Thursday, May 26, 2011

From Caterpillars to Butterflies

I thought it would be fun to hatch some butterflies, so I bought us a net and ordered some caterpillars. And for about three or four days, we checked the mail hoping they would be there.

Then one day, surprise! We are the proud owners of five fuzzy caterpillars.

Luke was excited.






Daily we checked on our caterpillars and watched them.  In about three days, they had gone to the top of the container and began to make their chrysalis.  On afternoon, we were able to watch one for a long time and saw about half of the chrysalis appear.  Very cool.

Within a couple more days, they had all formed their chrysalis. At this point, we had to take the top off the container, remove some of the silk, and transfer the paper disk with the chrysalis to the net. This was nerve racking! Joshua did a great job at pinning the disk to the net while I watched to make sure he was not about to poke one of them.

Then the waiting began.




Finally, you could sort of see through them and see the wings. 



One Saturday morning, we heard a sound coming from the net and saw that one of the butterflies appeared to be trying to emerge. For about four hours this butterfly tried to get out, and then all the movement stopped. It never emerged.

However, the next morning, a different butterfly had made it!

We were all so excited!




The following morning, we saw that we had three more!  While we were excited to see they had emerged, we were sad that we did not get to see any of them as they came out.





We had four painted lady butterflies!  We kept them for about three days and feed them and watched as they flew around. 



 
Then, we got them out one by one.

It was hard for Luke to get them out since his hands are small.  He was worried he would crush them.  So, I got them out, and then he would let them crawl to his hand.





 
The first one flew to the back fence and sat a while.
 

The second one flew straight out and away over the fence.

The third one stayed on Luke a good while.
 



Then it flew over the fence.

The fourth one hung around for a little while too.
 

And then flew to the flower bed.


This was so much fun and I think we will do it again.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Leader in the Making


Luke is strong-willed. I mean REALLY strong-willed.

When he was little, as in an infant under the age of one, my Mother bought me Dr. James Dobson’s book The Strong-Willed Child. I looked at her and said, “Mother, he is a baby. He is NOT strong-willed.” She did not miss a beat, “He belongs to you and Josh, and you will need the book.”

She was right (no surprise). At two and a half, I could not read that book fast enough. As in, it once took Luke over TWO hours of screaming and crying and throwing a fit to START picking up his toys (at my parents’ house). Yes, I battled it out. I was not giving in. It was time to pick up toys, and by golly, he was going to do it. And yes, after two hours of the fit, he began picking them up.

During those very difficult times, I would remind myself that this strong-will would one day pay off. We had a leader with determination on our hands. We just needed to guide him a bit….and make him pick up toys.

So, I’ve been waiting. Waiting to see what God had in store for this leader. To see how He would use his strong-will and leadership qualities.

This week, one of the pay offs came. And let me tell you how wonderful it was to hear the story straight from Luke!

Luke came home from school with a bouncy ball yesterday and I asked how he got it. He explained that he won the ball playing a game.

The class was put into two teams. The game was to see which team could make the most sentences. Luke’s job was to write down all the sentences for his team. He said that when the game began, everyone was yelling the sentences at him and he could not understand them. He then told his team that if they had a sentence, they needed to raise their hand and he would call on them. Then, they could whisper the sentence in his ear, so the other team would not hear and steal their sentences.

Proud Mother moment.  A leader AND organized. 

I said, “Luke, you were being a leader!”

“Is that bad?” he asked.

So, I explained that leaders can be good or bad. After discussing, he explained to me how he was a good leader.

And I could not have agreed more.

I congradulated him on being a good leader and winning the prize!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love is.....

Earplugs.

Yep, you read that correctly, no need to go back.

My husband snores. Loudly. Now, to be fair, I will also tell you that he says that I snore. Loudly. He may or may not be telling the truth. In the event he is, the difference here is that my snoring does not tend to wake him up in the night.

His snoring was not really a problem for me until earlier this year. A few months back, I found that I was being woken up four, five, even six times a night with his snoring and it was hard for me to get back to sleep.

Then, one day, my dear husband handed me earplugs…..in fashionable neon green.

His gift really touched me.  Thoughtful.  Useful.  Loving....in his own way.

The earplugs work great! So good in fact, that on more than one occasion, I have been woken up in the morning by a nudge in my side. Seems my alarm had been going off for a while and woke up the husband, rather than me. Sorry dear.

Every night as I put them in my ears, I am reminded of his love and thoughtfulness.

Joshua - thank you for the little ways in which you show me that you care.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Congratulations Dinner!

