Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Birds + The Bees = The Butterflies

So, do you remember that post I did a few days back about our very kewl and very, um, "frisky" butterflies? You know, the one about how much education we are getting by watching our new pets, the butterflies? Well, we are also learning that God planned for His living creation to, well, pro-create. And by pro-create, I mean reproduce. And by reproduce, I mean over-populate the Balentine household with thousands of butterflies.

Things were going so well, that is, until this morning when "pro-creation" hatched. You know another thing we learned? Apparently, butterflies lay up to 500 eggs at a time. Multiply that by 6 female butterflies. Ya gettin' the picture, yet?

Those itsy, bitsy, little black dots are baby caterpillars. This just a few of the 100's we found this morning around our habitat, in the habitat, parachuting away for the habitat (literally), crawling down the bookcase, and on to the floor. They were EVERYWHERE. That's when I also noticed about 1000 little unhatched, blue eggs all throughout in the mesh of the habitat. Yep, there were more to come! Needless to say, this little science project is OVER!!!!

Da hubby and I decided as much as we hate to let the butterflies go when the weather was chilly, and as much as we have enjoyed watching the 9 little guys fluttering around, that 7000 butterflies taking over our house would no longer be any fun.

We made the tough decision to let our butterflies go in the backyard. (I am the only one I know that worries and cries over butterflies!)We would have liked to have kept them, but it seems that they still have the hots for one another which, in turn means more eggs, which means more caterpillars, which means more butterflies, which means Sonya and family would soon be moving out of a house taken over by butterflies and caterpillars.

Fortunately, the weather is supposed to be a little warmer over the next few days so they have a good chance of survival. As for the baby caterpillars, hmm, they didn't fair as well. To be honest, it would probably go down in caterpillar history as a massacre. That's sound so horrible doesn't it? I couldn't seem to get the guys into a container to take outside with out killing a lot of them - they are tiny little dudes! We did manage to get a few out there.

They do seem to be happy now that they have a big backyard filled with aster flowers to eat up on. So far most are sticking around the backyard and taking advantage of all the little weed flower things we have back there. We even let our special needs butterfly, Ricky go in the garden where there are lots of low lying flowers for him to nurse on.

So now we are back to our family of 5 + 2 doggies. I suppose the moral of this fun little story would be that you never know what you've got until they have mated and had hundreds more. Then you realize you've got much more than you had ever planned for.

Enjoy our pics and please pardon the Halloween PJ's and techno-butterfly music!

Click to play Butterflies
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

The "Awwww" Moments in Life...

There is nothing more precious to me than when my kids are "sharing and caring" with each other. Da Hubby and I feel very blessed because my kids don't fuss at each other that much. Don't get me wrong, we do occasionally have times when War World III is on the verge of breaking out in our confines of our living room, but for the most part my kids get along really well.

Today I caught one of those "Fuzzy-Wuzzy, Feel Good" moments during school time between Duglin and Perri. Duglin was working on his math and had some serious coloring assignments he had to take care of. Perri, who is DYING to be in Kindergarten and can not understand why now that she has turned five she is still not starting until next year, was near by doing her own coloring thang. Duglin invited her over to his chair to help pick out colors for the critters he was filling in.
Hence, let the Cuteness Festivities begin!!

And as quickly as it started the moment was gone...but not forgotten...or undocumented!

They are so gosh-darn adorable I might just have to eat 'em!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Birds and the Bees...and the Butterflies?

So. We have had much a do with birthdays over the past couple of weeks. Lots of fun, too much cake, and tons of birthday presents. Wow, I'm exhausted. Glad it's all said and done and now we can sit back and enjoy the gifts that were so graciously bestowed upon my kids. Did I mention that we have a new addition to the family? Oh, well, not a new addition, try 8 new additions to the Balentine blissful household.

Daylor is TOTALLY into science these days and as a gift from Mimi and Papaw, we received a butterfly habitat and 10 accompanying caterpillars. VERY KEWL. They were little buggers and everyday they continued to eat and grow and eat and grow. About 8 days later, they encapsulated themselves into chrysalis. Nearly a week after that, we had some lover-ly butterflies (a.k.a - "boo-flies" as Perri used to say when she was about 18 months old) fluttering around.

