Two weeks done; one to go. Dear husband was out of town five days last week, five days this week, and he'll be in Atlanta five days next week. He usually drives down, and he was going to have so little time this weekend that the driving would take a huge chunk of it and make him exhausted. He called me last week to see what my opinion was about his just staying in Atlanta this weekend. I didn't like that idea (putting it mildly).
I suggested that he leave the car at the airport and fly back home for the weekend. That's what he did. Daughter, younger son, and I picked him up from the airport this afternoon. We all went and picked older son up at the Park & Ride lot, and went to the Blue Ribbon Diner for dinner to celebrate being back together again.
I snuggled up next to dear husband in the booth. Our kids kept smiling at us ("Aaaaw, aren't they cute?!"). The diner was playing oldies, and "Still the One" by Orleans came on. Halfway through, daughter smiled at me and said that this song fit. I replied that I'd already decided to use it for my Friday Fun Song today.
When this song came out in 1976, I was shy to the point of paranoia and convinced (by other girls in junior high) that I was horribly ugly and no one would ever love me.
I haven't heard the song in a long time, and I didn't realize how much some of the words apply to dear husband and myself:
...But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear
You're still the one I want to talk to in bed
Still the one that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new
You are still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one...
Here's a YouTube version - interesting graphics (click here to view if it doesn't embed)
Friday Random 10 from my mp3 player:
There'll Be Some Changes Made - Fosse (Broadway soundtrack)
The Highland Laddie - Tannahill Weavers (Celtic)
Golden Heart - Kirsty MacColl (pop)
Last Thing on My Mind - Rick Danko (blues/country)
Temptation - Billy Joel (pop)
Someone Else's Prayer - Mary Chapin Carpenter (folk)
Everybody Loves Louis - Sunday in the Park with George (Broadway soundtrack)
While taking my walk this morning, I came around the corner started down the hill toward a couple standing at the end of the driveway. The father was holding his son in his arms and saying, "Now you're a big boy in first grade!" Further down the hill, a father and daughter, waiting for the same bus, were playing a game. I went down to the bottom of the long court, and, on my way back up, I saw the bus. Sitting. And sitting. The snapshot in my head, which I can't show you, is of the father leaning towards the door as his daughter leaned over the front seat, exchanging a few more words.
The elementary school bus headed on its way, and I headed on mine. At the end of the walk, high school students, whose bus comes 45 minutes later, started to appear . One teen was dressed in the current styles, low slung jeans and a form fitting t-shirt. Her mother was holding a cup of coffee, and, as I passed, they hugged.
Not every year, but most years, we've done something special on the first day of school - gone to the science museum without crowds, picnicked at Duke Gardens, gone to the Mad Hatter Cafe for a snack. This year, it was just younger son and I. Older son left at 7:40 am for NCSU. Daughter left at the same time for work.
Since last spring, younger son has been looking forward to going to the new Lego store in Raleigh. Legos are one of his passions; he saves his allowance for months. Because of my knee, I haven't been able to drive as far as Raleigh since the beginning of last summer. This month, I finally can again, and that's where we headed this morning.
He smiled all morning and all the way there.
For older son and daughter, although their schooled friends headed off in the fall, their homeschooling friends came back from summer trips and homeschooling activities started up again. We haven't found many homeschooling activities that younger son likes yet and most of his friends are in school. The fall is not a positive thing for him.*
I'm finding that it's more difficult to get involved with homeschooling groups with younger son. The numerous sports or arts programs aren't his sort of thing.** I sign him up for whatever hands on science programs I can find.
I'm also in a different spot than many homeschooling parents of fifth graders. For many of them, their fifth grader is their oldest, and curriculum choices are very critical.
Having been involved with older son's and daughter's high school homeschooling for the last seven years, fifth grade homeschooling seems so free. Yes, we regularly work on writing and math. Beyond that, there are so many things to explore. We're not bound by the rigidity of what is necessary for the college bound high school student. We read about science and history, and we also wander around the yard with the microscope and go to historic sites such as the Revolutionary War encampment in Hillsborough last winter, pictured here (daughter and older son also went - older son took these pictures). Younger son hasn't had much interest in history until this year, but he's been gobbling it up, and I'm amazed at how much detail he remembers.
This difference, however, sometimes leads to awkward conversations with other homeschooling parents of fifth graders, though. They're very concerned to do everything right, and I feel kind of free spirited hippie-ish in comparison. I'm not, really, but, compared to high school, there seems to be so little that needs to be done at this age. It's all a matter of perspective.
