Monday, July 28, 2008

Who would have known Raffi could be so insightful?

I was never a Raffi fan as a child. I don't know if we owned any of his music, but I certainly preferred my Music Machine record if we did. Now as a parent I've bought a few cheap kids CDs from bargain bins if they have a song that makes me wax nostalgic, or a song I know Luke likes...and I did shell out full price for the CD versions of some Veggietales Silly Songs albums, but generally the kids listen to whatever we choose, which when Bruce is in charge means his music, often in record form. With our digital cable we get music stations, including a kids' one. Needless to say on the Treehouse music station, Raffi gets his fair share of plays on it alongside Fred Penner singing Sandwiches, and The Cat Came Back. I do enjoy the odd Raffi song, mostly because he mentions my name in at least 2 songs I've heard, which may not be a big deal for all the Jennifers I know, but for me, it puts a smile on my face, even as an adult. Yeah, you can hum or even sing along with Raffi, but generally I always thought of his music as, well, Fluff...singing about infant whales, and whatnot. But there is one song that I never remember hearing as a child. It's called All I Really Need. The refrain is simple "All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, love in my family". When I hear (or sing) that simple refrain I feel warm and content with myself and the world. People in North America spend so much time and money on getting enough and being happy that they have no time to actually enjoy having enough and being happy. Just go into any bookstore and find the section labelled "self-help". There's rows and rows of books telling everyone how they can improve their lives, their children, their attitudes. Now I don't want to put down people who read these books in the hopes of improving themselves, we could all try a little harder at that, heaven knows I sure have plenty of room for improvement. But there's also something to be said for being happy with who you are and what you have. I've never read any of those Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books, but my mother the worrier thought they were good. I personally think you don't have to waste your time with any of those books, just pick up a the Raffi album and keep singin'.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God made weeds too

So earlier today the boys and I were outside enjoying a beautiful summer day, when something made me do a bit of weeding...that something being Luke. I rarely do weeding, and am very lucky that I have a mother-in-law who is a bit anal-retentive about weeds in the garden. I know when the weeds are getting bad, not when I bother to look at my garden, but when my in-laws show up for a visit and my father-in-law shows up without my mother-in-law. It's not that they didn't come, it's that she couldn't walk past the weeds in the front flowerbeds and spends the first part of the visit on her knees pulling out weeds. When she finally makes it to the door she's carrying a handful of weeds for the compost bin. Some people may be bothered by what they might call meddling, I'm thankful for what I call free labour. I usually then suggest that we head out to the back yard for a little while. I hope she doesn't realize that it's not because of the beautiful sunshine, or how much the boys enjoy the sandbox, but rather a ploy to extract as much free labour as I can before the visit is through. In the back yard she doesn't have to clutch her handful of weeds, but rather throws the weeds into a large enamel-coated handled bowl that belonged to my great-grandmother. It's got a few rust spots, but is the perfect weed receptacle. Which brings me back to today, when Luke brought said bowl over and wanted to pulls some weeds so he can make a "caesar salad". A few years back we made a peanut shaped garden around the big evergreens in the centre of our yard. My goal was to fill it so full of perennial plants that there would be no room for the weeds to grow. My mother-in-law graciously split her plants and the plants of her friends to aid me in my quest, and so other than a few hostas that I shelled out for, my garden was furnished with donations...most of which I have no idea what they are. It is a wonderfully cheap way to garden, but it does have a downfall though. There I am trying to show Luke which are weeds so we can pull them for the bowl, but I'm not sure about some of them. For once I was thankful that our dog Rita had taking up the hobby of digging in the garden. There was a barren area at the near end where her most recent excavations have taken place, but I remembered in the springtime she used to dig at the far end. So Luke and I headed over to what was empty this spring before we filled the dirt back in, and low and behold it was filled with big ugly weeds. In no time we had the "salad" bowl overflowing. Today's experience did get me thinking though. What makes a weed a weed? I think of Shakespeare's line in Romeo and Juliet, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Is there a place in the world where roses are weeds? Is there some woman out in her backyard somewhere hands covered in thorn pricks saying "I wish I could get rid of these roses...they're everywhere! My poor dandelion plant can't get any sunlight, because the #@%&* roses keep getting in the way!" Look up weeds on Wikipedia (click the logo). Weeds are just regular plants that grow well in whatever gardening zone you're in. We live near Assiniboine Forest where the last few summers students have been hired to "restore the native prairie grassland" which really means weeding so that the original weeds can grow back now doesn't it?
So really, who am I to decide what plants should grow in my garden...God made those "weeds" too. They have just as much, if not more, right to grow in my garden as the ornamental grasses and day lilies do...don't they? Of course I am one of those people who will find any way to justify not doing the things I don't like doing, and weeding is one of them...but still. Which reminds me, I'd better call the in-laws and invite them over. There's still plenty of weeds back there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

You may have overheard me at the Children's museum on Thursday...

Here we are.
Luke, Please, we have to wait for the lady to get off the phone so we can pay to get in....Luke, we have to wait, Luke please wait, Luke come back here, we have to wait. Just wait. Yes, there's the train, but we need to wait. Luke, we have to wait. Just a minute. Okay.
No, Luke we need to put our stuff in the locker first, this way, come on. Yes, you can pick the locker. That one? This one? Just make up your mind please. This one? Good choice.Okay, let's put our stuff in, now put in the loonie...good, turn the key, here I'll help you, all right let's go.
Luke why don't you go in the tunnel with Caleb? Mommy needs to watch Toby, but Caleb will go in the tunnel with you. Luke, Caleb really wants to go in the tunnel with you. I know it's dark, but there are some lights inside, you can do it. Good...
It's okay Luke, Caleb was just pretending to be a snake. That was just him making a hissing noise, you can go back in...yes, I'll come. Come on Toby, let's go with Luke.
No, Mommy doesn't fit on the slide.
I don't know why there's only 2 balls today, but we have to take turns.
Toby do you want to try. Okay, put the ball in the hole, right in there...where's Luke? Luke?! LUKE! Luke, you can't run away like that we'll see the train later. Look at this!....Okay where's Luke now? Luke! LUKE! LUKE! LUKE! Come back here! You can't run away!.....let's go see the car now.
You want to go up there? Okay, but stay where I can see you....Luke are you still up there? Luke? LUKE! LUKE! I told you not to run off! Let's go to the train.
No Toby this way...Toby THIS waaaaay! TOBY! THIS WAY!
Luke you have to wait your turn.
Luke you have to share.

Toby, Justin was using that, give it back please.
Time to go...We'll come back another day.
Did you have fun?...Me too!