This had been a very interesting science experiment in many ways for D, because, first, we are learning about animal science right now in school and he has gotten the opportunity to see first hand the amazing change that a caterpillar makes into a butterfly. (Quick note - just a FYI - these caterpillars were nasty with a capital N. Pooped everywhere and looked like something that you would take on a fishing trip to catch the biggest bass in the lake with. BLICKA!) They did, however, turn into some purty boo-flies. Pretty nifty how God does that, huh?

Secondly, Daylor loves the responsibility of taking care of them. We are unable to release them because it gets too chilly at night here this time of year and they wouldn't survive. Sooooo, that means I now get to feed my family of 5, my 2 dogs, and Daylor's 8 butterflies. That makes 15 hungry mouths to feed. Move over Jon and Kate!!

We even have one "special needs" butterfly who can't fly because his wings are folded over, so I get the fun responsibility of making sure the goofy thing doesn't flip over on it's back as well as making sure it gets it's turn on the watermelon slice at least twice a day to eat. I know, go ahead and laugh. Every time I flip it back upright, I fuss at myself over the guilt trip I get for thinking about just letting it die. Hmmm, to flush or not to flush? Oh! There I go again!

And lastly, did you know that butterflies, well, let's say are "in heat." ALL THE TIME! Well, that has made for some interesting conversations around the dinner table. Things like, "Mommy, the butterflies are wiping each other's boodies again," and my personal favorite, "Hey, Mom, one of the butterfly's butt is eating another butterfly's butt." (Ahhh, my tactful Duglin.) And what is more fascinating is that when they mate they stay, umm, attached. For hours. Seriously. Hours. Wow. So not only are we getting great lessons in creation, science, and responsibility, we are also getting a little sex education, too.

Thanks, Mimi and Papaw. Really. (By the way, don't think I can't hear you laughing.)

The Fabulous Boo-Fly Habitat
The Chrysalis (EEEEEEEW!)

Our "Special Needs" Butterfly, Ricky

Don't worry. I'll spare you any mating pictures. For that, get your own butterflies!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birfday, Peepadee!

So, today is my baby girl's birfday. I am so bewildered at how fast the five years have past since she arrived. I have been in quite a denial lately because as much as it warms my heart to see my kids grow, I also grasp the fact that they won't be little forever.

I LOVE having kids. I LOVE having boys and girls. Perri is my miracle baby. We struggled through several years of infertility and then fertility treatments to get pregnant with our boys. At the age of 3 1/2, Daylor asked for prayer for his baby sister during a his Sunday School class one morning in January of 2003. His teacher, knowing he only had a baby brother, asked if he meant to be praying for Duglin. Daylor told her that God had told him his mommy was going to be having a girl soon. (Goosebumps!) She caught my arm when I came to pick Daylor up after church and gave my a twinkly smile. "When's the baby due?" I was slightly offended! I mean, I know I just had a baby 10 months ago, but did I really look that fat?

I guess from the look at my face, she knew that I wasn't pregnant and proceeded to share with me what Daylor had said during prayer time. I laughed at the thought of having another baby. Duglin was 10 months and just getting out a VERY colicky start and I had just started my cycles back a month prior (I know- TMI. Sorry, that's just me!) Anyway, "Nope. No baby girl," I told her.

Hmmmph, slap my tush and call me Sarah! I was pregnant in 2 months! 35 weeks later we had ourselves a baby girl! She is such a blessing and I am so grateful for the balance she brings to our home. So here are a few of the bazillions of pictures we have of her. I hope you enjoy this little walk down Memory Lane.

Happy Birthday, Perri! We love you, baby girl!

Click to play Perri is Five!
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Stems

One of my mostest, favorist things about autumn is the pumpkins. It's the first thing I think of when someone asks me about this season. I love most everything about them. I love to buy a bunch and put them is various places in and around my house to decorate for the fall season. I love their color. I love the "thump" they make when you give 'em a good tap. I love all the cool shapes and sizes they come in. (My favorites, though, are the tall, skinny kind. Da hubby loves the short, fat, and round ones.) I love all the yummy stuff you can make with them. I love to shop for just the "perfect" one. But most of all, I ADORE the stems. I know it's kind of goofy, but to me a pumpkin without a good stem is just, well, a soon-to-be-pumpkin pie.

