The Right Perspective

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Visit to the Butterfly Garden

Emily and I visited a local garden center yesterday for the purpose of visiting their butterfly pavillion. (Or as Emily calls them..."buttflies") We've tried to see the butterflies for about 2 years now, but missed them everytime. This year, someone told us that they usually appear at the end of May, so off we went.
Still no butterflies.
But there were frogs in the two ponds. Miss Em is currently rather fascinated with frogs. She's found a couple of frogs in the backyard and has named them Mr. Tumnus (we were reading the Chronicles of Narnia at the time) and The Robinsons. (Yes, one frog, plural name!) So instead of "buttflies" we watched the frogs jump in and out of the water and peek at us.
Above, Emily trying to spot some frogs in the pond.

Emily, posing for a cute picture.

One lone frog, peeking out from the water, just slightly above the middle of the picture . Look close! (Or click on the picture to enlarge it a bit)

Things No One Should Ever Have To See

I saw this on a Popeye's sign while driving through a parking lot yesterday.
I saw this when I finished filling up the tank of my Ford Windstar minivan which averages about 15.8 mpg.

I especially like the note at the bottom, telling me to "have a nice day". Okay, I will when I get over the sticker shock!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A School-Year Completed

Emily's last official day of preschool (she still likes to call it "pretty school") was today. All the preschool speech programs had a celebration in the school's courtyard with snacks, crafts and games. Em had a lot of fun. I, on the other hand, was relegated to the birdhouse-making table which involved the used of yarn, toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and bird seeds....and preschoolers. I'm going to be smelling peanut butter for a long time.
Anyhow, I thought I'd post the first-day-of-school photos and the last-day photos to compare.
Above is Em's first day of preschool on September 18, 2007.

Above and below are Em's pictures from this morning. Notice the difference in height. She's going to be sooooo tall.

A close-up of Miss Em, who insists on correcting us if we call her sweetie pie (or anything else) and reminding us that her name is (in her own special pronunciation) "Emiwee Ewivef ". This of course, is Emily Elizabeth, for those who don't speak Emily!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Walk in the Park

These pictures are a couple weeks old, but since nothing interesting has happened today, I thought I'd share them.
Above, Emily is watching her first kite fly.

Of course, this is the kite, complete with a picture of Cinderella.

Em, flying solo. She enjoyed the new experience for about 5 minutes, then it was on to something else.

Above is a picture of the river from our nature trail walk. This is the same basic angle as the picture on the header of this blog. That one was taken in the fall with all the colorful leaves still on the trees. This one was taken in late April/early May with no leaves and a noticeably high water level. (Note the absence of the rocks at the base of the trees.) It was a long, wet, snowy winter!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Garden Update: Day 4

So far, so good. Everything looks like it did when we planted it, meaning it is still alive and thriving after 4 whole days under my care.
Today, we planted a few more flowers to fill in everything.

I thought we needed a bit more color, so we planted a couple Gerber daisies in a dark pink/red, which I really like.

The daisies are on either side of the grassy-looking day lily plants,

The yellow flower is one-of-a-kind. It belongs to Emily and she picked it our herself and helped me plant and water it. It's not a great picture, but it is a yellow dahlia (which I also really like).

Nothing too special here. Just a closer view of some of my flowers, since the first set of pictures from 3 days ago weren't very close because it was raining.

So there you have it. That's my story!

Em's First Baseball Game

Okay, so I think Miss Em has may have gone to a game here once before, but she was too young to know if she did. So I present the pictures from her first trip to see the local minor league team. Andrew's employer has a box at the stadium, so we were able to enjoy nice seats on a very nice Friday night a couple weeks ago. "Our" team lost 9-1, but still it was a nice evening.

Daddy and Emily at the beginning of the game.

Em, watching the game with great focus.

Em, realizing that clapping your hands really hard makes them sort of hurt!

Emily, cheering on "her" team, which was pretty much everyone that did anything. But she did it with gusto~!

Uh...Daddy...Am I supposed to clap now?

