Thursday, June 9, 2011

Even though it's not summer yet, I am starting off the summer season busy as a beaver. Almost literally. I am getting ready for a move and as such, I am swamped with painting and remodeling at the place I am moving to while doing Important Stuff here where I'm at right now. The Important Stuff includes digging up my flower beds and getting all of them potted (wow what a job!) while I try to figure out exactly the perfect place for all of them at the new place.

In the midst of all of this I feel like my brain is going to explode and I'm sure I have a wild look in my eye that warns everyone to stay away.

Amongst all of this crazy life I'm living, it seems as though God does manage to send me something here and there to give me a boost and a reminder to stop and savor precious moments here and there.

That happened last week. Actually, it started a couple of weeks before that.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am butterfly crazy. I collect butterfly things and adore those gorgeous creatures. I plant flowers and arrange gardens to draw in those pretties and I consider myself an amateur lepidopterist -- someone who studies butterflies and moths. Not only do I love them, but I love to study about their life cycles. It's just a hobby of mine and as part of that hobby, I often collect caterpillars to rear into butterflies--watching them go through their entire life cycles in a special butterfly hut I have.

A couple of weeks ago, my kids were helping me clean up the yard and they found a butterfly chrysalis and of course brought it to me. The caterpillar had pupated on a dog food bag that was about to go into the trash and the kids found it. I cut the section out and used duct tape to attach it to my butterfly hut inside so we could watch it.

One interesting things about a butterfly forming inside a chrysalis--if they sense danger, as in a human or some such touching them, they will wiggle to scare away the danger. This little guy did just that. He wiggled and even though I had seen this happen before, my kids had not so it was a treat for them to watch.

Like many things in life, when you are waiting on a butterfly to emerge you just have to wait. I couldn't quite identify the chrysalis so I wasn't sure what kind of butterfly would emerge but we put up the hut in the kitchen and watched and waited.

Normally it takes about 10 days to two weeks and right about the two week mark, I recall thinking "Hmmm, that guy should be showing himself any time!"

The kids and I had to make a quick trip to Harrisburg one morning so we set out, and I thought as we left "Wonder when he'll come out?" When we came back home, there he was!

After some research, this guy was a male Great Spangled Fritillary--one I had never had the privilege to raise before! It was quite a treat and both Ruby and I got to hold him perched on our hands as he flexed his wings and prepared for his great flight.

This little guy was the highlight of that week and a great start to the summer season. For me, a butterfly is a personal reminder from God that everything will work out and will be okay. The message I got out of my Great Spangled Fritillary is that I am embarking on a new adventure that I've never experienced before, but it will be a beautiful thing and it will all be okay.

Perhaps I will consider this a "butterfly summer"--what more could I ask for?

Would you like to see some pics of this butterfly? Check them out on my other blog, My Butterfly Adventure!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Birthdays, birthdays, birthdays

Ahh, it's been another week of birthdays. My oldest - Kage - celebrated his 12th birthday this past Wednesday. All three of my children have birthdays within a three-week time period in July and August. Middle child Mia will be the next - and the last - birthday of our birthday bonanza that we celebrate every summer.

Every year I re-tell each child the story surrounding their birth day. With Kage, I tell him about our expectation that he was going to be a girl.

Since he was our first baby, Sam and I decided not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We wanted to be surprised. Based upon his heart rate though (girls tend to have faster heart rates than boys in utero), the doctor suspected the baby was a girl.

The grandmothers and I went nuts planning for a baby girl - we bought adorable dresses and such. I did buy a neutral outfit for the baby's coming-home clothes, but for the most part, we were all convinced we were going to have a baby girl.

While I was in labor, just a couple of hours before the baby would be born, the doctor came in and looked at the heart rate monitor. She asked if we knew whether we were having a girl or a boy. I told her we thought probably a girl, but the two grandfathers (my dad and Sam's dad) were both hoping for a boy.

She smiled and said "Tell them not to give up hope yet." They were ecstatic. A couple of hours later we heard the pronouncement: It's a boy!

Thankfully, we had a boy's name picked out - not because I expected to need it, but just in case.

When Sam called his mother to give her the news he told her we'd had a baby boy and had named him Kage. He even spelled it - K-A-G-E.

A little while later, Sam's mom called back. She had misunderstood and told Sam's family "They've had a boy and they've named that poor baby Page!" Sam corrected her and once again spelled out the baby's name. K-A-G-E.

A little while later, I spoke with my mother-in-law. She asked how we'd come up with the name Kade for the baby. I told her the baby's name was Kage - spelled K-A-G-E.
I laugh about it now - and it makes a great story that I tell Kage every year on his birthday.

Now it's been 12 years and it's hard to believe how fast the time hast passed. When he was born, everyone told me I'd be shocked at how fast he would grow up.

Yep, that's the truth! Next year I'll have a teenager in the house. I don't think I'm prepared, but I guess I have a whole year to work up to it!

It's Christmas in July!

It's Christmas in July!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Oops! I didn't mean to say that to you!

I get tons of email every day. To the tune of at least 100 emails each day. Understandably, I have scads of email addresses saved in my contact list. That makes it so much easier when I'm composing emails - to just simply type in the first letter or two of a person's name and my email pulls up the names that fit the criteria, then I click the correct one and I'm set to send.

Well, I'll warn you - make darned sure you choose the right email address and the right person. It's a little embarrassing to send a message to the wrong person. It happened once already to me this morning, then it almost happened again.