I am crazy (seriously, obsessed) about long, swirly, gnarled stems. The longer and loopier they are the better. Now, every year Da Hubby and I have made a tradition of heading out to a local pumpkin patch and letting the kids pick their own pumpkins out. I have genuinely tried not to rub my own preferences on my kids so they can get what they want. I guess, however, all of my crazy requirements and limitations I put on the pumpkin picking have worn off on Daylor and Perri because they always proudly bring me their cool pumpkins all inclusive of a very well pronounced stem.

A couple of years ago we took the kids out once again to the pumpkin fields. Perri and Daylor picked out perfectly symmetrical pumpkins with beautiful stems. (I am tearing up with pride just thinking about it.) Duglin, however, seemed to be having a hard time finding what he wanted. I watched him go from pumpkin to pumpkin looking at each one carefully and passing it over. I began to wonder what was wrong with a few he had passed that were crowned with the most perfect stems I had ever seen, but I stayed back wanting him to find "Duglin's" pumpkin.

Finally, he picked up one from all the way across the field and brought it to me with a big grin on his face. I looked at it and, truthfully, was confused at this choice. It was small, oddly shaped, and didn't have a stem AT ALL!!! I smiled at him and asked him why he had chosen that one when there were so many others to have, hoping to encourage and coerce him into picking another more appealing pumpkin. He just kept that Duglin grin on his face and said, "Mommy, I'm not perfect and God chose me. This pumpkin is not perfect and I chose it. Don't they all need to be loved?"

Click to play Pumpkin Patch - 2008
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Everything I Wanted to Know About Myself I Learned on Facebook

First, let me say I TOTALLY caved and "did" Facebook. Yes, I'm ashamed. It's really all Sparrow's fault, however, because he tried French Fries and Frosty together on my behalf (which he wrongfully hated, BTW) and MADE me feel obligated and guilty because I wasn't giving FB a chance. Soooo, I, being the concerned and dedicated friend that I am, signed up begrudgingly to the world that is know as the Book of Faces.

I immediately (within seconds) began to receive "friend requests" and people began to randomly attacking me with goofy-looking pillows, as well as send me some strange looking creature name "Strawberrilious." There is also (my favorite) buttons called "flair" you can send to each other with relative messages and pictures on the them. I totally love those! Cowbells, rock!

I must say it is fun connecting with old high school buddies, college friends, and cousins I don't get to see very much. I have also noticed there are a few people who literally sit on FB ALL DAY (Sparrow)! It's is really this bizarre underworld and I have found it could become very addicting for those who have that type personality. (Noooo, not me!??!)

One thing that Facebook offers is about a million quizzes that tell you everything that you have ever wanted to know (or not) about yourself. I am amused with them! Who needs a therapist when you have Facebook?!?!?!

For those of you who do not know me, here is a brief description of myself (according to Facebook) - If I were a drink at Starbuck's, I would be a Hot Chocolate, whose love life resembles the 80's movie "Say Anything". My heart is the color of violet and I am most like the Disney Princess, Mulan and Finding Nemos controlling Father, Marlin. Monica from Friends is my role model and my IQ is over 140, yet I am not smarter than a fifth grader and I stink at history (Scored a 41% on American history - I'm scared for the kids - I homeschool!). My real name should be Amanda because I am naturally talented and people like me. I'm a "Hollywood Mom" in design, but my kids totally think I rock. My nickname should be Tom (!?!?!?) and I was born to be a doctor or a nurse whose life best resembles the Broadway musical "Phantom of the Opera." My biological age is 35, but my actual age is 31 and my favorite top to wear is a spaghetti-strap tank (Yeah! Maybe 15 years ago!). I am strangely normal and I have a uncanny desire to be the "center of attention."

Wow, now that you know me so well, we can be BFF's!!! And yes, I actually take back what I said about Facebook. It does have some value. How else would I find so many amazingly unimportant facts about myself?

Seriously, though. It is pretty kewl. I will not be repeating that and you can't prove I said it!! OK, so it's written right here, but...but...but...You don't know if it's me who said it or my alter ego, Monica from Friends!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Give "Two" a Chance...

Here's a shorty for you (Don't pass out - I actually can say something brief once in awhile.)

As you know (or not) I sing and lead our vocalists at my church and my hubby runs sound so we are required to get to church early to set up and prepare for rehearsal on Sunday mornings. Usually we are one of three that gets there that early. One morning recently one of those three, our drummer, had arrived a few minutes before us and and was waiting for the church doors to be unlocked.

As we pulled up he shot us a grin and a peace sign. Perri started giggling and said, "Mommy, he two'ed me!"