The Sister (from another Mother) graduated from Nursing School this month! I could not be more proud of her. This girl quit her job and went back for a second Bachelor’s degree in a completely different field. In the middle of obtaining this degree, her life changed. A lot! That story is not mine to tell, but believe me, things change for her-- good change. Honestly, I think I would have thrown in the towel on the second Bachelor’s degree had I been in her shoes, but not her. She took things as they came, did not get stressed out, and just kept on going.

And so as I watched her walk across a room full of nursing students to receive her nursing pin, I just could not have been any more proud of her! My eyes filled with tears as her boys ran across to hug her and as her husband place her pin on her shirt. I love that family.

I invited them over for dinner the other day and told her I would cook whatever she wanted. Come for dinner, for the boys to play, and for a good time. Because, the get-togethers have been too far apart here lately since she had so many finals to study for and all the hours to put in at the hospital.

She said she wanted the tacos. The Tacos. This is what they are called at our house and we all know what they are. They are Yummy.



You can get the entire easy peasy recipe for this dinner from my Aunt Martha’s website. http://www.marthastewart.com/menu/smoky-beef-tacos-with-rice-and-beans-pineapple-salad-and-mexican-snowballs

Make all of it -- the tacos, the pineapples, the rice, and the snowballs. The main thing I change up with the beef is the amount of peppers. I use the entire can of peppers, or half, depending on who is coming to eat. There are some people we know, who shall remain nameless, that cannot handle the heat! Oh, I also throw in another jalapeno or two to the pineapples. What can I say, I like things spicy! Make this meal and invite friends over and have a good ‘ol time. You will be hailed a fabulous cook.

However, for this dinner, I just made plain Mexican rice. And this is the recipe I will share with you today. I’ve made so many failed Mexican rice recipes that it is not funny. About a year and a half ago, this lady at my work gave me a recipe and told me it would be fabulous. She was not kidding. This rice is GREAT!

1 tablespoon of olive oil
Half white onion, chopped
Heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1 cup white rice
1 can chicken broth
2 heaping tablespoons of tomato bullion
2 jalapeno peppers, whole

Heat up olive oil over medium heat in a medium pan. Add chopped onions and sauté. Add garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add in rice and stir for another minute. Then add chicken broth, tomato bullion and jalapenos. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked. Stir with a fork and serve!

It is yummy and easy and simple.

Again, CONGRATULATIONS to The Sister!!! And thanks for giving me a reason to cook up The Tacos!

Love you dearly, and all your boys too…...even the policeman who likes to give me a hard time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Then and Now

I received a phone call early one evening during my Junior year of high school. My Mother answered the phone and told me it was Josh. I thought it a little odd that he was calling me. We were great friends at the time, but not yet dating. He did not call me often.

I got on the phone and he told me that his little sister had been born! I was so excited for him, his family, and told him congratulations.

Many years later, I asked Joshua if he called anyone else that evening. No, just you, he said. I asked why. He did not know, he said he just wanted me to know she had been born. I love how God works…...in ways we do not realize.

I will never, ever, forget that day. The day my sweet sister-in-law was born. The day I had no idea I would one day marry her big brother.


Then:

It was 1996. Josh had hair. I had no gray. His sister was just a baby. I babysat her and loved it. She cried when I left their house at night.


We were on our way to our Senior Prom.


Now:

It is 2011. Josh has no hair. I have gray. His sister is a lovely young lady. She will be babysitting Luke this summer. Luke will probably cry when he has to go home.
 
She went to her Junior Prom this past weekend.

Charity, you are absolutely beautiful, inside and out.  I cannot wait to see what else God has instore for you. 




















Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Living with Boys

As I have previously mentioned, I live with two boys. The older one is my husband, the younger one is our son.



There are times I can barely make it through the day with all the testosterone running rampant all around me. I know people that live with more than two boys and I just don’t know how they do it!

The up side to living with boys is that really, there is never a dull moment. Someone seems to always be doing something funny….well, at least it is funny to them. The down side, boys are shall we say different. They can get along just fine without order, and with gross things, but cannot live without sports….particularly baseball.

See this.


These are Luke’s t-ball socks and they are draped across a pillar that sits by our front door. When I noticed them, I started to call out for Luke to ask him why he felt he should lay out dirty t-ball socks right by the front door for all to see when they come into our house. Then I realized that Luke is not able to get the t-ball socks off by himself. Josh was not home at the time, so all I could do was to keep trying to figure out myself why he, the older boy of the house, decided this was a great spot for them. Then I seemed to recall that Luke went outside one day with no shoes on, wearing said socks, when the ground was wet and got his socks soaking wet. I then remembered husband assisting Luke it taking off the wet socks. Now, what I cannot figure out is why he, the husband, laid them on the pillar rather than taking the less than ten steps to the laundry room. See, they can live without order (notice that nowhere in this story did Luke pick them up and move them to the laundry room, or even his dirty clothes basket). Me, not so much. I picked up the socks, took actually only five steps (yes, I counted them!) and placed them in the laundry room.

