And though I know it is important to pay attention to happenings in the world, it has actually been kind of nice not to hear about the latest murders in Iran or about the rise in unemployment. Instead, I have been focusing things that are far more innocent and pure: my kids and their antics, such as the following:
** The kids' wonderment at seeing our garden produce fruit and vegetables has been really fun to witness (and in truth, I am just as delighted as they are). In a fit of gardening mania, I decided to plant watermelons. I know they require a lot of space, but I had no idea how much, and I foolishly bought two plants. The vines are taking over the garden, and we can see tiny little watermelons dotting the vines. We even have 3 softball size melons and almost every day Danny begs me to let him pick them or one of our thousands of tomatoes. (Yeah, I wasn't kidding when I said I was hit with gardening mania this spring! I think I have 12 tomato plants.)
** Just about every day, Danny finds a new way to make Tommy laugh and it is really touching to watch. I will often walk into a room to hear Danny repeating something to Tommy that I say to him. He really is a doting big brother, which was something of a surprise to us, since I have never seen this side of him. And Tommy's belly laughs are a total treat--I can't even describe how it makes me feel.
** We recently ordered a new kids' cd called "Dizzy" by the band "Lunch Money" and I actually love it. I have even listened to it when the kids weren't in the car, it is so good. The lyrics are whimsical and charming and the rhythms are very catchy.
I knew the kids were enjoying the cd, because Danny would request it when we got into the car, which had never happened before. Still, I didn't realize just how much Danny liked the songs until last night when he spontaneously started singing a bluesy tune called, "I Ate Too Much of My Favorite Food." I had no idea he knew any of the lyrics, so it was fun to watch him perform, and we ended up with an impromptu family dance party.
With Danny's SPD, he is pretty sensitive to auditory stimulus, and music, in the past, has had the tendency of overstimulating him or just really bugging him. So despite the fact that Bil is really into music (he has been in several bands) we rarely listen to much in our house. Most of the time when I put in a cd, Danny turns it off, so when he shows interest in listening to music, it just makes my day.
** One of Danny and Charlotte's favorite pastimes this summer has been catching fireflies (or lightning bugs, as we call them in the Midwest). Though Char has difficulty actually catching one, she runs around the yard squealing in delight at all the bugs.
** We had 5 trees cut down on our property and have been spending quite a bit of time clearing the debris. There is a couple in our branch at church who is helping us, because we are giving them all the wood to use this winter in their wood burning stove. Whenever they come over with their trailer to pick up a load of wood, Danny and Charlotte hurry outside to help. After many trips from the backyard to the truck, Danny came up with the brilliant idea of using his bike to help. He has a really cool tricycle that has a small wagon on the back. So, he loads up sticks on his wagon and rides his bike to the truck to unload.
Charlotte also loves to help and it is comical to watch her since she can't really reach the truck. Still, she never gives up. She'll bring a small branch to the truck and grunt and graon in her attempts to lift it, and after someone finally helps her, she proudly announces, "I did it! I like helping!"
Intermingled in all this, we have had more than our fair share of bickering and sibling rivalry, but on the whole, the kids have reminded me (as cliche as it sounds) to stop and smell the roses (or in our case, watermelon plants). Though I do admit to counting down the weeks until school starts, I am enjoying our summer vacation. The next month and a half bring a lot of activity and trips, so we will definitely be ending summer with a bang.