Tuesday, April 20, 2010

5 more sleeps...

until we leave for Kentucky! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ROAD TRIP coming up!

I couldn't be more excited about our next road trip! I'm packing up my mom, my kids, and my dog and heading to Kentucky for almost 2 WEEKS! I am excited about this for several reasons:

1. I've NEVER been east of Houston, TX (except for a one week excursion to Washington, DC about 17 years ago).
2. I get to finally see my aunt's home!
3. We have loads of wonderful stuff planned which I will detail in just a bit.
4. The kids will get to see a new and interesting part of the country.
5. I'll get to spend some quality time with my mom!

I'm not sure how a 16-17 hour drive with a crabby 3 year-old and a dog will be, but what the hell, I'm game! Have kids... will travel! We'll head up through the northeastern part of Texas and then over to Little Rock, AR and we'll stop in Memphis, TN for the night. Now don't ask me if we're going to Graceland because we're not. After 9-10 hours in a car, I doubt I will even give even the slightest crap about Elvis or his house! All I will want is a clean bed and a continental breakfast the next morning! However, I AM researching the perfect place for dinner. Cause seriously, you know there HAS to be bitchin' food in Memphis! Any suggestions would be welcomed! We'll get up the next morning and head on up to Kentucky, driving through Louisville and Lexington and heading over to Stanton. I've never seen my aunt's place, but I do hear that it's out in the boonies and I couldn't be happier!

Now from a homeschooling standpoint, I really should be carting the kids off to see Lincoln's birthplace and Mary Todd's home, but I just don't see that happening. The kids are still pretty young so I think we're going to keep things simple and fun, we have plenty of time to delve into the life of our 16th President at some other time! Instead, we will be sticking close to Stanton and exploring what that portion of KY has to offer. We'll be checking out the Kentucky Reptile Zoo and taking loads of nature hikes around my aunt's property to hunt for wildflowers, ferns and various fungi. We'll make some bonfires and cook outdoors and sing folk songs and learn to play our dulcimer! We'll explore the Red River Gorge (which I hear is AWESOME!) A friend who raises bees will talk to us about beehives and beekeeping and another friend has a rock shelter that was used by prehistoric native Americans located on his property. The kids will get lessons in forestry and woodcrafting and we'll take canoe rides and maybe, just maybe if I feel like the kids need more, we'll go to Ft. Boonesborough which is a re-creation of the stockade and community founded by Daniel Boone in the 1700's, where folks dress in period clothing and demonstrate the work and crafts of the day! I can hardly contain my excitement!

But not to worry my friends, I will surely have a camera in hand the WHOLE trip! So if you don't hear much from me in the weeks to follow, never fear, I'll just be off enjoying the perks of homeschooling and learning on the fly! You can be sure you will get a full report when I return!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And then there was one...

So I had to do one of the hardest things ever today. I had to admit that Penny was not working in our family and I had to make the decision to return her to the Humane Society. And can I tell you that today is the suckiest day I've had since Otis died! There is nothing worse than returning a dog you've tried to make a part of your family for four months. She was sweet, she was soft, she was beautiful and she hated it here! She didn't like the kids, especially the Piggy. She didn't like all the noise and ruckus that, quite frankly, defines our entire existence. She attacked Nigel frequently and she had some serious aggressive tendencies when it came to food and toys all of which are not OK when you've got a three year-old that doesn't understand the ground rules of owning a dog with those tendencies. I had a nice long talk with the woman at the shelter and broke down crying like a blubbering idiot. She told me not to beat myself up that unfortunately just because you WANT the situation to work doesn't mean it always will. Penny needs something I can't give her. She needs a quiet home with no other dogs and she needs plenty of opportunity to run outside and not get into trouble because of a damn garden, she needs a fence tighter than Ft. Knox! Luckily for Penny, there was a couple that returned a dog a couple of days ago that returned their dog for the complete opposite reasons we returned Penny. The shelter plans to call them because they thinks they could be that perfect match. I hope it works out. That little dog deserves nothing short of the perfect home and I wish more than anything it could have been with us. I'm sure I'll end up with an ulcer before it's all said and done.

On a bright note, she is highly adoptable and the woman at the shelter seems to think she won't spend much time with them. Nigel will no longer have to fear for his life and he can actually enjoy a bone or toy without the threat of someone bigger coming and taking it away. I do not have to live in fear that the Piggy is going to try to pick up Penny's bone and get her hand ripped off! This transition is super hard, but I truly believe that it will all work out for the best. The Humane Association wants her to find a great home as much as I do.

But now is a time to focus on our future with Nigel. HE worked.

Thankfully, I can attest without a doubt that we will be his forever home and I guess I should be glad that I was able to make a difference for at least one. I'm glad for that, but it certainly doesn't make this situation any better. Today sucks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hooray! Numero Dos emerges!

This year we had the great honor to play host to 2 luna moth cocoons and two Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly chrysalids. The first butterfly emerged almost a month ago and the two lunas shortly followed suit, but there was one lonely little chrysalid still hanging out in the butterfly enclosure. I have been checking on it daily but nothing. The kids were worried, I was worried, in short we were all beginning to think Little Dos was a DUD. But not being one to give up on life so easily I just let it hang out. I probably would have left it another month before I finally got rid of it, just to make absolutely certain it wasn't going to emerge. Much to our great joy we were greeted by Little Dos this morning when we came downstairs! I was SO relieved! As usual, we packed it up and went to my son's room (which oddly enough is the cleanest room in the house right now, I know, WEIRD) and let the little butterfly out. It was perfectly content to hang out on our fingers, arms, shoulders, etc... and we were thrilled! It was so mellow that I was really able to show and talk to the kids about the different parts, its abdomen, its thorax, its eyes and its proboscis! So cool! And of course, I had to snap a few shots. I only got a few in before my camera croaked though, damn batteries!

Here's the kiddos checking it out...
The Piglet was brave this year!
Monkey Man has always loved them, he is so gentle and so curious, I love it!
We spent about 30 mintues with this lovely little beastie before I decided we needed to let it go to find some food and a mate. There were some tears from the Piggy, she wanted to keep it forever as she loved it SOOOOO much. But I explained that this was a wild animal and the only way it would be truly happy was to be free. I let her unzip the carrier and get it out and it sat on her hand for just a few seconds before it took to the sky, flitting back and forth. We lost sight of it over the house. Good luck little butterfly and thank you for making our day so special!