August 27, 2010

Six Parakeets and Counting

To hear Eli tell the story it all began back in January. He had birthday and Christmas money burning a hole in his pocket. And he wanted a pet. We already have a dog and cat. Evidently it's all about 'personal pet' vs. 'family pet'. I vetoed rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, and anything else small and furry that might escape and reproduce in the walls. I also vetoed snakes. Without any explanation. Lizards might have been okay but they are pricey. The maintenance on fish is a no-go and the boys both agreed that I have proven myself unworthy in the test of keeping fish alive. So we visited the pet store just to look around.

And we met the nearly perfect pet called a parakeet.

Then we left the pet store and looked for a little guy on craigslist. Including a cage and already friendly. Then Eli started wondering if his little guy (who is actually a girl) was lonely. So he read up on parakeets and decided to get his little lady and male friend. Stage 1 in parenting decisions gone wrong.

Stage 2 would be when I encouraged Seth to help Eli build a nest box. He had read so much about the birds he decided to try and 'get some eggs'. But I figured that was really unlikely. I mean, come on, really? So they spent an afternoon putting this wooden box together. We stuck it on the front of the cage and Petey (the girl) immediately began making herself at home. Then the week of VBS the birds began...ahem...'getting married' during breakfast every morning. It was rather shameful. The squawking and fluttering amidst cries of, "Look at them!! Will it work, are they married if he can't balance?!"

Though I tried to explain that there may not be eggs, though I hoped there wouldn't be eggs. One afternoon, an egg showed up. Then four little siblings followed all one day apart. So our summer plans quickly changed and shuffled around because the eggs would begin hatching and we certainly couldn't miss the big event.

I also tried to explain that the eggs might not hatch. But they did. Mom and Dad are so proud of their babies that they are trying to have more. This time they are working on it during lunch. Right before they sit at the side of the cage and beg us for more food. It's scandalous.

August 23, 2010

First Day of School

I have sweaty palms...

butterflies in my belly...

and a dry mouth.

Sitting here waiting...

for the first day of school to begin.

I'm a nervous wreck.

Even when you teach your own children. Even when they are eager to start learning. Even when you have been doing it for years.

They look so eager and innocent, don't they? Give me about two weeks.

August 7, 2010


Ella is constantly capturing small
animalscreatures in the backyard and turning them into pets. Pill bugs, caterpillars (that were eating my roses), and most recently slugs. At Christmas, I bought a butterfly habitat. Incidentally, that was kind of funny. Seth and I were shopping at the Toys-U-Don't Need. I had a list of things the kids thought they might need. I also had a list of things I thought they might need, ie. educational stuff. Like a super cool butterfly habitat. Surprisingly there weren't any on the shelf. Disbelief--but figured I'd order it online for a higher price. Later, Seth saw a man holding one and approached him just as the guy said to his buddy, "Butterfly Habitat, who would want something dumb like that?" Thankfully he put it down and my brave hubby snagged it.

So...we've been eagerly waiting for the right time to order caterpillars. We ordered. They came. Not so thrilling. Little black caterpillars. In a plastic container. Sort of like what Ella does in the backyard everyday. Except I paid for this tub. They ate the gooey food in their container. We waited. Then one day we looked in and they were all suspended from the top. Soon we got to see our first chrysalis.Little more waiting and one butterfly emerged. It was truly very neat. Even for the not-nerdy bunch. This butterfly in the house thing was a dream come true for Ella. Oddly, she's terrified if they fly near her, but in the mesh cage. Heavenly.

Let the obsession begin. Day after day of butterfly viewing. Special chair pulled up to the habitat. Oh, the antics of those butterflies. Endless entertainment!

All good things must come to an end. In butterfly habitat world that would be Release Day.
One by one, all of the butterflies flitted away except one little guy. To Ella's delight we kept him, named him "Flyey" and gave him some more time in the miracle butterfly habitat. A few days later, after having the nectar buffet all to himself, Flyey made his way out into the wild, dangerous world known as Our Backyard.

August 2, 2010

Call me the firegirl (Ella did)

Today, I tried to set the house on fire.

Until today, I've never actually put out a fire. Ironically, late last night I was typing up our homeschool curriculum for the superintendent and wondered 'what will we do for fire safety this year?'

Well, we got that one checked off. According to the discussion I had with the children after the blaze was out:
1-Never turn on the stove and walk away.
2-Never fill a pot with oil to make popcorn, turn on the stove and walk away.
3-Making a phone call from the backyard while stove is on and oil is heating is always a bad idea.
4-Having a serious discussion with husband during heating of oil is a terrible idea.
5-Ignoring the blaring smoke alarms coming from the house, thinking that it is the microwave beeping will only make matters worse.

6-If ever, you are engrossed in a new library book and you hear smoke alarms while breathing in smoke in a smoke filled room. You SHOULD ALWAYS interrupt the book reading to save yourself. You most certainly can bring the book with you. (That one was for Everett who was reading in the living room and managed to ignore the circumstances until he heard mother screaming).

I did all of the above. My kids will probably never let me live it down.

I finally realized that smoke was filling the dining room and saw the blaze on the stove. Yelling into the phone, "There's a fire in the kitchen!" I chucked the phone and ran inside. Can't imagine what Seth was thinking. Probably something along the lines of, "Can't believe I'm married to such a nut case." Or "She's SO overdramatic."

I can't recall what happened next, I probably broke many more fire safety rules. Like yelling and losing your cool. Using the garden hose to douse flames is probably not up there on the "to do" list. But I did it.

Right now five children are sleeping on the floor of Josiah's bedroom because it was the only room smoke-free. We were all rather worked up. I was ready to head to a hotel. They were ready to sleep on the grass in the backyard, since obviously the house is far too dangerous to enter. Ever. Then the sensible husband chastened me (via phone) and told me to "Calm down, it's just a little smoke." Only because he wasn't here to see the leaping flames. And because once he caught the neighbor's trees on fire. That's way worse.