Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our babies!

Yesterday morning Clayton and I went out on the front porch to talk with my neighbor Carole when I noticed after Clayton touched the banister he had some bugs get on his arms. As I was brushing them off, I noticed that they were also all over the banister. Kinda got grossed out at first. But then I noticed what they were...BABIES!!! They were baby Praying Mantis!!!

I called the other kids out to the porch, I'm sure by the sound of my voice they may have thought there was free ice cream somewhere.
The girls brought out their cameras ( my battery died after I took VBS pics the night before, and I can't find my charger ughhh), they had a little photo session with the couple dozen babies. I do have to say they are so cute!
In past years we have seen just a couple times an adult Praying Mantis hanging around our front porch. So I guess it's still around here somewhere. We found the pod where they hatched from under the rim of the banister, it looks just like this
, it's only like an inch or so long, amazing all those babies hatched from there!
We had our photo session and went inside. About an hour later Madelyn felt something on her arm, and there was a hitch-hiker! After that, every little ticking I felt on my body I thought for sure there was another one. Gave me the willies!

I remember from one of the girls school projects that they were not allowed to collect a Praying Mantis, because they were I thought I would find out some facts about these amazing creatures...I'm sure you are thrilled about the science lession...but it is pretty interesting stuff.

***praying mantises", because of the typical "prayer-like" stance, although the term is often mis-spelled as "preying mantis"

***The word mantis is Greek for "prophet" or "fortune teller".

***The articulation of the head is remarkably flexible, permitting nearly 300 degrees of movement in some species, allowing for a great range of vision (their compound eyes have a large binocular field of vision) without having to move the remainder of the body

***Sexual cannibalism is common among mantises in captivity, and under some circumstances may also be observed in the field. The female may start feeding by biting off the male’s head (as with any prey), and if mating had begun, the male’s movements may become even more vigorous in its delivery of sperms

***The male engages the female in courtship dance, to change her interest from feeding to mating.

***NOTE*** I found more intersting facts about the above process, however I would have to edit I will leave it as it is above and not go into that process any farther, quite interesting though.

***When flying at night, at least some mantises are able to detect the echolocation sounds produced by bats, and when the frequency begins to increase rapidly, indicating an approaching bat, they will stop flying horizontally and begin a descending spiral toward the safety of the ground, often preceded by an aerial loop or spin.

So...are they Endangered??? Here's what I found...
Only one Spanish species, Apteromantis aptera, is listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened. North American mantises are not included among threatened or endangered species.
Back to our babies... by the time we left the house later that afternoon, they were all gone! I then realized that in a small window in time did we get the priveledge of seeing something very special...thanks God for sharing your creation with us!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why I HATE mice...

I think I may have jinxed myself with my last post title...why did I even mention mice?? I guess if they could all look like this guy, I would totally be ok, infact I would welcome him and his gang into my home! But who I saw today was NOT him!

My *relationship* with mice started about 11 years ago. And in using the term *relationship* I mean I HATE MICE!!!!
This month actually 11 years ago I was 7 months pregnant with Madelyn. My sister and I flew out the Washington State to visit my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. While we were there we came up with a brilliant idea to drive to Mt. Rainier and go camping...that's right while 7 months preggo, I went camping!

