Monday, June 19, 2017

Surviving and Thriving in June

June is insane for me.  Between two birthdays, father's day, swim meets and practices and cub scout day camp - feel like I come out of June smoking and frazzled as if I'd been electrically shocked.  We're only half way through but despite all the demands, it is a wonderful time for growth and memories.

Swim team is in full swing and this year, unlike the past, Bud has decided he really wants to work to qualify for the finals.  This means going to his 7am practice and also an additional stroke class at 11:45.  (in between I drive Bug to her hour practice as well.)  Home meets are typically once a week but competing in more meets means more chances of doing a qualifying time.  The summers here are dreadful and sitting in 100 degree weather with only a spray bottle to cool really drips of blood and sweat and my tears!  I truly hate how much it sucks up our schedule for the six weeks but this year, THIS year I'm willing to make the sacrifice to a greater degree because I have never seen so much drive in my boy.

We've known some of these boys for the last three years but many have matured into wonderful athelets with great sportsmanship.  Bud is the slowest in the pack and the usually the least serious, but these boys have planted in him the seed to truly strive for more.  They always tell him he's doing a good job, they point out when his times are getting shorter and he's closer to being in the finals with them, one always shakes hands with his opponents after completing the race, they warmly welcome him in all their side games.  It's so heartwarming to see and I know these are things I can't teach him on my own.  So I've committed to get him to as many meets as possible, to pay for the extra swim classes and really encourage him in his practices.  It's paid off, he's seen his times improve and he sees that while great efforts produce hundredths of seconds of improvement, it is still improvement and there's joy in it.

With attending more meets, Bug-love has joined in too.  She really doesn't care for it much but when the reward is an ice cream treat for each meet, she has found motivation to attend.  She herself has improved her times as well and the sisters of these boys have slowly drawn her out a little more each time.  Her introvert heart longs for a quiet intimate chat which is impossible with the boisterious game these boys play but secretly I think she's having fun too.  Her friend Alex put an arm around her and lovingly dragged her into the picture!

We also had our first homeschool bookclub on "The One and Only Ivan".  So much came in the way of four families meeting together, but we finally managed to get two to meet to eat yogurt covered raisins, mangos, fingerpaint a favorite part of the book as well as watch a short video on the real gorilla.  It was really fun and a good way to get us use to the idea of opening our home to a larger homeschool group since this fall we will be hosting the youngest set of kiddos in the coop which will be well over 15 kids.

It doesn't matter how little Pumpkin is, she is 2 going on 18 and ready to join in no matter what!

Our home has also hosted various other creatures recently.  Bug's milkweed she got from bug camp was 'chosen' to be home to 4 monarch caterpillar eggs.  Initally we thought it was only one but the eggs are so tiny and hard to see on the underside that it was only after several days that we saw it was four rather hungry fat fellows.   Bug was determine they would not fall prey to a hungry bird so she and Kent created a netting sewn from broken window screens to keep them safe.   Two developed chrysalis' at the same time on the screen.  We then moved the other two inside our butterfly cage so we could more closely observe their progress in the comfort of an aircontrolled home.
Yes, the tiny glowing speck right about Bug's forehead is a caterpillar egg.
You'll have to excuse Pumpkin's whining in the initial part of the film.  She was desperate to touch the little guy and we wanted to protect it from her not so gentle hands.  She does make me laugh though when her voice changes to the 'awww' signifying she finds it incredibly cute!

Getting ready to pupate, they must have hung like that for nearly 18hrs.

How it looks immediately after it splits and sheds its final skin, you can still see the segments of it's body at the top.

This is a shot of the first two after only an hour or two , you can see the segments noted above are not absent, it's elongated and smoother.  I love the ridge of black that has specks of bright gold color that looks like jewels ornamenting the 'lid' to their home.  Flecks of gold can be seen lower as well.

The green darkens suddenly which is really the black of the butterfly wings you are seeing underneath the skin thin chrysalis.   Within hours they came out.

Really the process is such a miracle.  Each cell in the body broken down to recreate a new creature is still something that fascinates me, no matter how often I've seen it or read about it.  These shots were of us with one of the first two to come out..  It's wings were not quite ready for complete flight so we were able to hold it and take some good shots.  The other two have since made their metemorphasis and we have set out our milkweed plant and hope it will be so blessed to be made a home again to this amazing process.

It was such a thing of beauty, we were all rather captivated by it.  This one didn't have it's wings totally dry so it contently allowed us to hold it and take pictures.  Even Bud who is terrified of butterflies and other insects was so captivated he had it on his finger for a few seconds before it took it's long maiden flight.

The red liquid you see is meconium and not 'blood' which naturally freaked the children out a little.

We also found a tiny baby bird who had fallen from her nest in the eaves of our second story home.  If I had any idea where exactly it was I would have tried to find a way to put it up there again but it was the middle of the night and the cold was enough to kill it so we took it in and through the help of an animal friendly lady in our church, I kept it alive and warm through the night (which was honestly a surprise to all of us, it must have only been a day or two old).  I even made a mixture of food to feed it.  Bug named her Tulip and loved that tiny thing so much.  There wasn't any feathers of any kind, it was barely the size of a quarter and it's metabolic needs were such that it was impossible to keep up feeding the poor thing.  It died the following day and Bug wept bitterly over it.  She lovingly collected a soft bed of weeds to lay her little friend and we buried her with a prayer under our blooming sunflowers.

The little thing can be heard chirping if you turn up your sound.  It's amazing much it strived to live despite it's terribly small chances.

In a rather condensed span of time we experience birth, life and death in nature which made the wonder of it all more impressionable.

Cub scout day camp always has me annoyed and so I was glad this was Bud's last year.  In years past there wasn't as much educational activities and I hated losing at least one towel annually, let alone the ruin of many pairs of socks and shoes to the red mud that never washes out.  It also kills our schedule with the boys returning so late at night so I'm left with less sleep and a grouchy tired boy.  With Kent being a Webelos leader, he attended two of the 3 days with Bud.  The Webelos is made up of only two boys so it was actually more pleasurable to Kent then it was in the two years past.  They really did have a good time together and their lesson on circuts coincided with some of our homeschooling work that it was helped Bud remember what he has learned.

In between all this a friend and I managed to get most of the food ready for a dear friend's daughter's bridal shower.  I'm rather proud of the accomplishments since I'm not great a details but I did manage to make it look quite nice.  Savory dip, hummus and a yogurt bar with cookies as dessert.  

Its nice to do something that's not related to my kids and have some adult conversaton!

Kiddos love cake and so for Father's day we got one for Kent too.  Between just having celebrated Isaac's birthday, with mine coming up on a calender, our little Pumpkin girl thinks all cakes must have a candle and we must sing a song. And when a 2.5 year old (going on 18) thinks that you just have to comply!

The Tuscon temple open house was something we didnt' want to miss so I contacted our old friends, the Laws and went up on a Father's Day sunday, visited on the Monday and came straight home. From the days in ABQ on residency, this family has been a rock for ours in many ways.  We always just talk and talk and talk and I never remember to take much in the way of pictures.  We also managed to call up one of our old friends there, Emily Roberts who  moved to Houston when we went for residency.  It was so fun to hear her voice and realize that physical distance is nothing when hearts are still close. In looking through old blog posts it was 8 years ago when the three families were all together.  I managed to find this picture of our youngest kiddos together.  Now the Roberts and I have 3 more kids each and the Law's youngest in this picture is a beautiful young lady.  Time flies by!

  Kent caught a few pictues of us at the temple though so it's not all in memory!!!

Halfway through the month and while it's all crazy in terms of schedule it's been great fun!

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