Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Time and the Living is Good

Oh me oh my oh how I love summer! Something about the sunshine and the warmth, the freedom to run and play outside, soak yourself with sprinkler water, eat under the shade tree, stay up way past bedtime, lick up popcicles... yes, dear southern friends, I know you get to enjoy these blessings year round, and oh how I would love to join you. But in the meantime, I will celebrate the blessing of the season of summer, and thank the Lord for his kindness and praise Him for his brilliance as the creator.

Here are some shots, most of them taken on my new camera (thank you dear hubby and sweet children, for my wonderful mother's day gifts!) so some of them turned out better than others, as I'm playing with settings and learning the ins and outs.

isn't this part of what being a child is all about? eating lunch in the fort? clearly, my kids think so.

and owies. or, "owdies" as xander calls them. he's full of them. particularly on his legs and feet. praise the Lord we've managed to avoid black eyes and stitches (i know, these are coming) but we've gotten scratches and bruises and blisters and scrapes. xander loooves talking about his owdies, and if you ask him about owdies, he'll show you his right knee, the location of his first scrape, his first skinned knee (with blood even!), despite the fact that it's been all healed up for a couple of weeks. he also requests medicine for this owdie (neosporin is his medicine of choice) at least every other day.

our summer evenings have been chalk full of outside fun and entertainment, and the joy of playing with our friends and neighbors. donovan (or dah-dah, depending on who is calling his name) is a lot of fun. and his incredibly cool parents allow playing in the back of the truck, which is so novel i don't know if standing back there will ever be not fun.
**note libb's outfit, which is pretty horrid, perhaps one of her worst, and has been referred to as an 80s workout video gone wrong. yes, that shirt is outgrown and those are headbands in her hair. but the girl was in a rush to choose an outfit to replace her soaked swimming suit that was suitable for play. yes libby, i don't mind if you play in that getup, though i'd prefer if it were in the privacy of our own home.**

me and my baby-baby

josh takes xand on his first bike ride, and d, who has loaned his bike and helmet to his young friend, scoots along on libb's trike.

i have so many cute pics of my kids that i have to post this one. oh my how sweet they were that day in the mall. libby holding xander's hand, guiding him along and talking to him in her sweeter than honey voice. he's holding their puppy, and is just thrilled to have his big sister caring for him. they turned heads time and again as they cooed to one another, giggled, walked along behind me in all their cuteness. but then, i got out the camera. and something entirely disgusting happens to xander's face. he puts on his camera smile. it's hilarious. and ruinous. but, i post anyway. :)

playing with sepia, sipping on refreshment

giving a shout-out to nalgene. if you don't have a nalgene sippy for your kids, you're missing out on one of the greatest products we own. no break, no leak, any exceptions and they'll throw a replacement in the mail the next day. i only wish they offered more colors, because we need more nalgenes in this house. oh, and yes, they're bpa free.

a girl who gets to bake cookies then put on her swimming suit for outdoor delight just might find herself in a suit-snapping sort of mood.

and may even have to do some twirling round the kitchen

faith, libby and gracie enjoying the scenery. yes, faith is there, swallowed up by the big blue chair

there you are girls! blinded by the sun...

baby-baby loooves his blankie and his milk. and lately, he loves laying with them on the kitchen floor. whatev.

some kids have a natural fear of danger, such as heights. not this one. when i put xander at the bottom of the stairs, i anticipated him climbing up to the first or second landing, and taking the respective slide back down to ground level. friad not. little man hiked straight up to the top of the gym, and joined the big boys at the big slide. he liked the middle (bumpy) slide so much that he ran straight back for more and decided on this, his second attempt, that he's go for the swervy slide on the left. he's fun to watch.

oh but life's not all action-packed ups and downs. my kids know the joy of a relaxing afternoon in the swings. libby doesn't typically stand for swings of this "baby" variety, but because i needed to be here by xander she joined him. she lasted a few moments past my attempt to get a cute pic of them swinging together and then ran off to put her feet in the sand. xander, however, continued to swing alongside his friend joshie dooders for at least 20 minutes. the two of them watched each other and reminded one another that "weeeeeeeeeeeee". i think x would swing all day if i had the energy to stand there next to him. in fact, even when i retreat to sit and rest, he is content to chill in his swing, motionless, for several minutes before he calls to me, "all done!"

okay, so that's all for now. but i'll have more. it's SUMMERTIME!!!!!! YAY!

