To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Happy Fifth Birthday!

(Click on the pictures to view them full-sized.)
It was a beautiful day for a butterfly birthday party! Fortunately for mom, Oriental Trading carries lots of butterfly-themed stuff. The girls decorated cardboard butterfly wings and donned antennae headbands and temporary butterfly tatoos before fluttering around for a game of "Musical Flowers." All the while, the real butterflies were flocking to my Mexican sage bush - sometimes up to 6 butterflies at a time!

About 2 weeks prior to the party, I had ordered some live caterpillars from Nature Gifts. Soon, we had 4 chrysalises, and on the day after the party, out popped the first painted lady butterfly! Later that day, there was another, and the next day another. The fourth chrysalis never hatched, but that might have had something to do with the cat knocking the cage off of the table...

We enjoyed watched the butterflies for a couple of days. We followed the directions for making a sugar water feeder, and we put flowers in the bottom of the cage, too. But, we began to feel sorry for the poor things having to live all cooped up. So, one night after supper, we decided to let them go. Mary Beth was torn - she wanted to let them go, but she wanted to keep them too. We gave them a tearful farewell, and let them out by the sage bush that all the other butterflies seem to like so much. They didn't go flying away, but just sat there like they didn't want to leave. Finally, we had to go back in. The munchkin cried a little and said, "I don't think I'll ever see them again." I had read that they often stay in the vicinity, and so I told her that and suggested that we might see them tomorrow. She wouldn't believe it. So, I left her to grieve while I went about cleaning the kitchen.

After a few minutes, she said, "Mommy, one of the butterflies is back!" She was standing at the kitchen door looking through the glass at something. I was sure it was just a moth. But, darned if it wasn't a painted lady butterfly. I opened the door and before I knew it, the thing flew right into the house! This wasn't good. We have cats. The last thing I wanted was for the munchkin to find a mangled butterfly next morning. No question about it, he had to go back out. He lit on the kitchen curtains right above where he'd been sitting on the table in the cage. And, would you believe, he let me catch him?

After I put him out, he stayed close by and flew around the door. We decided that he must have come back to tell the munchkin thank you for letting him out of that cage and to let her know that he wouldn't forget her. We watched him fly around for a few minutes, but bedtime was fast approaching. The munchkin went to sleep all smiles thinking about her butterflies coming back to see her and planning to check on them tomorrow. Fully an hour after putting the butterfly out, I went back to the door. That thing was STILL out there - sitting on the doorstep! I held out my hand to it, and it actually crawled aboard. Weird. The munchkin had named the first butterfly to pop out "Quickie." Now, she says, "Look, it's Quickie!" every time she sees a painted lady. Maybe you can see Quickie flying around your yard, too! Tell him the munchkin says hi.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Day of PreK

August 13 was the first day of PreK! Mary Beth loves her new class, and she wasn't afraid at all on the first day.

She is getting to be a big girl, but not TOO big, as she informed me today. She had just displayed to me that she could open the car door for herself and close it behind herself, too. She's been buckling her own seatbelt for months now. As we drove off, I said, "Wow, you're getting to be so big! You can open and close the door, buckle your own seatbelt, make up your own bed, and dress yourself! I think you should start cooking supper! Or, maybe you can be the one to drive the car - how about that?"

"No I can't! I'm only 4! I'd have to be 6 or 8..."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Art Camp and More

Mary Beth had a great time at the art camp sponsored by the local United Methodist Church. Here she is working on her masterpiece! On the last day, the teacher promised them that they could go outside and make a big mess with paint. Actually, they weren't all that messy! Mary Beth was the only one who wanted to fill in every inch of the "canvas." On the evening of the last day, the church put on an art show and displayed the works from this class and an older class. All the parents came to admire the art and have some refreshments, and the kids enjoyed feeling important.

Tomorrow, she'll be off to her first day of Pre-Kindergarten. We met her teacher last week (and liked her) and were happy to discover that her good friend will be in the same class. We're looking forward to a good year! We enrolled her in a local church's program rather than the county's Pre-K. It looks like they will be learning lots of phonics, which makes mommy and daddy happy. The school system uses more of a "whole language" approach which I'm not crazy about. We've been doing phonics at home, and MB is already reading some easy words. With any luck, she'll start actual kindergarten already reading. On Monday afternoons, we'll be going into Savannah so that she can study ballet - real ballet. She's very excited.

