Monday, August 18, 2008

Raising Butterflies

Well, this is from a few weeks ago, and I'm just getting around to posting it. Summer is flying by faster than the speed of light, it seems, and this is one part of it I don't want to forget!

Nana asked us to water her plants for her in early July when she was out of town. We headed over there one day, and while watering the herbs, I realized that they were being destroyed. Something had eaten almost the entire LARGE bunch of parsley! Oh-no!!

Wait......what is that? Oh's covered in caterpillars! They've eaten everything but a few stalks, leaving only a few nubs behind. Man, Nana is going to be bent! Okay, how do I salvage this? Gotta get rid of the caterpillars. Hmm...not about to TOUCH them! Have to go inside and figure out what I can use to get rid of them.

So, I walk into the kitchen, find some scissors, and go back outside, right about the time the cartoon-ish light bulb goes off over my head. CATERPILLARS!!! Caterpillars turn into butterflies!! How cool would that be?

I go rushing back into the house, calling for Ethan, looking for the boys bug hunting enclosure to put the caterpillars in. Ethan is running around following me, "What? What? What? What mom, What? What do you need that for?"

I take him outside, and show him the caterpillars destroying Nana's plants, and tell him we're going to take them off and take them home and see what happens. "COOL!!!!!!!!" (Boys are so much fun!)
fat caterpillar

We harvest 9 caterpillars from the parsley plant, along with a few sprigs of parsley that they haven't eaten yet. Toss them gently in the bug collector, and head home to drop them off. Can't leave them in the truck in the heat while we go play, so we leave them on the kitchen table and go out to meet friends for playgroup.

When we come back a few hours later:
Ethan: (rushing to check on them...) oh COOL!!! They're POOPING!!!!!!!!
Me: No they're not. Why does everything have to be about poop?
Ethan: Yes they are. They're pooping A LOT!!
Me: Show me. I don't think they're pooping....we just got them in there.

Well, sure enough, then entire enclosure thing was covered with disgusting green caterpillar poop. It was everywhere. It was amazing. I've never seen so much poop from such little creatures in such short time! GROSS. I didn't plan on having a box of caterpillar poop in my kitchen, but now we're committed so it's too late.

We do some research on the internet, figure out we think they are Anise Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars. Well, that's a relief. I wasn't even sure if they were the kind to turn into butterflies or not! They love parsley (go figure) and fennel, according to the internet, so we get them some from the store and load up the enclosure.
Caterpillar Habitat

We watch them for a few days, cleaning it out and putting in new food, amazed at how much they eat and poop. Eventually they quit moving. They're not dead, but they're not moving. Then all of a sudden they are all wrapped up and attached to the wall or ceiling. Of the nine, we had 2 make it that far. The others died for whatever reason. But we had a green chrysalis, and a brown chrysalis. (Chrysalis is for butterflies, Cocoon is for moths....Ethan will tell you if you get it wrong!) We watched, and watched, and watched. Then we watched some more. Nothing. Rats. I was starting to think this was going to work.
Green Pupa - #1

Then all of a sudden, there's a butterfly in there flapping around! LOOK!!! IT WORKED!!! ETHAN HURRY AND COME SEE!! YOU'VE GOT A BUTTERFLY!!
first butterfly
We had a butterfly enclosure all ready to go, just made out of some netting, so we put the butterfly in there and watched it for a few minutes. Actually we kept it in there for a few hours until Daddy and Grandma and Papa could see it.

Then we let it go outside and watched it fly up to the trees. It was really cool! Nicholas waved and said "Bye bye...." So cute.
ETHAN,Butterfly enclosure

A few days later, the other one came out too, and we had a second beautiful butterfly. Then we realized that these are more black than the anise swallowtail, and after some more research we've figured out that it is a Black Swallowtail. Totally cool summer fun! More about Black Swallowtails here...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ha ha!! Now it's YOURS!!!!

