Jamie has been learning more body parts lately. He’d already mastered the basics (hair, eyes, nose, mouth, belly, etc…) so we started teaching him more specific ones. Instead of arm, for instance, he is learning shoulder, elbow, wrist, etc…; instead of just “leg”, he now knows knee and foot, and so on.

 

So yesterday morning, I am standing in Jamie’s room, still wearing my nightgown, changing his diaper while he runs through all of the body parts he knows. If he points at his elbow and says, “Ebo!” and I do not respond, he continues pointing and saying it until I clap my hands and shower him with praise.

 

Once he ran out of body parts he knew, he pointed at my boob and exclaimed, “BALL!” I ignored this. Again, “BALL!” Still I remained silent, until he started poking my boob with his finger in frustration and shouted, “BALL, Mama, BALL!!!”

 

I have no idea how to respond to this.

 

That is all.

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So, my parents have chickens in the yard between our houses. One rooster, “Chanticleer,” has seriously bonded with my son. During the day, he crows ONLY when he hears Jamie in the yard. When Jamie comes near him, Chanticleer puts on a show and even dances sometimes. Jamie loves his rooster, who incidentally, has been saved from his imminent stewpot fate by befriending our little guy. Every time Jamie learns something new, or gets a new pair of shoes or hat or something, or whatever else, he has to go show his chickens. He learned the letter “B” at preschool the other day, and when we got home he immediately took off like a rocket across the yard to show his worksheet to Chanticleer and teach him about the letter B. It is hilarious.

 

That said, Mom and I decided to contact our local toystore (which by the way if you still have not clicked on its link and shopped its expansive website, take this moment to!) and asked them if they had the Folkmanis puppet that looks like a rooster. They did, and were kind enough to keep it rocking around the store for us until I had time to pick it up today on my lunch hour. It is awesome — luckily the Folkmanis rooster is also a Buff Orpington and looks quite like Chanticleer himself. (There is a dominecker in the coop that Jamie’s not so keen on, so I’m glad the puppet didn’t turn out looking like him instead!)

 

Here are some photos of Jamie’s newest Folkmanis acquisition:

 

Sitting on my desk at work...

Sitting on my desk at work...

Proudly displaying his Folkmanis emblem...

Proudly displaying his Folkmanis emblem...

Here's looking at you, Chanticleer...

Here's looking at you, Chanticleer...

I can’t wait to go home and give him to Jamie — whee!!! Oh, and in case the relatives are going into withdrawal without any recent Jamie photo posts, here’s my boy hanging out in the recliner, which is his new favorite spot in the house…hence why we have to get him up and playing and moving!! No couch taters at our house! 🙂
Jamie doing his Daddy impression...which is very similar to his Grandpa impression.

Jamie doing his Daddy impression...which is very similar to his Grandpa impression.

And that’s about all the news from Lake Woebegon, folks. I’m hoping to take some more garden photos by this weekend. I’ll post again when I’ve got ’em!
–Gracie
Coreopsis & Catmint

Coreopsis & Catmint

So I’ve been gardening! OK, I’ll begin by apologizing for the terrible clarity of these photos. Worpdress is still very picky aobut what pics I post, but for some reason it does not reject ones taken by…you guessed it…my cell phone. So don’t expect any great camera work here.
That said, these are a few images I’ve taken over the past month of the blooms in our yard. Not bad for a first-year growth, methinks! Above is Coreopsis (I believe it is the Jethro Tull fluted variety) and Nepeta “Walker’s Low” Catmint (the purple stuff in the background). The catmint has REALLY taken off. It likes my alkaline clay soil a LOT. Good thing something does! It’s the one thing I don’t have to drench in sulfur every four weeks. 🙂
This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

This photo (above) was taken in my sun garden out front. Our piggy sits atop a tree stump where Hubby had that awful pine tree taken out for me for Mother’s Day! What a great present. I now have tons of sun spots in the front yard to supplement all the shade everywhere else in the yard. I can finally grow cool stuff like in this picture! Clockwise from upper left corner: Autumn Sun Coreopsis (the pale yellow, maroon-throated little posies that look kind of like bachelor’s buttons), Dusty Miller (an annual but a worthy one for foliage), more Walker’s Low Catmint, pink Mexican Primrose (scattered throughout photo), Hen-and-Chick Sedum (growing inside the piggy planter), Autumn Joy stonecrop (the succulent in lower left corner), and more catmint, which I love and do not think I can have too much of in my garden.
Daylillies in bloom