Our night in the camper started out just fine. All 7 of us got cozy in there, I found myself placed closest to the door...hmmm must have been the 7 months preggo part the bladder challenges that come with that.
Once all was still and quiet I had yet to fall asleep, when I heard *things* running across the top of the canvas camper. Back and forth, back and forth...right above my head! I laid there waiting for someone else to comment on the commotion, nope nothing, they were all sound asleep. My sister laid next to me and she was out, couldn't even get her to wake up to listen for it.
So I continued to listen, picturing in my mind that it was a cute family of squirrels having a late night party on the roof top of the Jayco. Well that vision came to a close in just moments.
Like I said, I was camped closest to the door of the camper and you can see here how the door is metal and the canvas is surrounding the door. The the left is where I was laying.
As the party on the roof got quiet, I began to hear scratching at the edge of the door and the canvas....yes, right next to my head. Seriously I'm sick just reliving this.
I then decided to create a sleeping bag caccoon, covering up EVERY inch of my body, NOTHING could break ( or eat) through this Fort Kn*x that I had created.
As the scratching at the door stopped, I then heard a faint pattering across the floor of the camper. At this point I was about to loose it. And still NO ONE else was awake, I quietly called for those around me and no one cared to wake up! I was being tortured ALONE!
After the journey across the floor, I could now hear noises at the foot of my bed where the sink and counter was. There was a bag of trail mix on the counter that was now being enjoyed by more than just us campers. Oh yes, there was no longer a roof top party, we apparently send the word out by the whiffs of trail mix, and they moved the party INSIDE!
After cheeks got stuffed, the scampering across the floor took place again, the scratching at the door continued and then I heard just a race across the canvas roon( as apposed to a party). This pattern continued for quite a while. And yes I laid there trying to breathe in my sleeping bag caccoon. This is quite fun...camping at Mt. Rainier. Kinda wish though that someone had the decentcy to just mention to me that there are times where the wildlife come IN to where we are and we share with them God's provisions. Just wish SOMEONE could have shared that with me before I got myself stuck in a sleeping bag caccoon. Geez!! Family!
Well, I was at my limit. I devised a plan, I could shimmy my way out of the caccoon and at just the right time ( which would be AFTER the door scratching and DURING the roof race...any other time might be really bad)I would make a bee-line for the family van. Surly that is a MICE-FREE enviroment!
Ok..I got the right time and I flew my 7 month pg body out of the caccoon and flung open the door. Oh but look, there was a little something there on the step.
A little brown mouse just stood there on his back two legs FROZEN. Oh darn, sure didn't mean to scare YOU! He looked up at me as if to say "oh wow thanks for opening up the door for us, this will make this process a whole lot easier".
I covered my scream up well and ran to the van. I laid in there waiting for my heart rate to head back down to a *normal camping* rate. Not sure what that was, sure hadn't arrived there yet.
I had no idea what time it was, 3am, 11pm, 1am??? No idea. And after I sat in there for some time I could no longer ignore the bladder issues a pg lady has. I HAD to go ( the stress wasn't helping) My sweet Uncle had mentioned before he dozed off into a camping coma, that if I needed to hike up to the bathrooms that he wanted me to wake him up and he would walk up there with me.
So wondering if I could really wake him up, earlier my panic whispering "MICE, MICE...anyone care?? WE HAVE MICE" I guess wasn't enough. But now I had to GO, so I went back towards the camper and there on the door frame ( as if it was Passover) was blood smeared down the side. The mice were *that* determined to get in and out that blood was shed. I have a feeling going in wasn't too bad, it was shimming back out with thier cheeks shoved full of trail mix, that wasn't fiting through so well against the metal side. Oh well, actually didn't really feel so bad for them.
My Uncle did wake up as I called his name and informed him of my need for a hike. I didn't say anything to him until half way up the hill he said "So how's your night been, are you sleeping alright?"
Honestly, I was tempted to not say what was going on in the camper, I kinda felt like this is what normally takes place on their camping trips. Maybe they work out some deal with Mickey and his friends and the trail mix really wasn't for us, it's all for them to partake in through the night. Maybe they are protecting us from a larger creature???
Anyway, I did quietly mention that I wasn't sleeping AT ALL. I actually left the camper and retreated into the van to get away from the mice situation.
He had NO IDEA what I was talking about. So as got back to the camper, I showed him the passover markings and explained to him their pattern, racing across the top, shimming through the canvas and door seam, scampering across the floor and then enjoying the trailmix on the counter. He was shocked, he had never had this happen before and at this point everyone in the camper was awake hearing the commotion.
Oh yeah, NOW they all wake up!
So my Uncle set up a trap over the sick with a dixie cup and trail mix, we laid in tourturous silence and we waited for the RETURN, and they did. My Uncle was in charge of the flash/spot light. As they got onto the counter, he caught them in the beam and we watched them fall to their peril.
I might have then slept for 45 min that was now morning!
THAT was my experience where my HATE for mice started....
Fast forward to today...
Zumba was cancelled so I was doing my own in the basement, when in the middle of *Caliente'* I caught a glimpse of a little brown invation running arcoss the floor.
I'm afraid that I set a very poor example for my boys as I screamed and ran for the phone. Nate was at L*wes' and I thought he might be able to get SOMETHING to take care of this.
Of course, his phone went right to voice mail, at a time like this??!!! GEEZ!!
Logan came down the stairs with a broken peice of baby swiss cheese, he knew *THIS* would catch it. Clayton kept lifting up the toys to see if it was there. I kept yelling to STOP doing that, it might run towards me!!!
Nate then walked in the door, holding a rake...PERFECT!
He came down and as Clay moved a toy, there it went...running for it's life.
I was at this point on the back of the couch in fetal postion screaming.
Then Nate yells at me after I heard a large *smack* of the rake.
"Amber, I've got it, now come down here and grab it or it might get away!"
WHAT??????????????? Does he know who I am???????? THERE IS NO WAY I AM COMING DOWN, AND NO WAY WOULD I GRAB IT.
I heard the neighbor was out mowing the lawn, so I ran past Nate ( dangerously close to the trapped rodent), I could see it smashed there inbetween the rake and our lovely new carpet...perfect.
I was a sweaty mess and my heart rate was sky high, not so much due to the Zumba. I explained to my neighbor my husband's request of me that I just couldn't help him with and he came right over to the rescue.
I them proceeded into a whole differnt part of the house, as the kids came running to see the mouse now in a bag being taken outside.
Emma was yelling "please don't kill it Dad"...uhhhh he better kill it, don't you dare talk him into setting it free in the field...he'll be right back in here!!
Then graciously our neighbor mentions as he walks out "well usually where there's one, there's more"
Oh thanks...I'll rest easy now.
I HATE MICE!!!!!!! Great start to my day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When the cat is away...

