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August 31, 2010

Riding His Bike

Last Night, thanks to DH's patience, 9 year old Superstar finally learned HOW to ride his bike. DH took Superstar down to the local forest persevere where they got to practice just the two of them; or so they thought! A deer did end up jumping out in front of Superstar, because it was startled.

Last Night, Superstar came home and showed me what he could do on the bike path across the street from our house. I was going to take video last night and post it, but my camera battery was dead! So I took this video this afternoon! Enjoy!

He can NOT start on his own, nor can he really do turns right now. However we are still really proud of him! We have tried several times over the years but he just never got it. Looking back at it now I can't help but wonder if his toe-walking was stopping him from riding.

So last night was huge for us!! With more practice he'll get better including starting on his own. Right now to start him we have to hold is bike and give him a good "push".  Now it's time to get web-princess to master it!

Actually I have to say, I'm glad that Superstar, being older master this first. I remember my brother, who is 1 year younger then me, learned how to ride first and it made me angry! Superstar's personality, at times, reminds me of my own and I just know it would have not been good if Web-princess learned first!

August 28, 2010

ACK!!! NEW Co-Op-Group!

I and another local mom both are feeling that our local homeschool group isn't full filling our needs, wants, or desires for a group. It's a fine group but we both can envision something else.  It's come clear to us that this group will not blossom into what we envision. So we've decided to start our own group from the ground up.

We already know that this group will be welcoming to all homeschoolers regardless of race, creed, or beliefs. This is one aspect we do like about our current group. The next few months will be planning, advertising, and just getting some of the leg work done like "guidelines, rules, etc".

We are hoping to be able to offer the children classes and be a functioning group by January!

For those of you that have started groups or have been involved in the planning process do you have any tips, advice, or anything else that you feel is helpful?



August 26, 2010

Good Thing Outside Local Abortion Clinic

I know most of the things I've posted in the pass about the local abortion clinic have been depressing to say the least.  Well this is one positive thing. A bus is outside the clinic when it's open to offer FREE ultrasound to the women if they choose before walking into the clinic.

August 20, 2010

VCUG Testing and Zoo Visit

WP (Web-Princess) had her VCUG testing done today at the Children's Hospital in Madison. Walking into the Hospital was not like any other hospital I've been in.
This is the lobby as you are walking in. They had a chair that looked like the tail end of a car.
We got to our room and the staff explained how the procedure worked. They gave WP a catheter to play with.
They let her pick out a blanket that she got to BRING HOME! She chose this blanket because it reminded her of her Auntie that is in the Army!  She even said I wanted this blanket because of Auntie.
They even let her put stickers on the bedpan she was going to use for the testing.

When it got closer to her testing time they gave her some oral midazolam. This is what they called their "goofy juice". It makes the kids a little goofy because it impairs their cognitive reasoning. It also has a bit of an amnesia effect so they don't exactly "remember" everything.

Shortly after they gave her the midazolam DH and Superstar (SS) left to go to the playroom down the hall. A very nice playroom too. They had board games, a Wii, and a computer with internet to occupy their time.  DH was able to use the hospital computer, in the the playroom, to check his work emails. He and Superstar also played a game of Clue.

While DH and SS were in the playroom, I occupied WP's time with an "I Spy Book". We were looking  for a clock. As we were looking I made an off handed comment how the clock goes "tick-tock". After saying that WP took the book, held it to her ear, and after several minutes said "There is NO tick-tock". I knew at that moment the midazolam had kicked in! I took out my cell phone; called DH and explain to him what just happened with the book.  DH said okay I'm on my way down I want to talk to her.

So DH leaves the playroom and comes down the hall to WP's room. SS stayed in the playroom which was fine. (see my post on Free Range Kids). Anyway, DH comes into the room. WP took one look at him and said "Who are you?".  DH responded "My name is Johny!" (I should note that DH's name is NOT Johny).  Well at the moment, WP looks at him and points, with two fingers, "You are Johny with two eyes".  We crack up and with that DH said his I love yous and went back to the playroom where SS was waiting.  Later DH and I shared how that was NOT the response that either one of us was expecting. We both thought for sure she would roll her eyes and say "Dad!"

Shortly after our "Johny with two eyes" moment the nurses came in to administer her some nitrous oxide and prep her for the procedure by inserting the catheter. As they were raising her bed she exclaimed in delight "I'm growing!". Then she almost fell out of the bed, because she decided at the moment she wanted to see how the bed works.