See this.



Here is the story about this. My boys and I took a trip to WalMart one day to purchase a birthday present for one of Luke’s friends. The item above made its way into our shopping cart. I would normally have suspected that the younger boy put it there as he LOVES putting items in the cart that HE deems necessary, i.e. any and everything in sight that is chocolate. But, the fact that Luke perked up and said, “hey, what is this?!?!?!” lead me to believe that the older boy in my life had located this gem of an item and placed it in the cart. I rolled my eyes, looked at my dear husband who was grinning from ear to ear, and tried to forget it was there. However, upon our arrival home, and pretty much every day since, I am reminded of this purchase. BOTH Josh and Luke love to push their hand down in this goop and wait for it……..the fart. See, they can live with gross things. Me, I am learning to deal with it as best I can. I am just thankful that when new people in our lives come to our house to visit, this item is not brought out and played with. Thank you, boys. 

See this.


These are my boys watching the Texas Rangers on TV. The only reason they are perched on the couch watching rather than sitting in the stands is because we did not buy season tickets to the Rangers. Do not feel sorry for them. They will go to a bunch of home games (and even took me to one for Mother’s Day). They will just not attend ALL home games. Because of their love for baseball, things like this happen:

1. Joshua will yell at Luke while he is in the shower to keep him up to speed on the score of a game. Luke will yell back to confirm he heard and to thank his Daddy for the update.

2. Luke will ask if it is in the “plan” for him to stay up late and watch the Rangers.

3. If the answer to #2 above is no, he will be sad, and ask first thing in the morning if the Rangers won.

4. If the answer to #2 above is no, when the game is over, Josh will go see if Luke has fallen asleep or not. If not, he will report the outcome of the game. If there is a high pitched squeal, I know a) Luke is awake; and b) the Rangers won.

5. If the answer to #3 above is yes, well, we are deemed the greatest parents to grace the face of this earth. Luke grabs a blanket and cuddles up next to his Daddy. They watch baseball. They talk baseball. And then, Luke falls asleep while watching baseball.

And really, all of this baseball craziness, I CAN deal with it.

I love them.

A lot!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brody: An Update

To my surprise, a few friends of mine have actually asked for more pictures of Brody. I thought I would be nice and provide some, as well as a few facts about our dear Brody the Beagle.  (In case you did not see him as a pup, here is my first Brody Post.)



• Brody’s mother, not me the canine one, weighs 17 pounds, and his father, again, the canine not Joshua, weighs 20 pounds. This indicated to us that we would have a beagle around 20 pounds. Brody was 27 pounds back in February and I think he may have even gained a couple more. We need a DNA test.

• Brody appears to be an adult in size. Do not be fooled, his brain functions like the puppy he still is at nine months old.


• This “puppy” also thinks he is a ten pound lap dog, resulting in my almost always having bruises on my thighs. Thank you, Brody.



• Brody dug up my flower beds out back. It was winter, so all was forgiven. If he touches the beds now, which contain flowering plants, he may well be on his way to homelessness.

• Brody does NOT bark and howl as bad as one would think seeing he is a beagle and all. His howling/barking fits mainly come when he hears the garage door opening upon our return home. This is understandable. We are really fun people to be around. Or maybe he just needs out to pee. Take your pick.


• Brody apparently has a hole in his lip as he leaks water all over my entry way and kitchen. The trail starts by the water bowl and ends at the carpet. I am sure it continues on the carpet, we just cannot see it and do not slip and fall on it like we do the other.

• Brody does not mind at all getting his nails trimmed by Josh. Yay! We will never know if he minds me doing it because I will not even attempt it.



• Brody does mind a bath. In fact, he plain hates it. However, it is amazing how self-cleaning this dog is. Seriously. We have put him in his kennel covered in mud (because of all the digging up of my flower beds) and then he comes out clean as a whistle. He is a miracle dog!


• Brody sheds. A lot. Well, he only sheds his white hair as those are the ones I see all over the place. (I am not really that dumb, I know the black and brown hairs are coming out too. No need to email me.)

• Brody’s favorite thing to do is to lie outside and chew on a really big stick. It is called, “Brody’s stick”. Very original.


That is it for now. Perhaps in my next update, I will be able to inform the world that our crazy beagle has calmed down a little and is settling into adulthood. I hope so at least……






Friday, May 6, 2011

The Adventures of Captain Underpants


To say that Luke is obsessed with Captain Underpants is an understatement. Those of you with boys who can read, you know what I am talking about. Those of you who don’t, you will learn shortly what this is all about. And if by chance you do have boys who can read, and did not previously know about the Captain, and his underpants, once you are done reading this, you must go buy your son some of these books.