We had Chinese last night. Ethan loves the fortune cookies, so at the end of the night he was stealing the leftovers and eating them for a bedtime snack. He came in with the fortune from one, and asked me:

E: Mom, does this say, "The sun is springing in may"?
Me:What? Here, let me read it. It says, "The star of riches is shining on you this month." Good try reading it yourself though!
E: Oh. What does it say again?
Me: It says, "The star of riches is shining on you this month."
E: Huh??? What star? (Trying to crane his neck around to look at his own back...) Is it really shining on me?
Me: The star of riches. Yep, it says it's really shining on you. (I'm laughing at him already... He's not happy about this star imposing on him and shining on him without his permission!!)
E: No way. (Walks out of the room...)

15 minutes later...

E: (Walking back into the room...) It's not shining on me anymore!!
I got it off of me! (He's wearing a different shirt...)
Here (hands me the fortune again....)
What does it say now?
Me: It still says, "The star of riches is shining on you this month."
E: AaaaRRRrrrGGGGGggggHHHHH!!!!!

24 hours later...

Ethan walks up to me, hands me a teeny, tiny scrap of paper folded into a million folds. It's maybe the size of an un-popped kernel of popcorn.

E: Here....this is your note....and it's not mine!! (He then sticks fingers in both ears, with this weird look on his face....He's looking at me like the coyote looks at the roadrunner when he's just given him a box full of TNT... Like the paper is going to EXPLODE when I unfold it....)

Me:What is it?
E: Just open it! (Fingers still in ears, bracing for an explosion....)
Me: (Unfolding the note....then laughing my butt off when I realize it's the same fortune from last night!)
E: HA HA!!!!! (Very sneakily Victorious!) NOW it's YOURS!~
Me: Now it's my fortune and not yours anymore? You crack me up!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's okay...It's Okay.....It's OKAY!!!!!

Yikes, I was grumpy in that last post wasn't I?

Well, here's a happy one to make up for it....

Those are my two cutie boys! They like to lay together in Ethan's bed at night and watch TV together for a little bit. It started out lasting a total of maybe 5 seconds, before Nick would get up and go running around. It's slowly lasting a little longer every night. They've gone for more than 1/2 hour a few times! It's so cute, and it makes them both SO happy!

So, last night they did it again, and after awhile, I went in and put Nick back in his crib so they could both go to sleep. I told Ethan I'd be back in a bit to lay with him (he's been sick...). When I do head back in there, Ethan is fast asleep already. Hooray! Now, normally, I would sneak my butt right back to my own bed, and leave him alone if I found him asleep. But, since he's been sick, I've been sleeping with him so I can help him if he needs it in the middle of the night. I won't go into TMI about why. You can probably figure it out.

Anyway, I crawl in his bed with him, and when I move the covers a little bit, he bolts up to sitting, and starts waving his arms, trying to hold me back on the bed, and yelling, "It's okay....It's Okay....It's OKAY!!!!!!!!!!!"

I guess he must have been half asleep when I put Nicko back in the crib. Ethan thought I was Nicholas, and I was trying to get out of bed! What a good big brother, right? He wakes up from a deep sleep trying to protect his little brother? What a good kid!

Here they are again (this is morning, which is why they're so awake!)Nick,ETHAN

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Forever? You forgot about school....

It's 9:40. My kids are both up. Yes, I'm an awful mom. I cannot get my kids to sleep at night. Ethan has been popping up every two minutes. I say go to bed. He pops back out a minute later.
Here's a small sampling of my evening:

Me: Bring me whatever you're playing with in there that is not supposed to be in your room.
Ethan: (brings out two orange soccer cones)
Me: Now go to bed.
Nick from the crib: Mommy! MOMMMMY!!! Mommy! MOMMMY!!!!!
Ethan: (throws the cones in the corner behind the rocker)
Me: Ethan!
Ethan: What?
Nick from the crib: Mommy! MOMMMMY!!! Mommy! MOMMMY!!!!!
Me: That's not where those go. Just GO TO BED!
Me: Yes!
Ethan: You mean until I'm....
Me: Until you're twenty.
Ethan: Nuh-uh. You forgot about school.
Me: Too bad.
Ethan: Why?

Ethan: (to dad): Dad! You almost got in trouble!

Me: Really? Are you SERIOUS?