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Archive for May, 2011

Oh! Hi there! I sort of just remembered I have a blogging reputation to maintain so imma gonna throw some words atcha. I don’t really know why I wrote that in a ghetto accent. I guess I feel a little awkward around the Internet since I haven’t been writing much lately. This sort of reminds me of every diary I had as a preteen and teenager where the first entry starts out all giddy, laying out how I was going to write my most secret eleven-year-old thoughts {which would have been…??} every day and my diary was going to be my new best friend and then every subsequent entry started with an apology, an excuse and a solemn promise to do better from that point on. {Yes. I apologized to a bunch of bound pieces of paper.} There would be maybe six of those entries in a years’ time and then I would get a new diary because I could no longer look at the old one without feeling guilty. Did this happen to everyone or just us guilt-ridden Catholic girls?

ANYWAY!

I’m going to fore-go the usual check-in format for 1.) Because this is ridiculously late and for 2.) only talking about the things I accomplished makes me look better and  for 3.) AM LAZY.

SO!

*I have been drinking a ton of water. I’ve also been peeing a lot. GO FIGURE.

*My Tamron lens and I have moved past that initial awkward stage where we have trouble striking up a conversation to being pretty comfortable in each others’ company. I mean, it hasn’t let me get to third base with it yet or anything, we’re taking it slow- but at least 90% of my pictures are coming out in focus.

* Finding a routine for downtime is sort of a lost cause at this point because soon there will be no downtime. In 2 short weeks Rowan and Keaton will be done with school and oh my god what the hell are we going to do all day, every day together? New goal: Maybe plot out summer goals so we don’t all kill one another by week two.

* I read a ton this last month- funny how you can do that when every spare second of your time isn’t dominated by the Almighty Sequin. I read Two Kisses for Maddy, a memoir by Minnesota native Matt Logelin, two Ann Rule true crime books that I can’t even remember the titles to right now~ rest assured there was a murdered wife/girlfriend and a determined detective/parent/journalist who just would not let go of the case until justice was served. Then I guilty pleasured it up by reading the sequel to Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Linger which was surprisingly way better than the first book which I didn’t care for that much but I wanted to see where the second book went. I like being surprised even if it is by a teen-fic werewolf book. Speaking of teen-fic, Bill and I finished reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I thought the first and last books were the weakest, which sort of sucks but still would highly recommend the series. Lastly, I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which is pretty embarrassing to admit for a lit/writing major but whatever, I guess my contemporary fiction is only up to date through the mid-eighties. For some reason I thought I wouldn’t like this book- I’ve had some trouble finding my footing with some of Atwood’s other titles in the past but the worry was unfounded as this was a very fast, smart read- my favorite kind. Next up is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I feel like I struck a good balance in reading material this month and look forward to even more next month.

* I started running again! Exercising hobos unite! Although I’ve had a lazy week of ZERO runs, I have carved out a pretty good routine. I get up at 5:45am and run for roughly 40 minutes which puts me at about a 5k every day. I take it pretty slow because I don’t want things to end up like last year, but hopefully I’ll improve my times as I get in better shape.

And that’s pretty much it for May, and considering we spent almost every single week and weekend consumed by dance practice, recitals and competitions, I think it’s pretty OK. Now here’s some photographic evidence that we’re all still alive… well, I guess I don’t have any photos of Bill or Luna so I’ll keep you guessing if they’re still around…

Getting ready for her two shows for Sunday's recital. "This is the last time you're going to put a thousand and twenty bobby pins through my head for awhile, mom!" Neither of us will miss the getting ready portion of dance season.

A BIG THANK YOU {!!!!} to everyone who came out to support Rowan for her competitions and recitals. She loved knowing that she had a cheering section in the audience, especially when it included her cousins.

We are so proud of all her hard work this year.

Seeing as the temperatures are still sinking down to the 40's at night, we can't release the butterflies yet but are hoping to this weekend as some of them are getting a liiiittle too friendly {if you know what I mean, WINK WINK} and as much as we've enjoyed this experience I don't really want more baby butterflies at the moment. Fawksey and Monkey selflessly offered to take care of them for us but I don't think we'll take them up on that.