If you look at nothing else in this post, you should look at My Milk Toof. It's an adorable, creative, photo story blog about two teeth - who have personalities and adventures. I've added it to my sidebar under "Fanciful."
From Planet Green: 75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn't. However, your neighbors might not be too thrilled with the creatures your stale bread, moldy cheese, pizza crusts, hamster droppings, and latex condoms might attract. Don't worry, neighbors. This list is here just for interest; I'm not actually using it.
In 1973, Roger Jones convinced his landlord to sell him the guest
house he lived in and the accompanying beachfront home for $420,000—a
hefty sum for a 33-year-old electronic-parts salesman making $35,000 a
year. “I was as scared as hell,” says Mr. Jones.
The gamble paid off. Added to the National Registry of Historic
Places in 1984, the 5,000-square-foot house named Villa Rockledge,
perched on the edge of a rock hillside, appears to float above the
private beach 50 feet below and offers ocean views from every room—even
some bathrooms and closets. The main room of the house is vast, with 22-foot-tall cathedral
ceilings supported by logs as big as telephone poles that have been
treated with an unusual mixture of cement and buttermilk to create a
grey sheen. Many of the details have been restored: Solid redwood doors
are dotted with brass extrusions cast in rough star-shapes that look
like barnacles. The kitchen walls are covered with original
canary-yellow tiling, while modern appliances are discreetly hidden
behind wood panels. A 5-foot-wide ship’s wheel hangs from one of the
beams like a chandelier.
In May, Mr. Jones, now 69, decided to sell this home, which he’s
painstakingly researched and slowly renovated over the past three
decades, for $34.5 million. He says the upkeep and maintenance are too
costly for his kids and adds that he and his wife are getting too old
to live in a large home...
I enjoy my weeks too so I'm not as focused on the weekend as many. This week, though, I have been. Older son started at NCSU; daughter has been at camp all day (and I don't even need to drive her there), and dear husband left for Spokane, WA after lunch last Sunday. Younger son and I have had a good time together ("You know, you're going to have to keep me from being bored this week." "That's easy, Mommy. You're interested in everything."), but the house has seemed very large and quiet. I've been looking forward to this weekend when we have everyone back together.
...well, except when I'm out for breakfast with the Joseph chorus ladies, and older son is working on a project with a classmate, and older son, daughter and I go to a Joseph reunion at another group's Joseph production, and older son and dear husband head to Jerry's Artarama for supplies...
You probably won't be surprised that, when my kids were younger, singing them bedtime songs was one of my favorite parts of our daily routine. You also probably won't be surprised that most of the bedtime songs were not traditional ones. I did sing some more more normal kid songs - Over in the Meadow, Stay Awake, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - but I sang anything that was fun, particularly folk and Broadway songs.
At one of her teen Broadway dance classes, daughter once ended up explaining the story of Pippin to the other students who'd never heard of it. She was surprised because, as she said, she "grew up with these people" (Edited, of course). The songs from Pippin were some of my favorite ones to sing at bedtime. I had a whole book of Broadway songs that I sang from for daughter, and I got more books of them out of the library. Older son's songs were more evenly split between Broadway and folk, and, for younger son, I ended up making up songs (such as "Puppies, flying their space ships/fighting the bad guys/Puppies in space" sung to the Star Wars theme)(Try it).
Younger son decided, about a year ago, that he was too old for bedtime songs. Unfortunately, I wasn't, but we stopped. We still talk at bedtime until I'm so tired I can't respond anymore - everyone else is in bed or winding down so he likes to have that time.
After three verses about her teenage years and choruses sung to her mother, in the fourth verse of Honest Lullaby, Joan Baez sings to her son: "You've already lived near half the years you'll be when you go away."
I first hear this song when older son was that age (a bit younger than 9). Now, this part applies to younger son, who is 10:
Now look at you, you must be growing A quarter of an inch a day You've already lived near half the years You'll be when you go away With your teddy bears and alligators Enterprise communicators All the tiny aviators head into the sky...
I watch, online, as busy friends send their kids off to their freshman years. One brought her daughter to college last weekend, another is heading North with her son, another is traveling with her daughter today. Older son is at his first day of classes. There's a certain, unspoken camaraderie as I talk with the other mothers. I'll get this again with a different set of friends in a year when daughter goes to college.