It was at that moment we decided it was best to have someone on each side of her. They put the nitrous oxide mask on her and put in the catheter. There was more funny stuff after that, but those are things I will not share on a public forum.

As they were finishing up the producer and testing it was clear that the medicine had started to wear off because WP became very aware of her nakedness and needed to cover up immediately. It was very much like an Adam and Eve moment. As the drugs wore of she felt the need to hide her nakeness.

After the testing we went to lunch at a local restaurant followed by a trip to the zoo. We share our intentions of going to the zoo with the hospital staff and they said WP should be fine to go if she felt up to it. After lunch she did feel up to it so we went.
We seen many of the animals including some white rhinos that WP was able to correctly identify without the aide of the signs. I asked are those white rhinos or black rhinos? Without hesitation WP said "White  Rhinos". I then went around the corner to read the sign and sure enough they were White Rhinos.
I praised WP for knowing the answer, to which she replied "Well I just guessed!" Hey, the odds were 50/50; so the gamble was in her favor today!

Oh and before I go I should note we were given the preliminary results on the VCUG today. Before leaving the hospital we were told that her bladder and urine flow is NORMAL! That she does not have kidney reflex. Thank God things look normal. This is JUST the PRELIMINARY results. They were going to go over the test results in finer detail and send the full results to the pediatric urologist. I will be calling the urologist on Monday to schedule a follow up.

August 19, 2010

Painted Lady Butterflies ARE here!

As I shared last week the caterpillars made their chrysalis. We were surprise to learn that they shed their exoskeleton to reveal their chrysalis. I didn't share any pictures last week so let me show you pictures now! This was taken last week on the 14th after all of the caterpillars formed their chrysalis and they were moved to the butterfly habitat.
You'll note that two of the chrysalis has fussy stuff stuck to them. That is the shed exoskeleton. Sometimes the shed exoskeleton gets stuck to the chrysalis as it's drying. You may also noticed some red spots on the paper. This the the dye that is used in the coloring of the wings.  Insect lore's paper work did state that we may see some excess meconium so don't worry and it's not blood, etc.

So this morning about 7:30 I checked the chrysalis and everything seem "normal" they looked pretty much the same as they have been. Although I noted that two of them are slightly different color. No movement, just different color.

Then at 8:30 something caught my eye. I took a look and what did I see:
This butterfly came from one of the chrysalis that were a sightly different color this morning. I have been checking them now pretty regularly.  From 8:30-9:30 there has not been any new butterflies. However there has been a TON of meconium released by this one butterfly.
See how the one chrysalis below the butterfly on the left side and in between the two chrysalises with the exoskeletons attached. That is the one that is slightly different then the rest. That is the one we feel will become a butterfly next.  Can you see how it's a little bit darker then the rest and darker then it was before (see picture above). It the middle one on the bottom I'm referring too. Now I understand why the one commenter on Ten Kids and a Dog stated they get a bit messy when they leave their cocoon.

For food we have placed some coffee filters soaked in sugar water and placed on a Tupperware lid "on the bottom of the container". It's actually the "top" of the container. However when I thought about having to feed them I new it would be easier to just unzip the lid and slide the food in and out instead of having to  place my hands and arm into the container to place things on the bottom.  So we made the top the bottom so we could just unzip and slide the food in and out with minimum disturbance to the butterflies.
We know it will be several hours before the butterfly will move around seeing the wings still need to dry out, but the food is there for when it's ready. Some point before we let them go will also feed them some orange slices and perhaps even some watermelon slices.

August 18, 2010

Bald Eagle

photo by mnlamberson

I sincerely wish I had pictures of what I SAW to share with you. It was one of the moments you don't expect to happen, and why would you. Sunday after Mass we met up with my Father In Law at the local pizza range. As we were pulling into the parking lot, I said oh look at the "Hawk", but then I realized that this hawk was much larger then any hawk I've seen. Not only that but it had a white head and a white tail.

DH parked, and I realized that there were several other people just starring at this bird too. This was a sighting that just made everyone stop dead in their tracks. We all stood there starring watching this bird circle and circle.

My Father-In-Law at first dismissed it as a turkey vulture. However, I questioned it! So he watched a little bit more intently. After several minutes he was sure it was an Eagle; but wouldn't call it a Bald Eagle. I just knew this bird had to be something specially because it wouldn't caused several people to stop and just stare at it. We see hawks and turkey vultures all the time. These sightings do not cause people to stop dead in their tracks and stare for long periods of times.