Luke has latched onto these books like bees to honey, stink on a dog, flies on cows. He generally reads each book in about 24 hours and then is quite persistent on obtaining another one. And if he gets one out of order, this throws him off a bit. He does however recover and moves on in life.



So, upon receiving a new Adventures of Captain Underpants book, he does not merely open it up and start reading. Nope, not this kid. Here is what he does:

1. He opens the book to the table of contents so he can determine exactly how many chapters and pages the book contains. There are usually 20 something chapters and about 140 something pages. He will then go on and on about this as if it will actually take all the energy and life out of him to read this much.

2. Once he is done talking about how long the book is; he then reads the table of contents to find the Flip-O-Rama chapter. What is Flip-O-Rama you ask? Well, let me tell you. There will usually be two or three different ones, but each one contains two pages. You quickly turn the page back and forth and some ridiculous scene will be playing out before your eyes—something along the lines of a toilet eating a person or something else equally weird, gross, and boyish.

3. Next up, he must read the title page of the book to determine who wrote it. Now, this may sound a little dumb since it is a series of books. One would think the same person would have wrote them all. Nope. Upon inspection, you will note that Dav Pilkey wrote the first one. However, if you look, Dav did not write the fourth one, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of the Professor Poopypants. While is name does appear on the title page, it is mysteriously marked out and next to it, it states that Gidget Hamsterbrains wrote it. Now Luke must determine who is writing each book before he can move on.

4. Finally, after all of this, he will then begin reading chapter one.  And these books contain gross boy stuff.



Now, just loving and reading these books does not make one past the point of obsessed. You need more. Not only does Luke love reading these books, he loves writing his OWN Captain Underpants books.



Please do not contact Dav or any of the other cast of characters who are writing and publishing these books and turn Luke in. I promise I will not let him run off to some publishing company, books in hand, and try to sell them.

A sample of Luke’s books-- The Adventures of Captain Underpants and the Poo Poo Boms (aka bombs).





I was not real sure I wanted to hear about this book or see it. But, as his Mother, who likes to support creative thinking and writing, I felt I should. So far I think this book has four chapters. One would think that would be all it would take to blow up some poop, but I guess it might take longer.

Okay, so we have established that Luke loves to get these books, read the table of contents, play flip-o-rama, determine who wrote the book, read them, AND write them. But that is not all. Oh no, my friends, there is MORE.

Luke also IS Captain Underpants.
 
(see what I live with)

At any given time, The Captain, as I like to call him, can be found running around our house shooting any and everything that he can. Including his Mother. Who again, supports creative thinking and play so she just smiles and thinks to herself, one day, I will get you when you least expect it.

So, as you can see, this boy is beyond obsessed. I was not joking.





Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Being a Mother

I will be honest and say that prior to having Luke, when I would think about having children, I very rarely thought about any of the not-so-fun-things of parenting. I knew those times would be there, but I chose not to think of them.

Luke is now six. I’ve had a lot of the not-so-fun-times. However, up until last weekend, I had not actually been the cause of those times. At least I do not think I have.

Last Saturday we arrived at Luke’s t-ball game and I got out of the truck, and slammed the door shut. I had not realized Luke’s hand was in the door. Not until Josh screamed at me to open the door did I realize this.

Once I realized what I had done, my first thought was of course about Luke. Had I broken his fingers? After his many, many tears stopped, Josh was able to determine that his fingers were not broke. He actually played in his t-ball game. His fingers never swelled up, and no bruising occurred.

There is really no explanation to the fact that he has no lasting marks, other than a miracle --a miracle in which I have thanked God for that day and every day since.

That night, I crawled into bed with Luke after he went to sleep and I laid there and looked at him and cried. I cried thinking that my not paying attention could have seriously injured my child. I cried because I was so thankful that he was okay.

Monday when I picked Luke up from my Dad’s I gave him a hug, kiss, and then asked to see his hand. After inspecting it for the millionth time, I again, for the millionth time, told him how sorry I was for shutting his hand in the door.

Luke’s response, “It’s okay Mom. I have forgotten about it and I wish you would too.”

That sentence is so encompassing of the mother/child relationship. This boy could not care less what I had done to him. He has forgotten and loves me no less.

While there are many hard and no-so-fun-things about being a parent, those sure are few and far between compared to the good and loving times.

This week, leading up to Mother’s day, I am so thankful that God allowed me to be a Mother. The journey to having a child was not easy, and did not come without tears, but it came.

Thank you God for my Luke and for entrusting him to me….even knowing that I would one day shut his hand in a truck door.