Friday, August 29, 2008

three cheers for Sarah Palin!!!

McCain did the one thing that will get me to vote for him instead of for a third party candidate. God bless this woman for recognizing the value of every human life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

chyrsalises or chrysalii?

Well, whatever it is, we have three of them. The first two formed on Monday, and the third one today.

First, we noticed Hungry and Feed-Me making their silk attachments. Feed-Me chose one of the lovely sticks we provided:

we discovered our caterpillars getting ready to make their chrysalises... chrysalii???

Hungry apparently was not as pleased with the selection and opted to make his on the side of the bowl:

first they make a little silk connector - this one on the glass bowl!

Then they each attached their back "feet" to the silk and hung:


We missed the transformation of Feed-Me and found him like this:

we missed the transformation of this one

But, we were able to watch Hungry shed his skin! At first, we thought he looked a bit unwell:

noticed this guy looking a little funny

Kind of bloated:

kind of bloated

But then, as his body pulsated and squirmed, his skin began to slip away:

and then the skin started to peel away!he wriggled and squirmedmore wrigglingmore squirmingsquirmwrigglenow that the skin is off, it twists and wiggles all around to get it to drop off

After the skin was all the way off, the new pupa began to thrash and twist all around to get the old skin to fall away from the silk:

now that the skin is off, it twists and wiggles all around to get it to drop offtwistthrashwiggle, wigglefree at last!

We missed the transformation of the third today. He at least had enough sense to choose a stick instead of the bowl! Their chysalises/ii are so beautiful - they have metallic gold accents that are just amazing! I haven't been able to get a good picture yet, but hopefully soon.

We are looking forward to having three beautiful butterflies!

One more picture - here is Samuel with one of them a couple of days before the transformation:

almost there!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Samuel's favorite puddle

There's this puddle that is about a block away from our house and forms every time there is a decent rain. It is deep and wide, and perfect for splashing. The first time that Samuel really got into it was when we went for an early spring walk after it had snowed. It was around 50 degrees that day, which felt wonderfully warm after the winter, and there was still quite a bit of melting snow and slush. Samuel was probably around 3 years old at the time, and he started stamping in all the slush on the sidewalk. Then he moved on to some of the puddles along the way, and by the time we reached the big puddle, he was soaked to the knees. The rest of him was soon dripping as well as he playing in the bigger, deeper puddle. He was soon shivering with blue lips, but didn't want to stop splashing. Ah, well, that's what hot chocolate is for.

Whenever he plays in that puddle, people driving and walking past give me the strangest looks. I guess not many people would let their kids get soaking wet whenever they want. Why not? It's just water. Clothes dry. :)

Samuel's favorite puddle
making waves
And, just for fun, here are a few more garden shots. The first is a praying mantis that dh snapped on the sunflowers.
king of the sunflowers

The next is our John Paul II clematis. We bought this variety of clematis several years ago, but it never bloomed until the summer after John Paul II died. It has bloomed beautifully ever since.
John Paul II clematis

Friday, August 22, 2008

don't count your caterpillars before they ha- erm, metamorphasize*

We're back up to four. Not because we found the one that escaped, but because when dh brought some new leaves in a couple of nights ago, he didn't realize that there was a stowaway on one of them. It's 2-3 days old right now. Here is the new addition next to Hungry and Feed-Me, who are approaching the 2 week mark.

Hungry, Feed-Me, and the new guy

And here's Samuel admiring his pets.

fun with caterpillars

*Is metamorphasize a word? It reminds me of Jazzercise. Now I'm picturing little dancing caterpillars. Except they can't do Jazz Hands.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

caterpillar update

Here's one of the bigger ones. If I remember correctly, this is about halfway to their full size, before they make their chrysalis.

bigger and bigger
They will eat for a while and then rest for a while, and then eat again. When they are resting, they keep climbing up the edges of the bowl. One of them likes to climb over the edge and rest on the outside, where he proceeds to poop all over my table. I told him that pooping on the table is not good manners, but he doesn't listen to me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

nature study gets gross

One of our newer caterpillars disappeared. We can't find him anywhere. Yes, that means there's a dead caterpillar somewhere in my house. Ewwwwwwww #1.

The little one that hatched out of the egg also died - not sure why. So I had to pitch another dead caterpillar. Ewwwwwwww #2.

Hungry and Feed-Me molted. I wouldn't have known this if I had not checked on them when I did, because they both promptly ate their old skin. Ewwwwwwww #s 3-27. So far. I am sure there will be many more ewwwwwwwws to come before I get over it. Plus, I think they molt a few more times. Something to look forward to.

Homeschooling: More Catholic than the Pope

Well, okay, maybe not MORE Catholic. But definitely Catholic.

Both we and some of our friends have recently encountered criticism of homeschooling, with the argument that homeschooling is not Catholic. The attitude seems to be that not sending your children to the local Catholic school is something akin to being unpatriotic. I do want to note that the vast majority of people that we have talked to about homeschooling are very supportive. But for those who are not, let's look at what the Church says about homeschooling... thanks to Seton Home Study School for putting all the information in one place!

Catholic schools were once an essential alternative to the Protestant schools that dominated most communities. However, I wonder what, if anything, we are accomplishing by pouring money into them today. I know, I know, there are many fantastic Catholic schools where children get a solid education in a vibrant faithful environment. But I think those schools are more and more the minority. I hear so often that many times the teachers in Catholic schools are not Catholic, or only nominally so. I hear that with a few exceptions, the students are not any more well-formed than your typical public-schooled child. I wonder if a big part of this is that parents send their kids off to Catholic school and think, "Well, that takes care of their faith formation! Done!" In fact, there is NO substitute for parents sharing their own love of the Church and practicing the faith as a family.