I'm sure what I seen here in Northern IL was a Bald Eagle. No other large bird to my knowledge has a white head and a white tail!  I know that we went a few hours west towards the Mississippi River and Galena, IL that bald Eagles can be spotted there. However, I've NEVER known them to be in and around "The Forrest City"!

I told hubby, this is one of those times I wished I had my camera. There have been several times where I've thought that perhaps I should just keep my camera on me at all time. This was one of those moments. Then again I just never think if it; I mean why would I need it just to go down the street to the pizza ranch?

August 16, 2010

An Archeologist-In-Training

My sister (step-sister) is an "archeologist-in-training". She just got back from Peru, where she ate some guinea pig and help on an archeological dig and preservation. She will be going to India next toward the end of September/October.

As part of our social studies history lesson this coming school year we will be going over the continents. I figured that we personally would follow Auntie and her blog "Crystalline Adventures" as we do our studies.

I'm sharing her blog here, because I though PERHAPS some of my followers would also be interested in her travels and the little tid-bits she has to share regarding her stay, the food, and the bit of culture she learns along the way.

August 13, 2010

Big Dipper is it a constellation?

Of course it's a constellation! It's one of the first one's I learned and the most easiest to find!  However that line of thinking is FALSE! The Big Dipper is NOT a constellation. It is an Asterism!  We learned that today at our local children's museum. We went today for the Splish, Splash, Splat! Activities.

The kids got to play with cornstarch and water suspension; dunk some museum employees, and watch the watermelons we brought to the museum become squash thanks to the giant catapult. Not only was it a catapult, but a great magician seeing it turned watermelons into squash; water jugs into squash, tomatoes, garlic, pineapple all became squash! As a matter of fact nearly everything became squash, everything but eggplant that is. For whatever reason the eggplant did not go through a metamorphosis like everything else! It came out as still an eggplant! Go figure!

I decided to pay the little bit extra money to participate in the planetarium show as well. It was at the planetarium show that we learned that the big dipper is NOT a constellation, but an asterism. Not only that but different parts of the world call it different things! We, in USA, say it's a big dipper, but in other parts of the world they call it a butcher's clever, a plough, or even a saucepan.

Our local ABC affiliate was there! They took images and videos of OUR watermelon going through the catapult. We have no idea if those image will make the cut for tonights "news", but we are going to watch just in case!

Non-Related Note: All of our caterpillars are now in their chrysalis and have been moved to the butterfly habitat! In about 7-10 days form now we should have some butterflies.

August 12, 2010

Exoskeleton: Painted Lady Butterflies

Karen's comment in my last post regarding our Painted Lady Butterflies (Forming the Chrysalis) had me do some more digging! We hadn't really seen any "green" waste in our jar. I'm sure there is some, but that wasn't what stood out for us. We seen a lot of what looked like black fuzzy balls, sometimes very big balls.

Up until a few moments ago we just assumed the black stuff was 'waste' and that perhaps it was fuzzy to confused predators etc. It was black not green, but at the same time I thought perhaps it was a dark green almost black, and if the lighting was a a little better we would see it was green. The material that came with our painted lady butterflies NEVER said anything about them shedding their skin.

Well Karen my digging found this information again from Earth's Birthday Project:
What is that black thing hanging on the bottom of the chrysalis? Is it the caterpillar’s head? Nope, it’s the caterpillar’s last exoskeleton, crumpled into a ball and stuck to the chrysalis. Painted lady caterpillars molt—shed their exoskeletons—five times, the last time just before they pupate. Often the exoskeleton doesn’t fall completely away from the pupating caterpillar but gets stuck on the outside of the chrysalis as it hardens.
So that "fuzzy" black caterpillar looking stuff we've been seeing has not been "waste" as we thought! It was the shed exoskeleton! I wished the material from insect lore shared that as well! That would have been extremely helpful and beneficial! Clearly insect lore delivered on the caterpillars and they are doing great. They do guarantee that at least 3 of them will make it to adulthood. I just wish the material they give with them shared more information like the fact they shed their exoskeletons.

Forming the Chrysalis: Painted Lady Butterflies

Well 2 of the 5 Painted Lady Butterflies have already "made" their chrysalis this morning. Two more are hanging upside down now on the lid, and the 5th one is just hanging out on the side of the container. The literature that came with the caterpillars said that it will take about 1-2 days to form the chrysalis and 7-10 to emerge from it. So we are going to move all of what we can on Saturday (day 3) to the butterfly habitat.

