Painted Lady Butterflies


Laney and Elijah received some caterpillars for their birthday from Auntie Erika and Uncle Jason and Orion and Maddie.  We loved seeing them turn into chrysalides and then butterflies.  There is a chrysalis already formed on the top right side of the container, I didn’t get any other shots of them.


But I did catch this one newly out of the chrysalis.  Pretty amazing transformation.



I never realized how much hair there is between their wings.




And I love these shots of the proboscis.





Such lovely ladies(although I’m sure there is a male in there somewhere).  Sadly,we had one out of the four that didn’t make it. It started to emerge from it’s chrysalis, but something happened to the wings and they never fully spread out and dried.



We released the 3 Painted Ladies and this one hung out with Zekey for a bit before she flew away.




And last night we used the mesh netting to hold the lightning bugs we caught.

What a fun gift!

The Crayfish Named Peace


This little lady came to our house the last week of school.  She was one of 8 who were studied by Malachi’s 4th grade class.  I told Malachi he could bring them all home and we’d release them into our creek, but she was the only one not spoken for.  So we kept her for a week or so and then said goodbye.


Malachi was hopeful she’d find a mate in our creek.


And just yesterday he found a dead baby crayfish on the banks of our creek.  I don’t know enough about crayfish to even know if it could have been hers.


She was so happy to swim around.



This is definitely a more peaceful life, than sitting on our kitchen counter.

4th of July Festivities


Our 4th of July was spent in downtown Indy this year.  We were right by the Murat for a Food Truck event, and the best place to see the fireworks.  Brian was working at the State Farm tent for a few hours before the fireworks, so the kids and I went down with him.


We walked around various tents and got some free stuff and used the bathroom several times in the Murat and then left the venue because it was filling up and there was not enough room for my kids to move they way they wanted.  We walked around other various streets and then staked out a spot to view the fireworks and hung out there.









We don’t get down to these parts of the city too often, but when we do, we always love it.

And this year I made my first attempts of some unfocused shots of the fireworks, or as my kids call them “boomcracks.”

So here’s some Boomcrack’s Bokeh:




Elijah’s Research Project

Elijah had to complete two research projects this year.  The first one he did on soccer and made a Prezi to present it to the class.  The second one he researched baseball and also made a Prezi. The students presented them to the parents one night.  This same night was a playoff game for baseball, so I took Malachi to the game and Brian took Elijah to the presentation.  Elijah gave his first, then had to leave to get to the game that had already started and was short on players.  He was so sad that he didn’t get to see the rest of his classmates’ presentations.  He told Brian that his team better win if he is missing out on their presentations.  So, when the game ended and they lost, he immediately started crying….wailing…because they didn’t win.  He wasn’t sad about not moving forward to the championship,  he was sad that it wasn’t worth it to be at the game since they lost and he missed seeing his friends from school present their projects.  Wailing…the kind where people kept asking me what was wrong, to which I couldn’t reply because I just didn’t want to get into a long explanation about what my kid really wanted that night.  So, there you have it, a story of Elijah’s wonderful emotional side and sensitivity and loyalty to his friends.  And could it be any more perfect that he had on that uniform for this?  He did such a great job and didn’t shy away from going first and clearly doesn’t show that he truly is an introvert, he really is comfortable with those friends in his class and all their families!  Love that boy!

4th Grade Ambassador


Malachi was asked to be an ambassador this year, each year 4th and 5th graders are chosen because of the leadership qualities they display in their classroom and around the school. And within the first week of this new school, Malachi’s leadership qualities shined through when the boys in his class were scheming to frame another new student for some kind of crazy act.  Malachi’s sense of justice broke through and he told these new classmates that what they wanted to do wasn’t right and he let his teacher know of their plans.  Mrs. Helman called me up that first week to tell me all about it. (It’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to tell me details about their school day!! And when I asked him to tell me the story, it was just another day at school……nothing special, nothing different….just doing the right thing at the right time. Love that about him!)  So Mrs. Helman asked Malachi to be a part of the Ambassadors Program.  They met before school once a week to learn and practice lessons on positive character qualities that they called lifelines. They were assigned a classroom in the school and then each session they taught a lifeline and provided a personal story to share with the class.  One of the personal stories Malachi shared was about having perseverance to learn Spanish while living in Argentina.



