I spent a good portion of today working on my little bog garden in the backyard. Sometimes when there's a lot of upheaval in the house, I find myself wanting to work on projects in the garden even though there are a ton of other ways my time could probably be better spent right now. I think there's something about making a home for growing things that eases my mind and helps me relax and recenter myself. And it's so lovely to make a tour of the garden every day and see what plants are just starting to wake up from their long winter sleep.
So I hauled around dirt and rocks and didn't even bother with gloves because I wanted to get my hands right down in the soil. I planted a little Nishiki willow, which will have glorious pink, green and white dappled leaves in the springtime, and put in some crocus bulbs even though it's hardly the season to be planting them. Crocus are hardy little things, and the squirrels leave them alone here since they have a bird feeder to focus on instead.
Hopefully the willow will give the small birds a bit of cover through a good portion of the year. I moved my bird feeder out into the center of my yard since the cats were eating so many of my birds, and all it seems to have accomplished is that instead of a cat feeder I now have a hawk and owl feeder. I looked outside today to discover a Coopers hawk actually sitting on top of the bird feeder stand and plucking all the feathers off of an unfortunate little sparrow before gulping it down. I went out there after he was finished and it looked like a down pillowcase had exploded in my yard. Huzzah!
Admittedly the predatory birds are pretty cool to watch and definitely an improvement over the cats, as they don't kill things and then leave them on my back porch as presents. I should probably just hum "The Circle of Life" under my breath and carry on. But I think I'm going to plant a few more things that the little birds can hide in. I'd like to at least give the poor little things a sporting chance.
Connor is still having seizures (he had four today), but otherwise he was in good spirits. He's made up a sign for Ellen and it's really cute to watch how excited he gets when he comes home from school and sees her sitting on the couch. It's pretty great how quickly they've bonded and to watch Connor interact with his sister. She wants him to sit next to her all the time, and he wants to hold her hand and give her a million love butts. It's pretty cute.
We hit a big milestone today; this evening Ellen gave me a spontaneous hug for the first time ever! I didn't make a big to-do of it because that might scare her off, but I really wanted to tear up, throw confetti and then do a happy dance around the house. Then later she actually asked me to give her a hug, which is even more of a big deal. It's the first time she's verbally asked me for any sort of physical contact. Best. Day. Ever. I think I've got a lot more hugs and snuggling to look forward to in the future!
She's also asking us more questions about her adoption and what makes up a family, and as her English improves we're providing those basic definitions and grabbing as many teachable moments as we can. She's doing her best to navigate this new, mystifying and sometimes terrifying world and she's doing it with more grace and aplomb than we ever could have imagined.