Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

July 29, 2006

Teresa update


She calls herself 'baby', says hi, bye bye, pool, meow, aya (Maya), jaja (Georgia), mama, dada, eeoh (Khalil), and she's got some word for Devyn and Matthew but I'm not sure it's consistent, it's just some excited syllable. She loves playing with the neighbor's cat, Andrew, who hangs out in our yard a lot (perhaps avoiding the big dog at his house). She's very attached to Daddy:

she loves playing with umbrellas:

and she can swing in the big kid swing by herself (though I still hover quite a bit to help her get down when she's ready):

She can sing pretty well for a one year old and can sing the tune to Skip to my Lou. Don't ask me, I think Billy taught her. But she insists on being sung to at least four or five times a day. She loves songs with hand motions- head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Going on a Lion Hunt, Where is Thumbkin?, Two Crows Sitting on a Hill, Patty Cake, and all the songs we've learned to sign from watching the Signing Times series. She's lately got this great hair sticking out over her ears thing going on. So Cute!


Oh, I could say so much more. Life is good with Teresa around. (And Georgia and Maya for that matter. Don't want to leave them out or anything, though they should really each get their own post. Hmm..)

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:43 AM | Comments (5)

July 18, 2006

Obsessed with danger


This spring, I noticed a lot of really healthy-looking poison ivy growing in the big park near our house. Not just in the woods, but everywhere that the woods met the grassy areas, there were poison ivy plants with really big, shiny, very green leaves. In fact, they seemed like the most vigorous things out there. I was alarmed by this and very curious. Alarmed because Georgia and Billy both got poison ivy rashes last summer that needed multiple medications and caused much misery; curious because it really did seem like there were many more poison ivy plants than last year and because the leaves looked a lot bigger than I had seen before. I wondered, though, if I just hadn't noticed them in previous years because I have to admit that after Georgia had her rash, I became somewhat obsessed with looking for it whenever we came near any leafy areas in parks or woods. I got pretty good at identifying it and when I found some I would just stare at it, amazed that a pretty little plant could cause so many problems just by touching it! And when your kids are little and roll around like pinballs all over the place with little regard for plants they might be touching that might hurt them, it tends to make one a bit jumpy and, shall we say, focused? on any lurking poisons around them. I find poison ivy kind of hypnotic in an evil but thrilling way. It's one of those situations where I feel like if I just pay attention enough and get really good at plant identification, I will be able to save countless innocents that would otherwise fall prey to it. And I'm not willing to give up the woods or the park, just because there are dangerous things in it.

So I was just about to ask the Nature Center staff if they had noticed the unusual health of the local poison ivy when I read this article in Science News (6/3/06, vol. 169, p. 339) about an experiment conducted on a forest in Woods Hole, Mass. where carbon dioxide was piped over a section of forest to mimic projected future conditions of the air quality. They found that vines, especially poison ivy, grew twice as fast as their normal rate in the increased carbon dioxide environment and if that wasn't enough, the fast-growing poison ivy developed more of the kind of oils that cause allergic rashes than regular poison ivy. So not only will there be more poison ivy in our future, the way things are going environmentally, but it will hurt you more! Evil evil evil! The only good thing about poison ivy, in my mind, it that white-tailed deer (which is the Illinois state animal) will EAT it! Isn't that crazy, that something so poisonous to human skin can be eaten by a deer with no problem whatsoever? I'm starting to like deer quite a bit about now. My heroes.

But back to my point. And this is it. Is there a marked increase in carbon dioxide levels already in my neighborhood? In the experiment, they put 50% more carbon dioxide on their experimental forest patch than is normally found in the atmosphere. Is the air here in Crystal Lake Park (across the street from my house) really bad? Or am I just noticing more poison ivy because I've been looking for it and learned what it looks like? Hmmm...

Here's a little poison ivy tutorial, a little shrine to my obsession:


Here it is, in it's many disguises, trying to look like a harmless plant:

It can be a little shrub

It can be a vine

It can even be so big that it's tree-like

Here are some plants that look like poison ivy, but aren't, next to the real thing, so you can compare and contrast:


Poison ivy

Fragrant sumac

Poison ivy

Some sort of maple

Poison ivy (this is the only one I'm not completely sure about, but I wasn't going to touch it to find out!)

Some plant I don't know, except that it isn't poison ivy

Poison ivy

All these pictures were taken on a walk between my house and the woods, through the park. Here you can see the proximity of these noxious plants to the path by the playground and to my sweet baby on said path:


Grrrr poison ivy! I growl at you!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 03:46 PM | Comments (5)

July 04, 2006

I wrote a paper!

For fun! (and to help me discuss a book more fruitfully) I can't say I remember doing that very often before. I got to pick out a book for all of us moms in the Leadership Education (homeschooling) group I'm in to read and discuss together as we pick through our own collective list of 'classics' of any and all fields of kowledge we're curious about. We're reading Flatland by Edwin Abbott which I read in high school Geometry class and really liked. It's sort of about math and is also a satire of the way society deals with new ideas (generally suppresses them). It's been fun to do school-type work that I feel like doing, on my own schedule, for the purpose of leading my children in their studies by my own studying of what I'm interested in. And letting them see what I'm doing and telling them about the process, etc. I told Georgia the story line of Flatland as a bedtime story and she was interested and liked it. The point is not that whatever books I happen to read in the next few years become her curriculum but that she see the process of learning exemplified so she knows what it looks like and why, how, when, etc. to go about learning both what she's interested in and what she needs to learn in order to get where she wants to go in life.

Update: Due to family encouragement, here's the paper. Download file

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:39 AM | Comments (4)

great party

Thanks for coming to the party (in spirit or physical form)! We had a great time. Our neighbors are so sweet and it feels like home when they are all around me, chatting on the doorstep, googling at a new baby, watching the kids play in the wading pool. It's good stuff. And we had some great surprise visitors from far away (Martha, Liza, and Brent!)! Hooray hooray! I couldn't stop smiling.

Here's the baby we were googling at. His dad's from Egypt, his mom's from Decatur. His name's Rami (rah-mee). He's intense and so cute!

Update: Liza has posted some amazing photos of the event.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:22 AM | Comments (1)