Daylillies in bloom

These are some daylillies I picked up on discount earlier in the season. I intended to buy three that all looked like the one in the lower right corner (purple petals, yellow throat), but one had been mislabeled and has turned out to be the exact opposite of the others (yellow petals, purple throat), which I think is sort of cool so I didn’t dig it up and return it. Sometimes the best garden surprises are complete accidents!
Yarrow, Yarrow, everywhere!

Yarrow, Yarrow, everywhere!

Got these little beauties (above) for three bucks a gallon on clearance in June. Some have taken off, others don’t know about that hard, packed soil they’re in, but they’re slowly adjusting. I’ve got these around my rock garden on the short ends of the oval, and then the long sides of the oval are peppered with Lamb’s Ears, which didn’t show up well in the twighlight when I took these other photos, so you will just have to imagine their cute, fuzzy fluffiness. 🙂
Very impatient Impatiens.

Very impatient Impatiens.

Where does my garden grow? On a tree, among other places. This adorable pot is about the same color as the swatch I picked out for our shutters, if I ever get around to ordering and painting those! We have almost finished the pergola (pictures coming soon), and I have to paint the carport to match it (a bright, crisp sea green), which will look good with our buttercream-colored siding. This fall, once the flowers close to the house have gone into dormancy, Hubby will be able to climb up and paint the gables green as well (so I can live in Green Gables at last…LOL). I can’t wait for all the colors to combine! In the meantime, this little pot of very hard-working New Guinea Impatiens will have to keep me focused and inspired. 🙂

A Walnut Tree, Lots of Daylillies, and my perfect porcelain pot...

A Walnut Tree, Lots of Daylillies, and my perfect porcelain pot...

This was taken a few weeks ago at twilight (again, sorry for the crummy lighting). Our shade garden has tons of very established daylillies (the only blooming thing that was there when we moved in, really) so there are enough stems that we have loads of them nonstop for about five weeks each summer. Beautiful, and so tall!! Some of them are almost as tall as I am, for what that’s worth.

 

Blue Girls

Blue Girls

Okay, so this one is totally out of focus but I still like it because it’s the only picture I managed to get of my great budding beauties before the Japanese beetles moved in on them. They’re still covered with tons of beautiful lavendar rose buds, but if you look close there’s buggies eating all the rose hips inside the petals. Makes me so mad! Anyway, I can’t believe how well my four Blue Girl hybrid tea rose shrubs are doing. Wish they were coming in more blue/purple, but I’ve noticed the ones I clip and put in vases turn VERY blue as they age, and they last for a really long time before wilting, getting a little bit more blue every single day!

 

Petunia Planter

Petunia Planter

I rescued this plant from near-extinction at a local warehouse store and revived it. It’s looking quite healthy now (this picture was taken about a week ago or more) and taking over a large spot under the pergola quite happily.

 

Herbs for Magicians

Herbs for Magicians

I like this photo of some of the herbs/spices/other funky plants I have hanging out on our concrete porch pad soaking up the sun. Oh, and that bright greenish blue thing in the center is one of the pergola posts, so you can imagine the color a little better. Isn’t it cute??? From left: Polka Dot Plant (red variety on top, pink variety on sides of strawberry pot), a very dead-looking gaillardia in the background (hey, it can’t ALL bloom at once, can it??), some verbena foliage (it started blooming the next day, darn it), some really funky purple perennial that I can’t identify (in the white pot, if anyone knows what this is??? It’s not salvia, I know that at least…), a small yellow pot of Moses-in-a-basket (the reddish spikes), some cute salmon-colored Lobelia that’s really been a workhorse this year (recommended by Country Living magazine, so I knew I couldn’t be steered wrong there), a good batch of cilantro in the yellow pot to the right, and a purple pot of Dusty Miller behind it. Also on the porch right now I have (not pictured) geraniums which are cranking out the foliage but refuse to make any magenta blooms like they’re supposed to, hanging yellow Zinnias, and three matching baskets of blue & yellow Lobelia. In front of the porch right now is tons of lavendar that is between harvests at the moment and some artemisia I’ve been dinking around with and dividing as it multiplies.

