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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

shop update

YIKES!... it has been waaaaaaayyy too long since I did a shop update over here. Like so long that I haven't even shared that we moved the shop from Etsy over to Storenvy. Kind of a big deal. Hopefully you all follow along on Instagram because if you do, you already knew about the shop moving. I always have very good intentions with this blog space but time after time it takes the back seat to not only the shop but to my family and life. It seems to be so much tougher for me to take the time to sit at the computer and post here compared to the ease of posting on Instagram. So, if you truly want to be up-to-date you should definitely follow along over there. But since I am actually HERE right now, I am going to share a few of my favorite and recent garlands. Click on the picture to find out the garland's details.

Monday, February 23, 2015

ten years

My boy turned ten years old on Saturday.  It's crazy to think he's now double digits and that I've been a mom for that long or that I'm old enough to have a ten year old... yikes!  Last night as I said prayers with Grant he thanked God for "living a great decade".  A decade!  Life is crazy how fast it goes.  This weekend was the perfect weekend for his birthday to be.  At first when I saw that our little league's Opening Day Ceremonies and games landed on his birthday, I was bummed.  There went planning a Saturday party for him.  My husband quickly reminded me who our son is and that baseball is exactly how he'd want to spend his special day.  Duh mom.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed as a family to Opening Day Ceremonies.  Then Grant had a 2pm game.  It was a good game!  He played great, had some great plays and a couple fun steals, including a slide into home plate.

His team won the game which in Grant's eyes was the perfect way to celebrate his 10th birthday.

We celebrated after the game with our family and had a taco dinner and brownie sundaes for dessert.  All my birthday boy's choices of course.

On Sunday he had a party with his buddies + little sis at Grant's new favorite place, Sky High.  I tried a lot and failed at most to take photos of the kids jumping.  I need some more photography training for shooting in yucky indoor yellow lights combined with lots of action movement!  Not easy.

Even though this one is so very blurry it's one of my favorites.  You can see their big matching smiles through the blurriness.  Grant is so wonderful the way he loves his sister.  I am always amazed at how he includes her and treats her so good even when his friends are around and no parents are looking.  I love that as they've grown they've become more like friends then siblings.  She is so lucky to have him as her big brother!  Bryan and I find ourselves talking about Grant often... and we always end on some level of amazement of the boy he is.  We aren't quite sure how we did it to be totally honest.  It must be a combo of us really lucking out and God really blessing us!

 Happy double digit birthday to my decade old boy!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

monarch butterfly

It all started in September when the kids began at their new school.  I saw that the school had a beautiful campus garden that I quickly signed up to help with.  In learning about the garden and meeting some of the other garden parents I was given a little lesson on Milkweed, one of the plants that grows in the school's garden.  I was told how it is the only plant that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and the main plant that Monarch caterpillars eat.  So I decided to plant some in our own back yard and see what the excitement was all about.  We bought our two Milkweed plants at Lowe's and we planted them this past September.  Our Milkweed plants have been easy to keep alive and have grown very quickly.

It wasn't until early January when we first caught sight of a Monarch caterpillar crawling around on our Milkweed.  He was already full grown and hard to miss!  The kids and I were very excited and we checked on it several times a day.  They eat a lot and take large enough bites that you can actually see the leaf disappear as they are eating.

About five days after we first spotted him we found that he had attached himself to a Milkweed seed pod with a cluster of silk and he hung in the shape of a J.  I knew this meant he was going to soon change into a chrysalis.

Here is a simple digram of the Monarch life cycle.

He hung in that J shape for a couple of days before we found him no longer a caterpillar but as a complete chrysalis.  You guys, I'm 33 years old and I found this amazing!  Tell me I'm not alone.  If this makes me a nerd, well then so be it.  Both my six and nine year old have found this process fascinating.  They've both experienced some form of butterfly cycle kits in past classrooms but seem much more amazed by watching the natural process happening in their own back yard.

The chrysalis was the longest and hardest part to wait out.  We would check it several times a day with no change.  We had a couple crazy wind storms that I thought would for sure blow our little chrysalis away, but it survived.  One evening, about two weeks after it first changed to a chrysalis, we found that it had turned dark and you could see through to the orange wings.  I knew this meant that within the next 24 hours or so a butterfly would emerge.

The next day I remembered about mid-morning to go check on it, and sure enough I found a freshly emerged Monarch butterfly.  I knew it had to have recently happened because it's wings were small and still crumpled up.

I decided to stay and watch as it's wings filled out.  It was so awesome.  I was so sad the kids were at school and missing this part.  At least they can always count on me for an abundance of photos. Haha.

While I was observing the butterfly change I found that we had a new chrysalis on the wall above where our Milkweed plants are.  So, while the Monarch butterfly will lay eggs on and the caterpillars enjoy eating the Milkweed, they may apparently wander off before turning into a chrysalis.

After about an hour the butterfly began to move.  It climbed around on the Milkweed and began to open and close it's now large wings.

It didn't fly away though.  The coolest thing was that it stayed on the plant until Avery got home from school and right as we walked out to see if it may still be there, she spotted it, and then it flew away.  Avery got to see it take it's first flight.  So fun.

If you are at all intrigued by this awesome process, I promise all you need to do is plant Milkweed in your yard and the Monarchs will take care of the rest for you!  

During this process I have  educated myself on these beautiful creatures and have become aware that their numbers have been dwindling in massive amounts over the past few years.  I just read this interesting article on the topic.  So, not only will it be a fun experience for you and your family to plant Milkweed, but you will be helping the Monarchs have more places to lay eggs, eat, and live out their life cycle!  And hopefully helping them to increase their population again.

The above linked article ends with this quote that I want to share.
“I have a 3-year-old whose eyes pop wide open” when she sees monarchs crawling on  leaves in their back yard, O’Mara said. “This is one of those keystone species. These are things that don’t make headlines, but they are indicators that something bigger is happening.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

her first dance

Several Thursday's ago Avery brought me her school's weekly communication folder much quicker and more excitedly than usual.   Instead of just plopping it on the table as she typically would, she opened it, bypassed the many other papers in it, and pulled out the flyer about the father/daughter dance.  She handed it to me and said, "Can daddy take me to this? I really hope he can!"  I was nervous to check his work schedule.  I could see how hopeful she was and I didn't want to disappoint her.  Luckily he was free to take her so I signed the paperwork, wrote the check for the tickets and added it to the calendar. 

From that moment on she began talking about her 
upcoming "date with daddy" daily.

 She was so excited to wear her pretty new dress, curl her hair and put lip gloss on! I could not help but look at her and think of the many more times I will help her get ready for special dates over the course of her life.  I love these moments because they make me pause and soak it all in.  As I watched her reflection I prayed for all those future special dates and for her sweet heart.

To say she was excited would be a huge understatement.

 I am thankful that she has a daddy who shows her 
that she's special and loved.  That she's worth it.

I read this blog post a couple days after their dance date on the 
importance of dads dating their daughters and loved it!