather swings. We'll see how they go. A mysterious pumpkin plant has taken over the onion bed, so we're waiting to see what happens there. Of course, now we're several days into no rain & lots of heat, so we're seeing things wilt. Will have to water things this evening - thank you rain barrels!!! Must note though: the plants in the back garden, as well as the potatoes, have held up much better to lack of rain and high heat as opposed to areas where we didn't get deep mulch in. Ruth Stout was a wise woman! 2) The flowers are still blooming like crazy. I just looked out and noticed that we have orange daylilies blooming in the spot between the sidewalk and road. A friend has given us whatever she digs up and divides out of her daylily beds the last two years, which has enabled us to fill in some bare spots with fresh color. 3) Despite all concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder, we're again bursting with bees. They love our lavender bushes and, at any given time of day, you can find easily 20+ bees buzzing around. Now we're seeing them on more plants and flowers. If you plant them, they will come. --- For the record: since we've moved in here, we've yet to have anyone get stung, and our lavender bushes are on either side of the front walk!! You don't bother them, they don't bother you. 4) Learning to write - Shannon has been really practicing his handwriting lately. He's written his first letter to someone (a thank you letter) and has been signing cards, etc. Since he's so eager about writing, we're now looking into getting him a penpal. You remember ... before email, twittering (tweeting?), instant messages and so on. Real mail. Real letters. Handwritten. 5) Sports - Shannon has also taken part in his first taste of rec-league-esque sports. This spring he took something called "Great Beginnings" for both soccer and t-ball. The idea is that they teach the basics and fundamentals to the kids, as well as the parents; a parent must attend each "class" with the child and take part. The parents learn how to properly coach and teach, the kids get the basics without actually competing yet. It is for 4-6 year olds. Justin took Shannon, and I think they both had a blast. Tristan seems a little more into t-ball than Shannon, and Shannon still loves golf, so we'll let them see where they want to go with it all. Personally, I had a horrible experience growing up regarding sports and a parent who couldn't "properly" coach/teach. There are scars I'm still trying to deal with now that we're into sports for the boys. It has been trying, mostly because I'm determined to not let my traumas effect my children's experience in a negative way. It is all very weird trying to deal with. 6) NOI - Our first one! We've been getting helpful information and "tips", along with actual "samples" from lots of wonderful, wonderful people. We'll be submitting Shannon's first NOI here shortly. Though we know he could probably quite easily ace a kindergarten test now, there is still a lot of anxiety taking that first "official" step into homeschooling. We're certain in our decision, and in the reasons we've chosen this path, but it is still a new path in our lives so there is that natural anxiety. 7) Potty Training - Tristan is finally showing an interest! YAY!!! I wish we could still have him in cloth diapers, but with the heat and humidity he gets rashes too, too easily .. and that is in disposable ones. We learned about this the "hard way" the summer he turned 1. Wearing the cloth diapers the poor guy was covered in a horrible, constant rash. Red hair, sensitive skin, summer heat and humidity. It just didn't work for him. I only lament about the cloth diapers now because I know it would help him potty train sooner. But, he's getting there and has gone on the potty a couple of times now. Of course, it is when we're out and about (without a spare diaper) that, in the middle of a store, he'll decide to start screaming that he has to pee. Talk about Murphy's Law! 8) Removing Toxins - Ok, so that may be a little bit of a misnomer. I'm really bad about letting too many people get too close, letting them "too far in." I take things to heart, and then bruise pretty easily. So, I often have to go through periods of removing people who've become "toxic" from my life. I, ulitimately, probably have only myself to blame for it all. Right now I'm in the process of removing some of those toxins, and it especially heart-wrenching. Hopefully by next weekend things should start looking up, but until then, the days have been kinda long. 9) Fishing - I really didn't want to end this blog on a "negative" note, so here is a new family joy we've gotten into. For Father's Day this year we started a new family tradition of taking Daddy fishing. One day it will maybe be just a father-sons kind of thing, but for now Mommy has to go too in order to assure that everything remains harmonious. The boys have been given their own tackle-box (completely stocked!) by their Grandpa Barry, and have been very thrilled about it all. This is the first year we've taken them fishing. We took them to the Fishing Rodeo in May, went fishing while we were camping, and now down to the river on Father's Day. We didn't catch anything at the river this time, but we still had fun. Of course, one lesson we're still trying to teach the boys is: while you're fishing it isn't such a good idea to also attempt to skip stones &/or throw the largest rocks you can find into the river. They'll get it eventually, and until then hopefully they'll have fond memories of fishing.
~Shannon fishing along the Roanoke River in Salem, Va while Daddy watches and Tristan gathers rocks to throw into the water~
~Tristan fishing with Daddy along the Roanoke River in Salem, VA. Tristan had just been reeling in the line, but stopped and let Justin do it just before I snapped this photo~
Our roots here feel deeper everyday, but our branches seem to stretch across the country and world to find like-minded folk.
Carrie is out-spoken and not one to ever hide who she is, Justin is the rock of reason that keeps her from flying off into her own world, but who also is always along for the ride!
We're dedicated to urban-homesteading and trying to live as eco-friendly and self-sustainable life as possible, without losing what made us who we are in the first place. The love of beer brought us together, and homebrewing holds a special place in our hearts.
Homesteading, homebrewing, homeschooling, and Hokies -- is there anything else left to say?
Halloween is such a big thing for us and this neighborhood. So, carving pumpkins has become a big thing for us as well. This year we only did two (down from I think 6 last year!) but they were awesome: Jim Morrison & Jerry Garcia
Summer beginning to fade
Our sunflowers going to seed - 7/22/07
Early Spring 2007
A view of the garden in early spring
Beauty of Spring
A white Lily with raindrops
The sense of community and love that came out after the 4/16 massacre was beautiful. I cry everytime I think about everything that happened that day. No, it shouldn't define Tech, but what I will always remember is the love and sense of community & one-ness. So often we feel so alone in this world, the times when we don't should be remembered.