new sisters

new sisters
Penelope holding 10 day old Violet

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our Hatchlings

Pen with her "megalafying glass"

The expression on Violet's face is sort of how I was feeling at the time too.

This is their egg case sewn to a stick, and they are emerging.

They were slow, it was kind of strange... they just hung there.


I like Steve and Pen's identical serious praying mantis conversation faces.

They are kind of cute, in an alien sort of way.

She's letting one crawl on her arm.
A couple weeks ago we had another homebirth of sorts. Our praying mantis babies emerged from their egg case. I had almost given up on them, but then one morning there they were! It was strange the way they all came out together and then just hung there, seeming to be stunned or in a trance. Once they started to move around we brought them outside and opened their habitat because we had read that they will start to eat each other if there is nothing else to eat.

We let most go free into our garden, but we kept three, and they are still living in the habitat together. We have been feeding them mainly fruit flies, which we normally have an abundance of, but as is often the case, when you don't need something it is everywhere and when you do need it there is none to be found. And thus was the case with the fruit flies. I was actually asking people if they had any fruit flies we could have. We tried to get some from a pet store, but the store mysteriously closed due to an emergency the day we went to pick up the flies we ordered and it never opened again. But then my forgetful/lazy nature finally paid off when a lunch bag was left in the car with a banana in it. Steve went to clean out the car, found the bag and opened it and was rewarded  by a swarm of fruit flies. Steve now has a fruit fly farm going on the porch, he keeps the lunch bag out there with fruit in it and every day he releases some fruit flies into the praying mantis habitat.

This has been a very cool experience. I'm glad we did it. It is fascinating to watch these little creatures catch and eat their flies. It will be interesting to see how many we spot in the yard as they grow, and I wonder if we will have many next year. The three we kept will be released before the summer is over. I think next year we will try a butterfly habitat. Penelope is already asking for one, and I think it will be awesome to watch that whole process and then let it fly out into our garden. This is one of the reasons that having kids is cool. I'd have never hatched mantis babies without a child to enjoy it with.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Birthday Party for the Girls

Penelope's Chocolate Cake

Violet's Vanilla Cake

Pen blowing out her candles.

Pen helping Violet blow out her candles.

Violet trying her cake.

Everyone in the back yard.

Violet eating cake with Grandma.

We made sidewalk chalk paint for Pen and her cousins to play with.

I'm guessing this cuteness  is the work of Celeste.

Deagan giving Pen a taxi ride.

Pen giving Deagan a taxi ride.

Love this picture.
Deagan hula hooping.

Celeste hula hooping.

Great Grandma in the back, and Jess and Vi playing with ribbon.


Celeste and Vi
Grandma and Vi in the backyard.

Miss Thing

She loved her day.

We had a fun day yesterday. Pen and Vi celebrated their 1st and 4th birthdays with their family. Grandma and Great grandma, uncles Charles and Tom, Aunt Linda and Uncle Kenny, And cousins Jess, Celeste and Deagan all came over. We were very happy that it was a bit cooler than it has been lately, and that the rain never really got to be more than a drizzle, and then the sun came out!

We had a bunch of food and icy cold drinks and two kinds of cupcakes made into a 4 and a 1 shape and decorated with fairies. Penelope had so much fun playing with her cousins and we loved having everyone over. The girls both recieved a bunch of great gifts, but I think the thing that pleased Penelope the most was the beautiful fairy dress that her cousin, Celeste, passed on to her. She is wearing it in all of the pictures, and it took much convincing to get her to take it off before bed last night. I was tickled to have a super cute dress we gave to Celeste years ago be passed on to Penelope. And both girls got so many darling new outfits from everyone.The girls were both so crazy after their party that it took me forever to get them to sleep. It was a really nice day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

And Now She is Four

Face Painting at the Fantasy Fair

A Real Unicorn

Pony Ride in Her Rainbow Fairy Wings

Baby in a Bonnet

Baby Mantis

Throwing Fairy Dust into the Fairy Ring

I love this picture, two of the people dearest to my heart playing in fairyland  together.

Horses at the 4-H Fair

Giant Water Slide

On the cow train with her friend, Steve and Vi are in the next car.

Pony ride at the 4-H fair

Little kid tractor pull

Pen's favorite band at the 4-H fair. Steve is helping to make the tunnel on the far right, and Pen has just gone through the tunnel on the far left.

Sitting, holding bunnies. We did this for so long.

Pen wanted me to take this picture. Little calf, cuddling up to it's stall mate,  just like a cat or dog would do.

On her actual birthday, at the zoo. Ready to ride the train with her Daddy.

They are watching  3 river otters swimming and showing off for the kids.

Pony ride at the zoo.

Performing with The Toe Jam Puppet Band (Pen's got the orange wig).

Violet in a wig.

2nd train ride at the zoo, arranging her friends.

The girls and their uncles.

Penelope's birthday dinner.

Pen's horse cake, made by Daddy.

Steve's rose, and hoof prints after the horses had been removed.

Happy birthday girl, eating her rose.

The girls opening Pen's gifts.

Tom and Pen setting up the much desired stable.
This year Penelope's birthday was more of a week long extravaganza that began the weekend before her birthday and finished up on her birthday this past Monday. We kicked it off by going to the fantasy fair at our local plant nursery. Pen wore her fairy dress, got her face painted, rode a pony, climbed on a pirate ship, and best of all,saw a real unicorn. She just stared and stared at it. She was absolutely shocked to discover that unicorns whiny in exactly the same way that horses do.

Then our praying mantis babies finally hatched. I'll do another post about them, but it was exciting.

Then Penelope attended Fairy Camp for 2 days. I helped my friend Faye to create the first fairy camp a long, long time ago. Faye called to ask if Penelope would like to come this year, and she had such a wonderful time. She made fairy wings, and a crown and wand. She made fairy dust, read fairy stories, built a fairy bower, and chose her fairy name - Rosetta Rosa Rugosa.

Then we went to the 4-H fair the day before her birthday. She held bunnies, went on a water slide, a cow train, watched horse competitions, pet cows and asked their young owners a million questions. She ran into a friend from music class and had fun with her for a while, watched a cow parade and an antique tractor parade, and of course, rode a pony. Her favorite band, the toe jam puppet band, was there too and we all watched their show.

Then on Monday, Pen's actual birthday, we went to the zoo, where we go every Monday to see The Toe Jam Puppet band. They sang Pen Happy Birthday and did her favorite song/shadow puppet show, Mr. Bun - at her request. She also rode the train twice, the carousel once, and of course, had two pony rides.

Then we came home for a cook out, both her uncles came over and she had a wonderful horse cake made by her father, which was so yummy. She opened her gifts, and was so excited to get the horse stable she has wanted since before Christmas (the store was sold out at Christmas time) and she stayed up until much too late playing with it.

I can hardly believe my little girl is four. Three didn't seem much bigger than two to me, still a baby, still a little, round toddler. But four is different, four is not really a baby anymore. But four is wonderful, four is interesting and inquisitive, with definite interests and big dreams. She wants to know everything. She wants to help with everything. I plan to enjoy every minute of her being four, every horse filled, fairy filled, bug filled day.