Archive for July, 2010

summer cuts…

Monday, July 26th, 2010

“There was a little girl,

and she had a little curl

right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good she was very, very good,

and when she was bad she was horrid.”

– excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

At some point every summer, the girls get their hair cut.  By me.  I don’t know why but when it was time to cut Abigail’s hair for the first time, I wanted to do it myself.  I didn’t have a hard time cutting it so I just kept doing it year after year.  It is an enjoyable experience for both of us.  As the next 2 sisters arrived at the point of needing their hair cut, Momma’s barber shop was still open.  I have cut Robert’s hair for years and I’ve even cut my niece’s hair once or twice.

When I first cut Abigail’s hair she had golden blond ringlets.  Now it is dark brown, thick and wavy.  The waves and thickness come from both me and Robert so hers is really thick and really wavy.  Hattie’s hair is much like Abigail’s.  It is thick and dark brown but her hair is still in ringlets.  If we keep it chin length, the curls stay in tact and it is precious.

Laura, however, is the “black sheep” in the hair department.  Her hair is blond and straight as a stick.  It is darkening as she gets older, just not as quickly as her sisters did.  When it was time for Laura’s first haircut I discovered that it is much easier to cut wavy hair than straight.  Curly hair is forgiving.  Your lines don’t have to be flawless because the hair curls up and evens itself out.  Not so with straight hair.  Laura’s first haircut was not a complete disaster but it was far from perfect.  It didn’t help that she was fidgety.  And giggly.  And squirmy…

Most of the time, we stick to a simple bob.  It is so cute on all of them and easy to wash and wear.  Once I went much shorter on both Hattie and Abigail – I think Laura was still bald at that point!  The girls had asked for shorter hair cuts and I was happy to oblige.  They were darling and happy.

I have learned a lot through the years and I pay attention more when I get my hair cut (Robert refuses to try to cut mine) so that I can do a better job each time.  I know that some day my girls will no longer want me to cut their hair or they will ask for something that I cannot do.  They will want to go to a salon and have it done by a professional.  They will want the whole experience.  When that time comes I will probably be sad to close my “shop” but for now I’m just going to keep on snipping….

the cool of the pool…

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

For the past couple of weeks, Hattie and Laura have been taking swim lessons at our local pool.  They both did great and we are so proud of their progress.

The pool we are members of has 2 indoor heated pools and a large outdoor water park geared towards little children.  There are a couple of large slides and a deeper section for accomplished swimmers.  We chose this facility because it fits our current pool needs.  We’re not ready for the olympic sized pool inundated with teenagers.  Not yet anyway…

The swim lessons were held in the indoor pools but most days we went out to the water park after class for some fun before heading home.  I have been taking my children to the pool every summer since Abigail was in utero.  We love it.  My girls have become part fish.  As we were celebrating the end of swim lessons with a picnic and an extended swim, I began to reflect on my observations over the past 2 weeks.  Big surprise, no?  😉

I was astounded by the number of parents that suit up their children, watch them wade into the water and then cease to be parents.  Just because the pool has lifeguards doesn’t mean that you are released from your parental responsibilities.  This is not the time to tan, text or talk on the phone and completely ignore your children.  Even if your children can swim, you are still accountable for them.  I could not believe the parents who were so involved in conversations with their friends that they did not see their children mowing down smaller children left and right.  The lifeguards are trying to make sure no one drowns.  They are not there to babysit for you or teach your children the word respect.  One woman asked me to watch her 2 year old while she took her older daughter to the bathroom.  Of course I said yes.  However, thirty minutes later, I realized that she was sitting in the shade talking on her phone.  The nerve!  I have no problem with children playing and having fun.  But you still have to be respectful of the others around you.  Especially in a public pool full of people.

There are also pool rules for a reason.  For instance, you are not supposed to bring toys.  It is not fair to expect the line of toddlers at the frog slide to wait for your Barbie to go down first.  It is not fair to leave your boat floating in the water while you go play elsewhere and then come yank it away from the innocent little boy who found it.  It sounds like I’m standing on my soapbox trying to stifle the fun out of everything.  I promise that is not my intention.  Let me ask you this – how can I expect my children to obey rules and respect authority if I don’t lead by example?  I can’t.  I think this applies not only to the pool but also to life in general.

I know that parents need a break.  Trust me, I KNOW.  But the pool is not the place for it.  Maybe the pool in your backyard is, but the public pool teeming with little children is not.