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Monday, May 04, 2009


You may have heard. We've undergone a metamorphosis at our house. They arrived in a package on our doorstep, a birthday gift for our 4-year old... 5 caterpillars. Five teeny tiny little guys who were destined to become painted lady butterflies.

Here is my Libby, holding her caterpillars. They're soooo tiny! If you click on the picture you can see them a little better. We literally watched them grow from day to day. In the mornings Libby would run over to her bookshelf and check her caterpillars and drag us in to her room, where we would find ourselves genuinely astonished that she was right, they really had grown overnight. She named them, but you know, it was really hard to tell them apart. So, in the end she had Allie, Aniss, and Ellis. Those 3 names covered the 5 caterpillars. And the name Daisy emerged the day after release. More on that later. She was really thrilled about these caterpillars.

Kay, I'll admit. I don't know how many days later this was, but see how much these guys have grown?! My estimate, this was around day 5.

Okay, day 10 we noticed that the caterpillars were following the rules. They were headed to the top of their little jar, where they were to begin forming their chrysalises. (This is something I learned, a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, a moth emerges from a cocoon. I'm confident that in second grade, I was incorrectly taught that butterflies come from cocoons.) This picture is Libby, and she's pretending to be a caterpillar. See how her hands and feet are attaching to the ceiling. yep.

Here's a better image of the caterpillars on the lid. They started out so tiny and cute and they got so ... big.

Okay, within 2 days each caterpillar had completely disappeared inside its chrysalis. So, we had the task of removing the lid and pinning it to the inside of Libby's soon-to-be butterfly sanctuary. I don't know if you can tell, but she is REALLY nervous in this picture. We put the fear of chrysalis death in her, when we told her that if they are bumped off the top of the jar it can hurt them. Libby was insistent that daddy be incredibly careful when handling her little babies. Thankfully, he was.

Fast forward. 10 days after forming their chrysalises, the painted ladies emerged. It happened really fast, and all 5 of them emerged within a couple of hours. We got to watch one come out, and it was very exciting! The next few weeks were a flurry of excitement, watching Allie, Aliss and Aniss flit around with their two friends with same names. Xander LOVED seeing the bustle in the sanctuary as the ladies danced about. Libby still ooohs and aaaaaaws when she thinks or talks about them. She developed a real fondness for those little critters. We fed them sliced oranges, and bought them beautiful bright purple carnations to coat the bottom of their "home." Then, we daily squirted sugar water into the flowers, which they ate. And this was really fascinating. We watched the ladies unroll their proboscis (a straw from their mouth) and suck the sugar water or orange juice until they were satisfied, then they'd roll it back up under their "chin" area and move along. What an educational experience! for all of us!

The ladies were to have the potential to live 5 weeks in their habitat in our kitchen. We noticed a loss, and then another. Trouble! We had to have 55 degree weather outside before we could release them. Another loss, and another... within a day. That evening, it was exactly 55 degrees and we headed outside to release the last butterfly from the habitat. Libby and Xander look in on her and get ready to unzip the lid and free their little friend.

Aniss turned out to be a little shy, so we coaxed her onto a stick and said our farewells. Libby was so excited for her to be free, as you can see in the picture below. (don't miss Aniss on the end of the stick!) She danced and cheered, until it was time to leave her butterfly behind. Then the tears started to flow. Poor sweet Libby was heartbroken to lose her last butterfly (she later named her Daisy). Daisy is free, and Libby still mourns her. It's really very sweet. At the thought of her dear Daisy, Libby's face turns sad and she softly whines about how much she misses her. And can we go outside and see if she's come back? Do I think she's still in Omaha? Maybe she went to Chicago?

Daisy, we don't know where you are or what you've been up to, but we miss you. Thanks for coming and showing us the wonder of your metamorphosis. We are amazed all the more at our great God and his creation after we were able to open our home to 5 painted ladies.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to a really great book that we bought to accompany the butterfly habitat. It's called "My, Oh My -- A Butterfly" and it's fantastic. It's a Cat in the Hat book (written to sound and look like a Dr. Seuss, but it's not). This little book is incredibly educational, we learned so much about the life cycle of the butterfly, and found Libby identifying various butterflies at the zoo when we visited the butterfly pavilion, as she had learned about them in this book. It's told in rhyme, is super cute, colorful illustrations... you'll love it.
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