Keaton has been very preoccupied with his bubble mower, which is a nice distraction for him as he's firmly entered his terrible threes, which are rife with pouting, dramatics, and back-talk. His rough patches are usually pretty short lived so we're hoping for a VERY speedy turn around right now.

The blower...

And the popper. These two can play and entertain each other so great when they feel like it.

Which thankfully is more often than not.

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And for the first time I don’t mean some kind of mysterious malady! I mean…

Awww, baby butterflies! So pretty until you look into their creepy little insect faces.

Our first little guy popped out two nights ago and we found him waiting for us in the morning and another one was partially out of his chrysalis, so we watched him for awhile that morning but he wasn’t making any process so the kids mixed the sugar water solution  and we set out some orange slices for our new friend. When we went out that day Keaton excitedly told everyone we crossed paths with that “we have racoons in our house and they are starting to turn into butterflies!” We got a lot of strange looks but I thought the concept of racoons turning into butterflies was pretty awesome so I didn’t correct him.

As the day went on it became clear that the second butterfly was stuck in his crysalis and that night when I replenished their sugar water he flailed enough to break free from the hanging paper so we could get a good look at him and what was going wrong.

And then I felt like the biggest goddamn asshole on planet earth.

Remember when I ingeniously used the caterpillars to my advantage and said this: “If you guys jump around too much the caterpillars will lose their concentration and might only be able to grow one wing- one winged caterpillars can’t fly can they? CAN THEY?”

You guys. This fucking caterpillar only grew one wing. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT COULD REALLY HAPPEN.

At first I thought he was just stuck in the chrysalis, but no, the whole left side of his body didn’t develop and the wing he did have was folded over all wonky, but he was still alive and flopping around and it was pretty much the saddest thing I’ve witnessed in my entire life {regarding bugs, anyway}. Keaton was super upset about it and kept asking me to “fix him, please” and it brought about a great moment when I got to explain in all my awkward parenting glory about how in every species, some creatures are born with disabilities or malformations and we have to do our best to help them if we can, or let them go back to the earth if we can’t. We decided to lay him down by the food for the time being to see how he did.

This morning five new butterflies greeted us when we woke up which was very exciting but then there was ol’ Flopsey and I felt like a jerk again. I was sort of hoping he would pass away sometime in the night but no, he was still flopping away. I had decided to just leave him but the other butterflies kept dive-bombing him and all the flopping was upsetting the kids and the other butterflies so we talked again about what should be done. Keaton still said, “Just please fix him, mom”. But Rowan, in a very grown up voice told me that she thought the butterfly should be taken outside to rest in the field by the dandelions because that is where he belongs. I told her that meant he would probably die so we should really think about it and she just said that butterflies are meant to be outside with the flowers. We were sad but thought it was the best idea for little Flopsey.  And CHRIST this experience was supposed to teach them about the miracle of life not assisted suicide.

Still this has remained a pretty cool experience. The kids love watching the butterflies drink the sugar water off of the oranges and we went to get carnations which are not only the butterflies favorite but also Grandpa Garry’s so we stopped off at the cemetery to bring him some flowers too. Then Rowan mentioned that with all the flowers there it would be the perfect place to release our butterflies next week so grandpa can watch too. You know? Sometimes five year olds are jerks. And sometimes they are so astute that your breath catches in your throat and you see that they are pretty much at the most perfect age. Old enough to relate and rationalize, but young enough to bring some much needed magic into your life.

Happy birth day, butterflies!

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On purpose.

In some stroke of, oh I don’t know, STUPIDITY maybe, the Easter bunny thought it would be awesome to gift the kids with their very own caterpillars and ladybugs so they could watch the miracle of life unfold before them.

Keaton: "When they're done cooking in there, the butterfly will rip open the Chrysalis and eat up all the flowers!"

Leave it to a boy to make the delicate metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly sound so violent. The way he puts it we could pitch it to Scorsese, although we’d probably have to teach one or more of the butterflies to talk with a Brooklyn accent if we wanted it to get past the negotiation stage and I don’t even know where the hell to look for a vocal coach for a butterfly. Maybe Michael Bay would be a more realistic choice…?