I know I have it easy. Older son worked for a few years after high school so we had more time for all sorts of things. He's commuting to college so we still get to see him some evenings and weekends - depending on how busy he is. But things will change from the way they've been for twenty-one and a half years. The long lunchtime conversations during the week that I have with the older two are gone, at least until next summer. Smiling at him while he eats breakfast on the porch and I water flowers - only on weekends. Being able to wander around the Triangle to gardens, historic sites, other neat places, ducking into bakeries or ice cream stores - only on weekends, if he has the time.
That, of course, is as it should be. He was printing out the syllabus to his Western Literature course last night: The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Hamlet, Tolstoy, Kafka's Metamorphosis... It looks like lots of fun. I've had a great time just hearing about all of his orientation and "Welcome Week" activities. It's a time of rejoicing for what he'll be doing - all the new opportunities and experiences. But, it's also a time of tears for me, though I try to keep them to the edges of the day when no one else is around (I'm writing this at 1:17 am).
Homeschooling him was a grand adventure, and he's now embarking on another one.
...And sometimes spend a day with you
I'll catch you as you fly
Or if I'm worth a mother's salt
I'll wave as you go by
And if you should ever wonder
How the years and you'll survive
Honey, you've got a mother who sings to you
Dances on the strings for you
Opens her heart and brings to you
An honest lullaby
[To listen to this song from Facebook, click here.]
[Grasshopper photo taken by older son this week. I found it while uploading Bloom Day photos.]
We saw this fun production last weekend at University Mall. OdysseyStage put it on through the ArtsCenter. Here's the description from the ArtsCenter website:
An OdysseyStage production of the award-winning children’s play, A Spell of Cold Weather by Charles Way.A Spell of Cold Weather
tells the story of Betty and Bob, a farm couple who have let all the
fun go out of their lives. When their niece Holly arrives for a visit,
she meets the farm’s mischievous fairy Tomos Trickman. Together this
dynamic duo rejuvenate Betty, Bob, and their farm. A magical play for
It's aimed at kids, but 21 yo older son, 17 yo daughter, and I (47 yo) all enjoyed it. Younger son (10 yo) held his hand over his mouth at points to keep himself from laughing too loudly (his idea, not mine). It's a small production - four actors - and we were in the front row only a few feet from them. That made it fun also. There's a good bit of audience interaction, and there will be even more next Saturday. Click here for a photo.
The last two performances are next Saturday, August 22, at 11 am and 2 pm in University Mall in Chapel Hill, NC, at the special events center (across from Chick Fil-A). Tickets are $5.
If you go, and if you talk to the actor who plays Bob, tell him Gad's mom sent you (grin).
I'm late with my Bloom Day post - between helping older son get ready to start college and losing a few days to the blood pressure medicine, I've been rather distracted.
The gardens are in their late summer lull. The mid-summer flowers haven't been blooming as heavily this year - not even the annuals in pots that are getting babied. I'm not sure why.
This is an amazing plant. It's an annual, and, at the end of every summer, it looks like it's dead. We put the pot under the house, bring it out next spring, and the plant ("Million Bells") starts growing again. We now have it hanging outside the large window in the living room.
The hibiscus plants aren't blooming as heavily as usual, and many of them are only 2 to 3 feet high rather than their usual 8 to 10 feet. This is one of the taller plants.
The cleome didn't come up as prolifically this year either.
This gallardia has been amazing. It's been blooming for almost three months now. OTOH, the "Lady in Red" salvia behind it hasn't grown much at all.
The butterflies have enjoyed the phlox.
Vinca that have hardly grown in the last three months since I planted them.
The balsam, on the other hand, come up by themselves from last year's seeds, and they're doing beautifully.
The amaryllids are still blooming wonderfully.
The marigolds, black-eyed susans, and hibiscus are quite welcome to take over the path.
I love nasturtium buds.
A tangle of black-eyed Susans
The healthiest group of cardinal flowers in the yard. They came up on their own in this out-of-the-way spot - along with a morning glory.
Canna lily in older son's flower bed.
The deck flowers.
I grew this tall lily from seed, but I don't know it's name. It's here, and that's what counts.
* Even if your son is 21, has been working for a few years, and will be commuting to college, there are still a number of things to help out with (which is probably a good thing). Classes start on Wednesday.**
** Hmmm.... maybe that's why this ad appealed to me (grin).