The two Ambassador Coaches, Mrs. Helman, on the left, also his 4th grade teacher, and Mrs. Filka, and a few students from his class.

He’s already hoping he gets to do this in 5th grade too.  He loved it.

Minecraft Birthday Party


Elijah’s 9th birthday party was a hit and was one of my favorites to plan for.


Oh yes, they were so excited before the party, but they were also super helpful….mostly, Argentina was playing again today and we were all thrilled when they won!! (We already had those green shirts, I made a stencil and painted on the creeper.)



Elijah got this paper craft kit for his birthday and the boys folded them all up for the birthday party.  And here’s some more decorations, some spiders and a creeper.





The boys made these perler bead characters and swords and axes and I added the jump rings and cording to make necklaces.  (This was a pinterest find…yay for good ideas!)



We added them to the goody bags, and I also made duck tape bracelets with velcro and added some black sharpie for the creeper…on the bag and bracelet, and the printables for the candy I found here.  (I also used that link for the banner.)



The ideas for the cupcakes and free printables were found here.




We planned three games.  The first was to divide the kids into groups and have them build with the legos.  Two groups made castles with defenses and the other groups made creepers, zombies, endermen and other things like slime and tnt.  Then Brian had the two groups with the characters “attack” the castles, each side took turns going back and forth with tactical moves.  Think of that more like sharing your strategy for playing chess, not actually physically attacking.  :) But these kids knew their minecraft rules and strategies and used that to defend their castles.  And in the end both castles won.



The second game took us outside for some good old-fashioned tag, with a twist.  So, there was a Zombie(the tagger) and everyone else who was being chased were Steves.  Then there was a creeper running around too, and Brian would yell out “Creeper!” and the the creeper would take silly string and spray it(because creepers explode) and whoever got string on them was out, along with whoever was tagged by the zombie.  The creeper would only spray the silly string for a few seconds and then would run around again until Brian would yell “Creeper!” and repeat until there was a winner.



The third game was with the giant creeper made out of paper taped on the side of the house. The kids had three tries with the nerf crossbow gun to hit the red target.  We put their names on their best shot and at the end whoever was the closest got a Minecraft Handbook as a prize.



And then we had some cupcakes and ice cream.




What a fun party to plan for, what a fun group of kids to have over, and what a great kid to be celebrating!


Father’s Day Hike


Having Brian around for a full day is a rare luxury these days, that’s what happens when you start a business.  We miss him, but are so very thankful for how hard he is working to take care of our family.  So we lived it up today with a picnic and hike at Eagle Creek Park.  And as we hiked, we dreamed about future vacations we hope to make RVing it to the west coast to see Yosemite, Joshua Tree National Park, the Redwoods, the Sequoias and back to Yellowstone, the Canyonlands, The Grand Tetons, the Badlands and the Grand Canyon.  And hopefully climb some mountains in Colorado.  As my Pop-pop would say, “There’s some beautiful country to see!”  And I can’t wait for the day that we get to take our kids to see it!  But until that day, we’ll keep enjoying the beauty of Indiana all around us.  :)


Hiking around the Eagle Creek Reservoir.


This girl was earning her keep, she was climbing and hiking and keeping up with those boys.


Notice that girl is using the roots to pull herself up that steep hill, Brian was admiring her mad climbing skills!


This Papi loves to climb and loves to encourage his boys to climb higher and higher and they all three gave it a try.








Photo by Elijah


Photo by Malachi


And we finished the day off with some Argentine Futbol, some steak and some malbec.  What a great day to celebrate the guy that is so very special to our crew.  He’s ours, and we are so very glad.