I feel sorry for the ignorant parents because the truth is that they are missing out.  I spent over an hour sitting in the shallow water watching Abigail race down the big slides grinning from ear to ear.  I watched Hattie practice all she had learned over the past couple of weeks in class – her confidence growing by the second.  And I was repeatedly visited by mermaid Laura as she tried to figure out how to swim like Ariel.  It was wonderful and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!

you say tomato…

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I have grown herbs and tomatoes for many summers but I’ve never planted what I would call a serious garden.  This year I had enough room in the yard to plant a few things without taking over the whole yard.  So in April, Robert prepared the plot and the girls and I planted three varieties of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce and an assortment of herbs.  We were all very excited.

After a few weeks we started to see some progress.  Then the nights warmed up and things really took off.  I’ve got enough cucumbers to feed my whole neighborhood.  The lettuce is delicious.  The tomato plants are taller than my 8 year old.  The actual tomatoes are slow coming in but there is an abundance of flowers and little green tomatoes so I know that they’re coming soon.  I just have to be patient.  Not an easy task for me….I really like tomatoes…

Here’s my problem.  Deer.  Vegetarian, hungry, persistent deer.  When we lived in Franklin, TN I had to fight off the rabbits.  I’m not ashamed to tell you that I won.  They touched my impatiens once and never again.  Don’t worry, I didn’t hurt any rabbits.  I just used my Liquid Fence spray and the rabbits understood that they were not welcome amongst my flowers.

Liquid fence is an organic scented spray that stinks to high heaven.  After a day, humans can no longer pick up the scent but animals can.  In the past, this has been enough to protect my tender plants.  Unfortunately we have had so many hard downpours that I can’t make the scent strong enough to keep the deer at bay.  Case in point…last Thursday I went outside for my daily veggie check.  I had three yellow tomatoes.  They were fist sized and beautiful.  They were still a little too hard so I decided to leave them on the vine overnight and pick them the next day.  Wrong choice, Anna Kate.  The next morning I went out to pick the tomatoes and water the plants.  The deer had eaten not only the fruit but also the top half of the plant, about a third of the lettuce and the tops of several of my pepper plants.  I was pissed.  I had waited 2 and a half months for a homegrown tomato from my yard and the damn deer ate the first ones.  Stupid nature.  Stupid heart shaped deer tracks.  I just want to eat the tomatoes that I grew.  Is that so wrong?

I have no desire to harm the deer.  I am not a hunter.  I enjoy wildlife.  I understand that we humans have demolished much of the animals’ habitats so we have to live in the same areas.  Fine.  I like hearing the owls at night and watching the hawks soar.  I think it’s kind of cool that deer live in the woods near our house and that they feel comfortable enough to walk around our yards at night.  They really don’t hurt anything.  Except my plants.  Am I asking too much here?  ALL I WANT IS A TOMATO FROM MY OWN GARDEN! Sorry to yell….

I’ve heard several “tricks” for keeping the deer away.  Human hair.  Chicken wire.  An assortment of sprays and chemicals.  I don’t really want to spray anything on the plants.  We’re planning to eat the veggies, you know?  Since my liquid fence isn’t doing the job I’ve decided to try the invisible fence method.   You place some stakes around the perimeter and lace between the posts with cheap fishing line.  It creates a “fence” that the deer do not see.  When they bump into the fishing wire they are frightened away and unable to get to the plants but they are not harmed.  A friend of my neighbors swears by this method.  My garden plot is not very large so it shouldn’t be too difficult.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, we are eating cucumbers at every meal and making do with heirloom tomatoes from our local farmers market.  If all else fails, at least I’ll know that the tomatoes I grow are being enjoyed.  Not exactly what I had in mind….

…for Allison and Mary…

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Nothing is wrong.  I have not vanished.  I’ve been busy and uninspired.  I had no idea the impact that would have on my friends.  I’ve been told to get off my ass and update my blog.  I have some great friends.

The truth is that some or all of our little family has been traveling since the end of April.  I haven’t had time to do any writing.  Robert spent 24 days in China.  The girls and I spent 2 weeks in Birmingham.  Robert was on a fishing trip for a week.  We’ve just been to the beach.  It has all been wonderful and exhausting.  I am happy to be home.

That is all I have to say at the moment.  My eyelids weigh about a hundred pounds each.  My bed is calling my name.

I promise that once the piles of laundry and mail have been dealt with, I will share some stories and thoughts from the past couple of months.  There is lots to tell.  For now, though, I must bid you good night….