Where was I? Right. Butterflies.

Instead of one butterfly kit and one ladybug kit, the Bug People {as I not-so-affectionately call them} sent me 2 butterfly kits. After numerous e-mails they still have yet to send me the stupid ladybug larvae and every day Keaton wakes up and checks the ladybug house to see if they magically appeared over night, which is sad but also a little funny as he’s so very earnest in his belief that they will just appear one morning.

The kits include 5 tiny caterpillars each, that reside in a cup which is filled on the bottom with an inch or so of a semi-soft gel that is apparently food. Food that I’m pretty sure is made from a combination of steroids, growth hormones and Twinkies because in a few days our sweet teeny caterpillars were big fat mother-effers that pooped all. the. time. And their poop looks like boogers. {YOU’RE SOOOOO WELCOME FOR THAT IMAGE.} It didn’t help that we had gotten into the habit of taking them down from the shelf each morning and watching them while we ate breakfast. I gotta say, it’s sort of hard to eat when staring at a fat, wriggly caterpillar who is desperately trying to make his way up the side of the cup but keeps falling down into his own waste because even with his MANY FEET he’s too fat to get all the way to the top of the cup.

Once they did make their way up there, they would try to get in a J-curl and the dumbasses would go ass over tea kettle, fall down and have to make the long harrowing trek back up the side of the cup. After 3 days of this I was beginning to think we got defective caterpillars- too stupid to follow their own natural instincts, but finally each and every one of them figured it out and once they bound themselves tightly in their chrysalises we placed them in the Butterfly Garden {or Butterfly CAGE as Keaton delicately puts it} to await this miracle of nature.

Rowan's chrysilises are on the right: Callie, Lucy, Flower, Christabella and Pom-Pom. Keaton's are on the left: Car-car, Pickle, Vroom-Vroom, Goosey-Lucy and Peter Pan. Don't ask me which one's which though.

They’re supposed to spend 7-10 days in there, uh… metamorphosizing {???}, and it’s already been a week so the kids are hoping to see their first butterfly very soon. I, on the other hand, am just fine with them tucked inside their little homes as I’ve found this a rather useful tool in controlling my children. Yeah, yeah, I got these bugs so we could all witness nature at it’s finest and so on and so forth, but perhaps more usefully I’ve found that when the kids are running around or being too loud I can use the butterflies to guilt them into submission.

i.e.~ “Lower your voices! How can our caterpillars become butterflies with you guys screeching all the time. They need peace and quiet!” or,”Do the caterpillars complain that they have to work hard to grow into an entirely different bug? NO. If they can manage that then I’m pretty sure you can do your math homework without complaining.” Or “If you guys jump around too much the caterpillars will lose their concentration and might only be able to grow one wing- one winged caterpillars can’t fly can they? CAN THEY?”

Parenting? I WIN.

In the end I just hope butterflies aren’t anything like plants because my track record for keeping things alive in this house are as follows:

Christy, ZERO

Untimely Death, 497

Just ask this sunflower {Not suitable for young viewers or those involved in Vegetation Rights}:

Its grizzly remains. Rest in peace, Sunflower. Rest in peace.

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Last week was sort of like something out of a bad dream- you know, the kind where nothing truly horrible happens but there is this overwhelming feeling of foreboding and the plain truth that you can’t do anything about it. My dad almost always answered the question “How are you?” with “I’m still alive”, sometimes said with an exclamation point, triumphantly… sometimes said with ellipsis, trailing off a little too wearily. And this second way is how I can categorize last week, like we made it through alive but not much more can be said for it. And now it’s over and for that I am very glad.

Today we are all sick with head colds. Just sick enough to miss school and sit around in our PJ’s, snuggle on the couch with a pile of books, rumpled kleenexes, liquid tylenol and Nanny McPhee. We are a sad looking bunch but happy enough to get this break from the business of life. Cuddled together, things seem a little brighter. And warmer. {But that’s probably because of the fevers.}

All I have for you today is my new desktop image, and thanks to my husband {and Leo and Keaton} this week is already starting off better, colds and all…

Poor Leo. He never saw it coming.

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