Life is sooooooooooooo busy as a working momma of THREE kids... but, life is also full of so many "little" things...you know, those simple pleasures that really bring so much joy... I'm mostly thinking of the dopey things that my kids say and do that make me laugh... but also the little adventures we have or the day trips that we do... you think you will remember them all, but those memories really do fade over time. I am hoping to sit down once a month (ideally, once a week, but being that I hardly manage one decent shower a week, we'll aim for once a month for now! LOL) to detail those quotable quotes or beautiful little actions (or those not so much) as well as our family activities. I hope you enjoy!! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Lennox Family Goes Nature-ific!

Okay, so anyone who knows anything about any of us knows that we are not the most nature "smart" family.  In fact, I think we just might be the antithesis of a nature smart family.  But, sometimes, as we are learning, these darn kids can push you RIGHT out of your comfort zone with natural, harmless (well, kind of) curiosities (especially when you are a teacher and LOVE to foster curiousity)!  I was going to do my next blog post on our trip to the pumpkin patch (an annual ritual since Patrick was a baby), but as I was looking through the pics from September to add to my last post, I came across all of our butterfly pictures and felt I ought to record that experience for posterity's sake!

Two years ago "NY" grandma bought Ryan a butterfly net for his birthday.  Well, somewhere along the way he got REALLY interested in ordering the painted lady caterpillars that came with the net--thrilling to me who can barely handle taking care of three kids every day, let alone caterpillars (not to mention our new fish, "Goldie," who happens to be a blue beta-don't ask, story for another day!).  And, truth be told, last summer the timing was always off because our trips were so broken up and you need a solid few weeks at home to make the most of the experience.  Once the school year started, he quit asking, so life moved on.  Well, this summer he started again... And, really, our summer was likely even MORE broken up this year... but, to satisfy my insatiable little man, I put it on the calendar to order the day we came home from our final vacation (the day before I was do back to work and a week before the boys went back).

Keeping a close eye on the larva
Well, Ryan was BEYOND excited!  I actually wished I had video footage of when the caterpillars arrived since it was a truly GLEEFUL moment.  We were walking home from school the Thursday after school had started.  He'd asked, when I picked him up, for the one hundreth time, I might add, if his caterpillars had arrived.  I had to break the news that there were no packages on our porch when I left, but left the door of hope slightly open since I didn't check the mail (although I didn't think they'd be in the mailbox).  In any event, he was pretty grumpy at the news... as soon as we got in sight of our mailbox, though, he charged right for it and, low and behold, THE CATERPILLARS HAD ARRIVED!!!!  He was, seriously, dancing in the street with excitement!!!

Ryan, keeping a safe distance
It turned out to be a FANTASTIC experience and I would do it again in a heart-beat.  Insectlore.com (I swear this is not a paid advertisement) does an AWESOME job... All I really had to do was transfer the chrysallids (I can't figure out how to spell THAT word, nor how to make it plural... not going to obsess about it for five hours since I just have a few minutes and would actually like to get a post out since I have more ideas for posts than I have time to write them... lol) to our butterfly net from the cup before they came out.  Believe it or not, I TOTALLY almost blew that one!!  I didn't read the pamphlet closely and, for some reason, thought that the little things had a two week incubation period, so I had about 10 days to make the transfer with time to spare.  WELL, about a week after they came, I figured I better just get around to it before the time got away from me... after all, since the birth of Patrick, we seem to live in a time warp that has only sped up even faster since Katy-Kate came along.  In any event, I did it... well, the VERY NEXT MORNING, Ryan came upstairs to me to share that we had a butterfly.  Being that it had barely been a week, I completely blew the guy off figuring that he was just being Ryan and that it wasn't even possible.  Silly me!!  My little man, who'd been watching them obsessively, was right.  And, in a matter for three days, ALL five had hatched... or, probably more appropriately, EMERGED... one took over a full day longer than the rest, so I was a bit worried that we'd have to get into the circle of life, but he (I say he, but have no idea, really... I do have the skill set to determine the gender of a monarch... knowledge from my classroom teaching days!) just needed a bit more time than the rest.  We also suspect that he was the one who flew around our yard when we released them all, yet came back to us in the end while the others disappeared completely.  We kept that little fellow for a couple more days figuring he wasn't quite ready to face the big bad world yet! ;)

A lesson in camoflauge
Can you find the butterfly?
The boys had a blast--yet in completely different ways.  Ryan, my little friend who just might be less naturific than I (if that's even possible), would barely hold the cup (which had a VERY secure lid) with the caterpillars in it... took some MAJOR warming up in order to hold the butterfly net itself... BUT, he quietly observed VERY regularly and talked about what he was "raising" to anyone who would listen!  He was SUPER fascinated by his observations and the life cycle.  Patrick, on the other hand, wasn't really interested too much.  I mean, when Ryan announced that one was "jay-ing" or that a chrysalis had formed, he would totally come over and see, but, other than that, they really didn't cross his mind.  However, once they were hatched and we were in the back yard with them, he was ALL ABOUT letting them climb aboard his finger and catching them back once they'd flown away.  In fact, I think he might have fallen in love with the little guy who came back.  They played catch and release for quite a while before we realized that the little guy probably needed more time inside before he was ready.
Words fail...

It was TRULY a fun experience.  I totally see us doing it again as it was easy and they LOVED it (particularly my friend Ryan who is more interested in the world around him than he is playing with any sort of toy).

We also, this year, attempted to grow a pumpkin!  We got pretty far, too... HUGE vine with male flowers and everything... yes!  I DO know the difference between a male flower and a female flower on a pumpkin plant... not because of the Ivy League education, but rather because of a quick google search when it seemed that a pumpkin would NEVER grow.  Of course, I learned that we should have started in late April/early May rather than in mid-June...  we never did get to the female flower because the first frost hit and our pumpkin plant has become but a statistic.  HOWEVER, I do have six pumpkin seeds put aside that I saved from our pumpkin carving, so that we can try again.  John, of course, is hoping that we grow prize winning pumpkins so that when we take our annual trek to the pumpkin patch, we don't have to buy pricey pumpkins on top of paying for the experience.  Of course, he will have to be a little more careful in his gardening... I might have failed to mention that we'd planted pumpkins where we did and so he actually wound up picking one of the two plants and throwing it away because he thought it was a weed.  Ha, ha, ha!  Like I said, nature/gardening/etc?  Not really our collective domain!!

And, since I started writing this post, we have gotten TWO MORE fish and a REAL tank... not just a flower vase with a beta and a plant... but a real tank, with a filter and two little guppies (also called "Goldie"... I'm beginning to think that Ryan is taking after George Foreman... all his future little dudes will be called Ryan Lennox, too... or, even worse, "Goldie"... lol... what a turkey).  Ryan was pretty persistent with the fish thing and wanting a "real" tank... and, due to his struggle with soccer (a story for another post, but at the rate we are going, I may never get there), we were looking for an incentive.  He turned his soccer experience around and got a cool fish tank, too.  He is so stinkin' cute (very paternal) with his creatures... of course, he doesn't always remember to feed them, but lucky for him, John and I seem to be on top of that (for now... poor Goldies are probably DOOOOOOOOMED).

<3 Kimberly, John, Two Boys, and a Little Rose