Monday, September 12, 2005

Caricature of the Month

I'm posting this sketch of Don's as a tribute to Avan's new pet turtle, who stays at our house, which she named Vincent VanGogh after her favorite artist.
(Order prints or t-shirts from in time for Christmas!)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Our Little Student

Well, it's official. Jensen's a Big Girl. She started Kindergarten on the 25th of August. We went to her orientation the day before and found out where her bus stop is, and what time she'd be picked up and dropped off. She had been a little apprehensive about taking the bus; so I offered to drive her on the first day, but she said no. She was very excited, and I was very proud of her.

Everyone asks if I cried watching her go. I did cry, but only because I could see how very happy and excited she was, and so I was for her. I didn't cry because "my baby had grown up" or anything. We are crazy about Jensen, but there's no question about whether or not she belongs at school right now.

Jensen with backpack and bus tag

So far she loves it. I think she likes the bus more than school, but she likes school as well, and says her teacher, Ms. Knickerbocker (really) is a great teacher. She says she has trouble "being good," and has to put her head on the desk sometimes, but she tries hard and prays every day for help with concetrating and behaving at school. One morning she told her teacher that she was going to try extra hard that day, and Ms. Knickerbocker said something like, "Oh, it's OK. It just takes practice." So I'm sure many of the new kindergarteners are going through the same thing.

Cooper and I are enjoying our mornings together, and he loves going to pick her up at the bus stop. He rides his bike down, and I walk Jensen's bike so that they can ride back together. I'm hoping the weather cooperates with us as long as possible.

Meanwhile, we're doing Phonics lessons at home four or five times a week, and the kids are learning to read. Jensen's already pretty good at reading many words, and will soon move on to books for beginner readers. Cooper is starting to read as well, and is able to read as well as spell several three-letter words. Funny. He can read but he can't use the toilet. Go figure.

Hens & Chickens

Most people know that I'm not a gardener. In fact, it's all I can do to keep my children alive in my house, let alone plants. I'm the Charlie Brown of gardening. Tom gave me a cactus for Mother's Day once, since we'd heard that's the one plant you can't kill. Mine lived for three days. No kidding. The only things that grow around here are mold and potato eyes. . . and with no help from me.

But the other day, as Cooper and I were waiting for Jensen at the bus stop down the street, my neighbor approached me and asked me if I wanted some free hens and chickens. At first I thought she was crazy, but when she showed me a few boxes full of uprooted plants, I realized she was referring to them. Before I could explain that they'd be wasted on me, she explained that they grow like wildfire and were overrunning her yard. She implored me with her tone as she held the somewhat heavy boxes toward me and said I'd be doing her a big favor. Of course I took them, wondering the whole time where I'd be able to pawn them off. She told me how to plant them, and said they'd even grow where nothing else would. Yeah, we'll see.

I don't know what made me do it, but Jensen and I began transplanting them almost as soon as we got home, around this little garden in the middle of our yard. (It was there before we moved in, of course.) I worked on them on and off for the rest of the day, and was finally finished just before dark. They look cute, I guess, but I still have my doubts as to whether or not they'll grow or even survive for very long.

Luckily for all of you, I took pictures!

I still don't know why they're called hens and chickens. They look like neither to me, nor like any other farm animal I can think of. Anyone else have any idea? (See comment -- thanks, Sheila!)