The first time was a little embarrassing but no big deal. I was sending an email to someone, when I typed in the first two letters of their first name, it pulled up their email address and the addresses for two other friends. I clicked on the wrong address. About half an hour later I realized my mistake and send an apologetic email to the friend who got the first email.

A little while later I went to send another email to another friend - whose first name happened to contain the same first two letters as the person I emailed earlier. As a matter of fact, this friend has the same first name as the friend I ACCIDENTALLY emailed.

I almost did the same darn thing - and sent the wrong email - again - to the same person that I mis-emailed earlier.

The first email was embarrassing because it was a silly mistake, the second email would have been embarrassing because it was a funny blog that was specifically meant for the person I was intending to email.

It would have been mortifying for the other friend to receive it! Honestly!

So the moral of the story: Double and triple check email addresses before you hit send!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Butterflies, bees and birds - oh my!

Every summer I look forward to my butterfly garden and the birds, bees, and butterflies that come to visit. This year's May 8 storm did some damage to my butterfly garden, and to be honest - with the heat, I haven't had as much motivation to get out and do much work in it.

Thankfully, nature takes over and my butterfly garden is doing well despite my lack of care. It is sprinkled with bright colors - orange from Butterfly Weeds and Daylilies, yellow from Yarrow, Daylilies and Blackeyed Susan, red from Bee Balm, and my rosebushes, purple from Catmint and Salvia.

Apparently the critters don't mind that I haven't been as vigilant with the weeds or as motivated with cleaning up and caring for my garden as in years past. In truth, the heat and rain that have been a constant part of the summer thus far have sapped my motivation. It doesn't seem to matter though - I just stepped out into my garden this morning and found a few Monarch caterpillars (they're going into the butterfly habitat today!), and was greeted by a Monarch butterfly and a hummingbird. Two Carolina Wrens have built a nest in one of the birdhouses I built last summer and several frogs have set up housekeeping in my little garden pond (which alas, desperately needs some work done on it).

While I haven't seen as many butterflies and birds and other critters as I have in the past couple of years, they are still there - enjoying the butterfly garden. Standing out there this morning reminded me why I enjoy my butterfly garden so much - because of the peace it brings me. When I'm feeling stressed or sad or just in need of a quiet moment to refocus myself, my butterfly garden is the perfect spot - and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I do need to do some weeding though!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dairy Queen saved my baby

Since yesterday was my baby's, ummm, I mean my daughter's 8th birthday, I'll share the story of the night she was born. She loves for me to tell her this and every year starting with her first birthday, I have cuddled with her while telling her about going to the hospital.

Since Ruby has two older siblings, making the trip to the hospital meant my son and daughter needed to go with my parents. The only problem was, we couldn't find my parents!

It was a Wednesday night and they had went to church. Church was already over, but we couldn't find them (this was before they had cell phones). I had a sudden inspiration: People are here go to the local Dairy Queen to hang out after church on Wednesday nights.

We drove into town, hoping that we'd find them at Dairy Queen - and yep, there they were - snarfing on some ice cream.

The end of the story is, of course, a new baby born later that evening!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time flies. . .

They say time flies when you're having fun, but it also flies faster the older you get. I never used to believe that time passed as quickly as older people said - until I got older myself.

The kids have been going to Vacation Bible School at a church down the road this week. I drop them off at nine and pick them up at 11:30. During their time at VBS I work around the house - do some writing, some housework and such. That two and a half hours goes so darn fast that it's gone before I know it!

In the same way, I can't believe that the summer is halfway over. I mark the middle to end of summer with my kids' birthdays. My youngest - Ruby - will be celebrating her 8th birthday on the 12th of July, followed by my oldest's - Kage - 12th birthday on July 22 then middle Mia's 10th birthday on August 3.

Yes, we have a three-week-long birthday blitz every summer. It's exhausting but fun. I remember being so excited I could bust when it came time for my birthday as a kid, but I don't get that thrilled anymore. My kids do, though, so it's fun to watch them and feel the excitement rippling in the air as they get charged up for their birthdays.

With kids, they know exactly how old they are - especially when they get close to their big day. I remember telling people I was 11 and a half because I wanted people to know I was closer to 12 than to 11. I also remember rounding up my age when I was a kid. Once I hit 15 and a half, I was suddenly 16 (even before my birthday). Age was that important when I was young.

My 37th birthday is in August, but I don't tell people I'm 37. In truth, if someone asks how old I am, I have to stop and think "Now how old am I? What year is it now?" and "Let's see, I was born in 1972, this is 2009, so since my birthday is in August, I am. . .36 right now."

Yeah, I really do that. I have to think about it. When you're younger you know exactly how old you are at any given moment while you're counting down to milestones (10, 13, 16, 18 - then I stopped), but once you get older a birthday seems like more of a non-event. My age doesn't bother me at all, though - which is obvious since I tell people what my age is frequently (maybe because I'm trying to make sure I remember?).

I used to think someone my age now was so old. My parents are almost 60 and that doesn't seem as old as I used to think. It must all be about perspective now.

I find myself looking at my kids and thinking "How did they grow so fast?" This week, I'm wondering how my baby has reached her eighth birthday so darn fast! The fact that my oldest will be a teenager next year has also thrown me for a loop.

I guess it doesn't really matter - time will pass quickly or slowly - either way, though, it will pass. I can't stop it - nor would I want to, although I'd be happy to slow it down just a little - sometimes.

Either way, I'm enjoying my thirties (even as I slide down the side of that hill that takes me to 40 - which doesn't bother me at all) and I'm loving watching my kids grow older.

So, Happy Birthday to my baby Ruby - enjoy each day and each birthday and may each one be better than the last!