What if, instead of giving parents a false sense of security with Catholic schools, parishes put more money into programs like Family Formation, so that the whole family would be encouraged to learn, pray, and celebrate the faith together?

Let the tomatoes fly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

there are more caterpillars than people in this house

Dh mowed the backyard yesterday, and we had sprigs of milkweed vine popping up all over. So, he checked each one to be sure that he wasn't mowing over more caterpillars. He ended up finding two more caterpillars and an egg! We are going to be a butterfly zoo! Here are Feed-Me (the oldest caterpillar), an as yet unnamed caterpillar that looks to be about a day old, and the egg. Now you can really see how much they grow in less than a week!

they just keep coming...

Our garden is doing well this year. We have zuchinni for the first time ever, bell peppers, chili peppers, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro, and chives.

bell pepper

My bell peppers are finally getting ripe. Hmm, think I need to weed???

We also bought gerber daisies for the front yard, and found some sort of squash vine growing up in them, so we moved it to the backyard. We just found a gourd of some kind on the vine! It is small and white now, so I am excited to see what kind it becomes.

mystery gourd

We also had some sort of vine pop up around our compost bin, and now it has a melon on it!

mystery melon

One more surprise: our neighbor puts out corn for the squirrels, and they planted some in our yard, so we have a couple of corn stalks, too. I love garden surprises!

surprise corn!

Our blackberry bush performed wonderfully this year. We had bowls full of huge berries - more than enough for a pie, although they never made it that far. it sent up so many new shoots this year, that next year we should be able to have plenty for a pie and snacking.

last of the blackberries

One more thing we planted this year was a sunflower mix. They are growing beautifully, as you can see!

more sunflowersred sunflowerquite a varietybig bloomlemon sunflowerSamuel and the sunflowers

The sunflowers even look cool when they haven't opened yet.

on the verge

One more: my favorite daylilies.

my favorite daylilies
Sorry for the picture-heavy post! Just couldn't pick and choose when it came to all the flowers. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

They grow up so fast. *sniff*

Our caterpillars are getting bigger!

getting bigger...

The one on the right is a day older than the one on the left. If you click on the picture, you can see a larger version on Flickr.

In other news, I got a picture of Samuel and his big sea turtle, although he has not yet finished coloring the belly.

sea turtle!

Can you tell that it was chilly in our house this morning? We've been keeping the windows open, and the weather has just been awesome. I am trying hard to enjoy summer while it's here, but these brisk mornings have me in the mood for hot apple cider and pumpkin bread. I love fall!!!

Al Gore can take his compact fluorescent lightbulbs and...

Well, I'll let you finish that sentence. After you read this.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people voluntarily limiting their energy use, and I do it because I'm cheap. However, CFLs give me a headache and I will be stocking up on incandescents so that I will have a supply long after they become contraband.

HT: The Common Room

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hungry and Feed-Me

On Friday, we found a monarch egg on a leaf of milkweed vine in our yard, so we brought it in. Last year, we found a monarch caterpillar, but he was nearly full grown when we started taking care of him. Our egg hatched on Sunday morning!

teeny tiny

Then on Monday, Samuel found first another egg and then a new hatchling. The egg didn't hatch, and it accidentally got smushed so I think it's a lost cause. But we have two baby caterpillars now. You can see how much they grow in one day - the smaller one is only a day behind the bigger one!

two baby caterpillars

Samuel has been getting them fresh leaves every day, but I had to caution him to check first to make sure that he doesn't bring in anymore eggs or caterpillars - two is enough!

Oh, and he named the little one "Hungry" and the bigger one "Feed-Me". Pretty apt, as all they do is eat!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the log flume... OF DEATH!!!

So, we went to Indiana Beach with dh's family in June, and I am just now getting around to posting this hilarious picture that was taken by the auto camera on the log flume - you know, at the moment that you plummet down the big hill at the end?

Holy Cow!!

From top to bottom: first me, having fun, then my niece, a little concerned. Then comes dh, not a fan of sudden drops. Then, poor Samuel, who apparently believed that death was imminent. His face is priceless, though. If you click on the picture, you can go see a larger version on Flickr if you'd like to see his terror in greater detail. Don't worry, he wasn't too traumatized. That came later, when we rode the roller coaster!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I learn something new every day

How The Lungs Work
by Samuel

how the lungs work

Apparently, you breathe in through your nose, and then the air goes to your lungs where two little helpful men grab the oxygen and throw everything else out of your mouth. Mystery solved.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Did you watch this video yet? If not, do it now! That pretty much tells you the basics. If you want more details, you should watch this one. Evidently Obama has made various excuses for his vote, including that he didn't understand what the bill was about (um, isn't it his job to understand???) and that he didn't like the way it was worded, but would have voted for it if it had been worded the same way as the federal bill. Except, he left out the part about how he was the one who kept the bill from being worded like the federal bill when it was in committee. Oops.

Here is a quote from him where he finally gives what I think is the real reason:

Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – child, a 9-month-old – child that was delivered to term. …

And there you have it. If we have to save a child one minute, why was it okay to be trying to kill it seconds before, just because it was in a different place? Good question. Obama voted against this bill because he doesn't like the answer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

please watch this and share it

Let me preface this by saying that I am no McCain fan. However, I feel much more strongly about his opponent, and this video pretty much sums up the reason. This is something that every American should know about this man before they head into the polling booth this November.

Please note that there is one brief graphic image, so do not view it with children present.

Friday, August 01, 2008

what to do...

...when you are seven years old and you have spent WAY too much time in the car lately and you are stuck in the backseat AGAIN and you find your camera:

what to do when you are bored in the car