the mice will have a breakdown...???
It's been a few weeks now, and I think I have come to a place where I can talk about this with out losing it. So I'm going to give this a shot, it NEEDS to be documented for sure!
For those of you that don't know, every year Nate leaves everything behind for about 9 days and heads up to the Boundry Waters in Nortern Minn and Canada on a fishing trip with his buddies. We have no contact with him while he is up there *surviving*. Unfortunately there is a *curse* that comes along with his fishing trip. For several years in a row, something terrible happens while he is gone. I wish I am making this up, but it's VERY TRUE!
I believe that the beginning of the *curse* was when his Grandma passed away while he was gone. I didn't have the heart to tell him on his drive back, I waited until he got home. It wasn't too much of a shock, but sad none the less. The following year, Uncle Charlie ( like a grandpa to us) and Grandpa both became VERY ill and were placed in the ICU. Nathan was unable to really share his trip with Grandpa that year like he usually does, we lost bost Charlie and Grandpa very soon after Nate returned home.
The following year, he got some new recruits to go on his trip with him. Not thinking about the curse too much was a mistake. It was Pete's first year, and while he was up there his wife's Grandma was tragically killed in a traffic accident. Last year amazingly no one was injured here at home while there were gone. HOWEVER Nate's buddy Monty nearly lost his life up in the BWCA. He was very close to death from hypothermia from falling in the frigid lake. It's a very scary story and yet clearly God had His angels protecting him!
Of course after all this, I was a bit nervous seeing him go again this year. But God does not give one a spirit of fear. I remind myself that quite often.
About halfway through his trip my Dad gives me a call and informs me that my 88yr old Grandma had fallen alone in her home and laid waiting for help for over 3 hours. She broke her hip and injured her collarbone as well. Oh I was praying that she could surive this! I was not shocked something like this happened while Nate was gone. I guess I was expecting it. She is currently SLOWLY recovering from her injuries and surgery.
So you may ask...WHY do you let him go??? Are you CRAZY??? Yep, I must be crazy, because I do *let* him go. And I pray for his safety and our safety while he is gone. It's a blessing that he is able to go and have this much needed and derserved adventure every year.
NOW...let me talk about MY adventure while he was gone this year...
Brilliant that I am, I thought I would be totally fine scheduling 4 dentists visits the week he was gone. The part of my brain that is used ( or not used) for making decisions like this is the same part that keeps taking my kids with me when I run multiple errands and trips to the store with ALL of them, time and time again after I clearly tell myself I should NOT continue to subject myself and others to the *experience* and I'll just leave it at that. These trips are probably worthy for a whole blog post of their own!
So all was well and I was bringing all 4 kids to a NEW dentist across town. I was actually really looking forward to this new office expereince. It's all geared towards kids, video games galore! The three older kids were being seen and they all seemed to be pretty care-free about it.
I have found that in parenting ( yes I have learned *something* over the past 10 years) your children play off of the atmosphere that you create. The vibes you send out can make or brake a new expereince. So I was totally into this new dentist and the kids seem to be to..ok, so all is well so far...great! I was even at this point patting my self on the back for taking on this *adventure* on my own...I SO don't *need* Nate for this!
oops.... not so fast...
As we pulled into the parking lot it was about 8:15 am, on a school day. The kids jumped out of the car and ran into the lobby. I started filling out paperwork. NOTE about Me: I LOVE to fill out paperwork...seriously, I do, especially times 4.
Emma came up to me and informed me that Madelyn was back in the van, just sitting there. Hmmmmm...
So I went out to see what she was getting. I thought she had a book out there or something. Well I was wrong about that idea.
While I was asking her what she was doing the floodgates opened. She kept saying over and over that she just wanted to get to school. Nothing really about the dentist, just that she wanted to get to school. I tried everything to get her to come out of the van and get back into the office. I spoke VERY calmly to her ( see paretning fact above) thinking this would calm her down as well. Uh no.
