Friday, May 16, 2008

A new heart

Yes, the Hearts family brought home a new dog. It's been about a month since Bilbo, our old loyal Lab mix passed away, and left a huge empty place in our home. We went to Orphans of the Storm, a no-kill shelter in our area, and there we found our new dog, Astro. (like the Jetsons.)

Astro is a large yellow Lab (mix? maybe - maybe not). His coat is very short and sandy-feeling. He is very gentle and patient, especially with the little kids, who climb on him and such. He is also very friendly to Carmen, our brown dog. What else can I say, he loves to play fetch, and will indefinitely, loves to be outside, but mostly loves to be with us. He is not a dog who wants to be "just left alone."

He had such a sad story, with his owners getting cancer, then giving up Astro and his buddy, Star, to the county animal control, when they could not take care of them anymore. Luckily, they were sent over to the shelter, but then Star was adopted, leaving poor Astro with no family, no home, and no companion. I was told that he had been in a home with kids, and that he loved children, so I felt good bringing him into our home, where we have sort of an infestation of children. It's been a short time, but I have a good feeling about Astro. He really is an "instant pet."

To anyone who is wary of adopting a fully grown dog: There is a perfect family for every dog you see at the shelter, especially if the dog is an adult. No housebreaking, you know what size they'll be, and none of the irritating "puppy stuff" like chewing the cushions off the couch. You just have to look, and be optimistic.

All I have to say is: Welcome home, Astro, welcome home.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My yard

This time of year things start looking pretty nice around the Heart's yard. Here are some pictures of parts of our backyard. The garden shots are of my shade garden. I got some of the plants at Walmart, some from Jamaica Gardens, and the rest are perennials that are making their spring arrival.

Last year the pink flowering tree had only ONE branch that had any flowers at all. I seriously considered having it removed. This year it is making up for it's poor display last year.

The nasty bench under the tree is a treasure we found in a dumpster. It painted up pretty nice, but now it looks like it needs another coat of paint. It is pretty peely.

Friday, May 9, 2008


What is it about my kids, that on the days that I think "golly, I've really been making them do some boring stuff, how about something fun today, like making their own games, etc., they become the biggest crabby cry-babies?" What is it about getting away from the table to do something that I figure MUST be more fun than worksheets and drills and assigned reading that brings out the worst in my kids?

Does unschooling=crabschooling?

Apparently it does in my house.

"Why don't you play one of those math games for math today, instead of your workbooks?" I say.

"No." replies Ace, "she cheats."

"I do not" says Deuce.

"You do too." says Ace.

"No, you just don't like it when I win." says Deuce.

Sensing that this is spinning rapidly out of control, I suggest a cooperative game that it doesn't pay to cheat at. This seems to be okay until Deuce brings up a coop game.

"I hate that game." says Ace.

"But I like it," says Deuce, "and I won't play any other game."

At this point I am about to toss them both out the window. When Jack and Three pipe up that they also LOVE the game. Sighing in resignation, Ace sits down to play the game. "There's no rules." She announces triumphantly, for now they can't play the game. "I guess we can't play this game."

After a little rummaging in the box, Three comes up with the rules - "aren't these the rules?"

"Yes." says Ace, resigned again to playing the game.

The games goes along just fine til the end. Then the bickering begins anew. Jack shoves a chair into Three, Ace begins bossing around Deuce, who then starts bossing around Jack, who shoves the chair into Three again.

Luckily, the baby is sleeping.