Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mama Duck

Last week I was attacking the weeds that took up residence in our landscaping while we were waltzing across the southeastern US. (It's a job I don't enjoy but if we don't do it pretty regularly the Florida sun, water, and sand will conspire to create a lush jungle full of plants we didn't pay for and don't want. You can stick nearly anything in the ground here and it will grow and grow and grow.) That morning I had would I would call a "critter filled" experience. I got a half dozen fire ant bites (my own fault for not wearing shoes), several mosquito bites, and a bee sting- OUCH! The highlight of the morning, though, was finding a nice clutch of duck eggs hiding under one of my palms in the front bed.

Now, you need to picture this scene. We completely re-landscaped our yard about a year ago. The previous owners had a haphazard arrangement of a very motley (and somewhat unusual) assortment of plants, bushes, trees, and palms around our house. When we finally decided to completely re-do there were a few plants we were reluctant to touch. One is a plant we've affectionately named the "cactus palm" because it is about 7 feet tall. The two trunks are covered with cactus spines with a tuft of palm-like leaves at the top. It is right outside our front door. We've figured any door to door salesmen could be dispatched pretty quickly just by causing them to step back into it. Right next to it is another palm with horrible, long thorns that grow at the base of each it's fronds. I really dislike weeding in that area. It is also known to harbor a few good sized fire ant beds from time to time. All around these palms are some beautiful pink flowering Ixora plants and some Agapanthus.

So, here I am, pulling weeds near these well armed palm trees when duck runs scurrying out and into the grass. It startled me because she was so well hidden but then I noticed she had been sitting on a clutch of about half a dozen eggs. I quickly called the girls out to take a look while cautioning them to not get close and to never touch them. (Always take the opportunity to share a real life science lesson, right?). This Mama Duck deserves some "Great Mama" points. She picked a really great location to protect her babies. Not too many people or animals are going to venture in there to investigate with those palm trees around. Even the hawk perched on a light post the other day apparently wasn't interested.

So, we check on Mama Duck several times each day to see if she is still there and if we spy any signs of some cute little chicks. Mama Duck, I think, seems to have gotten used to being viewed like a zoo animal because she doesn't usually run off anymore but she does get puffy and hisses a little when she see us. Fair enough, I say. I've already had to convince Anna that Mama Duck is the best one to care for her little babies, no she doesn't need to come inside when it is raining, and she can find food for herself just fine because God made her that way. It has been very cute. Anna is the one who decided several weeks ago that she is going to have a science club after school this fall.

So now we anxiously await the arrival of the babies. I'm sure Mama Duck will eventually parade them around the neighborhood on the way to one of the several ponds near our house. I'll try to grab a picture when she does.

By the way, the Craigslist sale of the crib and dresser was successful. A brand new mom, due in October, bought them for the very nice sum of $425. Now Anna can get her new desk and bookcase. And maybe Sarah can have her new bedding too. The best part is that it's a baby boy that will sleep in it. That will be a first!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


In answer to a poll over at La Vida Dulce:

The best piece of advice I have been given, that I can remember at this moment, was to throw out the word 'divorce' from my vocabulary. To view my marriage as a covenant I have made for life what no matter how mad I might be. It has caused us to look for ways to resolve the conflict or problem earlier than we otherwise might. When I know I'm "stuck" with this husband I am very motivated to make my marriage the best it can be. Besides, it is miserable to bump around in a house together still mad at one another. I wish more people would make that decision. We are starting to see marriages of friends and acquaintances unravel. Being a witness to the destruction that causes is truly heartbreaking to me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bye Bye Baby

"She's a big girl now". If I were a song writer I'm sure that would lend itself to a cute little ditty. Today I put the crib and dresser set all my girls have used on Craigslist. The picture was taken right before it was disassembled and stuck out in the garage.

I can remember standing in the showroom of the baby furniture store in Ft. Worth, pregnant and so excited to be making the plans for our first nursery. We looked at all the cribs they had to offer, shopped at several different stores, and came back to this model that was "perfect" for our first little baby. Mike's mom AKA "Granna" bought the crib and we purchased the matching dresser. Mike went to go pick it up when it arrived and had it all assembled when I got home from work one day. He was as excited as I was. We posed for a picture at Christmas in front of the fully made (gender neutral!) crib, in the almost completely equipped room, all ready for the baby that wouldn't arrive for another 4 months. Such is the work done for a first child.

I remember the first night when we put Anna down to sleep for the night in her crib. All by herself, all the way across the house from us. (Never mind that the house was only 1600 square feet and we could hear her slightest cry without the supersonic monitor we installed in her room!). She was five weeks old and she felt so far away. I remember getting up several times that night just to look at her and make sure she was ok. Now don't get me wrong, she had napped in there, I just wasn't ready to let her stay in there all by herself all night yet.

Anna was bumped out at age two to make way for Sarah's arrival. She was so excited to sleep in her big girl toddler bed in the same room as Sarah. However, Sarah didn't actually sleep in it until she was probably 3 or 4 months old. Sarah just didn't sleep well for a long time..... and then, when she was just shy of two, she figured out how to jump out. So, we put the crib under our bed to get it out of the way. It was within a few days of doing so we realized baby number 3 was on its way. Good thing we had a good, strong, sturdy crib! Finally, Emily got her turn when she was about 8 weeks old. I was so unsure of how to make the room arrangements for the girls that Emily slept in the pack and play in our room until I finally decided. The only thing I had known for sure up until then was that she was going to have "girly" bedding! When we discovered her gender I completely embraced the idea of being a mother of girls. But, poor Emily's room was actually our office for the first 8 months of her life. The romance of a "nursery" had long worn off by then. In fact, even when the office moved out, her bedroom became the official guest room as well and wasn't completely finished before she changed bedrooms. Ah, such is the life of the third child.

Emily stayed in the crib the longest. She was nearly 2 1/2 when she launched herself over the side rail by herself. Considering she has been potty trained for several months now we figured she might as well have a big bed too. Now we're on to the next transition for our family of having three rapidly growing girls and no babies. They each have their own room and their individual personalities are really starting to show as we see how they arrange their own spaces.

The girls and I had a little reminiscing moment right before they helped me disassemble the crib. I told them all the special little memories and reminded them of how welcomed and special each of them are. The emotions and memories tied up in that one piece of furniture are precious. I can't think of any other single piece of furniture in our house with so many wonderful memories for our family. I pray that the next owners have memories just as sweet.