She didn't budge, she had tears and snot coming down her face, refusing to get out. I had now told her that she had lost all priveledges for a week( no tv, no Wii, no computer), this I thought would have some effect. Nope. She seemed to care less about the punishment. About 10 min had now gone by. I tried everything. And yes, I flat out told her to get back inside NOW.
So now it's TWO weeks with no priveledges. Again, no effect.
WOW, I'm at a loss here. I'm praying to God for wisdom and I've got nothing!
Finally she stared showing signs of a white flag, and she got out and headed towards the office door.
Remember the tears and snot? Well she now was asking if she could go to the bathroom and get tissues. I was right on her with this one, I had a feeling this was a ploy. So, I said No, I will get them for her.
Then she added on that she needed to USE the bathroom.
Here was my BIG mistake...I let her go in! *CLICK* I heard the door lock. And that was it.
At this point Emma and Logan had their names called and were joyfully headed back to their rooms. As Madelyn's name was now called, I wondered why she didn't seem to care as I told her it was HER turn...oh yes, now I remember, geez I almost forgot. MY TEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WAS HAVING A BREAKDOWN AND LOCKED HERSELF IN THE DENTIST OFFICE BATHROOM!!!!!
I was blindsided! At this point two of the ladies and the d.h was trying to get her to come out. Are you wondering where Clayton is during all this...oh he was around the corning somehow getting the high score on Donkey Kong!
The d.h was getting ticked. She became the one in charge here, I guess she thought I was not doing so well. She informed Madelyn that she was waisting everyone's time and she needed to act her age and come out immediately.
How did that work??? Not so well, still no surrender by her part at all.
At this point I think a white down broke through the roof the the dentist office and landed directly onto my shoulder. I had an out of body experience and SOMEHOW BY THE GRACE OF GOD didn't lose my mind.
One of the other ladies imformed Madelyn that they would have to pick the lock( again, didn't phase her one bit), so quickly she left and came back with a bobby pin.
The door was opened and the d.h asked me if she could talk with Madelyn privately. They walked into the entry and I could only watch the conversation. It was short. The d.h came over to me and said "well she just wants to go to school I guess".
O really, that's it?!! Well then I'll rush her over there, geez if I only would have known that this morning, I could have avoided this whole show!
I was getting ticked at her at this point.
I told her, "I know she wants to go to school, that way she wouldn't have to be here. She is going into that office even if it's for ONE minute. She WILL not win!"
"oh", she said, "so she's trying to manipulate you"
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!
Madelyn then came up to me and said " ok, Mom, I'll go back, but I don't want you to come with me."
GREAT! Cause I really don't want to come back there with you!
She headed back and less than 5 minutes later she was back out and headed straight out the car.
The LOVELY d.h. came out and said, "well that's all we have time for, we got nothing done because she waisted her appointment slot in the bathroom. She'll have to come back for her cleaning and x-rays. (Later I found out they don't have any slots available until mid-July...nice! Oh yes, they did charge me too!)
and then she said " by the way, you better stick to those consequences you told her, cause if you don't, you will have a HORRIBLE teen!"
I was SOOOO DONE. I appologized to her about all of this and she continued with her unsolicited advice laced with a horrible bitter attitude. I tried to be kind over and over and she was less than kind even seeing my situation.
At this point, I was REALLY wanting to know that I could come home from a day like this and fall into Nate's arms and cry. I wanted so badly to tell him all about it. But it was days later before we could communicate.
So it was a reminder, that GOD DID supply all my needs, HE was there the whole time. I know that it was NOT natural for a parent to some how NOT loose thier mind through all that. There is no other way to explain it, it was by God's grace.
So next time you take your kids to the dentist...have a little laugh on me :) It's ok, I'm close to seeing the humor in it all...close. One day I know it will be funny, just not yet. Especially since she has yet to go back!
PLEASE PRAY FOR ME...oh wait...I'm making NATE take her next time!