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Thursday, October 28, 2010

You gotta see this

That is an insect. I know it doesn't look like one, in fact I wouldn't have thought it if I hadn't seen it moving. But it is a larva (caterpillar).

We had stopped to get gas and Hubby told us all to come look at an insect he found on the outside of the car. While we aren't doing entomology with 4-H we still are interested in the curious insects that we see fairly often. We managed to capture it and then took it over to the forestry service because one of the men who led our entomology group works there.

He is a real entomologist. I am going to call him Mr Picante.

Anyway, Mr Picante was very interested in the insect. He said it was a Monkey Slug which will turn into a hag moth. He had not actually seen a live one before because they are fairly little (about the size of a nickle) and not something that you would typically notice.

He asked what we were going to do with it and really we had no idea. He said he would be interested in watching it go into a cocoon and then turn into a hag moth so we left it with him. He said he would email us pictures and keep us updated. He said that since it wasn't on a plant it may be very close to making a cocoon and he was right. Two days later the monkey slug made a cocoon, some of the "appendages" were broken off and then stuck to the cocoon by the larva as a camouflage.

I wouldn't want to touch it. It looks fungus-like to me.

Then the next day, hubby brought us a present.

This thing.


It is huge but maybe you can't tell because the picture is small.

Let me show you a larger picture.

That is a penny to give you an idea of the size. It is huge.

Thanks to our friends at the forestry service it was narrowed down to a Hurcules Beetle or a Rinocerous Beetle.

We are going to try to raise it to see what it grows up to be. Then again, if it doesn't live, we aren't really attached to it so we won't be sad.

'Cause we are still kind-of creeped out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

just treading water

Honestly things are better than they were but it has been an incredibly hard couple of months. My father-in-law recently went in the hospital for pneumonia and the kids were pretty sure he was going to die which is understandable after what they have gone through. He is out of the hospital now but still hasn't completely recovered.

We are trying to get back to normal, trying to do normal stuff, but it is still different.

We have been doing kickball and softball - which is great. Some of the homeschool moms are very athletic and are taking it upon themselves to teach the kids the basics. It is very laid back and relaxed and fun, even Mr Negativity loves it - and he can almost always find something to complain about.

Next week is the last week though so it is nearly over.

We had a co-op meeting and I am excited that it will be starting back up in the fall. We are all looking forward to it because we really enjoy co-op.

And we may be getting a good friend to join us, if she can just convince herself that she can homeschool.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Death and Dying – again

I just . . . .


I don’t know what to say other than please pray for my family.  My husband’s mother unexpectedly passed away today and we are just stunned. We knew she wasn’t extremely healthy but no way did we think she was this sick.


My heart is breaking for my husband and his dad as well as my kids.


My kids have lost 2 grandparents in barely a month – my husband and I have each lost a parent. 


I just don’t know.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When your heart is breaking for your child

Junior had a meeting today with the local public school speech therapist. He has a problem with articulation – he has had it for years and in fact has been tested before. It wasn’t bad enough for therapy and he would grow out of it according to the previous speech therapist.


(insert snarky comment here)


I have been trying to work with him but to be honest, I don’t really know what I am doing. I think if he had gotten the therapy when he was tested, he wouldn’t have a habit of saying the words wrong. It doesn’t help that I feel responsible too, should I have taken him elsewhere and gotten a second opinion?


Anyway,  we did an initial assessment to see if he did have articulation issues or I was a paranoid, over-protective mama.


Well, I may be a paranoid, overprotective mama but he does have articulation issues.


So after that he got a treat (he was very nervous about the whole thing) and then we came home to do more schooling. We were working on reading and sounding out and the word was “last.” He would say “l-a-s-t; l-a-s-t; wask.” We spent some time trying to get him to say “last” instead of “wask” when he knows all the sounds, he just can’t put them together right in a word.


Suddenly he burst into tears and said “This is just how God made me and I can’t fix it!” Y’all, my heart broke. He thought he was the only kid in the world to need speech therapy.  He was absolutely amazed to find out that his dad,  uncle and a cousin all had speech therapy. He said “why didn’t you tell me?”


I thought he knew.


So now we wait until he can have the real testing done again. After which the speech therapist is going to give me ways I can work with him over the summer  - his test isn’t going to be until May and so he won’t be doing formal therapy until next year. But I think he is feeling better about the whole thing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On death and dying

We buried my dad today.


To be honest, it was both expected and unexpected. He had end stage cancer but we really thought we had a few more weeks or even months.


For his sake I am so very, very glad that he is no longer in pain and has energy again.


For his sake I am glad that he is in heaven with his precious savoir.


For our sake, I miss him. I wanted him to meet his other grandchildren who are yet to be born. I wanted him to dance with my mother at my daughter’s wedding. I wanted him to call me up a few more hundred times to just say “hi.”


But I would not have asked him to live one more hour in pain.


Posting may be somewhat sparse in the next few weeks but I will be back soon-ish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Long Winter

Typically it doesn’t get that cold in East Texas – or at least not the northern idea of cold. We might have 5 nights a year that it gets below freezing but then it pops back up above freezing in the daytime.


It doesn’t snow here. Almost never.


This year I was inspired by our first cold snap – actually a freakish cold snap for us, it stayed below freezing in the day time for a few days – to read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it is one of her longer books in the series and describes the winter of 1880-1881 that seems to be one of the worst winters recorded in history.


This has been a good year for us to read it too, we are on our third snowfall this year. I know that may not sound impressive to some but let me put it this way, in 15 years of living here I have seen 6 snowfalls and 3 have been this year.


Today with the snow falling again, we are going to read more of The Long Winter. It seems appropriate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beethoven Lives Upstairs - Live Performance

I have long been a fan of the Classical Kids series of cds and books that introduce kids to classical composers in a fun way. It is partly because of this series that my 6 year old says his favorite composer is Tchaikovsky.

When I saw that the East Texas Symphony Orchestra would be performing Beethoven Lives Upstairs in Tyler, I thought we just had to go. I even called and found out that if I got a group of 20 or more together, we could go at a much reduced price. The only problem, this was on Tuesday and the performance was Saturday. We did manage to get the discounted rate, and I was supposed to get there a bit early so I could pass out the tickets to our group.

Except that I was running a bit late. And I went to the wrong place.

The performance? It was wonderful. Seeing it live was so much better. Plus afterwords they had a "meet the instruments" with some of the musicians. My son was thrilled when someone from the woodwinds played part of the Star Wars theme. My daughter was excited to recognize some of the animals from Peter and the Wolf. The friend she invited along kept saying that her big sister would love it, and she wanted to go meet the woodwinds because that was her favorite orchestra section.

If you have a chance to see any of the Classical Kids concerts, I would highly recommend them. If not, the cds are pretty good too.