Mommy is also starting her year with 26 piano students on the roll. Several of these are homeschoolers who come in the mornings while MB's in school, and the rest will come on Tues. - Thurs. afternoons. I'm fortunate to have some older students who come in the afternoons to play with MB while I teach.

I don't have a regular church job this year, although I'm getting frequent calls to sub as an organist. I just finished playing two Sundays at this beautiful and historic Episcopal church in Savannah while their choir enjoyed a week in residence here. I enjoyed playing their large Wicks organ. There are quite a few benefits to subbing - you can recycle prelude and postlude music endlessly, you can keep some weekends free, you get to meet lots of nice people, and you get to play lots of organs! Not to mention, I'm free to put most of my attention on my students without the added work of planning music for the services and choir.

It feels funny to start the school year with temps in the 100s, but hot as it is, tomorrow's the day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scenes From July 4th Week

(Click on the pictures for a full-sized view.) We spent most of the week of July 4th in Punta Gorda, FL at Kevin's parents' home. Unfortunately, my car spent the week (and part of the next week) in Sanford, FL where it died as we were making the drive. We had a good time, even with the shadow of a huge bill for transmission service looming over us.

Mary Beth discovered that sparklers are fun! We enjoyed our own fireworks on the evening of the 4th and she wasn't afraid of the flying sparks one little bit. After she went to bed, the grownups watched the city's fireworks display from the porch. We had to get up early the next day because we wanted to be on time for the departure of the Key West Express from Ft. Myers! The boat ride is 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It moves at quite a fast clip! Standing on the upper deck will certainly give you a new hairdo.

Once we got to the island, we wanted to have lunch at Sloppy Joe's, the bar that Ernest Hemingway is said to have frequented, but it was packed with people. No problem. There were plenty of other spots to eat.

After lunch, we headed down Duvall St. to Hemingway's house. The tour is a good one, and Mary Beth had lots of fun finding six- and seven-toed kitties! The tour guide would point them out for her whenever he saw one. We thought it was fun to discover that there are live webcams set up for viewing the Hemingway cats online. Click on the link to see what the kitties are up to! After visiting the Hemingway house, we stopped for ice cream at Haagan Dazs and then for a T-shirt at Margaritaville. We decided that Key West definitely deserves a return visit.

On the next day, we took a drive to Sanibel Island, one of the best beaches anywhere for finding seashells. Mary Beth found tons of pretty shells to save. We're still trying to dream up some good crafts that use seashells.

Aunt Amanda and Uncle Keith showed up on the next day, and we enjoyed spending time with them as well as Grandma and Grandpa. All in all, it was a fun trip, and a happy way to celebrate the 4th.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

All's Well That Ends Well, I Hope

The munchkin was playing in the yard with neighbor munchkins. I hadn’t checked on them for a bit, so I went out and found them bunched behind the azalea bushes, attending intently to something in a white plastic container. When I saw what it was, my heart sank. It was a baby bird, and they were giving it a “bath.”

After impressing upon them that the baby most definitely did not need a bath, I made them show me where they found it. Sure enough, there was a nest in the trees over the area where they discovered it in the grass in our front yard. Tropical Storm Barry likely blew it from its nest, or else, it had made a failed attempt to fly. It perched unhappily on a stick as we carried it back and deposited it on the grass. The poor thing was exhausted. It could hardly hold its eyes open. A quick check of the internet confirmed my suspicions – we should place it near its nest and hope the parents would take it from there. I was afraid that we had handled it too much and that it was so traumatized that it would die from stress. But, soon, a couple of cardinals showed up and fed it.

Another quick check of the internet made me realize that it might be several days before it could fly. So, I made a nest of pine straw in an ice cream bucket for some added protection. Once again, it rode on a stick to its new quarters. After I banished the munchkins to the backyard, mom and dad showed up again to tend their baby.

After supper, the bird was gone. There were no feathers strewn about, so I can only hope that the neighborhood cats didn’t finish it off. Maybe it learned to fly, after all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New photos

It's been WAY too long since I updated. Sorry for the delay. Here are some pictures of the munchkin enjoying Spring. Easter was a much colder day than we expected, and the cute little white sandals I had planned to have her wear had to be set aside in favor of white tights and the old black winter shoes. But, she was still cute, and lots of folks at church made a fuss over her.

She found tons of eggs at the egg hunt!

Keep scrolling down to see photos of the munchkin enjoying spring in our yard and at St. Simons Island. If you click on the photos, they'll pop up bigger! Enjoy!

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