We knew the process had started this morning. When I woke up at around 7 am I asked Web-Princess if she checked on her caterpillars yet this morning. She said no but I will. Web-Princess and Hubby, who was finishing up getting ready for work, checked them out and seen that 2 of them were already hanging upside down and the one was just wiggling really fast. Hubby said let's move them (to the butterfly habit). I had to tell him NO, it's to early they are still caterpillars. We have to wait until they are in a chrysalis to move them.

DH asked why was he shaking like that and I naively said he's spinning his chrysalis. Seeing it would take some days, we just went about our business and when we looked again at about 8:30, this morning, the chrysalis was completely form and the second one had started on his. It was at the time we also observed that 2 more caterpillars and made their way to the top and started to hang as well.

Some things we observed at that point was the completed chrysalis had a "fuzzy" thing next to it where it was hanging from the jar. The one that was working on his chrysalis had it started down the bottom towards it's mouth. What is going on? What is the fuzzy stuff? I thought they spinned their chrysalis? I know I got this idea from school, teachers, or someone as I was growing up.  We could tell this fuzzy stuff was caterpillar skin. We were just confused why it was outside they chrysalis. Not only that but I was confused on why the other one was starting his chrysalis at his mouth.

So I went searching and found this video on Youtube:

I then dug a little deeper and found this information on Earth's Birthday Project:
The caterpillar finds a safe place to rest. With a silk thread that comes out of a hole just below its mouth (spinneret), the caterpillar spins a silk pad to attach to. The caterpillar hangs from this pad. Soon, the caterpillars’ skin splits open, from head to abdomen, revealing a shiny green case underneath—the chrysalis.
So that fuzzy stuff we seen was indeed shed skin and the painted butterfly does NOT spin a chrysalis!

We are still waiting for the aquasaur eggs to arrive.

August 10, 2010


I've been eying some e-readers for a while now! Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook to name a few. They are, right now, out of my price range but I still have been eying. Then last night it hit me my Palm Z22 which I've had for the last 3 years (Hubby bought it for me when we decided to start homeschooling) has an e-reader on it.

I from the beginning was under the impression that I could only use the material found on palm's site, materials that had to be paid for. Well I just realized last night that I can use free application called Stanza (desktop version) to convert pdf, txt, (and I believe doc) files into pdb files. Pdb files is what my Palm Z22 e-reader can read! I have already used Stanza to convert .pdf and .txt files to pdb files.

My memory space on the Palm Z22 is limited so I can only have one book @ a time. However I'm overjoyed to learn I had this feature the whole time. Reading isn't horrible on it; it's doable. I have no idea if the Palm Z22 is still available normal retail or not, but I've seen models sell on e-bay for as little as $10. When we bought the Palm Z22 new 3 years ago it was just under $100.

Finding materials to convert is not hard...there are tons of free books out there from sources like Google books and Project Gutenberg.

On unrelated note: Web-Princess's Testing  is going to be done on August 20th.

August 6, 2010

Painted Lady Butterflies and Aquasaurs

Our painted lady caterpillars arrived today. Last year Web-princess received at butterfly habitat for butterflies. We finally order the caterpillars. They are here today! There are 5 baby-baby caterpillars in the jar. They aren't moving and if I didn't know any better I would say they were dead!

The literature that came with the container stated that it was normal for them to seem like they are dead at first. If they don't become more "lively" within the next 7 days then we need to call insect lore and get replacements.

We also order a replacement set of Aquasaurs. Superstar enjoyed them the first time so much so we are trying it again. The replacement set should be here shortly too. Aquasaurs are a Uncle Milton Industry product and I was able to order a replacement kit via Uncle Milton's Site.

August 5, 2010

UPDATE ON Web-Prinecess

We seen the Pediatric Urologist today. He suspects that it may be vesicoureteral reflux. We will be going to Children's Hospital in Madison soon for more testing. The testing she's going to have done is called a voiding cystourethrogram.

We discussed the care she received in the ER and the multiple CT scans. This is Web-princess second kidney infection. I shared with the pediatric urologist how she had what was labeled as "UTI" a few years ago. I shared how that was also a ER visit because she was delirious. They treated her for UTI, when that happened a few years ago, and sent us home.