Sweet Sounds

I love the sound of:

* Wind chimes ringing in the gentle breeze

* Birds chirping while the wind chimes ring
* Water trickling from a fountain

* Emily giggling uncontrollably while daddy "crushes" the "bug" (Emily)

* Emily saying "I love you and have a 'dood' night"

* Emily saying, after receiving a much-loved frozen coke, "Oh mommy, you are my favorite mommy in the whole world!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Rookie Garden

So I've mentioned before that I'm not really into gardening. I don't know the first thing about it except that I hated pulling weeds as a kid and I still do. I also don't really care to get hot, sweaty and dirty. And then there are the bugs....and spiders - need I say more?
But this year, after a very long, cold winter, the gardening bug hit. Well, maybe it was more of determination to beat something that has, up until this point, completely defeated me. That something...making plants live and grow and maybe, dare I hope it?...flourish into something beautiful and lasting. And so, I present to you my first, all-my-own-design, flower garden.
The above picture shows most of the thirty-foot long area that sits behind our pool and deck. The retaining wall was already there when we bought the house, but up until last fall, was completely covered with overgrown ivy and a few ugly holly bushes and weeds. The entire area was covered, even the vertical wall. Andrew cleared most of it out last fall and I finished yesterday. (Oh, the buckets will eventually be filled with live plants, but it's rainy and cold today.)

The tree is my Mother's Day gift from Emily and Andrew. It is an ornamental cherry tree. It looked bigger in the store. I've never attempted to plant a tree before, so this should be interesting. It should turn pretty colors in the fall and have showy white blossoms in the spring. We'll see about that! This sits at the corner of our property.

This is the view from the property line toward the cul-de-sac. Eventually there will be some type of border /edging, but I'm not sure what to use. I bought some black edging that goes in the ground, but I don't know. Until yesterday, it was roughly edged with river rocks, but it had become quite over-grown. Oh and the ugly plant between the two pinkish flowers and below the left bucket is one of the remaining holly bushes. I don't really like it, but I didn't feel like digging it up either, so we'll see how it looks. Right now, it's just ugly.

And finally, the long view. The complete garden...all thirty long feet of it. It looks pretty empty right now, but hopefully there will soon be mulch and in a couple of years, the perrenials should all spread, so it should fill out nicely. That is, if the curse of my black thumb doesn't make an appearance!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

$3.95 Anyone?

Yes, gas prices here in northern Indiana have officially hit $3.95 a gallon.

Next week (or this weekend) it will be at $4.00. And then higher again.

It's time to drill.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Money Pit (Aka - Our House)

We love our first home. It's spacious and for the most part, well constructed. When we first moved in, we thought, it's only 11 years old, it won't need much work anytime soon. Boy were we naive!Fast forward four years: Apparently, the crew who sided our house wasn't very good. Take exhibit A: Over the garage. A piece broke off during a winter wind storm and since that piece is no longer repairable, several other pieces have loosened up as well. We have a problem.

Exhibit B: The back of the house - Two pieces that are also broken and constantly coming unsnapped between the two windows. There are other pieces that are loose, but it's hard to tell from this picture. Apparently, the siding job was a lousy one.

Exhibit C: The side of the house, opposite the garage - More loose pieces. The one about half-way down is the most visible. There are pieces on the front that are loose/broken as well, but I don't have a good picture of them.

So now we face having to replace all of the siding after 15 years. It should have lasted 25-30 years, but because of poor installation, it's life has been halved. And we have to pay for it. We've had 4 contractors look at it, all of whom have agreed that it just needs to be replaced rather than repaired. The first was prompt in every way and gave us a very professional estimate, but we wanted a couple opinions. The next tried to sell us "His" "better" product for about $4,000 more. The third was $1500 more than the first and the last...well, we've never heard back from him, so in my opinion, he's out. Now I just need to call and see if our homeowners insurance will cover any or all of this. The fun never ends.

And did I mention that the deck really needs to be replaced too? Yep....the money pit we call "home"!