 

And that’s it for this episode of Look At What I Grew!  Catch you next time!

 

–Gracie

…are spent at our local mall’s fantastic educational toy store. I love shopping there. When I can’t be with Jamie during my workday, finding him awesome presents at the mall on my lunch hour is the next best thing.

 

Today, I was on a mission. For some reason, over the last few months Jamie has started getting really excited every time we’re out somewhere and see something with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. I have no idea where or when he was exposed to this, because he’s never watched the show with us at home (it’s on during the day on weekdays when we’re at work) and his preschool has never shown it either. Somehow, though, Jamie knows who Thomas is and just goes absolutely nuts every time we see his picture on something, whether it’s toys, or sippy cups, or whatever.

 

So, I decided to poke around the toy store today and hook Jamie up with some Thomas stuff of his own. Luckily, My Favorite Toys has the largest selection of Thomas toys in Southern Illinois. (That place really rocks. They have a lot of obscure stuff, and hard-to-find stuff, and classic stuff from when parents and grandparents were little kids, and just all sorts of neat stuff. They also have tons of Folkmanis puppets, which family members have been buying for Jamie since he was born. He has quite the collection these days.) I am putting a link to this toystore’s expansive website in my list of links, because I really want these folks to stay in business for a long, long time. They are so friendly and knowledgeable — it’s like they only hire teachers or something. I’m constantly telling people to go check them out if they’ve never been in there or browsed their website. I like to keep our bucks in Southern Illinois, and I love having them as a local resource. I want them to stay put!

 

Anyway, getting back to Jamie and his Thomas obsession, I bought him two Thomas & Friends videos, two books (one with magnetized pages and cool magnets of all the Island of Sodor trains, and one with a clock with moveable hands so you can change the time on every page as Thomas goes through his railway schedule — how cool is that?) and a little Jamie-sized railroad engineer’s cap to wear when we watch his Thomas videos. I called Geoff, who usually gripes that Jamie has too much junk as it is, and he got really excited about coming home and playing/watching Thomas the Tank Engine with Jamie. Geoff really wants to do train sets with him when he gets older, so he was chomping at the bit to come home and have “train night” at our house.

 

I can’t wait to surprise Jamie with all his Thomas presents!

 

 

Miss Saigon Bui Doi

If you can watch this and not cry, something is wrong with you.

My computer has decided that while it still does not like photo files, it has no problem with scanned images, so I decided to try it out this morning (see below).

In sad news, my sister, along with seventeen of her co-workers, lost her job on Tuesday when the Tulsa World newspaper decided to lay off its Community World staff. Her office had no warning that this was coming. Basically, they just walked in and started handing out pink slips. Rat bastards.

Anyway, Jamie and I decided to cheer up Aunt Emily by sending her some artwork from her darling nephew. (Watch out, Auntie Em — it’s on its way to you as we speak!) I bought Jamie some finger paints last night and he thought they were mighty fine. I decided to scan his masterpiece before sending it off into the mail so Jamie’s art message could be experienced by all.

Painting: Untitled

(A mixed media in crayon, finger paint, and 3-D stickers featuring “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.”)

Jamie finger painting 1

I have studied this piece for a long time now, attempting to discern its theme, as the artist currently lacks the verbal skills to explain his work. I have narrowed the list down to three likely subjects:

A.) A portrait of Frida Kahlo

B.) A depiction of the Seventh Bowl Judgement of Armageddon, as felt by the cheery residents of the Island of Sodor

C.) A bowl of fruit

You can all vote on this if you like, or even better, you can offer up other ideas. Yes. I like this. Send me your own guess of Master James’ artistic theme, and I will choose a winner later and send that lucky person an original work by the artist.

That is all.

Just a few photos Aunt Emily shot on her last trip to see Jamie … testing to see if WordPress is going to cooperate on the photo uploads this time.

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