Friday, October 24, 2008

A Dog's Life

We are a pet friendly family and home. I grew up with at least one dog and one cat at all times (usually more) and Jeff had a few pets while he was growing up as well. Simply put, our pets are members of our family. The other evening our dog, Zack, thought he would have a rest on our bed for a few minutes. But the kids got on the bed, too, so Zack got all kinds of love, pats and kisses.

Zack, a Golden Retriever and Chow/Sharpei mix, is ten years old now. I adopted him when he was three from the Humane Society where I was volunteering. I know almost nothing of his "past life" but I am convinced children must have been a part of it. He has always been drawn to kids and at 60 pounds he is always gentle with our children. He is a good dog and I'm glad our children will always know the love of a pet.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Born Free

In an earlier post, I described our new "pet" Patsy. Patsy was a caterpillar given to us by Emily's friend next door. We carefully kept Patsy in a jelly jar and fed her the leaves from the vine on which we found her. I even dropped a few drops of water in the top of the jar (I have no idea if caterpillars need water but it made sense to me). After about 10 days Patsy turned into a chrysalis that was first bright green, then later turned black.

I had been keeping a close eye on her in hopes she would in fact turn into a monarch butterfly like our neighbor's did. One day I picked it up to let Emily peek in the jar and at the very moment I bent down to show her, Patsy came out transformed into a beautiful butterfly. I mean at that exact moment we watched her emerge from her chrysalis. How cool is that!?!? I told Emily we would soon have to let her go outside as she wouldn't survive in her jar for very long. It took a little bit of convincing since Emily told me, "But Patsy's my friend." But the next day, as I watched Patsy struggling to spread her wings in the confined space, I took the jar to Emily and without me saying a word she looked at me and in a very grown up way asked, "Is it time?" I told her yes, it was time. So we let Patsy out of her jar in some flowers I had spotted other monarchs land on. At first, Patsy did nothing. I was worried. How would I explain it if the end of the story wasn't a happily ever after ending? But after about five minutes of Patsy stretching her wings repeatedly, she fluttered a few feet away and landed in the grass. Again, I was worried. But with a little nudging on my part with a stick, Patsy took flight. It was a breezy day (what day isn't in Kansas?) so we watched as Patsy floated up to our rooftop, cross our driveway, and fly past the neighbor's house. That was the last we saw of her.
I have never kept a caterpillar and watched this process so I think I was as excited, or perhaps more so, as Emily. Luckily I have photos of the process from start to finish.
Patsy in her full glory.
Here Emily is telling Patsy she can come back and visit us if she wants. :-)
You have to click on the photo above and look in the top left corner to see Patsy flying away. Godspeed, Patsy. Thanks for letting us take care of you. :-)

Benjamin Turns One!!

What a bad mommy for not getting this updated before now. But September 27th our little guy celebrated his first birthday! We were blessed to have some friends and family join us for cupcakes and ice cream. I think he was a little overwhelmed by all the extra people in our home. But he did really well and has enjoyed playing with with all his toys.

He was not one of those children who dove right into his birthday cake. In fact, he stuck a finger in the icing and didn't even put it in his mouth (this was his first experience with cake, icing, etc). In this photo you can see a little bit of icing in his right hand and he was holding it away from himself until I wiped it off.
I am happy to report however that later in the day, after all our guests had gone, Benjamin did enjoy some of his cupcake (I had to "prime" him a bit by putting some icing in his mouth so he could get a taste). Here he is finally enjoying his birthday cupcake (the peas were leftover from his supper).
Some photos of Mommy and Daddy with their birthday boy. Happy birthday, baby!