Based on the current CT scans, her symptoms that night we landed in the ER, and given how the other one (the one a few years ago) was just as bad, he believe that in both cases they were KIDNEY infections. With that being 2 severe kidney infections we need to look into vesicoureteral reflux and that is why she's having a voiding cystourethrogram done.

For her comfort (and peace of mind) the voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is going to be done under anesthesia. She wouldn't let the urologist examine her today. He of course ask if she's been inappropriate touched. Of course I said NO, it's just her wanting her privacy and not being comfortable with the situation. So he didn't press it, and said he didn't have to examine her, and that we would just do the VCUG under anesthesia @ Children's Hospital in Madison, because he doesn't do those kinds of testing here in town.

When we left I apologized to WP. I told her that I should have told her that he was going to want to look, etc. Of course she said "Well if I would have known a head of time I would have been more comfortable and probably would have been okay with it". UGH! She didn't like the fact it was just sprung on her and that's why she was being a bit stubborn with it @ the doctor's office!

So that's where we are at today with Web-princess. Today she's fine, no fevers, no issues, etc. Oh and that's the other thing I need to do. I need to keep a diary of when she pees. I need at least 3 days worth of documentation, but it does NOT need to be 3 consecutive days. I can be say Friday, Monday, Wednesday or Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, etc.

August 1, 2010

Free Range Kids

Does the idea of letting your 9 year old with their friends sit in a movie theater with no adult chaperon scare you? Does the idea of of letting him or her ride a subway alone scare you? Or what about eating Halloween candy BEFORE it was carefully check over by an adult?

If so then perhaps raising Free Range Kids is NOT for you! Honestly, I don't know where I'm at on the spectrum, but reading (or listening) to the book Free Range Kids How To Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children.

I admit I haven't finished the book yet, but the author raised some very valid points. For example the crime rate against children are nearly the same today as they were in the 1960's. We are drowned with 24 hours news and made for reality TV, that we really don't have a clear sense of what is true Reality and what is Reality TV. Oh and those drama shows that are "ripped" from the headlines (such as law and order) are no help in determining what is reality and what is Reality TV.

I haven't come to a complete decision on things, and I would encourage my husband to listen to (or read the book) before we did anything different then what we are doing now. Of course just like with homeschooling he would have to be in agreement with me. However, often lately I've been tempted with letting Superstar, age 9, stay home while I run up the street (literally) to walmart to grab some milk and bread.  I can't tell you how many times he's begged me to let him stay home while I run to the store to get milk and bread. I know I would be gone no more then 30 minutes (if even, seeing walmart really is just up the street; after all we've have walked there).

I use his age as the reason for him not being able to stay home. I tell him he has to be at least 13. I've always been under the impression that it was the "law". However the book raised some points and now I'm not even sure if it's the "law" or not. The author did mention that only 2 states had laws regarding children that stated actual ages and Illinois was one of the 2 states. (Maryland is the second state). Even with Illinois law the author said something that made me question if the law would apply for simple, quick, walmart run. Yes, there is an age listed in the laws, but at the same time child neglect statue describes, in part, what is consider neglect as "any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor's welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard to the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor." (705 ILCS 405/2-3 from Ch. 37, par. 802-3 (d)).  That statue goes on to list question to take into consideration, such as weather, are there other minors, day, night, duration of time, etc.

So you see, even in Illinois, it's not automatically neglectfully to leave a child under the age of 14 home alone. So would it be "okay" to leave Superstar, at 9, home alone while I ran to Walmart to get bread and milk? Could he manage for the 20-30 minutes (if even) that I was gone?  Of course, that's up to my husband and I to decide after all we know our son the BEST!! I wouldn't do anything that I've felt was dangerous. It just interesting for me to learn that things are as cut as dry as I thought. What has stopped me from allowing my son to stay home while I do a quick milk and bread run? Well his age, because I've been under the impression the "law" forbid me from leaving him home alone at 9, but now I'm not so sure. (Of course hubby would have to give his 2 cents on this and He and I together will decide what's best for our children).

I just think back when I was his age. I know that I had to have been 9, 10, 11 and Mom let us walk down to the drug store by ourselves. I remember being around that age being allowed to pretty much ride my bike anywhere I wanted in town as long as I was home before the street lights came on. Oh and there was NO cell phones!! YIKES!! Of course things are so much worst, you can't do that this day and age, or can you?? How does the crime rate today compare to that of the 60's, 70's, 80's, etc? Is it really that much different? Or have we've been sucked in to believe it's so much worst by those 24 hour news channels?
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